Gandi’s Baltimore Datacenter is closing December 1

Gandi logo

Gandi is my preferred domain registar. I also used them to host some simple little websites I have hanging around, but that will end pretty soon, as they are closing their Baltimore Datacenter on December 1. They have two other centers, in Luxembourg and Paris, and some folks may want to migrate there, but I won’t. This is a opportunity for some spring cleaning.

I got a heads up about a month ago, but now I need to go through and assess and create my todo list. Are you hosting anything in the Baltimore center? Leave a comment with a description of your site if you’d like a recommendation for where to move it. Between now and November I will also be available to do some migration work, if you’d like to get in touch. ^_^

Vampire: The Masquerade RPG Book Bundle!!!!!

I can’t put enough exclamation marks on that! Go get the Vampire: The Masquerade RPG Book Humble Bundle!

Listen, I am gonna be honest, I don’t need these books. I am not going to find a group of players to sit down and get so emo with a ton of d10s (although I couldn’t throw a d20 in a room of role-players without hitting four peeps that would be down!). But I am definitely going to read every single one of those PDFs!

It is the World of Darkness era (as opposed to New WoD), and that is what I cut my LARPing teeth on (Mind’s Eye Theatre is included!). This setting was the first non-D&D paracosm I was exposed to, and I am better for it. The books are well written, the background well researched, and yet the game has built-in layers of horror, action and ridiculousness that can be fine-tuned for a given gaming group.

I just have so much nostalgia for this game, and am jazzed to see it as a bundle. ^_^

Found Loot – Supporting Diversity in Gaming

Gamers hanging out

Found Loot is a project to fund a gaming related projects by and for diverse creators, each month. There is a write-up on MVC, and if you follow that publication you will notice it follows the same model as Fund Club, a joint project with AlterConf.

I am excited to support Found Loot, because I’ve been chasing demons deconstructing my game library, and I want to connect with and promote contemporary creators. I imagine I will be generating a lot of discussion about the projects coming up. ^_^

18F Writing Labs

18F shared strategies for starting a writing lab. I am fascinated with this templated workflow, and wonder how it could be applied to projects of different sizes and flavors (advocacy groups, small businesses, etc.).

I’ve been in a lot of conversations surrounding how to get someone in one part of a company to create something for another part. I even set up Phabricator and had a particular process in place for one team. But if I got to build from scratch, I would definitely keep a group of folks watching a ticket queue where others could ask for help.

I wonder if having a writing lab tied to a public community like Impact Hub Oakland would be useful while remaining sustainable.

Disable session cookies in Pods

Pods sessions can interfere with caching, but there is a config that can fix that.

We were having trouble on a site that has a lot of traffic, with PHP timing out, and the web server not recovering. It was odd, because the site doesn’t have very much interactive parts, and in mostly served from the cache… except it wasn’t being cached at all!

The site makes heavy use of Pods for custom post-types, and that is hardly an issue, but in this case Pods was setting a session ID via cookie, which of course meant each time a page is visited it is “new”, and bypasses the cache. Suddenly our high volume of traffic is hitting the database and rendering each page on every load, and honestly I was surprised it survived for as long as it had.

My research turned up two issues that were relevant: Replace all session and session_id usage #2237 and 2.4.3 prevents browser caching #2542.

#2237 refers to a change that could possibly fix this issue, but is ongoing. #2542 contains the fix, though I wasn’t able to track where it came from, as it wasn’t provided in the referenced conversation.

define('PODS_SESSION_AUTO_START', false);

Because I couldn’t source this seemingly undocumented config, I hopped on the Pods Slack instance, where Jim True and Bernhard Gronau verified that it was exactly for this use case. Pods has a feature I don’t use, wherein one can produce a front-end form to submit content directly into a Pods-created post-type, and the sessions are a security feature.

Turning off the sessions did the trick, and soon the site was being delivered from the cache.

Bonus tip

In discussing the Pods forms, I mentioned I used Gravity Forms, with the Gravity Forms + Custom Post Types plugin. They recommended Pods Gravity Forms Add-On. When I asked about the difference, they explained the Pods add-on can handle relationship fields. That is very cool! ^_^

Guild Wars 2 – Living World Season 3: Out of the Shadows

Oh, I am excited for the new Living Season coming out next week for Guild Wars 2! They dropped a trailer for it recently (some spoilers for the game!):

I am all updated and looking forward to this! I love taking a break and coming back to explore a whole new portion of Tyria! Normally I log in for a few hours every couple weeks, but I am betting I will be on there nightly for the next few months. ^_^

Remember, I have a safe, inclusive guild on there, so drop me a message if you want to party up!

maiki asks: do you prefer real-time notable posts, or digests?

Heya! I have a question, so please leave me a comment sharing your thoughts. Here’s the deal: I get a lot of notable ideas and stories crossing my mind every day. I don’t use micro-blogging, where I think a lot of folks would share such things. I am deciding if I ought to do so here.

I was trying to keep a digest, collecting stories to share at the end of the week, but my weeks don’t end on Friday; in fact, I am often busy on Friday and Saturday because folks like to give me work that needs to be done by Monday (gah, is that a niche? Is it one I want?!). Also, it doesn’t feel entirely natural. I mean, what if something is worth discussing, or multiple items?

But on the other hand, I don’t want to spam folks, and make them tune out. That is likely missing the point, as I don’t have a large audience, and most of my traffic comes from informative posts I’ve published that remain useful over time and I am not going to stop making those.

But I thought I would ask, since if you are reading this, it might affect you. ^_^