Wordpress and vodex.net part II

In a previous post, I talked about migrating http://vodex.net from the hand-rolled custom scripts to Wordpress. Well, it's taken a while longer than expected due to other priorities, but it's done!
Current strategy is to use the site as a set of static pages rather than an actual blog as described here. Then used various plugins like PHP-exec, along with some refactoring, to get the applications, such as MailMaker, over to Wordpress-usable format. The front page is a lifestream of my various web activity, including public Facebook content when they next sort out their APIs.


1) There's a lot of old, old content on that site, that wasn't so obvious/exposed, and that was largely ignored in favour of Facebook/Google Reader, etc. Now it's in Wordpress & generally more discoverable, it's slightly embarrassing, like the RecordHash Data Object, or frankly bizarre, like Waxy Dogheads. I may well end up hiding a lot of these pages.

2) Wordpress is a great platform, it's really matured. After the content tweaks, it's much more suitable than the custom CMS I'd written myself.

3) Ruby on Rails applications aren't ported over, but they don't work right now, possibly because...

4) The main driver for this was my host breaking PHP, email, and the Rails apps during some sort of systems upgrade I wasn't notified about. I'm on a 'development sandbox' for just $25 a year. Time to change that I think.

5) Now that I've started this post, I have the urge to start recapping other areas of my life, such as the use of Kanban, going on a badly-marketed diet again, and other stuff. But Livejournal is on the slide more than ever. Shall I start blogging proper again, or am I joining in the trend of blogging dying off & using increasingly mature social media instead? Could this become my last ever LJ post? Time will tell..

Wordpress 2.8 and vodex.net

Recently, Wordpress 2.8 was released. This, & other events, prompted me to take a loot at vodex.net, as it's been largely abandoned for some time... imagine my delight to discover the Wordpress install wasn't even working anymore for some reason; the Livejournal post import was broken, I couldn't log in.. it was a mess. The old version, kept behind to enable custom modifications to integrate with Livejournal / the main site / various PHP applications, didn't help. (Security hole? I'd had the forethought to use a hidden path for Wordpress itself)

I use a lot more social media now, & have largely abandoned Livejournal, along with a lot of other people. (They could have been facebook, you know; shame they don't expose enough data to Google to let me find that very LJ post by someone on that topic). Anyway, I'm working on converting the entire site to Wordpress's considerably improved feature set, including various plugins for FriendFeed, Google Reader, etc. (I especially like the All-New Livejournal Importer for Wordpress, which is a much better job than WP's original LJ import script, or my own LJ import script ... except I don't want to duplicate posts on the site, I want to link to them. Might use it for a private LJ backup tool, though).

So, watch this space. Or rather, that space...
  • Current Music
    Groove is in the Heart (Tocadisco Remix)
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Mozy Backup in Ubuntu via VirtualBox

Well, it's been a while snce I posted here. But this *is* my blog, so what better place than...

A couple of months back I switched to Ubuntu from Windows as my main operating system. (Aside: the main hard drive seemed about to fail, got a new HDD, made the formal Ubuntu switch, and found it was Windows support for the drive that was bad, the drive itself was fine.)

I was using a paid account at Mozy for backup (after a burglary in 2007 & losing six months of stuff, online can't be as easily stolen, or lost in fires etc.). But there is no Ubuntu support for it.

I do have a minimal Windows installation, but don't want to switch to it just to perform backups. So eventually, I got it running under a VirtualBox Windows installation, but it's not straightforward, so time for documentation.

The irony is, I'm not using it anymore, as it hangs for hours for no clear reason, with glitches (google around for more info; at $5/month I was willing to put up with them), but most importantly, it kept resetting the computer it was assigned to (you can only be assigned to one computer at a time), leaving me with no other option, even after tech support, but to start the backup process from sractch.

I'm now using Crashplan , which is much more reliable, has a native Ubuntu version, and have just cut my losses with the remainder of my paid plan time.

Anyway, here we go with the steps I took:

  • Setup VirtualBox with an XP installation as normal.
  • Install Mozy with the latest version (1.12+) as the previous version didn't work under a VM (if you're reading this you're probably running a version later still, but just in case...)
  • You now need Mozy to cope with the virtualized network. Under the Guest machine's settings, under Network, set the Adapter Type to Intel Pro/100 T Server. Set 'Attached To' to 'Host Interface'. Using NAT blocks certain Mozy functions; I don't know why this particular network adaptor is required.
  • As for the data you're backing up, they'll be on your system's hard drives, not the virtual Windows partition, right? They are also probably linux's ext3, not Windows NTFS.
  • Set them up as native hard disks inside the Windows guest to back them up. Using VirtualBox's guest additions to network share your hardrives doesn't work; Mozy has to access them directly.
  • I followed http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=662018 & http://blarts.wordpress.com/2007/12/06/how-to-run-virtualbox-using-a-physical-partition-using-ubuntu-feisty-fawn/, to create .vmdk files that VirtualBox can present as hard drives to the Windows guest..
  • You'll have to install IFS For Windows for your Windows guest to read Linux's ext3 format. This is by far the easiest step.
  • You may notice that you aren't meant to mount the drives in Ubuntu & the guest at the same time, to prevent write issues. I ignored this, as you are only using the drives for reading under Windows. Unmount the ext3 drives, boot Windows, mount the drives again, use in both; no-one noticed a thing :)
  • Using Mozy, select content in your drives to backup as normal.

And that's pretty much it. As I said above, though, I got fed up waiting for Mozy to spend hours chugging through my 30Gb of backups, only to 'forget' and have to start again. YMMV!

Music Online sites (by Alexander Street Press) now publically viewable

Recently At Work, we upgraded the platform running our next-generation music products.

One of the new features is having parts of a product be publically viewable to the world at large (not to mention search engines) - mostly the home page & browsing.

So here they are. Needless to say, not only am I very proud to be part of what we're doing, I'm also pleased that I can now easily show these to people :)

Click on the link/image to browse each product. If you encounter a login page when seeing certain content, then you/your organization needs to be a paying customer...

Classical Scores Library

400,000 pages of the most important classical scores and manuscripts.

World Music

50,000 tracks that delivers the sounds of all regions from every continent. (This is the product with albums like "English Drinking Songs", credits like "Unknown Camel Driver", etc.)

African American Music Reference

50,000 pages that offers the first comprehensive coverage of many forms of black American musical expression.
American Song

50,000 tracks that allows people to hear and feel the music from America's past.

Classical Music Reference Library ('Baker')

More than 30,000 pages of essential reference materials, spanning the entire history of Western classical music.

Garland Encyclopedia of World Music Online

The first comprehensive online resource devoted to music research of all the world's peoples.
  • Current Mood
    accomplished accomplished
  • Tags


I've added a few things in MailMaker, the spoof Daily Mail generator:

  • option to create a Daily Express. It's not a perfect match; when I have some more time, I'll refactor so you can use the Express font/layout. And do The Sun as well.

  • made meaningful 'alt text' to the images

  • created an RSS feed of latest covers

  • and - bit warily - added some extra images, including, of course, Madeleine McCann. Not sure it might turn out a good idea (for hopefully obvious reasons of taste, hence the delay), but like Diana, what Mail/Express cover is complete without some?

Flat Reference

For our new flat, our employers have been asked to give a reference.

Here's mine. Paul likes to brighten up people's days, so instead of a boring form letter:


I've received a letter from you this morning regarding our employment of John Field.

John Field has held the position of Senior Developer with us for nearly a year, and has been an exemplary employee - I am sure his excellence in the workplace would surely be reflected in his suitability as a tenant, indeed, I doubt you will find a more reliable, respectable and trustworthy person!

When he is not healing the sick and turning water into wine, he creates software of such beauty it makes grown men weep. It is my intention to see that he is employed by Alexander Street Press for as long as possible.

Hope that answers your questions.

Kind regards,

Paul Dixon
Alexander Street Press

LighterLife Managment Day 10 (Day 123)

Back from LighterLife weigh-in. There are some new flavour packs (banana!!!!) that forgot all about so had no money to get.

Have lost three pounds since last week, despite multiple kebabs and a chinese takeaway.

Feel so much better - the yardstick is the weighin itself, as it was blatantly obvious, bright and alert and breaking down cardboard boxes as opposed to falling asleep on the sofa.

Breaking down boxes? Yes, she had a major delivery today, so took them for packing. Don't want to write about moving as it'll jinx it.
Not only broke down about a dozen, carried them the way back too without trouble despite being almost as big as me. I am feeling better.

I'm not fussed about eating food. Supposedly by this stage I can eat any fish, chicken, cottage cheese, any salad, milk, yoghurt, etc. etc. but it didn't even occur to me to do so.

Really am not bothered and would be happy with the shakes I've been on since January and the occasional chicken/fish for variety. Gave it a chance for my new clean palate, but salad really does nothing for me. ( Much prefer kebabs, cough cough)

She wasn't fussed about me taking vitamin tablets, which I think is what makes me good.

So am not bothered with food and still losing weight and feel good and can eat the odd meat-filled naughtyness without it causing problems. This is more like it!

Just don't someone tell me I could have been on vitamin pills all along...

Lighterlife Day 116 / Managment Day 3

Have been in "management" for three days, where I start to eat food (a very limited subset at first). Have felt much, much, so much better, with more energy and much more motivation compared to how I was. Or maybe it's the vitamin supplements helping and the Beltane weather.

There is a Management Book, but they haven't finished the men's one yet, so I have to go with the women's one, which is rather patronising (lots of pictures of models on mountain tops and 'making a plane journey'  analogies). It turns out the women's stuff is much more thoroughly put together than the men's stuff, which is miles butter than the stuff back when started in general. Also have officially confirmed that I'm the only man in her groups to have lasted more than a few weeks, let alone going to Management.

Not doing the counselling/mental exercises - never got to do them in the male groups and they seem similar to general CBT stuff anyway.

Day One: (Monday 30 April 2007): Smoked haddock strips. Was amazing.

Day Two: amazing levels of energy, and real funny taste in mouth like metallic sticker glue. Was out after work looking at flats with Lisa and everything, which haven't done on months. Morale very high. Peppered Quorn Steaks, thought they were a bit bland and very spicy, but apparently they smelt delicious.

Day Three: same amazing energy levels, spring in step, the difference is impossible. Went into work an hour early, went viewing flats in evening.
Evening: have weigh-in, but by this point had run out of gas and was knackered again. Have lost 2.6 pounds since Sunday, despite putting maybe a pound of food in, that's still my intestines somewhere. Am 16 stone 6 pounds.

Went to get food to eat, and those months of not having to plan or worry about food hit hard. Couldn't find anything suitable, was very tired & grumpy, shops full of ch**s. Result: kebab and chips. Oh so much for lean protein, salad and balsamic vinegar. Ah well.

As you may have gathered, we're moving. Oh the things that happen if you don't do LJ in a few days!