Sunday, February 17, 2008

Small fixes in the translation tool

This morning I did some small improvements in the translation tool. It now gives some feedback when buttons are pressed (like "Saved changes!"). It works better with strings containing " and ' characters (there was a little escaping bug in the HTML generation). It shows string-specific descriptions and translation hints (which have existed for quite a while for some strings). It also cleans up some extra whitespace from the translated strings, and uses a multi-line editing text box for strings longer than 90 characters.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Danish and Spanish APRS!

EA4EKS and EA2BVF have worked on a translation of to EspaƱol, while OZ2LPA and OZ5ACU have been translating the site to Dansk. This brings the total amount of languages to 14!

A lot of other people have been contributing updates to the existing languages, too. On behalf of the non-English-speaking 55% of users, a big THANK YOU to everyone involved in the translation work!

Between 14th of January and 13th of February 2008, 45% of visitors preferred the English language.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Second server in use! Hooray.

The new server has been taken into use just a few minutes ago. This should maintain the high speed and performance of the service while the amount of users keeps increasing. Please drop a comment if I broke something on the way!

The servers are currently sharing load using database replication and DNS round-robin. The setup isn't really highly available or fail-proof. If one server breaks, the service will not function properly until I do corrective actions (remove the broken server from the DNS and possibly start the master APRS data collecting processes on the secondary server, if the primary dies). But at least that'll only take a few minutes to do, instead of a lengthy hardware repairing and backup restoring process.

There's also a third online replica of the database for the purpose of taking database backup snapshots on a third server (thanks ZFS on Solaris 10). So even if erroneous data is propagated over the replication and data is corrupted on all of the running database servers, I'll be able to roll back to an older snapshot and avoid losing all of the history data.

I'll continue working on automatic fail-over - it'd be nice if a hardware problem wouldn't cause much of an outage. I've done this sort of things before at work, so the plan is quite clear, it just takes some time to do it properly.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Telemetry, wildcards and new strings

This morning I installed APRS telemetry support on the production server. Some APRS stations use the telemetry protocol to transmit things like temperature (inside, or measured from the heat sink of a transmitter), battery voltage, or number of transmissions by a digipeater. Some also send states of switches or relays. For example, take a look at the telemetry data transmitted by the digipeater VK5RAC-1, or the DIGI_NED digipeater PI1APA.

I've also implemented wildcard searching in the weather and telemetry views. Should help you in finding weather and telemetry-enabled stations in your area.

These features added some strings which need to be translated. I also did some changes in the weather and info page strings, making it possible to translate some more of them, and to make more proper translations for some languages (more complete sentences translated). I'll continue this task later.

I also installed the new server in a co-location site a couple days ago, and I've been testing it under high load and benchmarking different disk and database configurations. Going to take it into use this weekend, I hope!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Terrain maps and fixed rain graphs

I just added the new Terrain map feature of Google Maps, and changed to the hierarchical map type control (thanks VK2HIM). The Hybrid selection has become a "Show labels" selection under the Satellite map type. The terrain map looks very pretty in the mountains, and offers a less cluttered option elsewhere.

The Ham::APRS::FAP APRS parser module had a bug in weather packet parsing - the "last 24 hours" and "since midnight" rain values were mixed. The bug has been fixed in FAP version 1.02, which has now been installed on

Friday, February 1, 2008

Outage: Building redundant setup

I'm taking the database down today for some time. I need to take a new consistent copy of it to enable transaction logging and replication to the new web server and a backup server. Sorry for the trouble.

The new server should be delivered today, by the way.