Archive for August, 2006

What a day!

It’s too late to go into this now, but it’s been one hell of a day! It all started yesterday evening when the BritBlog server decided to die. It took a power-cycle to bring it back.

Then, early in the morning, a small server I rent from 1 and 1 internet was disabled. Turned out the credit card they had on record for me had expired, so instead of letting me know that they couldn’t renew they just went and disabled the server. Great. Took me ~ 11 hours to get that one back up. Not good. 1 and 1 are not in my good books at the moment.

To finish it all off, the server that handles my mail and some other web sites (including this one) decided to die too! Bah! I couldn’t believe it!

On the plus side it gave my web site monitoring a good testing, and I’m almost please to say that I got a text alert for every single failure. If only they hadn’t been in the middle of the night…

With luck tomorrow will be a bit more peacful ;-)

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New Cameras - Photokina 2006

Photokina 2006 is nearly upon us, and I find myself wondering what new cameras will be released.

I’m still on the lookout for a good compact camera, and I have a feeling this quest won’t be complete any time soon. I’ve been amazed at the price of the Digital SLRs (DSLRs) that have been hitting the market lately, and am looking forward to seeing if Canon come out with anything. There have long been rumors about a Canon EOS 3D coming out, but I don’t think we’ll see one any time soon.

I’d like to see improvements made to the EOS 5D - perhaps giving us an EOS 5D Mk II! These improvements will include a price drop of course, and then I may be able to get back to full-frame photography.

Nikon have already released lots of new DSLRs lately, so I don’t think we’ll see anything new from them. We’ve also had the first Sony DSLR (the Sony Alpha DSLR-A100), so we probably won’t see anything from them now. Anyway, I really should be working (just stopped for a cup of tea). No doubt I’ll mention any exciting new cameras here when I hear about them :)

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Blog ranks now being displayed

I’ve just turned on the rank icons for technoranki now, so people should see the icons on their blogs change straight away. The scores are a bit rough at the moment because of the limited amount of data in the system, but this should improve over time.

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Technoranki lives!

Well almost. I’ve finished moving everything to do with technoranki over onto a new server (from the old BritBlog server), so once the DNS updates have filtered through this should all be pretty much up and running.

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Ping server survey

Everyone seems to be pinging everyone else these days, so I thought it would be interesting to do a bit of a survey so see how these ping relay services perform. I’m talking about services like Ping-o-matic and Pingoat.

If you don’t know what pinging is (in the blog sense), then take a look here (geeks look here). Essentially, it is a means for a blog to tell any interested parties that it has been updated, and if you want to read the latest post then you should drop by now.

There are many lists of sites that accept pings, but getting your blog to ping all of these can be a bit of a pain (and slow down the posting process). This is where the ping relay services come in. These ping services relay a single ping from your blog on to several other services on your behalf. This makes it easy for you to notify loads of services that your site has been updated, all from one ping!

There are usually two methods to use these ping relay services: (a) by visiting the site, manually filling out the form and submitting it, or (b), by using XML-RPC, and getting your blog to notify these services directly.

For the first part of this survey I’ll be testing the latter - using XML-RPC. I’ll be using a really good monitoring service to measure both the performance (how quick they are) and availability (how much of the time they are up and running) of these services, and will report back here in due course.

The test will involve pinging these services every ten minutes, and measuring things like DNS lookup time, connect time (establishing a connection with the server), initial response time (time before the first byte of data comes back in the response), and time to download the complete response.

The services I’ll be measuring for this first survey are:

Sadly, the XML-RPC interface to Pingoat is down at the moment.

The second part of the survey will look at some of the web form based services. The three services listed above all offer this feature, as do the following sites:

In the meantime, if anyone knows any other XML-RPC ping relay services, please do let me know and I’ll add them to the survey.

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Great British Beer Festival

I popped up to the GBBF on Saturday morning to meet a friend and try some new beers. It was a hot day, and sadly most of the beers had sold out by the time I got there (@ 12:30 ish).


It was good to catch up with Jim, but I have to say I didn’t go a bundle on the atmosphere there; I guess you’re bound to get a nicer atmosphere at the smaller festivals. One thing that was nice to see were groups of (often young) women all enjoying the beer. Good to see the sandal-wearing bearded ale drinker stereotype drifting into the dim and distant past. So when’s the next beer festival? Thankfully not long away — next week will see one in Worcester. Don’t think I’ll be able to make that one though; maybe make the one in Peterborough though :)

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Sony GPS tracker for photography

How cool is this?? This is a GPS tracker to attach to your belt whilst taking photos. The supplied software can then later be used to geotag your photos (EXIF) based on your location at the time a photography was taken. Cunning eh? You can then plot yor photos ona map etc.

This looks like a fantastic device, and should cost about $150 (so knowing our luck ~ £800!!)

Photo from

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