Collaboration of the Month: Dire Straits

The current Collaboration of the Month is Dire Straits, please give up some of your MB time to help tidy-up this artist’s discography. A list resources and things that need to be done are at this wiki page and you can discuss specific issues on this forum topic.

We are also trying to come up with a better name for the project, one that won’t cause confusion with other uses of the term “collaboration” in MusicBrainz. If you have any ideas, please voice them here.

Ailing server replaced!

After 9 days of frustrating work to replace our failing main web server, we’ve implemented plan K (plans A – J failed!). Plan K involved making a previously unreliable server (lingling) reliable again by installing software RAID and then moving all of the services onto this machine. We just finished with that and the new web server seems to be handling the load well so far.

Now its up to Dell to fix our server — fortunately, much to my surprise, we still have a service contract on that machine. So, its up to Dell to diagnose and fix the box and then we’ll put it back into rotation. Also, Steve Wyles (inhouseuk) has agreed to lend a hand in diagnosing the issues on moose, the new Sun Server — we’re suspecting a copy of Solaris that is too old to handle this new architecture.

So, expect more downtime in the future as we shuffle fixed machines back into rotation. Hopefully we’ll be able to proceed with a more sane pace from here on out.

Once again, giant kudos to Dave Evans for all his hard work! Thanks Dave!

MusicBrainz downtime redux

The attempt to switch the database to the new Sun server has failed and we’re still running with the old set of hardware. For some reason Postgres refuses to run with any kind of acceptable level of performance on this new machine. Thus, we’re setting aside this server for the time being and instead working to bring a replacement server online as soon as possible.

We’re also working with Dell to determine what the problem on the server is, and luckily the servers still have an extended warranty covering them with 4 hour on-site service. However, it appears that we need to diagnose the problem before Dell is willing to send someone out. I’ve run a memory test on the server and it passed all of its tests.

I’m out of ideas. I’m frustrated with Sun and Dell and will no longer waste time on their hardware trying to solve this problem. Instead I will work with whatever hardware I can scrounge up and get the service moved over to our spare server and then we’ll sort out the issues with our glorious servers.

It looks like it will at least be Friday before we can make the next attempt to fix this. Again, sorry for the inconvenience — we’re doing our best to fix this problem ASAP.

MusicBrainz downtime: January 17th, Noon PST

Tomorrow January 17th MusicBrainz will be unavailable starting at Noon PST, 15:00 EST, 20:00 UK, 21:00 CET, for at about 1 hour.

The recent problems with certain artists not being found are being caused by a failing motherboard (specific guess: failing DMA controller). Fortunately the database server is still working well and the database has not been affected by this hardware malfunction.

Tomorrow Dave Evans and myself will bring moose, our newly donated Sun Server, online and swap it out for the current database server. Once the new database server is up and running, we will want to monitor it for a while to make sure its doing its job properly. Once we’re convinced that it is doing its job, we will take the site down again and swap the drives in our then-to-be obsoleted database server with our ailing web server and bring the site back up.

After that we can remove the failing server and purchase a replacement motherboard — if you’d like to make a donation to help us cover the cost of the new motherboard (est: $800), we would greatly appreciate your support!

Thanks to Sun for the spiffy server that will get us out of a this bind and a big thanks to Dave Evans for his hard work getting our servers stable again.

I apologize for the inconvenience all this may have caused you.

Trying Google Analytics

I am currently in the middle of writing the year-end report for the MetaBrainz Foundation and its clear that our ancient web statistics system using webalizer is hopelessly outdated. Following a glowing recommendation from Wendell at MuiscIP, I’ve turned on Google Analytics for the MusicBrainz site so we can get a better idea as to what our traffic is and where it comes from.

Google Analytics works by having the client browser send a tiny ping request to Google — this tiny request is enough to track all sorts of things about the MusicBrainz traffic. If for some reason this should cause some issues, please post a comment here.

If it does work out and gives us good results, we’ll keep it. If it causes problems we’ll dump it. Let’s wait and see!

Technorati Tags: ,

The old RDF based web service has been deprecated

The subject pretty much says it all — the new XML Web Service has been debugged and is now stable. This new web service was designed to replace the old web service since its better designed, more concise and a lot simpler to use.

If you are using the old web service directly or have been using libmusicbrainz (1.x/2.x) or libtunepimp (all versions) then you are using the old web service and you should make an effort to migrate your application to use the new XML web service. The old web service will stay in service for all of 2007, but we may get rid of it as early as 2008.

Technorati Tags: ,

Call for early testing: Labels

Lukáš Lalinský has recently finished coding support for Labels inside of MusicBrainz!

This new set of features allows MusicBrainz editors to enter information about Music labels (recording companies), create Advanced Relationship links to labels and also supports bar codes for releases. A lot of these features have been eagerly anticipated by the community for some time, and now you can head over to the test server to try them out yourselves.

Before heading over to the test server, you should probably read the documentation for the labels feature. As usual, if you find any bugs, please enter the into our bug tracker.

Thanks for your hard work on this exciting new features Lukáš!

Technorati Tags: , ,

John Buckman of Magnatune joins the MetaBrainz board of directors

[ I apologize for the lateness of this post — the holidays kept me busy ]

I’m pleased to announce that John Buckman of Magnatune and Bookmooch joined the MetaBrainz Board of Directors on December 13th. John is both a geek and a music lover and he embodies both of these passions with his online record label Magnatune. Given his position in the cutting edge space of online record labels and his technical background make him perfectly suited for helping out the MetaBrainz Foundation as a board member.

John replaces Joichi Ito, who has recently taken on the role of chairman of the Creative Commons. Joi is busier than ever, making it difficult for him to participate in the day-to-day operations of the MetaBrainz Foundation. Joi, just as Larry Lessig, stays on as board member emeritus in an advisory role.

Thank you for all of your help Joi and welcome aboard John!

Technorati Tags: ,