August 08, 2003


Something odd happened. While at work I was editing a file on one of my home computers when the connection suddenly stopped responding. So I did some checking and found that both my cable and DSL connections died at 6:40pm--at least that's what my monitoring told me.

Figuring that could only mean a few things, all of them bad, I took that as my signal to head home. So I did.

As, I was driving home this evening and for the second time this week I ran into horrible traffic on Lawrence Expressway. The first time was Tuesday morning. As I got closer to home (which took forever), I realized two things. First, I was not going to be able to reach the grocery store before they closed. Second, I noticed that traffic lights were out. Apparently there was a big power outage and the radio station I was listening to didn't inform me of this. They're usually quite good about such things.

When I tried to turn onto my street from Lawrence I noticed that I couldn't. There was a very smashed up car, a fire truck, and three police cars in the way. Ah! The power outage was caused by some moron running into the pole at the end of my street.


So I took the long way. I spent some time throwing out junk mail, cleaning up, and making sure I knew where the candles were. Then I decided to walk to the functioning ATM (the power was fine on the south side of Homestead Ave, but the north side was dead) to deposit several checks that I've been meaning to do something with.

Heading home from there, I noticed that power had been restored. Yeay! No spoiled food in the fridge.

I grabbed a drink of water and some yogurt and prepared to work on some stuff while a movie played as background noise. Except that 5 minutes into this little exercise, the power died again. It's still off. And it's quite dark outside, since it's 9pm.

With several candles lit and little else to do, I figured I'd write a blog entry while I still have some battery life in the laptop.

It's times like this that I wonder why the big power transformers sit on the busy road rather than a side street where they're far less prone to being attached by rouge vehicles.

Of course, I know why. But that won't make my lights come on any sooner.


Update: At 9:30pm I got power back. But it seems that everything across the street is still dark. Hmm.

Posted by jzawodn at 09:33 PM

August 07, 2003

Talk Directly to the Yahoo! Search Team

Ever wanted to talk directly to the Yahoo! Search team in an open forum? Well, now you can.

The Yahoo! Search Users Group is open to anyone and is designed to give Yahoo! Search users a forum to exchange ideas with each other and with the Yahoo! Search team in an open group format. The Search Product Team plans to link to this group Web site from our help pages, as well as from several other potential locations on the Yahoo! Search site. The intention is to use this group as a catalyst to stimulate discussion and user interest around Yahoo! Search.

Go ahead. Sign up.

Oh, BTW... How many other big web companies do this?

Yeah, that's what I thought...

Posted by jzawodn at 11:57 PM

August 06, 2003

PageRank: still broken

A friend just pinged me on messenger to let me know that if you search Google for "Schwarzenegger for governor" you get an entry form my blog as the first result. (See screen shot on the right and click for full image.)

I wonder how long that will last.

Maybe I should sell some ads on that page in a hurry? :-)

See Also: PageRank is Dead, Salon on The Google Backlash, and Whoring your PageRank

If this keeps up, I'm starting a Google category in my blog.

Update: Phil has some interesting thoughts on this too--beyond what you see in the comments below.

Posted by jzawodn at 09:47 PM

What is that smell?

It's blowing in from the front window. It smells like burnt rubber stew or something.

It's so nasty. And distracting.

And my new neightbors with the loud kids are making a hell of a lot of noise too.


I should reply to that condo for rent posting at work. It sounded much nicer than my place, it's closer to work, and the rent is cheaper.

Posted by jzawodn at 08:25 PM

Google News Alerts

Launched today on Google Labs is Google News Alerts.

Google News Alerts are sent by email when news articles appear online that match the topics you specify. Some handy uses of Google News Alerts include:
  • monitoring a developing news story
  • keeping current on a competitor or industry
  • getting the latest on a celebrity or event
  • keeping tabs on your favorite sports teams

Too bad it doesn't search blogs too, huh?

Of course, we've had alerts on Yahoo! for ages.

Posted by jzawodn at 07:29 AM

August 05, 2003

MySQL's MaxDB (formerly SAP DB)

The MySQL/SAP alliance is starting to take shape. The press release and Kaj's mailing list announcement explain more, saying things like:

First, the main consequence of the SAP partnership is the same as when we announced it in the first place: you'll see the development of MySQL speed up further. The SAP partnership provides MySQL AB with resources that enables us to develop new features faster.
Second, if you need features which MySQL still lacks, we suggest that you take a look at MaxDB. You'll probably find them there. MySQL AB will offer databases that meet a wide range of application needs, whether you like your database fast, stable and easy to use (as in MySQL), or whether you like it enterprise-grade and feature-packed (as in MaxDB).
Third, it will now be easier for you to obtain approval from your management and customers to use MySQL in mission-critical projects. SAP is trusting MySQL AB with their database needs, so why shouldn't everyone?

Here's some of the really cool stuff:

MaxDB 7.5 will be able to communicate using the MySQL protocol, which means that you can use the MySQL clients on it. A primary goal is to be able to easily mysqldump data from MaxDB and pipe it into a mysql client as input to MySQL -- as well as to mysqldump data from MySQL and pipe it into a mysql client as input to MaxDB.
MaxDB 7.5 also aims at supporting MySQL replication. You can then use MaxDB either as a master or as a slave to MySQL, by hooking it onto the MySQL replication mechanism.

Interesting times, eh?

Posted by jzawodn at 01:55 PM

To rate or not to rate?

Every time I send DVDs back to Netflix (which is a great service, BTW), they e-mail me to say something like "We've received $some_movie, rate it today!" They're trying to get me to rate it so that they can better recommend movies in the future.

This isn't new. Amazon has been using customer product ratings and purchase behavior for a long time, and they're done quite a good job at at. The rating takes me about 10 seconds. But for some reason I can't seem to bring myself to bother rating Netflix movies. And I'm not really sure why.

I guess I feel like it really won't matter. I rarely browse Netflix in the way that I do on Amazon. When I go to Netflix, I usually know what I'm looking for.

Am I the only one? Do my fellow Netflix subscribers actually rate all their flix?

It's interesting to note that I only fill out the Yahoo! Shopping merchant ratings about half the time too, but for different reasons. I have a half-written "Why I shop on Amazon instead of Yahoo" entry that I haven't managed to finish yet. But hey, it's only been 2 months. :-)

Posted by jzawodn at 01:36 PM

After the Dentist...

Whenever I come back from a dental cleaning (like this morning), I always feel guilty about eating anything sweet for the rest of the day. And if I do manage to eat something "bad" I must immediately brush my teeth.

Seriously. It's some sort of short-term obsessive compulsive sort of thing.

It's too bad this doesn't last more than one day. And it's really too bad it never kicked in when I was younger. It would have saved countless dental procedures and lots of insurance money over the years.

On the plus side, I've been taking much much better care of my teeth in the last 4 years. I really should have listened to my grandparent's advice about not taking my teeth for granted, because when they're gone they're gone. You only get one set.

Anyway, don't mess around with your teeth.

Floss. Get an electric toothbrush. Use fluoride rinse. Repeat.

Posted by jzawodn at 11:09 AM


You see the little red stuff below Toledo, Ohio in the radar image to the right (click to zoom)?

Looks nasty, huh?

It was nasty enough to knock my servers off-line--well, the ones in Ohio, at least. There's a minor problem with a dead UPS that's being replaced. One of them came ( back up just fine. The other one (, which one that hosts my domains, email, cvs, and whatnot, did not.

And I blame Murphy. You see, this had to happen just an hour after I announced a new mytop release on my blog, freshmeat, the mailing list, and so on. Now nobody can get it.


The good news is that friends machine backs up family. It has copies of all the data, config files, etc. The backup stuff (rsync) runs every 3 hours, so I knew I hadn't lost much. Three hours at most. But I did face a dilemma. Do I got thru the process of configuring everything on friends and getting it running? Or wait until the next morning when someone will be on-site to check it out?

I had no idea how long that process might take, so I decided to wait. And I was sorta thinking that family was just being dumb. Maybe it wasn't configured to auto-restart when the power comes back on. I know that friends is (obviously) configured right and that litterbox (my west coast machine) is too. But I suspected that family was not. Either that, or something went wrong with lilo or the boot-time fsck of the root filesystem (the only one that's not a journaling filesystem).

So I wanted until this morning to get someone hands on. And it turns out that I was right.

Posted by jzawodn at 07:16 AM

August 04, 2003

mytop 1.4 is released

After a long period of not integrating patches, I've released the newest version of mytop.

mytop is a console-based (non-gui) tool for monitoring the threads and overall performance of MySQL 3.22.x, 3.23.x, and 4.x servers. It runs on most Unix systems (including Mac OS X) which have Perl, DBI, and Term::ReadKey installed. And with Term::ANSIColor installed you even get color. If you install Time::HiRes, you'll get good real-time queries/second stats.

Version 1.4 contains several new features, including a revamped display at the top of the screen. See the Changes file for a details about what's new.

Give it a whirl and let me know of bugs or feature requests. To discuss, hop on the mailing list.

Posted by jzawodn at 10:45 AM

August 03, 2003

Why I replaced XP with Win2k on my Notebook

No, I haven't gone to the dark side. You see, I have more than one ThinkPad. Three to be exact. And a TiBook. But that's not the point. And it's a long story, so don't ask.

One ThinkPad runs Windows. That's it's job. It came with XP but I was fed up with it a long time ago. I wasted a long time replacing it with Win2k. It now runs semi-well--not that I use it that often. Maybe that'll help extend its half-life.

What half-life? I'll let Mark explain what the half-life is about and how much fun he had with Windows XP.

Posted by jzawodn at 11:11 PM


I've recently become reacquainted with the benefits (to my personal sanity) of occasional naps. Like from 6-8pm (or so) on weekends.

Too bad I can't fit a small bed or couch into my cube at work.

There are some really comfortable couches in the nearby breakroom.


Posted by jzawodn at 10:01 PM

My Blog Images Broken in NNW?

Someone reported an odd problem. Apparently using NNW, images from my blog aren't showing up in my RSS 2.0 full-post feed. I've looked at the XML and HTML and it looks kosher to me.

Anyone else seen this problem and know what's up? I'm happy to fix it if I know what to fix.

Posted by jzawodn at 09:36 PM

Interesting Tidbits

Here's some stuff of interest I've run across recently:

Posted by jzawodn at 06:38 PM