warning: Creating default object from empty value in /var/www/legroom_v3/htdocs/modules/taxonomy/ on line 33. Web Server Migration

I just completed migrating the web server to a new hardware platform. It's now running on a dedicated host at a commercial hosting provider. The site should be much faster and more responsive now, as it's no longer running on a poky 33.6 KBps upstream DSL connection. It should also up more reliably as well now that it's no longer running under a virtual Xen instance on my desktop. :-)

In addition to the new hardware, I also made quite a few under-the-hood changes. I upgraded Drupal, changed up the apache configuration used for the website, restructured some of the website directories on the fileserver, and even changed the name of the database.'s been running for close to 6 consecutive years now, through various OS upgrades and hardware migrations, and it's built up a lot of cruft over the years. Since this was already a major change from what I had going before, I also took the time to reorganize things to make maintenance easier going forward.

Of course, I also tried my hardest to make sure everything looked exactly the same to end-users visiting my site, so unless you're reading this point you hopefully won't notice that anything has changed at all (aside from, of course, the speed). If you do find something that doesn't work - missing page, broken download link, lost credentials, etc. - please let me know ASAP.

Enjoy the upgraded site. Account Cleanup

This website gets a lot of account registrations. Most of these are obvious spam accounts using fake e-mail addresses. Since e-mail confirmation is required on all new accounts, these accounts are never confirmed and therefore are never fully activated. I routinely run through the account list and delete these accounts to help keep things manageable. I also run through all of the new confirmed accounts every couple of weeks looking for obvious spam accounts that actually use a real e-mail address and remove these as well.

Since this website went live, that's pretty been the only account maintenance that I've done. At this point, 1 year and 4 months later, there are nearly 400 active accounts. This is after the obvious spam accounts were removed as described above. Unfortunately, the vast majority of these accounts have not been used at all since their initial creation. A lot of these accounts are spam accounts that use legitimate sounding names and e-mail addresses. A lot of them are also one-time use accounts: the user signs up, does whatever he wanted to do once, and then never returns (or at least never uses the account again).

Due to the large volume of inactive accounts, I decided to start cleaning up these old, unused accounts as well. For the first batch, I'm deleting all accounts that meet these two criteria:

  • the account was created more than six months ago
  • the account was last accessed more than six months ago

So, basically, any user that signed up for a account more than six months ago and has not used the account since then has had his account deleted. After the first batch of deletions, the total account count dropped from nearly 400 to about 130. Much better. :-)

If you've been affected by this, the easiest solution would be to simply recreate your account, and login periodically to keep it active. I'll probably continue to do this on a semi-regular basis going forward. If you have any questions or complaints, feel free to either leave a comment or send me an e-mail.

Server Outage

In case anyone was wondering why was offline for the past few days, it's because of a hardware failure that occurred Thursday morning. The server hosting failed due to a yet unknown hardware issue. As a result, all web/mail/database/file/etc. services have been unavailable since then. As of early Sunday morning, I just finished migrating all of the data from the old server (well, I hope I got all of it) to a new OS install on a different, though temporary, system. As far as I can tell, all internet functionality should be restored at this point, including e-mail.

Needless to say, this was a major inconvenience, but I'm reasonably certain I didn't lose any data. However, if you happen find any errors on the site, or any missing content, please let me know ASAP. Also, if you sent me an e-mail at any point from Thursday morning to Sunday night, please resend it as I may not have received it.

This site will probably go down a couple more times, albeit very briefly, over the next couple of days as I continue working on the migration. I still have a few remaining issues to take care of. I'm hoping that by Tuesday the site will be up again for good (at least until the next migration to a permanent home...).

Project/Website Status

I haven't made very many posts lately, so I just wanted to update everyone that may be wondering what's going on. I've been insanely busy with work, both with my day and side jobs, and I just haven't had much time to work on personal projects. I definitely have some stuff in the works, just finding the time to move forward on any it is really hard to do lately.

I released a beta version of Universal Extractor v1.6 a while back now. That's pretty much ready for release right now, and has been for a couple weeks. I just need to polish a few last things related to the installer and language files, update the website with all of the appropriate new information for the release, and then put it out there. I'm hoping to dedicate some time to finishing this up soon.

I've actually begun working on a new version of AutoFLAC as well, but so far changes have mostly been limited to bug fixes and efficiency/workflow updates. I have some ideas for some pretty useful new features (aside from all of the issues that have been discussed in the Hydrogenaudio AutoFLAC thread), but it'll take a while to implement everything and put out a new release. In the meantime, just rest assured that this project has definitely not been abandoned, despite the fact that it's been over a year since the last release.

Less obvious to most visitors are the various website updates I've slowly been working on. Most of this involves restoring administrative functionality that was lost in my migration from PostNuke to Drupal a few months back (for a good example of this, see my last last post), or introducing some "private" features of the website, such as a new webmail system, that's restricted to specific users. I've also been (slowly) working on various other updates and under-the-hood tweaks to the site and server to keep things running as smoothly as possible.

So, yes, I'm still around, and this website (and associated projects) is still under development. Also, even if I'm busy and things are moving slowly, I'll try to at least update my website more than once a month. :-)

Wishlist Updated

I finally got around to updating my Wishlist earlier tonight. I'd been putting it off for some time because I still haven't completely finished re-implementing the admin interface that allows me to add/update/remove items since moving to the new site a few months back. However, since Christmas is coming and I'm already being asked, "what do you want?", I figured it's about time to start working on it again. I can now add items through the administrative web interface (woo-hoo), but removing and modifying existing items still requires direct database edits (boo). I'll get around to finishing that part as well as soon as I can figure out Drupal's really, really odd method of form handling with tabular data.

Also, I used this opportunity to make a couple changes to the wishlist. I'm now including the Date Added, so you can tell how old (or new) a particular item is. Anything already on the list from before the migration will just have a blank value here. I've also begun adding links to Best Buy, since it's sometimes easier to purchase items in a physical store than order them online. And finally, each column is now sortable, so you can sort by things like cheapest or most recently added. Just click on the title of whichever column you'd like sorted.

So anyway, for those of you that may interested in purchasing something for me, my Wishlist page is now current. Enjoy.

Edit: I added a "Last Updated" field as well, in the upper-right corner of the page. Use this to determine at a glance how long it's been since I last updated the wishlist.

Website Upgrade

I just upgraded to Drupal 5.3. Everything should be in good order, but in case you find any errors on the site please let me know ASAP so I can correct them.


Web Server Upgraded

I just upgraded the web server to Apache 2.2.6, which is a major upgrade over the previous 2.0.x version. I also upgrade PHP to address some security issues. It took me about an hour to migrate the site configuration, but I think I have everything up and running properly. If you encounter any error on with the website, please let me know ASAP so I can correct it.