Site Downage

Posted by Aaron West at 8:45 AM in ColdFusion, General

I apologize to anyone who tried to reach my site yesterday. My hosting provider, HostMySite, experienced a major outage when construction work severed a main fiber channel. From about 7:00am CST through 9:00pm CST yesterday my entire site was unavailable. Information pertaining to the outage including photos of the construction damage can be viewed here. At the bottom of that page (assuming it's still there when you view this post) is a testimonial from one of HostMySite's customers who was on the scene checking out the damage. He mentions how Lou, one of HostMySite's owners, was handing out water to the repair crews, encouraging their efforts, and simply making sure things were progressing. Having met Lou at CFUnited nearly 2 months ago, I am not surprised at all to hear this.

Problems can occur with any hosting facility and often they do. HostMySite distinguishes themselves from other providers by keeping customers constantly updated and ensured the problem, whatever it is, will be resolved as soon as humanly possible. Some people might view yesterday's events as a reason to move to another provider. For me, it solidifies why I moved to HostMySite in the first place.


Skype Me

Posted by Aaron West at 10:34 PM in ColdFusion, General, Site News

I've had Skype for a while and I use it on occassion. After reading Sean's post here and Stephen Collin's post here I decided to hook up a little Skype pod to show when I'm available for calls. So, if you have a ColdFusion question or you just want to chat, feel free to ring me. Don't worry, if I'm busy I'll be sure to let ya know. ;-)


Web Site Requires Reboot?

Posted by Aaron West at 11:42 PM in General, Mobile & Devices

I recently purchased a new Treo 700p and since I no longer need the Motorola Razr I'm sending it to my brother. Tonight I jumped on the UPS Store Web site to track the package and I received the following system maintenance message:

Huh? Your tracking system is offline so I either need to close my browser OR reboot my computer? LOL. C'mon UPS. Surely you can create better, more informative maintenance messages than that.

Nevertheless, I had a good laugh.


Server Downage

Posted by Aaron West at 10:06 PM in General

I've built a relatively robust exception handling system that runs on this site (and elsewhere). When ColdFusion exceptions occur I am notified via e-mail and appropriate logs are stored.

This afternoon I received a flood of exception e-mails between 3:22pm CST and 3:23pm CST. After speaking with the support team at HostMySite, my suspicions of a server downage were confirmed - the MySQL server that I have the database running on went down. During that time, every call to my RSS feeds from news readers and every hit to my blog in general generated errors. It looks as if most of the hits came from news readers but if anyone happened to be reading the blog during the downage I apologize.

The HostMySite support team identified the problem quickly and got things back up in a matter of minutes. I've expressed this before, but I am very happy with HostMySite and I highly recommend their hosting services! If you are looking for good hosting (especially Linux CF hosting) check them out!


Spoof Caller ID and Change Your Voice?

Posted by Aaron West at 8:44 AM in General

During my commute to work this morning I was catching up on some old TWiT podcasts, listening to TWiT 40: Yellow Lasers. Towards the beginning of the Podcast Leo and company began discussing SpoofCard, a service that offers consumers the ability to make phone calls spoofing any number you want. Additionally, you can alter your own voice by selecting from a list of available voices. You use the SpoofCard service by purchasing calling cards from $10 (60 minutes of USA talk time) to $40 (240 minutes of USA talk time).

I have not tried this service but if anyone has, please let me know. Crazy.


Brainbench offering FREE tests!

Posted by Aaron West at 3:30 PM in General

I heard about Brainbench offering free tests in celebration of their 5,000,000th member. I thought it was a hoax until I received an invitation from Brainbench (as a current member) to take part in the free tests from July 1 - July 14th. I cruised over to Brainbench today during lunch and took two tests: ColdFusionMX and DreamweaverMX. I had been wanting to take the CFMX test for obvious reasons but being the cheapstake I am I didn't want to pay for it. It wasn't too bad and I passed scoring better than 91% of previous test takers. I had some more time so I decided to attempt the DWMX test. I don't really use DWMX much (I'm a HomeSite+ guy!) so I didn't expect to do well. In fact, I guessed on most of the answers through my own process of elimination. Suprisingly, I passed scoring better than 93% of previous test takers. 93%???? How is it possible for me to score better than 93% when I know so little about DWMX. Either the previous test takers need to seriously bone up or I'm one incredible test taker.

Either way, I have two more "certifications" banners on my Contact Info page.


IE Changes To Cause Problems/Headaches

Posted by Aaron West at 12:07 PM in General

This topic has floated around all Web-related forums and lists over the past couple of weeks. Microsoft will unveil new security measures in a future version of Internet Explorer that may cause problems for Web sites using ActiveX components. These components include any of the following: Macromedia Flash, Authorware, and Shockwave, Sun Java, Apple QuickTime, Real Networks Real, Adobe Acrobat and other ActiveX controls. Basically, anything that you might include on a Web site using the OBJECT tag. What the new security measures entail, is that certain implementations of ActiveX controls on a page will cause the user to be prompted with a dialog message asking them if they want the control to run/load. Naturally, this behavior is not what you want your users experiencing. Apparently there are ways to work around this issue. I'm most interested in how to make my Flash movies work seamlessly with the browser and Macromedia has released information that should help.

To read up on this topic you can visit Microsoft's information page on the new version of IE.

And here are some links to information Macromedia has published on the issue.

UPDATE: 10.23.2003

Macromedia has published a Breeze presentation on this subject. It's very brief, provides a general overview of this issue, and is worth looking at if you don't want to filter through all the information on Macromedia's Web site. Click here to view the presentation.