The last couple of days of the website being down are aparently due to a PHP upgrade. The new version does not include by default the PEAR database abstraction library installed, and so several aspects of this site which use them borked. Little things like database connection. That has been fixed and the server rebooted, but it definitely means that I should re-code to avoid depenence on modules on whose presence I cannot count.
SMTP with telnet
One of the things I like best about the TCP/IP from a technical standpoint is that almost all of it happens in ASCII. This means that when your mail is getting refused or your web site isn’t working you can just fire up telnet, hit the right port and start poking around.
Alarmingly often I find that I can confirm and sometimes diagnose a problem with my ISP’s mailserver before they can. I also find it terribly handy for sorting out wonky behavior on my web server, though I just use an O’Reilly book for that (HTTP Pocket Reference).
I think it would be pretty useful if everything could be in Unicode, from OSes to networking protocols, but that seems rather a long way off. Just the ability to hack in telnet in your own language would be pretty neat. As it is, you’ve got to do things by rote or learn English. I’m glad I don’t have to do that again.
Reader Prodding and Booting Linux
Luke has, quite rightly, pointed out that I have been lax in my updating of this site. after my last flurry of activity adding pieces of the back-end I completely forgot to note them here. I’ve been adding capabilities like entry editing tools and per-article permalinks and stylesheet switching, but other than that my time has been severely limited by huge wodges of work for school. That, sadly, won’t calm down again before the end of the term. The real problem is that I want to blog lots of articles, but I don’t have Internet access in class, which is where I can multitask and write things for this site in parallel with class notes. I’ve been meaning to download sites into the cache, but I keep forgetting. We’ll see if I get that done soon.
A while back I read this article, which I find fascinating. It is a very intriguing idea for the laptop, since it boots up so much more often than the desktop. I haven’t had the time to look into it more, but I’d sure like to.