Back from vacation

I had so much going on the past month!

  • Family came to visit from May 1st to May 10th for my college graduation
  • I relocated to a new city for a new job May 17th
  • Went to a wedding in Minnesota on May 24th
  • I start my new job tomorrow, June 2nd

I’m really not sure how much free time I will have with this new job, but I will try to keep updating with interesting posts once a week. Also, I’ll do my best to stick with a book review every 2-3 weeks or so. Here is my list of upcoming books I hope to review soon:

  1. Neuromancer by William Gibson
  2. Tau Zero by Poul Anderson
  3. Manta’s Gift by Timothy Zahn

I’ve also decided I’m going to go back and review short stories in Asimov’s Robot and Foundation Universe in the order of Johnny Pez’s Insanely Complete Fiction List that I have hosted here. I’m not sure when exactly I’ll start that project, but most likely I’ll post entries here and there as I complete them.

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I finally upgraded my WordPress install today, and like a responsible web admin, I backed up my database and also my file tree. After my upgrade I noticed that my comments were all gone! I grumbled a bit and figured I’d extract the files from my backup. I opened my file up and noticed there were no comments. Doh! Where are they? I checked my backup from June, no comments. The latest backup I had with comments included was from February. The phpMyAdmin console showed the table “in use”. Not sure exactly what to do, I opened up a quick Live Chat with my hosting provider, HostGator, and noticed that I was #1 in queue with what, 147 agents available? My problem was fixed in less than 5 minutes. The fix also recovered a few comments that were posted after my last good backup.

I apologize to those of you that tried posting comments the past few months, because they were all eaten up due to the table being locked. I’m not sure what happened, but the support guy told me how to fix it myself if it ever happens again. Essentially, there’s a GUI in the cPanel to check and repair individual databases. I work with MySQL quite a bit at work, but I wouldn’t consider myself a DBA. Now I need to find a better WordPress backup plugin, because I think it should have thrown out some type of error if the table wasn’t readable.

Anyway, I’d like to take this opportunity to recommend HostGator. If you need hosting, please check them out. Any signups done through my link will help pay for my web hosting. Also, you can use code SCIFI25OFF for 25% off your first order. They offer 1 click WordPress installations if you are looking for something like that.

Here are my steps prior to all WordPress upgrades:

  1. Backup Database via Plugin, also can be done through phpMyAdmin
  2. Open cPanel and through File Manager, copy my WordPress directory “/installdir” to another directory like “install2011backup”. I think you can only do this quickly if your blog is not installed directly into the root /  – note, this takes just SECONDS, rather than downloading thousands of individual files
  3. Run upgrade, hope for the best

Here is how I restore

  1. Restore Database via phpMyAdmin
  2. rename install directory to /install-bad
  3. rename backup directory from /install2011backup to /install

Do you have a blog? What is your disaster recovery plan?

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Where have I been lately? A number of factors have resulted in me not posting since December. One of which was that over the past few months I’ve been chipping away at The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke. At just shy of 1,000 pages, it has been my lunch time reading for a while now. There are a couple short stories that I plan on reviewing, as soon as I can remember to bring the book home from work. I’ve also been filling most of my free time, 177 hours now, with playing Battlefield 3 (my stats).

I’ve watched a few movies, but I didn’t get around to reviewing those. One was Gamer, which I didn’t expect much from. The other was Battle: Los Angeles, a cookie cutter “aliens attack, let’s fight back” movie. I didn’t really “watch” these as much as listened to them as I cleaned out my office. After going through my recent posts, I noticed that I never reviewed 28 Weeks Later. This was actually one of the sequels I’ve seen that I liked more than the original. I might have to re-watch, then write up a review. I watched a decent movie last night though, The Adjustment Bureau, which I plan on reviewing in the next few days, if not tonight. My goal for myself is to have it done before the end of the month. Thank goodness for leap years!

OK, enough excuses. Thanks to all of you that still have me in your newsreader. I’ll try to be better about posting updates in the future.

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The Empire Strikes Back snow trooper

Snowtrooper action figure

I had the opportunity to meet a couple “online” friends this past weekend. I’ve talked to these guys for several years through various online games, instant messaging, Ventrilo/TeamSpeak, and e-mail. Meeting them was a very interesting and enjoyable experience. BrainAlien, a guy I’ve known online since 1999, gave me a Snowtrooper action figure. He knows I’m a huge Star Wars fan, so I really appreciate it. If I ever find my Luke Skywalker in X-Wing suit, I’ll have to have a little battle to relive some childhood moments.

Thanks BrainAlien!