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- Wednesday, August 01, 2018:
New Edition Day
The URI! Zone is 22 years old this month. If it were human, it would now face the depressing dearth of notable birthday values between 21 and 30, and probably decide go back to grad school for a master's degree. By the numbers, the URI! Zone has had 4091 blog posts, 8537 comments, and over 171,944 unique visits in recorded modern history.
Like Old Faithful, this site continues to have a persistent eruption of mediocre to decent content on a semi-regular basis. The inexorable journey to future fame will continue in year 23, with regular posts on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Fan favourites like 12 of 12 will remain, and I'll make sure to post enough raw data about Maia's digestion to support any...
- Monday, June 11, 2018:
Data Day: Cloud Hosting Costs
The URI! Zone has been running IN THE CLOUD for just over three years now , so I thought I would compute the costs to see if I'm really getting my money's worth. The answer isn't completely cut and dried, as I do a lot more with the flexibility offered by the cloud, spinning up new servers on the fly to work on Sparkour or taking over hosting duties for the Paravia Wiki . Still, I'm very satisfied with what I've gotten for the amount I've paid.
In the olden days, I was spending $240 a year on the "complete" hosting package for the URI! Zone. I could login to my space on the shared server and upload files but not much else. When I moved into AWS, I added a 3rd server (Web/App/DB instead ...
- Tuesday, November 14, 2017:
Comments Fix Day
I just fixed the " An invalid character  was present in the Cookie value " error that was preventing people with a space in their name from posting comments. The side effect of this fix is that you'll have to re-enter your name for your next comment, but it will then get remembered for 30 days as usual. Let me know if you run into other issues!
- Wednesday, August 02, 2017:
New Edition Day
Now with 100% more babies!
Happy Birthday to The URI! Zone, which turns 21 years old this month! As a special promotion for turning 21, anyone who visits my house during the month of August will get a free craft beer (as long as I have one in the fridge at the time of the visit).
This month marks the first full year of my "three updates per week" rhythm which I found much more pleasant and doable than five per week, and prevented me from running with retarded post ideas like "List Day: 5 Other People Named Brian". Looking ahead, I plan to keep posting three times per week, mainly about things I'm up to day-to-day and things I enjoy that you might enjoy too.
- Monday, August 01, 2016:
New Edition Day
The URI! Zone turns 20 years old this month, an epic yet ultimately pointless achievement not unlike driving a Prius for 8 hours without a pee break or watching the entire series of Everybody Loves Raymond . From its roots as a static HTML homepage through the evolution into a daily blog, this website has existed in some form for almost as long as Yahoo! (although obviously, the URI! Zone has retained its modern relevance and artistic appeal, while Yahoo! today is only known for its awful video player that refuses to work with ad blockers).
To mark TWO DECADES of existence, I have put together a one-minute movie history of the website, set to the tune of The Llama Fanfare which originall...
- Thursday, July 21, 2016:
Plans for the URI! Zone
The URI! Zone will remain online after its 20th birthday, ensuring that my future political opponents can cherry pick from an inordinate amount of inarticulate historical archives when challenging me if I ever decide to run for public office. However, I will be cutting back to 3 updates per week to more effectively reflect the overall decrease in visitors over the past 10 years.
Posts will come from 3 categories: What I'm Doing, What I Did, and What I Think.
What I'm Doing : Weekend Wrap-ups, End-of-the-Month synopses, 12 of 12 s, and travelogues from all of the amazing places I visit, like Grindelwald, Denver, and Mellow Mushroom.
What I Did ...
- Tuesday, June 21, 2016:
What's Next for the URI! Zone?
Observant calendar watchers might notice that the 20th birthday of the URI! Zone is creeping closer. Ten years ago, I laid out my plan for a trilogy as follows:
The first ten years of my site, 1996 - 2006, served to introduce the principal characters (Booty) and supporting cast (me and Doobie), while providing enough back story and trivia on everyone involved to keep my readers empathizing with the protagonists. The second part, 2006 - 2016, will document my struggles and conflicts up to the ripe age of 36, although I haven't yet picked a suitable title yet since The Empire Strikes Back was already taken. Finally, 2016 - 2026 will tie up all the mysteries and drama from the first two parts ...
- Tuesday, March 29, 2016:
Tech Day: A Year in the Cloud
The URI! Zone has now lived in the cloud for a full year now, and the experiment has been a resounding success. After making the decision to move , I was up and running on Amazon Web Services less than two weeks later .
Here is what the website looks like in the cloud my butt today. It's very easy to spin up new subdomains and bring them down when they're no longer relevant, and I have an "almost one-click" deploy process to push updated code out to the application server. I've never had a problem using the base "micro" tier of services, especially after doing some caching/tuning of the most resource-hungry piece: the PHP-based Wiki software.
Cost-wise, prices c...
- Monday, August 03, 2015:
New Edition Day
The URI! Zone turns 19 today having reached Nunavut's age of majority in style, and it can now drink and hump legally in Canada's northernmost territory. The fact that I moved it into THE CLOUD this year confuses the issue slightly, as it is now a card-carrying member of Websites Without Borders and transcends any earthly rules.
Here's how the URI! Zone looks by the numbers, for any statisticians in the audience:
over 156,830 unique visitors since 2003
3520 daily blog posts since 2001
7736 comments from 143 unique visitors since 2003
over $2500 spent on hosting fees since 2003
exactly $222 in prizes given away in caption and name-...
- Friday, July 17, 2015:
I'll be taking my traditional end-of-July break in blogging for the next two weeks. Updates will be on a "when I feel like it" basis until Monday, August 3, which marks the start of the TWENTIETH EDITION of the URI! Zone.
The end of July has generally been the time I improve the website with critical features like autoplaying MIDI files and animated llama GIFs. Here is a snapshot of the creative process, taken in July 1997 , showing all of the elements that go into maintaining my mediocre modicum of website magic.
A : High school era science fair ribbons, constantly reminding me of previous successes.
B : Giant glasses which allow me to s...
- Tuesday, April 07, 2015:
I finished the final steps of the migration to the cloud last night -- importing five years worth of DDMSence issues into JIRA Cloud and updating all of the links. The whole move to AWS and related services was much less painful than expected, and helped by the wealth of available documentation that AWS provides.
The final setup looks something like this:
I had a mail server running for a couple days, but I tore it out after seeing how much of a pain it would be to deal with spam.
I got a free license to JIRA Cloud from Atlassian since DDMSence is an open-source project, saving me $120 per year.
Server load is even less than expected and I've never gone over 10%...
- Friday, April 03, 2015:
Update : As of 3:15 PM, the URI! Zone is now IN THE CLOUD! Let me know if you run into any issues.
I'm actually very close to finishing up this cloud migration, as shown in my plan below (after step 7, the URI! Zone will officially be floating through the stratosphere with little fluffy wings akin to a Windows 3.1 flying toaster screensaver).
I reduced some of the server costs by opting to not roll my own JIRA installation, and used the savings to invest in a site-wide SSL certificate. This will give you a +1 to trusting me, and also pave the way for The URI! Store, where I'll sell llamas and llama paraphernalia over HTTPS.
I'm hoping to finish up tonight to...
- Friday, March 27, 2015:
Cloud Migration Day
I started the week in search of an alternative hosting site for my open-source projects, now that Google Code is joining Google Reader in the steaming pile of great projects getting unceremoniously dumped because Google has never understood its user base. As I evaluated my options, I realized that it might be an opportune time to migrate my entire fiefdom into the Amazon Web Services cloud instead. Here are some of my justifications:
It's hard to find a good, free Subversion host anymore. Though I've used Bitbucket and Git at work before, I find that the added complexity is unnecessary for my projects with a grand total of 1 developer(s).
I love my web host of 7 years, Kattare, but i...
- Tuesday, August 05, 2014:
Weird Search Day
or "How I Stumbled Upon the URI! Zone"
Is Mia Maestro bowlegged? SHE IS NOW.
listerine for foot defoliation First off, if your scungy feet are epidermal barnacles, capable of remaining afloat in a canoe of calluses and dead skin, you are probably looking for help with exfoliation and not defoliation -- that is, unless your feet are in such bad shape that they are also nurturing plant life between your toes. Listerine does contain chemicals that can kill bacteria, but that won't directly impact your dead skin cells. Besides, your breath is awful today, and you would be better served by using that listerine in yo...
- Friday, August 01, 2014:
New Edition Day
The URI! Zone turns 18 today (IT'S LEGAL!), and this is the 3266th blog post I've written since I switched from the "homepage" format to the "blog" format thirteen years ago. For the teenagers in the audience who are obnoxiously reading this on their smartphones in a movie theatre, a "homepage" was a self-published website where you posted your resume and your collection of animated "Under Construction" GIFs. The best websites relied on a broad swath of " H yper T ext M arkup L anguage", but mostly the FRAME and TABLE tags.
Turning 18 can be an awkward and unprecedented evolution, even for an amazing website like this one. I, myself, became of voting age in the c...
- Wednesday, July 23, 2014:
Zone Updates Complete
All of the pages listing my musical compositions are now database-driven. I should have done this a long time ago, since I'm no longer composing anything new, and spent a good 4 hours every new release trying to edit the 80 static HTML pages that made up the Music section.
I also modified the directory structure of News Post images from /yymm/dd.jpg&nbs...
- Tuesday, July 22, 2014:
Zone Updates in Progress
Phase One is complete. Moving on to Phase Two. No Francie clones are involved.
- Monday, July 21, 2014:
Zone Updates In Progress
I'll be working on some infrastructure updates to the URI! Zone this week, so updates may be sporadic. Be back soon!
- Friday, June 06, 2014:
Random Chart Day: URI! Zone Activity
Trends and Observations
When you plot two lines on an Excel 2013 graph, Excel increases the height of the second line by about 25 ticks. For example, the spyke in 2003 comments (the red series) was actually 28, not 54. This seems like a mathematically suspect practice.
I stopped weekend updates in 2004. To balance that out, I resumed updating during the summers. Remember summer vacations?
2005 was the Tre...
- Tuesday, March 25, 2014:
Weird Search Day
or "How I Stumbled Upon the URI! Zone"
hadoop for laymen After searches for ear training cheats and reviews of my office chair, "hadoop for laymen" has become the third highest search term because of my class summary for a Hadoop training course . The only anomaly in this situation is that 100% of the searches originate from India. Therefore, I presume that an entire generation of Indian programmers is learning about Hadoop solely through my four paragraphs of impeccable pedagogy.
catchy caption for french fried chicken This ad campaign from Popeyes might be considered to be minimally clever, except for the fact that they (rightly)...