Random News Updates


We didn’t have many trick-or-treaters stopping by our house to stock up on candy last Halloween, so we’re not planning on much activity this year. And we don’t have any Halloween costume parties in our plans either. You won’t even find a pumpkin with a candle inside at our house this year. But even if Halloween isn’t a busy holiday in Dallas this year, it looks like others are going all out. Take a look these Halloween decorations (and if you think that’s cool, check out his Christmas lights).


Our unexpected collection of kittens has reached the age where they’re ready for adoption and we’ve already found homes for a couple of them. Mother cat has now been upgraded to prevent anomalies in the kitten population. We briefly gained a baby squirrel in addition to all the baby cats. It just appeared in the garage with the kittens last Saturday. The Humane Society provided us with the number of a local squirrel and opossum rehabilitator who took the little creature in. They said thunderstorms frequently blow the babies out of their nests and cats sometimes mistake them for kittens and bring them home, which appears to be what happened in our case.


Time for another mod_virgule release. One of the downsides to the growth of robots.net has been the inability of mod_virgule to handle the rapidly expanding user list. Mod_virgule had very inefficient user list code which had to parse the entire user list, sort it in memory, and then do additional lookups for each user. And it could only display it as a single page. With over 6,000 users, trying to display it brought the whole site to a crawl for 15 to 30 seconds. I’ve now completely recoded the user list functions to be many times faster and to provide the results in a nicely sorted, multi-page format. Care to see the results? Compare Advogato’s user list (which still uses the old mod_virgule) to the new Robots.net user list. As a side-benefit, the new user list pages are completely configurable through an XML file rather than hardcoded in mod_virgule itself.