BookMooch faster, champagne and laptops don’t mix

August 20, 2007

johnchampy081307.jpgLast sunday, I took the overnight boat from Stockholm to Helsinki. I’m chairman of the board of a new company called Star Wreck Studios and had several days of meetings in Helsinki (trying to get SWS funding and company and tech meetings too).

In the middle of all these meetings, BookMooch crashed, so I said to myself “the hell with it, since the old technology just crashed and I finished the new one a few days ago (and it seems to work) I should just try the new stuff and see if I got it right.”

So, as of this past tuesday, BookMooch has been running on the new technology that I’ve been working furiously on the past few weeks, aka “the reason I came to Stockholm”.

All was working well for several days, and I had 3 days scheduled with the Star Wreck crew at a log cabin in the middle of nowhere, Finland. Of course, while I was at my log cabin, BookMooch crashed. My new sysadmin showed great initiative, and set up BookMooch to stop and restart every time it got slow, which normally would be fine, but for BookMooch, and the way it was designed, was actually the worst thing to do. I’m not mad at him: he showed great initiative and I should have warned him not to do this.

At any rate, what this meant is that for two days, BookMooch was getting stopped and restarted repeatedly, which caused member accounts to become invalid, if they were doing something to their account the second BookMooch was restarting.

So, if you can’t log into BookMooch, send a tech support request in at and give your login name. I’ll fix your account by hand.

The good news is that BookMooch is now much, much faster, and the 20 second delays should be a thing of the past.

However, just as soon as I made BookMooch faster, all you eager moochers started using the BookMooch web site a *lot* more, actually 2.5x more than ever before, thus slowing it down a bit.

Now it turns out that what is keeping BookMooch from being insanely fast all the time (and it’s pretty fast now, most of the time) is fetching data from the database. If I put more memory on the computer, I’ll be able to increase the speed that BookMooch runs, by quite a bit.

In a few days, I will have a new 64bit server, with 8gb of RAM, running a 64 bit version of Linux, and I’ll be testing the BookMooch software on that machine. Once I think it’s reliable, BookMooch will switch over to using this 64bit server, and hopefully will be soo fast that it can deal with 28% month-to-month growth for a while.

And because “that’s just how life is”, I was drinking champagne on the boat back from Helsinki, to de-stress about the database mess that was waiting for me when I got back. Somehow I managed to hit my laptop with my knee, propel it 2ft on a table into a glass of champagne, and destroy my main laptop. Sigh.

My friend Ramsay, who is living with me in Stockholm (writing a book) is letting me use his laptop for now. My other friend Derek (who runs CDBABY) is living at my house in London, and fedexing me my older 12″ laptop to my apartment here in Stockholm. All very exiciting, but talk about bad timing: I had to blow up my laptop just as I really needed it to fix the database problems. Thank goodness for generous friends, or else I’d be on an airplane back to London right now, to fix the mess.

So that’s the state of things.

-john, in Stockholm

17 Responses to “BookMooch faster, champagne and laptops don’t mix”

  1. So sorry to hear about all the problems…but happy to hear about the fixings. I did notice problems with Bookmooch and at first became frustrated and then I reminded myself this was a FREE, wonderful site and things would work out.
    Thanks to you and everyone behind the scenes who put so much heart and hard work into this project, that’s some incredible moxie you guys have going there.
    And good luck with the new project!

  2. Aaron said

    Ah. Champagne + computer reminds me of an old movie, Electric Dreams,

  3. Sibilance said

    Sorry to hear about the laptop but yay for gracious friends. Thanks for the work – the site is working great now!

  4. Poodlerat said

    Thank you so much for your work on making BookMooch faster. The lack of speed during peak periods hasn’t made me stop using the site, but it has made using it more onerous.

    I was wondering why BookMooch wouldn’t recognize my password last week, but it seems to have been fixed. Thanks for explaining what that was about!

    I love this site so much—so thank you for that, too.

  5. Dara said

    I love CDBaby! And Bookmooch!

    My favorite thing is how CDBaby emails you and the email says “CDBABY loves Dara”. Cuteness.

    Hope the server works out. I haven’t noticed extra slowness at all, if it helps you feel any better πŸ™‚


  6. Patricia said

    I just wanted to let you know that all your hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed. We’re really happy with BookMooch. So thank you. When everything is all good, you deserve a long vacation!

  7. Shauna said

    Wow! I guess laptops should not drink and drive.

  8. June Whitehead said

    Wow!And I thought we were the only ones having a bad time lately!

  9. Ramona Newhouse said

    Have you forgotten the old bromide — Life is what happens when you are making other plans! At least I now know why I was unable to access BookMooch about seven times!!

  10. Aliera said

    Sorry to hear about your laptop, but wow! It’s great to have Bookmooch up again, and running faster than ever. Thanks so much for this wonderful site!

  11. Ashley said

    Glad to see it up running and thanks for all your hard work. Bookmooch & Paperback Swap have been such a blessing to us.

    We are homeschooling family and as most single income families money can be tight. I’m busy using both sites to help stock our homeschool library for the year. It is great to know I’m saving money and giving old books a new home.

    God bless and thanks for your hard work! Best of all things for keeping it FREE! ; )

  12. Evy MacPhee said

    I ADORE bookmooch and truly appreciate all your hard work and attention to it.

    Last week was a little strange, but then, so was I.

    Three beloved books came today.

    Enjoy your time in Europe. At least you had troubles with pretty scenery around, though that probably didn’t cheer you.

    You are thoroughly appreciated.

    Blessings upon you and all that you do,


  13. Heather said

    Thank you for all your hard work getting the new stuff working! I’m a newer member and I have to say I love this place, and it’s great to know that behind the scenes people are working hard to make things even better. Sorry about your laptop.

  14. Anne said

    I have an IBM Thinkpad with 32mb of memory, external floppy drive and a USB port. The laptop works, and it also has a docking station. The bad news is that I just reformatted the two hard drives (I believe each drive is 2gb) because I thought I was donating the laptop to the Goodwill. Before I reformtted the drives, the laptop was running Windows 98SE and Microsoft Office 97 without any problems at all. I used it with an external wi-fi network card and was able to use the laptop to go online anywhere there was free wi-fi.

    There’s no CD-ROM drive (I used an external one), but this is actually a plus, because the laptop is super light and has a good battery life. If you want it for Bookmooch, you can have it.

  15. Anne said

    Oh, and the CMOS battery is dead, meaning that when you boot up the laptop, you get an error message that you have to hit the enter key twice to get past.

  16. Anne said

    I’ll take the silence to mean no, nobody wants the laptop. It’s going to the Goodwill. πŸ™‚

  17. Isabel said

    Even laptops deserve a little champagne now and then. Don’t be stingy! πŸ˜‰

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