Working beta, Sphider for WordPress

I now have a working beta version of Sphider for WordPress. You can see the beta in action by clicking on the Search tab. This isn’t a very large blog, so there isn’t much to search for, but you can get an idea.

Suggestions STILL do not work. Accessing the suggest mechanism in test mode shows it IS responding and building a proper json, but is not being passed on as in the normal implementation. Suspect it is something to do with a collision with a WordPress json?

There are probably still some rough edges, but that is what a beta is for… to find those rough edges and smooth them out. Even rough, it functions, which is something the last Sphider for WordPress no longer does!

If you want to give it a whirl, drop us a line and we’ll get the files to you. And, yes, instructions…

THE MORNING AFTER: After a couple false starts, I finally got a package assembled with everything you need. The first package was done late at night and didn’t include everything it should have. I rushed a second version with an addition. There should have been additions!!!

How do you drop us a line? Use the Contact Us form on home page, found in Links to the left.

Twelve Days of Divorce

As Christmas is nearly here, I am sitting and listening to Christmas music. When “The Twelve Days of Christmas” comes around, I can’t help but laugh at an acquaintance of mine some time back. He had just gotten a divorce and came up with NEW words to the old tune.

Now I do not remember the entire thing (this was probably forty years ago), what I DO remember goes like this:

On the eight day of my divorce,
My ex-wife took from me,
Eight place settings,
Seven credit cards.
Six-cylinder Maverick,
Four radial tires,
Three bedroom home,
Two little children.
And my stereo and my color tv!

I wish I could remember the rest of it…

Merry Christmas

Falcon 9 landing

Congratulations to SpaceX for the absolutely amazing landing of a Falcon 9 first stage a mere six miles away from its launch point. The pinpoint landing came after the successful launch of nine Orbcomm satellites. The booster had to make a U-turn 50+ miles and a decent distance northeast of the Cape to return to a targeted spot six miles from the launch pad. They had to keep from centrifuging the remaining fuel, regain stability, and drop from hypersonic through supersonic to subsonic speeds and then a complete stop, upright, dead center on the target.

Blue Origin accomplished a landing of a much smaller suborbital booster just this last November, an accomplishment not to be scorned. But their success was on a entirely different, and smaller, scale. Up and down was an achievement to be proud of. But the mechanics involved in the SpaceX endeavor are, shall we say a bit more complex?

I’ve heard comments that this is the way rockets are SUPPOSED to land, evidenced by the sci-fi movies of the 50’s. We have finally arrived, I’ve heard. But hold on a minutes! If I remember those movies, the INSIDE of those rockets provided very spacious, apartment-sized quarters for the crews., complete with artificial gravity. Technology still has a way to go to match that.

Elon Musk and SpaceX are probably the group that is going to make the 50’s movies true!

Sphider 1.5.1 released

Sphider 1.5.0 was a major departure from older versions of Sphider in that it incorporated prepared statements, adding significantly to the security of Sphider. It performed very nicely.

But we did not like the database backup and restore procedures. Backup was quick enough, but restore was S-L-O-W!. The larger the database, the worse it got. There had to be a better way. There was, and we found it.  We grew our database to include:

    10 sites
    10 categories (5 top level, 5 sub-categories)
    10, 641 links (pages)
    70,317 keywords
    40,006 kb of cached text
    171,495 kb total size

A backup, producing a gzip file of 14,079 kb, was accomplished in 16 seconds.
A total restoration took 32 seconds. This was a definite improvement over the 6 1/2 HOURS for a smaller database.

Also, as we were no longer looking for coding errors, we began concentrating on the results (or outcomes of admin actions) looking for anything that just was not exactly what we expected to see. We found several bugs which were repaired and tested. Nothing earth-shattering, but bugs nonetheless. Sphider 1.5.1 is the result.

Since Sphider 1.5.1 seems to be the achievement of what we originally set out to do, namely, dispensing with deprecated code, improving security, fixing a few bugs in the original releases, etc., this will probably be the last release for awhile. In the event of some operational problem of immediate concern, a simple patch should be sufficient instead of a whole new release.

Now despite the hours of testing and line-by-line code reviews and results analysis, Murphy’s Law still reigns. We’ll leave it at that.

If cats were bigger…

Do you remember the study that came out about two months ago that basically said, “if your cat was bigger, it would kill you”?

That study is pure rubbish. I have witnessed close up the various personalities of a number of house cats over the last forty years or so. Cats are NOT intimidated by size. I have seen a 9 pound cat face off against a 90 pound doberman. The cat was NOT cornered. It WELCOMED the confrontation. Although it could have very easily gone the other way and ended in disaster, the doberman backed down. I have seen similar instances of cats very willingly face overwhelming odds and either emerging victorious or escaping unscathed. They live for the challenge.

If your cat really wanted you dead, either you or it would already be dead!

One other thing. Although they can be wonderfully graceful, they can also be complete klutzes. If they were bigger, their klutziness COULD possibly kill you by accident. If that were to happen, you would no longer be operating the can opener. The cat then will become hungry. You, being of no possible use dead, would most likely be eaten.

Unless you mistreat your feline, it will not purposely kill you. They are smart enough not to lose their meal ticket.

Sphider for WordPress?

Several years ago, there was a Sphider for WordPress introduced. It was based on the 1.3.4 version of Sphider. Time moved forward, Sphider for WordPress did not. You can still find it. It just most probably isn’t going to work.

A few months back we tried to update it. THAT was a lost cause! So now we have taken our newest Sphider and have started to convert it. It does work, mostly. Still having a few issues, such as suggest doesn’t work and we aren’t sure why not. Also having trouble getting the search integrated into WordPress, although there has been some progress there.

Naturally, since this is a tiny blog, there isn’t much we can thoroughly test it on. Give us a bit more time to get the integration part down and maybe we’ll put it out as a beta, even without suggest working. But maybe we’ll find the problem there, too.

That would be nice, a working version of Sphider for WordPress.

UPDATE: December 15. Integration with WordPress has been accomplished. Suggestions still are not working. Being able to spider and search from WordPress is still a significant achievement. The MAJOR components have been tested and are functional. Still need all the minor branches to be tested.

UPDATE: December 23. Suggestions STILL not working, but Sphider now does a re-index when a post is added or edited. Duplicate domains are being entered in the domains table, but that should be an easy fix. Getting closer to being generally usable.

TLD Mania

ICANN is issuing new top level domains faster than I can create new spam filters to stop the trash coming from the likes of .top, .download, ,mobi, .date, .xyz, .click, .rocks, .wang ….

Supposedly, there really are legitimate web sites using these TLDs, but I personally have yet to actually SEE any of them. The ONLY reason I even know most of these exist is the sudden appearance of a ton of spam from each one of them.

I administer the filters for a number of email addresses, and some of the owners have not been as careful as others and their email address has gotten on some spammer’s list. And once you are on one, you will shortly be on scores of them.

I have yet to see a legitimate email from ANY of the new TLDs.

ICANN thought all these new TLDs would be a great idea, a real boon to the internet. Well, they certainly have been a boon to ICANN and a bunch of shady businesses which are making mucho dinero off their creations! For the rest of us, they are more of a… I’ll be polite and say nuisance.

It’s time for ICANN to pull in the reins, maybe even start phasing out the use of some of the new TLDs. For those legitimate websites (if there really are any) with one of these fad TLDs, my advise would be to give it up get a real TLD. Then I might actually visit you.