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Current Posts
Thursday, February 25, 2021
I Thought I Wasn't Going to Ever Blog about Trax in Space again...
Posted: 2:08:00 AM 0 comments
Well, I hope at least a couple people get a good chuckle out of the title. Fortunately for them, this post is about something else entirely: the Trax in Space 1 file repository.

I've maintained this site, with some interruptions, since around the time TiS1 shut down, which I believe was some time in 2003 or 2004. It was a simple site written in Classic ASP that had one purpose - serve files. When I lived in Houston, I maintained this site on my own server that was literally right next to my desk. I had unlimited bandwidth, great Internet speeds for the day, and was able to let people download what they wanted.

Fast forward to October 2015, when I moved from Houston to Belmont. The site was unceremoniously removed from the Internet, and I really had no idea how I wanted to get it back up. I had roncli.com up in Azure for quite a while by that point, but didn't really know what the cost was going to be for me to put the whole 14 GB repository online, so I just... didn't.

It didn't take long for people to notice it was gone, either. In December 2015, I received my first email regarding someone willing to host the site. As a man of technological pride, I silently declined, promising to myself to put it up soon. It took me 2 1/2 years to do so. This was the birth of the Github repository for tis.roncli.com, rewritten entirely in Node.js. However, there was a twist. Because I wasn't sure what kind of cost bandwidth would have, I limited downloads to 50 per 24 hours, a limit that still exists to this day. People have been generally happy that it's back, but have been asking for the 50 download limit to be removed. I've largely been unwilling to do that, simply because I'm not sure what the cost of doing so would be. However, it's a question that I will be willing to revisit after this current project is complete.

Last year, I started learning Docker, and figured TiS1 would be a great first project. I learned how to set up Azure Storage, where all the files now live. I learned how to run certbot properly, got nginx as the web server, and log failures to Azure so that I can monitor what's going on. It's been awesome. The server is a Linux VM that's super small compared to the one I'm running, and is all open source, so no fees for it being a Windows VM with SQL Server on it. It's pretty cheap to run, too: about $10/month.

TiS1's transition has been a success, and kick started me on my next project... moving Six Gaming into Docker, a project that was full of... let's say "learning experiences". I'll talk about Six's challenges in my next post.

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Monday, February 08, 2021
The Big Picture
Posted: 4:16:00 PM 0 comments
Sometimes, it's a good idea to take a step back and look at what you're doing and what you've done, and ask, "Can this be better?"

I recently did this with my Azure Windows VM. For a while, I've been just loading up any new website or venture I've created onto my VM. This, however, has proven to be problematic when it comes to some of my more recent projects, including the OTL and the corresponding Overload Game Browser. These two projects are by far my most used websites on the server, and they continually push the limits of what this VM can do. Timeouts have become more and more frequent, and as more and more data piles into the database, the problem is just going to keep getting worse.

So I asked the question, "Do I need to be on a Windows VM?"

Some years ago, the answer would have been "yes". I was running .NET Framework 4-point-something, and had a lot of Microsoft-specific things on the system, including a Microsoft SQL Server. Now, however, every site I host is written in Node.js. The only thing remaining that requires anything Microsoft is the SQL Server.

So I asked the question, "Do I even need SQL Server?" I don't think I do. MongoDB exists, and I have been figuring out how to work with that for some time.

As such, I've begun a massive project to try to move away from this Windows VM and retire it permanently. For a while, I wasn't sure how I was going to do it, but as part of a learning course pilot at work I picked up Docker. My goal is to move every project that I have on that server into a group of Docker containers and run them on their own Linux VMs. Linux VMs are much cheaper than Windows VMs, and if something starts running out of resources I can just up the VM size accordingly.

So what is going to move?
This is, of course, a multi-part project that has taken on a life of its own in recent months, and it's one I am enjoying greatly so far. It's really expanded the boundaries by which I am able to operate websites and related online services. In coming posts, I will talk about each project separately, and what each site's status and future is.

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