Many of you asked for it, and you're right, so I will try to write a site news update at the very least once a month. I will usually do it on or around the first of the month, but this one is long overdue, so I'm doing it now.
Today I found one bug which has to have been contributing to the total [impolite word redacted] which K5 performance has been lately. There's a logging function that keeps track of ad impressions over the course of a day, and at night it boils the specific records down to general statistics for advertisers and deletes the day's individual records. Or at least, it's supposed to delete them. It seems it hasn't been since July seventh, and the ad_log table had grown to around half a million rows. It had gotten rather slow on inserts, which happen every time an ad is viewed. I fixed the bug and cleared out all the old rows, hoping that that was causing the bad performance problems. Well, it didn't help much right away, but I also hadn't rebuilt the database in a while, and deleting 3/4 of the records in one table all at once can cause index performance to go down the crapper. So I also dropped and reloaded the database. Since then, it has been very snappy, so here's hoping that was the problem.
New volunteer part-time admin
Another common request was that I recruit someone to keep an eye on things when I can't be parked at a keyboard. So I've
suckered invited one of the founding geniuses behind Satanosphere and all-round competent Scoop admin Captain_Tenille to take care of the machines when I'm not around. Many thanks, Cap'n, and here's hoping you'll never need to do anything.
There's a new database box coming online soon, and 36Gb of new drive space in each of our existing machines, which should make the disk fillups a thing of the past. I'm not sure what the final new server layout is going to be, but I'm thinking about trying to have the new database box take all incoming writes, and keep the old one as a slave for reading only. If this works, it ought to improve performance a lot for everyone. Also, if it works well, I would have the pieces in place to bring up a dedicated subscriber database in the future, which I think would probably be a nice feature.
With pb's help I'm rewriting search on a vector model. No promises because it is an experiment, but none of us can think why it wouldn't work, and if it does, it'll be a hell of a lot better than what we have. Not only should it be fast enough to actually use, but it may have the added bonus of finding what you were looking for. That will either be done or proven infeasable within the next couple of weeks. Hopefully the former.
Everyone up to and including my wife has been unhappy with me (no, we're not getting a divorce, by the way -- YHBT) about my sluggishness on the CMF. I have no good excuse, only bad ones. Nevertheless, she has dragged me forward and collected up and enumerated the things we need to do to continue. I have drafts of a statement of purpose, a narrative of action, and a budget to edit, and a temporary board to invite before we can start filing the actual incorporation paperwork. I will collect those things up and post them Friday, whether the damn things are done or not. If they're not, the more fool I will look.
I would also love if anyone who does web design, or wishes they did, would send me a concept for how the CMF site should look. I suck at web design. If you don't, whip up a little concept graphic and send it over. My only requests are that it be fairly simple and clean, and be possible to implement with Scoop. And also that you be willing to work with me to implement it if I like yours.
I would like to get the CMF site running as soon as we file, if not before. It's pretty much ready to go, I just don't know what it should look like. If no one has an idea, I'll do something crappy until someone else comes up with a better design, but really, no one wants to see my crappy layout. Won't you please think of the kittens?
So that's August. If/when the new search is up I'll post another note introducing it, and look for a CMF update Friday. And thanks for your eternal patience. :-)