Wonky WordPress

Ever since I upgraded to WordPress 2.3.2, I have noticed a really strange error.  I am trying a fix found here, and this post is partly a test to see if it works.

Also, a reader of my husband’s gracious donated a used Apple iBook G3 for my use so that I might have computer time to continue to create interesting opportunities for my students to learn.  Thanks, Betsy!  One of the main reasons for the light blogging here is the increasing need to Steve to use our desktop for his writing (which he gets paid for and I don’t).

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Now playing: The Kelly Richey Band – The Blues Don’t Lie
via FoxyTunes

[tags]wordpress, mysql error, apple, ibook[/tags]

Using Fantastico to Install Programs and Scripts

My host, Bluehost, allows users to install various software programs and scripts on their websites by using Fantastico, a one-click auto-installation service.  Users can have WordPress and wikis installed via Fantastico.  I have never used Fantastico, but Steve has.  He recently had his personal site blocked because his site was using more than 20% of the server’s CPU.  Bluehost gets very testy about this if you question them on it, as evidenced it their forums.  I have never received one of these dreaded messages, despite the fact that I have more blogs installed on my site, and all of mine are installed on one account (huffenglish.com and danahuff.net are actually both on the same account).  Steve has received the messages three times, I think.  My conclusion, which may or may not be correct, is that he was dealing with inefficient installations from Fantastico.  After I got Bluehost to unblock his account, which was a bit of a task, I upgraded him to the latest WordPress install and deleted any files that looked like they were related to his Fantastico install.  I also deleted files and folders he wasn’t using for any reason.  He has something like eleven folders on his crime blog domain, and he’s only using two.  I let those alone, but I think he needs to clean up his site.  You can sure tell he has ADD, and that’s no lie.  So far, so good.  No more CPU excess messages, no blocked websites.  We’ll see if the trend continues.  If it does, then I’m going to assume I’m right about Fantastico.

[tags]Fantastico, Bluehost, CPU, WordPress[/tags]

The Never Forget Project

I know some of my family and friends who might be interested in a current project I’m brewing with a colleague don’t read my education blog regularly, so I thought I would let those of you who check in here more often know about it.

The Reflective Teacher is a second-year teacher. He has amazing ideas and shares them on his blog, which, by the way, has an appropriate title, for he is one of the most reflective teachers I’ve ever known. He mentioned in a recent post that he was doing a unit on the Holocaust, and I offered my resources as a teacher at a Jewish high school to help. Over the course of a couple of days, my offer turned into a full collaboration between his students in mine. My students will share their family histories, allowing his students the opportunity to learn how to conduct an interview and research. We are talking about a possible book. This project could potentially be pretty amazing. You can learn more about it in the following places:

A Perfect Proposal

YouTube is an amazing thing. It’s kind of like Wikipedia in that once you get sucked in, you can spend hours on the site.

I just found this video:

Which you have to admit is pretty cute. But this one made me tear up:

You can also view the cute follow-up about invitations.

Who can wait for the videos about their first baby?

[tags]Jeff, Natasha, wedding proposal, YouTube[/tags]

Inaccessible Sites

I have been trying all day to listen to some podcasts at Odeo.com, but I couldn’t access the site. I have learned a few tricks that I thought I would pass along (just in case you didn’t know them) if you ever notice that you are having problems accessing a site.

  1. Search for references to the site in blogs. A good way to do this is via a Technorati search. You may find bloggers have had problems accessing the site, too, and have posted about it. At least then you know you’re not alone, and it probably isn’t anything wrong with your own connection or computer.
  2. Try looking at Google’s cache. Search for the URL on Google, then instead of clicking the site, look beneath the description at the link that says Google cache. Click that. If you can look at that, the problem is possibly temporary (although it could also mean the site is being taken permanently offline and Google still has a cache).
  3. Try pinging the site’s server. Access your DOS prompt (I don’t know what you do if you have a Mac, but Windows has an MS DOS prompt. At the C:\> prompt, type PING website.com. In the case of the site I was trying to access, it would look like: C:\>PING odeo.com. If everything looks OK, then there is no problem with the server. This was the result of my ping to Odeo (click for larger version)
    Ping: Odeo.com
    Don’t be bothered by the fact that I have a C-prompt that looks like C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator>. That is due to the settings on my computer. If you looked at the image, you will see I hit no snags. There is no text that says “Response Timed Out,” which is what to look for.
  4. Try to do a traceroute and see if there is something going on between the site’s server and it’s destination — your connection/computer. Once again, open your DOS prompt and type C:\>TRACERT odeo.com (or whatever the site is). If everything loads OK, and you do not find any “Request timed out” messages, then it’s back to the drawing board. I happened to discover this is not the case with Odeo’s path to my computer:
    Odeo.com: Traceroute
    If you look at the image, you’ll notice right about number 23, I start getting “Request timed out” warnings. This means there is a problem with a router between my connection and the site’s server, and there is probably nothing anyone can do about it. Try this before you contact web site administrators to complain — they can’t do anything about problems like this. There isn’t much you can do except try later and see if the site route is clearer then.

All this means is that somewhere in between my connection and Odeo.com, there is a breakdown, and there isn’t anything I can do about it except wait. Dammit.

Posted in IT

E-Mail

I didn’t realize that e-mail was the same age as I am.  The first e-mail was sent in late 1971 by Ray Tomlinson.  The Sun has a list of what it purports to be the worst e-mails ever sent.

Happy Birthday, E-mail!  How’d we ever function without you?

Posted in IT

NaNoWriMo

Well, I finally did it. After years of hearing about it (and even, I’ll admit, scoffing about it), I registered for NaNoWriMo. I first heard of this annual event from Diarylander whose diary I used to read.

Do I think I can finish a novel in a month? I don’t know. But I do know that perhaps the support of a community of other writers all trying to do the same will probably help. At any rate, I can’t say I have even started a novel since the first time I heard about NaNoWriMo about five years ago, much less finished one, so I guess joining up certainly can’t hurt.

If you are participating, and I know some of you are, please let me know what your username is so I can add you as a Writing Buddy. Here is my NaNoWriMo profile. Meanwhile, you can see this thing in progress (of a sort). On the top, you will see my navigation bar now includes a link to my NaNoWriMo Wiki. At this point it is pretty bare (as it should be, since I just started thinking today). I am not supposed to start writing until November, and I won’t, but nothing I could find said I shouldn’t start thinking and planning, so I’m doing that. When I wrote my first novel, I don’t think wikis were around. I think it will be a sort of online notebook I can use to keep my files together. I had a big, blue notebook for my last book, and I used it all the time. My last novel is currently languishing on an old computer we longer use. Some time I need to hook it up and at least retrieve the novel off it. I will fully admit I don’t know the first thing about marketing a novel, and I haven’t had the fire in my belly to search out appropriate resources. Some day, though. I keep saying that!

Why did I decide to do this? Well, this has been the first really cold morning of the fall. I can admit finally that fall is here. Fall feeds my creative juices. It is my favorite season. Fall makes me happy to be alive. I suppose there is too much of the Old Celt in me somewhere deep, and I recognize it as the New Year much more than January 1. I have been thinking about NaNoWriMo for several days. Sort of a nagging inside somewhere. I read someone else’s blog, and the writer said they had registered. Ever since, the notion wouldn’t leave. I can’t even remember where I read it now, which makes me feel really bad. This morning, I was cuddled up in under the covers with The Thirteenth Tale. I’m only a few chapters in, but this is already so obviously a book-lover’s book. The urge to create a book welled up inside, and I said, “All right! I’ll register already!”

Of course, I thought that would give me some peace, but I should have known then that the urge to get started would be too much too fight, so I did a little bit of planning.

Who was my protagonist? The name Charlotte Penny came to me out of nowhere. She sort of sat down on the edge of my bed and said “Now what?” She’s sitting there, blinking at me. She has Victorian dress and a British accent, so I suppose she must be from Victorian England. She is clutching a handkerchief. I have no idea why. She has red-gold hair like Maggie and stormy gray eyes. She might be Jewish or have a Jewish background, but if so, she is most likely crypto-Jewish and doesn’t know all the practices; this is a secret she hides.

Aside from that, I don’t know much about her, aside from the fact that her staring at me a blinking like that is making me want to figure out more.

Of course, Maggie isn’t having any of that, and I have an egregious headache brought on by my loud, stubbon, exuberant five-year-old. She is going to be my biggest obstacle to getting any writing done. I can feel it already.

Wikipedia

I really love Wikipedia.  I think the concept is a good one — allow users to add their expertise to content or create content themselves.  However, I think it is a bit too optimistic to expect that people who do not create accounts can be trusted.  Time after time, I have seen the damage to that site that is wreaked by vandals, and I think it takes up too much time on the part of other users and admins to clean it up.  I don’t think it would go away if users had to register to add content, but I think it would diminish.  Ultimately, there is very little we can do to keep folks from wrecking the web, I guess, but we can make a bit more difficult.

Posted in IT

MySpace Update

Recently I told you about obtaining a MySpace page. I figured I would share my thoughts since I’ve now had it for a couple of weeks. First of all, it has done more to help me connect with old friends in a short two weeks than having my own domain has done in two years. Unfortunately, folks just don’t think about looking for you on Google. I can’t blame them. I didn’t think of looking for some of the folks I found there that way. However, it is fairly easy to look through folks attached to your old high school and go, “I remember that person!” then ask to be friended.

Up until I got a MySpace, I heard from exactly one person who found my blog looking for graduates of Warner Robins High, class of 1990. After I got a MySpace, I found three folks I went to high school with. I had a nice long e-conversation with an old classmate named Lisa. I was silently friended by a girl who I was best friends with my senior year (I say silent because I haven’t had a response to my “hello” message, nor did she exactly accept my friend request; instead she sent me one, which I accepted). I also found a friend of mine from Anaheim High before I moved to Georgia. I was also immediately found by two online buddies since my Diaryland days — Dana and Crankydragon. Just this evening I found an elementary school friend I’d been trying to find for years on Google.

I have figured something out — those guys who run MySpace are geniuses. They realized that a lot of people would set up something like a MySpace page when they might feel intimidated by even a Blogspot or LiveJournal. It seems like a lot of people who have MySpaces don’t even use the blog feature. I didn’t intend to, but I found I couldn’t let it sit dormant. I post just quizzes and stuff there that I feel are too trivial to waste space here.

As of right now, I don’t have any intentions of “pimping out” my MySpace. There seems to be no end to seizure-inducing backgrounds, and I don’t believe I’ll add to them. I did choose a tune by the Lost Boys, but I suppose that’s as fancy as I’ll get. I can get my creative layout groove on here on the domain I actually pay for, right? In the immortal words of Cranky on her MySpace blog,

I guess I could post here. I mean, though, why bother? I own my own domain, and it has been royally neglected since the little parasite was born. If I actually post something here, crankydragon.net might get all pissy and come over here and kick some myspace ass.

Frankly, I want to see the crankydragon.net/crankydragon myspace smackdown.

Anyway, I don’t see it replacing my blogs — any of them — but for social networking, which is how MySpace bills itself — I have to say it’s pretty good (despite frequent server hiccups).

Posted in IT

The Bandwagon

Freedom is irrelevant. Self-determination is irrelevant. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.

— The Borg

I created a MySpace page because:

  • I was jealous that Steve’s high school friends stay in touch with him through his and mine don’t have a clue where I am.
  • People apparently can’t use Google to find anyone anymore or else don’t care to.

So that’s that. Go ahead and mock. My profile is at http://www.myspace.com/danahuff.