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Welcome to The blog of whall

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Hi, This is Wayne. This is my site, my stuff, my blog, blahblahblah. The site itself is powered by WordPress and the Scary Little theme. I thought it was cool, and I still do.

November
26
2010
10:48 am
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I don’t understand people who let their blogs go two months without posting anything.¬† I mean, how busy can people be?

I’ve hit my head against the virtual wall (whall?) more times than I can count over the past few years on something that I suddenly “fixed” recently, and I wanted to blog it for the masses.

In short,

If you’re running WordPress or any PHP-based application on a host that has both PHP 4.0 and 5.0 installed, append the following to your .htaccess file for that application:

Options All -Indexes
AddType x-mapp-php5 .php
AddHandler x-mapp-php5 .php

As an added bonus, I also detail how to upgrade MySQL 4.0 database to MySQL 5.0 on 1 & 1 hosting (see extended entry below).

I use 1 & 1 for my internet hosting, and have since, oh, 2003 or so. For the price I pay and the service I get, I’m very happy. There have been a few glitches, to be sure, and I’ve blogged about a few of them. But overall, I’ve been a happy camper.

I mention 1 & 1 because on all their shared hosting packages, they install both PHP 4.0 and 5.0. Ever since I can remember, I’ve had the dreaded “Internal Server Error 500” on a few things on my blog, like exporting my blog to XML as a backup, or similar tasks. Sure, I can always do the manual MySQL backup because I’m a geek, but it annoyed me that I couldn’t do the XML backup. Also, some plugins just wouldn’t work right, and auto-upgrade almost NEVER worked.

This inability to auto-upgrade also frustrated some of the people I host blogs for. Yes, I host blogs. For those special few in my life (heh) I will set up, install, configure and host a wordpress blog so they don’t have to worry about it. I typically only have them pay for the domain name ($10 a year or so) and I host the site for free. I host more than a hundred domains, including personal blogs, commercial blogs, non-profit websites, and I use WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and even raw HTML (the shock and awe!), wherever appropriate. It’s not a money maker for me, and I only ask that if someone I host gets wildly popular and makes millions of dollars, that they kindly remember me on my birthday.

On every WordPress blog I hosted, the authors weren’t able to consistently install or update plugins, or perform the auto-update feature inside of WordPress. It would either give that infernal Internal Server Error 500 or it would just hang. So, they’d email me, I’d procrastinate, they’d nudge, I’d forget, they’d ask politely a fortieth time, I’d promise to do it, and then eventually I’d manually upgrade their plugins a year later.

I’m happy to say that the above .htaccess file changes have completely eradicated the auto-upgrade errors, and I can perform the XML backups all day long without a problem. Not only that, but my blog actually seems faster. In case you care, the .htaccess lines tell Apache (the web server running on the host) to use PHP 5.0 to process all the files ending in .php instead of the default of PHP 4.0.

I’d do a happy dance if there weren’t so many adoring fans surrounding me, restricting my movements.

For the big WordPress 2.9 upgrade that I’ve been putting off, I was also challenged by the fact that my personal blog as well as a few blogs I host used the older MySQL 4.0 databases instead of the newer MySQL 5.0 databases. WordPress 2.9 required a later version of 4.0 than 1 & 1 had installed, and I was wary of diving into the “upgrade MySQL 4.0 database to 5.0” process.

Until last night.

The database upgrade went quite smoothly (this post was most helpful). In fact, I got it down to a science – take the values from the wp-config.php file (database name, username, and host name) and put it into the mysqldump / mysql commands to pull from the old 4.0 database and insert into the new 5.0 database.

My steps, for those interested and the inevitable Google searches that will land here, are documented in the extended version below.

Once I upgraded my MySQL Database to 5.0 and added the .htaccess lines at the top of the post, the WordPress 2.9 auto-upgrade was a cinch. Not only that, but several of the plugins that wouldn’t auto-update updated without issue. It was so easy and fun that I upgraded a few dozen blogs and their plugins as well.

Needless to say, I was quite pleased with myself. I’m celebrating by actually taking time to blog about it so you can be pleased with me, too!

If geekiness of this nature doesn’t please you, then maybe this Tom Tom Darth Vader behind the scenes video will.

Enjoy ūüôā


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February
8
2010
9:46 am
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Really, I did.

Yesterday I was thinking about it as I was taking Zina and Tigger for the first of their twice-daily walks.¬† I even thought to myself “This would make a pretty neat blog post.”

I even know what I’d title it,” I continued, forming the words in my head as to what the title would be, and how it might show up in the various alerting mechanisms.¬† Some would see New Blog Post: <something cool> in Twitter, or they might use Google Reader to find out the title.¬† Still others not so much into the blog reading but more into Facebook ease would see the post and be enticed into clicking over.

At the time, I was feeling pretty good for myself because I knew it’d been days, wait, no… weeks… WEEKS since I posted anything, and probably years since I wrote anything worthwhile.¬† More than that feeling, however… more than the satisfaction of actually writing something, I felt good about the post itself.¬† It contained goodness.¬† It contained symmetry.¬† The concepts I¬†formulated in my head on that walk made me proud, and I knew just about everyone would like it.¬† I knew it would help ease the division between people.¬† Even my harshest critics would probably take a break on this post.¬† This post would reach people.¬† It was simple, it was good and it was right.

It’s hard to express the lightness I felt as I finished the walk.¬† I got back home, excited to type it all in, refine it and make the idea perfect.¬† I put away the leashes, then cleaned some carpet stains, hung up some decorations, played way too much time on the computer with video games, helped Jaden with his homework, watched the Super Bowl, and watched the 3rd episode of Torchwood off of Netflix/PS3.

The post idea was still there, although slightly faded.  I smiled a little at the thought of tomorrow.  Tomorrow Рthe day I would type it up.  I really looked forward to it.

But I’ve slept since then, as they say, and now I’m completely blank on what it was.

If you have any ideas, or can help me remember, please let me know.

August
21
2009
12:05 pm
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You know how yesterday I came up with a neat little blog post title that essentially said what I was thinking?  That was fun.

I think I’ve finally “made it” in blogging when I don’t blog for an entire week (coincidentally after blogging and parodying Dave2 taking a break) and I still get comments on the first post I come up with.¬† I never would have imagined that response when I started blogging four years ago.¬† Yes, I have a blogiversary going on too (I call them whalliversaries).¬† What I’m trying to say, but failing, is that I’m very appreciative of what my blog gives me in terms of community, an outlet for creativity, and a stroking of my very needy ego.

So, thank you.

I’m going to splurge a little on my lazy trend and give you, in the extended entry, the contents of an email I received that I thought worth the time to read.¬† I LOL’ed a few times.

Let me know if you agree.

Or not.  You can be lazy too.

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August
20
2009
12:27 pm
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Title says it all, except for me having to point it out here.

Discuss.

Hmm.  Once Upon A time, on this Windows 7 thing there existed absolutely no Windows Movie Maker.  I use WMM to make my DITLs, so it was kind of frustrating to realize that I was required to do more work just so I could do the work to get it to work.

That’s like me being the dude, playing the dude, disguised as another dude.

Being the savvy and worldly beta user, I decided to google about windows 7 and windows movie maker first to make sure someone else hadn’t accidentally deleted all their videos and set accidental fire to accidental baby kittens from installing the beta version and trying to create new content.

What I quickly found out was the version of Windows Movie Maker that Microsoft makes available is A) part of Windows Live (a collection of many online tools) and B) devoid of many advanced features that I depend on.¬† For example, I’m not a bit funny by myself, but Windows Movie Maker has that setting where you can make it “decently funny if a bit quirky” and I have mine set to 70%.

However, I also found out soon enough that MS packaged up the Vista version of WMM (2.6) for those of us who still needed the advanced features.  This made me happier than finding out Michael Phelps is more human than I expected and the media is more inhuman than I expected.

While I‚Äôm playing with installing WMM 2.6, I thought I‚Äôd give Live Writer a try ‚Äď it‚Äôs a blog publishing tool that comes with the Windows Live collection and works with all sorts of blog platforms, including WordPress (which is what I use for this blog).

In fact, I’m actually composing this blog post with Live Writer.

About the only things I care about regarding blog composition that save me time when writing a blog post is A) indenting text (which it seems Live Writer does NOT support) and B) pasting in pictures.  I pasted in the picture above, so we’ll see how it looks.

It kinda looks freaky with the whole picture within a picture thing.¬† How did it do that?¬† And how far does it go?¬† I’m scared.¬† I’m writing in my blog about writing in my blog, so I guess it’s like two mirrors facing each other.

I’ve used Microsoft’s Word 2007 to publish blog entries before, mainly because it had a geek factor to it and it also supported all my special little styling whims.  I could also compose while offline (like when taking bus to work) and publish later, and I always had a problem with that on WordPress.  This seems like a suitable replacement. Oh, and if your luggage ever gets lost or stolen, Samsonite is also a suitable replacement.

Time Passes…

So now I’ve attempted to publish this entry as a draft on my blog, but I keep getting a 500 Internal Server Error.

I’m too tired busy to troubleshoot if this is a WordPress 2.7.1 problem, a Windows Seven problem, a Live Writer bug or if it could be possibly explained by too much gluten in my diet.¬† (Wayne, don’t be so silly. Ack!)

This used to be a Sunday thing, but this past year it’s been mostly a “whenever” thing. I’m going to try to put some structure back in. ¬†Being late is also a common thread with me, so the structure I put back in is to be late this week by doing it on Monday.

Blog Strategy Rethink

I uttered recently how I think I’m going to drop the political posts from ye old personal blog of whall. ¬†

I know some people have stopped visiting here because we’re so incompatible from a political standpoint, and that bothers me. ¬†A lot, actually. ¬†I don’t feel like I’m hateful or even unfair in my writings, but for some, my viewpoint alone is enough to shun some of the readers. ¬†And while I don’t want to be restricted in what I can write, I also don’t want to alienate people when it can be avoided easily enough.

It’s not just the dropped readers or the perceived backlash that’s having me take action, however. ¬†Ceiling Cat knows that I’ve had my share of the poopooing of LOLcat presence here on the blog, and they’re not going anywhere anytime soon.

Part of is that when I start writing politically, it’s hard to stop. ¬†When I get on a roll, I want to write, write, write. ¬†If I didn’t have the forethought to stop myself, I’d have a run of posts all pointing out this travesty, that issue, blah blah blah and I’d be remembered as the blog that went to washington or something.

I don’t mind being known as “the Republican with LOLcats” or something whimsical like that, but I don’t want to be known as the “anti-Obama crazy LOLcat lady” and I don’t want people hating me. ¬†At least not on whall.org.

So from this point forward, I’m not going to be doing any political-themed posts on this blog. ¬†I will probably continue the political utterz, but that’s only an entry in the sidebar. ¬†There is an outlet somewhere for me, I know and I’d rather people hate me there¬†instead of here.

As some of the replies of my utter have pointed out, it’s about the goal of my blog. ¬†The age-old question of “who do you blog for? yourself? or your readers?” rears it’s head. ¬†I’m not one to just shut up because there’s a disagreement, but the goal of this particular¬†blog is to be a fun place. ¬†I don’t want it to be a political debate any more. ¬†I don’t want to foster an argument. ¬†At least, not here.

So I’m going to go find a home for my political writing elsewhere. ¬†I’ll probably add a comment to this post with where I land.

Heroes

I decided to give the TV show Heroes a try, and have burned through the first four episodes.  

The verdict? ¬†My 14yr old daughter and I like it a lot. ¬†The wife… eh, not so much. ¬†The only minor problem now is finding times that the daughter and I can actually watch TV together. ¬†Our schedules are pretty varied, and it’s not often that we can just sit and partake of the television. ¬†

We received the initial discs from Blockbuster Online (Disc 1 and Disc 2) and now I’m trying to decide if we want to get the rest via BB Online, just rent them at Blockbuster as some of the free ones we get when we return other discs, or if I should just watch the episodes online separate from my daughter, and we go our separate ways on this show.

My “favorite” character so far is the mind-reading cop. ¬†However, my favorite power would be the time-space continuum one, manifested by Hiro. ¬†

If you watch, do you have a favorite character? (please, no spoilers!  I just started season one).

Best of LOLcats

What brings hoomans together and haz us singing 2geffer more than political differences? ¬†LOLcats! ¬†And because I haven’t included them in so long, I give an extra long dose!

 

 

January
4
2009
3:05 pm
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Sometimes things are more complicated than they need to be. ¬†Like Macbook Pros running OSx Leopard. ¬†You’d think that the “common man’s” laptop that’s supposedly for the “artist-driven” and “creative” folk would make some sense. ¬†But everywhere I turn, things are just plain confusing. ¬†

More on that later.

This post marks my 1000th post.  I just upgraded to WordPress 2.7 a few moments ago after writing up the following.  After fixing some plugin issues (a few caused my admin page to give server errors), I came back to edit my post and noticed I had 999 posts.

1000 posts is pretty big. ¬†I wonder if I should give something away. ¬†Then again, I’ve given some things away on past entries that I still haven’t finished delivering (but I will, I promise!). ¬†So maybe the upgrade to 2.7 is my own gift to myself.

This post is about my convoluted WordPress upgrade. ¬†Wordpress is what I use to run my blog. ¬†I’ve been on WordPress for a while now (3.5 years) and have been through a fair share of upgrades. ¬†I’m also pretty geeky – I can do lots of stuff from the command line and know WordPress well enough. ¬†I’ve upgraded other blogs to the latest WordPress 2.7 without a problem, and usually in less than 5 minutes.

But I have a little problem, as I’ve mentioned before. ¬†With all these upgrades I’ve done over the years, there’s something amiss with the blog. ¬†Specifically, the database has issues. ¬†Anytime I try to do a backup of my blog with the tried-and-true WP-DB-Backup plugin, it fails (stuck at wp_options, and the page doesn’t refresh itself). ¬†

Here’s how stupid it is – this backup hasn’t worked for over a year now. ¬†So, what happens when I go and re-try it again just now, just so I can get a screenshot?

Go ahead, guess.  YUP.  The stupid thing actually WORKS.  So now I have a good backup.  SHEESH.

The other problem I constantly had was when I try to use the built-in Export function of WordPress, it fails as well (server error 500). ¬†Maybe I’ll be lucky and it’ll work this time.

Nope.  Well at least half of my complaints are still valid.

Anyway. ¬†Where was I? ¬†Oh yeah, failures. ¬†Ok, so now I have a backup. ¬†I like having more than one backup, so I also want to do a MySQL backup *and* a filesystem backup. ¬†I’m putting those in the extended entry below for those of you who’d like to know how to do that.

Now that those two things are done (see the extended entry for additional info), I need to download the latest 2.7 upgrade.  I keep all my plugins, themes, and code in my ~/src directory.

(uiserver):whall:~/src/wordpress > wget http://wordpress.org/latest.zip
--14:20:41--  http://wordpress.org/latest.zip
          => `latest.zip'
Resolving wordpress.org... 72.233.56.139, 72.233.56.138
Connecting to wordpress.org|72.233.56.139|:80... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK
Length: unspecified [application/zip]
    [  <=>        ] 1,849,558      4.80M/s
14:20:42 (4.79 MB/s) - `latest.zip' saved [1849558]
(uiserver):whall:~/src/wordpress > mv latest.zip latest-27.zip

I also like having the multiple versions around, so I move latest.zip to latest-27.zip.

The next thing to do is double-check and triple-check the Upgrading WordPress guide. ¬†Here’s what I did with this upgrade:

  1. Verified my backups
  2. Did more backups
  3. Said a little prayer for my backups
  4. Downloaded the latest wordpress files (above)
  5. Deactivated plugins
Now I need to follow more of the directions.  I unzip the wordpress files into a separate directory (~/wordpress)
(uiserver):whall:~ > unzip ~/src/wordpress/latest-27.zip
This extracts the files into ~/wordpress for temporary use. ¬†Note that my blog is in ~/blog, remember? ¬†Some people put their blog into ~/wordpress, so if you actually have your blog in that directory, you’ll want to do something else.
The directions say to delete the wp-includes and wp-admin directories. ¬†I know in the past when I forgot to do this step, it’s not a good thing. ¬†So make sure you do it.
(uiserver):whall:~ > cd blog
(uiserver):whall:~/blog > \rm -rf wp-includes/ wp-admin/
Notice I used backslash in front of “rm” because I didn’t want it to use an alias, if any. ¬†I frequently alias “rm” to be “rm -i” so that it confirms deletions. ¬†This way, with the -rf option, it recursively deletes the two directories in my blog directory.
Then I use my special tar command to take the new wordpress 2.7 files to stomp on top of my existing directory, but keeping any other files that I have. ¬†This is important, because I don’t want to lose my plugins, themes, or uploaded files.¬†
(uiserver):whall:~/blog > cd ../wordpress (uiserver):whall:~/wordpress > tar cvf - . | (cd ../blog; tar xfBp -)
See the extended entry for more info about this tar command.
The final step is to visit the wp-admin page of your blog to check for an upgrade and continue on.  If all goes well, the upgrade is complete and you can start turning plugins on one-by-one to make sure they work.
Now, I wrote all of this BEFORE doing my upgrade, so I’m about to do another backup and then actually perform the steps. ¬†If it all goes well, I’ll be on WordPress 2.7 and will publish this post.¬†
If not, well, I might still publish it just to complain.
Update: it seems to have gone well, since I’m now editing this post in all it’s WordPress 2.7 glory. ¬†Now to publish and hope it doesn’t break, and then to maybe do some more backups now that I’m on the latest version.

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December
23
2008
8:19 am
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Note: This blog post is also available via audio.  It is read by the author on Utterli.

My blog is powered by WordPress.  You know, that open source, free-is-all-you-pay, all the OTHER kids are doing it blog software.  Me like it long time.  I host several blogs on my account since I have about as much bandwidth allowance per month as a Congressional Bailout and approximately 17 gobs of disk space available.  I have 100+ domains (some of which were just domain speculation and run nothing but domain parking) and host several blogs for other bloggers, too.

Recently, WordPress released 2.7 – probably the biggest, coolest, awesomest WordPress upgrade that I can remember.

I’ve upgraded a few folks to WordPress 2.7 for them. ¬†I’ve installed 2.7 and like it a lot. ¬†I’ve even set up a fake blog that anyone can register with and play with 2.7 if they want to try it out before they upgrade themselves. ¬†Yes, that offer’s still open. ¬†I also created a “mu” blog if anyone wants to play with the multi-user version of WordPress and actually create their own entire blog and not just blog with others.

But I have this problem with my blog. ¬†[insert sappy violins playing sad emotionally carrying music]. ¬†You see, it was born a long long time ago when WordPress births were still a little difficult. ¬†[pause to compose myself] It’s been upgraded and upgraded and upgraded so many times I’ve lost count. [sniff] ¬†And now, sadly, I can no longer do [sniff] an export of the data. ¬†[sob] I can’t even do a WP-DB-Backup any more! [cry]. ¬†All I can muster [sniffle] is a MySQL backup [sob] every now and again just in case something blows up! [uncontrollable crying].

[re-compose myself]

So, I don’t feel adventurous enough to complete a 2.7 upgrade for myself without good backups. ¬†I’m worried that if exports don’t work and the wp-db-backup plugin fails, that the 2.7 upgrade will also fail, and then that’ll mean doing a restore process I haven’t tested.

Maybe I’ll try it over this Christmas break when fewer people are reading blogs. ¬†Maybe now that I’ve slowed down my own blogging over the last few weeks (and thusly, the commenting), I might have the respite I need because business is slow, so to speak. ¬†

Maybe I should try staples like Scrooge, played by Bill Murray, suggests.

It’s a Cumulus cloud!

[WP-CUMULUS]

(don’t forget – the deadline for guessing last month’s txt messages for $10 ends tonight – can comment on either of My first Predictify contest or Predictify THIS)

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