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Rash decisions always feel like sure bets before you act on them: I recently went “you know what, upgrading this server’s Ubuntu LTS won’t be a big deal — I’ve done all these package updates for the past few years with nary a hiccup… I think I’ll just purge my PPA repo (since ffmpeg is officially back in 16.04.1), open a screen session, and get going! And, for a multitasking win, I’ll do it in between seeing patients!”


13 Years to 1.0: Building an 80 Year Blog

I’m 13 years in, trying to build a blog that will last my entire life. I’d like to share what I’ve learned about thinking and coding for the long term.

In late 1999, I was 14 years old, and had just spent the last few months absorbing TI BASIC and trying to grok Z80 assembly. Seeking a community of like-minded individuals, and lacking the wide net or social aspirations to find one locally, I was also hard at work assembling an archive of TI Calculator software using free web site hosts like Angelfire and Tripod. I won’t link the results because, wow, are they embarrassing.


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9 million hits/day with 120 megs RAM

Here’s a quick summary if you haven’t time to read the whole thing:

Solaris 5.11 (virtual: Joyent SmartMachine)
PHP 5.3.6 with PHP-FPM: 4 instances running, 10meg APC cache
nginx 0.8.53
Pax 1.0 (my silly self-coded website software… and yes, oops there’s already software with that name)
120 megs of RAM used
Load tested using blitz.io: 9 million+ daily hit capability


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Facebook Pictures

Slashdot linked to a presentation called “How Facebook Stores Billions of Photos” — fun facts:

Facebook efficiently stores ~6.5 billion images, in 4 or 5 sizes each, totaling ~30 billion files, and a total of 540 TB and serving 475,000 images per second at peak…


Service At Speed

I sat down next to Mykala on the Fourth of July, and casually asked her a question while I did a few trivial computing tasks. “Did you notice a difference in speed for tumbledry?” I was overjoyed to hear her response: “Yes, actually—I noticed it seemed a bit faster.” Her single comment made the struggle to resolve all of the lags in delivering tumbledry at high speed to you lovely readers worth it. Now, I have thought for a while how to make an analogy that will keep the attention of the non-programmer readers of this space. You see, historically, the problem is that these techy posts become so heavily jargon laden that they are neither digestible nor desirable to anyone who doesn’t develop web applications for a living. So, yes, I could ramble about PHP, gzip compression, query optimization, JavaScript libraries, and Dean Edwards’ amazing packer… but I would alienate many, and bore many more. So, I present an analogy that is a bit rough around the edges, but should still get the point across.


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Promised: Grand Opening

Holy good lord. Tarnation. Yikes. Gosh golly. Good night that took a long time. I remember saying July 4th this would be done, a deadline I shamefully blew through and which Nils could have yelled at me for. At last, I don’t believe it (you most certainly do not, either), but it is done. The great tumbledry redesign of 2005 is ACTUALLY DONE. I’ve been spending so much time on this that its hard to know where to start. I can say: look forward to one image per day in the imageLog, actual updates, and more.


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