25
May
2017

AMP support!

Just a quick blog update: I’ve got AMP enabled and it seems to work great! If you’re on a mobile device and find it tricky to navigate the site, put /amp on the end of the URL.

For example:

http://www.thedevilonholiday.co.uk/flammenwerfer-some-progress/amp/

I’m going to see if I can get a little button at the top of the pages to jump to the amp equivalent. Let me know if this helps out 😊

05
May
2016

The site is back up!

Wow. I have no idea what broke this site. Anyway, it’s back up! I would like to apologise for the downtime, I have spent ages trying to work out what was causing the “Error 500” messages, but what fixed it was disabling my plugins.

If you get this problem with your site, try disabling them and re-enabling them again one-by-one until it breaks again. Then you will know the culprit!

07
Feb
2016

The growth of this blog

Since its now 2016 and I’ve been running this blog for a good while now, I thought I’d share a snippet of how much this blog has grown since I started it:

image

So as you can see, it has been a somewhat steady climb upwards and upwards, and somehow I’ve served over 21,000 pages in the last few years!

I’d just like to thank you guys for reading all the insightful stuff rubbish that I’ve posted over the years! I hope its been helpful to some, and I’ve just started my first proper full-time job so its been difficult to keep up with posting on this site. I will keep posting as much as I can, though! Stay frosty!

18
Jan
2016

EC2 is definitely faster than home broadband

Though this should not come as a surprise! I’ve had this site on EC2 for about a day now and I could immediately tell that this site was a fair bit faster to respond to requests. I did an ApacheBench test (just for 10 requests, connection times and requests per second reported).

Command used: ab -n 10 -c 2 <url>

  • Intel NUC being accessed locally over the LAN:

Requests per second:    3.45 [#/sec] (mean)

Screenshot_2016-01-18_09-25-48

So about 578 milliseconds total for a direct LAN connection.

  • Intel NUC being accessed from the public router IP (WAN):

Requests per second: 3.31 [#/sec] (mean)

Screenshot_2016-01-18_09-27-54

Here we see an average of 603 milliseconds total – we can see the additional time taken to connect through the router (15ms). This is still from the same internal network, so it is time to simulate what it would be like for an external client. I’m using my phone’s tethered hotspot for this test.

  • Intel NUC being accessed via an external connection:

Requests per second:   1.83 [#/sec] (mean)

Screenshot_2016-01-18_09-34-33

Off the bat we can see straight away the extra time taken by the initial connection: 72ms, but with a fair bit of jitter – standard for 3G connections. We get an average of 892 ms, with a maximum of almost 2 seconds! My 3G connection for those who are interested:

My 3G connection for those who are interested

So now it is time to test the AWS EC2 server! I ran the next two tests in a similar manner:

  • EC2 via Virgin Media cable:

Requests per second:    4.82 [#/sec] (mean)

Screenshot_2016-01-18_09-39-21

Wow – 18ms of connection time is almost as low as connecting through my own WAN interface! Total average page loading times seem to be about 400ms, perfectly adequate in my books. This is in comparison to the 800-900ms I was seeing for the NUC, so no wonder it seems to be faster. It is at least twice as fast!

Let’s repeat the test for the 3G connection:

  • EC2 via 3G hotspot:

Requests per second:    3.80 [#/sec] (mean)

Screenshot_2016-01-18_09-42-38

So now we get about 50ms of connection time, compared to the 72ms I was getting to my own connection before. There also seems to be a lot less jitter too, but this might be due to the 3G network. Total access times are about half a second, just a tiny bit higher than the cable connection. Nice!

So there we go! AWS EC2 is faster than my home broadband connection – who would have guessed? I mean, its not like I have a huge datacenter with terabits of bandwidth to the outside world. Or more direct access by clients. Oh wait, those reasons are totally why EC2 is a lot faster! And their servers are quite a lot more powerful than the little 7.5W TDP NUC I’m using (more to come on this soon).

16
Jan
2016

Trying out Amazon EC2!

I have a free year of using Amazon EC2, with the ability to run a single small Linux server 24/7 t2.micro server. I have migrated the website to that server to give my Intel NUC DN2820FYKH a break (and also to try some other things with the NUC – stay tuned!).

Details of my small instance:

 

Screenshot_2016-01-16_20-12-27

The CPU it is running on is a 12 core monster at 2.40GHz (possibly two CPU’s installed in the server). I have been provisioned 1GB of RAM and 8GB of disk space, which seems to be enough for this site for now. Nice.

A quick WordPress benchmark:

Screenshot_2016-01-16_19-57-40

…Yeah, it’s definitely a fair bit faster than what my NUC could put out (22,741 BogoWips, 5.42 Mbps and 465 queries/sec).

Now, the free tier only gets you 15GB per month of data usage. This may become an issue, so if I do run out (unlikely), then I still have the NUC to use!

After the free period expires, the price of the t2.micro server is $0.014/hour – or $122.64/year (on demand). You can pay for a full year or 3 years upfront, and you could save up to 55%.

I will keep track of the EC2 instance and let you guys know how it goes!

25
Dec
2015

Merry Christmas 2015!

Or Happy Holidays! Or whatever you say, have a great time towards the end of 2015. It’s been a great year, and I will be showing how much this site has grown over this year!

Stay classy, Earth!

21
Oct
2015

Great Scott!

So its that day and time that we have been waiting for:

Screenshot_2015-10-20_11-13-06

Aaah! Back to the Future Part 2! 30 years it’s been! I remember seeing the movies when I was much younger, and loved them. Though I prefer the first and third movies over the second one, it was mind blowing to see what our predictions of humanity were in 1989:

  • Hoverboards
  • Fusion power
  • Shark holograms
  • Floating cars
  • Still using fax machines. Common!

Sadly, none of the above happened (fusion power is still infeasible as of today). But the film did predict a few things that did happen!

  • Video chat
  • Smart homes
  • Voice control
  • VR headsets
  • Watching multiple channels (picture-in-picture or picture-beside-picture)

So I’ve probably missed a few things, but in my books I’d call that more or less a 50% success rate! Not bad as far as predictions go, beats the weather forecast here in the UK any day! One thing the film did not predict that has had the biggest impact on humanity in the last 20 years is what you’re looking at right now.

internet

Let’s continue to make this planet as awesome as it is! Stay classy, Earth!

Thankfully our clothing isn’t as bad as it was in the movie…

16
Oct
2015

Apologies for the downtime!

So the time came that I had to move house again. This time, it involved a ferry and a 6 hour drive. All went well, and now the site is back up again! Hurrah!

I should really look into some hosting for this site, but I find it fun to keep the site with you and close-by. Also: I had an idea:

image

Why didn’t I think of this before? Another awesome feature of Intel NUCs: VESA mounts to the back of a monitor or TV! Excellent!

10
Oct
2015

Blog Comment System Changes

I have made some changes to the way the commenting system works on this blog. No longer do you need to have an account to post a comment, instead you can use social media or an email address:

Screenshot_2015-10-10_08-58-00

This should work much better, and you can use your own username with an email address if you wanted to keep your social media seperate.

I have removed all the old accounts from this site – this will be the new system moving forwards since it works much better than what I had before.

Hope this is useful!

16
Aug
2015

Jetpack Related Posts: Using an alternative

For those of you who can’t get Jetpack Related Posts working, I am using an alternative plugin called “WordPress Related Posts“, and I think it looks and works quite nice once the custom CSS is done:

Screenshot_2015-08-15_20-07-30

This only appears on the individual post page, so if you want to see them, make sure you click the individual posts!