New experiment – googleads now on the site

Well, traffic levels here are increasing regularly. Guess either a) I have a lot of friends b) Theres actually some content here people want to read c) Lots of people are getting lost and ending up here.

I’ve decided to try hosting some googleads here. The theory is if you are reading one of my pages, google will put some relevent adverts alongside the page. If you happen to be interested in that companies product (it’s almost always going to be a product) then you can follow the link. The company pay google a few pennies for every person that follows the link, and google pay a (no doubt) miniscule percentage to me. Be interesting to see if it provides any holiday spending money.

Before you ask:
1) no, it doesn’t work if I click on the links to earn money for myself. It also recognises the same person following the link, so don’t bother clicking on an advert 30 times – computers can be clever things and will simply not count you.
2) Yes, if i do actually ever recieve a cheque from google for this, I have to pay tax on it 🙁 For me, that will simply be a case of raising a corresponding invoice to cover the reciept and it will be part of my business accounts. I guess other people have to register with the tax office and start doing a tax return.

The CD/DVD-Drive and the Paperclip (a.k.a. how to get your DVD out of your computer when the power is off)

i-f4ce84bfa48c95db31fee8adca57a754-paperclip_before-thumb.jpg“D’arghhh!” said the man as he’d once again forgotten to take his favourite DVD out of his computer before turning the machine off. Now, he’d have to turn the power on to get the DVD out. Being a good man, he couldn’t possibly turn the power off until windows had fully started, the disk had ejected and he could use the windows software shutdown button, lest he damage his data. It looked as though he’d be leaving late again… unless he just goes without the DVD… hmm, he pondered momentarily.

“But Wait!” said his friend, “you can still leave in a hurry AND take the DVD with you by using one of my magic paperclips”

“Magic paperclips! Don’t make me laugh, I can’t get my DVD out of my computer unless I turn the power on” said the man dismissively.

“Then watch, dear friend…”said the mans friend, as he bent the magic paper clip out of shape. He pushed one end of the part straightened paper clip into a little round hole on the front of the man’s CD/DVD drive,i-c00b69f068f924214ebb41694fee916f-paperclip_after-thumb.jpg

“I’ve never noticed that hole before” said the man, at the same moment as the drive magically popped open revealing the much desired DVD. “Wow!” said the man.

“You’re welcome”, said the friend, returning his quite ordinary but now mishappen paperclip back into his desk drawer.

Phases of Life

I half mentioned before (my post about secret lives) how I’m finding that life goes in phases. For example, at the moment I am (once again) in my book reading phase. I’ve been devouring hundreds of pages a night in an effort to sleep (I’m also in my not sleeping phase, which, I remember having both phases in my teens).

Last summer I had a running phase which stopped almost completely over Christmas but for which I felt the urge to start again last week (a 20 minute run was a killer!). I’m also back in an ATC Phase (I was an Air Cadet, now I’m at the local Air Cadet squadron as an instructor), I’m missing my Cycling phase (in my late teens I used to cycle miles, especially at weekends). My guitar phase is ongoing though without lessons and without having written any new songs.

There’s another phase which I’ve been in for many years which I feel is about to end, at the same time I’m finding others are trying to start (hey, one day I will learn how to program in Java and write that game I’ve always wanted too).

I’ve only noticed these phases as I’ve got older. When younger I guess I didn’t know any different. “Plus a Change, Plus C’est La Mme Chose” – remembering my French phase.

Note to self: I’m sure this post isn’t very good English – even though the google spell check was happy. Perhaps I’m finally getting sleepy.

The Big Server Move

Phew! What a Christmas. While many spent the time enjoying Christmas TV, I spent the time migrating from one web server to a new web server.

Easy? I was hoping so. Way before the move, I installed RedHat on my laptop to test the setup to ensure it went smoothly. It worked fine so my 3 days (24 hours) of set aside time [to set up new server, copy across all the web sites (approx 10Gb of data), transfer IP addresses from old server to new server] seemed an over estimate.

Unfortunately, a simple mistake in the file /etc/hosts stopped ColdFusion MX (the software used to run the business web site) from installing properly. It was slow, it wouldn’t initialise Java. It gave me many many hours of grief. It worked perfectly when I installed on the laptop. The problem was simple the wrong IP address in /etc/hosts. That tells the server what it’s address on the internet is (you can find out your address current internet address by going to Now, the server was set up BEFORE the firewall was put in place. So when set up it’s ip address was something like When the server has a firewall, the firewall takes the public IP address and forwards things on a private network to the server. So the address in /etc/hosts should have been change to

I often find that things as simple as one line or dot out of place can create a computer nightmare. If only I knew what the problem was before I spent the 12 hours looking for it!

After that, most things went OK, although it took a few hours to get the server encryption working properly (I had to rewrite several parts of the ColdFusion code as RedHat ES4 has some different user names than RedHat ES2 did – which is what our previous server ran on) and some of the default PHP settings had changed which took me a few more hours to locate. The simple job of transferring IP’s from old server to new server to far longer than expected.

Finally, it’s all up and running. Though there are a few things I want to spend a little more time on.

The server upgrade was due to ColdFusion playing up. The new server has a faster processor (64bit AMD!) and 512Mb Ram. The old server had 256mb (the minimum recommended for ColdFusion). 512mb may not sound like a lot, but servers don’t have monitors and don’t need to display graphics. All they do is crunch data and deliver the results over a network connection. At the moment, all of the programs are running in Memory with no swap space being used. Therefore visitors should get to see pages slightly quicker.

Now that’s all done, I can move onto my next project…

The holiday photos

i-deedcde09457a9454ccf4af387fe9323-sydney-thumb.JPGWhen sister Sharon got married, we made a holiday out of it. When I returened I created a quick web site to hold all the photos. I think I should do it when we next go on holiday as I quite enjoyed re-reading the comments I made against all the photos. As I was moving all of my sites onto a new server, I had a little tidy up at the same time. The Australia photos have moved onto this site.


PS – The photo was taken by Rhonda when we took a helicopter ride over Sydney. Sharon got married by the Sydney Harbour Bridge.