Take me HOME
Account Changes -- Update Your Passwords
Friday, April 25, 2014 12:09 PM

Let's get the important stuff out of the way: You need to update your passwords!

You can update your password by going to the Member's Area.

I've been working on a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff for this website, and one of the big changes is the way that authentication works.  I'm not gonna bore you with the details, but the short story is that I'm "retiring" the old way that passwords were stored because it was pretty arbitrary and insecure.

Have you updated your password yet?

There's also a way to change your email address.  You should probably take a look at that and update it as well.

Did you forget your password?  There's now a "lost password" page. 

Sometime in the near future, the old password scheme will stop working.  Which means you won't be able to login anymore if you haven't updated your password.


Heartbleed and CS
Monday, April 14, 2014 10:25 AM

In case you haven't already heard of it, there's a nasty bug out there on the Internet called "Heartbleed."  For a non-technical (and somewhat humorous) explanation, checkout XKCD's comic about it.

CrazedSanity.com and it's associated services do not appear to have been affected by this bug, as the CS servers are using a "more stable" version of Debian Linux, which uses a version of OpenSSL that is not affected (OpenSSL v0.9.8o).

If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know in the comments below.

Sessions Expiring Early
Monday, April 07, 2014 03:29 PM

For reasons still unknown to me, it seems that sessions are ending prematurely.   They should be ending after 12 days of idle (or forcibly after 360 days)... but it seems they are instead ending after around 2 hours.

This is a bit of a troublesome issue to find, so it may take some time.  Please be patient.


Actually, this was a pretty easy fix.  Just had to fix some old code.

CS Might Not Be Changing...
Monday, March 03, 2014 11:59 AM

Okay, so I mentioned in a previous post that CS is going to be changing.  The post basically said that CS was going to, for the most part, turn into a Wordpress site.

Well, maybe not.

The reason behind wanting to make the change was because I was having problems with the custom-built blogging system that runs blogs on CrazedSanity.com.  I've been making changes to the libraries that it works with, and that's been causing more than a little frustration.

Then Prophet had to go and throw out that seemingly inocuous question: "Why?"

That got me thinking, probably a bit too hard, about my reasoning for shifting to Wordpress.  As I found out, there are some hidden "gotchas" when it comes to integrating with it.  First and foremost, to my dismay, it runs exclusively on MySQL, while all of my code relies on Postgres.  If you don't know the difference... well, read my rant on it here.

And back to the real question, "Why?"  I was trying to avoid some hassles and just get back to coding.  CS-Blogger has a lot of problems, far more than I have time to enumerate, and causes me headaches every time I make changes to it's core libraries.

Anyway, I'm hopefully getting all that straightened-out as I get more unit testing implemented, which helps ensure that any change made is theoretically backward-compatible.  And helps me to know when I have to fix other libraries in the event that it's not backwards-compatible.

So... to change, or not to change?  That really is the question.  More on that later.

CS Is Changing. A Lot.
Saturday, February 15, 2014 05:45 PM

Long story short: I'm making big changes to CrazedSanity.com, like I've warned about before.  I think I'm going to convert it over to being a Wordpress site.

I've built some of my other sites using Wordpress, and I'm rather happy with the outcome:

There are some ramifications, though...

Account Information

It's likely that not all accounts are going to get transferred.

Transferring accounts is going to be a manual process that I have to do.  It's going to take some research and hacking around to get it done.


Links to old blogs won't work initially.  I'm going to import them, but it probably won't be right away.  There are tools to make this process faster, but the ones I've tried don't work "out of the box," or require more work than expected.

I'll try to get this hammered out quickly, but this comes after accounts.  Because the imported blogs have to get linked to their proper account.

I'll have to figure out a way to get images transferred from where they are now to something that Wordpress understands.  This could be a big thing, or it could be really simple.  Kinda depends on... well, a lot of technical things.


This is where it gets tricky.  All those campaigns and character sheets and stuff are linked to... well, stuff in the current database. Moving it over will require a fair amount of reworking.

The good news, however, is that TTORP could possibly get re-engineered to become a Wordpress plugin.  That's a pretty cool idea.  It would potentially give the application a lot more exposure.  Like, an order of magnitude more.

But it's going to take a lot of work.

The Buzzkill

I'm talking about the website here, BuzzKill.org.  Right now, it's fairly tightly linked to CrazedSanity.com, so it will definitely could get thrashed when I do the switch.  Could.  I'd probably move that to being a Wordpress site as well, and probably get it to be setup in a way where the same username works for both sites... but that's a rather technical thing too.  Lots of possible ramifications.  Ugh.

Phase 1 Complete
Monday, November 04, 2013 06:08 PM

For those of you paying attention, I mentioned that there are impending changes to CrazedSanity.com.  You may have also noticed that there has been a slight change (or maybe it looks like a major one). 

In the previous post, I mentioned some changes in the site's focus.  Those changes are still coming, but there are a few backend changes that need to happen first, which I'm still working on.  So stay tuned!

Friday, September 20, 2013 02:37 PM

There are some important changes coming to CrazedSanity.com: if you're a member, you should pay attention.

Some Background

I'm re-evaluating the purpose of my website.  I'm not going to delete it, blogs aren't going to go away (though I'd be lying if I said they weren't going anywhere--they are), nor are any of the other applications.  I'm figuring out what the purpose of this website really is, and changing it accordingly.

I'm going to move things around so the main focus is on web application development.  Originally, the website was going to be a place where clients would go to ask me to build them a website--not a web application, but just a plain, static website.  For more than a decade, however, it's really been about web applications, frameworks, and the code that I write (or intend to write).

At some point I re-organized the website to put a focus on blogging.  I figured maybe that would give me a way to showcase what I do in a functional way (getting people to use my blogging system).  I did quite a few things to make it enticing for others to blog more often, since it would showcase the most recent blogs first.

That idea has pretty much fallen flat on it's face.  Big 'ol box of fail.  With a little spoiled awesome sauce stinking up the bottom of the garbage can.

What Will Happen...

First, blogs are going to move away from the main page.  If you still really want to look at those, you certainly can, they'll have a URL that will be easy to get to, so you can change your homepage or bookmark to reflect it.

The main page will then focus on what it should have been focusing on all along: the code.  Changes to my code, or web applications, will all have prominent notices on the front page.  For instance, the licensing change that made all my code libraries more accessible to other developers ("Heading Toward the Goal") will have some big headlines, because they're important.  Like, really, really, REALLY important.

There will be more prominent showcases of my applications.  CS-Project, TTORP, my in-the-works content management system, and interface demos will all be there.  I'm going to be catering to web application developers, because it seems they have no idea what flavors of awesome sauce are currently offered.

Oh, yeah, and I'm going to do a re-design of the website itself, with some actual graphics (yeah, I know, "holy crap" indeed).

Servers Moving...
Wednesday, May 01, 2013 11:33 PM

Okay, the servers are moving.  The website is currently being hosted on a temporary server (on a laptop at my house).  Hopefully there will be no service outage (or very minimal).

There are some minor problems with this, mostly with DNS caching... so the website address (e.g. "www.crazedsanity.com") might get cached with an old IP... and the server at the old IP is seemlessly sending those requests to the new server. 

Did that make sense?  Are you a networking geek?  The answer to the two questions is probably the same.  For those of you that said, "no", here's the deal.

If there were two servers that just appeared to be the same, but were actually separate, there might be some data duplication issues.  In the past when this happened, changes to records (like character sheets in TTORP) might disappear.  The techno wizardry I mentioned before will keep that problem from happening.

But hey, if you don't know what TTORP is, or don't have any account on the site, it shouldn't affect you.  At all.  And that's okay.

Impending Server Homelessness
Friday, April 26, 2013 10:47 AM

It seems my servers are potentially going to be homeless soon.  The guy that (at the time of this writing) hosting them is moving.  For a variety of reasons, he is apparently no longer capable of hosting the servers any longer.

So I'm looking for a new home for them.  Even if I can't find a place that I can actually run the servers, I'll still need to be able to store them.  So this should be fun.

Pending Upgrade Status
Wednesday, April 24, 2013 09:14 PM

After the last major server upgrade, there are still a few things that need to be fixed.  I'll try to keep this list as up-to-date as possible while fixing things.

Here are the items that still need to be addressed:

  • Handle authentication/session issues (issue found 03/31/2013)
  • Convert some redirects for old URL's and such
  • Fix links for things like "devCorner"
  • Make SVN server available again
    • consider using NginX as reverse proxy to old webserver
  • configure hosted sites
    • buzzkill.org (requires updating code)
    • cs-project.com
    • Subdomains for CS (test sites, etc):
      • project.crazedsanity.com
      • "Stinky Monkey" site
    • buzzkillproductions.net
    • crazedbuzz.com (converted to a WordPress blog)
  • monitor logs for errors (which sometimes end up with a page saying "502 Bad Gateway")
  • strategy for easily updating website (currently requires updating site + all libraries individually)
  • script for automatically adding + committing + pushing blog image changes to new Git repository on BitBucket

If you know of something that needs to be handled that isn't on this list, be sure to let me know.

Update April 1, 2013

There is an issue with authentication and sessions.  Prior to the last major upgrade, all session information was stored in the database; after the upgrade this information changed to the PHP default, which was to store them as files.  You may have noticed your session timing out (having to login more often than before), or a strange issue where it fails to login the first time (reloading the page & trying again will work).  This is a problem with some "crossed wiring" between two libraries that are inter-dependent.  I'm working on resolving this issue.

Update April 7, 2013

The authentication issue is (or should be) resolved.  Most of the reason why it took so very long to find the problem was because of... well... there were just so many red herrings that I followed.  It was virtually impossible to debug in the traditional ways.  Anyway, it's all fixed now. 


Major Upgrade Complete
Wednesday, March 27, 2013 09:41 PM

NOTE::: portions of this upgrade are in fact still incomplete; see this blog for more details.

You may or may not have been aware of the most recent upgrade to CrazedSanity.com, which is why I'm going to explain it now.

You might be thinking to yourself, "Uh... it looks the same as when I left it."

Technically, you'd be correct.  Technically.

The only visible sign that most people *might* notice is the version number at the bottom of the menu (to the left)... it went from "Version 5.3.12" to "Version 5.4.0".  Yeah.  Friggin' HUGE dude.  HUGE.

Okay, I've got that out of the way, on to the gritty details.

Server Moved

Since the old primary web server--Cronus--had a very outdated version of Linux on it, I decided to move the website to the backup server.  While this lead to an overall decrease in horsepower, the software is newer.  That's where the big changes happened.

Software Upgrades

There have been a lot of upgrades hiding in the wings, waiting to see the light of day.  This was due to a lot of factors:

  • all my libraries have been moved from Subversion to Git
    • the Subversion repositories were on SourceForge.net
    • the Git repositories are now on GitHub.
  • Cronus had an old version of Git, which didn't support things I required
  • Cronus couldn't update, and I couldn't manually compile (that required tools the server didn't have)
  • I swapped the webserver software from Apache to NginX

Massive Code Changes

So once I'd gone through all that, with the help of Darkman, I had to overcome other obstacles.  This is where it gets ugly.

The two most-used components of the website, blogs and TTORP, were not in a completed state.  I thought they were... but apparently only *mostly*.  They required components from another library--components that I had thought were unused, so I had deleted them to minimize the amount of code I had to maintain.

Once I resurrected that code, I realized the blogs and TTORP hadn't really been tested with those most recent updates.  Zoiks.

I don't know exactly how many changes were made to all the libraries, but it is easily in the tens of thousands.  My sanity is definitely a little more crazed than before.

Random Downtime Issues Resolved
Monday, September 10, 2012 08:12 PM

You may have noticed there have been many times recently that this website (and associated sites) have been down.  Sometimes it has lasted days, sometimes hours, sometimes just a few minutes.

The problem was related to the server's IP address getting randomly changed.  I've been handling the situation manually up to this point, simply due to lack of time... though, truth be told, an automated alert system would have probably saved much more time than it wasted.  I just kept telling myself that it wouldn't last long enough to matter.

In the end, the problem was with the router: it has wireless built-in, and had some channel conflicts; it would change it's channel, which would cause a reboot.  Once it was done, it's IP would change, which caused the site to appear offline.

Hopefully those problems have disappeared.   I can't complain, obviously, since the Internet is being supplied free of charge from Darkman... which reminds me, I need to ask him if he wants to get a blog started.

Blog Syndication + Facebook
Friday, April 27, 2012 04:38 PM

Your blogs can now appear automatically on other sites, like Facebook.  I've updated the blogs so RSS (Really Simple Syndication) works.

Basically, if you want to get the feed, the syntax is http://www.crazedsanity.com/blog/yourblogname/rss.xml -- the last part ("rss.xml") is very important.  To see what it looks like (depending upon your browser), check out my blog's feed.

If you've got a Facebook account and a CrazedSanity.com account with a blog, you can enable automatic feeds pretty easily.  Note that these steps using RSS Graffiti...

Update (April 27, 2012): fixed links to match what's actually required.

Unexpected Downtime
Monday, February 13, 2012 08:24 PM

Again.  Yeah, I know.

It seems this time the IP that changed was the internal IP for the CrazedSanity.com webserver, "Cronus".  So port forwarding & stuff didn't work.  Ugh.

Unexpected Downtime
Thursday, February 09, 2012 10:34 PM

It seems that this site and all other hosted sites on the server have incurred some unexpected downtime.

Starting at around 6pm this evening, the sites went down while some networking equipment (Darkman's cable modem) was replaced.  The IP address also unexpectedly changed, which caused further delays, since the changes to DNS had to propagate, after we realized that was an issue.

Updates and SNAFUs
Sunday, December 04, 2011 08:13 PM

CrazedSanity has had a much-needed update, and we're now at version 5.3.3... after a few problems.  I doubt much of anybody would have seen the problem.

After making some visual changes, I also changed some configuration things.  In the process, I screwed up some connection information for the database, so the live site was trying to connect to a non-existent machine (my test machine).  So I did a couple of things to help avoid it in the future.

Oh, and I also pointed the live site to a test database.  So some out-dated blogs and data were displayed.  Not a big deal, fixed it within an hour or two.

On the GOOD side, I've updated the main page to also show the most recent 5 entries for each person's blog.  I noticed a while ago that I'd missed some entries because I was only looking on the main page & apparently missed a day from Prophet, so when he updated the next day, I only saw the most recent.

I'm working on other changes as well.  Some other changes as well, such as:

  • retrieving HTML chunks from CS to load on your website
  • hits tracker changes
  • Ajax!
  • and more

Stay tuned!  If you're really interested, send me an email or comment on this post.

It's the Little Things...
Tuesday, November 08, 2011 11:55 PM

... that really drive me crazy.

So I ask for feedback, and I get it.  Awesome.  No complaints here.  You want blogs?  You get blogs.

Then I hear from others that didn't fill out the survey (yes, Jill, I'm looking at YOU) that the news is nice.  Geek news?  For non-geeks? Makes me a little giddy inside.

So I've got news AND blogs on the site now.  But... well, showing all that is kinda big and nasty...

Suffice it to say, I managed to get *BOTH* to show on the main page, with a little "toggle" link that swaps which is displayed.  But the "little" things, which amounts to some polish and lipstick as Mike Holmes woud say, was the part that took the longest: I added "a little code" so the site remembers which you selected.

So now you all say, "oooh," and bow down before my technical prowess. 

I suppose an acceptable alternative would be to say "thanks" in the comments.

I also accept smiles (and a kiss, if you're my wife).

Sunday, September 25, 2011 04:08 PM

I really need some feedback about this website and such... please fill out the quick survey.  I've got some ideas to make the site more interesting and such, but I need to know what you think!

News Feeds Going Away?
Friday, September 09, 2011 04:42 PM

I've been thinking about getting rid of the news feeds on CrazedSanity for a long time now.  I don't know if anybody gets anything out of them anymore, and I don't really think that they're providing any benefit to the site... in fact, it might actually be detrimental.

It's based on an out-dated, painful-to-maintain, misunderstood open source library called "CS-RSSDB" (and it's not in uppercase just to make you look, either).  I didn't know that much about RSS, and the poor code really illustrates that fact, along with my blogs explaining how I've "fixed it" from ages ago.  Hell, I haven't even put a page up about it on Developer's Corner... that's gotta say something.

What do you think?  Post a comment below if you're interested.

As a possible alternative, the front page would be covered with the most recent blog from all of my bloggers.  You know, like BuzzKill.org is right now.

Tell me what you think!  It's in YOUR HANDS!

(DISCLAIMER: if I don't get any feedback, I'm just going to do what I want.)

Blogs Re-posted on Buzzkill
Monday, September 05, 2011 11:00 PM

Buzzkill?  What's that?

Yeah, it's our "sister site", which has, quite frankly, been severerly neglected for years.  I don't just mean a couple either; it's had the "Under New Management" title on that page since the beginning of '05...

Anyway, to get the site somewhat closer to being up-to-date, I've updated the front page so it shows the most recent blog of ALL users on CrazedSanity.com.  If you don't like it, you can try to contact me, and I'll try to fix it... but I guarantee nothing.  Besides, this gives your blog more exposure. 

Check it out.