Gobbling Dogfood

Welcome to the new Simian Zombie! It looks almost the same as it used to, and it works in pretty much the same way, but the back-end is now completely different.

The old Simian Zombie used WordPress as its blogging engine and was hosted on BlueHost. This combination resulted in terrible response times. Fetching and rendering the site took an average of around 5 seconds (testing suggested a range from 2 to 9 seconds), which is abysmal. Worse than using WordPress’ combination of PHP and MySQL was sharing a database server with a site that was either appallingly written or hugely popular; in either case, it kept taking down the database.

The new Simian Zombie is hosted on a VPS provided by Digital Ocean. It uses Gobble as its blogging engine, which is written in Go, uses the filesystem for permanent storage, and serves posts from an in-memory cache. A full render of the same blog page takes around 2 seconds on average (with a range from 1 to 3 seconds). Most of that time is used up by the JavaScript syntax highlighter; fetching the rest of the page usually takes around half a second. It probably helps that there’s 50% less HTML in the Gobble layout.

It took longer to re-format the content from the old site into correct Markdown than it did to write Gobble. Around half of the posts lost their formatting during the automated HTML-to-Markdown conversion process, so I had to add it all back in. I’ve been reluctantly working on fixing the posts since I announced Gobble, which was two months ago. After that was done, I had to ensure that all of the various downloads and images still worked (I’m sure I’ve probably missed a few links).

I’m hoping that Gobble holds up to being dogfooded. I’m also hoping that I haven’t lost anything during the transition.


Website Changes

Things have moved around here at Zombie Towers. First up, this blog has moved from ant.simianzombie.com to simianzombie.com. It was originally in a subdomain because I shared the server with a few friends, but they got their own dedicated hosting years ago. There was no reason to be on a subdomain any more, other than inertia and laziness, so I’ve moved it.

Secondly, I’ve dumped the gtp.simianzombie.com subdomain. This was a collection of ancient Amiga software and music I’d written. The good stuff is available on the Aminet and the rest wasn’t worth hosting.


Spring Cleaning in Autumn

I haven’t updated the main part of this website since some time in 2004. This wasn’t such a problem in 2005, became more of an issue between 2006 and 2008, and now that we’re near the end of 2009 I had to stop procrastinating and do something about it. I’ve deleted the original site and moved this blog into its place.

Most of the worthwhile content on the old site has been or will be moved over to a section of this blog. However, the worthwhile content represents only a small fraction of the total content. As it was so old, most of it was outdated and irrelevant. To that end, the Flash demos are gone. Flash has advanced to the point where there’s even a port of Doom for it now, so there’s no point in keeping my antiquated Flash MX stuff around. I’ve kept some of the games, though, which have their own page, and some of the Java games too. I’ve thrown away the Cybiko code, some of the useless Nintendo DS code, the sourcecode for the old site and miscellaneous other stuff.

There were a number of links in various posts that were broken, all of which are now fixed (where possible; some link to sites that no longer exist). In moving the site around, I’ve probably broken a few links myself. I expect there’s quite a few sites embedding hosting my IK+ and Mario Bros ports that no longer work…