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  • Michael Krakovskiy 3:59 pm on December 16, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , Software, software choices,   

    Varnished WordPress 

    As this blog comes closer to the 10th year anniversary, my blogging software choices continue to change. So far the path has been: Livejournal -> Movable Type -> WordPress -> Drupal 5 -> Pressflow Drupal 6. Since I had some time on my hands lately, as an exercise, I decided to upgrade to Drupal 7, but after a few hours gave up in complete disgust. Drupal community is very proud for keeping its technical debt very low, but they rarely talk about who pays it.

    It turned out to be quicker to export everything to the latest version of WordPress. I still like Drupal, but latest WordPress has some really nice features. I also took the time to install Varnish and trick out my sites with reasonably advanced caching via Memcached and APC. I also switched to Percona MySQL just for kicks.

    Webmaster Tools Crawl stats

    I’m still working on theming the blog, and tweaking, so things will break from time to time.

     
  • Michael Krakovskiy 3:18 pm on September 13, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , Software, ,   

    How To Speed Up the Web (And Gain A little Privacy) 

    Let’s face it: Facebook “like buttons” are dragging the pageload speeds down. They are just the pits, and they are slow mostly because the Great Zuck want to know what you are up to. Screw that – install WidgetBlock for Chrome, your pages will load faster, your browser will crash less, and Zuck will know less about you.

    This has been a public service announcement. Also, don’t forget to back up – hard drives only live for a few years.

    [update] I seem to be singling out Facebook buttons. And I do – they are the worst offenders in terms of performance. On the other hand Widgetblock works for all kinds of widgets.

    Love,
    Deadprogrammer

     
  • Michael Krakovskiy 10:45 am on July 27, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Facebook applications, , Insidious, , , Software, Tiny Tower, , Zynga   

    How to Help Tiny Tower Zombies Through Time Travel 

    Do you have a friend or a loved one who exhibits a strange fixation on an iphone game that makes them perform mindless repetitive tasks and mutter gibberish about “building new floors”, “dream jobs”, and “stocking the bowling alley” while producing cash register sounds. Don’t worry, these people did not go nuts – they are simply addicted to “Tiny Tower” – iPhone’s version of Farmville.

    Tiny Tower is an insidious game: it’s designed to make its victims perform in-game routines wired to the pleasure center of the brain while keeping them comfortably numb. There’s something meditative in these repetitive tasks, they are akin to playing with prayer beads. The concept of the game also carries the religious theme, as the player is tasked with controlling the fate of “bitizens” – little pixel people, assigning their jobs and apartments. This feeling of control over the fake little world is its own reward.

    After getting tired of seeing my co-workers spending their lunches hunched over their Tiny Towers I tried to put a stop to these “lunches of the living dead”. Cracking jokes about “tiny towers” didn’t work, and neither did the appeals to reason.

    The most insidious part of the game is the fact that you need to spend a lot of time waiting for the items to be restocked and the floors to be built. I thought that the developers of the game would implement some kind of an independent timer, but they were lazy and used the system time. It turned out that the best way to fight the Tiny Tower zombification is to show how to change the system time (settings -> general -> date and time -> uncheck “set automatically”) so that the money accumulation and the floor building would go fast. Once that happens the whole addictive game dynamic is broken and you can again talk to your friends and colleagues.

     
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