Monthly Archives: August 2007

My WordPress wish list

I’ve tried many blog platforms, and am please to say that my favorite by far is WordPress. I really like the WP platform and the abundance of plugins to extend functionality. However there are a few things that can currently only be done with plugins that I would love to see become fully integrated into the core WP platform. Here is my list.

1. Better multimedia support. What if I want to podcast or post streamable mp3 files? Currently I have to use plugins such as this.player or podpress to enable this functionality. I think this should become fully integrated into the core of the WP platform

2. Lightbox – I think WP should integrate lightbox as well. This kinda goes along with the better multimedia support I spoke of above. It would be nice to have better integrated options for posts with images.

3. Gallery integration – I use a plugin for integration with gallery 2, which is great. But it would be awesome if WP could integrate support for various gallery platforms into their code. Having an options page for your gallery integration would be a huge time saver and supporting multiple gallery systems would be ideal.

4. Better uploads management. I think WP could have much better file level security and download tracking built in. It would be great to be able to have a built in downloads tracker, upload management and general file management. Perhaps some security settings, being able to restrict download of some files based on security permissions per user or something.

5. Better customization support. Sometimes its a little hard to place something on my WP site in exactly the spot where I want it. You usually have to have pretty good knowledge of CSS and PHP to be able to get it just right. Its hard for a novice user to make these kinds of changes. It would be great to have enhanced theme management to let you use an editor of some type to place custom content such as images, text, links, etc in exactly the spot you want, not just in the sidebar.

Thats about all I can think of for now, but if you (the reader) have any other ideas, I’d love to see what else people are coming up with in regards to WP suggestions. Feel free to leave your comments.

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Current problem – seeking solution (backup related)

Let me expalin a little about a problem I am trying to solve. This relates to backups using Backup Exec 10 and 11. I am hoping to get some feedback and ideas on a solution, your comments and ideas are welcome. Please feel free to post to the comments on this article.

First, we have servers all over the place and back them up locally when possible. So each major location has a consolidated backup server with over 1TB of hard drive space and utilizes a backup to disk strategy for the daily backups, and then we have a separate archive to tape job which puts the B2D files onto tape. We keep 3 days worth of backup to disk files on each backup server, using media set controls with a overwrite protection period of 2 days so we only ever have 3 days of backups in each media set.

Jobs are configured with backup to disk folders to keep the media in. Now the issue comes as our storage grows, we are backing up more and more data. Keeping 3 days worth of data on the server gets harder and harder. Not to mention we also are currently backing up 3 days worth of backup to disk files to tape each day, which eats through more than one ultrium tape per day.

The goal I am working towards is being able to keep 3 days worth of backup to disk files on the backup server (idea is to have quick access to restore media 3 days back in case something important needs to be restored) but we only want to backup 1 day at a time to tape, so we don’t waste tape storage and have some crazy confusing tape rotation schedule. We use an autoloader with 24 tape capacity, and are having difficulty in maintaining a good predictable rotation.

So does anyone reading this have any suggestions for being able to keep 3 days worth of backup to disk files on the server, but support backing up only 1 days worth of files at a time to tape? Currently the backup to disk folders are created and named after each server.

I also want to find a way to prevent having to use third party software to keep the backup to disk folders cleaned out. Sometimes the B2D files don’t get re-used for a while, they are protected, but don’t get re-used and just sit there taking up space and ultimately eat up valuable hard drive space for nothing. I had been using some external software to clean out files older than 3 days from these folders.

All suggestions are welcome.

Perspective

I was reading earlier about police chases and came across several stories in the St. Petersburg times about how each time there is a crash fatality that was the result of a police chase, the police chase policies are criticized. What I find most amazing is the varying perspectives based on who you ask about these policies.

To the police, a law has probably been broken, they persue and attempt to apprehend the person involved. The criminal then has two options, stop and be captured, or flee and risk death or worse, hurt others on their attempt to get out of trouble.

When people are in a panic situation, logic and rational thought often go out the window. But it is indeed a selfish choice to attempt to outrun the police and risk others lives just in a pointless attempt to outrun the police.

I read a response from the family of a criminal who was killed by running through a dead end road and crashing into a large pile of sand. The family member said: “It would have never happened this way if they had not chased him, somebody should lose their job for that”.

Its funny how tainted a person’s perspective can be based on the circumstances. To the family member, they blame the police for chasing a criminal. Its NOT the faulf of the police that this person decided to run and rish other people’s lives. In the end it was his life that was lost, and others were injured.

Now maybe this is my hero complex talking, but to me its so simple, break a rule, face a consequence. People break the rules all the time, when something illegal is done its the job of the police to apprehend the person responsible and apply a consequence. As citizens under the protection of the police, it is our responsibility to cease and desist when persued by the police. Everyone knows how this works, and I’m sure they knew the risks when the broke the law. Without policies allowing police to persue criminals, (who often times have faster cars than police, or vehicles that can handle offroad terrain better than a police cruiser) crime would be a much larger problem. People would think that they could do anything and just run to get away with it.

Good people put their lives on the line all the time to enforce the law, protect the public, and give chase to criminals who would otherwise get away with their crime if no chase was given. If a person knows the law, breaks it anyway, and dies as a result of fleeing a police chase, in my opinion, the person fleeing has sealed his/her fate. They will either be apprehended anyway and face worse charges, or they will hurt other people and possibly lose their own life. Its just not worth it!

Went to see the Bourne Ultimatum

On Friday night I went with some friends to see the new Bourne movie. It was good, and I enjoyed it, I agree with some critics in that I think it was better than the second movie, but not as good as the first one. It was nice to actually get some closure from a movie!

[imdb]0440963[/imdb]

New blog security

I found a new post/category security plugin for my Word Press blog. Here is the link. It works great, doesn’t cause any other problems in my blog, and gives much better access to the security settings than the previous system I was using. All the access issues and logon prompts people have been getting the last few days are now fixed and my hidden content is still secure.

A family of singers

The other night, while tinkering with Adobe Audition 2.0 and my Blue Snowball mic; I managed to talk the girls into recording something. They don’t usually let me record them for some reason, but once they get going they don’t want to stop. I setup the snowball as one input and the windows audio channel as another input. I played a song (High Hopes sung by Frank Sinatra and a children’s choir) and got the girls to sing along. Liz and I sang along too, so don’t laugh too hard 🙂 Its cute though and was fun to record. Its a little tricky to get the audio setings just right as the snowball tends to be a little quiet, but Audition gives great controls for adding amplification and input gain to the mic input. I applied a few filters and amplified the mic gain so we wouldn’t have to sing right into it. We were able to place the mic on the desk, and all sit around it and sing normally. It picked us up pretty well and the kids had a blast. Its cute to hear them sing along and do their parts. That same night, we played a bunch of other songs and they danced all around the house and had a good old time. I wasn’t sure if I was going to post this online, but I’m getting over the embarassment of knowing people will hear this. Hopefully you will find it as cute as we did. We’d love to have your comments on what you thought about this in the comments section of this post. So go ahead and listen and let us know what you think.

DNS uh oh!

I will admit that I made a pretty bad oopsie recently regarding my DNS confiugration for my personal domains, specifically with the MX records. Recently I decided to cancel my no-ip backup mail service account, so I removed the no-ip mail servers from my MX records in my DNS zones. What I forgot was that I had setup my DNS on DNSExit.com rather than on my own hosting server. So the place I fixed the MX records made no difference at all, and last night or this morning when my no-ip account expired, they began rejecting mail for my domains. I was alerted to this issue by my loving wife who calmly told me she couldn’t get any email from her friends. I quickly identified the issue and made the necessary corrections on the DNSExit system and mail flow has been restored. There could be some DNS servers out there that have my DNS zone cached, so for up to 2 days, we still face missing some e-mail. Fortunately, the sender will get a bounce back and hopefully realize that something is wrong and they need to re-send their message later. This is the first major mail stoppage I’ve had in a LONG time. I plan to diagram my mail flow and DNS configuration so that I can reference this information in the future, since I don’t look at it every day, its easy to forget how things are setup.

UPDATE | 8-27-07

It turns out I thought I had fixed everything but hadn’t. I noticed I still wasn’t receiving the normal amount of mail I normally would on my shorehost.com domain. After checking again, I found I had forgotten yet another backup DNS service that I use and had not yet removed the no-ip MX records from that provider. So I fixed that, and I’m happy to report that mail is now flowing normally now. However for several days there, since approximately Aug 23rd, incoming mail to my personal domains was affected and mail was bounced back to the senders. So if anyone sent me or my wife anything important, please re-send!!! This is the first major outage caused by an “oopsie” that I’ve ever had on my personal mail system.

Odiogo Listen – works with wordpress

I found Odiogo recently and am testing it out on my blog. Its really good and easy to use. You just signup online at www.odiogo.com/sign_up.php and they even have a Word Press plugin for adding this to your blog. It can also handle RSS feeds and integrates with ITunes. I think this could be a cool feature to give my blog visitors. If you try it out on my blog, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

Copernic Desktop Search

I really love Copernic Desktop Search, and wanted to post a personal recommendation for this software. I’ve tried several other desktop search applications, including Windows Desktop Search, Yahoo desktop search, Google desktop, X1 and more. Out of all of these, I found that Copernic had the most attractive user interface that made for a better end user experience, ease of search and I like the way it displays the search results.

The best thing about this software, is not only that its fantastic in appearance, functionality and ease of use, but its also totally FREE for personal use. Its been around for a while, and I can’t wait to see what improvements are made to it over time, but I can’t immagine it getting much better than it already is.

I use this software for searching my personal Exchange mailbox, PST files, internet favorites, and local documents. You can also index files on a network drive. You can save your searches for handy future use. This is top notch software, that has a very attractive interface, great features comperable to the other big names in search and costs nothing! There are no pop-ups or annoying advertising, its just great free software. Click the link at the top of this post and download Copernic Desktop Search today and try it for yourself.

Sarah's new haircut

Ok, I know this is a bad quality pic, but its all I’ve got right now. Sarah got her hair cut short, and she looks so grown up and smart. Sarah’s Cut