b2evolution.net usage stats

bevolution.net usage stats
bevolution.net usage stats

In order to possibly arrange for new hosting a few people have asked for bandwidth and space requirements.

I posted a webalizer bandwidth usage report here.

Regarding diskspace, the site takes approx 10 MB and the mysql databases about 70 MB, however most of this is stats and we can seriously cut down on it if needed.

A few more observations:

  • Relatively stable over all week days (Wed, Thu, Fri are most busy, Sat least busy).
  • Relatively stable over the whole daytime (US afternoon is the most busy).
  • Downloads (heavy files) are carried through SourceForge.
  • All mysql databases could be melted into one if needed.

Finally, we'll be glad to carry a banner/logo on the site for the new generous host. ;)

b2evolution.net : hosting blues

b2evolution.net has been hosted for the last 6 months, courtesy of Memenet. That seems to be over and Memenet cannot be contacted, at least for the past 24 hours... :-/

Well, it was good while it lasted...

I am now seeking a new generous host for the project. If you are in a position to provide quality hosting for the b2evolution.net site, please let me know asap. We gotta get that site back online, I receive a lot of email asking for it! ;)

Bluetooth hell!

I was going to say all kinds of nice things about my new laptop, like "wow not a single dead pixel on that wide screen!" or "3 to 4 hours of autonomy, I had lots of less powerful devices that lasted less..." Yeah, however I can't really get to this euphoric state as long as that bluetooth implementation keeps bugging me! >:(

The laptop is a Compaq Presario X1000 (more precisely: X1005EA if you need to know) with integrated Bluetooth support. It runs on Windows XP. It's still not clear to me to what extent XP actually supports Bluetooth. Anyway, the computer comes with a piece of software called "Bluetooth by hp 1.4.1 Build 3" which in turn, installs a Bluetooth driver provided by WIDCOMM.

I can see this in the device manager which shows a "Bluetooth Communications Port (COM5)". That's the WIDCOMM driver and it is reported to function normally.

Now, in order to get something done with this "wireless COM port", it looks like I have to use the "Bluetooth by hp" software. However, that one keeps reporting that no bluetooth device is detected and advises to check if it is connected and functioning properly.

I've been wondering for a while if that meant that there is no peer bluetooth device to communicate with... but no, it really seems that the bluetooth manager can't find the WIDCOMM virtual port! :(

Does anyone have a clue on this? Anyone using that "bluetooth by hp" software? Are there alternatives available?

(I don't believe in) Web Standards (no more... but I wish I still had faith!)

"Web Standards"... that definitely sounds cooler than it really is...

At first we had HTML and Mosaic... Then came Netscape and Microsoft with their proprietary extensions... and so came the need for standards. We got several versions of standardized HTML, but still varying implementations (IMG align anyone?).

Then came some "really really" standard method to iron out rendering differences: Cascading Style Sheets! Well... another failed attempt: people tweak them even more than standard HTML and the rendering differences get even worse. So now, we have a collection of dirty tricks to apply different CSS to different browsers.

Okay, forget that; we have an even newer standard now: XSL. You just send pure and clean XML to the browser. Then you let the browser reformat it with an XSLT template. PLEASE! XSLT implementation differences are just as problematic as with CSS... and finally no more than with plain HTML! And regarding IE, it's definitely too slow to be really useful! >:XX

So today, I really wonder why we go through all this pain... Sending different presentations in plain HTML (okay, let's say XHTML+CSS for bandwidth and maintainability optimization) was faster than desperately trying to find the "compatibility spot" in a single "standard compliant version"! :|

Not to mention there are still old browsers that do not support a lot of standards out there... and there are more and more alternative browsers (on either desktops, appliances or mobile devices...) that all support standards in their very own way! :(

What can we do? I mean pragmatically! Apart from condemning everyone that doesn't comply 100% to the standards (just a few millions anyway...).

I think we need to remember those "best practices" we had a few years ago and get back to something like this:

  1. Identify most common targets (browsers/devices) and provide them with a specific+optimized presentation (CSS/Flash/whatever). The more targets you can handle with compatible web standards, the better. But don't forget to test all those targets! You'll undoubtly encounter nasty surprises on some of them... Note: contrary to popular belief, most common targets and their "market share" largely depend on your audience!
  2. Provide at least one "safe" presentation. One that is guaranteed to be readable by almost anyone. Alternatives would be good here: maybe one text only (HTML 2.0) and one with basic CSS and images that makes it just a little more attractive (but still avoiding any CSS/Flash showing off!)
  3. Provide a manual switch between version for the times when the user uses a browser that can do more or less than we had expected. (It would be wise to always bet on less, but you'll inevitably make false assumptions at some point.)
Okay, so what's new here? Those of you running corporate sites might think they already do that. You may want to check again: are you sure you didn't stop at step 1? :?:

Now, for personal sites... I completely realize that providing multiple versions will sound like crazy to many of you. How can I expect you to update content concurrently in several files? Well... I don't! Any hosting provider nowadays will let you use dynamic page generation (one content, several presentations). I'll get back to this topic later...

Laptop-Desktop File sync

Just got a new laptop. I had managed to live without for a couple of years but lately, I've been moving across country too often and for long enough periods that I can't stand the ~`webdesktop'~ solution no longer. My PalmV doesn't quite cut it either... :-/

So here I am, learning to cope with duplicate filesystems again... trying to find the best ways to synchronize all kinds of things between my laptop and desktop. Email, documents, mp3 collection...

Synchronizing can be a pain in the ass, that's for sure, but on the other hand, it also serves as a pretty efficient backup strategy.

Actually, the only new challenge since my previous laptop is my 15 GB mp3 collection. (It took me weeks to rip all my CDs and tag the files... and I actually gave up halfway :P) I am of course not backing these up on CDs... (I already have the original CDs). But I surely wouldn't want to loose the rips and have to go through the whole process again! U-(

I pulled a few utilities from download.com and so far the best one I installed seems to be "Advanced Directory Comparison and Synchronization". First advantage: it is not written in VB. Second: it does not rely on the windows shell to copy the files... and thus it doesn't pathetically hang after a few minutes of copying thousands of files...

It did a relatively fast analysis of differences between the "music" directory structures of the laptop and the desktop, found the already matching files (copied by previous tests) and is now proceeding with the sync. There is a real progress indicator (current file and overall).

Sync in progress...
This is all running over WiFi (that's another story :-/) and the best thing is that if I break the connection (which always happens sometimes when a sync lasts for hours), the software asks me to retry, skip, skip all etc... The nice thing is: "retry" actually works! ;)

Maybe the interface is a little bit complicated, but I guess I'll learn to appreciate it when I start to add and remove mp3s on both sides before I sync again!

However, if you guys know of an absolute kick-ass tool for that kind of sync, I'll sure want to give it a try! :D