Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Slow going in the fjord of his mind.

If you look at my Spiced Incese Warehouse post below you'll notice that it has a few comments, probably by the owner or a shill perhaps. 

There are some deleted ones: two were posting someone's phone #, address, etc, and two that were just pure spam. Well, not pure spam. If you've been around the 'net long enough you'll occasionally find people who are essentially being paid by the hour to 'attack' a site in an attempt to render it unusuable. It never works, of course, but it's still kinda funny to watch.

Anyway, it's a classic case of not knowing how the Internet works. By commenting repeatedly and shilling in an attempt to sweep whatever under the covers, I don't think he's realized that he's raising the popularity of the articles in question. The blog post, for instance, fell off the front page for awhile, then suddenly found itself ranked 4th or 5th for the search term "spiced incense warehouse." It'll probably outrank his site in a few days if he keeps up the pressure -- I'm not sure if that's good or bad. Good in the sense that it would be hilarious, primarily because he did it to himself, and bad because then my blog post turns into one of those little battlegrounds where everyone with a keyboard converges and argues -- same thing happened with my 'oDesk vs RentACoder' review, which I won't link to since its mostly obsolete and I haven't tried RentACoder in forever.

Plus, I think he underestimates the intelligence of his potential customers. I showed some non-tech friends the original blog post and the comments, and they totally lol'd their eyes out (or so they assured me).

So, it made my ask myself, you know, what exactly is going on in this guy's mind? Is there some part in the back that tells him that making a fool of himself is the best course of action? Or, does he think he's not making a fool of himself at all?

I sat down and thought about it for awhile -- I had just finished playing two crappy rounds of Halo Wars and didn't have much else to do until She Who Is Unknown returned, so, you know, why not? After a bit I came to the conclusion that he's one of those types who gets red in the face and acts irrationally without thinking. That probably explains the sudden quiet-time that occured while I was waiting to be served (which apparently isn't going to happen).  I've never worked a salaried job in my life, so I've never had the great misfortune to be exposed to those kinds of people, but I've read about them and of course I've had the usual antecdotal "you wouldn't BELIEVE what this bossy motherfucker did today!" story from friends.

On the plus side, his annoying behavior spurred me to change the way pages are cached on FearlessBlogging, which is neither fearless nor, technically, blogging. I actually had an entirely different concept for the site, but then realized it would be redundant and more-or-less worthless in the grand scheme of things.

The caching changes I made were to localize all of my caching logic in a cache sweeper. Oh god, I know what you're thinking, and no. Caching was implemented initially as a *very* quick (talking, 15 minutes) hack, which involved a lot of cut-and-pasting of code everywhere. Things got messy fast, and as a result somewhere along the lines, during a random site upgrade / bugfix, I broke the admin panel. I could mark posts as disabled, but particular portions of the cache wouldn't refresh, so they'd show up in the sidebar but still be unviewable. Yeah. Stupid, I know.

I also re-learned one important thing that I forgot: Never. Use. Page. Caching. In Rails. Ever. That shit causes boatloads of problems. Page-level caching in Rails is the goddamn devil. And there's no easy way to clean the cache, either, except to "manually" remove the files, as far as I know.

The moral of the story?

That stories don't have to have morals to be stories.

(oooh, yes I did just go there).

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