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Web Server News Various information and older news about the SmokStak™ web server and its functioning.

Web Server News

How This Web Site Began

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Old 11-05-2004, 11:28:40 PM
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Lightbulb How This Web Site Began

How This Web Site Began:

1943: Plugged hairpin into wall socket. Grew up with electric trains, erector set, transformers and old horn motors as toys. Took apart antique radios for parts to mess with. Got into ham radio on Morse code in 1957 as KN2AOU.

1963: Studied Electronic Communications and Electrical Technology at S.U.N.Y. Alfred, NY (A.A.S. Degree) F.C.C. Advanced Class Amateur Radio License. First Class Radiotelephone License. Entered the world of AM, FM and TV Broadcast Engineering. NorthEast Radio FM Network, WSYE-TV (NBC), WHEN-TV (CBS), WKBW-TV (ABC).

1976: Built first computer on the 4th of July weekend of 1976. I soldered parts and chip sockets onto circuit cards and my (8080 soon to be Z-80) micro computer was created. That computer started out with 2K of main memory and then I added three 8K memory boards and an 8 inch Floppy Disk Drive. This was before Apple, or the IBM-PC existed! In those days, it was a big deal to play Lunar Lander or translate morse code to the display screen. I installed solonoids inside an IBM selectric typewriter and wrote the routine to use it as my computer printer. I took apart a hand held calculator and connected it to my computer to do floating point math. Etc.

1978: First activity on the internet (as we know it now) was on GE-Net, to do statistical analysis of nuclear power plant instrumentation data on a central main-frame.

1979: Joined a company to sell and service computer business systems for accounting and word processing. This survived until 1985 when the IBM PC came into the market place and took over with their name identity.

1993: First personal internet account was created in September of 1993 at S.U.N.Y. Oswego.

1995: First Old Gas Engine (The Witte 5HP) was purchased in August of 1995 and material for the Harry's Old Engine Web Page was created! In the process of looking for engine information on the internet, I found Spencer Yost's first Antique Tractor mail list and popped some questions on his list about the Witte. I met Craig Prucha and some of the other internet pioneers of old iron at that time. Harry's Old Engine web page was started as a user page.

1996: The Old Engine Classifieds started out in manual mode early in 1996 with the encouragement of Charles Bryant. (r.i.p. Charlie 2013) Because this wasn't work related and because of the commercial activity on classified ads, I opened a web account with ( and classified ad activity was under way. In the fall of 1996 I retired from my job in New York and moved to Florida.

There came a time when Spencer Yost's tractor list went off line and the Stationary Engine mail list started up, hosted by Indiana University and Brice Adams with all of the gas engine folks joining in. Indiana University frowned heavily upon commercial messages and the Harry's Old Engine classified ads for buying and selling engines went into high gear.

1997: Classified ads on Harry's Old Engine were growing larger. My account was only good for 50 Meg of monthly bandwidth and the classified ads didn't take long to surpass it! I was notified by that it was time to move to a commercial account.

1998: In March of 1998 the domain was created and hosted on Concentric's commercial system. That didn't work out too well because the bandwidth restrictions were even tighter. As the internet grew, the hosting companies kept lowering the limits. So then I contracted for web server space with a server company called and retired the account.

The ad page continued to grow and it was a daily battle to keep it under control and reserved for stationary engines only. No doubt I ticked off more than a few people who wanted to run tractor, new engine, motorcycle, or pedal car type ads.

In the fall of 1998, Indiana University decided to pull the plug on the Stationary Engine mail list as we knew it then. The SmokStak bulletin board was started up with software similar to the classified ads. Another web site, created a separate mail list and finally Spencer Yost restarted his tractor list on and once again hosted the stationary engine mail list.

1999: In the fall of 1999 I created and moved the classifieds and SmokStak off from the page. now housed the growing series of bulletin boards including the classifieds and the SmokStak. Other boards were created for marine engines, small engines and tractors. 2,166 messages were posted on SmokStak by the end of the year!

2000: Wouldn't you know it, we outgrew our welcome at Worldwidemart because of the traffic and it was time to move again. In May of 2000 was installed on a Cobalt dedicated server in Atlanta. and followed on over and we were running again. Growth continued. 7,639 messages were posted on the SmokStak by the end of the year!

2001: In May of 2001, I contracted for a newer and more powerful web server, but this turned out to be a big mistake! It was dying of hard drive failure and the server host company couldn't / wouldn't fix it and the manufacturer told them to send it back to the factory. Then what! As it turned out, I had to go through legal maneuvers to dump the contract and find a new server hosting company. All this happened while I was on vacation in Colorado! I was lucky that I had my main computer along with me and access to a telephone line to make administrative contact with the server! The switch-over was made in record time (I think we were down for a week.) and I managed to extract a refund of my prepaid year's service bill from the previous company.

Now the server is in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and NO more prepaid server contracts! That fall, SmokStak became published in Gas Engine Magazine and 18,170 messages were posted on the SmokStak by the end of the year!

2002: 2002 was fairly uneventful. The web site continued to grow. 40,986 messages were posted on the SmokStak by the end of the year!

2003: Here we go again - the server host that we are with has sold their company to a new owner. Good employees have been terminated and it remains to be seen whether the new company will support us as well as the last one.

Almost 20,000 Big Engine ads have passed through Enginads! An unknown quantity of ads from before 1999 were not kept. Plus, we have run nearly 2000 BarnSale ads, and 3,000 small engine ads! A site search now sifts through over 50,000 Smokstak posts on file!

2004: After six months of problems with the new web host and being plagued with poor network connections a change was put into the works.

On December 22nd of 2003, I leased a new Pentium 4 server to begin reprogramming. In the middle of this activity, an even better server became available, trashing the time and money that I had already spent. Not all of it, because I did learn a lot.

On January 12th, 2004, I leased a Dell PowerEdge server with dual 2 gig Xeon processors configured as four processors by hyperthreading. It has 1gig of ram, dual 73gig scsi drives and 2000gig of available bandwidth! (These babies can loaf along and share the load.)

On the graph below, if you look real close, you can see activity pick up at 6AM, dip for lunch and bottom out at midnight. is shown at the left on the previous Friday. The blue spikes are me moving EnginAds files from the old server to the new one. The green grass shows pages being delivered out to the web.

100,000 bits per second = 26 gigabytes per month.

At 10 bits per byte, 10,000 bytes X 60 seconds X 60 minutes X 24 hours X 30 days / divided by 1,000 million = 25.92 gigabytes per month! This is from the routers point of view, so "in" is pages served into the router and "out" is data sent back to the server.

As of January 26, 2004, everything is moved in and the old server has been cancelled. Reports from users indicate that speed is dramatically improved. A site search now sifts through over 60,000 posts on file!

CLICK HERE for a photo of our server location. Do you realize that where our server is now, there are over 10,000 servers on line feeding the web over fiber optic hubs? Believe it! It's a whole warehouse full of them or as they call it - a data center. These are operated by customers from all over the world and many of these servers house up to 500 web sites. Our server houses only ONE user - me, but then, I need a big house. With over 1000 regular users, I have lots of company.

October, 5, 2004: Much time has passed and all is well! Connect time averages .11 seconds, uptime is 100%, errors = 0, outages = 0. I hate to say it without knocking on wood, but our move to this server company has been nothing but great!

October 21, 2004: EnginAds and SmokStak continue to grow and as we approach the 100,000 posted messages count, it is time to investigate new software. The SmokStak and other conversation boards are in the process of being transferred to new and more powerful programming known as PhP and MySQL.

November 8, 2004: Moved 18,207 threads including 81,327 posts to the new bulletin board!

January 9, 2004:
Threads: 19,084, Posts: 85,803, Members: 1,221

March 29, 2005:
Threads: 20,069, Posts: 91,610, Members: 1,922


September 28, 2005:

Threads: 22,990, Posts: 108,951, Members: 3,288.

Traffic has surpassed the amount that justifies the server power to keep track of it. Webalyzer and Analog statistics have been shut down.

October 20, 2006:

Threads: 30,171, Posts: 165,842, Members: 6,514

Traffic at the end of December 2006:

Threads: 31,626, Posts: 179,254, Members: 7,214

Threads: 39,108, Posts: 243,571, Members: 11,687

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Old 12-15-2009, 11:54:46 PM
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Harry Harry is offline
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Default Re: How This Web Site Began

May 31, 2008
POWER FAILURE, Electrical Fire and Explosion Story:


For December 15, 2009 ...



IP Address - - - Type Bill Type Allowed Current Projected Server RAW 2.5TB 214.91GB 419.67GB

Threads: 63,597, Posts: 456,192, Members: 26,994

Sales on Enginads - over four million dollars!
Old 10-30-2010, 09:03:31 AM
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Harry Harry is offline
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Default Re: How This Web Site Began

Threads: 75,472, Posts: 553,361, Members: 35,124

Sales on Enginads - close to 30 million dollars!

See the image below for what makes Smokstak tick...

Three 10,000 rpm drives and 8 gig of RAM.
Redhat Enterprise Linux - OS ES 4.0

Motherboard Dell 800MHz FSB Poweredge SC 1420 Xeon 1MB Cache
Processor Intel 3.2 GHz 800FSB Dual Xeon P4 Xeon
Processor Intel 3.2 GHz 800FSB Dual Xeon P4 Xeon
RAM slot 1 OEM Standard DDR2 400 ECC Reg [2048MB]
RAM slot 2 OEM Standard DDR2 400 ECC Reg [2048MB]
RAM slot 3 OEM Standard DDR2 400 ECC Reg [2048MB]
RAM slot 4 OEM Standard DDR2 400 ECC Reg [2048MB]

Drive Controller Dell \ PE1750 internal RAID \ PERC 4/Di
Hard Drive 1 Seagate 146GB:SCSI:10KRPM 146GB 10K 68-pin [146GB]
Hard Drive 2 Seagate 73GB:SCSI:Ultra160 10kRPM ST373405LC [73GB]
Hard Drive 3 Seagate 73GB:SCSI:Ultra160 10kRPM ST373405LC [73GB]

eth0 (Public)
Uplink speed: 100 (Mbps)
Server address:
Bandwidth Allotment: 2500 GB

Data center dedicated fiber optic connections to: ATT, Level3, GBLX, AboveNet and NTT.
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Old 12-04-2011, 11:10:53 AM
Harry's Avatar
Harry Harry is offline
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Sarasota, Florida USA
Posts: 6,436
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Images: 312
Default Server

2011: Threads: 90,392, Posts: 682,844, Members: 44,942

2014: Threads: 121,562, Posts: 983,679, Members: 69,871

Sales on Enginads - close to 32 million dollars!

On August 6, 2014, we activated yet another web server because the old one developed power supply and hard drive problems. The new one has 24 processors, 32 Gig of RAM memory and solid state hard drives. It's always fun to change servers.

2015: Threads: 131,662, Posts: 1,083,988, Members: 77,137

10 TerraBytes available!

2016: Threads: 145,250, Posts: 1,222,532, Members: 86,272
We welcomed our 100,000 member this year, the difference being dropouts, non-confirmed emails, spammers and scammers.

2018: Threads: 164,904, Posts: 1,430,443, Members: 96,354
Everything pretty much on auto-pilot. Server has full backup and full support.
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