Monday 23 June 2008

George Carlin RIP

carlin.jpg

12 May 1937 – 22 June 2008

One of the funniest people ever to grace this planet, he will be sorely missed!

Tuesday 17 June 2008

Firefox 3.0

Firefox 3.0
Firefox 3.0 Has Been Released!!

After many months of public testing, the next major release of Firefox has finally been made available to the masses.

You can grab the Windows release in US English and British English here.

Be warned though, it may break some of your extensions, but if they are incompatible they will be automatically disabled until a working version becomes available.

Continue reading…

Friday 13 June 2008

Movable Type Open Source 4.2 RC2

I attempted to upgrade to MTOS 4.2 RC2, which turned out to be a bit of a bad move. I’m really not ready for it!

I took a backup of all my files and the database first, and I am very glad I did as I ended up reverting back to it.

4.2 will completely break my AJAX comments, and I don’t yet know how to sort that.

I think I’m going to have to set up a test server and keep this blog and that separate until I’m sure it’ll work straight away. After the amount of time I spent getting 4.1 up and running, I don’t particularly want to break it completely for days on end.

APC

I’d never come across a “PHP accelerator” before, but a friend from #bit-tech (andatche) told me about APC – the Alternative PHP Cache.

Wikipedia has this to say about PHP accelerators:

A PHP accelerator is an extension designed to boost the performance of software applications written using the PHP programming language. Most PHP accelerators work by caching the compiled bytecode of PHP scripts to avoid the overhead of parsing and compiling source code on each request (some or all of which may never even be executed).

With andatche’s help, I managed to get APC installed on my Slice and it instantly sped up the PHP execution. As my templates use PHP and are mostly static, they are cached in memory instead of being regenerated each time, and with each successive request the pages are built from the cache instead of from the filesystem.

Anything that speeds up my site cannot be a bad thing!

Tuesday 10 June 2008

Gigs 2008 (More)

Amanda Palmer – 21st August @ ICA, The Mall

Get Loaded In The Park – 25th August @ Clapham Common, London

Hercules & Love Affair – 4th September @ Koko

Gogol Bordello and Gossip are both playing Get Loaded In The Park, along with a load of other great bands, hopefully I’ll get to see them both and some of the others I like on the bill.

Wednesday 04 June 2008

Movable Type Open Source 4.1

After what seems like forever, I have finally managed to get Movable Type OS 4.1 installed and running perfectly on my Slicehost slice.

It has taken me a few months to get to this stage, mainly because I’m not very good with Linux – Ubuntu in particular. Lots of trial and error was the order of the day for sure. Thankfully it is very easy to start again if you mess up, you just need to rebuild your slice and the slate is wiped clean. I lost count of the times I rebuilt my slice!

I thought it would be an excellent idea if I documented every configuration change and command I performed each time, so I would be able to get back to where I was before rebuilding but also just before I screwed up. This made it much easier to work out what I was doing wrong. A big thank you to Google Docs!!

I started out using Lighttpd as my web server, but I kept having problems with FastCGI, so in the end I decided to dump it for Apache. Sure it’s a heavyweight and uses more resources, but I understand it more!

I also had a few problems getting some of the required Perl modules installed through CPAN, but I eventually compiled them manually and things went more smoothly.

When it came to upgrading my old blog from 3.36 to 4.1 I originally just overwrote the old files with the new ones, this was not a good idea – mainly because it didn’t bloomin’ work! After I deleted the old files and only used the new ones, it worked!

I also had some major problems getting comments to work. My templates are highly modified, and so I had to update a few areas to support 4.1 properly, and my AJAX-ified comments really didn’t! I also had an issue with accepting TypeKey authenticated comments but that I found to be an problem with ME using MY TypeKey account – apparently I can’t do that any longer and just get “Name and email address are required”. Not the most helpful of error messages. Once I tried it with a totally unrelated TypeKey account it worked.

I fixed my AJAX comments by updating Prototype and Scriptaculous – not sure why I had to, I just did!!

While testing posting comments I found that it was taking ages to actually post one. Using the excellent Temper plugin by Timothy Appnel, which stands for TEMPlate profilER, I discovered that it was the Google Sitemap and Archive Index templates that were causing trouble – both taking almost 25 seconds to rebuild. I have disabled the Sitemap for the moment, and I decided to change the Archive Index around a bit. Instead of showing a link to every entry I’ve posted, I’m now showing just the last 6 months, and then links to the monthly archives. This has reduced the build time from around 22 seconds to a much more reasonable 1-2 seconds!

I believe I have squashed every bug I’ve come across in the migration process, and I am happy to replace my old blog with my new one – not that much will have changed from the outside!

There are still a few little things here and there I need to address (installing SendMail is one), but they’re on the back-end and nothing for anyone else to worry about.

So welcome to Movable Type Open Source 4.1 and goodbye Movable Type 3.36.

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