Weekly Rewind #60
It’s time for another Weekly Rewind and we’ve made it to the big six zero woo hoo. We should have gotten here a few weeks earlier but I’ve missed a few posts. I’m sat here on a sunny Sunday evening watching the delights of the 2010 Football World Cup in South Africa. I say “delights”, but to be honest the tournament hasn’t been great so far. The first round of matches were pretty awful and it’s hard to remember a good one. Thankfully though it has improved and we’ve seen more goals and excitement in the second matches. I know not all of you are interested in football so I’ll move on, but I warn you there may be (read: will be) more World Cup talk as we go on 😉
On Monday I released a new Rathole Radio. I haven’t heard much feedback from it yet but I think people enjoyed the show, there’s been plenty of downloads. I enjoyed making it anyway and the show really relies on listener input, song suggestions, emails, live chat and taking part in votes. I want it to be a 2 way experience wherever possible and I’m thinking of ways to finally make the website the all encompassing digital masterpiece I want it to be. I have some ideas for a suggestion box and perhaps even bringing a social networking element to it all with Drupal. We’ll see how that progresses and of course I’ll keep you up to date on developments. We didn’t record Linux Outlaws live on Monday night because of the World Cup schedule (oops I mentioned it again), but fear not as we recorded a show on Tuesday. I did the preliminary editing and shipped the audio files back to Fab the next day.
On Wednesday I was busy doing CSS hacking and other bits of coding for a project. It’s been a good chance to get deeper into Drupal development and hopefully it’s something I can explore more in the future. I’m trying to brush up on my PHP skills and I’m working my way through a number of programming books, at varying rates of speed, if the word speed can really be applied here. I think I’ve talked about this before but for all the stuff I’ve done with Drupal, WordPress and other PHP web applications, my knowledge of the language itself is still a bit lacking I feel. I’ll fix that in time though. On Thursday night I went back to Fallen Industries rehearsal rooms to make some noise with the band. It went pretty well but it was a very hot night and we were all tired from a long day. It showed at times I think, playing with the band is always good fun though and I’m still looking into getting more gigs. We played our first original tune “Jimmy Carter” through a few times. I’m working on other new ideas and I hope we’ll have something decent recorded and ready to present to the world fairly soon. I need to get my guitars serviced and fixed up in the meantime. I could probably do it myself but finding time is tough and I think they’d benefit from a professional eye. I’m also looking into getting a new slightly bigger amp. It’s one of those things with bands, there’s always a battle for who can be loudest just underneath all the niceties hehehe. I don’t really want a larger amp to be louder though, just to get a fuller tone and a bit more bottom end in the guitar sound even at lower volume. I’ll let you know what I decide on.
On Friday I finished off some outstanding jobs and did various bits of server admin, making development clones of some Drupal projects I’ve done back on my own server. This should allow me to test out updates and changes without breaking live sites. I could do without angry phone calls asking “WHERE’S THE WEBSITE??!!!”. I learnt quite a bit from all the server wrangling and I know a few people want me to talk more specifically about programming projects and experiences here. It’s something I’m just getting back into more recently. I’ve learnt the power of Drush this weekend I must say. The name is short for Drupal Shell and it’s a module I have used in the past. I wanted to administer and upgrade about 5 different sites on one server but wasn’t looking forward to all the copying of files, messing around and goat sacrificing that involves in Drupal. I simply installed Drush on the server and copied the file into my system path. Then I could call Drush from anywhere I wanted and use the package manager to do all hard work for me. I broke sites a few times, swore a bit, scratched my head and fixed them again for most of Friday. I’ll try to give more in depth details on Drush and other Drupal stuff in coming weeks, but for now there’s a list of articles on developmentseed.org. I also downloaded a development version of Drupal 7 and tested that out. It’s really slick and they seem to be moving down the WordPress route with the admin controls (see the pic), a long overdue improvement in my view. I found I had to upgrade my version of MySQL to support Drupal 7 and it seems I was well out of date anyway with MySQL 4.1, official support for that actually ran out a few months ago, doh! I used the tools in CPanel (yes I’m a cheat) to build a new version of MySQL 5.0 (5.1 would have broken a few sites sadly) and then recompile Apache and PHP to match. After some initial problems with the YUM package manager locking on my CentOS box I got it all working, or so I thought. So now happy with MySQL 5.0, Apache 2.2 and PHP 5.3.2 I went off to watch the England game that night. The less said about that match the better to be honest, it was truly truly woeful. We played so badly that the lads were struggling to pass the ball 5 yards to each other. It was like watching a bunch of school kids… a bunch of school kids who’ve never played football before and don’t even like it. We drew 0-0 with Algeria and I the nation was united in a collective facepalm. We can still go through to the next round by beating Slovenia on Wednesday, but the way this is going who knows if we’ll do that. I always try to be optimistic. It wouldn’t be a proper World Cup is England played well know would it?
On Saturday I discovered my server tinkering the day before hadn’t gone fully to plan. I thought I’d checked every website to be sure it worked but RatholeRadio.org was definitely broken. Thanks to Fab and all the others who pointed that out to me online. I discovered in the end that my WordPress theme was incompatible with PHP 5.3.2 and the upgrade from 5.2 had broken it. I swapped the theme and fixed that error pretty quickly but then discovered an old phpBB site was badly broken by old incompatible code. I couldn’t really do much to fix that without rewriting some major customizations to the system. I didn’t fancy it to be honest and instead I rolled PHP back to version 5.2.13 which fixed everything. You live and learn I guess and I still enjoy poking around with servers, how much they like it though is anyone’s guess. Over the rest of the weekend I’ve sorted out some housework, watched a lot of football, played a lot of Super Mario Bros Wii and generally relaxed. It’s good to cut loose sometimes.