July 11, 2007

Back To Blog

Well, it has been about a month and a half since I have made an entry on the blog. The reasons for my negligence are many, I suppose, but one of the major problems has been my connection.

I host this website myself. There really isn't a good reason to do that anymore… There are a large number of free (or almost free) blog-hosting services, which do all of the setup for you. The next step in complexity are the web hosting services, which run the servers and provide space to upload. Those are amazingly cheap, too, and provide 24/7 service.

But: I've learned a lot setting up Apache on Debian Linux, and I've gotten a better understanding of the infrastructure of this amazing internet. (The "New Seven Wonders of the World" are ridiculous and almost irrelevant. I like crumbling old monuments built with slave labor as much as anyone, but the REAL action is in the huge scale of humankind's more recent creative achievements. Where are the wonder drugs, like Herceptin, that save lives through detailed science of genetics? For the sake of all that is good, where is the Internet on that list?)

Anyway, I've purchased my domain name from GoDaddy, and that experience has been generally good. I recently upgraded my internet connection from Earthlink's residential DSL plan to the Small-Office DSL plan. This gave me a static IP address, a more stable connection, and better upload/download speeds. In the past, I used Dynu.Com for DNS (the service that directs requests from "" to the IP address of my machine, e.g. Unfortunately, their service has been HORRIBLE over the past several months, and (even though I had the premium plan) required a service ticket every time my IP address changed. I gave up on them, and switched to EveryDNS , and that seems to be a much better service. (By the way, DNSreport is a great way to check DNS configuration problems.)

So, I am much happier with our network now, and maybe this will even result in more blog content.

February 06, 2007

Monetizing My Five Hits Per Day

Does a blog such as this, which is really just viewed by my wife and my parents (when don't have better things to look at on the internet), really need to be wired up with Google AdSense? Probably not. But, well, it was something that I've been meaning to do, and it was easy enough to fit into my MovableType templates. Hopefully, it will at least be unobtrusive, and maybe even be relevant/useful. (The "link units" on the individual entry pages take you to Google pages with more results, and I hold out the most hope for those.)

November 27, 2004

Upgrading to new MovableType version

I've taken the plunge and upgraded to the latest version of MovableType. There are a couple of useful new features in this version, including new/better plugins and improved comment moderation. I've had a lot of problems with annoying comment spammers, so I think that I need to take steps.

Comments are always welcome, but now they will take a little while before they appear on the blog. Your comments will appear immediately if you register with TypeKey.

Let's see how this works out. If it becomes too annoying, I can open up the comment permissions a bit more.

April 08, 2004

Rebuild Problems

This blog seems to be having some problems when rebuilding. I'll use this entry as a test. It seems to be related to the MTMostVisited plugin with some of the latest log files. (Old logfiles work okay, but the latest one has a problem.) I believe that it is related to a number of very long lines in the log files, which seem to look like buffer-overrun attacks on a WebDAV protocol (SEARCH). My webserver isn't vulnerable, but it is adding it to the log. Apache::ParseLog doesn't seem to be handling it correctly.

My solution is to run a little Perl script that cleans up the logs. This is kind of a workaround: It doesn't really prevent it from happening, and the server does not correct itself if it did. (Maybe I should "cron" the clean-up script or something.) A better solution would be to fix Apache::ParseLog so it doesn't give out when the goin' gets rough.

Continue reading "Rebuild Problems" »

February 29, 2004


Right now, there is a bit of a lull, as we just finished the FEMBA midterm testing cycle. (I did rather well, if you are curious.) I utilized some of my free time to play computer games and run a backup of my important files.

Continue reading "Backup" »

January 02, 2004

2004 Start

Welcome to the new year: 2004!

It is customary to take some time to consider the previous year, and to set goals for year to come. Maybe Iíll post some of my thoughts, later.

November 13, 2003

Comment Spam

My blog has recently had a number of spam comments. These comments consisted of URLs to various useless advertising sites, and were clearly not part of any discussion. Even though I have endeavored to keep my site clean, my current schedule does not allow me spend much time. Thus, I have installed Jay Allen's wonderful MT-Blacklist plugin, to automatically discard comment spam. If you believe that you have been incorrectly blocked, please email me. I apologize if your precious attention was wasted on any spam on my site, and I hope that these steps will prevent it from happening again.

Continue reading "Comment Spam" »

July 11, 2003


I have been reproved by an old friend about the amount of writing in this blog. Things have been very busy, but I have a couple ideas rolling around. For one thing, I have recently been in an automobile accident (no injuries, not my fault), and it would be nice to write a reference about the process of insurance claims, etc. I also have some pictures of my grandfather's house that I would like to post. I've also been involved in some interesting philosophical discussions, and maybe I'll try to find a way of summarizing them.

June 02, 2003

Blog Upgrades

It is somewhat embarrassing that I haven't written anything in such a long time. Today, however, I've upgraded to Movable Type 2.64. I've also moved the sidebar to the left side (in case you haven't noticed). I had hoped to accomplish that without the use of HTML tables, but I wasn't happy with the use of DIV tags and CSS. I know, I know, layout tables are depreciated by the W3 standards, but I just wanted to move the sidebar.

The monthly archives were updated, to output comments and trackbacks, too. (Previously, comments did not show up.) I used Andrew Pearson's MTEntryIfTrackbacks and Stepan Riha's MTEntryIfComments plugins.

I also upgraded the individual entry archives, so that they display the Trackback links, as well as the comments. There have been several interesting Trackbacks recently, most notably to the MT-MostVisited Plugin and Icehouse Canyon entries. Thanks for all of the interest.

May 01, 2003

Updated Kernel

As I am sick-as-the-dog, and in a bizarre mental state brought on by dopings of Drixoral.. This, of course, seems to be an appropriate time to conduct one of the more sensitive operations on a computer: Updating the operating system. This is known as "updating the kernel", at least on Linux/UNIX boxen.

Anyway, I took the cheap/sleazy way out. I used RedHat's Up2Date script to autodownload precompiled kernel packages. If I was a real man, I would recompile it from source. But I am a sick, tired engineer who only wants time to work on thermodynamics problems and spend time with his girlfriend. Sue me.

One little glitch was in the updating the NVIDIA graphics drivers. I had to manually un-install the old version, and reinstall the new. This was simplified by NVidia's installation script, which did the grunt work of finding the correct versions to match my new kernel. Good for them.

So now:

pytheas:~$ uname -a
Linux pytheas 2.4.18-27.7.x #1 Fri Mar 14 05:51:23 EST 2003 i686 unknown

April 07, 2003

Process Entry Tags Plugin

Several days ago, I tried to put together some macros to format tables of photos in a clean and easy way. It would seem cleanest to implement that functionality as normal Movable Type tags, and use a text processing filter to expand those tags into the proper HTML code. Due to technical problems, I gave up on processing XML. Now, though, thanks to an example from Kalsey Consulting's Process Tags plugin, I was able to get the Movable Type template processor to do the work.

Continue reading "Process Entry Tags Plugin" »

April 01, 2003


Traffic on this website has greatly increased in recent days. I think that there are a couple of reasons: Google has finally crawled through most of the blog, and my page shows up under several searches (e.g. a search for Liftport or Montecute, for example). (I am finally the number one page for a search for "Jeff Borlik". W00t!) Some of my colleagues were interested in my Icehouse Canyon hike. Pings are being sent out to several blog sites, and that seems to be attracting some attention. Also, there may be a Yahoo Group out there that has a reference to this page. Hmmm...

Still, I won't quit my day job quite yet.

March 31, 2003

Photo Plugin

This past weekend, I took a number of photos, and I want to make them into an entry for my blog. I did it manually in a past entry, by setting up HTML tables and such. But, it would be nice to have an easy and automatic way of generating that kind of code. So, I'll take this opportunity to write a new plug-in for Moveable Type.

Continue reading "Photo Plugin" »

March 23, 2003

Lazy Sunday / Maintenance

Today, Jeff rested. I woke up late, talked to the family in the exotic eastern lands, meandered through the halls of the Westwood Borders, and watched some basketball. Not terribly productive... almost like my mind was thousands of miles away (hopefully in some warm tropical locale).

There seems to be some problem with Intercept Vector's weather web service, which means that my little weather sidebar doesn't work properly. I tried to debug the plugin, but since it is the service's fault, it simply seems easier to sit on my butt and just wait for it to start working again.

I've also included a new sidebar, using the plug-in available from here. This plugin outputs URLs from recent posts, and I'm using it in my little sidebar.

I have some questions about Movable Type's plugin system: When does it reprocess the tags? The weather plugin, in particular, is somewhat limiting if the page needs to be reprocessed in order to get the latest weather info. I suppose that these blogs are updated frequently, which would cause a reprocessing. Maybe it is not an issue.

March 19, 2003


It would not be appropriate to let this day go by without some note. America and her allies go to war.

There are a couple of good reasons NOT to go to war. First, it is expensive, and those resources could go to other causes. Second, there will be a loss of human life that should not be condoned.

On the other hand, Iraq is a dictatorship, and as the torch-bearer for freedom, we have the right to clean out slave pits. The Iraqi military has chemical and biological weapons (at least they did during the first Gulf War), and they have publically declared themselves our enemy. And even if that government doesn't use them, it will eventually collapse (as all dictatorships do) and could then fall into even worse hands. To back down would to concede moral authority to a lesser society.

The question is moot, in some sense. Tanks, missles, and bombers have the only say, now. May liberty prevail. May this be over with quickly.

March 16, 2003

High Uptime

My linux box, used for running this web server, as well as providing a gateway for my home LAN, has been running for 90 days! (In other words, it hasn't been shut off or rebooted.) Unfortunately, the network connection has been dropped several times, but that's Earthlink's fault.

pytheas:~$ uptime
10:04pm up 90 days, 45 min, 5 users, load average: 0.02, 0.01, 0.04

Elemental Haiku

I happened across a web site dedicated to haikus about elements, organized like the periodic table. The site is located here, but I shall quote "carbon" (by Stephanie Hall).

Dead stars reborn
as diamonds, buckeyballs,
and beings

March 02, 2003


It is late Sunday night, and here I am hacking away. Why am I doing this? There are several reasons:

  • Personal development. I would like to improve the quality of my writing, and the best way to do that seems to be to THINK and WRITE. Improvements to the quality of writing hopefully lead to improvements in the quality of thought.
  • Historical archiving. Someday I might wonder "What the hell was I thinking?", and maybe this will provide an answer. Future Jeff, hail and well met.
  • Moveable Type seems to be a well-writing piece of code. I look forward to breaking it.
  • There seems to be a "blog" community, and maybe I could play a part in it.
  • I like hacking away at computer programs. That is a sufficient reason.

So here we are. I've never been very good at keeping diaries. (I'm not even very good at taking notes.) Let's see where it goes, but I doubt that I will actually write very much. Let's just see where it goes.