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"cd: 1: can’t cd to ~"

2 Apr


Are you seeing messages like the following in your web server’s error logs?

cd: 1: can't cd to ~
cd: 1: can't cd to ~
cd: 1: can't cd to ~
cd: 1: can't cd to ~

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When Can I Reuse This Calendar (dot com)

11 Nov

My wife dug up a 2008 calendar still in the shrinkwrap and it got me thinking… When can I reuse this calendar? Well, I had a spare hour and $6.99 to register a domain, so I whipped out this little site:

http://whencanireusethiscalendar.com/

Now you can go digging through that chest of crap from the 1990s and pull out your favorite cute puppies calendar. In 2010, you can re-use calendars from 1999, 1993, 1982, 1971, 1965, 1954, 1943, and 1937.

People Use FeedSifter.com?

19 Jul

rssAs with most of my web toys, FeedSifter.com started off as a tiny tool that served a very simple need I had. Assuming a handful of people might have the same need, I publish most of these utilities and some of them actually manage to become fairly popular.

FeedSifter is a simple service that allows you to filter an RSS or ATOM feed for various keywords. There are many other services out there that do this same thing, but this site is anonymous, uncluttered, and intuitive–exactly what I wanted at the time.

Looking at the traffic stats today, I’ve found that feedsifter.com managed to become fairly popular while nobody was looking. Over the past 8 months, daily traffic has been steadily increasing and it is fast approaching 2,000 requests per hour. That’s a pleasant surprise and a good indication that I should put some effort into finishing those final few features I never got around to implementing years ago.

10 Rules to Protect User Passwords

1 May

loginformMost programmers take a pragmatic approach to security and scale their efforts based on an estimate of the sensitivity of the data they are storing.

The unfortunate truth is that password security is frequently underestimated, making it easy for credentials to be sniffed or stolen.  Users often keep a very small collection of passwords, with many people memorizing a small collection and using them on almost every site and service they use. A password compromise on one site can lead to a compromise on many.

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PHP Changelog RSS Feed

9 Dec

Thanks to the site Feed43.com, I was able to quickly and easily generate an RSS feed to the PHP5 Changelog, a very large page that doesn’t already have a feed.

Check out the PHP 5 Changelog Feed.

Feed43 beats Yahoo’s Tubes service because if a page is too large, it simply truncates it to a usable length. Tubes will simply fail to process a page that it deems is too big.

A New Home for Package Tracking: Boxoh.com

25 Nov

My Google maps making, RSS feed slinging, universal package tracker has moved to greener pastures. Boxoh.com is your new go-to place for tracking UPS, FedEx, USPS, DHL, and Airborne packages.

Backstory: In 2006, I posted a handy new utility I’d cobbled together which was a mashup between package tracking for for multiple services. It quickly became by far the most popular page on this site, with more than 1.4 million tracking requests last month. It gets more than three times the traffic of my movie theater RSS generator and four times the traffic of another spinoff site, FeedSifter, a simple RSS/Atom feed filter.

If you are familiar with MediaTemple’s GridServer service, you’ll know that using up all 1000 GPUs (server work units) for the past several months is not a good thing. Those cycles weren’t just going to waste on poorly written scripts, either. Each hit to the tracker consumed an average of 0.0002 GPU (WordPress uses 8 to 16 times that with each hit). It wasn’t always this way, though. Check back soon for an upcoming post on how I managed to cut down the CPU usage of the package tracker by 90% with some intelligent code analysis and a creative caching solution.

Boxoh.com is now hosted on a screaming VPS server with plenty of spare power. I’m taking full advantage of APC caching and several other behind-the-scenes tweaks one can only get a grip on when they are running a dedicated server.

Thanks to all of the people who have made the service so popular!

Also, thanks to Juplex for a fast and friendly site design!