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Posts posted by Teasel

  1. I don't think I ever had the pleasure of visiting geocacheuk.com, but I do have some experience with PHP/MySQL....what needs doing?/

    The first task would be to rewrite the search code. In order to improve the response time when flicking through the results of a search, the entire set of UK caches, customised for that particular user, is cached in MySQL, in a common table. That didn't exactly scale well! Quick fixes such as limiting the number of results returned would be possible, but unsatisfying (one of the unique features of G:UK was that anyone could download the entire set of UK caches, customised for them, in one go. People who contributed PQs could get this in GPX format too).


    The other main performance task was that the insertion of PQs slowed down the site for web users. This meant a lot of my time went into maintaining "rotas" of which users contributed which PQs, so as to make this as efficient as possible. It would be nice to have a program which first read in several hundred XML files in one go, consolidating them into a data structure. This could then be filtered against a read-only cursor against the DB, then finally, any required updates could be done in a single, efficient blast.


    The work required to get the site working isn't rocket science. It just needs an experienced coder with some enthusiasm. I carried on maintaining the site for a long time after I stopped geocaching myself, but events in the forums made me wonder why I was busting a gut to support Groundspeak's website (with their permission, but clearly against their preferences), when their attitude towards UK geocaching was so objectionable.

  2. As Teasel hasn't logged in to gc.com since June last year I suspect we're not going to see guk back.


    I wonder whether anyone has the means/facilities/time to build a replacement?


    Edit to add: Of course, permission from gc.com would be needed.

    Yes, it's been a long time since I did any geocaching, and the site has now been mothballed for too long. If there's anyone who would like to take on the running of the site (written in PHP/MySQL, and needing some re-writing to get the performance up to scratch), then please get in touch. If nobody wants to take it on, I'll let Positive Internet have their server back!

  3. You are thinking locally. I am talking globally.

    I'm sorry, but to me it seems quite the other way around! You seem to be saying that, despite there being over 250 countries represented on GC.com, the rules of the game should reflect the culture of only one... the US. You appear to be extending your local culture across the globe, which is, IMHO, the exact opposite of global thinking.


    They are determined that any solution must be a Global one and not just to fix issues with one region.

    Is that "Global" as in "all 50 states and Canada"? :)

  4. Starbucks et al are just like mcdonalds et al. they have all their supplies shipped in from a central point and so you are fairly assured of the exact same quality whenever you visit. Whereas a public house, even when part of a chain is very different.

    I think there's much more to it than just a charming lack of consistency, quality control and corporate ownership. I've never been to America, (though I've watched many an episode of Cheers!) but it does seem that British pubs are much more an integral part of the fabric of society than American bars, or even traditional British cafes or chip shops. I don't think it's to do with being old, or having regulars, or whether they're owned by a multinational, or anything quite so easy to measure.


    Maybe the clue's in the name - Public House. Just like, say, churches or parks, they somehow "belong" to the public at large, regardless of who actually owns them, whether they make money, or whether you ever actually go in. It's why I used to walk to school down King Harry Lane, and I now drive over the Cat and Fiddle pass, listening to radio traffic reports about a snarl up on the Comet roundabout, without even for a second thinking that such references could ever be considered "commercial".

  5. Hi all - just a quick up update on the (lack of) progress so far...


    The problem with the interactive maps (both the flash map, and the GIS map) is down the the domain name. In order to get things up and running, I put the site onto the geocacheuk.com domain, whereas the maps expect it to be under stats.geocacheuk.com. Positive Internet have now set up the stats domain and I'm about to have a go at getting it all working again.


    PI have also punched a hole in the firewall for me, so that I can work on getting the user table sync-ing with T:UK, which means that I should be able to switch registrations on again. (Hopefully, before the bank holiday is out...)


    The site's crashed a couple of times because the search result table has filled up the whole of the hard disk (that's one big table!). I think I've fixed that, but there's still this intermittent "I'm Teasel, and so's my wife" problem. And even if I get to the bottom of that one, there's still the problem of performance...


    Basically, there's a fundamental flaw in the way that the search facility works. It was great when it was written (there were 600 caches in the whole of the UK!), but it's no longer fit for purpose and so I've begun a rewrite from scratch. I just did a basic search for caches near Buxton on the current website and Jellicacheers' lovely dual core, RAM-packed, RAID'ed Linux server chewed on my ugly old SQL for 25 seconds before coming up with the list. The rewrite I'm working on did somewhat better - the same search, running on my little windoze laptop, took 0.3s :huh: There's a lot more to do before it's ready to be released, but it should give G:UK a new lease of life!

  6. OK, the graphs on the cacher stats pages should now be OK. Could someone who's searches are coming up as Teasel please tell me exactly what they're doing. When I logged in as "The Peak Plodders", I got their finds, not Teasel's, so it looks like the problem isn't affecting everyone in the same way...




  7. OK, let's have a go and see what happens...!


    With massive thanks to the generosity of Jellicacheers and Positive Internet for providing us with a new home, I think the G:UK stats pages are ready to be switched back on again! :unsure: Please be gentle with them! :D


    There have been quite a few changes to the code, in an attempt to keep the hackers at bay, so it's likely that much will have broken. Please let me know if you come across anything which isn't working... I've not dared switch the forum back on, until I can do a bit more to keep the hackers out, and the site is currently closed to new registrations, until I can get T:UK and G:UK talking to each other properly. But the basic functionality should be there.


    Sorry it's been so long, and thanks for your patience!




  8. Have we now lost it completely?

    No, it's just 1and1 throwing a paddy because I've canceled my server account with them. The domain itself is safely hosted with 123-reg. (Note to anyone who's setting up a website... never, and I mean never host your domain name with the same company who provide your web server. It's a lesson I learned the hard way a long time ago!)


    As for the passwords, even if they didn't gain root, the level of access the hackers did attain was sufficient for them to get a list of usernames, email addresses, IP addresses and encrypted passwords. I have no evidence either way as to whether anyone did actually locate and download this information, but it would be imprudent to assume that they didn't. The passwords were all encrypted and therefore difficult, but not impossible to obtain. So anyone who used the same password on G:UK / T:UK as they did on a more important site (eg a bank account!) is advised to change the password on the other site(s) immediately. This is particularly important if your password was based on a dictionary word, or if your identity can be guessed from your username or password. The risk is low (eg if you knew that "Teasel" (geocache@teasel.org) had a password of "tuesday", exactly what good would it do you? Other than maybe being able to log onto Geocaching.com using the same details and logging caches in my name!), but even so, we're not dealing with particularly nice people here!


    On a more positive note, things are looking promising for an early return of G:UK. I've received a very generous offer of hosting from a fellow geocacher. Full details once everything's sorted, but suffice to say that I'm bowled over by this person's generosity!

  9. Aha, the threatening legal letter from 1and1 has just arrived (what took them so long?!) :) But this time I've managed to take a backup of the site, including the server logs, so I may be able to work out how the hackers got in. By the looks of things, they're well and truly in (I believe the phrase is that I'm "0wn3d d00d"), as I've found new copies of apache, process hiders (suggesting they've got root privileges - eeep!), various back doors and filesharing sites. Wow, these guys move fast! First signs are that it's the Wiki which might have been the initial hole through which they got in, but if they have root, I don't know how much I can trust the logs! Still, hopefully they'll tell me something...

  10. Well, I didn't expect it to stay up for long, but less than 24hrs - that must be a record :laughing:


    Hopefully, this time they won't have had time to attack any other servers, so I might even keep control of my server for long enough to look at the log files to see how they're getting in, before 1and1 kick me off the server (again) and send more threatening legal messages (again).

  11. Great work Teasel, nice to have GCUK back and running.

    I'm afraid that, while G:UK is currently available, I've not managed to fix the problems, so it's likely to disappear again very soon :) It's mainly so that I can attempt to salvage a few dozen trigpoint photos which got lost when 1and1 pulled the plug, but I'm also taking the chance to update the database with the large backlog of pocket queries which has accumulated. I'll try to keep it up for as long as possible, and will try to take a backup before it goes down again, but I can't guarantee anything, I'm afraid. Sorry!


    However, there may well be light at the end of the tunnel. Can't say more right now, but things are definitely looking up on the hosting front!




  12. Sorry for not responding... I've just got back from my Winter hols to find the whole thing's come crashing down around my ears (again!). ;)


    Same old story - someone's managed to hack into the server, so 1and1 have pulled the plug. :rolleyes:


    To compound the problem, the plug seems to have been pulled during the middle of the daily backups. Typical! So there may be up to 48hrs data (cache scores and trigpoint logs) lost. But unless I can work out how the hackers managed to get in and secure the server, I'm stuffed. Last time it was hacked twice in succession. I traced the first and fixed it, but it now seems that the second attack must have exploited a different weakness. So the first thing to do is find the hole. Watch this space...

  13. It seems very up to date. Many of our finds from only a couple of days ago are there. Only 169 to rate :ph34r:.

    The data itself should be fairly up to date, as the pocket queries have all been piling up on the mail server. A few hours' processing last night and we'd caught up. The problem is that G:UK relies on being able to read the geocaching.com cache page of every new cache, to see whether it's a premium members' cache or not (surprisingly, this information isn't in the GPX file). Currently there are 315 new caches which are in the database, but until I know that they're not pay-to-play caches, they're hidden from view.


    At some point, I'll set up some PQs to provide me with a list of all members-only caches. Then, if i) a new cache doesn't appear on that list and ii) the list is more recent than the cache and iii) none of the PQs providing the list were full and iv) a whole lot more conditions I haven't thought of yet(!), I can probably add new caches without having to scrape GC.com at all (which would be nice for everyone!).

  14. OK, it's back :ph34r: but only for as long as the hackers don't get back in :laughing: . Since I've not yet worked out how they managed to get in the second time (I think I understand the problem the first time they got in), I'm a bit nervous. But the backups seem to be working, so...


    Unfortunately, with GC.com down, it may take a bit longer than usual for the site to catch up (newer caches may not appear because I can't tell from the pocket queries whether they're premium members only, or not). To help out anyone attempting a Sunday afternoon caching trip, I've switched on the "G:UK failsafe" cache pages, so you can at least read the cache descriptions, recent logs etc, until GC.com comes back.


    Please treat it gently!




  15. should it come back (and pray it does) can anyone please put my dads mind at rest that all the logs on TrigUK will have been stored?!?!

    Unfortunately, 1and1 dumped me into a special "recovery mode" without any database, so I wasn't able to get a final backup of the data before I rebuilt the server. I've therefore had to restore the site to the last available off-site backup, which was at taken 3am the previous night. I'm not sure exactly what time 1and1 pulled the plug, but there could be a good chunk of a day's worth of logs missing. Hopefully your dad didn't do a big bunch of logging that day (and my apologies to anyone who did!).


    Shouldn't be long now...




  16. Site's back down again (and trigpointing too) :) Looks like we were the source of a denial of service attack (UDP flooding) on another server (or servers? details are a bit sketchy at the moment). :) So 1and1 have yanked the network cable until the problem is sorted. Apologies to all for the continued inconvenience!

  17. I'm afraid the main pages, including registration, are down at the moment :laughing: I hadn't updated the forum software for some time, with the result that some delightful people managed to set a corner of the site up as a credit card phishing operation :santa: So I'm currently upgrading the site to Joomla!, and scrabbling around to find all the latest versions of plug-ins etc. And the server's still crashing too :santa: Never rains but it pours!

  18. OK, the site's back up, though for some reason it lost its link with geocaching.com at 8pm last night, and I've not been able to get it working again - so new caches won't be appearing 'till I get that fixed. Let's hope it's more reliable than the last incarnation... :laughing: Sorry for the inconvenience!

  19. Getting there! The new OS has been up a whole day without crashing (woohoo! :laughing: ) and I've been able to run the program which updates the cacher stats, so the memory problem seems to be fixed. Of course, who knows what'll happen when I open up the firewall and allow everyone else in, which is why I'm keeping it locked down until the off-site backups have caught up with all the changes. The backup is running over ADSL, so it'll be a few hours yet...


    ...and after just one day of testing, the web server error log is weighing in at 360MB :) , so it may be a few days before all the wrinkles are ironed out!

  20. Getting the same error here too :laughing:

    And here :wacko:


    Over the last few months, the server has been regularly crashing. The whole box just freezes, with nothing in any logfile that I can find. It happens when the machine runs out of physical memory and seems independent of how much swap I have, or where I put it. I can no longer update people's stats because that process uses more memory than is in the box.


    So, I've taken a couple of days off work, during which time the site will be down while I try to get to the bottom of what's happening. First step is to re-image the server back to the official 1and1 system, which will take several hours. If that cures the problem, it's just a matter of bringing the various sites back up. If not, I guess I refer it to 1and1 as a potential hardware issue.


    Thanks for your patience!




  21. We are also looking for suggestions for interesting caches and things to see/do. We are staying in Notting Hill. We are going to Dover Castle for Living History and “Attacking the Tower” at the Tower of London. We also have a trip to York planned.

    I'm not local, so I can't comment on which are the best caches in the area. However, you might find this G:UK query useful for finding must-do caches in the area. The "rating" column represents the average "enjoyment" score awarded by G:UK users. (You can search for just the top few percent of caches, if you want).


    If you're travelling by tube, you might want to check out Chris n Maria's tube map.

  22. Teething troubles! The root cause of the problem wasn't running out of connections (we're busy, but not that busy!), but rather running out of disk space - the default install was expecting to get 10 day's worth of database logs into 4GB of disk space (we're busier than that!).


    I've run linux at home for many years, but this is my first time running such a high-volume website, so please bear with me as I discover all the different ways to crash a server! :(


    The geocache.teasel.net domain was the one I used to test the server before switching over the main geocacheuk.com domain. Looks like I missed something when I went live...

  23. Don't speak too soon! :o I've had to hobble the search facility...

    OK, even that wasn't enough and MySQL is still suffering (the overnight batch update took 5hrs on Tuesday!). I can't risk losing my account at DMC Internet unexpectedly again (it's not just the stats site I use it for), so I've switched it off for the timebeing while I migrate it across to a dedicated server at 1&1. The new server isn't as powerful as the DMC one, but it has the advantage that it's "Mine, All Mine!", so it's only my sites which will grind to a halt! It also means that I can install new stuff such as java (my new java re-write of the overnight batch runs in under a minute!).


    It'll take a day or so to get the data transferred across, then up to 2 days for the DNS to propogate. So hopefully it'll be back again before the weekend is out.


    On a related note, it's been suggested that the problems some people have been having with logging in to the stats site may be related to the fact that there are multiple domains names all pointing to the same pages. So I intend to only transfer across the geocacheuk.com domain to the new server. Anyone with links to guk2.com or geocacheuk.org should change them (guk2.com email addresses, however, will remain the same for now).

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