Technology (48)

Web Page Download Size

Written by Wednesday, 10 February 2010 16:41

I used to rely on http://analyze.websiteoptimization.com for analyzing under-performing web pages - and to heighten customer's awareness of the impact of file sizes and load times.

While the tool is great, I never actually took the time to see how well it did its job.

Here's my beef with it at this time:

  • It might not be smart enough in its CSS analysis - from what I understand, it will look for every image link in the CSS and count it - no matter if the image actually needs to be loaded.

I'd love to find a FireFox plugin that would use the browser's rendering engine to figure out what has been downloaded.

I tried to save to disk using the browser, but it does not always pick up the files linked by the CSS (both in IE and FireFox).

Anyone knows of good alternatives for this kind of analysis?

Evaluating autoresponder/mailing application

Written by Sunday, 29 November 2009 14:02

We're adding auto-responder and mailing list to the list of services we offer.

While we like to develop everything in-house, sometimes its just great to start a package that has everything.

After a few searches on the Internet, I ended up with two most likely contenders - both commercial applications.

One is Mailing List Manager Pro, a reasonably priced open-source package that has most of the features we'd be looking for and sports a professional-looking user interface.

The other one is Oempro, a somewhat more aggressively priced package (though still quite reasonable) that has just about all the features I could ever want. Drawbacks? The user interface is a bit odd - through light-years ahead of most free open-source solutions available. Biggest drawback: closed source (using IonCube/like technologies).

It really is standstill - one is opened, but lacks a few features (proper support of multi-client architecture), the other one has it all, but cuts off from customizing the software ourselves (something that we often get asked).

I have a soft spot for the open-sourcedness of Mailing List Manager pro - they seem to be actively looking for new features to add. If the software grows in the direction we are going for, we might be willing to start with less features.

So, basically, it boils down to the health of both project - Mailing List Manager Pro lacks a visible forum/community to allow us to see if the project is still alive. Its competitor, Oempro, has it all, and shows us traces activity.

I resorted to communicate with both companies - their support will most likely dictate our decision.

3 days gone and still waiting for an answer on both accounts...

If any of you know of a solution we should be looking at, feel free to comment (we'll be making our decision this week).

We're looking for:

  • A solution that we can host ourselves (open source and PHP are plusses)
  • Pro-grade user interface
  • Auto responder / mailing
  • Per-client configuration
  • Per-client templates (global templates a plus)
  • Client service plans (number of mailings allowed per month, etc.)
  • Import / export group list
  • Custom subscription forms
  • Anti-spam features
  • Statistics (of course)

Migrating to CentOS

Written by Tuesday, 29 September 2009 22:15

A few months ago, I've had to have a Red Hat Enterprise server built for a client.

This was my first "serious" experience with a Linux build other than Gentoo.

i had most of the "hard core setup" stuff done by more experienced techs and tried my hand at setting up a few simpler ones.

At first, I felt an intense frustration. I was used to the flexibility portage and yum was missing all these nifty switches to add the modules I was looking for.

However, the feeling of having a package installed in mere seconds (instead of the long time taken to rebuild everything) was refreshing.

Flawed backup strategy

Written by Friday, 27 March 2009 09:51

Okay, so a few months ago, I mounted a samba drive on my Gentoo machine that linked to a Windows file server I had lying there.

Then, I added an rsync task to my backup server - every day, along with other folders, a remote server took backups from the Windows machine through the Gentoo server.

All works fine.

Did you guys find the flaw yet? I didn't find it until this morning.

Yesterday night, the Windows server went down. Its an old Celeron 400mhz - its way past its prime. Problem is, it went down before the nightly backup routine.

So the samba mount "disappeared".

And when the rsync took place, all the backup could see was an empty mount drive...

And so, rsync synchronized - and wiped the whole backup. Now the folders are synchronized.

  • sigh *

I need to rethink that particular strategy.

Update 1 Instead of the previous setup, I've mapped my Gentoo server to the windows network via Samba - I'm sharing the driver directly from the Gentoo server now - much less hassle.

Update 2 Yanik Proulx was kind enough to send me a simple script that fixes the problem by make a rotation backup of the mount ("soft link") to a hard link. Thanks, buddy!

Another interesting solution would be to rsync from soft to hard link locally after checking the mount status.

Update 3 Another method would be not to backup the root folder of the mounted drive. This way, the folder to backup would not exist and rsync would simply fail.

Tracking traffic statistics

Written by Thursday, 18 December 2008 18:07

I'm wondering... what are the pros and cons of these engines:

Feature-wise, Google Analytics is awesome. One of the drawback is that its hosted "outside".

I've been using AWStats for awhile. Its cute, but it is very limited in its tools to analyze data and has no tracking options.

Piwik is a new one to me. Seems pretty awesome, but it is also pretty young.

My all-time favorite engine is the one that came with a Website I once ran off GoDaddy - entirely proprietary, of course.

Anyone has experience to share with these (or others)?

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