Rambling from Ogden Point

Cards From Ogden Point
is a free E-Card (Posty) service operated by Ron McLean from his home near Ogden Point in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
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Location: Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

I'm happily retired living on Canada's West Coast. The system says I'm a Cancer -- I'm a Gemini.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

October 2005 News

October 31 2005
Ron's Fall Rant.
The other editions have been sorted with the newest entries at the top because each entry was sort of independent from one another -- this one starts at the top and progresses to the end of the month at the bottom because it carries on in sequence.
October 11 2005
The beginning of October wasn't a good time for Cards From Ogden Point.
My web pages had just sort of evolved into a mixture of properly created web pages interspersed with lots of pages that were not really well constructed from a technical stand point. I had started by using a number of photo sharing systems so that family and friends -- especially those at a distance -- could enjoy some of my pictures. My move to a new home that is 2000 miles from my previous location meant that I couldn't just take a photo album along to visit and share any more. At the time I was experimenting, the picture sharing services that were available were not as good as they are now or I might never have decided to build my own photo sharing sites.
I started with a software package called HomeServer which I purchased and downloaded from a service that started as "home2all.com" and evolved after a software upgrade to "ip-hs2go.net" It was specifically designed to run on my own computer and was intended primarily for sharing digital photographs. I run that software on a computer in my living room. That computer acts as the server for my various web sites. You can see the home page of that server at My PhotoServer I created Cards From Ogden Point using that server as the source for the photographs for the greeting cards. The "Card Site" wasn't really a site -- it was just a bunch of randomly created web pages that were done up differently from page to page and were linked together by some poorly constructed index pages.
When my visitor totals reached beyond any of my expectations in the first year of operation I realized that it was time to reconstruct the service into a properly constructed web site. I targeted this revised site to be on line on the first anniversary of the site's existence and it went on line on August 23, 2005 which was the first anniversary of Cards From Ogden Point's first appearance.
You can read more about that in the earlier newsletters.
During the conversion of Cards From Ogden Point to its new style and location, I found that the suppliers of the ip-hs2go.net service were no longer on line and that things like the help and support services that had been on their site were gone.
I began readdressing my various web services so that if the DNS service that finds my web site.
If you type http://ip-ronaldmclean.hs2go.net into your browser, that address has followed the software manufacturer into cyberspace.
The card site ended up being built with a mixture of addresses because of the uncertainty of the ip-hs2go service. I had spent the time after the "move" of Cards From Ogden Point cleaning up page addressing for all my sites and was about half finished that effort at the end of September.
I was at a point that was ripe for a disaster and that disaster came along.
On September 29. Vancouver Island got the first heavy rainfall since spring. That rain resulted in moisture getting into the cable that feeds the telephone and ADSL computer connection into my house. The moisture caused a ground fault on the cable that severely reduced the connection speed on my ADSL connection and by the morning of Sept. 30 the connection was running slower than a dial up connection. Since Cards From Ogden Point runs from a server computer in my home, the site was for all intents and purposes not accessible. That condition got worse as the situation continued.
My internet connection is a Business Connection that is designed to run at twice the speed of normal residential ADSL service and it is designed to support running a web site from the service. My web sites are a hobby, not a business -- the level of service I subscribe to is the minimum that supports hosting your own site. Theoretically as a business service Telus should give it appropriate levels of attention.
I first reported the poor connection to Telus, my ISP on Friday Sept 30 at about 9 am. I did this with much reservation as the Unionized staff at Telus have been on the picket line for a couple of months. (Mixed emotions for a retired Union Rep on this end to be sure -- however my service that Telus quite happily cashes my cheques for was not working. They promise service labor dispute or not.) My experience as a communications technician told me the first thing I would check would be the cables -- rain has a habit of finding the weak spots in a cable system. I specifically mentioned this to the first person I reported my problem to. I spent much of the early part of the day on and off the phone as various folks at Telus tried all sorts of things to get me on line that just got me further and further from being on line. By early evening, not only was my ADSL connection dead, so was my telephone despite calls to my Cell Phone telling me that all was repaired with my connection. The phone was restored Friday evening -- the ADSL didn't fare as well. I used dial up to put a single page on line that told people that my site was off line due to "Problems with my ISP".
By Monday, I had a very slow internet connection back that was not on the "fixed addresses" that are part of the service I subscribe to.
I used what connection time I had to hastily put backup sites on line for Cards From Ogden Point, http://www.ronmclean.bc.ca/ and http://www.ogdenpoint.ca/ and to put a temporary "site not available" page at the address for the PhotoServer. The ADSL service would work better for a short while after I called to complain and/or if the sun was shining and would drop back to its creeping speeds as soon as the rain started and/or the humidity rose. Finally on Thursday Oct 6 I got a person at Telus who sorted out my addresses (the old "fixed addresses" were long gone) and got me reconnected to new addresses. He was ready to hang up when I got a connection back when I suggested that we do a speed test since that was my original complaint. I did various tests and the results were predictably dismal. That started him on the right path -- finally -- and later in the day he phoned back to make an appointment for someone to check my connection the next day
The next day Friday Oct 7 I was visited by two representatives from Telus who told me that one of the wires on the cable feeding my house had a "ground" on it and that they would be sectionalizing the cable to find out where it was. They cleared the fault in the connection box on the pole outside the house where the wires running to the house connect to the larger cable that runs back to the system.
8 days after the first sign of trouble and 7 days after the first reports to the ISP, I finally had a normal internet connection again. The connection speed is slightly better than before the problem and it has been working since that time.
Getting an internet connection back was only part of the solution for my various web sites. My efforts in September to change the addressing on my web pages left Cards From Ogden Point in a situation where there was no predicting whether the photographs would display in the final cards. To make matters even worse, the cards would appear to be working properly as people checked them out as they prepared them to send.
I had no choice other than leaving the temporary site up and running as the only site until I checked every page and repaired the addressing of the photographs. That meant opening approximately 12,000 web page documents in my editing software and changing one line of addressing text in each. At 11 am on October 11, I returned Cards From Ogden Point to full service with approximately 10,000 pages edited. There are still 2250 that will work with their current address and still need to be finalized.
The whole disaster also pointed out how vulnerable the site was. I tried a number of possibilities and settled on small group of pages that are not on my HomeServer that act as the "Home Page" to the site. The Home Page will load whether the computer in my living room is connected to the internet or not. That way the Home Pages, the Card Pickup Page and the Backup Pages are permanently located at a more secure web location.
You can check out the final results at:
Cards From Ogden Point


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