The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Sunday, August 25, 2002

Squashing bugs and historical context lost

A few days ago I was going through the error log for the webserver and noticing the rather large number of Internal Server Errors I was getting for this site.

That was easy enough to solve: my software wasn't handing not-found pages correctly; it was aware that the files weren't there, it just wasn't bothering to send back the proper response to the webserver. I hadn't bothered to actually write that part of the code.

Mark had noticed. So had about a dozen robots (who so far had made about 700 failed requests this month).

I fixed the problem (although the error pages themselves are rather spartan) and then spent some time going through the error log seeing what problems I could fix. One typo on the template page probably accounted for half the failed requests; the rest were typos in individual entries and missing files from way back. For instance, an entry over two years ago when I was still playing around with formating entries. It pointed to some mockups I had done that I had neglected to actually copy over when I went live. It's interesting to look at those mockups and compare the format I'm using today (which just revealved another display bug that I'll need to get around fixing. Sigh). I actually liked the rounded corners I used originally but I used a hack to get them and (as the sidebar on those pages show) they don't always work like I intended them to, which is why I dropped the concept.

I eventually solved the problem I was having with Lynx by using CSS and because of the loss of historical context for that entry, the opening sentance now makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Of course this is the layout you are looking at right now.

Obligatory Picture

[It's the most wonderful time of the year!]

Obligatory Contact Info

Obligatory Feeds

Obligatory Links

Obligatory Miscellaneous

You have my permission to link freely to any entry here. Go ahead, I won't bite. I promise.

The dates are the permanent links to that day's entries (or entry, if there is only one entry). The titles are the permanent links to that entry only. The format for the links are simple: Start with the base link for this site:, then add the date you are interested in, say 2000/08/01, so that would make the final URL:

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