A New Design is Here: Feedback Required

We are always trying to make things better and simpler for our users and found our older theme to be wanting in several areas. For the past four months our team has been fighting with me for a new design and for the past two months we have been conceptualizing and working on a new design that would “not suck” for our users.

Techie Buzz 2012 Design

Well, after all the hard work and some awesome design skills by our in-house designer Paul Paliath (@paulpaliath) and lot of input from our team who are UX freaks, we came up with a new design that is far more better than our earlier one (at-least according to us). Thanks in advance.

We are proud to present a far simpler, cleaner and user-friendly design for all our readers out there. We hope you like it. Please do take a moment or two or maybe more and give us your feedback on the new design. We have always loved your inputs and your thoughts how we operate and your thoughts about the design will be hugely appreciated (more work for Paul and me though).

Happy 5th Birthday Techie Buzz

It has been 5 years since I started out Techie Buzz, a venture that started out of nothing and went on to become so big that I cannot fathom it. There have been so many criticisms all these years, which I have tried to talk through, walk through and quench. However, there have been bigger accolades and thousands of people thanking us for the work we have been doing.

I have always appreciated friends and I have had so many of them. Since we went mainstream none of them have ever left us. I know it has been a big journey and it will definitely be a bigger one going forward.

I hope the time you spent here was good and hope that what we do in future will be good enough for you to continue your support for us. Thank you each and every of our ~100 million users who visited us over these 5 years, we appreciate you. We will thrive to be the best in the future.

P.S. We will have a big soon.

Techie Buzz is Hiring – New Writer Opportunities

Techie Buzz has been growing tremendously in the past few years and we attribute all our authors out here have played a huge part in it’s success. We have a thriving team who have been with us for a long time now and none of them have ever left us since they joined.

We are now opening up new opportunities as full time writers for Techie Buzz and would love if you would want to be a part of it. We are looking to hire 4-5 new writers to join our team of current authors. If you are interested, the details are below.

Why Join Techie Buzz?

Over the past few years we have seen around 400-500% growth and we want to continue that growth with new excellent authors who can write some excellent content and help us grow further.

Currently, Techie Buzz has 3.5 million+ monthly page views and we have plans in place to get to 5 million page views a month in the next few months. We are also a well known and reputed blog and are often linked by newspapers and some of the top tech blogs in the world.

We also have more than 15000 feed readers, 5000+ fans and a growing follower list.

What Are We Looking For?

We are looking for authors in the following categories, if you fit the bill, read the next sections to know how you can apply.

  • Microsoft and related technologies
  • Mac OS X and Apple related technologies
  • Software and Web Service reviewers
  • Hardware and Gadgets reviewers
  • Mobile App Reviewers (, , , etc.)
  • Camera/Photography
  • Your suggestions about what you want to contribute as an editor at Techie Buzz

Why Techie Buzz?

As we already said, Techie Buzz has seen a tremendous growth over the past few years and we are confident that we will continue to thrive in the future.

Along with that, we provide good compensation to our authors and a very homely environment that is super-duper-friendly (ask any of our current authors about it).

You will also get an opportunity to improve and grow within the team and will never remain stagnant.

How Can I Apply and What Do I need To Send to You?

If you are looking to apply for a writer position at Techie Buzz, please fill out this simple form and we’ll take care of the rest. We expect to get quite a few applications so please be patient while we review all of them and get back to you.

Looking forward to having you on the Techie Buzz team.

Techie Buzz Server Architecture

Cross Posted from my personal blog.

When I launched Techie Buzz, I started out with a shared hosting with Dreamhost, which I got at a steal for $40 a year. However, over time I had to gradually move out to a Virtual Private Server (VPS) for the site.

In the initial days, LAMP (Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP) suited me well on the server but over time Apache literally killed me. This is when I decided to move to a Nginx (pronounced Engine X) setup for my website.

All said and done, I had a great run with Nginx, but then my 2GB setup crapped out on traffic. I increased it to 4GB and things worked fine for a while too.

Then one fine day I had a lot of traffic, like 1000s of visitors a minute and the site crashed so often that I had to literally cry. I tried to upgrade the server to 8GB memory too but it didn’t hold up.

In my entire time of dealing with servers, I have helped several people to setup their own but never revealed my own. So here is the secret on how Techie Buzz runs.

There are some key ingredients on the server which make it a successful setup. I will list them out below.

  • Nginx and PHP FastCGI
  • Memcached (No point using this if you have one server only)
  • NFS (One file system rules it all)
  • W3 Cache

These four things (plus several other secret ingredients) are core to the setup at Techie Buzz as it allows for scalability without having to make a system cry. For starters, here is a diagram of how the servers at Techie Buzz are setup.

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Though the configuration in the above picture is outdated, the technology we use is still the same. We have a multi-server setup which is basically made up of one host server; where all the requests come, and several other proxy servers which serve users.

When a user visits Techie Buzz, they first land on the host server. The host server then redirects the request to one of the proxy servers we have setup. We can add and remove as many proxy servers we want within minutes based on the traffic we get. However, currently we can deal with more than 3000+ users in a minute without adding new proxy web servers.

This makes the setup highly scalable and allows us to grow as the traffic goes.

We use memcached as a core component of our setup to store cached objects so that we don’t hit the database frequently. MySQL is not optimized for high traffic and without a cache the site would die.

An added advantage of using memcached is that it is a perfect fit for caching and sharing objects on a multi-tiered server setup. This means that, we cache an object in memcached and the same can be accessed by 100s of servers without the cache having to be present physically on any of them accessing it. Think of it as a centralized storage for objects.

Another important part of the setup is NFS (Network File System) which allows us to share the same files over multiple systems.

When you have multiple servers, it does not make sense for you to have multiple copies of the same files on all of them. The problem arises when you have to update even a single file. If you use the local file system on all the servers, you will have to update that single file across all the servers. Now imagine if you have 100 servers, this process simply becomes dreadful.

Thankfully, NFS allows us to share and use common files across multiple servers. This means that if we change one file it will reflect across multiple servers without having to deploy it separately. Bliss.

In addition to all those things, we also make use of an HTML Cache in the form of W3 Cache and of course WordPress.

Additionally I have written several shell scripts which run on individual servers to check server status every two minutes. If the script finds that the server is not responding well, it restarts the core processes automatically. Another script runs frequently to ensure that the CPU process and memory usage is under acceptable levels and reboots the server if required, however, this script has hardly rebooted the server thanks to the optimizations I have done.

There are several other shell scripts I have written to make sure that we have things running fine. One of them backs up the MySQL DB every 4 hours and emails several addresses with an attachment. Another script takes a snapshot of the WordPress directory every week and emails several email addresses a copy and so on.

Other than that, I use SVN for themes, plugins etc so that I have a copy in the cloud. This again is replicated to several platforms like Dropbox, Windows Live and Sugarsync through my local PC.

The DB and Files are also mirrored to several other servers using rsync so that I have multiple copies of the same file everywhere. All in all it is almost a fool proof setup and backup.

Our servers have always been powered by Ubuntu. We have used all the available releases including Hardy, Karmic and Lucid, however our current setup is powered by Natty.

Our servers have been hosted on Dreamhost, Slicehost and currently Linode. Linode (Slicehost earlier) powers our non-static content, while our static content is served by Dreamhost and optimized by a CDN through MaxCDN (who are our sponsors).

Although there is nothing unique about our setup, I take pride in creating a highly scalable environment which is easy to setup and move across any network. I took only 10 hours to move from Slicehost to Linode and most of time spent was used to transfer files, so you can imagine how simple and easy the setup is.

Happy Birthday Techie Buzz, We Just Turned 4

I still remember the day when I decided to go and buy the domain techie-buzz.com, back then I did not know whether I wanted an hyphen or not and did not even know what kind of domain would work, however, I did know that I was a "Techie" and wanted to create a "Buzz" around it.

techie_4th_birthday

This is how Techie Buzz came into existence and it has been 4 years now and I never once looked back and said I could have done something better than this. Thanks to the blog I have not only seen success but made lots of friends in the process.

With time there have been several changes, some of them drastic which many of our users have liked and some haven’t, however, you cannot always please everyone and have to do things you feel comfortable doing.

Rest aside, it has been an incredible year so far and I very much pleased with the growth and level of contribution from our authors and readers as well, this goes to show that we are actually doing something right.

To put some numbers into perspective, we get over 2 million views on the site in addition to over 7000 regular readers and more than 5000 fans and are constantly growing, do around 150-200 posts a month and have ~6300 posts in total.

We at Techie Buzz always strive to achieve success and provide quality content, we also hope to improve on our success and keep growing in future too.

We hope you join us in this celebration and wish us all the luck for the future, this has been a fantastic journey and one which still has a long road to cover. The journey wouldn’t be fantastic without your support through all this.

Oh and yes, we did not do a this year, but we promise our readers that we will have a amazing bash in the near future. Here is to 4 years of Techie Buzz. Happy Birthday.

Guest Bloggers And Contributors For Techie Buzz

Of late we have been getting a lot of requests from guest bloggers who want to contribute and write permanently for Techie Buzz, however, we often have to reject those offers due to several reasons.

We don’t like to deject users, so we are starting out with a new way to have your posts published on Techie Buzz through permanent contributor accounts at Techie Buzz. Contributor accounts will be able to write posts for Techie Buzz and get them published to a wide audience of readers.

Contributors on Techie Buzz can write any number of posts for the site which is related to our niche. However the posts they write will be credited to them instead of us having to publish guest blogger posts.

In addition to getting credited for the posts you write, you will also get to work with our editorial team and improve upon your mistakes (if any), and also get help to write posts in a better way.

author_profile

Contributing editors will also get to add a Bio and link to their own websites on the posts they write for Techie Buzz as pictured in the screenshot above. The best part is that you will join the Techie Buzz team and be part of the community.

Interested? Oh yea I hear you, send out an email to keith [@] techie-buzz.com with a brief profile on where you write currently and why you want to become a contributing editor for Techie Buzz.

Please add “Contributor Application” to the email you send out so that I can easily find out for what the emails are being sent for.

Note: This is not a paid gig and will not involve any revenue sharing, any posts you contribute to Techie Buzz will become the property of Techie Buzz and cannot be republished elsewhere. We also reserve the rights to not publish the articles you contribute, however, unpublished articles can be used on any other site.

Techie Buzz Is Hiring Again, Apply Right Now

Techie Buzz is growing to become one of the best blogs on the Internet, and we have an awesome set of writers who contribute towards making it a success. However, we are now into an expansion mode for our new channels and content offerings.

logo[1]

So why are we waiting then? Let’s get down to the details. This time around we are looking for authors around specific niches to add more value to our news and offerings. If you fit into any of the categories below, just drop everything and email keith ‘@’ techie-buzz.com and we will get in touch with you.

  • Android Geeks – We are looking for guys/gals to cover one of the most happening OS in the mobile industry.
  • Ubuntu / Gnome Experts – Have the Open Source gist in you? We are looking out for you.
  • Gaming Nerds – Love to play? We love you too, just drop in with your console and we can play together.
  • Indian Startup / Technology – Love Startups and Technology from India? We too, so get in touch and we can converse.

As always we offer a very comfortable environment to work in with lots of fun and frolic happening behind the scenes, so if you want to be part of all that, you know what you have to do.

Rules for Applying

Are you interested in writing for us? How do you get in touch with us? Just drop a email to keith [@] techie-buzz.com. Please make sure to include the following details, all are not required but it helps.

  • Why do you want to write for Techie Buzz?
  • What area(s) you can cover from the above list?
  • Have you written elsewhere or own a blog? If so please provide samples.
  • How often can you contribute?
  • Anything else you might want to include is welcome.

Once I get your email, I will get in touch with you and personally discuss things and we can take it forward from there. Looking forward to having YOU on the Techie Buzz team.

Moved To New Powerful Servers

Hi to all our readers, we know that you might have been facing some problems while accessing the website for past few days. However, it was not a problem with our servers, it was a planned move to move to a more powerful and stable server.

For the past one year we have been running the site on a Ubuntu Hardy server, however, we have now made the switch to Karmic Koala, for several reasons.

  • Karmic Koala is the latest version of Ubuntu and is more powerful than Hardy.
  • Karmic Koala has a huge support base as compared to Fedora and RHEL.

For those of you who are interested in the new setup, here are some juicy details:

  • Our new server is from Slice Host and runs on Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala), is powered by Quad Core processors and has RAID10 storage.
  • It has 4GB of dedicated RAM.
  • Our cache server to host images and other assets is powered by Dreamhost.
  • We run a custom setup of Nginx, MySQL 5, and PHP 5 with PHP Fast CGI.

We have seen a huge jump in the site load times and this will eventually benefit our readers. Please let us know if the site loads faster or slower for you.

As further planned maintenance, we will be redesigning the homepage and other aspects of the site to make it load blazing fast no matter what type of connection you use.

These changes will be gradually rolled out over the month, so hopefully by end of January 2010, Techie Buzz should load in 1-2 seconds for most of our users.

Oh and yes, we will still continue to bring you the best news and views as usual. Thanks once again for all your support.

Firefox Tops on Techie Buzz, IE Second, Chrome 3rd [2009 Stats]

2009 is over and I decided to take a look at the stats to figure out on some trends. Most of the trends are based on the Google Analytics stats I have and is based on stats from January 2009 to December 2009.

2009 Stats and Goals for Techie Buzz

Summary of the Stats for 2009

  • Approx 9 million page views were recorded for the year, most of it coming in the last quarter of 2009, we did ~million views in December 2009 and will possibly hit 2-3 million views per month by February or March 2010.
  • 43% of users visiting Techie Buzz used Firefox, 34% used Internet Explorer, 12% used , 4% used Safari and 3.5% used .
  • Approx 4 million unique users visited the site using Firefox. Most of the users visiting the site had Firefox 3.0 or better browsers.
  • Internet Explorer 7.0 and IE8 were the top browsers for IE.
  • Windows dominated the OS segment followed by Mac, Linux, iPhone, Symbian OS and Android.
  • Most of our visitors come from United States followed by India, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.

Other Interesting Stats

  • Our servers had a uptime of 99.8% thanks to some heavy tweaking from me, we will be moving to more powerful servers in near future.
  • We used by 3.5TB of bandwidth for the whole year.
  • We did two re-designs for the site this year.
  • We now have more than 25 authors writing for the site.
  • We have ~9000 combined regular readers and more than 2000 fans.

What You Can Expect to See in 2010

  • More high quality news and views from us. More breaking news, and software reviews, deals, mobile news.
  • More hands-on reviews. We are in talks with device manufacturers, so expect to see some really good reviews coming through.
  • More participation in Tech events and better reporting.
  • A much more faster and cleaner interface for users.
  • More giveaways. We are in talks with some of the leading software publishing companies, so you can expect more freebies exclusively from Techie Buzz on a regular basis.
  • Nothing but the best.

2009 has been a great year, and we have succeeded in building a good team. 2010 should see the best we can give to you in form of news, views and reviews.

Thank you for all your support, and here is looking forward to a great 2010.

Happy Thanksgiving: Thank You To Our Readers

It’s Thanksgiving tomorrow and we know that most of our readers will be heading out tonight to spend some time with family and close ones.

happy_thanksgiving

We want to take this opportunity to thank all our readers who have been with us all this while, helping us improve and grow within ourselves everyday. We want to wish everyone who celebrate the day a Happy Thanksgiving from Techie Buzz. Enjoy your Turkey and time with your family.

By the way, if you want to thank us or help us out this Thanksgiving, fill out a small survey and tell us how we can improve.