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Archive for February, 2007

Defensive Computing

Sure, I know, there's probably already a term "defensive computing", and my re-coining of the phrase will conflict with it, etc. But right now I feel in too much of a hurry to google it or think of a better phrase.

Why am I in a hurry? Because I am paranoid the computer will crash.

What, my laptop? It's only a couple years old; since when does it crash?

Well, the laptop doesn't crash, but my main PC does. I'm getting to the point where I type first and think later because I am so worried about my computer screen suddenly getting garbled, forcing me to lose my work and reboot.

So in the spirit of ailing computers, I'd like to post some thoughts about defensive computing. No, not the real "defensive computing" (whatever that is), just my version. Maybe it's the real version. Or maybe not. It doesn't really matter because I'm not gonna google it! Gotta save now…

Ten steps to safe computing

1) pick up computer

2) walk 8 steps to nearest trash can

3) drop computer in trash can

Okay, I know, bad joke. Who knows, maybe that one's been done before too. I have no idea. Again, googling just isn't in my reach right now because I have to get this ideas down right now now now before the computer crashes because computers crash crash crash… Gotta save…

Well, my "joke" had a point, and you have to be an idiot not to guess it. Either an idiot or a non-psychic. No, scratch that… an idiot. Only idiots will miss my point… And my point is… gotta save.

Okay, now that I've saved, I've forgotten my point. Hmm. You know, that's the problem with saving in Wordpress. It's slow. It refreshes the screen. It forces a context switch. That sucks. In the most profane, crude, teenage-language way. Sucks sucks sucks. Context switches are to be avoided. Avoided avoided avoided. Okay. Gotta save.

Save save save. Okay, I forget what I was saying. Man, Wordpress is making me feel like a stoner. Gone is my lucidity. Gone is my Lucida Console.

Sorry, font joke, and I probably spelled it wrong. No, I'm not gonna google. it. But I did let Firefox's spell-checker recommend some re-spellings. It didn't have any good ones, but it's nice to see that I can check spelling without leaving this screen (which would force a context switch). Firefox good, Wordpress bad. Stoners bad. Save.

Okay, I remember my point. There is no safe computing. End of point. Save.

Just like driving, you know? No way to drop the risk to 0%. So you're gonna have risk, no matter what. What "risk" am I talking about? The risk of ending a sentence with a preposition? The risk of a not finding a sentence to not end a preposition with? The risk of a bad joke? The risk of a… ummm… Okay, Save.

Okay, enough jokes. Fast forward to the reason I bothered to subject myself to Wordpress's suck-tastic WYSIWYG editor and horridly slow save mechanism. The reason is… Save.

The reason is: recycling. Like my jokes. No, not recycling… Redundancy. Yeah, that's it. That's the only sure way to prevent "unsafe computing".

Q: What is unsafe computing?

A: Computing without ten condoms, one on each finger. Or eleven, depending on which sitez you vizit.

Pow! Ha! Ho! Hum! Groan! Grumble! Click! Back! Bye! Bye! Lost! My! Audience! With! That! One! Save.

Okay, I know, I know, I thought I said no jokes. Well, sorry. When you read my blog, you run the risk of being offended, bored, annoyed, and inspired to write your own blog, so that you can "beat" me. So that you can "slaughter" me. So that you can "pwn" me. So you get on your computer, and you have all these cool ideas…

And then it crashes.


So yeah, it crashes. And you're bummed. And annoyed. And paranoid. And you start saving frequently, context shift or no context shift… And as a result you start writing like a stoner. And you end up blogging about your pathetic paranoia as if it's important to anyone else other than yourself, even when you know deep down it isn't. But it doesn't matter to you that other people don't even read your blog. Because it really just is a set of notes to your future self. You're your primary audience. You're your biggest fan. Your ideas are gold to you. They are mana. You are protective of them. Very. And you would hate if –


There it goes again. Your ideas, gone. Your work, gone. Gotta do it again. Gotta save. Often. So often. So suck-tastically often. Context shift. Stoner talk. Running in circles. Save. Save. Stoner. Save. Save. Stoner.

And suddenly you realize that computing is not fun anymore. Writing is not fun anymore. Creating is not fun anymore. Life is not fun anymore. Death would be fun, except while you are thinking about death, you have to keep saving, which forces context shifts to more mundane topics… And pretty soon all you can think about is the context shifts themselves. And you talk about them. Over and over. Over and over.

"It's like resetting" you say. "I keep resetting".

And you drive everyone nuts with your talk of "resetting".



Okay, I'm assuming you've got the gist of my point. So now's the time for some ideas. I'll start (and finish, since no one reads this).

NOTE: These next bullets are serious, so if you are looking for more humor, trying looking in a mirror. Ha ha ha ha ha!!!

1) Redundancy is key. Reuse software among your computers, even if you violate license agreements. If you are a stickler for license agreements, then you will need to switch to linux, which you are probably already doing if you are bothering to read this. No 100%-windows or 100%-mac fanboy/fangirl/fanbot is likely to have the attention span required to get this far into my boring, boring deluge of keypresses.

2) Redundancy is still key. I didn't really finish what I was saying in the first bullet. Instead, I rushed to the second bullet. I feel like I'm in a hurry because at any moment my computer can crash. Oh yeah, I have a second bold term for this second bullet: Save Often. Yeah. So much for consistency, though. These bullets aren't really well organized, are they? Oh well. I guess that's not the end of the world. As long as I keep typing, I'm okay, right?

3) Keep Typing. Organize your computers so that if one dies (or a piece of one dies), you can immediately continue your work on another computer. This means that you need to have backups available to your other computers. So, you need a centralized backup, which is itself backed up in multiple locations in case it dies. Of course, make sure you have offsite backups, but you already know that, right?

4) Use platform-independent software. Anything that runs in a web browser is great, because you can use it from windows, linux, mac, etc. Web 2.0 (which I equate with as "browser based apps") rocks. Except for Wordpress's WYSIWYG editor, which sucks. (Of course, it's screwing up these numbered bullets repeatedly, almost as if it were psychic… but then it would be a sucky WYTIWYG [what you think is what you get] editor instead of a sucky WYSIWYG editor). Since Wordpress's editor sucks, I need some other text editor. Ideally, I'd use a platform independent one like VI or EMACS. But I'm not patient enough to learn a billion keypress combinations, no matter how efficient they are. I don't speak Esperanto either. And I think in terms of inches instead of centimeters. So, unless I grow another brain or see some convincing "proof" that there's a long-term benefit in switching to VI or EMACS, I'm gonna stick with my current text editor, which I will discuss in the next bullet.

5) When you can't find adequate platform-independent software, at least try to use hardware-independent software. I bought UltraEdit (an excellent Windows-based text editor) and use it on multiple computers. Ditto for CoolEdit (an audio editor). Ditto for Sonar. All great apps. All bought by me (several times in the case of Sonar, which is up to version 6 now). And all installed on multiple computers so that I can use the app in multiple rooms. There's one user (me), and there's no way in heck that I'm gonna pay for multiple licenses since I am the only user. One me, one payment. Period. I've stopped purchasing apps that force me to purchase multiple licenses (bye bye Symantec, bye bye Zone Alarm) Fortunately, the copy protection on my favorite apps (UltraEdit, CoolEdit, and Sonar) is either nonexistant or easy to bypass. That's why I bought 'em, and why I recommend other people buy them. Support companies who [intentionally or not] allow a single user to use their app on multiple computers. Multi-pc computing is defensive computing. Do not support companies who discourage multi-pc computing by forcing you to buy yourself multiple licenses.

6) Pick your battles. Don't try to fight Microsoft. They've got you by the, um, "tentacles". You cannot find an easy alternative to XP. So, either buy an XP license for each PC or switch to linux. Don't try to pirate XP because then the Microsoft updates might not work. Then your computer will be at greater risk for viruses. And crashes. And that would degrade your productivity, big time. Meanwhile, the main risk of installing Sonar on 2 PCs (e.g., your desktop and laptop) is a twinge of guilt, but if you take defensive computing seriously, you shouldn't feel any guilt. Support the companies that let you work on multiple computers, but pay Microsoft its "protection money" if you're gonna be hanging around its neighborhood.

7) Don't be afraid of spare parts. Over and over and over again I find myself digging out some forgotten hardware as a quick replacement for a Frankensteined box. My current linux server is a mix of several years' spare parts, and so far it's doing its job very well. It can't run Google Earth very smoothly, but the other linux PC runs Google Earth very well thanks to an old Geforce Ti 4200 that I dug from my closet the other day. If you are having hardware problems, find or buy some more parts so that you can swap out bits until you find the culprit. Of course, it helps if you buy parts that work well with lots of other parts; purchasing based on popularity (rather than lowest price, most features, or greatest performance) helps. Stick to name brands, as in names you've actually heard several times before. Intel. nVidia. ASUS. Crucial. M-Audio.

You know, this reminds me… I wish that magazine editors would post their system specs/brands. We get to hear about what games they play and what they did on their summer vacation, but we rarely get to hear what hardware they use. In music magazines we get to read about featured musicians' hardware and software, but for some reason computer editors don't talk about the tools they use. Maybe that's because their jobs force them to continually upgrade/crossgrade? Or maybe there's a stigma against "bragging" about their hardware? Or what? Why don't we hear what the PCMag editors use? And how about the guys who review games for a living? What do they use in "real life"? How long do their systems stay stable? How frequently do they swap in new parts? How many PCs do they have?

Sure, some forums have people who list their hardware in their sigs. But these people seem like braggarts to me. Well, maybe not braggarts, but they seem to care more about hardware than "normal people", and of course I'm including myself in the "normal people" category. Most people can't be bothered to post their system specs. People without hardware problems (or fetishes) have no clear motivation for listing their hardware. Only outliers post their hardware. Notice how I've not even mentioned the specific hardware which constitutes this laptop. That's because hardware is boring. Unless it's not working, in which case it's an emotional thorn in our cornea.

Okay, that's enough for today. Gotta read something fun. Gotta get away from the computers. I've been on 'em 15 hours straight. By the way, at work and home today I physically used 5 different PCs. They ranged from my measly Pentium2-350MHz running Win98 to a PentiumM-1.8GHz running XP. Somewhere in the middle is a P3 or P4-1.6GHz running linux. None of these PCs is anything close to being a "fast" or "modern" computer. They're all clunky and most are "ancient". Yet they each helped me be productive and efficient, partly due to my being able to reuse tools on them. For example, I used UltraEdit on 3 of them, Firefox on 3 of them, PERL on 3 of them, SSH on 2 of them, and FTP and/or rsync on 3 of them. All of those apps are IMO great tools, letting me be efficiently productive on whatever computer is available at the moment. Tool redundancy is the spirit of defensive computing. Unfortunately, I'm still dependent upon a single copy of Dreamweaver, a single decent 19" monitor for programming (where I like to use small fonts), and a single pair of hands, which wasted a lot of time typing notes about my crashing pc and then fixing Wordpress's horrible WYSIWYG butchering.

Hands (and non-existent readers), it's time for beddie-bye.

Drupal vs Etc. Part 2

Okay, I've done some soul-searching and talking and reading and making music and eating and feeding guinea pigs. In other words, time has passed.

God BLEEP it I hate it when WYSIWYG editors are buggy like Wordpress… But I already ranted about that in the last post so I'll try not to say anything about it anymore. Been there complained about that, eh?

So here's some new info that can influence how I design and manage my site(s):

  1. I would rather code all the html by hand than deal with buggy WYSIWYG editors. I would rather have reliable tedium than chaotic brilliance. This is why I switched from FrontPage to a text editor, from Word to a text editor, and (for my Tripalot sites) from Dreamweaver to a text editor. I always seem to gravitate towards a text editor, because text editors are the most reliable authoring tools.
  2. I'm plagued with's PHP-related Internal Server Errors. I get these all the time when I Drupal, Wordpress, Mediawiki, and PHPBB… and there's absolutely nothing I can do about it. has not been able to help and in fact today an tech support guy told me that his sites (hosted on get frequent Internal Server Errors as well. This turns me off to the idea of using Web 2.0 on Tripalot, at least while Tripalot is hosted by Maybe a hosting switch is in order?
  3. Meanwhile, my static xhtml pages continue to load quickly and reliably. Tripecac and the rest of my sites are fine. Tripecac is sort of my "musical blog"; I update it twice a weak, and other sites once or twice a week. I do all my static page authoring on my main pc. I wish I could use other PCs to author (and publish) static pages as well. That, in fact, was the main reason I tried Web 2.0; I wanted to be able to post ideas using my laptop. Which is what I am doing right now…
  4. Honestly, I don't really need most of the Web 2.0 features. Collaboration? No. Versioning? Not really. WYSIWYG editing? HECK NO!!! Fancy navigation? No. Tagging and categorization. Not really. A built-in search engine? Well, that's kinda nice, but I can use google for search or use the PERL script I wrote (which still works, by the way). If I forego Web 2.0, I think the only features I'll miss (until I roll my own) are:
    • ability to quickly edit blocks of text instead of having to locate and load a file (e.g., if I see a typo in this post I can quickly edit it)
    • comments (although since these pages are not yet public, I have no idea how often they'd be used)
    • WYSIWYG editing. Did I just say that? Grrr… Seriously, though, I really wished that for once a WYSIWYG editor would prove reliable and efficient. Please, someone, write a decent WYSIWYG editor!!!
    • more writing, less coding (unless I start developing my own modules)
    • nice look and feel (better than my stuff, since I'm definitely not a graphical designer)
    • the calendar function (which is cool but underused)
    • lots of other cool stuff…

    Notice how Wordpress botched up the bullets? Okay, okay, no complaining…

  5. Okay, you can see that I am in fact ambivalent about giving up Web 2.0. I actually like a lot of the features, but wouldn't mind losing the rest. I guess one question I should ask myself is whether I can get the same cool features offline (not on Tripalot), and use them to create static pages which I push to Tripalot. I think the answer is yes for everything except comments. Anything collaborative really needs to be done online. Mark Prindle says he manually adds comments to his static html files, but I'd rather automate that if possible.
  6. I suppose I could use Blogger to author and then push the files to Tripalot. That would give me the best of both worlds, right? Reliable authoring, and control over the static files? I've already read that Movable Type lets people do the same thing (but that's not free).
  7. Maybe I could have a CMS (like Blogger) on my LAN, and use that to author content and then push it to Tripalot. But then I couldn't have comments, and if I spot a typo on the site, I need to locate the page locally in order to edit it. I suppose I could write a greasemonkey script (or favlet) which lets me load the local version of a tripalot page. Hmmm…
  8. Maybe I can start off by finding a (local) Push CMS which lets me create urls which are compatible with Pull CMSes. Or vice versa. The idea is to make sure the urls are not dependent on Push vs Pull CMS. If I need to disable comments in order to preserve the ambiguity, so be it. Eventually, I should be able to run PHP reliably on Tripalot, because either will get its act together or I will move to a different host. I won't continue to pay for hosting services that I cannot use.
  9. I need to pick one CMS and forget about the rest. Either Wordpress, Mediawiki, Drupal, or Blogger. It's imperative that I select a tool and start using it to create actual content. That's the only way to really evaluate it. See, before I started blogging these CMS ideas in Wordpress, I thought Wordpress was simple but rock-solid. Now I think Wordpress is simple but flawed. And today, when I was trying to see if Drupal could "push" XML (via an export docbook module), I ran into lots of problems. I installed PHP5, deleted duplicate menu items, installed a tidy standalone executable, installed an htmltidy module, and I still couldn't get drupal to export XML. Darn. But at least I know that now. If I just stuck with hello-world examples, I'd think these Web 2.0 apps were all gold. Now I know that they are just as unreliable as Dreamweaver. So this gives me a different perspective than I had yesterday. Web 2.0 isn't infallible by a long shot. It's not necessarily my "goal state". Perhaps text editing and xml+xsl are my best long-term strategies. Who knows..
  10. I'm tired of investigating this stuff. I wish I could have someone to ask. However, no one seems to know the right thing to do, at least for me. And I'm not sure I should be asking. What's good for them is not necessarily good for me. Web development is as much an art as a science. I know that's a cliche, but think about it… my music is unique because I do everything from scratch. So are my static web sites. Warts and all, they are "mine". The more I depend on other people's tools, the more my creations start become generic. Bit by bit they lose their character. Bit by bit I lose my attachment to them, and put forth less effort in them. So I need to keep things personal, keep things "mine". Maybe this means I need to avoid Web 2.0. Or maybe not. This Wordpress blog definitely has my look and feel. The wiki doesn't though. And neither does drupal. phpbb is pretty standing looking too, despite the colors. So I guess if I need to preserve the look of my site I need to be able to heavily customize the template. Maybe that's a good next step for investigation. See how closely I can get these Web 2.0 apps to mimic the current Tripalot look and feel.

Hmm. Okay, enough thinking and typing for now. Time to read something fun.

Drupal vs Wordpress vs Blogger vs Mediawiki vs Roll-your-own

Note: This post oscillates between serious analysis and cheap, crude jokes. I was reading a lot of Mark Prindle's music reviews at the time; this post is a bit of an homage to his writing style.

I still have no idea what authoring software I'll end up using. Hence the sparseness of posts, and the software-centric nature of those few posts that bubble to the surface.

So far, Wordpress seems the most blogging friendly of the tools I've tried. At least, that's what I'm saying right now, while I use it to type this stupid blog entry ("stupid blog" is the opposite of an oxymoron; I forget what the word is… oxygenius?). I like Wordpress's('s's) ease of authoring (via WYSIWYG controls and keyboard shortcuts) and relative ease of customization (letting me have my own template). I also like parentheses; can you tell? (Can you?)

Blogger was easy too, but, um, well, to be honest I just wanted something a little less "LCD". By "LCD" I mean "Loser Can Do (It)". There's those parentheses again… So anyway like anyways like anyway like… ROFL LOL RTFM STFU etc… See what I mean? Blogger booger. Too easy. I wanted some software that I had to install myself. I wanted a snobby/techie filtering element. I wanted to feel part of the elite because that is oh so important to me, because I am such an uber-geeker. Ha! Snort. SPUMA (shoving pencils up my …)

No, to be honest, I just wanted control over the code. That way:

  1. If the blogging software company (e.g., goes bust, I am not affected because I have my own copy of the code. Dependency on other people sucks!
  2. I get to see what other PHP coders are writing. How do they make it easy to plug in modules, patches, templates, and hacks? I consider this off-the-clock research for my day job.
  3. I can hack the fudge out of the software. This lets me have my standard Tripalot header and look and feel. Yay. Because everyone knows that Tripalot is at the cutting edge of web site aesthetics. Well, ergonomics is more like it. Actually, inertianomics is more like it. :)

Of course, the irony is that people can get their blogs hosted on for free. This means anyone can get a Wordpress blog. Sigh. End result is there's a ton of other poop-headed baby-tards writing their stupid "I am so important" blogs about their stupid stupid thoughts. God, I hate blogs.

Sorry, I just hate blogs so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, parentheses. (Yeah). I like parentheses. Or, as we call them in eliteville, "parens". Of course, the uber-uber-uber-techno-brainiac few (of us) call them "bananas". Every day I have bananas on my raisin bran. That is so, so important for the world to know. Hey world, read me! Read me! My bananas are your bananas!

Not really. Hands off my bananas. Yeah, get your grubby paws off my sleek, wit-gilded bananas.

Where was I?

Oh yeah, bananas. (a/k/a bananarentheses)

Ok, if I seem distracted, it's because:

  1. My hands are cold.
  2. I'm hungry (again) (and no I'm not a fat and/or pimply geek like the rest of the Wordpressiverse).
  3. There are way too many "bananas" in this post for comfort; I'm starting to feel "banana"ed out! What a stupid one-off meme anyway. Stupid meme! Bad meme! Spank the meme! Whip it good! Amen brother!
  4. I can't figure out if this is auto-saving or not. (Not that it would be disasterous if it's not. If it's snot.)
  5. When I saved a draft, Wordpress messed up one of my paragraph spacings. Grrrr. WYSIWYG should be WYSIWYG, Mr. and Mrs. Wordpress authors. Stop messing up my expectations, dudes and dudettes. Stop twiddling with my angst buttons you banana-bestowing gods and goddesses.
  6. How can I add spacing between these bullets?
  7. Does Wordpress have a built-in "nonsense" checker?
  8. Why's it getting slow? The response time is getting so sluggish right now.
  9. Okay, I saved again and it seems better. Hmm. Does this mean I need to keep saving? Eek, it's getting slow again. Grrrrrrilla luv banana!
  10. A'ight that's enough blabber for now. On with the shizow!
  11. Enough, Travis, zip it!

So, um, yeah… Wordpress, Blogger, etc. Hmm. Gosh, I am bored with this topic already. After saying so little, so precious little, about it. What a waste of time (yours and mine) and space (mine all mine my preciousss– STFU JRR is so old school ya dork!). Hrmmm…

Man, Wordpress is messing up again. It keeps jumping to the top of the post whenever I delete a leading space from a new paragraph. And it's getting slow again. Sooo slowww…. Maybe WYSIWYG in a browser is like security in Vista? Not quite there, holmes? (Not that I would know anything about Vista – I'm loath to try it until at least SP1 or SP2 or SPWAW). Ha! (subtle joke alert).

Argh! Wordpress keeps messing me up! Stupid stupid 'tarded Wordpress authors!!!! Jeesh!

So lemme hurry this Fokker up.

Drupal seems powerful. I like its modules. And I have a book on it, which means I learn little bits of it at night.

(Wordpress is covered in the book too, so maybe I will learn to respect Wordpress although right now its WYSIWYG editing is peeing me o. Process Explorer says Firefox is taking 98% of the CPU. WTF? It's not like I am blogging about rocket science or anything… Why would Firefox be brought to its knees by Wordpress's little old posting interface? That really sux the meme's bananas!)

(Oh great. I just started a new paragraph. Wordpress threw in extra white space. If I delete it, I'll jump to the top. Man, WYSWIWYG editing sucks. Frontpage and Dreamweaver were 'tarded about it too, so maybe I need to cut Wordpress some slack. Or maybe not. I want WYIWSIWYG to work, darn it! Come on, all you "genius" open source authors out there. Fix these stupid javascript bugs!)

Sheesh. So, um, yeah, Drupal… I like it, so far. Not love it, though. It's hard to love anything when Wordpress's stupid WYSIWYG editor is putting me in such a foul mood. I hate it when software gets in the way of creativity. Not that I was being particularly creative, but you know… If I were trying to do something meaningful here, I would be furious with all this sluggishness and white space bugginess. Slugs and bugs abound in Wordpressiapolis!

Drupal cool. But intimidating. I was able to hack my blogger and wordpress templates pretty quickly. For some reason I haven't messed with Drupal too much yet. Perhaps because I'm progressing through the book linearly… Or maybe since Drupal crams more administrative options in its main interface (as opposed to having a link to an administrative area), there's more pressure to preserve the default content and layout? Eh, well, I hope I can hack Drupal to look more like the rest of my site. Then I can ditch this annoying Wordpress (which I no longer like; see how fickle I am?; see how interface bugs can murder your customer base?).

And then there's Mediawiki. Or, rather, "'Mediawiki"'. Lots of typing. Lots of debugging. Vanilla-looking pages. Aesthetically barren, but neat history options and easy linking. We use it at work, but it doesn't feel relaxing enough to use for my "fun" personal pages. (How much fun am I having right now with this post? None, thanks to Wordpress's horrible WYSIWYG glitches).

Finally, I can always roll my own. That would be the ultimate in geek cred, but would also be the ultimate in wheel reinvention. I'd rather leave CMS authoring to people with lots of free time (and patience for beta software).

Okay, enough bananas; I'm oughta here!


Update (minutes later):

Something else was making Firefox sluggish. When I closed the browser, a Firefox process remained, still consuming 98% CPU. So there's a chance that the sluggishness wasn't Wordpress's fault. Plus, I have over a dozen Firefox extensions, so one of them could have been (grease)monkeying things up.

Also, even though Wordpress's editor doesn't add white space between list items, my CSS does, so I just need to ignore the lack of white space in the editor. Of course, that diminishes the accuracy of WYIWISIWYG, doesn't it? Hmm.

Regardless, Wordpress's WYSIYWISWYG whitespace handling is still annoying. And guess what; while I've typed this update, Firefox's CPU amount has crept up to 70%. So I wouldn't be surprised if there's some conflict between Wordpress and one of the extensions.

Firefox CPU usage is now at 96%. Sigh. I'll close Firefox (again) and open it, but not Wordpress, and see if it's still CPU-hungry.


Another update (minutes later):

Um, the 96% CPU dropped away when I left the page. I tried reproducing the apparent memory/CPU leak (is there such thing as a CPU leak?) by creating a test page, but no luck; I couldn't get the CPU to sustain a high level. As soon as I stopped editing, the CPU would sink to 0. Hmmm…

Now here I am editing this post again. The CPU keeps dancing between around 20% and 0%, depending on whether I am typing. Okay, I will stop typing for ten seconds…

Interesting. The CPU leveled off at around 20% and would not go below 18%. This implies that some script is periodically updating, even when I am not typing. Perhaps there's an auto-save feature?

Eek, I just saw the CPU go back up into the 90s again. now it's around 60 – 80%. Hmmm. I will stop typing for 20 seconds…

Ah, so it's levelling at 75% now. Something's definitely bonkers with Wordpress's memory/cpu management.