Questions Day

What’s a good web-standards, tableless PHP+MySQL-based CMS that isn’t focused on blogging (IE, not WordPress) ?

What are some strategies for prioritising tasks in day-to-day work?

Running a car is expensive, so why don’t more people use the bus, especially in Wellington, since we (arguably) have the best bus system in the nation… ?

Why is picking up good habits so difficult, but picking up bad habits so easy?

Have you… seen my legs?

Google Maps now higher-res than Zoomin, smaps

After a little discussion about Trade Me and their new smaps online map system (which seems to be powered by the same engine ZoomIn is using, but with no satellite imagery), I took another look at Google Maps and their aerial photography of Wellington.

Turns out Google Maps is now higher resolution than smaps or ZoomIn. You can get down to the level where cars are blobs of pixels. Also, Google Maps has more up to date photography — you can see the work on the Inner City Bypass (same location on ZoomIn, smaps).

To be honest, I’m glad that we’ve finally got some decent competition in New Zealand’s online maps — Wises was sucking ass ever since I saw the original ‘ajax map’ from Switzerland — long before Google Maps was around.

“The Aucklander” Magazine Practices Unethical Online Behaviour

Dear “The Aucklander”: Welcome to the internet. It’s a complicated place, but I have something to say about your presence I have encountered here thus far.

Your “Features Consultant”, Mr Deepak Desousa, recently left some advertising for your magazine’s services on a post about my Father’s Day exploits three years ago.

Here are some reasons why I think you, the magazine known as “The Aucklander” done the wrong thing here:

  1. I live in Wellington, not Auckland.. I happen to not like Auckland’s ‘culture’ a hang of a lot, for reasons I care not to discuss in this forum. Why would I give a rat’s ass about a local magazine in a city I am loathe to visit under most circumstances? Thanks for further cementing my belief that Auckland is made majorally out of people who only care only about themselves.
  2. Your comment is off topic and advertising you haven’t paid for. My blog has a comments facility to enable those who read it to contribute constructive feedback or add their own two cents to the point of view I put forward. It’s not for maverick marketeers to hijack to post their own advertising on, so you can sell advertising yourselves. This is known as Comment Spam, and is the bane of many bloggers’ existance. Thanks for perpeptuating the vicious cycle.
  3. If the business deal was for ME, then you should have contacted ME. Leaving a comment was the wrong way to contact me. I have a very visible contact page. If you wanted to pay me for some lucrative advertising deal, then you should have emailed me or even telephoned me personally.
  4. No you can’t sip my Google Juice. Just because my father’s day post happens to be the #7 result for fathers day site:nz on Google right now without me even trying, doesn’t mean you can rip the cup from my hands. Google ignores any URLs in my comments — they have rel="nofollow" on them. However, my Google Juice is so strong that this post talking about The Aucklander will probably feature quite highly when people Google for you.

I hope that clears things up.

If I lived in Auckland, I’d probably be available to come to your offices and talk to you personally about this. But I don’t. If you want to talk to me, please feel free to contact me personally, now you know the correct medium to do that within, during business hours.

Being On Hold and the Art of Debugging DNS Discrepancies

So as you know, I recently switched hosts. I host a small site for a short animated film which is still in post production.

When I switched host, I needed to update that site’s record of who is handling the domain name. Friday night, I logged into the domain registrar and found the page which lets me update the nameservers. I am told this is called updating the zone file.

When I do this, it is supposed to propagate the changes through the all of the DNS servers around the world within the space of 24 hours. That’s how it works. Problem solved.

Not with this domain name. Monday morning rolled around, and still the domain name was pointing at the old host’s servers.

This is weird, because and are reporting the dns records correctly.

So I get in contact with the registrar who handles the domain name. The lady on the other end of my web-based IM session told me it’s probably Telecom’s fault, as this kind of thing isn’t surprising, and on request provides me with phone numbers to Telecom.

After 15 minutes on hold (because of the power cuts in Auckland recently) I get through to a guy in Complex Technical Support (yes, that’s what the department is called at Telecom/Xtra), and I explain to him my problem, and stubbornly refuses to believe that their systems are as bad as I have been informed — I asked that he flush their dns cache for me, but he refused. After frustrating attempts to get him to see what I was seeing, I took his name down and department in case I needed to stick it to him.

So I talk to my System Administrator here at Natcoll, and he introduces me to a tool called dig which will let me see what different DNS servers are saying about domain names. After checking a few low level DNS servers, such as Paradise and Xtra, we checked the A-level DNS servers — and the first B level DNS server I checked was mis-reporting too! No wonder we’re having these problems.

So, after trying to raise an IM session with the registrar, I tracked down their phone number and called them for real. I got a helpful soul who said aha, no, what I was told by the other staff member is incorrect. Turns out that they are not a .com registrar themselves, but have to go through a US company to register .com domains on behalf of their customers, and it would seem that the propagation of the zone file changes I requested had failed, and they would need to request them to happen by telephone.

So all’s well that ends well. I’ve called Complex Tech Support back and asked that a message be left for the employee I spoke with, telling him that he was right, and I was fed bad information from my registrar and I wanted to apologise.

Hopefully the site will be up tomorrow morning! I guess we’ll see, eh?

ROFL Telecom == Telecon

I made this image a long time ago, but it’s very relevent now:


This one has certainly done the rounds — I don’t believe there’s a net-savvy New Zealander who hasn’t seen it already, but in case you missed it:


To all those who invested in Telecom shares and got burned recently, Nelson from The Simpsons said it best: HAW-HAW!

Corporate Telecommunication Still Sucks.