Category Archives: Technical

Xalan XSL transformations in the 1.4 JDK can be VERY slow

At work as part of our XML data feed product we end up doing XSLT transformations on XML files starting a a few MB all the way up to several hundred MB. Using the 1.4.2 JDK it took over 4 … Continue reading

Posted in Java, Software Engineering, XML | 1 Comment

Deferring ad loading on your pages to avoid unnecessary outages

At GreatSchools we’ve had 3rd party ad server outages or slowness effectively make our site unusable as users browsers waited for certain ads to render before rendering the rest of the page. I had originally thought just specifying height and … Continue reading

Posted in CSS, Design, Javascript, Software Engineering, Web | 2 Comments

SQL statements mysteriously not replicating with MySQL replication

If you’re using MySQL replication there’s a feature/bug that you should be aware of. The following SQL statement would not replicate to the slave servers:

Posted in Database, MySQL | 2 Comments

MySQL ODBC Driver issues and Excel

Caveat: this post is probably only of interest if you’re running into this particular MySQL ODBC Driver problem. Hopefully other people running into this issue will find this useful or please add a comment if you find a better way! … Continue reading

Posted in Desktop, MySQL | 2 Comments

Making your Rails app mobile with WAP and WML

I’d been wanting to make my Ruby on Rails based San Francisco Sailing Weather site available for mobile / cell phones. Now that I’m on vacation in Germany I had a stretch on a train ride where I was able … Continue reading

Posted in Ruby, Ruby on Rails, Software Engineering, WAP and WML | 6 Comments

Trafeoffs of aggressive filesystem partitioning

Most systems administrators will tell you it’s important to partition your install into anywhere from 4-7 discrete patitions (or slices if you’re in the BSD camp). While I think it’s good advice in certain cases, the headaches of mis-guessing disk … Continue reading

Posted in FreeBSD, Linux, Systems Administration | 2 Comments

Encrypting sensitive files on Mac OS X

I was looking for a solution to keep my financial data (quickbooks, excel, important documents, etc…) encrypted on OS X so that if my laptop were stolen, lost, etc… I wouldn’t have to worry about it. I also like to … Continue reading

Posted in Desktop, OSX | 1 Comment

Apple is just as proprietary as Microsoft

People love to complain about how Microsoft is too proprietary, and rightfully so. Linux/FreeBSD users can make that claim freely but when Apple users make it I cringe. Microsoft has done some “bad” things with API’s and interoperability and is … Continue reading

Posted in Desktop | 19 Comments

Hiring a senior MySQL and FreeBSD systems administrator

We’re hiring a senior MySQL and FreeBSD systems administrator to work at GreatSchools (a 40 person company) in San Francisco. If you or someone you know is interested in working on a high traffic website (1M page views per day) … Continue reading

Posted in Systems Administration | Leave a comment

Major sites not conserving bandwidth with gzip content compression

At GreatSchools we do around 1M real page views per day and another 250k or so for crawlers. Before content compression we were running well in excess of 10Mbit/s during peak hours and were getting hit with bursting charges on … Continue reading

Posted in Systems Administration, Web | 3 Comments