Slow Boot Problem Solved, Skypecasts and Networking

The other day I was talking about the release of Skype and the subsequent slow boot times that were occurring after installation. I have fixed the slow boot times but not the RAM usage and I am getting into Skypecasts a bit more but there are issues with that as well.

I put my slow boot times down to installing and uninstalling a few applications that we were testing. So I thought that to clean up and defragment the harddrive might be a good idea. I did both these things overnight. The other thing that I did was to set Skype not to load at start-up. The result is that the system is as fast as it ever was, I have less errors in general and the boot time is quick.

I think that the defrag sorted out the general smoothness of the system and cut down on the errors. However, I am sure that the very slow boot time was due to the bloated Skype 3.0. It does after all load about 30 MB of data to RAM. So if you are experiencing the same problem try that. I am a bit slack in the defragging department and this has shown me that I really should make the effort to do it at least once a month. Problem is that I never have the time or I think that I don’t. But the overnight idea worked a treat. One thing I did do was disconnect the Ethernet cable. I just don’t like the idea of the PC sitting there all night connected. Seems unfounded but that’s me.

I have listened to a few more Skypecasts since the post and I have really enjoyed them. There are however massive problems with the servers. Before Skype 3.0 came out Skypecasts did not seem used that much. Then Skype 3.0 hits with Skypecasts built in and all hell breaks loose. But a button in front of a user and what happens? They press it of course.

So the Skypecast servers get inundated with new users and they are failing. They obviously have not scaled the servers for this type of traffic and the system is struggling to cope. That’s not to mention the idiots that are in there. I think this will improve though and they should be a blast just be patient with the reliability of the servers.

I have done more networking and meet some amazing people listening and participating in Skypecasts than I have in the last month. I even meet another Aussie podcaster. Listen to his latest cast on Open Source Applications, his podcast is called style:guide which he describes as:

“… a guided tour through the world of design from web sites and print design to video and music, and all other types of design in the world we live in today.”

He has 6 episodes in the can, good work. I reckon the first one is the hardest. It is great to have a fellow geek on the Skype list in Australia and a podcaster to boot. We have traded tips and helped each other out a bit and it has been fun.

The Internet continues to inspire me and surprise me. Nice header, can you do anything about mine Tim?

guide screenshot

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Apple Story Crashes Servers

This is a good kind of crash. The Apple story that Cameron Reilly ran on The Podcast Network ended up on Digg and managed to attract enough traffic so that it went down for a while. Tops. I was pleased to hear that it made the front page of Digg, so I guess that will put a strain on any network.

At six am this morning Cam was onto it and had the tech guys working on a solution. They managed to throw some more bandwidth at it and restored order. Thank you to the team at The Podcast Network for their quick action. The connection sometimes fails still but just hit the reload button.

I appologise to the listeners of other shows on the network that could not access the shows that they listen to and their respective hosts. Thanks to Cam for covering the story.

Global Geek Podcast 004 is Out Now: Go Get Some Geek

Well I am very happy with the end result of the published podcast. If you have not listened to it before now then please give it a go.

I was very, very peeved that I initially lost two and a half hours worth of editing work. I am not sure what I did in Audacity but I think in blaming myself I am blaming the right person and "thing". So tonight I sat down and started again, from the beginning. Now I am very pleased to be finished. I had a lot of editing and splicing of tracks to do in this one, which was a challenge but well rewarded in the end product. I am leaning heaps as I go.

The one thing that I was absolutely stoked about was the fact that the audio levels were spot on, I had to do very little stuffing around using the compressor. I did normalize the final edit and amplify it and that's it. Setting our levels is always tricky with the methods that we are employing to record as I might have said before. But the attention to detail has been worth it.

One thing that has irritated me is the fact that when I uploaded the podcast tonight the LibSyn player in the top right of the page did not update! So please if you listen to it using this method please either download it, or click the symbol next to the post with "POD" on it. Alternatively the widget here has been updated so that you can listen to it from here! I have shot off an email to LibSyn and await a response from them. I do know though that over the last couple of days they have been working on their servers so this might be the reason. Also because of this, if you can not connect to the website please try in an hour, as LibSyn believe that this is the only length of down-time to expect.

Other than that, enjoy the show! 

WordPress Response

I am not going to move the blog. Great response and in a timely fashion impress me, to the point of me totally deciding to stay with WordPress.

I got a response from a previous email that said that we are working on the problem and that it should be fixed now. Well that was before the problems last night. So I wrote a fairly pointed email back saying that in no way was it fixed. In addition there have been a few mentions in the blogosphere about the issues.

Seems that WordPress has grown at a rate that they were not expecting and that they have had some difficultity keeping up. This has resulted in servers slowing down and being unreliable. I got a response from my email in under an hour, you can not get better than that! The first thing I got was an apology. The second thing was that I was informed that they have purchased more bandwidth which should speed up things around WordPress. I have been informed also that as fast as they install new hardware (by that I presume hard-drives) it fills up. I think this is just a reflection of the growth of the blogosphere, it is growing at a phenomenal rate and doesn’t look like slowing down. However this week it looks like they are having a mass install of new hardware in their data centres and that will make a world of difference, I hope it does.

This is evident in the WordPress Blog so that’s good to hear:

We’re in the very final stages of bringing the new systems online, just waiting the last few bits of configuration to come online. As we’re more than doubling the servers we’re using, it should address all performance issues and help us prevent any for a long time to come.

Finally, I was told that they are working very hard at making WordPress a great domain that just works. The response also said that they have not been achieving that recently and that they have dissapointed their users. But they have the solution and they are working on it. So hang in there bloggers there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Interestingly Sebastian and I mentioned in the podcast last week that the ping times for WordPress to Technorati are terrible and that bloggers need to manually ping Technorati to see some benefits from it. This is a problem with Ping-O-Matic and Technorati recognised by WordPress as Matt has been talking to Technorati about resolving the issue. My advice keep doing it manually as this has not been resolved yet, I will try to keep you posted.

Great response from WordPress and I hope that I can continue to support WordPress as I like their style and they are excellent in the support stakes.

FeedDemon 2.0.0.22 Beta Tested: Positive Results

Tonight FeedDemon was tested with an unable to connect to server error. I was impressed with the performance, there were a few bugs but nothing major. This may or may not have been a NewsGator Server problem.

I fired up FeedDemon and got the "cannot connect to server message". I got the option to un-synchronize the feeds and to manually page each feed for updates. I selected that and I was presented with a message that informed me that the feeds would be updated directly from the feed URL's and that it would be slower. So I selected OK.

To say that the feeds would update slower is an understatement, it is really slow and I have a 1500/256 connection (that is pretty quick here in Australia), so bear in mind that with functionality comes a slowdown. That said it was not something that bothered me too much. One error that occurred was that when the feeds updated it imported "old" updates. I got posts from January 2006 and they were out or order by date and some were marked read and others not read even though I knew I had marked them as read previously. I did however get the new feeds at the top, which is what you want.

While this was going on Sebastian had asked me to listen to a podcast he had done the day before, so I went to the folder, I did have to manually update the folder with the "update feed" command; but when I did I got the new podcast listed. I clicked the "paper-clip" and FeedStation opened and started to download. It noted that it could not connect to "my podcasts" but it did not seem to bother the download. The podcast downloaded and synchronised to my sync folder on my local machine with no problems.

One thing that is not made as clear as it could be is how to re-synchronise your folders. Basically; you get an icon in the bottom left corner of FeedDemon that has a disconnected symbol on it – or something like that. You can click this icon and get options, one is to test the connection and another one to say you are not synchronised with a tick – selected next to it. I just presumed that to resynchronise you "deselect the box". I was right, but it is not indicated that you have; or are trying to synchronise again. The indication that you are trying to connect and have been successful is the fact that the synchronising with NewsGator splash comes up. I think this needs to be improved.

A new feature is the "test" connection option, again an option within the click icon at the bottom left. So every once and a while I tested the connection and I eventually got a "good" result back and I went through the resynchronise process described above. No problems. FeedDemon synchronised and updated the feeds and did not have a problem with the fact that I had read some new posts and download an enclosure. FeedDemon even marked those as read – so it performed better then expected there.

As far as the reason for the outage, I am not sure if the NewsGator server was down or that I could not connect to it because of the connection between my machine and the server. If it was the server, it was not down for long, which makes me think it was a connection problem. Well done Nick, this is what I expect from you guys, thanks.