Keeping L-36.com running
BackgroundThere were two significant issues that caused less than ideal performance that you might be interested in. This page will explain what happened and what I did to resolve it.
XTideAbout 10 years ago, I installed XTide on the server that is the home of L-36.com. It was not easy and I had help. The issue is that this site runs on a shared server and the installation instructions for XTide only work on dedicated servers where one has root access. You don't get root access on a shared server so it is not possible to install the necessary shared resources. What is needed is a dedicated stand alone or static version of the main program called "tide".
A few weeks prior to my becoming aware of the problem, I got an email from my web host company saying that they had updated the hardware that my server was running on. It turns out that about the same time they changed the OS to a 64 bit version. One of these two changes broke my version of tide. After a half dozen phone calls with tech support and many false leads, I again contacted the person who helped me ten years ago. He created a virtual machine on the web, installed the OS and all the required support programs and installed tide. He then hacked the compile instruction to make a static version which I installed on my server. A few more mysteries were solved involving which harmonic files were being used and we now have a working version of XTide again.
To celebrate the change, I modified the look of the tide graph. I hope you like it. I also implemented some of the "mobile friendly" changes to the supplemental tide programs.
Google MapsGoogle maps changed they way they deal with users. They now charge for the use of their maps, want an account with a credit card, and offer $200 free credit. The problem is that 99.9% of the calls to maps are by bad actors loading every page I have looking for vulnerabilities. Because most of the pages on L-36.com are auto generated there are literally hundreds of thousands of pages and these crawlers can generate thousands of calls to maps per day. I have no control over this and don't want to open up myself to unknown changes for things that do not benefit my users. The solution was to switch from Google Maps to OpenStreetMaps. I actually like the Open Street Maps more than the Google maps. There are still some Google maps on the site where I have an API key. I do not know how long those maps will work but hopefully I will be able to use Open Street Maps and replace those if needed.
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