Re: Google maps / Unresponsiveness

From: Stefano Mazzocchi <>
Date: Fri, 24 Jun 2005 10:22:50 -0400

Oliver Cole wrote:

>> Hi,
>> I'm very impressed by Piggy Bank, I think its absolutely brilliant, and
>> my jaw hasn't left the floor since I heard about it. And thats before I
>> even installed the extension!


you are too kind :-) (but, yes, our egos like these comments a lot ;-)

>> However, as I'm sure you are aware, Google keeps changing their API.

oh, yes, we are very aware of that, unfortunately. (well, maps is in
beta and it's legal for us to use such a great service, so we can't
really complain)

>> On Fri, 2005-06-24 at 01:24, David Huynh wrote:
>>>>We are still trying to figure out how to keep up with GM.
>> I don't know much about the API, but would it not be possible to run
>> some sort of XML-RPC/SOAP/whatever server on, that would
>> take in coordinates in RDF, and spit out the necessary XML/HTML link
>> that is required to retrieve the map?

We discussed this last week as a potential 'one point of connection'
that would allow us to make the transition rather fast and effect
everybody at the same time.

The problem with this approach is that 'one point of connection' also
becomes 'one point of failure' and one big bottleneck. We tried very
hard to architect PB so that there were no places where our resources
(both sysadmin and bandwidth/cpu) would limit the scalability of our

This is also why we ship a semantic bank for you to use and we allow you
to publish to a different one: we don't want to become the bottleneck.

I personally fear (since I'm also the one doing the sysadmin on that
machine ;-) of having all requests go to the simile server, it would be
pretty easy to bring it down to its knees if PB keeps taking up like it has.

(meaning: don't underestimate the impact of exponential growth!)

>> That would provide a central place to update it, and could even allow
>> you to provide a GUI warning that the mapping is currently broken while
>> you work out the new version.

Well, that is a better idea. We could have PB check the web site once a
day for "update needed!" and provide a sort-of modular patch way for PB
to update itself without requiring a restart (this is possible in things
that don't rely on java code directly).

The downside of this is that it makes security of our servers a huge
deal (I can't even imagine somebody putting up a trojan in there!) but I
guess that we have the same problem with the XPI anyway.

>> ---
>> I also wanted to ask about the slightly adverse affect the PB extension
>> has had on my Firefox. Yesterday, it was hanging Firefox occasionally
>> when I opened new tabs. Sometimes it would pop up the Mozilla "This
>> script is running slowly" dialog, but whatever I answered it would hang
>> Firefox anyway.
>> This morning I upgraded to 2.0b1 from the version that was on the site
>> last night, and the behaviour appears to have changed slightly.

Hardly. You are hitting a garbage collection problem that firefox 1.0.x
has with the tabmanager and it's a very random behavior. I wasn't able
to find a workaround myself so far but apparently deerpark (firefox 1.1)
is sopposed to have fixed that. We are ready to start trying that as
soon as we get our act together.

>> Today, its popping the slow script dialog whenever I navigate
>> anywhere: ie, click a link, open a new tab or window, and also whenever
>> I close a tab. Clicking OK kills the script, and Firefox recovers, but
>> clicking Cancel, allowing the script to run, hangs Firefox.
>> Is this a known issue?


I thought we had an issue in JIRA, but I can't find it, so I created a
new one. Add your comments/suggestions to that one if you want.

>> FYI:
>> Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.7.8) Gecko/20050514
>> Fedora/1.0.4-0.fdr.1.2 Firefox/1.0.4
>> My machine is an XP3000, 512MB RAM, plenty of free space, running FC2 on
>> 2.6.10.
>> Thanks in advance,

Thank you for your feedback!

Stefano Mazzocchi
Research Scientist                 Digital Libraries Research Group
Massachusetts Institute of Technology            location: E25-131C
77 Massachusetts Ave                   telephone: +1 (617) 253-1096
Cambridge, MA  02139-4307              email: stefanom at mit . edu
Received on Fri Jun 24 2005 - 14:20:32 EDT

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