Archive for July 2007

Techy Fun: More Information Please!

July 14th, 2007

As I’m in the process of slowing shutting down other sites I’ve worked on (due to time constraints), I’m reposting them here. Here’s an article from “Behind The Frontline” which was going to be a cross between I Work With Fools, Worse Than Failure and Dilbert.

Category: More Information, Please!. Author: Anonymous

It’s a nice relaxing Thursday at mission control when a tech support ticket is raised on the helpdesk. It looks like correspondence between two people (“Company XYZ: It looks like account 123 isn’t working, but 124 is”), but with no indication as to why and how it concerns us. I then request further information about what the problem is and shufty off to play Roller Coaster Tycoon for a bit.

An hour or two later and a new ticket is opened with exactly the same details (and by the same user). Update ticket again asking for a couple of bits of information “What is the problem? What is meant to happen? What software are you using? Are you getting any error messages?” – basically, something for me to start working from – at the moment, I’ve got no idea what the problem is, let alone how I could offer assistance.

I continue losing a bit of money on RCT3.

Check back on the helpdesk and more correspondence between the customer and this unknown third party – it looks like they are having a problem getting a piece of software working, but what software it is, I don’t have a clue. The third party themselves say things appear to be working.

I close the ticket with a note “Unable to assist – I can’t offer support for third party applications and I haven’t got sufficient information from yourselves to be able to diagnose problem”.

Grab a drink.

They’ve responded to the closed ticket. First of all with some more strange third party correspondence and then asking what information I need (I cut and paste “What is the problem? What is meant to happen? What software are you using? Are you getting any error messages?”).

I wait a bit more – it’s now 11pm at night.

They close the ticket themselves – “Oh, I see the problem: I’ve missed some files”.

11 hours later, the problem is resolved and I’ve still got no idea what the problem was! I need an alcoholic drink!

Techy: Discontinuation of PHP4

July 13th, 2007

I’ve already blogged about 13 facts about Friday the 13th which is paraskevidekatriaphobia or just triskaidekaphobia if you only fear the number 13. But Friday the 13th of July 2007 will go down as a “notable date” for some web developers – it’s the day that the End of Life of PHP4 was announced.

PHP4 as a programming language will become discontinued on the 31st of December this year – so if you’ve got an essential program which depends on PHP4 – contact the developers to make it PHP5 compatible now (after all, PHP5 has been out 3 years and they are now working on PHP6!). Ok, some people will be stuck (if I remember correctly, osCommerce doesn’t work brilliantly on PHP5 but I may be mistaken), but unfortunately that’s life…

Techy: Setting up Private Key Authentication in Linux for Rsync

July 13th, 2007

If you wish to be able to automatically log in from one (server a) to another (server b), or you wish to setup rsync so that you can automatically send your backups from “server a” to the remote backup server “server b”, then the following steps should help in the configuration of this:

  • Login to server “A” via SSH as root
  • See if an RSA encryption key already exists by typing the following command:
    cat ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub
    If the key does NOT exist (i.e. you do not receive any output or the system reports “No such file or directory”), then you’ll need to generate an RSA encryption key using the command:
    ssh-keygen -t rsa -N ''
    (note: those are two single quotes and NOT a double quote)
    You’ll then be prompted where to save the key (it should auto-suggest something like /root/.ssh/id_rsa which you should accept)
  • Now you’ll need to copy the RSA encryption key to the remote server (server B). Still via SSH on server A”, enter the following commands (replacing serverb.example.com with the name/IP address of server B, and entering server B’s password where prompted):
    ssh serverb.example.com
    mkdir .ssh
    exit
    scp ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub root@serverb.example.com:/root/.ssh/remotekey
    ssh root@serverb.example.com
    cd .ssh
    cat remotekey >> authorized_keys

    exit

  • Now typing “ssh root@serverb.example.com” from server A should automatically log you in.

News: BBC News: Woman Blames Sat Nav for accident

July 13th, 2007

As I’m in the process of slowing shutting down other sites I’ve worked on (due to time constraints), I’m reposting them here. Here’s an article from the 12th of May 2007 from “Treble R News” which was going to be a Register-esque general news site.

“A 20 year old students car was wrecked by a train after she followed her sat nav system onto a railway track”, BBC News South West reports.
» Read more: News: BBC News: Woman Blames Sat Nav for accident

News: Daily Mail: Bank Holiday Traffic

July 12th, 2007

As I’m in the process of slowing shutting down other sites I’ve worked on (due to time constraints), I’m reposting them here. Here’s an article from the 3rd of May 2007 from “Treble R News” which was going to be a Register-esque general news site.

The Daily Mail has got an exclusive for you today – the shocking news is that on this bank holiday there will be “mayhem on the roads” with big traffic jams expected.

The traffic on the M25 is meant to be a “congestion hotspot”.

Wow – thanks Daily Mail, you know, I wouldn’t have thought about the roads would be busy just before a bank holiday weekend and the M25 – knowing how quiet it is normally (yep, that’s sarcasm) – being a congestion hotspot!

gamy-dance
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