Monthly Archives: March 2007

Back in Business

The positive: YakAlike and all services are back up and running.
The negative: A whole week of downtime… yuck!

All major hardware components of the main server running YakAlike, Carpool Connect and some other small applications have been replaced. Things started out about a month ago when the server crashed randomly and needed several hard reboots. The road to recovery started with replacement of the CPU fan and hard drive. Then came a complete replacement of all major hardware. The old hard drive was FedExed to me for recovery. Things seem stable now, so hopefully no more service interruptions will be experienced. When those big ad revenues are coming in :) a more reliable solution will be in place.

I am particularly interested in setting things up on Amazon’s EC2 service. This should eliminate any worries about hardware failures. I’m just waiting for them to allow a new round of accounts to use it.

Geonames Ruby API

The Geonames graphical database contains over eight million geographical names and consists of 6.3 million unique features whereof 2.2 million populated places and 1.8 million alternate names. It was created by Marc Wick, a software engineer in Switzerland. He has released it under a Creative Commons license and was nice enough to provide a freely available Web Service to integrate it into your applications.

The Geonames web service has proven itself very useful to me for the development of Carpool Connect. I’m currently using it to reverse geocode longitude and latitude coordinates and plan on using other features of it in the future.

I’ve put together a ruby library for accessing the Geonames Web service and released it under the Apache Open Source license. You can find more information about it on the project page.

To insatall:

# gem install geonames

Example Usage:

require 'geonames'places_nearby = Geonames::WebService.find_nearby_place_name 43.900120387, -78.882869834p places_nearbycountry_subdivision = Geonames::WebService.country_subdivision 43.900120387, -78.882869834p country_subdivision

Temporary Outage

The server hosting YakAlike, Carpool Connect and some other small services had a hard drive fail in the recent days / weeks. I say “weeks” because it has been failing for a while, but still mostly usable.

Carpool Connect has been moved off to another service provider, while YakAlike will be down until data can be restored off the old hard drive. Sorry for any inconveniences, things should be back to normal, and more reliable within a day or two.