A passionate programmer’s findings in the world of internet.

Archive for July, 2009

Online Advertising: Promoting Competitor?

Friday, July 31st, 2009

When come to online advertising, you should always consider properly whether it's appropriate to put up an contextual ads (such as Google AdSense) or not. It is fine if you are running a blog or content based website, but it's may not be so good if you are running a product website, whether it's a free or a paid product.


It's debatable if the ads are raising funds to support freewares like TortoiseSVN, but the ads is confusing the users. The first thing the user sees in the Download Page is the link to VisualSVN, which I suppose to be another company selling similar product.

Of course, the user would be clicking on the link especially when the download links are only shown after the user scrolls down. I assume this would generate good money for them and gets the user confused in the website of another product.

Is this something right? I'm not sure. What I know is TortoiseSVN is a good software.

Update: Forgot to mention about AdSense's Competitive Ad Filter, which is good to filter out competitor's ads, but if the user is not there for that product, would they be interested to buy a car in a software website? Very unlikely, though possible.

My Website Shows Up Differently in Different Browser!

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

Do you spend hours trying to correct some CSS or JavaScript so that it shows up exactly the same in all browsers?

Most of the time, I am having problem with Internet Explorer 6, which most web designers tend to ignore nowadays. Sometimes, you find that the spacing is different. Sometimes, the alignment is different. These are minor problems that you can't really recall it very well, but it always happen.

You could be spending only few minutes to fix it, and that few minutes can turned up to be few hours of research.

If I can test my system on Firefox and Internet Explorer, can I actually test everything on Opera? Safari? (Yeah, I am the sole programmer and the tester of all my systems! My office is still on the way..)

To avoid spending unnecessary time to deal with the minor problems, I locked my systems to run on Mozilla Firefox only. I'm not sure whether it's a good move, but at least I have a small group of users which I can control and force them to install Firefox.

Finally, I found a website that has the ultimate answer: Do websites need to look exactly the same in every browser?

Cool, huh?

Anyhow, I would still spend time to make sure my system acts the same in every browser, if possible.. How about you?

Just Downloaded Firefox 3.5.1

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

Installed Mozilla Firefox version 3.5.1.

As with every Firefox release, I was expecting that it would reduce memory consumption, but it's didn't happen, or it wasn't obvious. With only four tabs running, it's using 125MB of memory.

On the UI, I notice a "new tab" button on the tab bar. I would normally have to double click on the tab bar to create new tab. Now, I can do it with single click on that button.

In the Options, I notice a new tab, the Privacy tab. But the content of the tab seems to be taken from other tab to create this new tab.

Nothing interesting. Still, it's worth upgrading. They had put lots of effort to enhance the stability and security of the browser.

Get yours: Mozilla Firefox

Belkin SurgeMaster Surge Protector

Saturday, July 18th, 2009

If you are following my twitter, you probably knew that two of my computers were struck by lightning few days ago. Had the hardware replaced. But that's not the solution to the problem although it gets the computer running again. I don't know when I'm going to get hit again.

So, I went to Digital Mall to get an Automatic Voltage Regulator (AVR). I find that most AVR came with surge protection. At most, the AVR will get spoiled and replacing an AVR only costs me RM50.00. Replacing power supplies, modems and motherboards costs much more!

The normal rating for AVR is at 800A. Looking at it, what is the ampere of a lightning? According to Wikipedia, an average one could go up to 30 kiloamperes (kA)!

What is 800A compared to 30kA?! So, the salesperson recommended me to use Belkin SurgeMaster Surge Protector which claims to protect up to 45kA (or higher, depending on model). It also came with insurance for your equipments connected to power through the Surge Protector.

There are a few models, I get the one that protects up to 45ka with maximum RM10,000 insurance. The price is at around RM150 only. Much cheaper than motherboards!

Consider getting one for yourself!

Apache Error: winnt_accept: Asynchronous AcceptEx failed

Friday, July 17th, 2009

Recently, there are some complains about Apache server hang in the middle of data entry. It's something frustrating because after the user entered all data, clicking the submit button failed to submit the data. An experienced user will know that a page refresh resubmits the data, but not a novice user.

For your information, my PHP-MySQL system is running on Apache HTTP server version 2.2 in Microsoft Windows XP environment.

I see the following errors repeating in the log file:
[Fri Jul 03 15:20:52 2009] [warn] (OS 121)The semaphore timeout period has expired. : winnt_accept: Asynchronous AcceptEx failed.
[Fri Jul 03 15:20:52 2009] [warn] (OS 64)The specified network name is no longer available. : winnt_accept: Asynchronous AcceptEx failed.

If you are not sure where's the log file:
C:\Program Files\Apache Software Foundation\Apache2.2\logs\error.log

Solution that works:

As recommended by the Apache documentation, I added Win32DisableAcceptEx directive to the apache configuration file.

Apache configuration file can be found at:
C:\Program Files\Apache Software Foundation\Apache2.2\conf\httpd.conf

I am expecting this to be a Windows specific problem that should be mentioned in Platform Specific Notes for Windows, but it didn't.

Anyway, I solved my problem.


But... on another installation of my system, I encountered a different error in the log file.
child process exited with status 3221225477

It also causes the httpd.exe process to die off suddenly and the user is experiencing the same problem when submitting data. Every result in Google shows a different problem. It seems like the error is a generic one. Do let me know if you have any idea on how to fix this.