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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Musings of the VCL admins' LiveJournal:

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Wednesday, August 9th, 2006
12:49 am
More non working on stats:)

* Down to 73 messages in Inbox.
* 2 new artists added
* Assessment queue is empty.
Monday, August 7th, 2006
11:35 pm
Still no completion on the hitstats, thing. A few more complications came up over the weekend.

That, and I had some social things to do :)

However, I'm down to 90 messages in my Inbox now, and our assessor queue is being kept nicely empty.
Friday, August 4th, 2006
1:41 am
VCL activity for today:

* Down to 150 messages in my Inbox. Dealing with a art-copying claim from about 2 years ago. Decided that the claim was false, and the complainant tried to fabricate "rough versions" of an image to try and support the claim. Sheesh... the lengths people will go to. I'm most annoyed that this person was so selfish as to waste my time with childish junk.
* No assessments... there was just one in the queue, and dark ferret was handling that one fine. Don't want to stomp on his toes unnecessarily.
Thursday, August 3rd, 2006
9:49 am
Oh rats, I forgot to update this thing last night:

* 160 messages to go in my Inbox.
* Helping out a couple more people through NAA. One poor lass is being far too aggressive with the Levels tool. The result is "technically" acceptable to VCL's presentation guidelines, but we don't want people ruining their scans either. Spending additional time there helping out.
Wednesday, August 2nd, 2006
12:48 am
Little VCL work done today, but more VCL-related email backlog handling

* Down to 169 messages. Re-read and archived a large handful of messages related to character copying. Really did want to butt some heads together and say "come back when you got your respective acts together." Ah well... I'll have to make do with "is this still an issue?" mails, and hope it's not :)
Tuesday, August 1st, 2006
12:56 am

* mail backlog down to 190.
* 1 assessment responded to, which emptied the queue
* 1 application rejection (they didn't go through NAA at all)
Monday, July 31st, 2006
2:45 am
Well, I didn't get much done on the hit statistics today. Sorry about that, folks. But, it was relaxing, and that was good :) However, I almost didn't get my daily promises done, either. But, even at midnight, I said "no, I'm not going to use this as an excuse." So:

* 20 more emails done. Down to 200 now.
* 2 assessments done, making the queue empty

Whew. I feel good... but damn tired now :) G'night!
Sunday, July 30th, 2006
1:52 am
More daily grind today!

* Couple of new VCL artists added.
* One NAA application, but the queue is empty now.
* 20 more emails answered, down to 220 messages

Lots of non-VCL things done today, which I won't bore you with. Tomorrow.. hit statistics.
Friday, July 28th, 2006
12:22 am
Just the usual daily grind today:

* 3 assessments.
* Two new VCL artists.
* 20 fewer messages in my Inbox. This included a 6 month old discussion with an artist whose account I had suspended. The artist was claiming that her work was NOT a copy of a couple of artists... but it's only now I had done an overlay comparison of the files in question, and it was clear that not only was at least one of her pieces a copy, it was an outright trace. So... I'm no longer feeling guilty about leaving that one for 6 months :)

Hopefully she's changed her tune a bit. We'll see if she chooses to respond.
Thursday, July 27th, 2006
1:44 am
Today, nothing too exciting:

* Knocked down my email backlog to 278 messages. A couple of them required a good half hour each to research and answer... I sure hope the receipient still needs the information :)
* 3 assessments done
* 1 application on hold, waiting for a confirmation on a name hyphenation

See... not much. I almost shouldn't have bothered, but I'm not going to let such a petty excuse to not post something :)
Wednesday, July 26th, 2006
1:19 am
Quiet day on the admin front
Just a quick few things tonight:

* A couple of password recovery requests. (I'm sure I've mentioned previously that I need to automate this :) )
* Handling my promised 3 assessments per night. There was 4 in the queue, though. The other can wait until tomorrow, or the other assessors.
* Getting my Inbox to 298 messages.

Just a quick note on the Inbox. I remember a couple of years ago I said to a friend that I will not let my Inbox get above 100 messages. Well, over the past couple of years, and especially after January this year, I've let that slip. A LOT. It was over 1000 messages a couple of weeks ago, and most of them messages I want to answer in some way. I really don't want to just delete any of these... that would be cheating!

So, I've been determinedly going through the Inbox, setting a goal of reducing it by a certain amount each night, PLUS handling all the newly incoming mail. I'm reducing it at 20 per day, now... some of these are getting hard to handle, which is why they got "slightly-turned-into-an-eternity put off" in the first place.

My sincere apologies to anyone expecting mail from me! Please... mail me again! :)
Tuesday, July 25th, 2006
1:22 am
Not as productive today, but that won't stop me writing here, no sir!
In VCL-related work today:

* one application
* two assessments (part of my promise to my assessment team that I would do three per day... there was only two to do, though :) )
* handling a lot of old VCL-related email that's been keeping my Inbox full for months. I'm working on getting the backlog down to zero, 20 each day. I'm down to 320 now.
* oo-ing and ahh-ing over the much quieter disk utilisation

More hitstats work will need to wait until tomorrow.
Monday, July 24th, 2006
3:00 pm
Comparison of kernel upgrade improvements
Under the cut is a comparison of the disk utilisation before and after putting the main server into the picture-proxy rotation, after processing some hit statistics, and after upgrading the kernel.

Read more...Collapse )
1:53 am
Stuff happens!
Well, I had a very productive weekend VCL-wise, and I think that's a great time to try and get this diary thing kick-started again. I haven't been doing nothing this year, but compared to what I've done the past month or so, I might as well have been :)

Background: managed.com, VCL's old ISP, was bought out by webhostplus.com. To say WHP are a bad ISP is a severe understatement. In the past 3 months, VCL's servers have been turned off, for various reasons, by WHP with NO warning. One minute, it was running, and the next, nothing. In the first case, this was an 'expected sometime' migration of the servers due to the buyout. The second time was a billing issue. Both understandable, but the lack of warning was NOT ACCEPTABLE. The third time... I wasn't even going to ask; by that stage I had already decided to leave, and I wasn't going to risk them turning the boxes off before I had set up a new location.

The new location is serverbeach.com. I'm still using two machines from the old location, as less-critical image proxies. Ie, the bandwidth for thumbnails and pictures are being shared across three machines, at two ISPs! Not quite 'redundancy', since pictures are useless without the HTML... but its fun to think about.

Unfortunately, spreading pictures over three machines makes dealing with hit statistics difficult. That was one of the major tasks for this weekend: get hit statistics working again. As VCL's usage grows, processing hit statistics, and in particular addinng in the new values into the database, takes more and more time. Given I'll have 4 files to process (three machines at the US site, one at orcas), that's a lot of processing. THe majority time is adding the new numbers into the database, and a quick way to handle that is pre-merge the data from the hit files, and add ONE set of hits.

This required a fair rewrite, including changing how the hitfiles are stored and read. A lot was done today, but I also spent 5 hours tracking down a performance issue with the server beach machine. Turns out that my particular usage pattern trips up a likely bug in the linux kernel version I was using. Upgrading the kernel solved the issue. But, I wanted to avoid doing that: customising the machine too much means ServerBeach may not be able to help me resolve problems and, frankly, upgrading kernels on machines on the other side of the country is a frightening prospect :)

So... hitfiles not yet fixed, but getting very close.

And, I still have two more mirrors to bring up, too... hitfile speedups first, though :)
Friday, August 19th, 2005
9:04 am
Well, couldn't sleep last night. So got up at some odd hour and fixed the redirection, and NAA watch issue. Turned out to be a cleared director permission. *glances sidelong at Snout*

Approved a handful of new artists. Knocked back a couple for application form corrections (not reading the checklist). Stomped on one applicant that had sumitted modified versions of there other artist's works. Why do people even try this kind of thing? If we don't catch them in the application, we'll definately catch them when they start uploading... some 40,000 people looking at VCL each day, SOMEONE is going to notice.

And, of course, the usual round of checking new uploads. You know, once people get past the applicaton, everyone's pretty well in shape. What's left is mostly poor compression, oversized images, or crappy scans. And... the first two I can put in automated checks. I should do that.

Otherwise, not much coding work. Spending a bit of time helping out on lionking.org with the fanart approvals. The admin there, Brian Tiemann, is on vacation. Thankfully he gets back tomorrow sometime... I think I'm done doing moderation on TWO huge sites.

[This was mistakenly posted on my personal journal. Unfortunately, I couldn't move it over and keep the couple of comments it had. Sorry]
Thursday, August 18th, 2005
2:45 am
Tigerzero,who is doing a WONDERFUL job handling the New Applicant Assessment forum virtually by himself wen't crazy today and 'did a whole bunch'. That guy deserves a medal, especially for putting up with all the people that don't read the instructions very well, or at all.

So, because of that, there were also a bunch of new applicants to handle, because some people DO read the instructions, and get it right first time, or at least second time. Did those.

Handled a bunch of name changes (old-time artists coming back after a hiatus, with new names), password requests (still need to automate that).

Handled a concern regarding why we don't prohibit rape artwork along with our 'sexually immature character' artwork. Very carefully handled, that one, and I hope respectfully too.

Mis-handled a concern about why some pokemorph artwork was allowed to stay on the VCL, and why another piece was 'zapped'. Unfortunately, when one draws a 'line', there are going to be images that are 'just' on one side, and 'just' on the other side, with very little difference and people ask "why this, and not that?". Double-unfortunately, the rules in this area are not well codified, and I think my judgement is wavering a little. Will soon start a discussion on the forum (and perhaps on livejournal, too) to try and resolve it once and for all.

Somehing's gone wrong with the redirection from the Sweden site, AND something wrong with our 'reminder service' for the NAA forum. Will address those in the morning. Sleep tonight.
Wednesday, August 10th, 2005
11:59 pm
Today's tasks done
This entry posted using the 'LiveWidget' dashboard widget. Let's see if this encourages me to post more regularly :)

* Handled a few password recovery requests. One of them made interesting by a legal name change :)
* Handled the new applicant that was 'on hold' yesterday. Happily, she preferred my 'normalised' capitalisaton.
* Fixed up a few more 'translation links' in the VCL Wiki. There's now a neat little template, for each english page, that every translated page can include to automatically get references to all the other languages. A new translation just has to add the new page, and update the template that points to all the pages, rather than update all the pages.

Big "thank you" to Mr Darkness for providing the Brazillian/Portuguese translation, and Karavan for the Spanish translations. (More translators welcome... I'd really like Japanese and Russian too )
Tuesday, August 9th, 2005
11:00 pm
Perhaps I'll ressurect this thing, again :) I should get one of those LJ clients that makes this easy to update... Anyway...


  • Updated software packages on one of the US sites. Although it didn't need it, I rebooted anyway to ensure it could come up from a reboot. It did.
  • Closed one artist account on request, for work-related reasons. (There's a downside to VCL being so visible ;) )
  • Created one new artist account. Put one application 'on hold' waiting on a confirmation of the artist name. Rejected a third that hadn't gotten the 'go ahead' from the forum assessors. I don't get so many rejects anymore; I'd like to think because the instructions are so clear, but... there's still folk that simply don't read. *sigh*
Saturday, March 19th, 2005
12:10 pm
Back to the slave pits.
Well, two apologies to make: One is not updating this thing. The other is not having anything much to update it with; I've been a little 'blah' about doing work on VCL. Sure, I've been handling the day-to-day stuff like applications, and helping out the assessor team, but things like getting the hit statistics back up and running has been, shall we say, not an attractive proposition. Mostly, been spending my time-at-home playing OpenTTD.

But... I'm out of the rut, and getting stuff done, so... here's an update:

* Configured the hit-statistic collection code on the two proxy servers, and ran on the existing web log files.

* Re-configured the main machine to act as the hit statistics master. (The main machine used to be a US mirror, so it was only configured to collect, not process).

* Started the process of adding in all the existing hit statistics. This takes a LONG time... perhaps 10 minutes per day, per server. Yes, this needs to be improved, but it'll do for now.

There's still a few more log files that will need some special handling, since there not in the format that the analysis tool expects. So... between the shutdown and a week ago, there's going to be missing statistics. I'll add these in over time. But, best to get things going now to take some of the pressure off. Statistics will be re-enabled once the current batch of processing completes.
Wednesday, February 23rd, 2005
8:51 am
- Weirdness at the US site. The Squid program on one of the proxy servers fell out of memory. Unknown why. But... THAT particular proxy server wasn't running its own nameserver, and manage.com's nameservers were broken. Perhaps squid tired of not knowing where to get its content from, and left? Anyway, fixed both, and that proxy server is delivering content again.

- Missed one thing when moving the upload utilities over to the US site: the daily upload allowance increase. Fixed, and ran it about 5 times to bump everyone's allowances back to where they should be.

- more setup at the second mirror: the script to finish regenerating all 270,000 thumbnails finished. Now running the script to regenerate all the index pages. Things MUCH easier since I did all the ground work with the Nas-Kan mirror, but it could still be made easier.
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