Lyle Schofield's Technical Journal

A notebook of various projects.

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GoDaddy Unexpected Database Changes

19 September, 2015 (16:41) | Software | By: Lyle

GoDaddy seems to have moved some servers unexpectedly. A number of my web sites (WordPress) all went offline.

I wasn’t sure of what the cause was when noticed – I couldn’t remember all those database passwords to get into PHPmyAdmin to figure out what was going on and GoDaddy has no contact mechanism now except calling them over long distance (and waiting a long time on your dime). But, here was the fix.

Once I got home to the machine I do technical things on I was able to load in the database file for WordPress; wp-config.php, you’ll see a statement like this:

define('DB_HOST', 'some.server.address.com');

This needs to be compared to the database location filed in GoDaddy.com, navigate to “manage” your hosting services, click on the databases, and a list of databases is displayed.  Scroll through to find the right one (if not sure, compare the database name to a line where this is specified in the same wp-config.php file), and click on it to open up the details page for that database.

There is a button on the top right that shows code samples for referencing the database. You should cut and paste the server value out of here into the define statement above, then replace the server file with this edited copy of wp-config.php.

A lot of WordPress details shift over time, so this information might get stale.  But, The database connection string is a fundamental piece of a WordPress site and they have been consistent about this being in wp-config.php as long as I’ve been using WordPress, so this info should help quickly fix the database in the future.

Side issue, my GoDaddy services are an affordable solution but no Email capability for support is pretty weak.

GoDaddy WordPress Service

24 July, 2015 (00:59) | Services | By: Lyle

I’m in the process of relocating my travel log from Blogger to another folder I’ve set up with a copy of WordPress.  I did this all from the GoDaddy account management page.  They’ve really improved their management tools, and it was completely easy to do.  The only mistake I made was getting impatient with the time it was taking, changing the database password, which then got the script GoDaddy was running out of synch.  It might have been easier to change the database password back, but instead I edited the configuration file.  Six of one kind of thing.

Kudos to GoDaddy for improvements to the management tools.  Last time I used them they seemed like an unrelated assortment of acquired things.  It was much more seamless using it this time and save me a lot of keeping track of things.

A Test of MapPress Easy Maps

9 July, 2015 (01:16) | Software | By: Lyle

Related to an earlier post on Google Maps, which changed to something unusable for me, this is a test of a WordPress widget for imbedding a map in WordPress content.  If this seems usable, I will most likely migrate my travel log out of Blogger to a site here in my lschofield domain.  This will give me some control over this map content and hopefully insulate me from Google changing their product.

Seems pretty straightforward and easy to use.  I couldn’t figure out how to search in the widget for anything other than an address, but I’ll keep playing with it to see if I can figure more things out.  There is a pay version available also, which is more full featured.

Changed Twitter Widget

9 July, 2015 (00:44) | Software | By: Lyle

I just disabled the widget Twitter for WordPress on my personal WordPress site, and replaced with the one Easy Twitter Feed Widget.  I preferred the Twitter for WordPress I was using; it was simpler configuration and didn’t try and have a lot of its own formatting so it was easy to fit in as a menu item with the other sidebar items.  You’ll notice the Twitter feed here on the Technical Journal contains very tiny versions of my Twitter account icon, for example, which Twitter for WordPress did not.

However, Twitter for WordPress stopped working with an upgrade to WordPress.  The Technical Journal was upgraded a while ago and I tried a number of widgets and settled on this “easy” one.  Now that the personal journal has been upgraded the Twitter feed stopped working as well, so I had to do the same trick.

I don’t hold it against the Twitter for WordPress authors – not a lot of incentive for them to keep up with WordPress upgrades for a free sidebar plug in.  Their last update was 2009.  So, thanks to them for their hard work, and thanks to Easy Twitter for their hard work as well as we move forward together.

Google Maps Changed, Now I Have To

18 November, 2014 (12:16) | Services | By: Lyle

Google has changed their maps program (browser version) in a pretty substantial way.  For a while, they were running “classic maps” next to the new map function, so there was no reason to explore the new version.  Now, they’ve shut down the classic version and only support the new version.

I haven’t spent much time with the new version; it seems to be part of their path of building content from us so they can more effectively sell advertising (the UI experience seems to be more about adding personal content).  Visually it looks a lot more like something on a smartphone or tablet than something you would use on a computer.  But, they’ve removed features that I had relied on to build content.

Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 11.02.57 AMSpecifically, I had personal maps with saved locations of points of interest, and I would zoom and orient them in a way to see the map and the location pop-up.  Then, I would embed the HTML to display this in a small window on other web pages.  This functionality is now gone; you can share maps with others by posting them to Facebook or Email, but specific HTML is not there any more.  No one seems to know a workaround on their support forums outside exporting the raw KVM data and importing it into another mapping program.  As of now, my embedded maps are just somewhat zoomed out images without any of my placement they used to have.

There’s only so much complaining to do.  Google has a track record of pulling product they are not making money with, and I didn’t pay for the service, so no point in engaging them in a conversation about it.  I’m forced now to find another mapping service, which is time consuming.  I may just go to static map images if I can’t find a useful embedded service.

Omni Graffle Stencil for Scrum Boards

14 November, 2014 (13:55) | Software | By: Lyle

Stencil SnapshotI was building some image files of scrum boards I’m using to help manage things, and wondered if there was something in Graffletopia for this.  Graffletopia is a fantastic resource for OmniGraffle users, and OmniGraffle is a great program for creating image files.  The simple description is that its a Visio-like drawing tool that uses a drag-and-drop stencil/template metaphor as its user interface.  I prefer it to Visio; its affordable and renders really sharply when pasted into other applications from its OS X platform.  And, Visio is not available unless you are running Microsoft Windows.

The stencil is simple; the “board” which lets you move tasks from left to right to show progress, and the “post-it notes” where you can write the task, along with a place for date and “owner” (or some other tag you find useful).  I used a couple different colors, some people like using colors for categorization, and I placed the background as a group and a distinct box in case someone wants more stages than the three simple ones I have.

Finished Image from Stencil

I was a little reluctant to post this to Graffletopia because of the trivial nature of the stencil.  However, I thought if you searched Graffletopic for “agile” or “scrum” something should come up.  Leave a comment or Email me if you have questions.

Scrum Board stencil

In Flight WiFi on Southwest

7 September, 2014 (23:18) | Services | By: Lyle

Traveling for work, and in the middle a big crunch so I spent the 8 bucks to use the in flight WiFi Southwest has as a service on most of their newer planes.  Two flights, about 5 hours in the air, so $1.60 an hour to stay connected seems acceptable.  I’ve mostly ignored paid WiFi services; its actually nice to be a big disconnected on a flight and there’s usually nothing that can’t wait a bit until I’m off the plane.

The connection experience is easy, just like a hotel.  You turn on the WiFi, get redirected to a page to select the service, put in your credit card and hope the person sitting behind you isn’t peeking over your shoulder while you enter the card number.  Southwest also uses this mechanism to distribute in-flight entertainment, skipping the murky 5 inch LCD screens other carriers place on the seat in front of you.  The video experience actually seems better when you have your own screen, but no options for those that don’t being a pad or laptop with them on a flight (or charge up their batteries enough, why no power jacks on these planes!).

The Internet experience is acceptable for some things, but not for others.  Any content heavy web surfing is very sluggish, and some streaming services are blocked.  The corporate things are annoying – through the VPN, plane WiFi, transmission to the ground somewhere, creates a lot of technology jumps for data packets.  Takes a little more than a minute to download a 1 Meg document, feels a lot like dial up Internet if you can remember those days so long ago.  Like OK bandwidth but poor latency.  Sharepoint crashes half the time when trying to edit a document.

I’m guessing over time the technology will increase capacity over time, but for now (and for me) this is an “if you have to” purchase.

Disabling Caps Lock Key in OS X

23 January, 2014 (14:37) | Hardware, Software | By: Lyle

I don’t see much of a need for a caps lock key.  It’s pretty rare for me to need to type a continuous string of upper case letters, I don’t think I can remember needing this unless I rewind the memory tapes all the way back to terminal sessions where the application or compiler didn’t recognize lower case characters.  And, how long ago is that?  VMS v5 or something?  Way, way back.

So, no need for a keyboard with a caps lock key.  However, the caps lock key is still there like a useless partial rib.  And, it only comes into play when I accidentally hit it while reaching for the “A” key.  I was wishing there was a way to disable it, and keyboards don’t seem to be built in a way where you can pry off the key caps with scissors.  In a pure “duh” moment, I went into the keyboard preferences and found that OS X provides a mapping function for all the modifier keys.

Screen Shot of OS X Preference App for "Keyboard"

Screen Shot of OS X Preference App for "Keyboard"

Caps Lock is sitting there as a choice, and the pull down lets you remap this to another modifier function for real fun, or just disable it like I did.  Caps Lock on my keyboard is now truly a useless appendage.

The only lost function was that Caps Lock was the key I used to verify that the keyboard was correctly connected to the computer through either the USB cable or Bluetooth connection.  This is the only key on a normal Apple keyboard with an LED that activates when you press it, which is very useful for figuring out if the keyboard is really plugged in or that its batteries are working.

Happy again, and no more ACCIDENTALLY SHOUTING in messages to anyone.  One of these days I should go through all the OS X preferences and see if there are other controls for the little things that bug me.

Xcode Compile/Neon/Subversion

11 June, 2013 (11:53) | Software | By: Lyle

On a long path to get subversion working in Eclipse on OS X.

Command line SVN is not working because the command line client is too old.

Found great instructions on this here.  Thanks Jason McCreary for this, great instructions.

Neon fails, seems to be because I’m missing Xcode command line tools.  “No acceptable C compiler”.  While unrelated to the topic at hand, the instructions for dealing with this are here.  Some of the details are wrong/shifted, but the essence of the solution is in there, you need to install the “command line tools” in Xcode to get this going.  Apple gives this away, no big deal, but its a big download – its their whole developer workbench.

The configure command is running now, so its off to the next problem…

Copying Music Purchased on iPhone to iTunes Library

9 June, 2013 (19:51) | Software | By: Lyle

My iPhone 4S has never had the software updated on it since purchase (18 months or so).  When the iOS v6 upgrade came out with its debacle on the Maps application, I never bothered.  My experience with my iPhone 3GS was that at some point an iOS upgrade kills the machine, as they keep adding features for newer hardware – the 3GS at some point kind of dies after a software upgrade.  If there’s not really functional needs, who cares about the update treadmill if the phone is working fine?

Anyway, at this point I’m getting more concerned about security related problems, and when this phone dies I think I’m going to replace it with a non-smart phone as I use it less and less.  So, I’m getting ready for an update and seeing the dreaded “you better transfer purchased on your phone” message and not seeing how to do this.  A backup to the local drive creates the curious “where did my backup go” issue – its transferred to the Library in your home directory (the user library), but this is now hidden from you for some mysterious reason in OS X.  Turns out the only way to see the Library now is to use the “GO” menu in Finder, and if you hold down the option key the menu changes to include the Library.  Why the hiding?  There’s nothing intuitive about holding down Option in this menu.

Not that this helps you import into the Library; the files in the local copy are all in some internal backup naming scheme of seemingly random characters.  You couldn’t figure out what to import from there anyway.

So, the simple thing, there is a “transfer purchases” function in iTunes, you have to go under the File menu, select the device, and it shows up there.  Not necessarily easy to figure this out either, if you’ve selected “don’t tell me about this again” in the transfer dialog somewhere back in time.

This knowledge base article was helpful; the Apple Support Group discussions are mostly hacking through the hard to find library folder.