Web and domain move complete

This is mostly a test post to check things like file uploads, image linking and mod_rewrite are functioning correctly. After a bit of research and discussion I’m using a place called Gandi.net to host my domain and have configured Apache on my own server to handle this site.

Setting up my domain was straight forward. It took about an hour for the domain to be transferred and me to recreate the host names. DNS then slowly propagated the changes over the next few hours.

Configuring Apache was also reasonably straight forward once I’d worked out how to do wildcard domains properly – the order Apache reads the virtual host configurations is important. What caused me a few hours confusion was that no images on my sites would load, but the http rewrite was working. This turned out to be a file permission problem within WordPress, and as soon as the webserver user was granted access the site sprang to life.

The next thing I am trying is SSL. I have a free SSL certificate for 1 year (after that it’s €24 a year) and once that has been generated I can create a private SSL site for a few services I want to use.

11 Years of excellent service

Way back in 2001 I wrote a short note on here about my website moving. Back then the company I worked for had a colocated Linux server with a company called UKShells (they started off as a CAD company and did colo on the side). We found maintaining the colocated machine difficult when it lived in a warehouse in Birmingham. This was 2001 Linux and not some clustered cloud instance so messing with LILO and vmlinuz images was required.

UKShells started a Linux shell account service which offered domain hosting, mail and web space for a reasonable price per year. We moved to that service and I gained my own domain to play with.

11 years later and unfortunately they’re ‘retiring’ the service I use and I need to find a new home. Bit of a bugger really, they’ve provided faultless hosting and caused me zero problems.

Currently I’ve asked them to update the tag on my domain so another host can claim it, Google Apps are configured to do my mail and once I reconfigure Apache I’ll host my site from my own machine.

Quite interesting how technology changes in 10 years. I could buy a cloud instance and use that (that’s the backup plan if hosting my own website becomes unusable), and my home broadband connection is fast enough to cope with doing this to it. Also Google appeared.

So yeah, I’ve kind of gone in a circle with my hosting.

Gawker Comment Accounts Compromised

Got this in an email this morning…

This weekend we discovered that Gawker Media’s servers were compromised,
resulting in a security breach at Lifehacker, Gizmodo, Gawker, Jezebel,
io9, Jalopnik, Kotaku, Deadspin, and Fleshbot. As a result, the user name
and password associated with your comment account were released on the
internet. If you’re a commenter on any of our sites, you probably have
several questions.

Why yes, I do have some questions…

  1. Why are you storing passwords in a form that means people can “release them onto the Internet”?
  2. Why am I being told on Tuesday about stuff that happened on Saturday?
#include "facepalm.h"

It’s a bit poor that websites devoted to telling people common-sense manage to fail at it themselves. It’s very very simple do not store user passwords in plaintext. User forgets their password? You send them a time-limited token to allow them to reset it.

This is also why it’s bad to type in your Facebook/Twitter/Googlemail details into those “import your contacts” forms on websites.

Never mind, nobody is daft enough to use the same password on multiple websites, right?

What’s wrong with this picture?

How not to make a banner ad
How not to make a banner ad

I saw this ad on a popular social networking website, and it just struck me as so wrong. Just because you’ve bought a horizontal banner doesn’t mean you can take a skyscraper ad (it’s not a “vertical” banner, it’s a “skyscraper” one, that’s the correct terminology) and just rotate it.

Unless this is a magical gravity-defying woman.

There’s crap ads, and then there’s stuff like this. Even the photo’s a bit poorly cropped too, the poor woman’s lost part of her right shoulder and a bit of knee and hip. My A-Level photography students could do a better job.

Blogs and websites I like to read

I use Google Reader to follow quite a lot of websites, blogs and anything else interesting that squirts out an RSS feed. For the curious, here is a list of my favourites. I’m leaving out the well known things like XKCD, Dilbert, Hack-a-day and so on.

I often find these kinds of sites while browsing around the comment fields of popular websites. It’s fun to click the random links in people’s signatures…

What are your favourite websites to visit? I’m always interested in new things to read.

The end is nearly in sight

Just a week and a half left at school before the end of this year. We are on week 38 of 39… The timetable is starting to fall apart as various groups of students go off on different school trips, work experience and badly timed holidays.

We’re introducing a new course next year for the GCSE kids, so have been up to our armpits in devising a whole new scheme of work, plus I’m making a website for my A-Level students to use next year. Gone are the printed sheets I used this year, it’s all been put into a website. If I’ve done this correctly, they should soon get into the habit of loading it up, finding today’s lesson and then getting on with it.

My aim is to get all the planning for next year done before we break up so that I don’t have to do any during the holidays. Plan B is to get enough planning done to last me until Christmas.

So a week and a half and then seven weeks of my own time.