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25 September 2009

September 2009 blog entries

Friday, 25 September 2009
mmm... more pie please
summary: meat pie for dinner; isn't fall wonderful?

Thursday, 24 September 2009
I think I have finally gotten rid of the stray Âs
summary: After hours of angst, combing the wordpress forums, and pitifully begging for a solution to how to decipher sql in various forums, I finally managed to finish (I think) this latest wordpress upgrade

Sunday, 20 September 2009
mmmmm... coronation grape pie
summary: the joys of September include coronation grape pie;

Tuesday, 15 September 2009
Augh!!! I loathe change
summary: How to spend two or three hours (ha.) tidying up coding and then give up and just whimper pitiously;

Monday, 14 September 2009
apricot preserves (oven-roasted apricots)
summary: recipe for apricot preserves (oven-roasted apricots) based on Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's "River Cottage" really easy way to make fresh apricot preserves; a little information on toxicity of apricot pits

Sunday, 13 September 2009
dangers of dull paring knives
summary: How to spend two or three hours in emergency room; do NOT try this at home!!

Saturday, 12 September 2009
Wish me luck....
summary: Well, rats. Nothing like going away on a holiday and coming back to a "Be afraid! Be very afraid!!" message - upgrading wordpress to the latest version

24 September 2009 - quel relief


I'm pleased to say that is at last back online. Here is an excerpt from the server's updates page:

September 23, 7:07 PM - Emergency Maintenance Complete!

It is finished!

The data has been kept safe, the drive replaced, an additional drive added. The file system is up and running well, all services have been restored.

I do apologize for the extended downtime.

I think there may have been a typo on the completion time. lalala It wasn't until about 08:30 today that things were restored. (Actually, I don't know if they returned last night and disappeared again; I wasn't online at all from about 19:00 until early this morning.)

23 September 2009 - ONCE MORE with feeling

When I left this morning at 09:20, the server (where my real blog is) had been offline for about two hours and from reading the updates page, it appeared that everything was going to be back online imminently. And indeed, it was. The updates page says:

September 23, 9:26 AM - Complete and Up [...] the partition has been brought back online. Sites are visible, no data was lost and we are live!

Alas, though, in my absence, things went awry. And the server is once again offline. For who knows how long....

September 23, 12:33 PM - Emergency Maintenance [...] The second drive that started to go bad after the first is apparently causing issues with system. [...] The system is currently offline to ensure no data corruption.

- excerpt from updates page

As always, the way to know whether etherwork is back online is to refresh this page. If you see a leafy image at the top of the page, then you can access the real blog.

22 September 2009

struggling with switching from latin1 to utf-8 in wordpress database tables


Sigh. Still fighting with trying to fix things on the etherwork blog (my real blog). So far I've had to restore the database twice. Thank goodness for backups!!

As a result of my experiments with sql, there are several stray Âs in the posts. After the initial upgrade, there were ûs instead of üs, és instead of és, âs instead of âs, etc. etc. too but I think (I hope) I dealt with them by using the wordpress "search and replace" plugin.

I have enabled comments for this post in the wild hope that someone knows the answer to how to change the wordpress database tables to be utf-8 - without causing explosions. Any realistic suggestions will be most welcome. (Please refrain from suggesting that I leave wordpress entirely; that would mean having to move the database to another program. EEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeek!!)

I have two different character sets for the tables in the wordpress database: latin1_swedish_ci collation and utf-8 collation labels

Unfortunately, I am not comfortable to just go ahead and blindly change the tables to utf-8 (as if I know how!); I only know enough about SQL to get myself in trouble.

Alas, the wordpress "guide" is not written in layman's terms, except for this phrase in the opening paragraph: "character set conversion is not a simple process". And the official wordpress forums are pretty much useless because they are filled with people like me - the blind leading the blind. But luckily, googling revealed that someone has attempted a translation at

[I]n existing WordPress installations that are upgraded from earlier version of WordPress or not explicitly set a Unicode UTF-8 charset collation, the default database character set is normally set up as Latin1 (default on almost all MySQL installation) with latin1_swedish_ci collation. If you run a bilingual or multilingual blog with WordPress, you may face problem on character encoding when your blog posts are written in other foreign languages, or when you export and backup the database and later attempt to re-import the database dump in the event of database failure or server migration and moving. The symptom is obvious, your WordPress posts or pages will contains garbled, weird and funny characters, sometime just lots of ????? (question marks), rendering the WordPress database with your hard work useless and output unreadable. (May cause also by wrong charset collation)

This is EXACTLY what happened to me (thank goodness for copies of database backups kept in separate folders!)

In the Guide to Convert WordPress Database Character Set to UTF8, it says:

Ensure that your post_content and post title fields on wp_posts table DOES NOT belongs [sic] to any indexes or FULLTEXT indexes. Else the type of the fields may not be converted to BLOB with one of the errors list below. Some plugins, such as related posts tend to add indexes to these fields. In this case, temporarily drop the indexes.
I've asked the following question in forum, but the thread is dated 2007, so the question may be overlooked. I am hoping that someone here will help.

What exactly do I look for in phpMyAdmin to find out if fields belong to indexes or FULLTEXT indexes?

(I'm running WinXP, firefox, SQL 4.1.21-log, PHP 5.2.8, Apache 1.3.37 (Unix); screenshot of what I see in phpMyAdmin at (etherwork)

I am reluctant to simply dive in again and hope for the best, having already TWICE restored wordpress from a backup after the first disastrous result from running the wordpress plugin to Convert WordPress Database Character Set and the second most recent disaster.)

12 September 2009


Augh!!!! I have just upgraded my real blog (wordpress) and all Hell is breaking loose. All the posts appear to be there still but NONE of them are showing up.


edit a little later.... I've got the posts to show up but the sidebar is still messed up. RATS. (Fiddly dee dee, I'll think about it later....)

10 September 2009

Joy of joys... ONCE AGAIN

Rrrrrrrrrr. The server (where my real blog is) is unavailable ONCE AGAIN. No idea when it will be back.

As always, the way to know whether etherwork is back online is to refresh this page. If you see a leafy image at the top of the page, then you can access the real blog.

Edit 14:58 EDT: I'm happy to report that server is now back online. Quel relief.