Various Notes | Morse Code Ringtones | Java updates | More Pages on the Way

Sorry for the vague title, but there are various thoughts floating around at the moment. The first is a big thanks to the support at Westhost for recovering my VPS over the last weekend. I had started an automatic upgrade of wordpress in one of the sites hosted in this vps, it hung… so I ssh’ed in and found the vps was essentially ruined – it managed to wipe out quite a bit. I’m not sure if it was a coincidence or if the wordpress upgrade was really the culprit, but it managed to destroy quite a bit. The support at westhost though had things back up within 24 hours. It wasn’t just a matter of the site and database getting deleted, but files in /etc were gone (mail configuration hostname resolution wasn’t working, scp wasn’t working…. it was trashed in a bad way.)

Anyway, I’ve still been tinkering with the free morse code mp3 ringtones. In particular I’ve been tinkering with the Text to morse code mp3 generator. I’ve been trying to add utf support. The backend generator does interpret morse for utf characters, I’ve managed to get a way to decode the url encoding if they’re placed in the text box, my big challange at the moment is the file name. I have to truncate the filename so that it’s not too long, but most everything I’ve tried to truncate counts bits instead of characters. Some, even if I tell it to count characters will assume that 1 character=1bit and I wind up with some of the utf characters cut short which gives unusual filename results. In the testing version of the script I’ve just decided to sanitize things by replacing an extended character with an x….

I may spend some time in the coming weeks here giving a peek behind the curtain at some of the scripts I’ve written for that site, or for some of those that I use myself to generate a morse code mp3 from an rss feed for instance. I’m a bit reluctant to get the code of the generator script out there though for concern that I haven’t dotted all the i’s so to speak.

I have noticed in the last few weeks that java updates on windows now clean up old versions of the java runtime. (At LAST.) Java traditionally left it’s old counterparts installed making you go through and manually remove the older version. Why remove the older version you ask? Well, the java runtime engine version can be specified by java code. The default is the most recent, but if someone wanted to do something mischievous, and take advantage of a vulnerability in an older release they could specify that release and if it was installed, then it doesn’t really matter that you’ve updated.

I did notice that it failed to remove something as old as, I think, update 5 of the latest version of the java runtime engine. (Current AFAIK is update 13.) So, it would be worth a check in your control panel/add remove programs to clean out the oldest ones and then in the future it should tidy up on it’s own. (THANK YOU SUN!)

I’ve got ideas for several fairly large pages here – collections of ideas in one place. For quite some time I was pretty fond of the blog post style of entries and for many things that makes sense, but…. there is also a place for collecting lot’s of information on a single topic on a single page so that you’re less likely to “lose anything…” Sometimes I feel like the blog posts are somewhat like a large and jumbled junk drawer and the pages are neat organized boxes with labels telling exactly what is inside.

I should also mention that this site will likely be on the move soon. My webhost provider is in the midst of transitioning away from their current vps model and it sounds as though things will be heading towards more of a shared hosting style setup. This (and many of my other sites) have become complex enough in their demands that I’m thinking I’ll be moving many to a Xen vps hosted environment. I’ve used the morse code ring tones site as a first experiment of my own hosting in that xen environment and among other things I’m blown away by the responsiveness. It will (hopefully) mean a performance boost if things work out right. I haven’t finalized plans yet, but I think that’s the direction I’ll be heading. It looks as though it’s going to be a cost increase for me though as much as 50% more for my overall hosting, so…. I’ll be looking for an overall improvement in speed/responsiveness if that’s the case to at least make it worth spending more.

It seems as though there are a few other notes I was going to write here, but at the moment I can’t recall what they would be….

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