failing like never before


The 500 Epidemic

Some of you may have noticed, that about three weeks ago, all but one of the blogs that I was hosting on my server, crashed, and stayed down for about two days. When I tried to access any page, I got a 500 error, and it was traced back to a Typo application error. This was really weird, since prior to the strange epidemic of 500 errors, I hadn't touched my server in quite a few days. However, one of the blogs on my server was working absolutely fine.

The application that was still functioning had been on my server the longest time. I thought that perhaps the newer version of Typo was unstable and that the blog that was still running was using a more stable code base, but no; all my blogs were running the exact same version of typo.

I went through some basic checks to see what was going on. The log files weren't particularly helpful in telling me what had happened, and mostly just showed that the applications had all failed around the same time, for no discernible reason. I use fast CGI, so I tried switching to just regular CGI, but to no avail. I checked the permissions of files, and even set the permissions for the whole applications to 755. I double checked source files and their timestamps, and found that it had been quite some time since any of them had been altered. I also checked to make sure that rails hadn't gone and updated itself to a less stable version, but it seemed as though nothing on my server had changed. My applications had just died, for absolutely no discernible reason.

It seemed that the easiest thing to do, was to just wipe the application out, and put rails back in. So I took one of the blogs that had hardly been used, and wiped it clean out, but left the database intact. I downloaded a fresh copy of the latest stable copy of Typo, tared it, made the necessary configurations, and found to my total surprise that it gave me the exact same 500 error! After much fiddling and triple-checking to make sure I hadn't messed up the simple installation process, I was still getting the same 500 error. I wiped the application out and tried yet again, getting the same results. The only thing that could seem to be wrong, was the database, so I wiped the database clean, and did a completely fresh install. Still the same results. I had never been this confused in my life, and that includes my Chem 20a final.

But remember, I still had one functioning blog left on my server. So I decided to copy the source code from that 500-error-imune application, and put it on a sub-domain and connect to a new database. And it worked. I have no idea why that particular instance of Typo was immune to the "500 epidemic" but it was, and I was too happy to ask questions.

Three weeks later, I still have no idea what the hell happened. If someone could enlighten me, I would be very happy.


Visual Studio Error Resolved

That stupid little error I mentioned earlier appears to have resolved itself.

weeee.. Visual Studio 2005.

I feel like spewing forth whole paragrahs of teenage angst right now... but that would contradcit my "vision statement" for this site.


Visual Studio 2005

I'm not a big fan of .net, so I wasn't too happy when I found out I'd be programming web services and sites in visual basic and ASP for my job during the summer. But even though I'm not much of a Windows fan, I still really like the Visual Studio 2005 IDE. Its got pretty syntax highlighting, and the little helpful hints and drop-down lists are really quite nice. Everything is very configurable and fairly easy to use. That being said, sometimes I experience some very strange things with the Visual Studio IDE. Like today.

I was doing some pretty simple ASP type stuff, more HTML and CSS really, when I decided to swtich to the "Design" view so I could get a quick glimpse of what my page was looking like (I know, I could always just hit Control+Shift+w and view the page in the browser and get a better view, but I was being stupid). But when I hit the "Design" button, the IDE popped up with this little error: "Can not switch to Design view because of errors in the page. Please correct all errors labeled 'Can not switch:' in the Error List and try again." It wasn't too big of a deal, and it wasn't the first time I had gotten this. So I checked the error list, and there was only one error: "Cannot switch views. This end tag has no matching start tag." The error was being thrown around the "" end tag in this line:

<a href="index.aspx">Chipset Info</a>

You can take a look at this screenshot to see the error in all its glory.

Now this was really quite strange. There was nothing wrong (or so I thought) with that line, and nothing above it was causing it to screw up. I figured that Visual Studio was just being stupid and maybe had some latency issues with updating the errors list. I hit control+shift+w and viewed the page in a browser instead and forgot about the little "error." Throughout the day I closed and opened Visual Studio a couple times and restarted my computer once. After the reboot, I came back to this same page and the error message was still showing. I tried moving the code around a bit, but the error kept coming up. So far, I haven't been able to make the error message go away.

I could rant about Windows and how their code sucks horribly, but for the most part, Visual Studio 2005 was working great for me. Yes, it is a really annoying bug that I've gotten, but I still think Visual Studio 2005 is a good IDE. There's a plugin for VS called "Ruby in Steel" that allows a developer to code Ruby in the Visual Studio IDE. If weren't for the fact that I run Linux at home almost all the time, I would be using VS at home, and not just at work.

"Course, theres still a part of me that says, "resist the urge! Microsoft is the devil!!!" But I'm working on not being such a narrow-minded OS fanboy these days.