The Firefox Switch Back

Filed under: Randomness — Tags: , , , , — Darryl Clarke @ 12:11 pm

Early in 2011 I switched from Firefox to Google Chrome. Just before the end of 2011 I switched back.

I switched back because I had ignored Firefox for so long, I was almost damned sure that they should have fixed a few issues I had in the 3.1-3.6 releases. And sure enough, they have.

In my near 9 months of using Google Chrome I missed a couple of features of Firefox that Chrome just didn’t cut it with.

  1. Firefox’s Awesome Bar (aka: the address bar)
    It’s 100 times better than Google Chrome’s ‘search’ bar.  The awesome bar lets me search bookmarks, open tabs, history before searching the web. Google always wants you to search the web and it’s hardly ever necessary.
  2. Firefox’s Tab Groups
    They’re just awesome.  Tab overload has always been an issue. 20-30, more tabs open. With tab groups you can sort them out and only have certain working groups of tabs available. Want to switch? sure, hit the magic button and voila. All your groups are exposed and you can easily switch to them.
  3. Firefox’s Bookmarks
    This might sound ridiculous, but I really like tagging my bookmarks without the need of an extension. Tagged bookmarks really help out with #1 and well, it makes my life easier when I’m trying to find stuff.
  4. Firefox has gotten faster.
    This is always a battle as to which browser is faster, but really, Firefox 9.0.1 is way, way, way faster than previous versions and if you find benchmarks that you want to accept as good, I’m sure someone will say Firefox is faster than everything. But hey, that’s subjective.

And yeah, I’m sure there are chrome extensions that enable these features, but quite frankly, I hate most extensions. There, I said it.

Here’s to an awesome 2012, Mozilla.

(p.s. I only remembered Firefox because Niv mentioned it.)

The Switch: Apache + Mod_PHP to Nginx + PHP-FPM

Filed under: Linux,PHP,Ubuntu,Zend Framework — Tags: , , , — Darryl Clarke @ 12:29 pm

File this under “another thing I should’ve done ages ago.”

I decided that I should explore the world of Nginx as a web server since many people have been telling me it’s good. And all I can say is holy shit, it’s good. The setup was simple and after a few idiotic mistakes on my part, it was up and running.

At first I was skeptical as to how fast it would be and with my first couple of benchmarks, nginx was definitely faster.. but not by much. With just a simple php file on a very low resource machine (Ubuntu 11.10, on a 256MB VM at rackspace which I use for playing around) I used ‘ab’ to test 1000 requests with 10 concurrent:

Nginx:
Concurrency Level:      10
Time taken for tests:   0.473 seconds
Complete requests:      1000
Total transferred:      191000 bytes
HTML transferred:       26000 bytes
Requests per second:    2112.79 [#/sec] (mean)
Time per request:       4.733 [ms] (mean)
Time per request:       0.473 [ms] (mean, across all concurrent requests)
Transfer rate:          394.09 [Kbytes/sec] received

Apache:
Concurrency Level:      10
Time taken for tests:   0.533 seconds
Complete requests:      1000
Total transferred:      245000 bytes
HTML transferred:       26000 bytes
Requests per second:    1877.53 [#/sec] (mean)
Time per request:       5.326 [ms] (mean)
Time per request:       0.533 [ms] (mean, across all concurrent requests)
Transfer rate:          449.21 [Kbytes/sec] received

As you can see from the initial benchmark, there’s not much difference, but it is noticeable. And if you throw even more at it I’m pretty sure the gap will be bigger.  One thing that stood out most to me is the extra amount of data that Apache sends.

After I setup a zend framework application, I ran the benchmarks again. Same 10 concurrent, 1000 requests:

Nginx:
Concurrency Level:      10
Time taken for tests:   15.892 seconds
Complete requests:      1000
Total transferred:      3735000 bytes
HTML transferred:       3577000 bytes
Requests per second:    62.92 [#/sec] (mean)
Time per request:       158.922 [ms] (mean)
Time per request:       15.892 [ms] (mean, across all concurrent requests)
Transfer rate:          229.51 [Kbytes/sec] received

Apache:
Concurrency Level:      10
Time taken for tests:   17.724 seconds
Complete requests:      1000
Total transferred:      3791000 bytes
HTML transferred:       3577000 bytes
Requests per second:    56.42 [#/sec] (mean)
Time per request:       177.242 [ms] (mean)
Time per request:       17.724 [ms] (mean, across all concurrent requests)
Transfer rate:          208.88 [Kbytes/sec] received

Again, the difference is there. Nginx is clearly faster. It’s clearly winning. But I’m still just benchmarking with settings that I know Apache can handle on the low resource box. And this of course is all about resources and effectively using them. So I pumped it up. Time to do ab -c 100 -n 10000, ten thousand requests with one hundred concurrent and the results are amazing:

nginx:
Concurrency Level:      100
Time taken for tests:   122.030 seconds
Complete requests:      10000
Total transferred:      37350000 bytes
HTML transferred:       35770000 bytes
Requests per second:    81.95 [#/sec] (mean)
Time per request:       1220.301 [ms] (mean)
Time per request:       12.203 [ms] (mean, across all concurrent requests)
Transfer rate:          298.90 [Kbytes/sec] received

Apache:
CRASHED after 485 requests.
apr_poll: The timeout specified has expired (70007)
Total of 485 requests completed
load average: 83.73, 30.80, 11.43

The server load under apache went into a state of pure cluster-fuck. Apache could not contain itself with 100 concurrent connections on a box with such low resources, whereas Nginx handled it with EASE. The requests per second were slightly slower at 81.96 when doing 100 concurrent connections, but that request count is still amazing compared to apache crashing.

I’m sorry Apache+mod_php, you lose. Now it’s time to migrate all my stuff.

I Dislike Like Gates So Much…

Filed under: Randomness,Socially Inept — Tags: , , , , , — Darryl Clarke @ 1:42 pm

I dislike a “like gate” so much, I’ve conditioned myself to do battle against them. Here’s what I do:

  • Like the page.
  • Go to my profile, remove the announcement that “Darryl Likes [insert like-gate here]”
  • Do what I need to on the page.
  • Unlike the page.

What is a “Like-Gate”?

A like-gate is effectively a gate on Facebook pages that force you to “like” them before you can see the page contents.  Fortunately a like-gate is stuck to only a tab on a page, so you can typically view the wall, photos, and other media without having to like the page.  And, in recent changes, you can now write on the wall and interact with other posts without having to like the page at all, ever.

Like-gates are typically stuck in front of “premium” (aka mostly useless) extra content and contests.

Why I Dislike Them?

It’s pretty simple.  When you use a like-gate, you certainly benefit from the influx of people who are forced to like you.  But it’s just that, they’re forced.  You have absolutely no metric as to how many people genuinely like your product/page.  You only have an inflated number of people that “don’t give a shit” and really, that can’t be good.

I for one would rather have 100 fans that really like me than 10,000 that don’t give a shit.  But hey, I’m crazy.

Facebook Timeline isn’t “New” #f8

Filed under: Randomness,Socially Inept — Tags: , , , , , , , — Darryl Clarke @ 7:13 pm

This timeline feature isn’t the first timeline that Facebook will have attempted to use. Once upon a time, at least 4 years ago, when you joined Facebook and added friends it always asked “How do you know this person?” and “When did you meet?”

Those questions as well as many other little things within Facebook lead to a social timeline that was tucked away in it’s depths. It filled gaps in time in with witty things like “Darryl was underground this year.” and “Darryl wasn’t very active.”

Now they’ve just got more data to make the timeline more interesting. I suspect that this old data will resurface in some way. I’ll be interested in seeing how else they fill in holes this time. It will be interesting to see the mass reaction to it. It will be interesting to see how much I can control.

It will also be interesting to see how many times my statuses show up as “looking for a hottie.”

You Want Us To Be Secure…

Filed under: Linux,Randomness,Security — Tags: , , , , , — Darryl Clarke @ 3:32 pm

But you make it so complicated.

From a technical standpoint, I understand how simple it is to create certificates for SSL/TLS and put them into configs and use ’em.

From a user standpoint, I can not understand the who/what/when/where/why as to the whole security industry and being so damn complicated.

So many SSL providers out there off you packages from FREE to thousands of dollars and for what? It’s just encryption. It’s just a browser asking “Hey, is this certificate valid still?”

So many providers also make it hard to just register. You’ve gotta jump through hoops and do crazy things like create a CSR and upload it when they could just have a simple, secure (irony) web form to let you generate one on the spot. Sending documents back and forth to “verify” your identity.

Seriously, I just want some encryption.

I also like the “we need to verify you’re the owner” processes… so many loopholes.

There’s a huge opening in this industry for someone who wants to make this whole process simple and easy (and cheaper). Just sayin’.

Facebook, Twitter, Google+ And The Future…

Filed under: Socially Inept — Tags: , , , , , , , — Darryl Clarke @ 9:40 am

There’s a few things that have been swirling around inside my cavernous mind since the initial launch of Google+ which all relates to the future of social networks.

I’ve already noticed a fracture forming in the camps of Facebook, Twitter and Google+ users.  I’ve already seen the behaviour of cross posting to each and even selective posting on one or the other. In fact, I’m guilty (if it’s a crime) of doing such a thing.  And it’s happening purely based on how people behave on each network.

About a month ago I disconnected my Twitter account from auto-posting to my Facebook account.  Why? It’s simple, I got sick of the way Facebook treated my own and everybody else’s Twitter posts.  I got sick of seeing “XX More posts from Twitter.” — A link that nobody ever clicks.  All of my friends who use Twitter to post to Facebook would get bunched into one clump. And in most cases, unless you were the one single tweet (last one in) to be on top, you were likely to just get lost in the ether.   Ever since I disabled the connection and started updating my status directly on Facebook I’ve seen a much greater response to the inane things I say.

Facebook hates Twitter, that’s why they did this.  It wasn’t always this way. Once upon a time Twitter updated your status directly and as such it never got grouped.  Which brings me to my next point.

(more…)

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