Archive for the ‘Other’ Category

Slowly developing new project + phpBB 3 Released

Thursday, December 20th, 2007

It’s been a slow 2 months for me (since the last entry in this blog), I’ve mostly just being gaming and very slowly developing a new project. This time I’m just taking it slow and trying to re-write all of the main code I’ve been using for most projects. I’m finally going to have some logging feature so I’ll be able to see failed login attempts, log ins by users, etc.

On another note, for those that don’t know phpBB 3 has been released! Wooohooo… I guess, but I’ll stick with phpBB 2 for another year or so.

Portal and Half-Life 2 Episode 2 out!

Monday, October 15th, 2007

Finally, the long wait for Half-Life 2 Episode 2 is over. The game was unlocked on Steam on 10th of October 2007 and along came another game called Portal.

Both were great games. At first I thought that I wouldn’t really like Portal as it was more of a puzzle game, but as it has something to do with Half-Life I thought I’d give it a go and I was inpressed with the game play. I’ll try not to spoil it but it becomes more than a puzzle game near the end. It’s great. I really liked what the computer voice that spoke to you when playing was saying :).

Episode 2… wow… that was an ending (just for this episode, not the HL2 game) that I wasn’t prepared for! In Episode 2 you get a new car which gets several upgrades during the game and there is a new enemy (which kind of annoyed me at times! I replayed the game with the commentary and found out an easier way to kill them).

All in all, great games. I haven’t posted on my blog for a long time so I thought I’d post about these two games.

Ebay Archive chewing on MySQL server resources

Sunday, April 29th, 2007

I received an email from Dreamhost this morning with regards to the Ebay Archive database. It seems that the queries that it was performing wasn’t as optimised as I thought.

[code]# Query_time: 0 Rows_examined: 156795
use ebayarchive;
SELECT item_number
FROM items_pending
WHERE item_number = 290108127963;[/code]

150k+ rows just for a search?
Sounds like it’s not even using the index I had…
I looked up how to find useful information about queries on google and it says I should put EXPLAIN before the query, so I did.

[code]SQL query: EXPLAIN SELECT item_number
FROM items_pending
WHERE item_number = 200103800946;

id select_type table type possible_keys key key_len ref rows Extra
1 SIMPLE items_pending index item_number item_number 16 NULL 158537 Using where; Using index[/code]

But it was using the index… hmm, how interesting. How about we try to put the number in quotes?

[code]SQL query: EXPLAIN SELECT item_number
FROM items_pending
WHERE item_number = ‘200103800946’;

id select_type table type possible_keys key key_len ref rows Extra
1 SIMPLE items_pending ref item_number item_number 16 const 1 Using where; Using index[/code]

Ah ha! What a difference that makes… !

As for the other query that was taking up alot of resources:

[code]EXPLAIN SELECT item_number, category, item_name, item_url, item_end_time
FROM items_pending
ORDER BY item_end_time
LIMIT 0 , 20;

id select_type table type possible_keys key key_len ref rows Extra
1 SIMPLE items_pending index NULL item_end_time 4 NULL 158537[/code]

Doesn’t look promising. It seems like ORDER BY is causing the query not to perform as best it can. So we’ll have to rewrite this query in a different way and also cache the result as the file that uses this query processes each individual item.

Something like this works fine:

[code]EXPLAIN SELECT item_number, category, item_name, item_url, item_end_time
FROM items_pending_disabled
WHERE item_end_time <= 1177143110

id select_type table type possible_keys key key_len ref rows Extra
1 SIMPLE items_pending_disabled range item_end_time item_end_time 4 NULL 1714 Using where[/code]

We’ll have to cache all the rows and then increment the number by say 200-500 and repeat the query. Better a few rows than thousands. Now I’ve just got to wait for Dreamhost to hopefully re-enable the table they disabled.

Ebay Archive categories expanding

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2007

So the Ebay Archive is going fine. There were a few problems initially such as the date/time sorting not working as I decided to use varchar for the database and copy the Ebay date/time instead of using int for the database and convert the Ebay date/time to a unix timestamp; I guess this shows that it’s better to do things properly instead of doing things quickly.

Another issue is the fact that each item takes about 50Kb for the HTML file. This is pretty big and if you 27,000 entries so far, it’s already 1.3 GB… ouch! Lucky for me I’m with Dreamhost which offer 200GB diskspace plus 1GB extra gets added on each week. I’ve now made a header and footer page for the HTML pages which cuts the size by half to 25kb each. Now there’s the problem of going through 27,000 HTML files and removing the parts that aren’t needed.

Finally I’m hoping to expand the categories the Ebay Archive covers to include Cameras, & Accessories, Electrical and Mobile phones.

Edit: Those Ebay Categories above have been added.

phpBB Website/Forums back online

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

The phpBB Website/Forums are back online. They’ve taken the opportunity to upgrade the forums to phpBB 3 and redesign their website.

No new updates

Thursday, March 15th, 2007

It’s been almost a month with nothing for me to report. I’ve slowly been redoing the ADSL Australia Reporter website but have given up that for a little bit while I work on other things.

I was looking at the phpBB Forums, but unforunately they’ve had a raid array failure:


Ouch! RAID array failure…

We’re sad to announce that during the switch of a failed harddisk to the hot-spare and the planned 2 hours required for the array to re-sync, we’ve been hit by an extremely unexpected double-disk failure which leaves us with a dead array.

As the server needs to be rebuilt with a new set of harddisks and reconfigured, there will be a number of days of downtime whilst this holding page is up on a vserver and that the server failure can be recovered from with the existing website and data from our private CVS repositories restored. In the mean time, please direct yourself to our temporary support forums over at Area51.

Bertie probably shouldn’t have fed the server honey to see if that would make it feel better…

Cheers :([/code]

Vacation Experiences

Saturday, February 17th, 2007

Here’s a quick post which outlines important things that occurs or happened at each country/place I stayed at. Below you can check out about 110 pictures from the vacation.

Vacation Pictures @ Flickr


Argentina is dangerous place to live. I’ve heard so many stories from uncles/aunts/friends about all the crazy things that happen. People there will rob you for anything you’ve got or so I’ve been told. If your by yourself, you better be very cautious. I’d recommended going in at least groups of 3 people+. You can image what it’s like to bring a $600 camera to a place like this. Nearly everyone who knew about my camera always joked saying if a guy came to rob us, we would give or throw them the camera and run.

  • People generally stay up until 5am usually in clubs, etc.
  • In some places the water isn’t safe to drink (if your at your relatives place then it’s usually ok to drink)
  • Driving in Argentina is 100x worst than in Australia. People seem to never use car lanes properly (cars swerving in and out of different lanes). Most of the times they don’t obey the rules and there isn’t much police around (they tell me) so they are free to do anything they want. They even drive on the incoming traffic lanes (there is a picture of this in the vacation photos)
  • When you’ve stopped at a major traffic light, there’s usually going to be people there offering to sell you things like flowers, etc
  • Always lock your doors when driving (and even remove your stereo from your car when your gone)
  • If you ever go to see soccer matches, you shouldn’t bring anything valuable with you


In salta the driving conditions are much better than in Argentina. It’s generally not safe to drink the water, but drink from the tap only if you need can’t find bottled water or boil the water. Salta’s a mountainous region and is quite a nice place to live. The crime isn’t as bad as in Argentina but that’s probably because Salta doesn’t have as many people as Argentina. Watch out for the mosquitoes.


Peru is pretty much like Argentina except most people are much poorer. The traffic is a bit worst in Peru than in Argentina with people constantly beeping their horn.

  • In some homes there isn’t any water pressure and you sometimes won’t find the hot water tap in the sink.
  • You shouldn’t at all drink the water, always boil it and let it cool. People generally buy lots of soft drinks (they have 3 litre ones).
  • If you want to look like a local, just don’t clean your finger nails :P. Kidding, you won’t look like a local but most people’s finger nails are very dirty.
  • Em, sometimes no water comes out from the tap! (maybe that’s just the place I stayed at).


Cusco is cold place and if your wearing shorts (like I did) you’ll stand out from the jean wearing crowd. Cusco is home to the famous inka’s and is close to Machu Pichu. There’s a lot of museums, churches, temples, etc. It’s a good place to be if your into all the history of Peru and like to see archeological remains.

  • We went on a tour and when we got off the bus and started walking around lots of children gathered around us and asked us to buy their stuff like finger puppets, hats, gloves, jumpers, etc. You buy one thing off one kid and the other one wants something as you gave money to the previous kid.


The USA is a good place to be in, it’s sort of similar to Australia, but out of the two I would prefer Australia. When we went the temperature was as low as -2C, so bring jeans, wear two shirts and then a jumper or two.

  • The food is expensive (like $8+ US a pizza I think it was).
  • We had arcade games in the place we stayed and you only needed a quater (25c) instead of $1 like in Australia.
  • People are friendly.
  • Don’t go to Mexico with a rented car or forget to bring your passport (I wasn’t told about this and had to spend the night at a hotel).
  • Good tv shows

I’m back from vacations

Monday, January 22nd, 2007

Just to let people know, I’m back from my overseas vacation which lasted 2 months. I visited Argentina, Salta, Peru, Cusco and the USA. I’ll be posting pictures/videos as well as my experiences from each location either this week or next week.

View my Photos

Saturday, November 18th, 2006

If you would like to see my photos that I’ve taken you can visit my Flickr or Zooomr accounts. I’m hoping to have more photos on both once I come back from vacation or actually take the camera to places other than my backyard.

Haven’t blogged for a while

Saturday, November 18th, 2006

I haven’t blogged for a while mostly because I’ve purchased a second hand Canon 300D 😀 last week and have been viewing/reading lots of photography materials. Materials include e-books, lots of websites, reviews, a video on photography and a videoblog of a photographer doing some photowalking.

There is just so much information about photography to learn and to take the time out to experiment trying out the techniques for yourself.

I’m heading of overseas for 2 months which is mainly why I’ve bought the 300D and am trying to get all the information I can about photography before I leave so I’m able to get some decent shots. For those two months I probably won’t be able to do any more blogging.

There are lots of accessories to be bought for the camera and so far I’ve got a camera bag (came with the camera), 2 GB CF card, 2 additional batteries and am waiting for my Digimate II 40GB portable storage device which for vacations is a must. Too bad I’ve only got the kits lens but nevertheless, I should still be able to get reasonable pictures.

Since I’ll be leaving shortly I’ve set michaelwest from Westscript as the Forum Moderator, so he can keep my forum clean of spam and be able to fill in for me while I’m away.

Just one more week to wait until I’m off…