ac's blog

blog vs story in drupal

Why have a blog in Drupal? After all, the story node is generic enough, and for single-user sites, good enough to use story for all postings.

Still, I added the blog module to my site.

The blog is useful for dated articles - some postings only apply for a limited duration, and may not be valid after a few days or months.
Those kind of articles are better posted in a blog.

So, will be using the "story" node - article is probably a better description - for tools, travel tips, recipes, etc - things that may still be valid for months or even an year or more.
Will use the blog to post items that may be relevant only for a short while.

letter-spacing and devanagari

My Drupal theme, based on friendselectric, was messing up all the Devanagari text in headlines, and on the left-sidebar, while the postings themselves worked fine.

Turned out - the css letter-spacing changes mess up all Devanagari fonts.

Best way to handle this would be to use the :lang pseudo-class, and let the English words have modified letter-spacing, but leave Devanagari alone. But this does not yet work on all browsers - works on Mozilla (yea!), not on Microsoft Internet Explorer.

So, the fix for now, is to disable all letter-spacing changes in the theme, deleted all those lines from the friendselectric theme.

Network Monitoring - Nagios

Given the need to keep tabs on atleast three web sites, my simple scripts for handling a single site were no longer sufficient, so installed Nagios on my Linux box.

Fedora FC5 was the system, and getting the Nagios bits was pretty easy - use yum to install the following packages:
nagios.i386 2.5-2.fc5
nagios-plugins.i386 1.4.3-18.fc5
nagios-plugins-all.i386 1.4.3-18.fc5

Nagios is a pretty complex package to install, at least based on all the writeups on the web, so I made a short detour to try to install and use Zabbix. That is certainly easier to get up and running, but I am not too comfortable with UI management screens, and got stuck for too long on the configuring part - add to this the incorrect use of MBytes instead of GBytes in the disk space rows, I went back to trying to get Nagios configured.

Nagios is not too bad - in fact, for anyone comfortable with editing text config files, it is downright easy.

Within a few hours, I had all config files set right, and email notifications working.

Mainly followed the documentation that came with Nagios, and on Fedora, using the pre-packaged yum kits, here are the additional things I had to do:

Search engine fun!

Given rare, unique words on a web page, one would expect search engines could easily determine the top sites to list for the keywords.

My interest led me to these keywords: "aczoom home page".

Google search, MSN search, Ask Jeeves search, all list my home page as the first or second item in the search results. They also list other aczoom pages in their results, and adding more keywords can find links to key pages at my site.

Here's a picture of the Google results in January 2006.

Yahoo search results are strange - they do not list a single page hosted at for the above search! They do list numerous pages that link to, but not a single direct page is listed.

[Well, one page is listed, but that area is supposed to be off-limits to search engines, I guess robots.txt does not work as it is supposed to work.]

Here's a picture of the Yahoo results in January 2006.

I have mostly used Google for my searches, but recently got intrigued with the issue search engines have with handling redirects, and I use Drupal, so started checking out how search engines behaved. My conclusion is that if Yahoo can't get this simple query right, it diminishes my confidence in the credibilily of their search results. This is also technically interesting - how is Yahoo building their list, that would result in this situation?

I did try to help them along, submitted manually to Yahoo, but that was a while ago. Shouldn't have had to do that anyway - they have so many pages that link to, would that not lead them to spider itself?