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Re: Blank Pages and No Response Thread
Old 05-24-2005, 07:10 PM   #41
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Re: Blank Pages and No Response Thread

dory 3n & BigMoneyJim,

As a daily reader and seldom poster, I haven't experienced the blank pages.

What I have been experiencing, albeit infrequently, when a new page loads, the font is very large and the "board background" (the blue boxes that hold the content) is missing. This just happened a minute ago. When I hit the 'refresh" key, the newly* refreshed page looks normal again.

omni
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Fixed (???)
Old 05-27-2005, 07:19 AM   #42
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Fixed (???)

The blank page/no load problems have dropped to near-zero since dory36 and I made a couple of settings changes.

There were 8 occurences of the problem on the 25th, none on the 26th and 3 so far today--in fact it just happened to me. With those odds I should go buy a lottery ticket.

Interesting: I just noticed that the occurences on the 25th were grouped: 6 within a minute of each other and 2 within a few seconds. The 3 today aren't grouped. (4 of the 6 grouped within a minute on the 25th were one person--must be a very fast reader!) I didn't notice any such groupings as being typical when the problem was regularly occuring.

Surely things are going better now.
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Re: Blank Pages and No Response Thread
Old 05-27-2005, 11:01 AM   #43
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Re: Blank Pages and No Response Thread

So something you did reduced some sort of load that wasnt happy when it went over a threshold, so with the new lowered 'floor' we dont hit the threshold as often, or at all.

Did your change affect sporadic disk or network activity or both? It sure as heck cant be the CPU unless you're running this on one of those piece of crap AMD products.

Does GE make servers or routers? Even a GE network cable can ruin your day.

Hasnt happened to me since you made the change. Usually happened the first time I opened the browser for the day after booting up.
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Re: Blank Pages and No Response Thread
Old 05-27-2005, 11:52 AM   #44
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Re: Blank Pages and No Response Thread

(warning: techie post)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grand Banks
So something you did reduced some sort of load that wasnt happy when it went over a threshold, so with the new lowered 'floor' we dont hit the threshold as often, or at all.

Did your change affect sporadic disk or network activity or both?
The blanks weren't correlated with server load any event or entity, and there were no high load problems with CPU, disk or RAM. That's what has made it so difficult to diagnose. Last night (after the problem is apparently fixed) I compiled an hour-by-hour count of forum hits versus blank pages for the month. There is absolutely no correlation. The blank pages range from 0-7% of hits in any given hour and follow no pattern, but they do peak and fall off; sometimes they drop off rapidly. The peaks bear no resemblence with forum hit peaks or patterns and don't follow time of day.

One change was to change the links from search-engine-friendly back to the ones with a question mark in them. The other change about 4.5 hours later was disabling hostname lookups of users. (I'm not even sure why it does that; to support banning I guess.) There was an immediate dropoff of blank pages after the hostname lookups were disabled. As far as I know the hostname lookups aren't a trackable event, so I can't determine if the blanks were correlated with lookup failures or delays. (On second thought, if it's bothering to look it up it's probably stored in the forum database somewhere...I'll look.)

There were periods of time, up to a couple or few hours, that the blank pages wouldn't occur. (Randomly distributed; no pattern.) So I suppose it's possible we're just in a 2+ day period of extremely low blank occurrence. We're hoping it's a permanent fix, though.

Quote:
It sure as heck cant be the CPU unless you're running this on one of those piece of crap AMD products.
I don't know what the box is, but it seems to be a well-built 2-processor system with plenty of ram and a nice disk system and not one of those cheapo desktop towers posing as a server that sell for under $99/month. The server hardware is just idly humming along, hardly noticing our 100,000+ hits per day (including graphics, css and code 304's--really about 15k-25k pageviews). I would guess it's dual-Xeon, but it could be PIII or Opteron.

What's wrong with AMD? I'd love an Opteron system if I needed the power, but since I'm looking at buying a web server I'll probably eventually buy the slowest new dual-proc available with tons of RAM, a hot-swappable RAID system and redundant power supplies.


Hey, YOU missed the "surely == Shirley" gag this time, and I even bolded "surely" for you!
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Re: Blank Pages and No Response Thread
Old 05-27-2005, 12:03 PM   #45
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Re: Blank Pages and No Response Thread

And stop calling me Shirley!

Sorry, that was a pre-coffee post I made after getting up half an hour too early. 9:30 instead of 10:00.

I'm still stuck on the peaky thing...granted there wasnt an outright overload but something was going on that was causing the server to become unresponsive to a request...google 'siphoning' from the server would produce a load, and so would the user hostname check. So perhaps servicing one of those activities was a blocking event during which time the server s/w wont respond to a page request? Or possibly during two or more things going on that produced a stall? I've hit some web sites that appear to have a limit on the number of threads (processor, not forum) you could maintain with the server on a per user and overall basis before you'd get no response to an additional request.

AMD sucks. Their chips emit radiation that makes your weener shrink.

So does GE.

Surely anyone could see that.
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Re: Blank Pages and No Response Thread
Old 05-27-2005, 12:23 PM   #46
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Re: Blank Pages and No Response Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grand Banks
I'm still stuck on the peaky thing...granted there wasnt an outright overload but something was going on that was causing the server to become unresponsive to a request...google 'siphoning' from the server would produce a load, and so would the user hostname check. So perhaps servicing one of those activities was a blocking event during which time the server s/w wont respond to a page request? Or possibly during two or more things going on that produced a stall? I've hit some web sites that appear to have a limit on the number of threads (processor, not forum) you could maintain with the server on a per user and overall basis before you'd get no response to an additional request.
I also checked for correlation with user agent (i.e. Googlebot)...no correlation. I don't have a way to backcheck concurrent connections (which on a preforked server one process would serve each connection) but common sense would suggest busier hours were more likely to have more concurrent users, and there is no correlation with busier hours. Oh, by the way, all pages are served with Connection: close headers so the session closes as soon as the page is served. Also, I haven't seen any evidence of slow responses; Donner complained about slowness, but I interpreted that he meant waiting for the pages to timeout and then trying again was slow. The page either delivers instantly or times out with zero data sent from everything I've seen so far.

Another thing I don't have is stats for how busy other sites on the host were, but I doubt they were as ununiformly distributed as to effect the blank pages occurrences we had.

However I'm thinking along these lines which aren't far removed from yours: I think some hostname lookups were slow, and some timed out. Something about waiting for the lookups caused the connection to timeout or otherwise drop after sending the HTTP header. Perhaps the hostname lookups were taking up processes/threads and not releasing them to Apache to use for other requests?

EDIT insert: Oh, we know the process accepted the request, because a log entry is generated and HTTP headers are sent. It's closing the connection with a zero-length body and a success code. So I don't think process/thread shortages are our problem.

Quote:
AMD sucks. Their chips emit radiation that makes your weener shrink.
I'm lovin' AMD so far for home use. I keep it lead shielded to protect my weener, though. Or sometimes I wear a lead jockstrap. My only concern for business desktop and server use is the thermal overload protection. I saw that video of the Athlon burning up where the Pentium IV just slowed down. Last I heard the AMDs have a shutdown circuit for overheating, but that takes the machine down completely. I don't know what the current AMD's have for thermal overload protection, but I'd want to find out before putting an AMD in a production environmnent. Other than that they're golden, and if nothing else they're keeping Intel's prices down and saved us from the Itanic nightmare.

Quote:
Surely anyone could see that.
And stop calling me Shirley!

EDIT: Inserted a line above about server processes/threads.

EDIT 2: I updated the SMF support forum with my findings, and one of the developers suggested there was a segfault issue with some versions of Apache and PHP compiled under cPanel, but this server seems to be up to the latest stable releases, and I couldn't find such a problem searching with Google.
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Re: Blank Pages and No Response Thread
Old 05-27-2005, 12:35 PM   #47
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Re: Blank Pages and No Response Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigMoneyJim
I saw that video of the Athlon burning up where the Pentium IV just slowed down.
I wonder WHO could have come up with the idea for that video...?

Lead pants are no match for the sort of radiation coming from those AMD parts. At least you wont have to worry about the expense of having children in THIS lifetime. Or any interest in girls for that matter.

I never minded a competitor that matched up with me and made money. One that hurts my business and doesnt make any money doing it might be good for consumer prices, but I just cant respect it. AMDs almost reduced the cpu to a commodity priced part, which is interesting from a business perspective as in such an environment they had absolutely no chance of competing with Intel, Motorola or IBM...all far more efficient and cheaper manufacturing outfits with deeper pockets and far greater manufacturing capacity.

With higher revenues in the segment, do you think the chip maket would have been all about just making the parts faster (and hotter as a result), or do you think some better innovation, r&d and so forth might have come from it, admittedly paid for out of the consumers pocket? Hmm?

Back to the original thing...when it does host lookups, is it just doing a DNS lookup or does it ever try to ping the hosts themselves to see if they're online?
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Re: Blank Pages and No Response Thread
Old 05-27-2005, 12:58 PM   #48
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Re: Blank Pages and No Response Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grand Banks
I never minded a competitor that matched up with me and made money. One that hurts my business and doesnt make any money doing it might be good for consumer prices, but I just cant respect it. AMDs almost reduced the cpu to a commodity priced part, which is interesting from a business perspective as in such an environment they had absolutely no chance of competing with Intel, Motorola or IBM...all far more efficient and cheaper manufacturing outfits with deeper pockets and far greater manufacturing capacity.

With higher revenues in the segment, do you think the chip maket would have been all about just making the parts faster (and hotter as a result), or do you think some better innovation, r&d and so forth might have come from it, admittedly paid for out of the consumers pocket? Hmm?
Good points. You seem more familiar with the market than I, so tell me what happened to Alpha and to a lesser extent PowerPC. From my point of view there were very well designed chips that never made it to where I wanted them...either in home machines or the Intel server market. I can't figure out why Alpha failed. PowerPC (and Power) has actually succeeded everywhere but the desktop unless you count Apple Macs and X-Serve, but I consider them a niche.

I was going to ask if IBM can compete in a commodity market then why aren't they the top producers of x86 desktop chips and/or have a greater market with PowerPC on the desktop, but I think I can answer that myself by saying IBM doesn't want to be a commodity distributor after witnessing their selloff of the HDD division and PC line.

On a slightly different point, I was under the impression the AMD 64-bit chips rescued us from a bad Itanium architecture. Not that x86-64 is ideal, but I heard many bad things about Itanium. (Personally I'd rather have Alpha or Power arhitecture on the desktop and small servers.)

Quote:
Back to the original thing...when it does host lookups, is it just doing a DNS lookup or does it ever try to ping the hosts themselves to see if they're online?
I have no idea yet. It's just a checkbox setting, and I haven't looked at the code. I doubt it pings back; I doubt SMF includes anti-DOS/anti-spoof logic because it wouldn't make sense to have it there.
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Re: Blank Pages and No Response Thread
Old 05-27-2005, 01:20 PM   #49
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Re: Blank Pages and No Response Thread

Alpha and PowerPC failed simply because there was no compelling application s/w for them (excepting the mac s/w, which was so well controlled by Apple they could manage a migration of OS and apps easily). Chicken and egg...nobody was buying the chips due to lack of apps, nobody would develop the apps without the installed base of h/w.

While they were good, fast chips, without a business reason to buy them, blap...no market. Some technical guy ran drooling into the managers office with charts and graphs showing the speeds and feeds, and the manager asked "does it run the operating system, office suite and 300 other apps our customers use? No? Ok then, thanks for the idea.".

On the server side, different problem. Most servers arent CPU bound and even for those that are, Alpha and PowerPC products didnt really offer a hugely different bang for the buck over existing products. Again, no compelling business driver to include a second very different hardware platform in the data center.

Correct on IBM. Few companies want to become commodity suppliers. Fewer still want to be forced from being a high revenue product supplier to a commodity status. Nobody wants that to happen when the guy forcing you into that status isnt and in fact cant make any money by bringing you to that status. When you're 10-25x the size of the guy that forces you into a commodity status and your manufacturing efficiency is one of the best in the industry, and the little guy has no chance of outlasting you or besting your efficiency to the point where he's going to eke out even a little profit...then what the hell are we doing?

Itanium and 64 bit desktops. Itanium was a good idea when it started. A lot of screwing around with engineering and marketing groups not being able to agree on how to proceed really froze that whole Intel/HP relationship up for long enough that the products werent that great. Intel stayed in it because they promised HP they would, then HP bailed out. Gee, thanks. It makes great sense to have a different server architecture than desktop, because the apps they run really dont have a lot in common. And x86 frankly is a piss-poor architecture for servers, with or without 64 bit extensions. The approach taken with x86 to handle memory extensions past 1MB is awful. X86-64 didnt fix that, it just allowed you to address more memory in an inefficient and hideous manner.

I'd probably argue that more than 4GB of memory isnt really necessary on a desktop in 98-99% of applications, and probably wont be for 4-5 more years...at least. On the server end, big help.

But revamping x86 for a server platform via x86-64 isnt really a super solution. Itanium was too friggin late and too poor a performer to take that role up, although the idea was good if the execution wasnt.

Instead, Intel kowtowed to the markets wishes..."gimme 64 bit! I dont know why I want it, other than 64 is two times 32! Dont go confusing me with any facts either, my mind is already made up!".

I'm not going to blame reduced profits on the itanium thing, but it was a factor. Intel cut a lot of money heading towards the server programs to put it into improving manufacturing efficiency and towards desktop programs as that was the big revenue producer.

The people managing the server end of things were a little ridiculous too. I once sat in a meeting for almost 8 hours while a very senior guy from the server group argued about what name we should give to a program because he'd proposed the same idea a few years before and was shot down. Although he was unable to create a compelling business reason to do it then, he was steadfast that while someone else had successfully proposed "his idea" that it carry "his name". That we'd spent six figures on promotional items bearing the program name that had to be thrown out was irrelevant. We ended up calling the program "Bob" for two weeks to shut him up. I still have a huge box of polo shirts with the old programs name on them.

When Intel acquired a portion of Compaq's microprocessor division, part of the original Digital Alpha team, they immediately became second class citizens. A lot of good ideas were wasted or delayed, most notably dual cpu cores and some good multiprocessor architecture.

So somewhere between reduced revenues, moronic management, competition that does nothing other than take the profit out of the business, vanity and "not invented here" syndrome, we have 4GHz processors you can fry an egg on, an expanded memory architecture processor nobody needs thats wildly inefficient for what its supposed to do, but really low prices. :P
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Re: Blank Pages and No Response Thread
Old 05-27-2005, 01:33 PM   #50
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Re: Blank Pages and No Response Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigMoneyJim
Another thing I don't have is stats for how busy other sites on the host were, but I doubt they were as ununiformly distributed as to effect the blank pages occurrences we had.
Without looking on a site-by-site basis, it's hard to tell. But E-R is using about 10x the data transfer of the next busiest site, and about 100x the average site on the server. So it seems unlikely that they are the cause.
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Re: Blank Pages and No Response Thread
Old 05-27-2005, 02:19 PM   #51
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Re: Blank Pages and No Response Thread

Unless one of those sites s/w is doing something 'blocking' related rather than load related. Locking a database, locking an i/o channel, sending the OS off on something that locks out the rest of the threads for a period of time, etc.
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Re: Blank Pages and No Response Thread
Old 05-27-2005, 05:44 PM   #52
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Re: Blank Pages and No Response Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grand Banks
I'd probably argue that more than 4GB of memory isnt really necessary on a desktop in 98-99% of applications, and probably wont be for 4-5 more years...at least.
"4 GB of memory ought to be enough for anyone."

Where have I heard that before? Uhn-hunh.
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Re: Blank Pages and No Response Thread
Old 05-27-2005, 09:05 PM   #53
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Re: Blank Pages and No Response Thread

Yep, I remember billy saying that about 640k of ram. But we're sort of at an impasse these days. Despite extreme minority opinion to the contrary, most people dont need much more than 256MB of ram even with XP and Office. Even when I'm doing dvd grinding my total commit charge is under 320MB. On average its closer to 280M with a settled commit in the 230M range. And a little bit of paging never hurt anyone.

Even the successor to Longhorn, a full office suite load, IE and a few other things running isnt expected to peak a desktop over 512MB on average.

A lot of SERVERS dont need 4GB. Some do to help offset slow disk I/O by keeping indexes in ram. But I'll bet 80% of the servers in 90% of companies run great in 1-2GB.

We'll need >4GB on the servers. If >4GB becomes a necessity for more than 10-15% of users within the next six years I'll eat every hat I own. Thats a lot of hats.
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Re: Blank Pages and No Response Thread
Old 05-27-2005, 09:18 PM   #54
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Re: Blank Pages and No Response Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grand Banks
We'll need >4GB on the servers. If >4GB becomes a necessity for more than 10-15% of users within the next six years I'll eat every hat I own. Thats a lot of hats.
I'm not impressed. We've seen your hats. They're made of pancakes, bacon and pastries.
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Re: Blank Pages and No Response Thread
Old 05-27-2005, 09:21 PM   #55
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Re: Blank Pages and No Response Thread

Dangit, foiled again!
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Re: Blank Pages and No Response Thread
Old 05-30-2005, 11:53 AM   #56
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Re: Blank Pages and No Response Thread

For what its worth, I havent seen the problem since.
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Re: Blank Pages and No Response Thread
Old 05-30-2005, 03:41 PM   #57
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Re: Blank Pages and No Response Thread

I had trouble getting on to this site this afternoon. Tried a few times and at first could not get on at all and then I would get on, but run into problems. So far tonight, everything is going fine.

I think that it says something for the site. that people keep trying until they can get on. We need our ER fix!!!!

Thanks, Dreamer
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Re: Blank Pages and No Response Thread
Old 05-30-2005, 04:24 PM   #58
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Re: Blank Pages and No Response Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreamer
I had trouble getting on to this site this afternoon. Tried a few times and at first could not get on at all and then I would get on, but run into problems. So far tonight, everything is going fine.
I haven't checked lately; I've had in mind that I would wait unil the end of the month and then check again. The problem didn't follow a pattern, so I want to wait a few days to make sure we're not just in an unusually long lull. At two days after the supposed fix I noticed that similar symptoms were still appearing but seemed very rare and grouped together which wasn't a characterstic of the issue before. If that pattern continues through the end of the month we may have a new mystery to investigate. (FYI, the problems happened to 3.4% of all forum requests overall before the fix; two days later there were 8 or so in a few dozen thousand forum requests.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by omni550
What I have been experiencing, albeit infrequently, when a new page loads, the font is very large and the "board background" (the blue boxes that hold the content) is missing. This just happened a minute ago. When I hit the 'refresh" key, the newly refreshed page looks normal again.
I forgot about this in the midst of the other problems. Does this still happen? My first impression is that the CSS file isn't loading. If this is still happening let me know and I can look at the logs for that date.
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Re: Blank Pages and No Response Thread
Old 08-13-2005, 05:38 PM   #59
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Re: Blank Pages and No Response Thread

One of my cats shut my computer down and when I tried to get back to this site, it took me 3 tries. I am on AOL and I logged off of AOL 2 times before it would let me back to this site. It kept stating Website not responding. Is this just a problem with AOL? I think it was Cut-Throat that stated he was having the same problem and he had AOL also. If this is the case, I might have to go with someone else, once my free time is up on AOL.

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Re: Blank Pages and No Response Thread
Old 08-13-2005, 06:09 PM   #60
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Re: Blank Pages and No Response Thread

Dreamer, I usually get the same response w/AOL mostly in "busy" times (in the evening) Although it is 8PM now and here I am!
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