Day: July 4, 2013

The Runner

Running Exercise clip art mediumSomething is happening that I never thought possible: my workout routine is changing so much towards running, I have to call myself a runner nowadays.

If you had asked me 5 years ago, when I still lived in San Francisco, if I’d ever consider running, I’d tell you there was no way. I was too big-framed, I would say, and besides my knees were hosed from multiple cycling injuries. Running was heavy on the … everything. You heard of knee injuries, shin splits, chronic pain, plantar fasciatis, etc.

When I started working out at the UCSD gym, I soon realized I had to do something about cardio. They only had a single spin bike in the workout room, and all the other cardio equipment involved some form of running. There were the elliptical trainers, the treadmills, and some strange self-powered treadmill that had the sad disadvantage of not keeping you on constant speed.

I ran, reluctantly. Initially, I could make 20 minutes at 6.7 mph (a 9 minute mile) and felt all proud of it. I was sure the entire gym was thinking I was a big stud – a feeling strengthened when one of the girls at the coffee shop asked me if I was the guy that did “all that cardio.”



On this server (and on most others I administer) I use awstats for statistics. It’s a really nice package that give a pretty decent granularity of the visitors. It’s been working wonderfully for years, and once you get it configured, it is reliable.

Until recently. I installed awstats 7.1, and it worked fine, but suddenly it stopped. Just like that. Adding any key-value configuration option would completely corrupt the output, and all output was gone for searches, bots, etc. It was pretty much useless.

After much wrangling, I decided to face the Perl code. I am not too fond of Perl, finding its way mysterious and inscrutable. I am particularly confounded by variable typing, with the various $ and @, as well as by the automatic variables. Sure, it would be easy enough to get used to it, but why would I? It’s not like I want to write code in Perl (or a lot of other people, for that matter).

But in I went, copying the log files to my local machine and analyzing them. There is a good debug facility in awstats, but it works only from the command line, and it has to be turned on in the configuration file (and then again in the command line output).