Site Matters

Just a few “site admin” comments to make, so I thought I would make them all in one post.

First off, WordPress 2.2 has been released. Normally we would follow the generic Compuskills advice and wait a while before upgrading but, following some off-line playing, it seems this blog could upgrade sooner rather than later. For this upgrade we will have to delete all the existing files and upload new ones, so there could be a period where this site becomes unavailable or unusable. As, recently, we have been having a fairly continuous run of traffic (around 360 visitors per day) there seems no “low traffic” time to do this. All I can offer is an in advance apology if you get funny page layouts and the like.

Secondly – I will be getting rid of some plugins and experimenting with new ones. Your feedback is welcome, if one annoys you or breaks your feedreader or what ever, then please tell us. I think the “Sphere It” plugin will have to go, as it looks like it is slowing down the pages by a considerable amount now.

Lastly, as I am about to move house there will be a significant interruption of service. Hopefully Heather will be able to hold the fort, but given VirginMedia’s abysmal service there is no guarantee. Please, feel free to continue to comment or email us. They will be read eventually.

On a related note, if any one is a Sky Broadband customer I would love to know what the service you have had is like and how reliable it is – also is the service really uncapped? (Sky Max). I have my doubts over the veracity of Sky when the broadband thing gives three options – Base (£40 set up, no monthly charge, 2MB bandwidth, 2GB cap), Mid (£20 set up, £5 per month, 8MB Bandwidth, 40GB cap) and Max (no set up, £10 per month, 16MB bandwidth, no cap) – all of which seem amazing value for money.

Worryingly, when I put in the telephone number for my current address, I am told the only broadband option is Sky Connect (not one of the above) which is 8MB bandwidth with a 40GB cap (looks suspiciously like “Mid” above) but this will incur a £40 set up fee and £17 per month. Why on Earth does it cost over three times as much as “Mid?” Does this imply Sky have headline services and rates (which are very good) but in reality customers can not get them? (Would this even be legal?)

Still, I will for a while give Sky the benefit of the doubt and consider it as an option- unlike Virgin Media which I would, now, only consider if it was free and uncapped…

[tags]Site Admin, Why Dont You, WhyDontYou, WordPress, Blog, Blog Software, Admin, Web Design, Broadband, Cable, VirginMedia, RSS, Feeds, Plugins, Feedburner, XML, Technology, Virgin Cable, Virgin Media, Internet, ISP, Upgrade, Sphere, Sphere It, [/tags]

8 thoughts on “Site Matters

  1. Sphere-wise I’ve hardwired a javascript link into my site’s template which doesn’t call on the Sphere server until someone clicks on it.

    Sky-wise I’m on Sky Max. It is fast but you’ll only get 16MB if you live next to the exchange. It’s also uncapped and I’ve had no problems so far, but I’m not running a server off the connection.

    It’s currently only available in some locations so I signed up an interest in it before Christmas but didn’t get it till March. What they do is offer Sky Connect to anyone who isn’t in a suitable location, which I wouldn’t sign up to. You order and they send round a Sky router and microfilters for all the sockets. After that there’s a delay while they activate your line and then you give your current provider the Mach code to switch your line. At this point it all goes wrong for a while. You have to use the Sky router to connect to Sky, but your connection won’t be activated immediately so you won’t know if you’ve got everything working right. Having said that the offline time moving from Tiscali to Sky ended up being about six hours.

    Once I’d connected there were further problems with Sky dropping the connection, but they said that was a problem at the exchange they were trying to fix. The temporary fix was restarting the router. It took a week to clear up, but since then it’s been unnoticeable.

    Getting someone else’s laptop from PCWorld to work with the wireless connection has been an entirely different matter…

  2. Alun, thanks for the comments.

    I never really expected the maximum connection speed – at the moment I am on a 2MB line so anything around that will suit my needs fine. The uncapped bit is more important as the PC often spends the wee small hours downloading distros and the like.

    I had worried that Sky would be like you described. I have the microfilters, and the ADSL Modem / Router box already so it is just the line I need. I am (fairly) confident I can set it up without an engineer so the £40 connection fee and £17 per month is just insane as far as I can see.

    Once again, thanks for your comments – I will see what other options are available (Freeview TV is more than I watch anyway, so the Sky TV packages are just an unnecessary luxury …).

  3. I don’t think Sphere is the culprit on your slow page load, it’s about as lightweight as it gets for a plugin application. As an example, just now, when I loaded your page, it took nearly a minute and you don’t have the sphere related content plugin operating on your site. If I’m wrong about this, then please accept my apology but we haven’t had any load issues and our icon is on over 1 billion content pages on the web.


  4. Hi. If you have any data from Tamper on the Sphere plugin load times, please send that over to me. As Tony says, we don’t have any other reports of it slowing down page loads, but if it’s an issue, we’re happy to take a look.

  5. Tony / Martin:

    Thanks for the comments and I will re-investigate what is causing the delay. The only reason I suspected it was Sphere is that was the last plugin I installed, and while the page is loading the status bar shows it is trying to contact sphere.

    There may well be many other issues causing problems and I will continue to investigate and I never meant this to be a rant against the Sphere plugin which is generally quite good.

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  8. thanks for workign with us here – VERY much appreciated. I know Martin and our guys have been checking in on your site today to make sure it’s not the sphere plugin, so far, it looks good. NTL, we really appreciate you giving us a heads up inyour post and also for kindly putting it back onyour site – that will help us double confirm we don’t have an issue. thanks again

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