Software Upgrades ;-)

Due to the server now having two separate internet connections I had to set up policy based routing, in order to make the server respond on the same interface as the request was received.

I took the opportunity to clean up my firewall rules, and the combination of these changes took a while to get right. This may have caused problems for some users from 4:00-6:00 (CET) this morning.

Hardware Upgrades

The server will be taken offline saturday (April 2nd) afternoon (~16:00 CET) for a few hardware upgrades. I expect it will be unavailable for anywhere between 20 minutes and a full hour, depending on how smoothly everything goes.

Security Upgrades

The server has been upgraded to Gentoo Hardended using Linux 2.6.11. All security measures (except ACLs) are in use.

Additionally, Apache now uses mod_security to sanitize requests, filter referer spam, and other niceties.

These changes may have broken some existing functionality. If you spot anything not working as before, please leave a comment or send us an email.

Blog software upgrade

The software used to run the mertner.com blogs – WordPress – has been upgraded from an arbitrary daily build of v1.3 to the newly released v1.5. Getting the upgrade to work required changes in quite a few places, and chances are that something somewhere does not work quite right as a result of the upgrade.

If you find something of this kind, please send an email or add a comment to this post. (Assuming comment posting works, of course. If not, please yell loudly until we hear you or find the problem ourselves.)

Additional Hiccups

We had another power outage yesterday at 22:13, causing a sudden reboot. It was repeated this morning at 4:14, and this time the server decided to halt with a BIOS message, leaving it unavailable until 13:01. Sigh!

Apologies for any inconvenience caused by these incidents.

Server Downtime

A router was fried on sunday (20/3 at 9:30) in connection with a power outage, and could not be replaced until today. This caused mertner.com to be unavailable for a record period of roughly 50 hours, completely ruining any hopes of a nice uptime this year. The current uptime is around 99.2%, which is decent enough for a DSL-hosted site. But, it could be better ;-)

Web browsers. Internet Explorer in particular.

If you think that something is a little bit off in the display of the web site, I can tell you why. Symptoms include that some of the text on the right overlaps this text box a bit, when you size the window the display looks wrong, etc.

If this describes your experience, you are using Internet Explorer, or IE. IE is a very poor web browser. It is extraordinarily unsafe, with several gaping security holes announced most weeks. It is dated. It doesn’t support things like tabbed browsing.

But most importantly, it doesn’t correctly implement any standards. This web site is built using standard web based technologies, and almost every web browser can show it correctly – just not IE. Even the Feds in the US say you shouldn’t use it.

I recommend FireFox. It’s free, and it works great. Or you can use Mozilla, or Opera, or any other browser you like.

Or you can live with IE, its security issues, and the fact that some sites don’t look right :-)

update: Someone has made a cool web site for people currently using IE.

Old pictures

Some of the galleries from the old web site are not available as a Picture Gallery – if you want to see them, please use the links below:

* [Baby Pictures](http://www.mertner.com/old/baby.html)
* [Astronomy Pictures](http://www.mertner.com/old/astronomy.html)
* [Cat Pictures](http://www.mertner.com/old/cats.html)
* [Marriage in Las Vegas](http://www.mertner.com/old/marriage.html)
* [Ottawa](http://www.mertner.com/old/ottawa.html)
* [Pies for Charity](http://www.mertner.com/old/pies_for_charity.html)
* [Summer 2001](http://www.mertner.com/old/summer2001.html)

Thanks to…

This web site is run by [WordPress](http://www.wordpress.org) and also uses code from several other sources. A big “Thank You” goes out to the people who made the following:

* [Faked Folders](http://stevarino.com/wp/faked-folders/)
* [Search Hilite](http://rboren.nu/)
* [MarkDown](http://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/)
* [Sortable Archives](http://weblogtoolscollection.com/archives/2004/05/23/sortable-nicer-archives-for-wordpress/)
* [Thumb-in-Post](http://www.mertner.com/wp-admin/plugins.php)
* [View Levels](http://www.furbona.org/viewlevel.html)
* [WP-Amazon](http://manalang.com/archives/2004/06/23/wordpress-plugin-wp-amazon)
* [Kittens Spaminator](http://mookitty.co.uk/devblog/category/kittens-spaminator/)

Thank You!

Site Update

After years of waiting, mertner.com has received a facelift to what you are looking at now.

The site now has a blogging engine that allows us to easily show noteworthy news related to the site on the front page.

The existing picture gallery contents has been preserved and opens in a new window. To access it, please use the link in the upper right hand corner.

Finally, several members of the Mertner family now have their own blogs, which can be accessed by using one of the links at the top of the page.

If you would like your own blog and your name ends in Mertner, drop us a line!