Archive for October, 2004

Leaves in the Rain

October 30th, 2004 Comments off

leaves in the rainA picture taken in a hurry in Ueno, on a rainy day, the camera in one hand, the umbrella in the other one.

Categories: photo Tags:

Blosxom Plugin High CPU Usage

October 28th, 2004 2 comments

I found out about a major flaw in the calendar plugin for blosxom. after my website was suspended again. I started to wonder if there could really be a problem, since that happened with my previous provider too so I called up Bluehost's support team and asked about the problem. First of all, I have to say thanks to their support: contrary to my previous provider, they had a Call Center, which made things much smoother. Additionally, they were able to provide accurate information about the name of the process, the time, the amount of CPU usage, etc.

Thanks to those details and after a quick search in Google, I found an interesting page, where the problem was mentioned. Basically, if you input a bad month in the URL, the plugin will get into an infinite loop, which may use up all resources on the server.

The fix proposed in the page is quite simple: just run a test on the month, and if it's greater than 12 or lower than 1, just force its value to 12 (for example). Assuming there may be other problems, I've just got rid of this plugin and replaced it by the flat archives plugin, visible on the right hand side of this page.

Damn it! Maybe that stupid provider was right about the high CPU usage after all, but I still feel no regret having switched to Bluehost, for I know that they are more reliable and at least, they can speak proper English!

Categories: journal Tags:

198+1 Cats

October 27th, 2004 3 comments

pitou laying on the carpetI didn't have time to post any picture of Pitou recently, so I figured I could upload at least one and compensate with 198 pictures of other cats, especially kitties. The website features pictures of adorable kitties in different situations, and although the photoshop touch is sometimes a bit too harsh, the pictures are very pleasant to view.

Pitou, on the other hand, has gotten so big recently, I think she's been having too much of a good time at Jeff's or Jean-Paul's, who are kind enough to keep her while I'm away from home for a few days. I just haven't realized how time flies and how adult she has become, although she's still very playful!

Categories: pitou Tags:

Autumn in Shinjuku Gyoen

October 24th, 2004 4 comments

2 leaves in opposite directionsIn spite of the cloudy weather today, Eiko and I went to Shinjuku Gyoen on foot. A 25 minutes-walk to spend some calories. Obviously, my new haircut and the fact that I lost half a kilo of hair expose that my face has gotten larger than it used to be a few months back. Lack of exercise, nice dinners prepared by Eiko everynight and some sweets from time to time sort of ruined the athletic shape of mine (ahem...).

The autumn and the recent typhoons didn't leave much of the colors of the park, as we remembered it in Spring for the "Green Day" (Midori no Hi), so I had to look at details to find some potential pictures to take.

maple leaves in shinjuku gyoenI am actually glad I did, because you tend to miss those wonderful little things when you look at the big picture. The colours of Autumn suddenly popped in front of me: a natural arrangement of branches and freshly fallen leaves there, maple trees in the shade, Autumn speaks in a subtle but beautiful language.

Going to Shinjuku Gyoen is everytime a new experience, the garden reveals its wonders little by little, as if it was trying to captivate the visitors and invite them to come again. It is quite successful in my case.

Categories: japon Tags:

Stupid Earth

October 23rd, 2004 1 comment

Earthquakes, typhoons, tidal waves, volcanos (when you're lucky), there is everything you need, and even the things you don't need in Japan. Earlier this week, we had a major typhoon, the biggest one in a decade. It actually came right after another typhoon, which was also supposed to be one of the biggest Japan has experienced for many years. The combination of both provoked many floods, land slides and tidal waves, which showed no mercy to the many houses they ravaged. Close to 80 people died because of those typhoons and more thean 300 people were injured.

Then today, for several hours, Japan was literally trembling under a series of earthquakes that hit Niigata this evening. The first and strongest one hit exactly at 17:56, with a magnitude of 6.8. Already 3 people died, some roads have just cracked wide open, cars are stuck inside a tunnel and most cities around are still without electricity. The jolt was felt even in Tokyo, where the magnitude was "only" 4.

If you'd like to read more about this, you can just visit Japan Today's website or The Daily Yomiuri.

This year has been exceptional, as several records were sadly beaten: the highest temperature ever recorded in Tokyo, the number of typhoons within a year, it was also the first time typhoons struck Japan in October. Finally, it is the first time quakes measuring 6 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale of 7 occurred four times in a day, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

There is a sort of apocalyptic atmosphere that reigns in Japan and noone can tell when it's going to end. On the contrary, I feel everyone fears this only confirms the trend that the environment is already screwed up...

Categories: japon Tags:

One more bad Webhost!

October 13th, 2004 6 comments

First of all, a few words, so that I make sure that Google catches them well: zighost, also known as 1uhost, sucks! Avoid 1uhost at all costs! Stay away from 1uhost! Why? Just read the following...

My homepage was suddenly suspended last week, showing a dreadful 404 error message. Before that, the server was just down for all users, so I was just assuming that they were in the process of restoring data for my account, but after a couple of days, I finally asked my webhost (zighost - I am not putting a link on purpose in order not to make it go up in google's ranking system) about it.

I was answered that I had some cgi scripts taking too much system resources. Or at least, this is what I could understand from the message, written in a such an approximate English, that it could have meant about anything.

Right. The only cgi script I have is blosxom, a simple perl script which browses text files in the UNIX file system, that I use for this weblog. Apart from that, I'm also using Gallery, a simple php gallery, widely used on the Internet. However, you won't find any forum, any shopping cart, any chat system on this homepage: just the minimum one needs to make a homepage.

On top of that, access to my account was just not possible, neither by ssh nor through the cpanel. Kind of amusing, when I was nicely prompted to fix this issue. "You must fix this", as they said. Well, I can't really help if you don't give me access to my account! I also requested more details about the actual culprit but didn't get any answer for a while. After sending several messages to the Helpdesk Center, I finally obtained access to my account again, with another nice message "Your site unsespended.Please fix immediately".

I took notice of the warning, but instead, the thing I immediately did was to download a full backup of my homepage, thinking that if my account was suspended again, at least, I'd have all files available to switch to another webhost. What happened next tells me that I showed wisdom in doing so. Anyway, I wanted to show good will, so I started checking what I could remove, so I:

  • Disabled the slideshow feature of the gallery, which was said to be CPU potentially intensive
  • Decreased the number of posts showed in the weblog to 5
  • Reduced the frequency of the crontabs

In spite of those precautions, my account got suspended again 2 days after the changes, again with a very nice reply to my message to the support team:


It has been necessary for us to suspend the account 'shiromi', monopolises and hard use system resources.
If you have a solution to this problem please do let me know reactivate the account, if not, I will remove the account totally at the end of the week without refund.

If you require any additional information or we can be of any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact us.

Kind Regards,
1UHOST Abuse Team

At this point, I knew it was time to think about another provider. My choice went to Bluehost, a webhost which won the Best New Host Award in 2003, featuring everything that others provide, plus ssh access, 2Gb of disk space and 75Gb of bandwidth, everything for approximately the same price as competitors.

In the meantime, I requested more information to zighost/1uhost about the cause of the problem, knowing that I am likely not to get any constructive answer. They just disabled my account because they intended to do so andit seems there is nothing I can do about it, except warning people not to go for zighost or 1uhost (there may be other aliases, but those are the ones I know of). I should actually have suspected something when I noticed that all customers were hosted on the same physical machine, along with the website of the company... Afterwards, I also found some very bad criticisms on various forums about that webhost, among which, my favorite one is:

Actually, I'll allow myself to make one attack on a host - this one. Easy to fall for, but if you do - simply forget about the service and money invested. If your site starts generating lots of traffic, the site will be suspended and good luck getting someone e-mailing you back. Based on my own investigation, the company is pure fraud, founded and operated by some kid in Turkey.

One-bad-spelling-and-grammar-sentence-replies is what you will get. Guaranteed.

And the reply from 1uhost:

You sad;

"Based on my own investigation, the company is pure fraud, founded and operated by some kid in Turkey."

Our company is really company at hosting endustry.An TEKNOLINE INTERNET company.And we have valid tax office and number and we have registered company in Turkey.Our based office in Turkey and our company registered in Turkey.And, our datacenters are in USA.We have changed servers to excellent support and quality datacenter now.We datacenter name is NAC now.This datacenter is high quality and premium datacenter.

Your site suspended, becouse, you violated to our AUP.And, we give you all your money.

Have a nice day

No comments... Just stay away from 1uhost and any of their aliases! Resolve the IP address of the webhost, and if it matches (their current IP address), add the webhost to your blacklist.

Categories: journal Tags:

A Piece of Sunlight

October 3rd, 2004 Comments off

piece of sunlightThis picture is the last bit of warm sunlight that I could steal from the Japanese sky, which seems more shy to unveil its golden tribute lately. We probably had too much during last summer and it is now time to look ahead and to face the rainy Automn.

The featured piece of art is the Hibiki sculpture, at the Karajan Plaza, in Ark Hills. Recently renovated, it now proudly stands in front of the Suntory Hall again.

Categories: photo Tags: