Welcome to MekTrix 4.0

Aka Shish’s Place of Stuff

Archive for the 'web' Category

Old website is old

Sorting through some of my old code, I found a link to one of my old websites; the site itself is long gone, though googling it did bring back memories; days of hunting down “host 1mb for free”, “get a free subdomain”, etc sites; hosting things on my 56k modem. Also, playing SMAUG and having parents yell at me because I’d been using the internet for a whole hour, and it cost a penny a minute! Then downloading 200MB of software development stuff in 1.4MB chunks that took 3 hours each…

Screenshot! Mektrix v2, in Mozilla (it was modern at the time), running on one of my first linux setups XD

Posted April 10th, 2008 by Shish, in tech, web

TravMap’s somewhat-late Birthday

I forget exactly when the project was started, but monitoring started a year ago. Thus I shall reminice:

Originally, a bunch of people in an IRC channel I hang out in decided to play Travian. As there were about 20 of us, keeping track was a pain, so I decided to make a map. This first version of the map was an SVG file drafted in Inkscape, edited by hand, and saved as a PNG image.

Pretty soon I got bored of updating by hand, and started looking for a way to automate things. Thankfully, the travian creators decided to be awesome and give out a dump of part of their database \o/ I put it into a local SQLite database so that it could be searched easily. Seeing as this was just a 5 minute hack that nobody other than myself would ever use or even see, I decided to use PHP to write the front end…

After a couple of weeks of adding features, I noticed that it could be useful to other people, so I posted about it on the forums. It ended up being quite popular, and I got several feature requests~ I also added support for other servers, and from there, to other languages. Having people offer to help with translation has been very motivational — It’s nice to know that people care about the project~

Talking about other languages, an interesting note on culture; when an American server is added, I get bug reports along the lines of “Type: Defect // Priority: Critical // The new server was added 3 hours ago, why is it not on travmap yet?!”. When a European server is added, the report is more like “Type: Enhancement // Priority: Minor // There is a new travian server at s2.travian.foo, please can you add it to your list? Thankyou :)”

Another few weeks later I had broken all my web serving records; I was serving tens of megabytes per day, and my server was melting — getting a P2 200MHz box with 64MB RAM to search through 200MB of database several times a second was painful. Switching to highly indexed MySQL made things better, but still bad. I ended up buying a load more RAM, ending up at 256MB. This was OK for a couple of months, until the database grew to be again too large to fit in memory… It got to the point where it was being queried faster than it could respond, so it got slower, and things stacked up exponentially — load average broke 60 within minutes of apache being started :-/

Eventually I gave up on self hosting, and moved across to dreamhost — thanks to the wonders of overselling, they had tons of spare processing power, memory, and bandwidth. Aside from datacenter problems, they’ve been pretty cool.

Since then, growth has been pretty steady. The database is now over 500MB, going over a hit a second at peak times (That’s quite a lot of traffic, nearing a gig a day now…). I also notice that dreamhost moved me to a different database server without telling me :|

Also I figured that with 10,000 visitors per day, there ought to be some way of making some money out of it — putting up a “please pay for my hosting” link earned me a grand total of $5 ($4.50 once paypal took their cut) from one guy — to this day, the only money I’ve made directly from programming ^_^ About a month ago I put some ads on the site to see how effective they were, and since then I’ve made enough to cover nearly half of that 256MB RAM I bought so long ago — another 3-4 months of the same earnings, and I’ll have got as much money out of the project as I’d put in XD

Overall, it’s been a fun year — I’ve learned lots about caching and optimisation, and how much PHP sucks (I *really* wish I’d written it in something else, I didn’t know it’d get so big…); I haven’t actually played travian for a few months now, I’m just sticking with the project because it’s enjoyable~

I forget how I was going to end my rambling, so I shall do so abruptly. End.

Posted March 15th, 2007 by Shish, in software, stats, tech, web

Oh dear lord…

Sites like this make me regret my free hotlinking policy… The furryism I can forgive*, the stupidity I can stand*, but the web design is so eye-blisteringly ugly I’m ashamed to be associated with it x_x

* so long as they keep it to themselves…

Posted July 4th, 2006 by Shish, in web

dreamhost /o/

Again with the lateness, I’ve finally gone and bought some external hosting — the new server is at least 10x better than my self-hosted one in all respects, over 1000x in others. It’s shared with a hundred odd other people, but so long as nobody wants all the power at once, it’s hardly noticable~

Not only do they not suck, which puts them above most web hosts, they’re also actively good — their web based control panel actually makes a lot of things easier than going to the shell and doing it all by hand. Things that other hosts don’t have at all (Subversion, Jabber, raw log access, unlimited subdomains, multiple shell / mail / ftp users, per-site bandwidth throttling, etc), they make no more than a couple of clicks away \o/

They also installed rrdtool at my whim (I do make extensive use of it, but they don’t know that…), using what appears to be the ideal management system (Custom APT repository + bulk server-management tools). They also cite a couple of moral reasons amongst the many technical ones for being a linux-only host, and will match any customer’s donations to their charities of the month :O

And last but not least, they have a sense of humour which matches mine <3

Posted April 26th, 2006 by Shish, in pimp, reallife, site, tech, web

On spam and flattery

“You must get tired of people telling you what a great blog you have. Hope you don’t mind one more!” it says, while using the username “Free Ringtone Downloads” and linking to some dodgy site…

One wonders how the spammers are getting here — I had one spam comment in the last couple of years on my old blog, then within 24 hours of switching to wordpress the spammers discovered it and set off their bots, and I had 3 comments in the “pending approval” queue by the time I woke up…

Posted February 26th, 2006 by Shish, in tech, web

A Reorganisation

A load of code that nobody ever used was removed from the sidebar, combined with more dead projects from my hard disk, and imported into The Graveyard~

Posted February 20th, 2006 by Shish, in tech, web

Version 3.0: WordPress

I tired of my custom blog thing; and so, switched to wordpress~

It works nicely ._.

All the comments are gone though…

Posted February 20th, 2006 by Shish, in pimp, software, tech, web

10k hits/day O_O

Looks like TravMap is very popular, pushing the site over the 10,000 hits per day mark :o

It’s had such an effect that it can be seen on the total-hits graph (it was released about new year):

Edit: comments off, since this post seems to attract more spam comments than all the others put together o_O

Posted February 19th, 2006 by Shish, in stats, tech, web


trac = lightweight viewcvs + lightweight bugzilla + lightweight mediawiki, with lots of nice integration

It’s also prettier than any of the other three~

Posted January 20th, 2006 by Shish, in pimp, software, tech, web


I can’t describe it in words, so a picture~

Posted January 13th, 2006 by Shish, in tech, web