Manual Set a 404 Header

So this is one of those posts where I blog something to remember it for that inevitable day when the same problem will plague me years down the road.

The issue is that google doesn’t like custom error pages and keeps them in their index without establishing that in fact they are bad pages that drag down the overall quality of a website. For a dynamic, database-driven site, inevitably the info on a website changes over time. Generating pages that forward on to the new version, or give an informative error message help visitors stay on track on the website without getting too terribly lost. The following line of code helps tell google that, whatever’s happened to the page it’s looking for, it’s not there now.

<cfheader statuscode=”404″ statustext=”File Not Found”></cfheader>

As long as you’re at it, you might as well have the page sending you a message about the error so you can go hunt it down and fix it for future users.

<cfmail to=”sample@email.com” subject=”Error: Outdated or Invalid link” from=”sample@sample.com” type=”html”><br />Someone just encountered the following error:</cfmail>

#arguments.errorText#

Page: #cgi.HTTP_USER_AGENT#

IP: #cgi.REMOTE_ADDR#

Offending Script: #cgi.SCRIPT_NAME#

Query Info: #cgi.QUERY_STRING#

Referring Page: #cgi.HTTP_REFERER#

Immigration, Amnesty, and Respect

swadhyay2

Well, I’ve moved to Washington DC now for the next month and a half to work for the organization Project Kaleidoscope doing web design. Taking advantage of the ideal location of my housing on GW campus, I went for a walk down the National Mall, taking some photos along the way (Photos here) and stumbled across a huge body of calmly marching individuals decorated in the colorful garb of what must have been traditional to their culture.

This is DC. Stuff like this happens all the time, yet something grabbed me and caused a pause in my thoughts and motion. They carried signs reading “The problem of humanity is Human Dignity” as these thousands of men and women of all walks of life marched past Smithsonian museums and sculpture gardens along the national mall, finally gathering together at the Washington Monument.

Now, given the magnitude of the event, I expected to find articles in the Washington Post or CNN but I had to search further within Google to find any mention of the event. This was a gathering of a group called Swadhyay Parivar of North America. I have never heard of this national organization and I’m guessing the same is true of most, and yet it exists as part of the constituency of our country. The signs they hold talk about human dignity and the ties the bind us all together under the label of “human”.

I don’t know much about the beliefs and history of this group beyond a few articles I’ve just glanced through this afternoon, but there’s something simply about this event that could benefit each of us to think about. Our nation is a cooperation of millions of individuals characterized by unique qualities and beliefs. A cooperation. Life in this city should not be dictated by disputes between republicans and remocrats, whites and African Americans, men and women, or “native” Americans and immigrants. It should be about finding ways to come together and address the “problem of humanity”: Human Dignity.

As the march wrapped up and I walked past, I noticed a small cluster of people on the sidewalk about 100 feet from the edge of the Swadhyay gathering. They bore their own signs, saying “Defend American Borders”, “Threats to america”, “Not another 9/11, No more aliens”. I think they knew, though, seeing thousands of peaceful, responsible individuals challenging their perspective of people different than them, that their cause was a bit foolish. I think they know deep down that the divisions between us are much less important than those signs show.

Coldfusion hosting frustrations

So I am one of the first to tout the exceptionally efficient coding shortcuts associated with ColdFusion and in most cases it makes the job of a webmaster much easier. All of that is true if the web server is running properly as intended. Lately, however, I have come up against a suite of problems with keeping the server going without hitting all sorts of JRUN errors.

I host a personal coldfusion photo gallery with an online company Host Department and several times a week, one of the other users placed on the same server crashes it and it goes down for everyone. I’ve also been working on another ColdFusion driven website for a non-profit organization. In this case it dies about once a week or so without explanation or note in the logs. If the server simply restarted, that’d be one thing, but it stalls and can’t do anything to automatically fix itself.

Now, admittedly this is something that can be fixed in each of these cases, that is the role of those in charge of the server. It’s part of my job to set it up so it doesn’t break in these ways. That said, with the number of posts on this issue floating around the web, you’d think a more robust implementation would be possible.

ColdFusion is supposed to be simple and easy while retaining its power and flexibility. Dealing with server issues like this strike me as neither simple, nor powerful and send me looking for more stable alternatives.

Another Post?

Well here I am posting a second time, remarkably enough.

At any rate, I’ve been tinkering with a variety of things during my two weeks of break before starting work in DC. First, I’ve been tweaking my photo gallery website (ThansCorner Gallery). Check it out – it’s nothing too incredibly special but it combines my interests in web design and photography and gives people a chance to keep in touch and see what I”m up to. Comment on pages if you’ve got something to say!

Beyond that, I’ve taken full advantage of one of my favorite summer activities – Spending an afternoon at a coffee shop. Lately the preference has been for a Caribou bundled with Brueggers bagels and I’ve made some good progress with my poetry collection. There is truly nothing better or more rewarding than sitting at a coffee shop, surrounded by interesting people, whilst pouring thoughts into words and plowing through work to be done. The $3.15 cost of beverage and $2.70 cost of lunch is made back in the first 5 minutes there…the rest is just bonus. Give it a shot – it’ll be well worth your while. At the very least it’s a way out of the house.