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November 2006 Archives

November 26, 2006

TSV 41

Filed in: Doctor Who, TSV Online.

TSV issue 41 is now online, completing the 1994 set.

Of particular note this issue is Why the Nimon Should be our Friends, a piece defending The Horns of Nimon, which was reprinted in the book License Denied, published by Virgin. There are loads of other articles as well, including Cthulhu in the New Adventures, K9, and a Script-To-Screen for Vengeance on Varos, plus more New/Missing Adventures reviews, artwork, etc.. The review of First Frontier marks roughly the halfway point of the New Adventures up to The Dying Days.

I feel compelled to explain a bit about this piece of artwork. I had the vague idea of redesigning the Robot (from the story of the same name). I'm not sure why, exactly, I opted to add fins to the design, or the fact that it otherwise it looks almost exactly the same as the original design, but there it is.

Next Paul's sent me more material for the Another Time and Space eBook.

Previously: TSV 40

Posted at 5:57 PM | Comments (0)

November 25, 2006

So many people are blogging these days

Filed in: Weblogging.

Why, just the other day another of my friends announced he'd started a blog. And then today I discovered that Tom Baker has one albeit a temporary one. So far as I know, he's the first to have a "blog" though, Colin Baker has a newspaper column which is roughly the same thing, but in a different medium.

Who's going to pop up with one next? :)

Posted at 7:46 PM | Comments (0)

November 19, 2006

Yet another event to base a scam on

Filed in: Spam.

Dear Friend,
I am Mrs. SUHA ARAFAT, the wife of YASSER ARAFAT, the Palestinian leader who died in Paris. Since his death and even prior to the announcement, I have been thrown into a state of antagonism,confusion,humiliation, frustration and hopelessness by the present leadership of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the new Prime Minister. I have even been subjected to physical and psychological torture. As a widow that is so traumatized, I have lost confidence with everybody in the country at the moment You must have heard over the media reports and the Internet on the discovery of some fund in my husband secret bank account and ompanies and the allegations of some huge sums of money deposited by my husband in my name of which I have refuses to disclose or give up to the corrupt Palestine Government. In fact the total sum allegedly discovered by the Government so far is in the tune of about $6.5 Billion Dollars. And they are not relenting on their effort to make me poor for life. As you know, the Moslem community has no regards for woman, hence my desire for a foreign assistance. You can visit the BBC news broadcast below for better understanding of what I am talking about.

Snip the usual spiel about helping her transfer $6 million out of the country. You'll notice from these two news reports that the authorities are already investigating the whole issue, so actually getting involved at this point would be very silly. Also, although the initial email came from, the email later says to reply via

At the very bottom there's a sig that start out "Mrs Suha Arafat has sent you a link to a page on, the site about nonfiction narrative." and contains a link to a page on that site, indicating whoever send this used the "email this review" feature they have there.

Site owners, please make sure that if you have a feature which allows people to send emails, that it can't be misused!

Posted at 9:37 PM | Comments (3)

November 16, 2006

Paged Archive bug request

Filed in: Movable Type.

My Paged Archives plugin has been pretty popular. Of course, with the amount of use it's getting, there's bound to be a few bugs cropping up, but so far they've been relatively minor.

I've been trying to help people with one bug which has cropped up, and which seems to be related to the way that the software constructs URLs when Movable Type is run on someone's own system rather than a separate site. Unfortunately neither of the people who reported the bug have replied to the last email I sent them, so I'm not sure if the question I asked helped them solve the problem or not.

If you're encountering the same problem when running PagedArchives on localhost and are willing to help me track down the problem, please comment here.

Posted at 6:33 PM | Comments (1)

November 6, 2006

Just to clarify things...

Filed in: Internet. the Xtra Broadband sucking department:
[Speed graph]

Xtra! Taking the "Broad" and the "Band" out of "Broadband"!

Posted at 10:15 PM | Comments (6)

Implementing If-Modified-Since

Filed in: Website Management.

The amount of bandwidth the NZDWFC site's been using has been steadily increasing recently, so I've been looking at what I can do to reduce the amount of data sent, hopefully without impacting on anyone's browsing experience. The top ten pages in terms of hits last month were:

  1. the index page
  2. the new series message board
  3. the forums index page
  4. the general message board
  5. the page of series 2 images
  6. a piece of Cyberman artwork
  7. The Traders' Corner message board
  8. the Andrew Cartmel interview
  9. the artwork from the cover of TSV 72
  10. Pr1me Computers
I suspect that main culprit is the fifth item there, since it's basically a page of thumbnails, but aside from that seven of the pages there have something in common - they're dynamically generated. When someone hits the forum index, a script grabs the last ten posts on each message board and constructs an HTML page which is sent to the browser.

When a user visits a static page, which is stored as a .html file on the server, the web server sends a "Last-Modified" header telling their browser when the file was last changed. The next time they visit it, the browser sends an "If-Modified-Since" header to the web server to say "send me the page if it's been updated since X date/time". The web server checks against the .html file and will only send it to the browser if it has been changed. This saves a bit of bandwidth by not sending unnecessary data.

If a web page is generated dynamically by a perl script (or a script in any other programming language, for that matter), the web server has no way of knowing whether the contents of the page have changed since the user last looked at it, so it sends it again. Support for "Last-Modified" and "If-Modified-Since" have to be done in the script itself. So last night I implemented it in the script which generates the forum index page.

The problem with this, as I discovered, was that the forum index also has controls on it to expand and shrink the lists for each message board. These affect the way that the script generates the HTML page, so if the script is only checking for changes to the message boards and not changes to these controls, the controls stop being persistent between visits. I probably would have found this out last night if Xtra's broadband wasn't so crap - at one point it completely dropped my connection for about ten minutes...

So I think the answer is to use an ETag header instead. ETags work in a similar way, but you're not limited to a date/time value, so it can include whatever other settings affect the generated page as well. One question I have which I haven't been able to find an answer for is that the If-None-Match header which a browser sends can contain more than one entity-tag value, so how does the browser know when an entity-tag value is no longer valid? The RFC doesn't make it clear what the client should do. Does that mean eventually browsers could be sending hundreds of entity-tag values?

Posted at 5:58 PM | Comments (0)


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