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Topics - Xepher

General Chat / Favorite Webcomic?
June 17, 2008, 11:41:34 PM
So I figured I'd take a sort of "poll" of regulars and see what their tastes are in comics. I'm gonna do this in a specific format, so pay attention. :-)

1: What's your favorite webcomic? Doesn't matter how popular or obvious. (Penny Arcade goes here.)

2: What's your favorite webcomic you'd wager no one else here has likely heard of? Tell us about something small and just starting out.

3: What's your favorite webcomic that you just found (or started really reading) in the last 6 months or so? Tell us about the new one that's caught your attention.
General Chat / Photos
May 31, 2008, 05:51:04 AM
I'm sure I must've posted some of this elsewhere, but... well, I went to the zoo yesterday, and came back with a few good pictures (and a lot of not so good ones.) The gallery is online at and if you go to just you can find all my photos. Some of it's interesting, most of it's dull. But I figured I'd just post it for fun. Sometime soon, I need to dig through all my pictures and create a gallery of my personal favorites. For the Zoo, this was probably my "best" pictures, even though the Hippo is one of the most dull animals, this one at least had the good grace to let me get a good angle on it. All the cool creatures were sleeping or hiding. I was especially annoyed that the Snow Leopards were all away/indoors. Oh well, can't blame 'em. It was near 100f outside. :-)
Technical Support / MySQL Connection Errors?
May 25, 2008, 08:46:22 PM
Several people reported brief periods where their sites (and this forum) gave mysql connection errors. I think I traced it to us hitting the default connection limit for mysql, which was set at 100. I've tripled that, as well as found how to monitor peak usage for it. That SHOULD fix the problem, but if you see more of those errors crop up, please let me know and I can raise the limit higher, or figure out if something else is causing it.
General Chat / The World is Awesome!
May 09, 2008, 03:07:13 AM
Few, if any, corporate mottoes have ever inspired me. Nike said "Just do it" and Gatorade said "Is it in you?" but nothing... nothing got to me like the new Discovery channel motto: "The World is Awesome!" and it's touched me in such a way that I just can't describe. I mean, that's the whole and all of it... the world IS awesome. That's it. That's the meaning of life. It's fracking awesome!

Will-san linked these tonight and I figured that was a fitting way to start this series. Please, link other articles/pictures on the same theme, because, the world really is awesome.  :-P
General Chat / Rumtime Error
April 25, 2008, 03:13:59 AM
Rumtime Error: libstdsea++-morgan.16.oz

If you get this awful pun, you're as bad of a nerd as I am... if not, might help. Also, basic knowledge of English units of measurement, programming, and
General Chat / What is Life?
April 20, 2008, 09:28:00 AM
What is life? That's the question, isn't it?

What do you feel is the point... the reason... the meaming... the why? What're we here for?

For me, I say this... to better the race. I like to think we're her to help find our path amongst the stars. We're the explorers set to leave this rock and move to the stars. How about you?
Announcements / Unexpected Downtime
April 11, 2008, 09:59:39 AM
The datacenter that houses Arclight (the server) went down for several hours early this morning. It seems to be back up now, but it was up and down quite a bit, so I'm not counting any chickens before they're hatched. Anyway, not much I can do about it... I noted that uptime had gone from 43 days to 15 minutes a few hours ago, then I lost all contact with the system. Finally got a support request through and got the server restored, but it's back to 10 minutes uptime. I think they had some fairly major problems they're not really wanting to tell us about. Either that, or just "coincidentally" the server went down twice in 4 hours, with a report from the datacenter of a "brief outage" right in the middle of that timeframe. Considering the server didn't even go completely down when a hard drive failed, I think it's much more likely their power grid reset a few times tonight and they just don't want to admit it.

Anyway, shouldn't be a big deal, just letting everyone know why things were unavailable for a few hours.
General Chat / Burn the Government!
February 23, 2008, 02:35:17 AM
...or at least the IRS. Frack, I just did my taxes, and on $10,000 of taxable income, I'm expected to pay over $4,000 in taxes. This is what I get for being self-employed. Torches and pitchforks! That's the answer... go march over to Washington and burn the IRS to the ground! Well, or we could elect Ron Paul... but the torches/pitchfork thing seems more plausible. :-)
Update: The new drive is in and working. Things'll be a tad slow for about two hours or so while it rebuilds the array, but after that we're back to full data integrity and performance.

The server is getting a failed drive replaced on Thursday. The replacement should take about 30 minutes, and occur sometime in the afternoon or early evening (US CST) of February 21st. Shouldn't be a big deal, and most people probably won't even notice, but just wanted to let everyone know in advance. If something goes wrong, or you can't connect for more than an hour, feel free to ask me for a status update via AIM. My screen name there is Xepher42.
Announcements / Possible Problems
February 09, 2008, 11:01:11 PM
As was previously announced, the datacenter which hosts the server went offline for building power repairs this morning. Things came back up this afternoon, as per the plan. A problem seems to have occured with one of the drives in Arclight (the server behind and it's refusing to talk to the machine anymore. Thankfully I had the foresight to build the system on a raid5 array, meaning the loss of a single disk doesn't actually result in data loss. That's why you're still able to read this post here, because everything is still working. Normally, I'd do some troubleshooting, and probably end up getting a new drive shipped to the datacenter and installed. Problem is, I go on a week-long trip tomorrow morning. Thus, that's gonna have to wait until I get back. While the remaining drives should be just fine and keep everything running until I can replace the bad one, I don't like having no redundancy. I'm currently trying to backup all data to my desktop here, but it's a lot of stuff, and my cable modem is relatively slow. Hopefully it can grab everything before I leave tomorrow, but whether it does or not, I'd still suggest everyone make sure they have their own data backed up, just in case. If it decided to drop ANOTHER drive towards the end of the week, my backup would be several days out of date too.

Anyway, I don't want anyone to panic (at least not as much as I am) but I just wanted to post that in case the worst happens, and you wonder why the server is down. Really, the chances of another drive failure are pretty slim, especially considering they survived whatever hurt this one. Heck, the old server ran on just 2 drives for 4+ years with no problems! I just tend to be overly cautious and concerned sometimes. I'll be back next sunday, the 17th, and hopefully I can get a new drive shipped to the DC and installed shortly afterwards. I'm gonna just look at it this way for now... this isn't a problem, the problem was forseen, and prepared for, and the redundancy is working as planned. Something pretty bad happened to the hardware, but everything's still chugging along just fine! Yay for being prepared! :-P
Announcements / Borked Email
February 08, 2008, 09:11:29 PM
Two days ago I updated a lot of the software on the server to close a couple of security bugs/notices they announced. During the update however, we had two small glitches. One, was that I managed to disable CGI for the webserver, meaning if you ran perl scripts or such (like movable type) Reinder of ROCR pointed that out to me and I got it fixed yesterday. Today I got up, and had no email... but a couple IMs from people saying they had no email either. (Unfortunately, I was already late for work, and spent the next 6 hours on a job site.) Turns out I'd updated a package I didn't even intend to... the spam filter. The new version changed a couple variable names, so it wasn't able to run, meaning mail just got queued up, and after a while it stopped taking delivery, asking the sending servers to queue it up there and retry later. I started fixing it, and as soon as it was able to run, it delivered all the queued emails... but I hadn't finished fixing the config yet, so it delivered everything as though it were spam/junk mail. Anyway, long story short, no mail should've been lost. About 100 messages were delivered to various Junk folders though, so you should all dig through the past day and a half of those to see if one or two were legit. The rest of the mail that didn't get delivered should be queued up on other mail servers and begin trickling in over the next few hours now that it's accepting delivery again. The update occurred just after 0600 UTC on the 7th. That's midnight, the start of the 7th CST here in the states, so you only need to look back through the Junk folder until about then.

Sorry for the trouble on this one guys. I botched it, as when I told it to do the update, I didn't notice it was planning on updating my spam filter package. If I'd seen that, I'd have directly tested it right then and there.
I was just informed by the datacenter who houses the server that several power transformers servicing their building are being replaced this Saturday. They estimate 3 to 5 hours downtime starting at 8am CST on Saturday the 9th of February. I don't know if that just means routers are going down, or if all the servers are gonna lose power as well. We may get to see how well I built the redundancy into this new machine sooner than I wished. If for some reason it takes longer than the estimate, or you just want status updates, feel free to IM me. Xepher42 on any of AIM, Yahoo, or GoogleIM. Though note that I have no intention of being up before noon on a weekend. :-)

Additionally, I'm taking a week-long ski trip on the 10th through the 17th. I'll be taking my laptop with me, but I probably won't be online much. (I'd obviously rather be skiing. :-) ) Shouldn't be a big deal, but just figured I'd let ya'll know not to expect much response from me during that week.
Hosting Q&A / Unicode Test
January 03, 2008, 04:15:56 AM
I'm posting this to test/demonstrate unicode support here. Some people are having problems with MySQL+PHP+etc... when using other languages. Below is a copy of a japanese essay I had to write years ago in college. I have no idea what it says anymore, so... just ignore it even if you CAN read japanese. As long as it looks like kana, and not random binary, we're good.


Hosting Q&A / Please Don't Send Me Private Messages
December 23, 2007, 02:06:17 AM
As the title says, please don't send me private forum messages. The indicator that shows I have one is small, and I often don't notice for a day or two. Additionally, the messages are nearly impossible to archive or organize. If you need to contact me directly, such as to get a lost password, or you need a domain added to your account, please email me. Hosting-related issues (e.g. "most stuff") go to admin@... and personal stuff goes to xepher@... (obviously complete the email addresses in full.) If it's a support issue or technical question, I generally prefer to handle that on the forum, in case other users have a similar problem later, the solution can maybe be found by searching older threads. Thanks!
Announcements / Banner and Box Ad Ratings
December 19, 2007, 02:36:10 PM
It's recently been brought to my attention that one of our users uploaded banner and box images (for the rotating "ads" thing) that contained nude sketches. (As I hadn't said anything on this before, I can't blame the user for not reading my mind.) While the actual art is something allowed for a site here, I ask that everyone please keep their image ads for the box/banner to a PG or lower rating. That basically means no cuss words, no sex/nudity, and nothing more than "cartoon" violence. In a similar vein, any site with content at or above an R rating needs to have some sort of basic warning before the actual content is viewed. That can be as simple as a warning on your front page that your comics or image gallery might contain violence, nudity, or whatever the explicit content might be. You don't have to make specific warnings for every post or picture, just as long as there's some warning people see before the stuff they might find offensive.
General Chat / OMGWTF!
December 12, 2007, 05:05:37 AM
Announcements / New Virtual Domain Requirement
December 10, 2007, 11:56:50 PM
I've decided that anyone wishing to use a virtual/linked domain name with their account must participate in the banner/box exchange program. It remains completely optional for everyone else, and I'll only be selectively enforcing it for existing domains/users. Anyone requesting a new domain to be linked to their account must have a banner and/or box in place on their site though. The reasoning for this is that needs a least some exposure in order to grow... I generally consider the "" part of "" to be enough, but when you're using a personal domain, it's entirely possible that people could never know who hosts the site at all and I don't think a single banner/box is too much to ask in return for what's provided.

If you have opinions (strong or otherwise) on this, let me know. I'm willing to hear people out and perhaps change my mind if there's a compelling reason, but for now, that's the new rule.
Announcements / Applications Finally Reopen
December 05, 2007, 11:44:11 PM
That's right, six months late, but I'm once again taking applications for new accounts. So if you think you've got something worthy of sharing with the world, head over the applications section of the forum, but be sure to read the instructions before posting.
General Chat / Global Warming
December 02, 2007, 05:29:25 AM
Generally, I'm all for it... but it's near midnight, in December, and raining even... yet I just had to turn on my AC to keep from sweating in my own apartment. It's currently 74f (23C) outside. I think I'm gonna have to move to Alaska. :-)
Announcements / Automated Email Rules
November 25, 2007, 07:08:30 PM
I've recently had to put in place some new rules about automated email. A lot of you have forums or other scripts that use the server to send out things like new topic notifcations or registration confirmations. The problem is that a lot of these aren't well checked for sanity. That is, bots drive by, attempting forum spam, and that results in a lot of undeliverable mail being sent out by your forums. This in turn gets the server blacklisted as a spam source. Currently, roadrunner is refusing all email from because of this, and has basically got us on notice. This is pretty much due to the actions of only one or two users here. As such, new rules are going into effect immidiately regarding this.

1. The sendmail binary is no longer accessable to users. That's the local program that sends mail. A lot of web scripts use it on the backend to generate mail. There's no way to easily secure it user-by-user.
2. Thus, all outgoing email MUST be sent via the SMTP server, just like the mail server wasn't local to the script. (Most forums have settings for this if you need it.)
3. Email will be allowed ONLY to local/ addresses (and any aliases you have on domains hosted here) unless SMTP authentication is done.
4. You can only authenticate with the email system if you actually use email here (that option is set up via user-services) and you have to use your username and password. The reason for this is that means rejected/failed email will be returned to YOU instead of bounced around to me. It also gives other system admins a notice of who sent the email if/when they complain to me about abuse.
5. Keep an eye on your scripts, and do NOT let them be abused. If you set your username/password in your forum config, it will let it send email to anyone, using your creditentials. Do not do this unless you're absolutely sure it's neccessary, and you're willing to take responsibility if the script gets out of hand. Make sure your config also includes a valid return email address so you notice rejected messages right away. Pay attention to those rejection notices, and don't let the system keep sending email to invalid addresses.

As stated in the main rules, email abuse is not allowed. Whether that abuse is directly by you, or by a system you've installed doesn't really matter. The new configuration I've just implemented means that email can't be abused by any script (or person) without it having your password. Thus, if you want to be safe, configure your scripts to send to your email address (or one of your aliases on a domain you've got here) and do NOT give it your password. This means you can't do things like have a forum send out registration emails or stuff to other emails though. Most forums have a registration option that let's the admin directly approve/register new members that you could use. If you choose to give your password to a script though, you must be vigililant about what it's doing. Most of you know I'm not too hard to deal with, and I know sometimes things happen that you didn't intend. That said though, I reserve the right to terminate your email access if I feel you're not being responsible enough with things. Usually, I try to give everyone at least one direct warning before I do anything harsh, so make sure you don't ignore it. (That means you'd better have a valid contact email for me to send a warning to!)

Alright, rant over... exiting mail-nazi mode. :-P