Don’t miss Mark Russonovich’s post describing how he found malware on his computer that was installed when he tried to play a copy protected music CD. Not only does the post explains the degree to which music companies are willing to screw up your computer to try to keep you from copying music, but it is also a fascinating account of how one goes about finding and removing software installed maliciously. I find it absurd that companies are legally allowed to install such software when you try to play their CDs. (Via Adam Shostack)
I have to commend President Bush for picking a nominee for the Supreme Court who has a real judicial track record. Nobody has to wonder where he stands on the issues. Unfortunately for the country, where he stands is on the far right end of the political spectrum. Not only does this guy not want to legislate from the bench, he doesn’t want Congress to legislate either. Now we get to have a real fight. We’ll probably see very little of the tea leaf reading that has been a tradition with most Supreme Court nominations, and a lot of bare-knuckled brawling over the role of the judiciary, the federal government, and the future of the country. That sounds like a good fight to have to me, and it’s a debate that I’m eager to engage in.
For a few months I had enabled comments for every post, but I’m changing things again so that only posts that invite commentary actually have comments enabled. I’m not dissatisfied with the comments, but I think that restricting comments to particular posts will encourage more comments on those posts, since they’ll be special. This could also be seen as an admission that many of my posts really aren’t interesting enough to invite conversation, and that’s probably true.
Comments are enabled for this post.
If you read one item on the controversy over Wal-Mart weighing its options with regard to lowering their overall expenditure on health insurance for employees, make it R J Lehmann’s blog post on the subject.
Further correspondence with the system administrators at TextDrive reveals that slow queries were not the problem, but rather sheer volume of queries. Basically, the system adminstrator looked at the CPU utilization on the machine, then disabled my site and continued to watch it and the utilization went down. As he points out in his email message, I only have about 7000 entries and only a few hundred comments, so the size of the database isn’t a problem.
Jay Allen responded to my previous post on this topic saying that I shouldn’t be seeing these problems with a site my size, even if everything is published dynamically. (Most things are, but the home page, which gets the most traffic, is not.) As far as plugins go, there’s not much going on. The only plugin I installed myself is Markdown, and the others that are installed are Nofollow, SpamLookup, and Template Backup and Refresh.
In any case, the limits imposed on the account are lifted for now, pending further problems. I am curious to know why this problem is happening in the first place, so hopefully the answer will reveal itself.
Update: In order to be a team player, I’ve enabled page level caching in Movable Type for the site. Hopefully that will improve things from TextDrive’s perspective and make the site zippier for users as well.
Here’s what Warren Buffett has to say about the possibility of a flat tax and taxes in general:
I wouldn’t support it. We have, in my view, a taxation system that’s much too flat already. If you look at the payroll tax—which is over 12% now, and that applies on the first $80,000 or $90,000 of income—Bill and I pay practically none of that in relation to our income. For the people that work for us, their tax rate in many cases is the same or even higher than my own, since the rate on capital gains and dividends was cut to 15%. What has gone on in this country in recent years is a huge benefit to the very rich and not that much relief to people down below. Frankly, I think that Bill and I should have a higher tax rate on the income we get. We pay less than half the rate that I was paying 25 years ago when I was making a lot less money. They have really taken care of the rich.
I’ve linked to Buffett’s views on the estate tax before, but I just can’t get enough:
Our kids are going to be rich, in the top half-a-percent of the world, but 99% of what I have will go to philanthropy, and Bill has the same attitude, basically. We are not going to turn out super-superwealthy kids. They’ll be wealthy, there’s no question about that, but the idea of dynastic fortune turns me off. If you talk about equality of opportunity in this country and really having everybody with talent having a fair shot at getting the brass ring, the idea that you hand over huge positions in society simply because someone came from the right womb, I just think it’s almost un-American.
Via Rebecca Blood
When TextDrive notified me that my site is a big resource hog and that they had to throttle my usage of MySQL, I asked them for the slow query log for my site. Whenever a database query takes more than two seconds, MySQL automatically logs it to the slow query log, so when you’re having database-related performance issues, it’s the first place to look. A TextDrive sysadmin copied the slow query log for my queries into my home directory — it’s a 700k file.
Needless to say, this seemed like a big clue that my site really was having big problems. When I started looking at the file, I didn’t see any horrible looking queries. The ones that were in there would, for the most part, only be slow if the database were not properly indexed. The next step was to look at the database to make sure that it is properly indexed. I would have been shocked if Six Apart failed in this regard, and a little investigation revealed that their indexes are fine. In fact, when I started running the queries from the slow query log in the MySQL client, they returned their results in times like .02 seconds rather than the 9 or 10 seconds I sometimes saw in the slow query log.
What this means to me is that I’m getting blamed for problems that aren’t my fault. Bottom line, I think that my brief but fractious relationship with TextDrive will be ending soon. And to think I came this close to paying $400 for a lifetime hosting agreement with these guys.
On a related note, Movable Type does not seem to use parameterized queries. That can leave you vulnerable to SQL injection attacks if you’re not extremely careful when you sanitize user input. I’m a bit surprised by that.
Today I got an email from TextDrive saying that this humble Web site is causing my server to spend 40-50% of its CPU time on MySQL rather than the standard 3-9% and that they had to put some limits on my MySQL use to solve the problem, at least until I fix my code. What’s interesting is that the only thing I’m running is an out of the box install of Movable Type 3.2. My Web site is probably a little different than most MT installs because there are bunches of entries, but that shouldn’t be a big deal. I run all of the archive pages dynamically, which is definitely the root of the problem (if all my pages were statically served, there would be no MySQL overhead). I’ve asked them to send me the MySQL slow queries log, maybe that will hold some clues.