December 31, 2005
Currently sitting in Vienna airport on the way back from Dubai. Free wifi – nice. Just a pity that my battery is only 25% charged. Should be enough for a little post though.
I’ve been really enjoying Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson of Snowcrash fame. I grabbed it at heathrow on the outward journey (its been ages since I went into a physical bookshop). Snowcrash was such a modern novel with so many new terms and concepts that Quicksilver, set around the fifteenth centuary is immediately so different and it takes a while to find the common strands but slowly they start to come through
So much happened in London at the time of Hooke, Newton and Leibnez that lay the foundation – the theory – for so many modern day inventions. These guys already were making binary calculators and wondering if a calculating machine could be a thinking machine. It really was a step change and one that took three centuaries more to implement. Are we really at the time of a second renaissance in thought as Douglas Rushkoff here advocates?
I love the discourse between members of the Royal Society, the style and the language remind me of Aubrey and Maturin in Patrick O’Brien’s books, although Quicksilver takes place at the foundation of the Royal Soceity more than a century before.
At bit of a tangent – this idea of step changes supports what I’ve always believed about modern rock and roll. The late sixties early seventies was such a rich period there’s been so little added to it since then.
December 11, 2005
Sorry for being off line, I don’t know how long its been maybe 2 weeks or more. I’ve just had a horrible time trying to get this site up and running again. Thanks to all of you who asked what was happening.
I think my hosting provider screwed up big time, and it made me realise when you pay peanuts…
I’m fairly sure the problem stems from a php upgrade to 4.40. I became aware of this when my moodle site (on a different domain but same hosting) broke. Looking at the moodle documentation it was traced to the Php upgrade. here.
As I haven’t posted in a while I didn’ know anything was wrong until people asked me if the blog was down. Nothing was happening on the site. There was no error – and its tricky trouble shooting without a specific error message. The hosting company said it was my responsibility and even refused to acknowledge that they had made any changes on the site. With poor response times I decided the time had come to find an alternative host. I’ve been wanting one with Cpanel for a while, and with the opportunity to use a UK based server came along I jumped at it. And WOW the backend admin pages are so much faster.
On the old site, I couldn’t even look at the MySql data because the phpMyAdmin seems to be broken. I exported the data to a .sql file but this had also been corrupted. The line breaks /carriage returns were wrong and there was single quotes around numbers but not around some text. Fortunately I had backed up 5 weeks ago. The handful of posts and comments since then I had to assembly individually from the sql backup, manually editing the lines of SQL inserts to get the single quotes right. That was surprisingly complicated because so many tables were affected.
Well the moral of this story to me is (nothing new here) make sure you back up. I hardly ever back up my web site. I was lucky that I had just done a wordpress upgrade. I have always trusted hosting companies not to mess up – you know they have back up proceedures. But when they screw up your site and won’t mend it you don’t have a leg to stand on. They don’t care about your £25 worth of business.
I am slightly worried as the backup tables that I reinstalled were from a previous version of WordPress. The only differences I noted were that some of the ID fields were big int(20) whereas the older ones were int(11). (Shouldn’t bother me) Also there were a whole load of new options in the options table. I plan on adding these manually. I guess I should run through an upgrade proceedure, but I haven’t really got time.