Ivor O’Connor

November 29, 2012

Downloading Youtube Videos?

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 9:43 pm

I tried an online course this week. It was interactive and required entering commands into a linux like window. There were lots of prompts and such. Kind of like “see spot run”. Enter in the name of the dog that was running. I got bored in 5 minutes and will not be going back. Even though they now have sent me a pass to use any of their material for two days.

You tube videos seem much faster. You can listen in the background and if something catches your attention you can backtrack. It seems to be the best way to learn a new subject because you don’t get bogged down and can sort of skim. Skim until you hit material that is interesting and then slow down and go slowly and let them “present”.

The next problem I encountered was trying to access the videos. Over the internet is slow and cumbersome. The adverts make them repulsive. Finding the videos a second time is problematic. And zipping to the right spot in the video is also slow. So downloading is the obvious answer.

Tried downloading on this laptop but nothing works. I was hoping to use youtube-dl but it won’t install. Probably because it is an old version of Debian Mint and the repositories are all confused. The Mint crew does not seem to care about old versions of Mint. They assume you are going to wipe your disk and install their latest version each time. So I found this site http://www.savevid.com. It complains about my Java being out-of-date but I click on the button to ignore the errors and run with the old version just this once and it all works. So now I am able to download youtube videos.

However a thumb drive is needed to store these videos on so they can be referred to wherever. I’ll attach it to my keyring. Learning is such a pain and the best ways to do it always seem to be changing. What else is out there besides youtube? A list of sites needs to be made and monitored so I can compile my video learning library which will be summarized into Anki…

So I stopped by my local comp store and picked up a 32GB thumb drive for $20. Works perfectly with Linux though the documentation said it only worked with Apple and Windows. Then I downloaded youtube-dl on another box that has mint 14 installed. Then started downloading videos. Even figured out how to move videos from the computer to the phone with the mini usb cable.

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Anki: Universal Flash/Queue Cards Program?

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 12:11 am

I have been using Anki for a few years. Anki is a program that runs on all platforms. “All” meaning from web browsers and via built in applications on Windows, Macintoshes, Linux distros, Androids, and even iPhones. Anki is free on all of these platforms.  Supposedly Anki only shows cards at the right times so that you can learn new material as quickly as humanly possible.

Ideally you have a single deck that just keeps on building which you test with daily. So say you start college and add relevant queue cards on every subject for four years. It would be a massive deck but Anki would only be pulling cards that are troublesome. Anki does not bother with cards that are well known except to once in a long while display that card to make sure it is embedded in your long term memory. A single card deck could represent every concept learned in life. Theoretically. Furthermore the Anki website can keep your cards in sync across the various platforms much like dropbox does for your files. For free.

My biggest problem is forcing myself into a schedule. Then there are other problems such as contradictory cards. As time goes on it seems like many of my cards “answers” need updating because the original answer is no longer right. Sometimes I’m not even sure which answer is right. So I’m trying very hard to put references in each answer so if I ever come across contradictory answers I can save time backtracking. Another problem I have faced is with scientific symbols and latex. Anki supports latex which I have used extensively and they look good with linux. These cards look like garbage on some platforms though. Androids do not understand latex for example. So as I come across latex formatted queue cards I now change them to use just the basics.

However if you only use linux and you want to use latex then you need to install dvipng and texlive-latex-base. (Maybe some other things but I’m not sure since I haven’t done this in a while.)

So if anybody out there feels like an old dog that can’t learn new tricks… Or feels nothing new “sticks” into long term memory…  Anki is your salvation!

November 25, 2012

Host Rating Sites

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 3:56 pm

There seems to be quite a few of them. None of which are perfect. The latest one that’s got my attention is Best Host Ratings. The search tool lets you drill down for say hosts that provide unlimited bandwidth and disk space at a certain price having been reviewed so many times and at an average rating of x out of 10.

It’s not perfect. I see for instance MediaLayer is not even listed. And what drew me to MediaLayer is not even a criteria that is searchable. Still it is an interesting site.

http://vimcasts.org/

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 3:47 pm

I came across the vimcasts site and saw the guy was actually making money giving workshops on vim usage. His workshop actually sold out at over $100 a seat in Berlin! He seems to be in high demand. I wonder if he’ll ever make it to the USA? I would be willing to pay $100 if he had it in San Diego or even Orange County.  (QUALIFIER: once I make it through all the information at his website.) Can somebody make a living giving vim workshops? That would be so cool!

Anyways I think I’ll start working my way through all the vim material on his work shop. It looks as if it is presented in a fun easy to follow manner that won’t leave me bored. For some reason anything related to vim is fun for me. Whenever I get bored I’ll head on over to the vimcasts to get a pick-me-up!

November 12, 2012

http://www.medialayer.com/ Is Awesome, So Far

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 11:39 pm

I have been testing their system for close to a week. (I asked that they set up my starting test page and within minutes it was done.) They have had no downtime. They have averaged an amazing response time of only 21ms. Apparently medialayer specializes in reliability and speed. Perhaps they are the very best at this. They charge based on how much data they deliver at those amazing speeds so perhaps this explains it all. However they match my needs perfectly so I’ll be signing up with them and doing more full-featured complete testing in the coming weeks.

November 6, 2012

Be Sure To Vote 3rd Party Today

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 11:57 pm

Simply go find the third party candidate that is coming in third and vote. Doesn’t matter if it is the KKK or the Black Panthers party. They’d be better than either one of the two candidates from our current one party system.

Let me save you some time. The leading third party candidate is Gary Johnson. Go vote for him. He’s the only politician that currently has a track record as Governor of saying no to lobbyists for eight years straight. No other candidate in politics at any level has been as successful while honestly looking out for the little people instead of the corporations.

 

Skype Pulling Facebook Stunts?

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 9:02 pm

Skype changed my settings without my approval. Very similar to Facebook’s endless history of changing settings. So all of a sudden Skype was answering my calls and sending them to voicemail rather than just ringing. I had to go to https://secure.skype.com/account/voicemail/panel and change my settings back. 

In a perfect world Skype would be fined thousands of dollars for each vagrant transgression like this. Grrrr.

Telephone Spam

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 2:43 pm

It seems telephone spam is getting worse by the day. Here is an example from yesterday. It never reaches me because I setup a little program that blocks certain callers. So these spammers get the classic “The number you have dialed is no longer in service. If you feel you have reached this number in error…” Yet despite this their automatic dialing machines just keep on going. (I had to un-select the spam filter box to see these messages.) I wonder how normal people put up with all the rampant phone spam a business gets now days?

 

 2012‑11‑05  15:03:45  +1‑360‑474‑3249  OldLine  Missed  $0.00  blocked: Spam for business loans.
 2012‑11‑05  15:03:39  +1‑360‑474‑3249  OldLine  Missed  $0.00  blocked: Spam for business loans.
 2012‑11‑05  15:01:06  +1‑360‑474‑3249  OldLine  Missed  $0.00  blocked: Spam for business loans.
 2012‑11‑05  15:01:03  +1‑360‑474‑3249  OldLine  Missed  $0.00  blocked: Spam for business loans.
 2012‑11‑05  14:55:07  +1‑360‑474‑3249  OldLine  Missed  $0.00  blocked: Spam for business loans.
 2012‑11‑05  14:55:04  +1‑360‑474‑3249  OldLine  Missed  $0.00  blocked: Spam for business loans.
 2012‑11‑05  14:55:02  +1‑360‑474‑3249  OldLine  Missed  $0.00  blocked: Spam for business loans.
 2012‑11‑05  14:55:00  +1‑360‑474‑3249  OldLine  Missed  $0.00  blocked: Spam for business loans.

 

 

November 5, 2012

I need a fast, inexpensive, no hassle web server!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 9:30 pm

I love http://www.justhost.com/. Their basic service is literally a magnitude faster than 1&1’s least expensive service. However http://www.justhost.com/ is not good enough for real time telephone applications. I noticed on a few calls there would be connection lags of 30 seconds or more! I was very surprised because all of my performance tests, conducted about six months ago, showed http://www.justhost.com/ to be very fast. Actually 10x faster than 1&1.

I didn’t realize at the time their service was spotty. I discovered that when I signed up for a free 30 day trial of https://www.site24x7.com/. I made a simple webpage index.html with the following in it:

<!DOCTYPE HTML>$
2 <html>$
3 <head>$
4 <meta charset=utf-8 />$
5 </head>$
6 <body>$
7 <h1>testing</h1>$
8 <p>blah</p>$
9 </body>$
10 </html>$

and pointed https://www.site24x7.com/ to check it every minute. Much to my surprise the first day had a four minute outage and countless many second lags. Unfortunately https://www.site24x7.com/ will want $15 a month after 30 days. Their graphs and such are very nice but they didn’t have exactly what I wanted which I knew I could get for free if I did it myself. So I then coded the following up:

#!/bin/bash

function timeit() {
startTime=`date +%s%N | cut -b1-13`
curl -o /tmp/iConnectivity -s -u user:pw https://myhost.com/index.html
endTime=`date +%s%N | cut -b1-13`
COUNT=`expr $endTime – $startTime`
#echo “milliseconds: “$COUNT >> ~/connection.log
#echo “milliseconds: “$COUNT
blah=`date | sed ‘s/^/UP /’`
echo $blah” (“$COUNT”ms)” >> ~/connection.log
echo $blah” (“$COUNT”ms)” >> connection.log
echo $blah” (“$COUNT”ms)”
}

function testConnectivity(){
if ping -c 1 google.com > /dev/null;then
#date | sed ‘s/^/UP /’ >> ~/connection.log
timeit
else
date | sed ‘s/^/DOWN /’ >> ~/connection.log
date | sed ‘s/^/DOWN /’ >> connection.log
fi
}

function main() {
while [ 1 ]
do
testConnectivity
sleep 60
done
}

main

Well I’ve been running the above for over a day now. Filtering out the sub second responses I get the following for yesterday:

1 UP Sat Nov 3 10:54:15 PDT 2012 (2423ms)$
2 UP Sat Nov 3 11:56:54 PDT 2012 (21091ms)$
3 UP Sat Nov 3 11:58:15 PDT 2012 (21088ms)$
4 UP Sat Nov 3 12:03:27 PDT 2012 (131131ms)$
5 UP Sat Nov 3 12:06:31 PDT 2012 (3213ms)$
6 UP Sat Nov 3 18:08:38 PDT 2012 (9858ms)$
7 UP Sat Nov 3 20:05:25 PDT 2012 (6965ms)$
8 UP Sat Nov 3 20:10:47 PDT 2012 (21153ms)$
9 UP Sat Nov 3 20:17:10 PDT 2012 (21158ms)$
10 UP Sat Nov 3 20:18:32 PDT 2012 (21156ms)$
11 UP Sat Nov 3 20:25:48 PDT 2012 (14353ms)$
12 UP Sat Nov 3 22:18:37 PDT 2012 (9311ms)$
13 UP Sat Nov 3 23:54:15 PDT 2012 (5405ms)$
14 UP Sat Nov 3 23:55:25 PDT 2012 (9043ms)$
15 UP Sun Nov 4 00:03:30 PDT 2012 (2668ms)$
16 UP Sun Nov 4 01:02:17 PST 2012 (5924ms)$
17 UP Sun Nov 4 02:38:54 PST 2012 (3284ms)$
18 UP Sun Nov 4 04:07:48 PST 2012 (3445ms)$
19 UP Sun Nov 4 04:17:57 PST 2012 (3533ms)$
20 UP Sun Nov 4 05:30:41 PST 2012 (1160ms)$
21 UP Sun Nov 4 06:50:30 PST 2012 (1118ms)$
22 UP Sun Nov 4 07:28:57 PST 2012 (2809ms)$
23 UP Sun Nov 4 07:31:05 PST 2012 (7565ms)$
24 UP Sun Nov 4 07:33:17 PST 2012 (11736ms)$
25 UP Sun Nov 4 08:00:37 PST 2012 (4201ms)$
26 UP Sun Nov 4 08:10:06 PST 2012 (23153ms)$
27 UP Sun Nov 4 08:14:11 PST 2012 (3754ms)$
28 UP Sun Nov 4 08:35:32 PST 2012 (9100ms)$
29 UP Sun Nov 4 08:56:54 PST 2012 (8952ms)$
30 UP Sun Nov 4 09:01:08 PST 2012 (11643ms)$
31 UP Sun Nov 4 09:37:33 PST 2012 (3543ms)$
32 UP Sun Nov 4 12:44:50 PST 2012 (28050ms)$

Obviously I’m not at all happy with this. I asked what could be done about this to the support team. Here was their ultimate answer:

Hello,

There are many reasons a website may be slow.

1. A huge spike in Additional Traffic.
2. A Dynamic Site without caching.
3. Extremely Large or non-optimized graphics.
4. Extremely Large or non-optimized database.
5. Large amount of external calls.
6. Server issue.

A huge spike in traffic will slow your site down if it has not been optimized. Optimization of a website doesn’t need to be overly complicated. It’s pretty easy really.

See also: https://www.justhost.com/cgi/help/000564

The following articles will help you work through many of these issues.
http://www.websiteoptimization.com/services/analyze/ (This site will analyze your pages and see if they are built to load quickly based only on content)
http://wordpress.shadowlantern.com/2009/01/reducing-cpu/ (This site deals specifically with WordPress optimization, but covers areas that will work for a vast majority of other sites/software as well)
http://thisismyurl.com/81/gain-valuable-seo-power-with-caching/ (Caching optimization)
http://code.google.com/speed/page-speed/docs/rtt.html (This site deals with changing where JavaScript gets sourced)
http://www.databasejournal.com/features/mysql/article.php/10897_1382791_1/Optimizing-MySQL-Queries-and-Indexes.htm (This site, all 4 pages, deal with database optimization)
https://www.justhost.com/cgi/help/000496 (This deals with a very simple repair/optimization on your databases)

Those should be able to help you in optimizing your sites.

You can find additional, exceptionally helpful information on load times and increasing speed in the following locations:

http://www.webpagetest.org/

http://gtmetrix.com/

http://internetsupervision.com/scripts/urlcheck/check.aspx

Thank you,
——
If needed you can also contact us by phone or live chat: http://www.justhost.com/cgi/info/contact_us

http://www.justhost.com/ simply does not want to address their problems. I have no database or programs. It’s all their network or the other hosts I am sharing the box with. Yet with enough smoke and mirrors they hope to hide. Don’t get me wrong and think I don’t like http://www.justhost.com/. I do. They offer a fantastic service. Great price. Great speed. However it’s not enough for a production environment. They will remain my favorite development site where I can test things out at. Nobody is better that I know of.

So I thought I’d go with a cloud provider like Amazon AWS. They seem like they are always in the top 10. Their elastic beanstalk seemed like a good fit. However their database options seem lacking. I want to use something simple like sqlite and their documentation left me guessing. I sent them an email but I never got a response back. Moving on…

Next I tried http://www.rackspace.com/. I talked to them over the phone and I liked what I heard. However they don’t setup a webserver. Instead they give you a box where you can pick and choose which OS and then install your own software from scratch. The guy told me this and said it wasn’t so bad because their documentation explains all step-by-step. Well their documentation does not and their online support can’t figure it out either. After putting up with multiple pieces of bad documentation I started uses the online chat and ask directly. They didn’t have the answers and after a long time with them I just had them email me their “solutions”. The next day I tried their “solutions” and got nowhere so I started google searching one step at a time. I was able to get past the problems they couldn’t but do I really want to be an admin? I really don’t want to spend lots of time figuring things out. I learn from the mistakes I make and I don’t have time for painful mistakes. I also don’t want to pay them an additional $100 a month to do the admining for me when it’s usually free elsewhere.

So does anybody have some recommendations on how to proceed or which web hosting providers would be inexpensive, fast, reliable, and scale well? I want the above index.html page returned in less than half a second always.  Well I’d like it to be on average about 150ms with a jitter of perhaps 30ms sampled at roughly once per minute. Unless there were an outage, hopefully scheduled, I’d be expecting these types of latency speeds 99.99 to 99.999999% of the time. Am I just dreaming? I notice the detailed SLAs Verizon offers do not cover this but practically speaking they are probably empirically better than what I’m looking for.  I just want a simple solution that gives me what I want!

November 2, 2012

Somebody Shares My Views About Apple!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 3:58 pm

What a great rant!

The only question in my mind is do you sucker punch somebody who owns an Apple or do you totally ignore their existence?!

 

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