WP Upgrade Blues

*Whew*. That’s what I get for blithely doing what I usually do when upgrading between wordpress versions. This time I was left with a very messed up page, and more than half of my plugins and themes reporting errors. Ugh. There were even error messages when updating the mysql db. Double ugh.

I’ve bashed it back into an approximation of working for now, using the included “twentyten” theme. Now I have to see if I can figure out whether anything else got wrecked.

Of course I got an iPad

I’m sure no one is surprised that I did, indeed, go and pick up an iPad the first day that they were available in Ottawa. As I had been telling people, I didn’t pre-order one, since I wanted to use one first, to make sure that it was going to work well for my most important usecase (i.e. eBook reading) before I leapt onto the bandwagon.

So, Friday morning, I went down to Carbon Computing and spent some time playing with the ones they had on display.

[Aside: The iPad release to retail in Canada was odd. I have no inside information about this, but it’s pretty clear that the only outlet that was allowed to say they would have stock on the first day was the Apple Store. As a result, there were hundreds of people waiting in line when the Rideau Apple Store opened that morning, which is I guess the effect they were going for. By contrast, I just walked into Carbon Computing, wandered over to the display machines, played with one for a while, and then said “I’d like the 32Gig, non-3G model” — in and out in about 20 minutes. Having been in the line when the Rideau store opened a few months back, I can tell you that this was a much more pleasant experience.]

In any case, the iPad does make a perfectly acceptable e-reader. It does not have as high a pixel density as the Kindle, and the glossy screen might get tiring in some lighting conditions, but overall it’s excellent. The screen is bright, and the colors pop.

One clear win over the Kindle et al. is the availability of multiple book stores. Although Apple’s iBooks store currently only has the public domain books from Gutenberg Press in Canada, you can also get all of the books available for the Kindle, and all those for Kobo. This feature alone seems like it will doom the dedicated readers.

As of writing this, there are no iPad versions of the eReader or Stanza apps. I can tell you that using the iPod versions in “2x” mode is simply not a viable way to read, so hopefully they will come out with updates. Unfortunately, it may just be that these “old school” readers will fade away in the face of the new players. This would be a shame, in both cases; I have a lot of eReader content that I’d like to be able to re-read on the iPad, and Stanza has been also very useful for reading my current ePub formatted content.

Anyway, this is also the traditional “post done on the new device”. I used the WordPress app [Warning: iTunes link], which runs on both iPod and iPad. It’s an excellent way to manage your blog on either device, but the iPad layout is significantly better for entering new content.

GCW moves to a new box

If you’re reading this, then NfGCW has successfully returned to the web after being moved (along with all the other sites) from my trusty ol’ G5 PowerMac to a brand new MacMini. Overall, the Mini is awesome; with the exception of 3D gaming (which I never do on my server box) it’s faster than the G5 at everything I’ve thrown at it. I suspect that’s being helped by the increased RAM in the Mini — 4Gig, up from 1.5 in the G5.

I’m also running Snow Leopard now, which meant that once again I had to go through the dance of getting the AMP (Apache/MySQL/PHP) configured properly. Highlights for 10.6 include:

  • I installed the latest x86_64 version of MySQL. For my traffic level, I doubt that will make a significant performance difference, but you never know.
  • The PHP that comes with SL is actually current and includes the PDO drivers for MySQL. That’s great because it’s one less thing to install/configure versus previous upgrades, but there is still some work to do:
    • edit /etc/apache2/httpd.conf to uncomment the LoadModule for php5_module
    • copy the /etc/php.ini.default file to /etc/php.ini, then edit php.ini and modify (at least) the lines that contain “default_socket” to point at /tmp/mysql.sock, and lines that contain “default_port” to 3306.
  • At this point, php and mysql both worked (as evinced by the fact that phpmyadmin would run, and tell me useful stuff), but the blogs were still failing. It turns out that everyone (i.e. php and mysql), were now finally agreeing that I needed to use the “new” password format, so with a touch of…

    SET PASSWORD FOR 'wpuser'@'%' =
    PASSWORD('not really my password');

    …we were good to go.

Of course, I still have all the other sites to work through. Sheep’s Ahoy is fine. Both the wiki(s) and the gallery seem to be working, but the genealogy site is completely busted. Unfortunately, that’s going to take more effort to get going again, since it has several dependencies on php4. I may have to rethink that one; one possibility is just to suck the content out of it, and then switch to a Mac based genealogy program that can publish to the web. The good news is that the G5 box is still around, so that can wait until I have some free time.

Anyway, let me know if you see anything weird happening.

What do you mean mysql can’t find my wp database?

Well, that was more excitement than I was expecting.

Tonight, Deb wandered into my downstairs office and said, “Are you playing with the server? I can’t get to my blog”. I naturally assumed it was the normal problem of my dynamic dns address changing and the associated delay before mikew.ca catches up. So I tried connecting to my blog and what did I see: “WordPress can’t find your database”. What!!! That would be bad; very very bad.

Well, after about an hour of messing around, I realized it wasn’t quite that bad. MySQL and all my data really were still there, but it turns out they had been masked by some misguided hacking I had been doing with MacPorts.


Well, in honour of the near miss, I promptly did a full backup of my entire website (as apposed to the incremental nightlies) and the mysql database, and then upgraded to WordPress 2.5.

So far, everything looks good. The upgrade went painlessly, as it has for me since I started using WP. Man, I wish all software was that easy to deal with.

Minor site news

WordPress version upgrade
I have upgraded the site to run on the latest WordPress. One of the features this version provides is tagging, and I have dutifully added a tag cloud widget to the side bar. I doubt I’ll go back and tag all the old articles, but you never know. Another nice feature is the automatic version checking for plug-ins. There were newer versions of several of the plug-ins I use.
Treo shots have returned
I finally got around to picking up the latest version of the Photo Sidebar Widget, and hacking it to display VOX images. So now I can go back to taking pictures with my Treo. Yay!