Some of you might have noticed that this website went splat for a while today. Well, that happened because my web host (pair) updated a bunch of stuff on the server including FreeBSD and Apache. I knew it was coming and figured there might be some issues, but I didn't expect the entire website to go down. Turns out the problem had to do with my use of MultiViews, which I was using for transparent gzip compression. I wasn't able to fix the problem, even with the recommended tweaks, so I just ended up ditching MultiViews and hacked out a mod_rewrite based solution. Well, eventually. A beneficial side effect of my frustration is that the links on the website now have proper .html extensions, which I had to remove previously to get the gzip negotation to work.
(If you still see something newly broken, drop me a note by comment or email, of course. Then again, if you're reading this, you obviously are seeing something, which is a lot more than a few hours ago.)
I use compression mainly out of habit, from the days when I had a lot less bandwidth -- around 50-200MB/day -- and ran into bandwidth issues even with mainly just text pages. This was around the time when Netscape 4 and IE4 were taking off and thus gzip compression support in browsers was becoming widely available, and 2-3:1 compression was a huge deal. Nowadays, I have a ton more bandwidth than I'm using, but I still like to strip whitespace and use gzip because I hate unnecessary waste and it loads faster over slow links. That probably means I could stand to use a lot more images, but I guess what I have now better suits my total lack of web page aesthetic sense.
Web page design and administration isn't really my specialty, as you might have guessed. Even though I don't have a lot of spare time and what I do have tends to be applied toward coding, I still find it useful to maintain the website and especially the blog. The blog's reputation for being a spew fest for random thoughts is well-deserved -- but what I find amazing is the response that I get despite my own peculiar mix of topics. The amazing, and slightly scary, aspect of the Internet is that there are so many people connected that there's nearly always at least one person interested in what you are saying, no matter what it is.