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List Update Frequency (aka "Why aren't my lists being updated?" )

Posted by MarkSide 
List Update Frequency (aka "Why aren't my lists being updated?" )
March 02, 2010 11:39PM
Earlier today, fakhir - the guy who runs the iblocklist.com site from which our lists are served by default - enabled tracking of lists' "last updated" dates.  This means that when PeerBlock checks for updated lists, if a list has truly not been updated recently we won't be downloading it.  This functionality was present even in the original PeerGuardian 2 base code we started out with, so this new behavior should affect everyone running any version of PeerBlock.

Expect less updates!  Previously iblocklist.com was incorrectly reporting that these lists were changing each and every day, which meant that PeerBlock was downloading them all every time it checked for updates.  This is the reason that the number displayed in the "Blocking ### IPs" section of the PeerBlock window hasn't changed on many people's computers for many weeks now, even though it "updated" lists were being downloaded - they weren't truly updated lists.  If iblocklist.com now reports that a list hasn't changed since the last time we checked for updates, the "Updating" window will display "No update available" for the status of that list.

Hopefully this change will lead to less confusion about that, and less Generating List Cache delays.  It should also present less of a strain on iblocklist.com's servers / bandwidth consumption, which should be good for all involved.

I just wanted to let you all know about this, so that there is no confusion when people start seeing these "No update available" messages.

        ---  Mark  ---

Lead developer of PeerBlock

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/02/2010 11:40PM by MarkSide.
Re: List Update Frequency (aka "Why aren't my lists being updated?" )
March 31, 2010 09:11PM
As it turns out, this change did in fact end up causing some problems for our list updating.  If you noticed your lists haven't been updating all that frequently for the past few weeks, this is probably why.  For some people (most, maybe? None of the people on our Internal Test Team have noticed any problems...) updates have been chugging right along without any problem.

The problem's root cause is actually twofold:

First off, when PeerBlock checks for list-updates it checks the time-modified of the server's file against the date and time at which we last *checked* for updates, not the datetime at which we last *downloaded* an updated list-file.  This "day one bug" (present even in the old PG2 code) has since been corrected and is currently undergoing Internal Test, will make it into next Beta Release (and the next Stable Release, hopefully coming in a few weeks, for the rest of you).

From the iblocklist.com servers' perspective, various mirror-server machines were not correctly timestamping their list-update times - they weren't taking into consideration local timezones.  This meant that some servers were thinking that the list had changed earlier than when it did, so that when PeerBlock would ask the date/time of a list's most recent update, the affected servers would give us the wrong timestamp.  This problem was resolved earlier today, and should resolve - or at least greatly alleviate - this problem for all users.

Hopefully these two fixes in conjunction will not only resolve this problem for now, but also prevent it from occurring in the future. 

In the meantime, if you want to "force" an update you can delete all the *.list files in your C:\Progam Files\PeerBlock\lists directory (but *not* any of the *.p2p files!!), and click the Check Updates button.

Our sincere apologies for the problem,

        ---  Mark  ---

Lead developer of PeerBlock
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