You can run me, you can starve me, you can beat me, you can kill me and you can blackmail me. Just don’t bore me.

I get something like this in my (spam) email folder ever week or so. In fact, I’ve been getting them off and on for the last year or so… haven’t really kept track. I’ve gotten two in the last 24 hours… different bitcoin address each time.

Well, I never have paid a single cent. Really don’t have much use for bitcoin. I am STILL waiting for whoever is sending me these to just hurry up and expose me! I’m really getting bored sitting here waiting for that other shoe to drop! I REALLY want all my friends and contacts watch those same cat videos I find so funny! But videos of me…? MAN, ARE YOU GOOD! You got videos of me and my desktop doesn’t even have a camera!

Oh… all those passcodes you have… could you send them to me? Seems I’ve forgotten most of them…

… and would you PLEASE clean up your grammar? How do you expect to be taken seriously when your sentence structure is so poor?

Sphider – PDO vs MySQLi

There are TWO editions of Sphider… the classic edition using MySQLi and the PDO edition.

Why are there two versions? The classic edition uses MySQLi and prepared statements. While MySQLi, by itself, does support prepared statements, there are a couple functions used in Sphider that require MySQLnd (the “nd” stands for “native driver”). These functions are used because they are the most efficient way of doing things.

MySQLnd has been the default driver since PHP 5.4. If you install a modern version of PHP and want MySQLi, you are going to get MySQLnd. Yet SOME hosting companies DISABLE MySQLnd for those using shared hosting. (I suppose they want people to shell out a few more bucks to get VPS or Dedicated hosting.) In those situations, the classic edition just ain’t gonna work! So, there is the PDO edition.

There are those who will tell you that PDO is what you should be using anyway. They will tout how versatile PDO is, how it can do anything MySQLi can do, only better. It is true the PDO IS versatile. It can work with many different databases, not just MySQL. But there ARE some things PDO just can’t do, at least not efficiently. And there is overhead. And memory requirements.

With PDO:              PHP <==> PDO <==> Your data
With MySQLi:       PHP <==> Your data

The classic version of Sphider is the better, more capable edition! The PDO edition is capable enough PROVIDED you aren’t trying to build your personal version of an internet search engine. It IS possible to tax the PDO edition to the point it chokes. (It is probably possible to choke the classic edition as well, but it takes more effort.)

Remember, the intent of Sphider was/is to index a web site for the benefit of that site’s visitors. In can be used to index a number of related sites for the same purpose. An individual may stretch Sphider for personal use to index MANY sites… but it is STILL just a small indexing tool and not a Google replacement!

NOW… the final point. If you REALLY need Sphider to stretch its capabilities to the absolute limit, maybe you should be using the classic edition and not PDO. If that is the case, shell out a couple extra bucks to your host so you can get access to MySQLnd. Don’t try to pull a 20′ travel trailer with a Honda Civic.

The customer service rep…

Sometime back, I was talking on the phone to a customer service representative about some product or another. He needed to snail mail me some information.

Now the conversation went something like this (names changed but not the concept):
Customer Rep: Can I get your name, please.
Me: James Piper.
Rep: Diaper?
Me: No, PIPER!
Rep: Diaper?
Me: NO! PIPER! P as in Paul, i-p-e-r!
Rep: OH! Okay. Thank you.

A few days later I got the information in the mail. It was addressed to Paul Iper.


A family tradition

It is Thanksgiving Day here in the United States. Many families have traditions for Thanksgiving. My family when I was growing up was no different. This is the story of one of those traditions.

It began about 1955 or 1956 when we got our first television set. It was on the first Thanksgiving after getting the television that my father discovered the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. He would turn on the television, set the channel for the parade… and leave the room to do other things, never to return. But God help the soul who, in his absence, attempted to change to another channel! That was strictly forbidden! So every Thanksgiving, we would turn on the television, tune in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, … and leave the room to find other things to do. Nobody had any real interest in watching the thing… but it just HAD to be on.

After I had left home and had my own family, the tradition died, at least in my house. If we went to visit the folks on Thanksgiving, the parade was on… with nobody watching. My father didn’t miss a Thanksgiving Day parade (which he never watched) a single time until he died in the early 1980’s.

Why I hate Microsoft

I have a number of computers. My main desktop machine runs Ubuntu (currently 18.04), but I have another desktop running Windows 7. I also have a newer laptop (which I don’t use much) with Windows 10. I also have an older laptop, which rarely even gets powered on anymore, with Linux Mint.

Well, I have always had nightmares with Windows update. It seems always to need to do something right when it is least convenient, and is problem prone. As a result, I just disable the service and update ONLY when it’s a) been awhile since the last time, and b) it’s a good time for me.

Today, both conditions were met. I re-enabled the Windows Update service and checked for updates. It took nearly half an hour and discovered there were 6 “needed” updates. One was the totally useless Malicious Software Removel Tool, which runs a long time and does nothing. I deep sixed that one that one and proceeded with the other 5. Another half hour went by as the system downloaded 5 updates. Time to install. It worked, and worked, and worked… said it needed to restart. Okay, fine. “Configuring updates”. “Configuring updates”. … You know how that goes. Finally, it’s been “configuring for another half hour and it has reached 98% complete. Then, the very thing I just KNEW was going to happen, did. “Windows was unable to configure updates. Reverting changes”. CRAP! But not the first time I’ve ever seen that happen!

Anyway, while all that was going on, I was over on my Ubuntu box. I use that one every day, so it is pretty up to date. I figured I would check anyway, so I did an “apt-get update”, and there was one for Linux firmware. I installed it… no reboot needed. I went online and made a few tweaks to another one of my web sites, did some surfing, worked a bit in Libre Office…. Meanwhile, back at the Windows ranch, the “reverting changes” was getting underway. I had to go to the bank, which I did. I was hungry, so I went to get something to eat. Got back home and decided to boot up the old Linux Mint laptop. It had been AT LEAST six months, so you can imagine. It needed a gazillion updates, which I proceed to do. It definitely took awhile (no idea how many updates were actually done), but they all completed without any issues. No reboots were needed. I found some outdated apps and updated them. My Libre Office was still at version 5, so I upgraded it. Took a phone call, went back on my Ubuntu machine and did a bit more work. Then I played with the cat for a bit. After three hours of “reverting changes”, Windows was ready.

So Microsoft Windows took between four and four and a half hours…. accomplishing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!!!

I updated the Windows 10 laptop a couple nights ago, and that took a couple hours. Surprisingly, this time it actually worked.

After years of experience with Microsoft, beginning with DOS 2.11 up to now (I avoided 95/98/ME like the plague and was more into NT 3.51, 4.0, etc. – except Vista/8/8.1), and years with UNIX SYSTEM V, into Red Hat, and finally Ubuntu, I have learned this moral:

The quality of an operating system is inversely proportional to its cost.

Note that Ubuntu is free.

I compose this rant on Ubuntu.

Boiled Shrimp

When I was a young man, I discovered shrimp… specifically, fried shrimp. Whenever we went to a restaurant, if fried shrimp was on the menu, I ordered it.

After I had left home and was on my own, fried shrimp was always one of my favorite options. But then one day, sitting at the bar in Al’s Bar in a town in Nebraska, I noticed a sign above the bar: “Plate of 12 boiled shrimp, $1”. Well, I was hungry and I did like fried shrimp, so I figure shrimp is shrimp and ordered a plate.

As I am sitting there, watching TV, sipping my beer, and eating my boiled shrimp, I notice a stranger to my left sort of watching me. I say nothing and continue watching TV, sipping beer, and eating boiled shrimp.

Finally the stranger to my left speaks: “Excuse me. Do you ALWAYS eat your shrimp with the shells on?”
I reply: “Yes. Yes I do. Why?”
Stranger: “Well, it’s just that I never saw anybody do that before. They always shell them first.”
Me: “I like the crunch!”

I guess I decided that day, after finishing the plate of shrimp I had in front of me, that I just maybe might try shelling them in the future. Since that time, whenever I have eaten boiled shrimp, I have shelled them first… provided there is no sign of that same stranger nearby.

Hey! At least I have ALWAYS shelled my hard boiled eggs before eating them!