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Blog Optimization

In the last two days, I

  1. Changed my blog’s MySQL tables storage engines from the MyISAM to InnoDB
  2. Installed the WordPress Memcache Plugin to mimimize database queries (16-25 queries reduced to 2-7)
  3. Installed APC (Alternative PHP Cache) to reduce PHP bytecode compilation overhead. As a result, all PHP sites on mimimus should be faster.

In addition, I did some general cleaning up and upgrading of software on minimus and nexus.

Altogether, these changes reduce the typical Checksum Arcanius page load from 2.5-3.5 seconds to 0.5-1.5 seconds, a 2-7x improvement.

These are very easy steps to take — I would suggest them to anyone running WordPress. Step-by-step directions follow (assuming Ubuntu Linux):

  1. For each table in your blog’s database, execute the following SQL via a mysql client instance, phpMyAdmin, etc:
    ALTER TABLE <tablename> ENGINE = InnoDB;
  2. Install memcache:
    sudo apt-get install memcache
  3. Download the WordPress Memcache Plugin and place it in your wp-content directory. That is all you have to do to get memcache support in WordPress!
  4. Install APC:
    sudo apt-get install php-apc
  5. Restart Apache:
    sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

Very simple steps with a very high payoff.

The Trend

The Trend is Clear

As I have become more involved with Facebook and Twitter, the number of idea that actually mature enough for me to blog about them go down. Also, I’m not taking enough time to review my thoughts and write about them.

My first resolution of 2010: I resolve to do blog more. I need that time to reflect reflect on my life. Status updates are not sufficient. Semi-Scheduled Downtime is up for some big changes in the near future. Dan has ordered up a new system, and I brought a couple of 750 gb hard drives from nexus back from California  (although one of them is throwing errors and probably won’t be used). In the end, the yet-to-be-named server will take over the primary web serving duties for

The switchover process will start tomorrow, when’s web service will go down while the current server, Frankenputen, is moved to Dan’s place, where it will be easier to sync with the new server. During this move, barring some sort of amazing in-car power and internet source, will be inaccessible. Most likely, it will be down for a few daytime hours tomorrow, so don’t be too shocked if you can’t access it for a while.

Frankenputen is Dying

My previous plans of retiring Frankenputen may have to be accelerated. Today, Frankenputen stopped serving for an unknown reason. I was able to resuscitate it by forcing a restart via the excellent Remote Insight console, but I’m beginning to wonder how much longer the beast will last.


I’ve started twittering. For a long time, I had no interest in the phenomenon, but recently I’ve noticed that I’m not blogging as much as I want to, while I still have lots of ideas I want to write about. In a perfect world, a lot of these ideas would become full blog posts; however, until I rededicate myself to making that happen, my hope is that at least the ideas won’t die unheard — they can now live on as tweets. As Mark Cuban said, “Tweets are the blog posts you thought about writing, but didn’t feel they had enough substance.” (Hat tip Theo)

So, if you’re into that sort of thing, you can follow me on Twitter, or just occasionally visit my blog to see my most recent tweets.

I’m also considering a “daily digest” of my tweets as actual blog posts; there is a plug-in to do that.

Server Transitions

This summer will be a time of great transition for me. I will be finishing up with school (for the time being at least), going on several trips, and moving to the San Francisco Bay Area to start a new job. In addition to planning the trips, I have been thinking about the other aspects of the transition. One of these aspects will involve the moving of the servers that run

Currently, the computer that runs most of is called Frankenputen (a well deserved name — it is literally a server scraped together by Dan from various ebay purchases). It is housed at my parent’s place, and it makes a lot of noise and heat (and probably consumes a lot of juice as well), so I thank them for being so long-suffering with the beast. Alongside Frakenputen is oasis, my old desktop, and what ran before Frankenputen, but after sf2, which came after wadi.

As part of this transition, I plan to move away from Frankenputen and transition entirely to nexus, the fileserver I currently use in my Seattle home. It is much smaller, quite quiet, and is, overall, a much more capable machine: it currently runs an Ahtlon 2600+, but will probably soon be a P4 2.8GHz. While it is not server-quality hardware, it is pretty, quiet, and small, which is really what I’m looking for.

Along with this transition will come some downtime, and probably a massive dumping of unused-but-still-available websites hosted on This is just a warning that if you are looking to control your own website’s fate, and it is currently hosted on, you might want to evaluate your options and see if you want to stick through the transition period or not.

Google Appengine Sucks [Whoops]

It is an interesting idea, but it appears to be incredibly slow. Indeed, a few hundred add operations bring it to its knees. Lame.

UPDATE: See comments.