Blog ► The One Page With All The Answers

The One Page With All The Answers

Post by Blake
With the commotion and dust cloud of introducing the new site, there's quite a bit of information flying around in an unorganized fashion. I suppose I'll take this opportunity to let you know what's going on, what my plans are, and dispel rumors and general confusion.

Unless you registered just now or are not a very observant person in general, the site has radically changed. In fact, this is an entirely new site that I have written from scratch that bears remarkable resemblance to the site you once knew as Two Cans & String that I have pointed the domain name to. The old site that used to point to is now located at its domainless home over here. It'll get lonely over the next few weeks, so go ahead and give it a visit. This archive version of the site is read-only, so you can't actively use it. It's a take-photos-leave-footsteps sort of deal.

There are 3 obvious differences between this site and the previous one.
  • The Question & Answer section is radically different and AJAX based. If you are using IE6, you may notice another change: it is entirely busted. Upgrade. IE6 was retro in 2004. If you are on a public/school/work computer and cannot upgrade, I suggest you take to arms and stage a protest since your computer has some serious security worries that ought to be overshadowing your need to use TwoCans.
  • The Messaging system looks different. Not all that different. Just different. You'll also notice helpful emails from the Notification Fairy when you get a new message. If you would like the Notification Fairy to go away, there's an option to tell her to do so in the account settings page.
  • Creating a forum post now has more shiny options. Such as bold, italic, colors, images, emoticons, etc. Please don't abuse these. I wasn't really thinking of forum features when I created these. More on that below.

So the big importance of these upgrades was to combine all my sites. This probably means nothing to you, especially if you have never visited any of my other sites. Even if you have, all my sites will still be visually different and located at different domains. However, they are all running off the same codebase and using the same database and user account system. Like I said, this really has no direct importance to you. But to me, it means I no longer have to waste time working on the same feature multiple times for sites that are 90% similar. For you, this eventually means more features and updates from me. As a bonus side effect, it also means you can log in and use my other sites with your same account you have here. Once is complete, feel free to try it out. It's almost kind of creepy!

One of the architectural decisions I made for my new set of sites was to base almost all content-based features on the forum infrastructure. This would also serve as a time saver on my part. For example, all the posts under /things/ are actually forum threads in a hidden forum category. You can comment on them now. Comments are nothing more than replies to the original post in the threads. Since is mostly article-focused, the advanced formatting features were a necessity. That's the primary reason why they're there. Especially the code syntax and equation editing buttons which I don't realistically expect users to use often.


Yesterday I finished the site and started to run importers. My goal was to import ALL data from the old site to this new one. I succeeded in most places. I failed in 2. I tried to import the forum posts. The data format was much too different and there were too many posts that it made doing so impractical. I figured I could leave the archived version of the site up and all would be well, eventually. The other part I royally failed at was importing the messages. I wrote the set of queries to import the messages. I got the conversation headers and even the message headers importer just fine. Then when I ran the message item query THE DATA CENTER IN WHICH THE MYSQL SERVER WAS HOUSED EXPLODED IN A GIANT MUSHROOM CLOUD THUS VAPORIZING ALL HUMANS WITHIN A TWENTY-THREE MILE RADIUS which is why your messages are not currently present. Once the server was restored I dared not run that query again, so you'll just have to look at the archived version of the site for your messages. Again, the archive site is here. There are 1.9 million messages in the system. The new message format for TwoCans2 actually duplicates each message item so that would have been 3.8 million entries (this is to allow users to independently delete messages). That is a lot for a MySQL hobbyist like my self and the unfortunate bystanders that were near the data center.


I launched TwoCans2. No serious defects have been discovered thanks to the valiant efforts of the people in the IRC channel who bug-bashed the thing last night. Tonight I will be making a few more fixes typically focused around usability that people have pointed out in the forum. Also, I have received a few complaints that messages in conversations that were completely anonymous are not recoverable or useful in any way in read-only mode. Therefore I will write a feature (on the archive site) that will allow you to click a button next to the message and transfer that conversation over to new TwoCans.


If no serious issues are found with TwoCans, I will be moving on to releasing If you were annoyed by the upgrade downtime, think about the poor souls over on NP that have been without a home since TwoCans originally went down. Hopefully the transfer over there will go smoother than it did for TwoCans, but there may be a few service "flickers" when I do certain upgrade/transfer tasks. So heads up on that.

...and that is the scoop of what's going on right now or went on recently. Again, I merged the account systems for TwoCans and NerdParadise. It is entirely possible that something went wrong during that merge causing account casualties. So far I've only run into one (special) case of this happening, but there could be more. If you are having trouble logging in, just register a new temporary account and send me a message with "ZOMG I CANNOT LOG IN WITH MY OTHER ACCOUNT" in the message title. Please let me know what your user account name was and I will try to figure out what happened.

Thank you for reading and hope you enjoy the new site!
fragglerocks at January 25th, 2011, 1:30 PM
Can't wait to see the site.
jtumbaco5 at January 25th, 2011, 4:35 PM
Dude, I can't really see very much difference from the old site and the new one. I was hoping for a new UI, but what you said makes sense, since it simplifies things on your end. Thanks for the update!
Ether at January 25th, 2011, 7:03 PM
Is there going to be another version of roaming in hyrule? I remember you saying you were going to produce one that wasn't Zelda based but I'm not finding it.
jtumbaco5 at January 25th, 2011, 7:13 PM
Hey Blake, why is it that we keep showing up as you when we comment on here? Is that a bug?
Blake at January 25th, 2011, 8:43 PM
Wow, that's weird. I've fixed it, now. It'a amazing what a simple typo in code can do.
jtumbaco5 at January 26th, 2011, 12:32 AM
Thanks man!
Webslave at January 26th, 2011, 4:38 PM
Well done, Blake. The new website is the bomb!
Shailey at January 27th, 2011, 6:30 AM
my questions dont work anymore.. :(
kaatjecactus at January 28th, 2011, 1:18 AM
Do the other language pools work? When I set my language to another language, no questions showed up.
RainingOnYourParade at January 28th, 2011, 1:20 AM
I don't think TwoCans has gained much popularity in non-English countries so far, so it's unlikely many people have asked any questions in foreign languages.
Blake at January 28th, 2011, 1:22 AM
It's been requested several times and it required key infrastructural changes. Even though it's not popular enough to warrant multiple language support, if TwoCans grows in the near future, it was in the best interest to add support for it now.
Person at January 30th, 2011, 6:18 AM
I have decided to type my questions in many languages.
millrcrt at January 31st, 2011, 5:26 AM
Those poor people living near you..
But great job on the new site! Thanks!
chzmachine at February 11th, 2011, 9:53 PM
I dig "skip forever". Nice work overall!
dulceamaruie at March 2nd, 2011, 8:25 PM
LOL the options are the funniest thing here :P
Will I get in trouble for posting in multiple languages? Like English, French, Romanian, Java... XD j/k about the java, sort of
Charli at March 2nd, 2011, 8:36 PM
We Englishers would appreciate it more if you didn't...or at least translated/created your own language thread.
gws at March 3rd, 2011, 3:02 PM
LOL the options are the funniest thing here :P
Will I get in trouble for posting in multiple languages? Like English, French, Romanian, Java... XD j/k about the java, sort of

You can post in Java as long as you use a decent English-language API and don't start making up a bunch of custom classes.
AkiraSushi at March 12th, 2011, 5:59 AM
I would really appreciate it if TwoCans&String used the Gregorian calender, and a 24-hour clock for its time.
Charli at March 12th, 2011, 7:56 AM
Never gonna happen.
Never at March 12th, 2011, 11:21 AM
You'll get used to it eventually, honey. :)
Harok at March 13th, 2011, 12:17 AM
How long does that take?
Sya at March 13th, 2011, 12:26 AM
For Never and Ever.
Never at March 13th, 2011, 12:27 PM

Jest at March 14th, 2011, 1:57 AM
Now that I've learned the O'Harean, I'm kind of annoyed by people's attachment to Gregorian.
Sophrosyne at March 14th, 2011, 2:12 AM
Exactly how I feel. It isn't difficult and it's neat to use.
jaxxie at March 14th, 2011, 2:33 PM
Hmm. I must learn this O'Harean time system.
AkiraSushi at March 21st, 2011, 10:57 PM
With all due respect to TwoCans&String, I grew up with the Gregorian calender, and I do not want to learn another format of time just for one website.
Ninja_of_Cloud at March 21st, 2011, 11:04 PM
You don't have to. Most people get along fine just ignoring it.
Charli at March 21st, 2011, 11:07 PM
Just don't expect Blake or anyone else to change for you.
Antagonist at March 21st, 2011, 11:11 PM
I grew up burning witches and homosexuals. So I'm just gonna keep doing that, 'kay?
Ninja_of_Cloud at March 21st, 2011, 11:15 PM
Don't forget to make sure the witches weigh the same as a duck, Ant. Wouldn't want to burn a normal person by mistake...
Charli at March 21st, 2011, 11:34 PM
And always ask if it's their real nose. -nods-
Jest at March 21st, 2011, 11:57 PM
With all due respect to TwoCans&String, I grew up with the Gregorian calender, and I do not want to learn another format of time just for one website.

It really isn't that big of a deal. It's actually quite simple if you sit down and think about it.
Sya at March 22nd, 2011, 1:00 AM
With all due respect to TwoCans&String, I grew up with the Gregorian calender, and I do not want to learn another format of time just for one website.

With all due respect, you could kindly carry on your own business and simply ignore the time of the post and use the convenient little clock in the corner of your screen for all your other time based needs.
Empress_Liv at May 1st, 2011, 6:38 AM
I don't think I would pay attention to the time and date even if it was in Gregorian. It's just not that important.(well, time and date is, but it doesn't matter all that much here)
RainingOnYourParade at May 1st, 2011, 6:42 AM
It makes a difference when you looking for The Word or are searching for a specific thread or post. That being said, O'Harean is easier.
Hydrogen777 at May 1st, 2011, 3:45 PM
If you take the time to learn it. (Still hasn't taken the time to learn it fully.)
Sophrosyne at May 1st, 2011, 4:16 PM
The time is harder to grasp because you do not have a clock to learn with, so I understand if people do not understand the time. The dating system is easy though.
Hydrogen777 at May 1st, 2011, 4:52 PM
I understand the date system, but I don't have memorized what dates correspond to what times of year.
Sophrosyne at May 1st, 2011, 6:35 PM
Hm? The Cresco, Vigeo, Cado, Ineo, Abeo part?
Hydrogen777 at May 2nd, 2011, 1:26 AM
Yes, but also I would be unable to tell you, for example, what O'Harean date my birthday falls on off the top of my head.
Sophrosyne at May 2nd, 2011, 1:35 AM
Well, that takes reprogramming of your own mind.
Hydrogen777 at May 2nd, 2011, 1:54 PM
Right, which I haven't had the motivation for yet.
vcordie at May 6th, 2011, 4:16 PM
I find this category of the forum/section of the website is lonely. Post more stuff here >.>
SatelliteMind at May 6th, 2011, 4:18 PM
Are you two related?
vcordie at May 6th, 2011, 4:19 PM
Macman393 at May 6th, 2011, 5:34 PM
I assume you and 777H2, because of your avatars.
Sophrosyne at May 6th, 2011, 7:51 PM
What a ridiculous assumption.
Macman393 at May 7th, 2011, 1:31 AM
Wait, you mean the assumption that the two of them are related or the assumption that that is who he is referring to?
SatelliteMind at May 7th, 2011, 2:14 AM
I just thought it was cute that the two eyeball people posted back-to-back.
asdasasefasd at June 27th, 2011, 5:11 PM
You think that's why he changed his avatar?
Hydrogen777 at June 27th, 2011, 6:05 PM
SatelliteMind at June 28th, 2011, 3:54 AM
I had an eyeball as well
Grayseff at June 28th, 2011, 4:06 AM
Oh yea. Man that was ages ago. I miss Hydrogen's avatar.
Hydrogen777 at June 28th, 2011, 4:18 AM
I'll change it back eventually. I like this one for now though.
Grayseff at June 28th, 2011, 4:33 AM
At first it confused me (except for the chi ro), but then I saw your description of it and I now like it also.
Hydrogen777 at June 28th, 2011, 6:49 AM
Ah, thank you.
Grayseff at June 28th, 2011, 9:02 AM
I can't imagine changing my avatar, it's too much like me.
SatelliteMind at July 7th, 2011, 4:57 AM
I'll likely change mine within the week.
asdfgh at August 2nd, 2011, 3:31 PM
I've not made up my mind yet.
moonbloom at August 3rd, 2011, 1:11 AM
My avatar is like a part of me... It's hard to change...
Harok at August 3rd, 2011, 1:15 AM
I fear change.
asdfgh at August 4th, 2011, 10:45 AM
Do you really?
MikeRich at August 12th, 2011, 2:12 AM
I think its cool that the O'Harean calendar is more precise than Gregorian, and its cool that the web master took the time to think up a working date/time system.

However, the precision changes to me is like the difference between one of those fancy watches that are slightly more on the second than another cheaper one.

However, both will easily get me to work on time, so I'm lacking motivation to learn the O'Harean time system.
Jest at August 12th, 2011, 3:23 AM
I really want a wrist watch that goes by O'Harean time. That way I could switch over entirely (until I have to switch to military time and go back to Gregorian for a while).
Hunterr at August 12th, 2011, 3:28 AM
I am going to get a watchmaker to make an O'Harean watch when I have the money.
Jest at August 12th, 2011, 4:01 AM
I need to find someone to make one.
Hunterr at August 12th, 2011, 5:07 AM
I wanted to become a watchmaker. My dad said I was a cussing idiot.
Jest at August 12th, 2011, 5:29 AM
That makes me think of Watchmen. In my mind, you shall be Dr. Manhattan from now on... only, covered up a bit. *ahem*
Hunterr at August 12th, 2011, 5:33 AM
Haha, naked time!
Jest at August 12th, 2011, 5:38 AM
And now you're a mix between Dr. Manhattan and Dumbledore in Potter Puppet Pals.
Hunterr at August 12th, 2011, 5:40 AM
I'm not a huge fan of Doctor Manhattan. I like Rorscarch, I hate the whole "greater good" thing.
Jest at August 12th, 2011, 5:53 AM
Rorschach is my favorite. But you talked about being a watchmaker so...
Hunterr at August 12th, 2011, 5:56 AM
Yes, I know. One day I'll learn, when I'm wealthy enough to afford a hobby.
Jest at August 12th, 2011, 5:59 AM
And you'll make an O'Harean watch and present it to me when we go on a military mission together? Yeah, that sounds good. XD
Hunterr at August 12th, 2011, 6:00 AM
It does doesn't it?
Jest at August 12th, 2011, 6:00 AM
And we can get some sweets! I still haven't gotten any :(

Edit: I just realized we're taking over the thread.
Hunterr at August 12th, 2011, 6:01 AM
Neither. Just pies, coke and cigarettes. I feel like sweets are healthier.
Jest at August 12th, 2011, 6:03 AM
Sya at August 13th, 2011, 1:35 AM
C-c-c-c-c-combo breaker.
Hunterr at August 13th, 2011, 1:39 AM
: (
asdfgh at August 23rd, 2011, 3:04 PM
Sya at August 23rd, 2011, 4:34 PM
They were taking over the thread and I broke it.
MikeRich at August 24th, 2011, 5:05 AM
So, I'm really likin' the dashboard.
Sya at August 24th, 2011, 6:50 AM
From Forum Stats:
So you may see unfamiliar names.

Yeah, unless I'm mistaken, all those users are TwoCans natives. So, I guess that warning really only applies to the NPer's.
Iheartanyonebutyou at August 24th, 2011, 8:15 PM
Haha, we're obsessive posters! O_o
asdfgh at August 25th, 2011, 12:26 PM
soulgirlKC at August 28th, 2011, 7:49 AM
I asked this in the "Ask" section of the site.

Out of pure curiosity I'm wondering how long has been a site? I'm not talking about just this version of TwoCans, but the version before this current one, (and any other versions that were in existence even before).

Also, while I'm on the topic of the old TwoCans, and since I'm feeling nostalgic, there's no way I can still look at the archived site, is there?
Brendan at August 28th, 2011, 7:51 AM
Blake at August 28th, 2011, 12:24 PM
No www

This was the first user to register other than me, so his registration date is the creation date of the site. NP was created 12 years ago so you may see older registration dates in cross-listed threads.
soulgirlKC at August 28th, 2011, 6:05 PM
Last online: 961 days ago. Wow. Thanks so much!
antidaeophobic at August 29th, 2011, 3:59 PM
chaos. along with rendom are very active members aren't they?
btw what is 29th june in o'harean?
Sophrosyne at August 30th, 2011, 3:23 AM
Cresco 1:1. Use this.
antidaeophobic at August 30th, 2011, 11:38 AM
ahh that is now in my favourites
derpyderpyhooves at November 4th, 2011, 10:11 PM
Blake, I love this site, but I want to roam around in Hyrule!! Make one!
theking at March 30th, 2012, 4:08 PM
Thank you.
iamsobored at April 8th, 2012, 8:20 AM
Ichigo at May 29th, 2012, 2:55 PM
Ichigo at June 4th, 2012, 3:01 PM
Nice PHP I/O at July 11th, 2012, 4:59 PM
100th reply. I was gunna ask a question, but I figured it out.
Boodle Doot at January 28th, 2014, 5:25 AM
i call hacks
LEFT HEIV at December 4th, 2015, 12:45 AM
Any chance of stats coming back?
alfanewmerik at May 17th, 2018, 9:13 PM
ちょたの_chotano at November 2nd, 2018, 2:36 PM
alfanewmerik at November 14th, 2018, 10:28 PM
You obviously didn't realize that that was the answer to the iwktp thread when it was my turn.
mariokirby46 at December 5th, 2018, 2:36 PM
What's iwktp?
DIAV at December 5th, 2018, 4:00 PM
I will kill the President.
ちょたの_chotano at December 10th, 2018, 3:44 PM
You obviously didn't realize that that was the answer to the iwktp thread when it was my turn.

Well, I'm not a part of that thread
jijikiki at January 29th, 2019, 7:31 PM
Poodonkus913 at January 29th, 2019, 7:52 PM
Dibs on your soul jijikiki
Kylljoy at January 30th, 2019, 6:41 PM
That's a mouthful of a name
sendmecutefeetpics at March 13th, 2019, 2:41 PM
I know I'm super late to this but

Blake said:
The new message format for TwoCans2 actually duplicates each message item so that would have been 3.8 million entries (this is to allow users to independently delete messages).

Wouldn't it have just been easier to store who deleted what instead of another copy of the message? Presumably just a string with the username of whoever deleted it, because if they both delete it you can just drop the row.
Blake at March 13th, 2019, 4:30 PM
That doesn't scale well when there are more than 2 users in a thread. Generally data in SQL databases do not have variable length and are simpler when variations are stored as separate rows. This is called 1st Normal Form.

The text of each message is only stored once in a separate table and each entry just has an ID# to that entry. Those are deleted when all participants in the thread have deleted a message item.
sendmecutefeetpics at March 13th, 2019, 4:53 PM
I should clarify I thought you couldn't have more than two users in a thread.
DIAV at March 13th, 2019, 4:55 PM
You'll find Blake knows where his towel is.
sendmecutefeetpics at March 13th, 2019, 7:15 PM
Oh this is just for fun. I very much respect Blake as a developer.
Thedagman at November 5th, 2019, 3:54 AM
the archive site doesn't work
asawyer92 at March 31st, 2021, 6:29 PM
who is Blake
Kylljoy at March 31st, 2021, 6:31 PM
Site founder, site webmaster, site moderator, and the guy who introduces all sorts of useful and useless features.
Thedagman at April 12th, 2021, 12:27 PM
the owner
W_Licky at April 12th, 2021, 6:26 PM
AknipGD at December 7th, 2022, 4:22 AM
YELR at December 19th, 2022, 3:00 AM
what the hell