Publishing

Running MySQL Without a Password on the Command Line

When you run a webserver there's always things that could be set up better, for reasons of security, reliability or speed. One of my undone tasks for an embarrassingly long time has been to stop backing up MySQL databases by passing along the username and password to a script at the command line. I was regularly using the mysqldump program to make a backup of each database via a script that contained these commands: OF=/home/[username]/backup/$3-$(date +%Y%m%d).gz mysqldump --user=$1 ... (read more)

This Blog Has Been Around for 7,500 Days

As of today, I've been publishing this weblog for 7,500 days. Workbench began on Nov. 7, 1999, on the Blogger platform under the name Referer_Log. The name comes from webserver files that reveal the link someone clicked to reach your site, which could be used to find out what other people were saying about what you wrote. Since I viewed blogs largely as a vehicle for ego gratification it seemed appropriate. The homepage had this kidding-but-not-kidding purpose: "Make People Like Me." Later I ... (read more)

We Have Always Been at War with Comment Spammers

This site continues to get 10-30 comment spams a day, along with the occasional comment to an old post that makes it worthwhile to continue offering the opportunity for reader feedback. I'm thinking about switching to a comment form in which the only way to add bold, italics and links is to use buttons that add the formatting in a markup scheme that nobody else on the planet uses. Comments that use HTML or Markdown would be rejected. Coming up with oddball and ultimately futile anti-spam ... (read more)

Remembering Leslie Harpold 10 Years Later

Today's the 10th anniversary of the death of Leslie Harpold, a friend who died on Dec. 7, 2006, at age 40 in the middle of a brilliant run as one of the first and best web essayists. Before there were blogs and social media silos the web was full of personal sites, hand-coded in HTML by people who had no idea what we were doing -- because there were absolutely no rules or expectations. Leslie's creativity flourished on that vast undiscovered canvas. Most of Harpold's work is no longer online, ... (read more)

First Post On This New Web Server

Six months ago I retired a web server I had been using for 11 years. I commemorated the occasion because I was paying for a server to host my sites that had become a museum piece. Linux is so good at running Apache, MySQL and PHP that your hardware can become a decade out of date without performance becoming an issue. My other two web servers were almost as old. The company I use for hosting, SoftLayer, recently offered me a deal to upgrade. A sales rep told me, "After reviewing your account we ... (read more)

My Web Server is Older Than Your Web Server

This post is dedicated to the dedicated server I just shut down. A single Linux box at a server farm in Dallas was for many years the center of my one-man media empire. Over time I moved sites and services off of it, but it remained the home of my weblog ... (read more)

Ghost of Computer Author Past

You could tell a lot about an author or conference speaker by tracking the changes made to that person's short bio over the years. Here's how I described myself in 1996 for Java Unleashed, Second Edition, a frankenbook written by 24 authors in the book publishing rush after Java was launched: Rogers Cadenhead is a web developer, computer programmer and writer who created the multi-user games Czarlords and Super Video Poker. Thousands of readers see his work in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram ... (read more)

Interview with Zoe Zolbrod

A version of this post originally appeared in the May 2013 mailing of the Capa-Alpha APA. During the early '90s when I took a stab at becoming a comic book writer, I requested submission guidelines from several dozen publishers. One of the people I heard from was First Comics submissions editor Zoe Zolbrod. Her letter of Feb. 5, 1991, shared a new plan the company was undertaking. "First is going to begin to publish black-and-white, limited-series, creator-owned comic books," she wrote. "These ... (read more)

Teach Yourself Java 8 in 24 Hours

I'm working on author review today for the Java 8 edition of my book Sams Teach Yourself Java in 24 Hours. This is the phase of the project near the finish line where I get all the chapters back as edited Word documents, review the changes recommended by editors and answer any questions they have. I also give each chapter a quick read and make sure the code compiles. (I hate it when a computer book has code that doesn't compile.) One of the things I like about writing a 24 Hours book is that my ... (read more)

Subscribers I Lost When Google Reader Died

Back in July, I noted how many RSS readers my sites had. I figured that the July 1 closure of Google Reader, by far the most popular feed reader used by my visitors, would show up in the stats at some point and I wanted to quantify the change. The subscriber numbers didn't drop for a long time, but it appears they finally are reflected in the analytics on FeedBurner, the service I use to deliver feeds. Here's the past and current RSS reader counts for my sites and the percentage drop: Drudge ... (read more)