chips burgers

Speedcurve

A couple of weeks ago I got to try out Speedcurve, which has just launched today.

It’s a smooth product which gives both a good high-level view of site performance over time, review the major speed factors (differing browser render time etc) and phases of page load, and index against other competing sites and the wider “ecosystem” of your site’s sector. Also, the historic detail is like having a daily request trace (super useful) along with a very-low-resolution archive.org / screengrab (awww!) all of your own.

I’ve been doing some basic monitoring of site performance using Munin, and what I missed in Speedcurve were the ability to monitor the same set of sites (from previous posts, it’s probably obvious that I’m currently obsessing over NZ political party sites in the leadup to the NZ election) and the ability to manually adjust colours (I know, but it just doesn’t make sense if the Green Party are orange and the National Party are green).

Very small complaints there - one a beta account limitation (Speedcurve plans and pricing), the other down the bottom of a list of things people want.

The one-off monitoring options will be a really good way to give sites a periodic review … congrats to Mark on getting it out the door!

Pow

I know it’s pretty old news, but I just have to say that as someone who’s messed around with hosts files and apache configs for some years now, I’m freaking love the convenience and lazy simplicity of Pow.

Even when it’s just proxying back to LAMP apps, it’s still saving me a bunch of effort. (I’ve automated that effort with .sh in the past, but Pow is just soooo easy.)

Political Sites Speedtested (Again!)

I’m not bored of this yet. I’m just getting started. Trying WebPageTest.org this time to compare results - it isn’t quite as pretty but I think it’s more detailed.

Times are initial / second load. These results are substantially different to the previous two rounds.

Labour

1.871s / 1.270s.

United Future

2.876s / 1.094s

Greens

2.983s / 1.900s

NZ First

4.310s / 2.405s

ACT

6.545s / 4.272s

Mana

7.514s (did we lose the test machine with the initial load time?)

National

10.121s / 6.093s

Maori

14.619s / 4.078s

PGP in Parliament.

With greater awareness of the visibility of email content and traffic, I got wondering whether any NZ elected representatives had published PGP keys in order to give the public a means of communicating with some level of privacy.

S/MIME? I don’t know of a way to look up Parliamentary certificates to obtain the recipients’ cert, and otherwise you’d have to get an email from an MP or EA with their cert. (If such a directory exists, I’ll be happy to update this.)

I checked the MIT PGP keyserver for results in the @parliament.govt.nz domain as well as seven @partyname.org.nz domains (sorry if I forgot your favourite party, I’ve got that wrong before). The results are few, out of date, and not encouraging.

PGP keys in @parliament.govt.nz

  • Rodney Hide
  • EAs belonging to (I think) ACT, Labour and National (1 each)
  • A few others

PGP keys in @national.org.nz

  • One person

PGP keys for @labour.org.nz, @greens.org.nz, @act.org.nz, @maoriparty.org, @unitedfuture.org.nz, @mana.org.nz

  • Nobody.

Friends in Parliamentary Service tell me that encryption is a hard proposition for use within Parliament, because there is tight control over what software can and can’t be installed. I’m not sure what encryption options are offered by Parliamentary Services IT, but it doesn’t look like it’s PGP.

I emailed a handful of MPs to enquire about their current approaches to private / secure comms with consituents. National MP Amy Adams, the Communications and Information Technology Minister, referred me to Parliamentary Services. Through a response from PS I learned about SEEMail (“Secure Electronic Environment Mail”), which provides secure mail gateways to communicate between SEEMail-using agencies. By my reading of this document) it seems like SEEMail

  • is only available to participating organisations,
  • has mail gateways apply rules to communications (eg recipient constraints on a document marked [RESTRICTED],
  • outsources PKI management to Dimension Data,
  • encrypts and secures based on agency certificates rather than certificates for individual recipients

References -

Friday Night, Delighted.

It’s Friday night, I’m delighted. Home and quiet, the fire warms the room, it’s midwinter cold outside. About a month ago I started working for Fuzion, run by a long-time colleague and friend Peter Davis. I’m loving it - a great crew to work with, it feels like a good fit.

Right now, my delight is 100% because I get to leave work at work. I’ve always had a “protestant work ethic” thing going - I’m not a particularly hard worker, mind - just kind of driven to work in order to reassure myself that I’m doing my bit.

So tonight, I finished work around five, and then I went on a spree of custom code removal (11K LoC gone in 1:15, yo - what a freaking mess that was), and then I hopped the bus home. And I’m home, and putting the kids to bed, and feeling absolutely healthy because I don’t feel like I have a pathological need to pick up some unfinished business later on in the evening.

(Sorry, peeps with unfinished business, see ya Monday! Unless it’s urgent enough that you really need me. You’ve got my number.)

I love having a job. It took me a long time to realise it was a healthy option for me.

A Second Survey of NZ Political Party Sites

A second survey, to follow the first unscientific survey of NZ political sites. On the eve of the Ikiroa-Rawhiti by-election no less.

I’m only following this up out of duty to my past and future selves, you understand. Also, it occurs to me that FPT probably offers a permalink to the report, and I could skip the images copypasta. But hey, consistency?

I am a little bit excited to see Mr Zeman’s been busy putting together Speedcurve, it looks pretty fab from the demo. Hi Mark!

EDIT: Oh dear! I forgot ACT existed both times I ran this survey. I’m belatedly adding them in third place below, well done Berend, fastest of the Drupal sites here.

United Future

Supermodel

Mana

Wordpress

ACT

Drupal 7

NZ Labour

Drupal 6

NZ First

Drupal 7

NZ Greens

Drupal 6. Lots of room for improvement here!

NZ National Party

VAdmin 3.0 Enterprise

Maori

Website Administration System

NZ673 Flight Deck

The lads got invited onto the flight deck of NZ673 by the burser, and met Arjen the pilot.

Turns out that on the domestic 747-400s at least, it’s not all shiny shiny Pan Am Raybans up front. Just raw functional machinery.

Lucky boys - I’d thought that cockpit visits were a thing of the past, but we’re not that far gone.

Defrag

As of this evening I have an idea in my head for a cheesy design. It’s the Windows DEFRAG.EXE block rearrangement, which I might throw together in JS to decorate things. Just for fun.

Scrolling this post makes the GIF shimmer. Mmmm.

Unscientific Survey of NZ Political Site Performance

Homepages only, really just a speed index via Pingdom’s excellent Full Page Test. I look forward to reviewing this in a few months’ time. Sites are ordered based on their load time & score - note that Pingdom has used different locations to scan from, and all are overseas.

NZ Labour

Drupal 6, CiviCRM 3.4.x

Mana

Wordpress

Maori

Website Administration System

NZ First

Drupal

NZ Greens

Drupal 6, CiviCRM 3.4.8. Lots of room for improvement here!

NZ National Party

VAdmin 3.0 Enterprise

United Future

Supermodel