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Do you have experience with squid or varnish proxy servers?

If any of you readers out there are experienced sysadmin/webmaster types I could use a little help. Every time this site gets on the front page of Digg or Slashdot it has the tendency to go down, or at least go very slow. I’m running wp-super cache and I have a dedicated server, but there are a lot of images on the site (we serve about 700gigs a month), and everyone of them has to spin up a 24 meg apache process. I would like to set up a caching proxy using either squid or varnish to handle all of the static content. However my site has a pretty odd vhosts setup generated by the control panel software my host uses and I’m not really sure what i need to do.

So how about it, anyone out there who would be willing and able to help me get it set up?

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Site Redesign

Welcome to the new Modern Mechanix! This is our first site redesign in… well actually it’s our first redesign period. I want to give a huge thanks to my sister Tamara for coming up with the look and feel as well as that spiffy new logo. I think she did a great job of keeping the things that worked from the old design and fixing most of it’s shortcomings.

The changes are not just cosmetic though. I’ve added a few new features to the site. First off, for our regular commenters, there is now a comments RSS feed. Actually the site always had one, but it was pretty well hidden. You can also now subscribe to get email notifications when anybody replies to one of your comments so you don’t have to keep checking all the posts for new responses.

You can now browse the archives by magazine and issue. Just click on the cover gallery link to start. You can also click on the magazine name in any post to see a listing of all of the issues (eg: Modern Mechanix), or if you want to see other articles posted from the same issue, you can click on the issue date (eg: 11-1932).

I’m in the process of moving the categories into a hierarchy, so for example, the Transportation category will now contain the Automotive, Aviation, and Nautical categories. This will let me add a bunch of new, more specific categories without taking up the whole left side of the screen.

I also added a little Amazon store where you can subscribe to science magazines as well as see (or if you’re so inclined, buy) books that I like. Tamara and I are also working on designs for some nifty new Modern Mechanix gear which I think you’ll all really like. If you haven’t been to her store yet, check it out, she makes great stuff.

From a tech perspective, I redid the entire site HTML and CSS using Yahoo’s awesome UI framework, if you do much web design I highly recommend it. This should fix most of the problems people were having with the site looking screwed up at smaller resolutions, particularly in IE.

That’s all for now, but in the coming weeks and months you can expect a bunch of new stuff. Now that I’ve got the back end cleaned up it’s a lot easer for me to make changes and implement features.

Please let me know what you think of the new design and tell me if anything isn’t working right for you. Also, I’d like to know what new features you’d like from the site. I’m sure you all have a lot of great ideas.

I would like to give a big shout out to my co-conspirator, Simone, for all of her hard work on the site. I couldn’t do it without her.

Lastly, I want to thank all of our commenters. This site would be no fun without you.

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