If you want to be taken seriously, don’t say ridiculous things

The coalition’s federal budget last week is provoking all sorts of reactions, most of them negative. In my view the budget is a real mish-mash of ideas, from the eminently sensible (re-introducing indexation of the fuel excise) through to the plain daft (slashing foreign aid in order to spend the money building roads that will be congested in a few years.)

Some people’s reaction to the budget is somewhat questionable though. In regard to pensions the Abbott government is proposing to increase the pension age from 67 to 70, and change the indexation arrangement so that pensions are linked to CPI rather than average male earnings. There will be various views as to whether this is a good or bad idea, but for the International Youth & Students for Social Equality to assert in the pamphlet they handed to me at the shops this morning, that this amounts to a “complete dismantling of what remains of the age pension” … well that’s just laughable.

So a little tip to the IYSSE, and for life in general … if you want to be taken seriously, don’t say ridiculous things.

Migrating WordPress

More for my own benefit than for anyone else, in case I need to do it again, these are the steps I used in migrating my web site from one hosting provider to another, keeping the same domain name. In practice it was a bit more bothersome than what’s described below, as I took a few wrong paths and had to backtrack. The two pages that I found useful in doing the migration were …

In summary, the steps I took were …

  1. Sign up with a new hosting provider, choosing the option to use an existing domain and configure DNS to point to the new site when ready.
  2. On the old site/host:
    1. Get a backup of the WordPress database on the old host, using the host control panel.
    2. Get a backup of the files on the old host by using FTP.
  3. I added temporary entries to my \windows\system32\etc\drivers\hosts file to point my domain name to the new host.
  4. On the new site/host.
    1. Create a new MySQL database, with the same name, user, password as on the old site. All the details I needed were in the “wp-config.php” file in the root directory.
    2. Use FTP to upload the files to the new site.
    3. Use phpMyAdmin to import content from the old database into the new database.
    4. Test that everything is working OK on the new host.
    5. Add a new blog post
  5. Remove (or comment out) the temporary host entries in my \windows\system32\etc\drivers\hosts file.
  6. With my domain name registrar, change the DNS settings to point to the new hosting provider’s name servers.
  7. Wait for the new site (with its new blog post) to appear when the DNS change has propagated. (The domain registrar page suggested that this can take up to 48 hours, in my case I made the change about 8pm one night, and it had propagated by the time I got up the next morning.)

One minor obstacle I had in attempting this migration was that after uploading the content to the new server in step 4 above, the front page of the site was working OK, but clicking on any links to content elsewhere resulted in a “404 not found” error.

It turned out that in step 4.B above, when I was uploading the website files, I didn’t upload all the files in the root directory, as I knew that some of them were specific to the old server not the new server. e.g. files like the error log, or config files for the fantastico installer. I got this mostly right but unfortunately one of the files that I thought I didn’t need to upload was “.htaccess” – but as this forum article steered me straight – it is needed. After uploading the “.htaccess” file, the site sprang to life as it should have.

UPDATE 06-Jun-2014

For another WordPress site where I wanted to create a copy of the site for dev/test purposes I used the Duplicator plugin, which was pretty straightforward.

New web hosting provider

I have just migrated this blog to a new web hosting provider, and if you’re seeing this then it means that it has all worked successfully. Formerly the blog was hosted with “Crazy Domains”, and while they have been mostly OK, in the last year I have been unhappy about a few things.

  1. When I signed up with them, they were promoting themselves as being “Australian” which proved less than true, the company actually being based in the middle east somewhere, which earned them a whack on the corporate backside from the the .au Domain Administration.
  2. On more occasions than I was happy with, I’d try to update my blog and find that the service (Web or FTP or both) was down. For a low volume site like mine that’s not a huge impact, but on the other hand, keeping a simple low volume website online and available shouldn’t be that problematic.
  3. The last time I had a problem connecting to the site via FTP, I reported the issue via an e-mail, and although they fixed the problem OK (or perhaps the problem resolved itself), the e-mail they sent back to me was misguided to say the least – they blamed the problem on me saying that I was using the incorrect username/password, which was definitely NOT the case as I was using the exact same saved credentials in my FTP client all the time. Now I work in IT and I well know that problems can occur, but to simply blame the user for the problem when its not their fault is pretty low.
  4. The final straw was when my 1 year renewal came up, and after a reasonable price for the first year of web hosting they wanted to jack up the price by 234% on the first year’s rates. No thank you.
  5. Oh, and also their “last century” anachronistic use of sexist images on their website was pretty galling.

So here I am with a new web hosting provider, based in Australia. They have a 30 day money back guarantee, so I’ll wait a month before I name them and either praise their prowess, or drub their dysfunction.

Poultry Metaphors

One of the artifacts of keeping chickens and ducks in our backyard, is that I’ve come to realise what a large number of poultry based metaphors there are in the English language, and I get to experience the following sayings in their original context …

  • chicken brain
  • ruffled feathers
  • pecking order
  • like water off a ducks back
  • don’t count your chickens before they hatch
  • rotten egg / good egg
  • broody
  • clipped wings
  • rule the roost
  • come home to roost
  • treading on eggshells
  • henpecked

One metaphor that I haven’t yet seen in its original form, and which I do not intend to enact is …

  • running around like a chook with its head cut off