• "‘sdfsdf ‘means, I would argue, ‘I am testing’, or even more specifically, ‘I am now testing what can be seen’. It’s another performative expression because there is no semantic distance between typing this string and doing what it says, in the same way that there is no semantic distance between saying ‘I do’ in your marriage vows and actually performing your marriage vows. Saying is doing."
  • "But in truth you don’t get to choose the games that make you. Rather, these are the ones that time and circumstance pair you with. You don’t get to pick your DNA." I think Simon's short fragment was my favourite by a mile of the RPS "Gaming Made Me" features.

My recent talk about what might happen if gamers ran the world made Digg yesterday, and went a bit big. Big to the point that I got a nice email from my host pointing out that my PHP processes were killing the entire shared host that I’m hosted on, and that I needed to rectify this immediately.

The fires were mainly calmed by installing WP-Super-Cache, which did pretty much what it says on the tin. That said, I did learn a few things from the incident. In no particular order:

  • WordPress’ PHP processes for rendering a page are really, really intensive. Most of the time, that’s not a problem, but when you’re being bombarded with hits, it’ll take it’s told. Flat HTML might be the way forward.
  • Super-Cache isn’t exactly difficult to install, but it requires permissions in lots of places. The best advice I can give is to walk through the installation instructions carefully, and when it doesn’t work, go over the troubleshooting guide in readme.txt one step at a time. The few issues I had were resolved by walking through the troubleshooting process.
  • Most importantly, a combination of the two parts above: you should assume that at some point, you’re going to need this kind of caching, and you’re going to need it fast. Installing and configuring WordPress plugins on a server being bombarded with hits really isn’t much fun. Instead, install the caching plugin of your choice when you set your server up, and make sure it’s working at that time. Then, when the horde descends upon your lowly shared host, you can head straight there and click “enable caching”, rather than having to fight fires for an hour when you really should be working, or in the pub. This also means you can configure the thing to not cache your feed, which is a useful thing to be able to do; I’m about to head off and do that now.

Everything appears to have cooled off now, and I’m not getting any more emails from Joyent about my usage. To Joyent’s credit, they were helpful at explaining the problem and tolerant of the time it took for me to fix things, which was appreciated. And next time I get an absurd amount of traffic, with any luck, I’ll be ready for it.

  • "An almost-real-time, behind-the-scenes look at the assigning, writing, editing, and designing of a Wired feature."
  • "Brands are built…out of culture…out of meanings from culture. In the Volvo campaign, the meaning was safety and symbol for this safety was a little girl. Pretty standard. But this book is interested in new ways to source meaning. Let's look at new, emerging brand tactics." More excellent posts from Grant.
  • "The current browsers, including Firefox, just can’t cut it. JavaScript isn’t fast enough (thereby limiting the UX), browsers are single threaded and they aren’t stable enough. If Google want to challenge Microsoft (or anyone else for that matter) in the desktop space they needed a better platform… Google’s solution is I think much neater – build an open source browser that supports multithreading, fast JavaScript execution and stuff Google Gears into the back end so it works offline." Now that's a good explanation.

The Shadow Percussion Project

23 September 2005

OK, this is my new favourite thing on the internet this week: the Shadow Percussion Project [details from Musicthing]. Enterprising young percussion teacher teaches his high-school percussion group to play live arrangements of tracks from DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing…; the result is awesome. Building Steam With A Grain Of Salt works better than Changeling IMHO, but that’s only because I like it more as a track; the drummer gets the chopped-drum-break about two minutes in down to a tee. [61mb wmv file at the other end, but well worth it]