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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Reader feedback roundup

It's reader feedback time!

Regarding my Mac keyboard rant, Isaac wrote in to let me know that the "circle-up-left-arrow" maps to Escape. I guess that sort-of makes sense once you know it, since you can make the case for it "escaping", but that's a pretty big stretch. When I think of escapes, I think of people breaking out of jail, or cats escaping from cages, or that things like that. Not circles and arrows.

Sean pointed out that my CGI example showing an IP address was only both C and C++ compliant if you assumed C99 since I defined a variable in the middle of the block. I forgot all about that. It's funny, because when I purposely set out to write C, I deliberately park all of my variable declarations up top as if C99 never happened. My only excuse is that I wrote it, then eyeballed it and said "hey, I bet this could work as C, too", fed it to gcc, and it worked, so then I wrote it in the post.

This is actually important since some compilers apparently are forever stuck at C89, so you can't go off and use those newfangled C99 things. Yep, this should sound familiar.

An anonymous reader asks if I ever found an alternative to Comcast. I'm sorry to say that I have not. It's not that Comcast is bad, because at the moment, they are doing their job just fine, but rather that I have no alternative. If they start misbehaving technically, politically, ethically, or in any other way which bothers me, there aren't many options.

Maybe I should just start micro-trenching my own fiber from here up towards one of the *many* co-los in town. Then, once I make it to one of those sites, I'll just sit there and look pathetic until someone lets me in and lets me terminate it into their peering system.

That seems like a web site which should exist: a bunch of rogue people who climb telephone poles, scoot through drainage pipes, and use a bunch of rights-of-way for their own purposes. There would be pictures of them acting like they belong somewhere and having close calls with actual utility workers and maintenance crews.

I got a report that Amazon apparently isn't selling my book in certain Asia/Pacific countries. Unfortunately, this seems to be beyond my control. I set it up as "worldwide rights" (since I obviously created all of it) and have a price set for all of their little country-specific sites, but there seems to be some other problem in certain locales.

If that's just an Amazon thing and isn't some kind of local restriction on what you can buy and from who, you might try Barnes and Noble, since as of a few weeks ago, it's on the Nook, too. I'd even figure out the whole Apple thing and push a version to iBooks if it would help someone. Let me know if that someone is you.

Finally, an anonymous reader asked what would happen with the $5/mo vhosting customers when they got hacked and used a bunch of bandwidth. I had to check with one of my friends who also worked on that account back in the day. Neither of us could remember ever having to deal with that problem for that customer. It's probably not so much that it didn't happen, but rather that it didn't matter.

This is because I messed up and forgot the prices they were charging. They were charging *10* dollars a month per domain, not 5. That means those dozen (or so) machines with about 1000 domains each were grossing $120K/month. If they had an overage, it probably wasn't worth their trouble to worry about it. They'd just pay it and feel no pain.

Oh, sure, from time to time they'd have us check on the box and deal with real trouble spots (like things keeping ports 80/443 bound due to mod_php and friends), but otherwise they seemed pretty laid back about the whole thing. If I was making that kind of money per month just by keeping the machines running, I think I would be pretty chill, too.