News items for tag virtualbookcase - Koos van den Hout

2011-08-02 (#)
Big surprise yesterday: UPS logistics is able to do a 'deliver to neighbour' on a residential address. Since we have nice neighbours in the street a package was delivered there and we found the note to pick it up. That is quite an improvement over having to go to some warehouse in a far away industrial area only reachable by car.

In the package: two Amazon Kindles. Yes, we're going e-book! The main reason is quite simple: on cycling holidays books are a serious part of the weight we drag along. Having the entire library as a lightweight (240 gram) e-reader is nicer.

One effect is that I think I want to add something with editions / versions of books to detail pages about books on virtualbookcase so it is visible when a book is available in a kindle version. This has already been on my mind for UK/US versions (which happened for books like Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (UK version) / Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (US version). Ideally, I'd like to link all versions of the same book so I can show all reviews together. And as an added bonus I could show availability of hardback / paperback / kindle versions at places like amazon. But that will take some serious programming time...

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2011-01-12 (#)
I recently re-read The Fugitive Game: Online with Kevin Mitnick and noticed I never wrote a review for it. So I fixed that omission. It's a great book to read as it reads as a big adventure. But it took me a while to write a good review.

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2010-08-03 (#)
There is an interesting relation between 'website with technical subject' and 'visitors with IPv6'. I counted the number of unique addresses of visitors via IPv6 to several websites I run for the month of July 2010 and found the following percentages: Comparing it to July 2009 (percentages between parentheses) does show growth.

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2009-07-16 (#)
Time for some website programming: Amazon was notifying me that Amazon 'Product Advertising API' requests (formerly known as Amazon Web Service) now need to be digitally signed. The 'why' of this is probably something with security. For the 'how' I had to revive those braincells which once programmed Amazon Web Service into The Virtual Bookcase. Those braincells took time as I was first browsing in the wrong sourcefiles. But, after having a peek at Jaap's free Amazon PHP Scripts and incorporating the change to sign requests into my sources, I found the right way again.

One of those times I am glad I have a development version of the site (smaller database, code in development), a qa version (production database, candidate code) and a running version (production database, production code) to test changes like this. The visitors of The Virtual Bookcase never saw all the tries in getting the code to work right.

It was a while since I did any serious work on that site. Otherwise it runs on autopilot and I only add new books and reviews from time to time. Ok, the income from the site has dropped in the same way.

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2009-06-03 (#)
Computers are better at... doing what you program to, not what you want. There is still an older computer running which once hosted my mailman mailinglists for several domains. I shut down mailman on that machine and migrated the lists. But mailman was never removed from the startup files and the machine rebooted today, resulting in three years of mailman monthly reminders mailed at once. So if you were looking why you got old mailman reminders from virtualbookcase, this is why.

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2009-03-21 (#)
The Virtual Bookcase is back online too, and mail is flowing again for all the domains. Lots of typing, checking and everything to move the stuff to the home server. But, finished (I think).
Update: and all the web statistics are working again and updated. Finished?

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2009-03-19 (#)
And it is back! Idefix 4 broke in a major way: the power supply let out the magic smoke in a big way: the hosting company called me to let me know the server was smelling funny and did not want to start up at all. Since the end of idefix 4 in a rack was near anyway the decision was made to move the server home. There I used another power supply to get access to my data again. The old powersupply was a 300 Watt powersupply which seems to be way underrated for a dual Xeon system. My best guess is that the instability the system had came from the powersupply anyway. So, time to move more domains home. Content from is now here at home and virtualbookcase will be next when I find time. I had started migrating Camp Wireless so I finished that migration fast. Mail is diverted to a different place so I have a bit of time to configure all the mailing lists and other things.

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2008-03-11 (#)
Did some work on The Virtual Bookcase. First of all Amazon notified me that amazon web services was going to disable version 3 of the API which I was still using (yes, a year after the first notification that it was going to be ended .. not that much time for virtualbookcase at the moment). So time to do some PHP programming and redo the stuff for version 4. I also noticed that the bot for the russian search site Yandex was causing high amounts of hits but would not even return a direct link to when searching on virtual bookcase at yandex. So I wanted to disable Yandex in robots.txt but I could not easily find the right name to put in robots.txt because all the help at Yandex is also in Russian. Finally I found some hints at this page describing robots.txt in russian that the right User-Agent probably is Yandex. And the robots.txt for agrees.

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2006-12-08 (#)
While checking the logs of The Virtual Bookcase to see if I made any errors in the pages, I noticed another webbot requesting loads of pages, the bot related to I looked at their site and noticed that they are no search engine, they just scour the web looking for people having opinions about their paying customers. Which means: those requests by their spider will never result in visitors to The Virtual Bookcase. I only want to allow webbots that result in visitors to the site. So, I wanted to know what to put in robots.txt to stop them.. couldn't find that on their website so I asked via e-mail. The answer is (paraphrased): "We decide on our own which sites to visit.". My answer is to block them.

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IPv6 check

Running test...
, reachable as PGP encrypted e-mail preferred. PGP key 5BA9 368B E6F3 34E4 local copy PGP key 5BA9 368B E6F3 34E4 via keyservers

Meningen zijn die van mezelf, wat ik schrijf is beschermd door auteursrecht. Sommige publicaties bevatten een expliciete vermelding dat ze ongevraagd gedeeld mogen worden.
My opinions are my own, what I write is protected by copyrights. Some publications contain an explicit license statement which allows sharing without asking permission.
Other webprojects: Camp Wireless, wireless Internet access at campsites, The Virtual Bookcase, book reviews
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