It appears that this morning a very dedicated spammer created a Siafoo account and manually sent spam messages to about 90 users. Their account has been disabled and we are looking into ways to prevent abuse of the message system. We apologize for any annoyance this may have caused.
If you have any ideas or suggestions for preventing further incidences of this nature, drop us a line or post a comment below.
A few new things this week:
You can now become a fan of Siafoo on Facebook, which I know you want to : )... it's even easier than contributing code.
We have a page listing Siafoo's sponsors that you can visit to support Siafoo. If you buy anything from Amazon, ThinkGeek, or any of our other sponsors, it doesn't cost you anything extra but we get a bit of money for referring you to them. But you have to do it through the links on the sponsors page.
This should make it a bit easier for people to poke around Siafoo without creating an account, and I don't think infringes on anyone's privacy: email, IM, and friends will not be shown to anonymous visitors, so all your profile really shows is your stats, picture, and about me (the latter two you have to add on the settings page anyways, I figure if you can find that you can find the privacy settings :-D).
If you've already created an account, your settings will not be changed. Don't worry, we won't do what certain other sites do and change these things for you.
By the Way
If you'd like to make yourself visible to the outside world, we encourage you to do so. Change those top 3 to 'Everyone'.
|||In case you're wondering where the profile link at the top went, you now click on your name to see your profile.|
You might have noticed Siafoo was down for a few hours today. It turns out, like back in 2008, it all comes down to a configuration value setting.
In this case, we discovered that while moving the site to a virtual hosting provider, we'd somehow set a setting equivalent to APACHE_TAKES_UP_ALL_OF_YOUR_RAM = 1. In reality, somehow the per-thread RAM limit for Apache had been set to 4GB. (it should be in the hundreds of kilobytes!) In theory, this was causing us to run out of RAM and start swapping to disk, making everything so slow it might as well have been down.
To exacerbate the problem, we have a script that automatically checks that the site is up and that apache forwarding (siafoo.net -> www.siafoo.net, for example) is working correctly. While robots and real users back off when a site is swamped, our script isn't that smart, and so by opening up more connections probably just made things worse.
Anyways, we've tweaked the RAM settings and futzed with some timeout values... hopefully giving you a faster and more responsive site.
The silver lining here though is that even without this swapping occuring though, we were probably using way more RAM than we should have been (it always seemed to us that the site shouldn't need so much RAM). So these new settings might dramatically lower our RAM usage, letting us spend less money on web hosting and therefore (probably) more time improving Siafoo. Moral of the story: if something seems wrong, it probably is.
One More Thing
Oh, and I want to personally apologize for the site being down for so long... I know you might rely on Siafoo for your day-to-day programming needs, and we want to be there when you need us.
If you haven't noticed yet, Siafoo was updated on Saturday. This release brings a much cleaner home page,
optimized menu layout (eg. the My and Browse menus have been merged),
We have also moved to a different development methodology which will result in smaller but more frequent site updates. The idea is to keep the "trunk" stable at all times and only work on disruptive features in branches. (Strictly speaking since we switched to Mercurial there really isn't a trunk per se but you get the idea.) This approach, apparently called it's always summer in the trunk, will allow us to implement nifty little tools and improve existing features more rapidly and with less drama than before.
As usual, comments and suggestions are welcomed and appreciated.
Oh and we forgot to edit the "Siafoo has been updated e-mail" so everyone was sent the update e-mail from last time. Doh!
In those rare occasions when Siafoo produces a 500 error (i.e. crashes), the server software sends us e-mails. Today I heard my phone ding with an e-mail notification, the display showed ~120 e-mails. Horror! What could possibly produce so many errors? As it turns out, a little used and almost forgotten feature. In the transition from the old server to the new one I (yes it was me) forgot to install the LaTeX compiler or even check the math page. So when someone accessed the math page the server attempted to generate all 120+ math images which resulted in the crashes... and e-mails.
Anyway it has been fixed now and I wanted to remind everyone about the sweet power of mathematical typesetting contained within Siafoo.
Physics trivia anyone? The following [almost] 100 year old equation [in a way] fixed a law that no one thought was broken and predicted effects we are just beginning to confirm, even so most people are only familiar with its special version.
What is it?
Oh and incidentally one of the main features in the next Siafoo update will be a reST pastebin... along with a vastly improved performance (especially of the home page).