Blog entries from June, 2006

All back, thanks to another host

Wednesday, June 28th, 2006 at 10:04pm

All of the functionality of this site is back now that I have switched over to yet another hosting provider. This time I deliberately made a list of hosts that offer reseller hosting and then asked them how they had PHP installed. Based on the cost, limits and their response time I made a decision…

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Old hosting is back… sort of…

Thursday, June 22nd, 2006 at 08:41pm

At some point over the last two hour period the server that was previously hosting my site started working again. This is good news as I can access the management tool which means I can access all of my data. The less than good news is that the support site for the web host is broken and there have been no other communications. It has been three days, there is no chance I’m going back.

Now I have the data back I could be uploading it to the new web host. I am not. Why? Because I am not sure I am happy with the new web host.

One thing I do that simplifies the development of any php site I make is to specify a directive in a top level .htaccess file to prepend a file to all of my php pages so I can automatically load common functionality. Then I can just use things like a function to output the page header without having to resort to the labourious act of adding an include line to the beginning of every page.

To have this work PHP needs to be loaded as an Apache module. My new web host does not do this, instead they use phpsuexec. While this looks like it is good for security it means that I need to place a php.ini file with the prepend directive in every single directory that has php files. I might as well just add the include to each file. Also the only information that I can find about phpsuexec isn’t very positive and one page I found from 2004 talked about it being end of life and suPHP should be used instead.

Fortunately there are dozens of web hosting providers offering cheap shared hosting. I will find one that simply loads PHP as an Apache module…

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Off the air

Wednesday, June 21st, 2006 at 11:52pm

Since Monday evening (my time so at least 48 hours ago) this site has been unavailable.

Q: Why?

The server doing the hosting seemed to drop off the internet.

Q: Why?

Good question. As the site for my hosting provider was also down I decided to take the optimistic view that the situation was being recified and it would be back up shortly.

Q: Was it?

No. I tried again later that evening and the situation had not changed. I was getting more concerned but I decided to stay optimistic and see if it was back up the next morning. That turned into the next afternoon and I was then kicking myself as I realised that it had been a couple of months since I had last backed up these blog posts and there were settings that I had never backed up.

Q: So what now?

I jumped ship. Although the hosting had been ticking along without any issues I had considered it strange that they didn’t seem to care that they had not billed me since October 2005, ie more than six months ago. What company doesn’t care if its customers pay or not? Becuase of this I had looked into other web hosting providers a month or so earlier so it was simple to sign up with the first name on the list after I couldn’t even access the current provider by phone (voice mailbox full!). It was then a waiting game while the new DNS settings for my domain propogated.

Q: What about the data?

Initially I thought that I had only lost a little bit of data but as time flowed along I realised that I had lost enough data to be inconvenienced.

I run a copy of the site on my box at home so that I can test any changes before releasing them so I knew that all of the files were intact. It would be a straightforward matter of uploading them to the new host. This meant that my computer collection area was intact as that is contained within files or brought in from (which I backup via a cron script that uses the API to grab a dump of all my links once a day). The photos section was also ok as it pulls the set details from Flickr.

This blog was a different story as these posts are primarily stored in a MySQL database. Every so often I copy the database over to my local MySQL instance but the last time I had done that had been at the end of March. Almost three months ago! Fortunately Google’s cache came to the rescue and I was able to obtain the text for all of the posts I had made since that time. One item on my list is to setup a mechanism to automatically backup the database, a quick search showed that there was at least one WordPress plugin that could periodically email an export of the database.

Losing all of my email forwarding settings means that my spam strategy has taken a big hit as I will have to regenerate the list of valid addresses and again monitor my gmail account which will be the target of the catchall rule.

Q: When will the status-quo be restored?

Not until after the upcoming weekend. So far I have uploaded the files to the new web host and the DNS setting have propogated. Until I sort out some differences in the configuration of this host to my old host all I have running is this blog (how else can it be read?)…

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The flood abates

Thursday, June 15th, 2006 at 08:15pm

This evening I finally got around to uploading the photos and descriptions of three of the new items that I obtained a few weeks ago. So here they are…

Computer collection: Macintosh Plus Computer collection: Macintosh Classic Computer collection: Sun SPARCclassic

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Twelve weeks in the planning

Sunday, June 4th, 2006 at 04:17pm

For the past twelve weeks since my last weekend ride I have been meaning to go for another except that prior commitments or the weather provided suitable excuses for not going.

Today the weather decided to cooperate so I rode out to Ringwood in order to cover the path that runs north from Ringwood Lake along the Mullum Mullum Creek. After that I followed the railway line west to a path that follows the water pipeline from shortly after Mitcham.

Throughout the 50 odd kilometres the most interesting part was the construction of Eastlink behind Eastland and just south of Maroondah Highway…

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