The Great Crash

I’ve been rebuilding. 

This is not what I intended for March or April, but perhaps you remember in my 2019 Annual Review how I said at some point this year I would have to put on my sysadmin hat?

Well Murphy’s Law forced my hand.

At the end of February my site got the dreaded “Error establishing a database connection” message.  No problem, I thought, I had experienced this issue back in December and was successfully able to solve it thanks to the some simple server maintenance.

Unfortunately this time, after much research and many attempts to fix the issue I was forced to give up.  I sat with the decision for a couple days, but each day meant a couple hundred people were trying to visit the site and getting only that error message.I made the hard decision to destroy my server which meant I lost the site I had spent the last three years building as well as the automatic backups. 

Thankfully, I’m a pretty diligent person and had manually backed up 100% of the photos and about 60% of everything else. I spent the first week of March setting up a new server and a fresh version of this site.  I had forgotten the amount of little things it took to get the site to a place I’m comfortable with, both in terms of design and user experience.  Today, the site looks and acts different and certainly not the way I want, but it is at least useable.

I’ve added back 100 locations of the 350 I previously had on the site. I mainly applied the 80/20 rule to start that the top 20 pages get 80% of the sites visits.  I had intended to add 10 locations per day so that the site would be back to full strength by now, but that was clearly unsustainable with everything else going on.

It’s not all bad news.  

A shiny new server means the site is now HTTPS secure and sets the stage for some cool things I’ve been working on for the past couple months.  It also means that the map will no longer be limited to the 200 most recently added locations.  I also get to be a bit more thorough in making sure each aspect of each page is more complete instead of the opportunistic organizing/updating I had been doing.

Though I’ve only added back about 1/3 the locations I had pre-crash I am now getting more visitors than ever.  Way more visitors. About 2.5x what I was getting during peak summer months last year. 

That gets us back up to speed, expect another email next week with the latest additions, movies, and an announcement!

Best wishes in these challenging times. Please send any news, comments, uplifting stories, and 80/20 hacks to