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Tuesday, May 10th, 2005

Server Error Messages

I tried to post last night at about 00:59 PDT and got an interesting error message :

Internal Server Error
The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

Please contact the server administrator, and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.

More information about this error may be available in the server error log.

Apache/1.3.31 Server at Port 80

So I tried again this afternoon and it worked. Not only did my post fail – when I tried to refresh the blog page I got the same error. I was able to get my only html page up, though, so it looks to me like the PHP processor failed on the server. I never had that happen before.

Posted by Greg as My Website at 16:03 PST

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Googlebot at last!

Well, I checked Saturday night and the googlebot had come back again! I eagerly ran some searches and came back with mixed results.

Searching for “greg r perry” got me first out of seven, but it was on my, which is hosted on SDF, a free unix server that has been put together by a great bunch of dedicated enthusiasts. I found it by looking at one of Web’s blogs, knowing what a sucker he is for free hosting, and going to the base address. It is free, but for a nominal fee I got an expanded lifetime access with a little more capacity. It’s a great place to go if you want to play around with unix, a venerable OS that brings back a lot of memories for me. If I ever find a whole lot of time lying around…

Searching further, using “greg perry” and various additional terms, I noticed that Google was ignoring the “keywords” meta tag I had inserted, just as I had been told. Other search engines had picked right up on them. With “san diego”, I ranked 80 out of 1220, and only because it saw my post referring to the same search terms!

Today I addressed the keywords issue by replacing the “Greg R Perry” on my bot-catching pages with “Greg Perry”, and tonight I saw that the googlebot had come back around again sometime today, but it (hopefully) must have been before the changes (my logs run about a day behind), because the searches came up the same. I know I have a long way to go before I can climb up the ranks in Google – I’ll actually have to start putting up stuff worth reading.

This all sounds so vain. Well, I guess it is. May as well cop to it now when I don’t have any readers, just in case of the unlikely event that that situation changes. It’s particularly funny, because I’ve always been a bit of a privacy nut. You know how some conversations stick in your head your whole life? (Of course, there’s no way of telling how your mind alters the details as time goes by.) In 1991 I had a conversation with another sergeant about protecting private information. (I forget his name – I’m terrible with names – but he once showed me a wonderful book called “A Cynic’s Dictionary” or “A Cynic’s Handbook” or some such that included a wonderful quote, which I’m going to misquote here and without attribution – “A cynic is a romantic who has given up”. The impact of the implications of this revelation would probably take years of therapy to investigate.)

Getting on to the original point (I use parentheses entirely too much, but I guess it’s a sign of a multithreading mind), in this conversation he was trying to demonstrate that we were all entirely too unconcerned with the security of our private information. Remember, this was back in 1991, when the phrase “identity theft” wasn’t in our vocabulary. I know it was that year because the conversation took place in a barracks room near Kimpo Airport in Korea. I challenged his assertion, stating that I took my own information security seriously. He leapt upon me, thinking he had an easy victim with reach, and asked me whether I ever threw away stuff like bank statements or paycheck stubs, and I said no, I’ve got every one of those I’d ever received filed away (still do.) He asked me about credit card bills and other stuff that has account numbers on it, and I truthfully replied that yes, I had throw away papers, but whenever a paper had an account number on it, I tore out the number and chewed the paper up and swallowed it, and I had been doing that since 1985. This was before paper shredders were considered home appliances, and if you remember Iran in 1979 (and I did), you wouldn’t have considered a shredder to be adequate security anyway. The other sergeant looked at me blankly and said “well, you’re really paranoid.”

My point? – oh yes, that I’m typically into the privacy thing. I have been doing Google searches on myself for years, and always been very happy not to have found anything – and now I crave the top spot while searching my own name. I teased my former IT manager about his side business that I had found easily because he had a very unique name. I have been using computer “handles” since early 1992 – hiding behind an alias, and always looking for a better short but distinctive alias. When the networks started becoming more popular – ’round about the time that “World Wide Web” thing started picking up – I thought it was shocking and improper that people were posting under their real name.

I guess I’ll have to think about that dichotomy.

Posted by Greg as My Website, Posts About Me at 16:00 PST

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