Don’t Test = Get Burned/Do Test = Get Burned

I had two problems with this site this morning. In the first I got burned for not testing something, in the second I got burned even though I tested.

You’ll notice that the “OS News and Rumors” box that I mentioned here is now gone. When I added the YouTube videos here the formatting of my site got all screwed up. Now, I had never embedded a YouTube video before so I did it on my test site first. It worked fine, no problems. I cut and paste into the production site and the page formatting gets screwed up. After spending some time looking at the code in the posting I realized that I had installed the MiniPosts plugin in production but not in test. I had skipped test because at the time it was down while I was trying to get WordPress 2.1.2 working. So I installed the plugin in test and sure enough, the same formatting problems. I wanted the vides more than the mini posts so I deactivated the plugin.

If you’ve been here before you may notice that the links are gone from the left sidebar. They weren’t displaying, instead there was a SQL error. They worked fine in test. I even had all the same links. It’ll require some more research. So for now the links are gone with no eta on their return.

Success!!! Upgraded to WordPress 2.1.2 on Yahoo Hosting

I finally got my WordPress installation upgraded to WordPress 2.1.2 from WordPress 2.0.2.

I had installed WordPress 2.0.2 through the Yahoo control panel. I’d been unable to successfully upgrade, just getting a blank page when running upgrade.php. I’d followed all the instructions from WordPress for the upgrade. I’d assumed it was related to Yahoo restricting .htacess or a plugin they created to do permalinks.

But I tried one more time a couple days ago with the same result. I finally found this thread on the WordPress support forum that had been posted two weeks ago.

In short, follow the documented procedures to upgrade. Before running upgrade.php do the following to wp-config.php:

  1. Backup the current wp-config.php
  2. Edit wp-config.php and remove the line “Define(‘WP_CACHE’, true); //Added by WP-Cache Manager” (It’s not needed by 2.1)
  3. Save the updated file and make a copy (you will need it later)
  4. Edit wp-config.php and change DB_USER and DB_PASSWORD with your yroot user and yroot password and save the file. Yahoo describes these here: http://help.yahoo.com/help/us/webhosting/mysql/mysql-09.HTML. If you don’t know the password you can go into “MySQL Database” section of the control panel and select Database Administrator. You can change the password here (if you’ve used the ID in any php scripts you’ll need to update the scripts.) If all you’ve used MySQL for is WordPress you can safely change the password.
  5. Now run upgrade.php. It should succeed.
  6. Now replace the current wp-config.php (the one with the yroot account) with the one you saved in step 3.
  7. WordPress will now run

It’s recommended you check all your plugins for upgrades and do them at the same time. I upgraded my theme, deactivated all my plugins, upgraded the plugins that had upgrades, then upgraded WordPress. Then I started the plugins one at a time to makes sure there weren’t any conflicts which is how I found the problem with wp-cache.

And to step back to the very beginning, use the “WordPress Database Backup” plugin to create a backup. I did two, I saved one to the server and had one sent to me via e-mail. I then copied the entire blog directory down to my Mac. it was easiest for me to just suck the whole directory tree down, but if you have a large site you may want to just take the WordPress files you’ll be deleting and replacing. (But don’t rely on your hosting provider to have a backup.)

I also upgrade my Tiga theme to 1.02 and upgraded the following plugins:
Askimet 2.0 (upgraded from 1.14)
Dean’s FCKEditor for WordPress 1.3 (upgraded from 1.2)
Search Everything 3 (upgraded from 2.6)
Sidebar Widgets 1.21 (upgraded from 1..20060711)

There was also a newer version of the WP Cache plugin. But when I installed it the blank pages came back and I had to remove it and re-edit wp-config.php. The WordPress forums implied this was probably a Yahoo problem. So it’s disabled.

Auto Generate Broken Links

I’ve been looking around over on Google’s Webmaster tools. They’re reporting a growing number (now 24) of “404 – Not Found” errors when crawling the site. Sure enough, the URLs are bad. Most also seem to be for a second page of categories or second page of a days posting. At first, when the number was low, I did some searches, thinking I had used the URL someplace but never found it.

I just noticed that when a category list, or a days posting are displayed, there’s a “Previous” link at the bottom of the screen. Sure enough, it was a bad URL. It’s easy enough to see. Pick a catagory with a low count, scroll to the bottom and click the previous link.

I’m currently in the process of testing a new web host, with the latest WordPress, and the latest theme and the problem doesn’t exist. There is not a previous link when there’s nothing else to see.

The problem is either caused by WordPress 2.02 or Tiga 1.01 (the theme I use). It does not occur on my test site which was just upgraded to WordPress 2.1.2 and Tiga 1.0.2.

Mini Posts Plugin for WordPress

I just added he Mini Posts plugin on this site. If you look over on the right sidebar you’ll see a “OS News and Rumors” box. Items shown in that box won’t appear in the main blog.

On my list of things to do I was looking for a way to add short posts to this blog without clogging up the main page. I also wanted a quick way to do it since it wasn’t worth a lot of time to me. Some templates I’d looked at in the past had support built in, but there were other things I didn’t like about those templates.

First I looked at Sideblog but it didn’t work right away (using the widget – nothing was displayed). In the interest of my “quick” requirement I moved on after 5 minutes and installed the Mini Posts plugin which is widget based.

I liked the Mini Posts plugin although it had a few quirks I didn’t like. The postings ran together and it wasn’t possible to bold the date. So I prefaced each entry with a “*” and added a <br/> at the end to add a line feed. I also don’t display any of the post text as I didn’t like the way this looked. I could add a <!–more–> tag to each post to try and make it look better, but that was too much trouble. When I removed the post text I found that there wasn’t a “more” link so that the article could be opened and read, which is a problem. Creating an excerpt put the “more” back in even though the excerpt isn’t actually displayed, which was perfect.

The philosophy of Mini Posts is different than Sideblog. Sideblog is based on a category (or categories). With Mini Posts the plugin it’s necessary to mark the posts as a Mini Post. This can be done on the edit screen. It can also be done by scrolling through a posting list on the bottom half of the Mini Post options page.

Sideblog has a nice feature of being category based, and multiple “Sideblogs” can be used. I’ll be trying that one again once I upgrade WordPress.

WordPress Plugin For Importing New Blogger Blogs

I was looking for a way to import my Spam Chronicles blog, which is hosted on blogger, into WordPress. I came across a plugin that can import from the new Blogger. It worked great for me, although I admit t having a small blog. Only 8 posts and no comments. Check out the Blogger RSS Import plugin.

Imports from the new Blogger are now supported directly in WordPress.

Mozy Mac Software Updated to Beta Version 0.4.0.8

Mozy updated the Mac beta software to version 0.4.0.8 (18248M). The previous version was 0.4.0.7. If you don’t have automatic updates set you’ll get a notification with an option to install.

First thing I noticed is that Mozy now included the backup history detail. Previously it had only recorded that the backup happened (or failed) but did not include the file details. Now the history screen properly shows the details. I haven’t noticed any other changes in the short time I had it.

After using Mozy over the weekend I’ve become more impressed with it. As the comment posted to my first Mozy Mac post the downloaded file are in fact encrypted. The downloaded disk image file isn’t encrypted but the files inside it are encrypted. Now that makes sense. The files are encrypted on my end before being sent. Mozy doesn’t have the key so they can’t then create an encrypted container file. Doh!

Decrypting is fairly easy.

  1. Create a directory to receive the unencrypted files. (You can also extract directly to the original source but I prefer an interim location)
  2. Mount the downloaded disk image file
  3. Run Mozy Decrypt. Specify the directory in the disk image file as the source and the directory created in step 1 as the destination. Then either have Mozy use the decryption key in the current config or specify one. The unencrypted files will then be copied to the destination directory. The directory structure is the same as they were on your Mac.

I still have concerns about how the restore/decryption process will scale to large restores (greater than 5GB) but for my small test restores it worked fine.

This is beta software and I did encounter some problems in addition to the now resolved lack of history. I’m still looking around to make sure it’s nothing I did but now that the backup detail is there I saw some messages that some files were already on the server when they fact had never been backed up. Most of these seemed to be 0 byte files. When I checked the server they were there and a test restore did bring them back as 0 byte files.. The exception was my Quicken preferences file. Mozy reported it was already on the server and when I checked the server it was listed as an 8 byte file.It’s 11KB on my Mac. When I downloaded the restore it was an empty 0KB file and Quicken treated me like a new user when I replaced the one that was there.

The Problem With Microsoft

I came across this Microsoft Technet article today. It’s the “Windows Vista Volume Activation 2.0 Step-By-Step Guide”. You’d think warning bells would have gone off at Microsoft when this was created. It’s a road map to designing an activation strategy and infrastructure that Microsoft’s volume costumers can use. Activation provides no benefit to the company (most large companies already have license tracking solutions) and adds another layer of complexity that will have problems. Maybe it was the mood I was in, but just the fact that this document needed to exist told me Vista activation was bad for it’s customers and caused me to laugh out loud when I saw it.