Considerations

I have been in the process of thinking about quitting social media completely. I just find that after over ten years being on Twitter and other places that I just don’t care about that stuff anymore. I originally joined Twitter to get more news about Formula 1. Over time it turned into a place where I could get news and views from all over the world and eventually I quit my general account because whenever a politician said something Twitter would go into a meltdown and that was an inappropriate reaction to that speech. Ever since 2016 social media has been a shitty place to be.

I wonder what the impact of me leaving Twitter completely is. There isn’t anyone who desperately relies on my latest thoughts or ideas. No-one out there really cares what I think about this or that. There aren’t really many people who give a shit what I rate a film at the cinema. Mostly my musings on Twitter don’t amount to anything. No-one is bothered and it’s just for me to feel as though I have been listened to.

It’s very similar with this website. I have spent a LOT of time, and some money, on this site. I really enjoy having this site. But in the grand scheme of things it’s just for me and no-one else really cares what happens here. I use it as a place to try and get my thoughts straight along with writing stuff about some music now and then.

Part of my motivation is that I am unsure how much protection I get for airing certain views on here compared to what I do in the real world. I do believe that I should be able to say whatever I want on here. Whatever my thoughts are they don’t impact on my professional choices or how good I am at my job. I am also aware that many people are unable to separate idealised thoughts from actions in the world. I definitely believe I am right on all matters I have answers for, but there are many situations where I just do not know the answer. There are many social and political ideals where I am very happy to say – that’s pretty complicated and I am glad I don’t have to come up with an answer.

Should the internet have this level of detail about me? I know I’ve put it out there voluntarily over the last 20 years or so. I’ve had a website since around 1999, in various forms. Does it matter? Should I decide to stop it all? If I delete my Twitter account then quite of lot of this site will become full of broken links. Does that matter? What is the point of this other than a use of time that I am meant to consider – good? Currently I don’t know. I have imagined hitting that “delete” button in Twitter. The only thing stopping me is that this website has links to the Twitter account and editing them all will take an age.

Does that mean that this website is important enough to maintain all my data on the web? At the moment I don’t know. I could archive all this stuff and just have it running locally as a kind of reference memory for me. We shall see what happens over the next year or so.

Purge Problems – Fixed

Recently I had to fix this site as some malicious code had appeared in the file structure and, although the site looked OK to me I know it was sending some observers off to obscure sites. So, having had this happen once before about four years ago I had a good sense of what needed to be done and also what the dodgy php files looked like.

So, I set off to purge the website of anything that looked a little dodgy. Then using what remained and back ups from before I was able to rebuild the site and get it running as it was, minus one communication that was titled “Well” but while I probably moaned about CV-19 and said some stuff that I’m doing I don’t know what it was about. I had a look at the WayBack machine but it hadn’t crawled my site that recently.

It also turned out that I deleted an index file of one of my old websites in the purge. I guess it was easy to do. The problem was that now I didn’t have a copy of that file and I couldn’t even remember what style it was or what it looked like. I had moved away from FTP back ups and more to using some backup plugin to my site. This was a mistake. I had thought that this page might be lost forever and then I remembered the WayBack machine.

My first search was for the page on this site. Nothing was retrieved and then I remembered that the Internet Archive might have got a snapshot of my original site. It had! With some tweaking of the HTML code I was able to recreate the index page and now this site runs 99.99% the same as it did before I got fucked over. I’ve also been trying to think of all the domains I have owned in the past and I think this list is about all of them:

  • iparish.org.uk
  • ianparish.me.uk
  • iparish.plus.com [not really owned by me as it was a sub-domain]
  • whatuseismaths.com
  • fooyah.net

I think that’s it. I’ll chuck in another if I think I’ve missed one. I’m struggling to know how I used to edit my webpages because I don’t recall having a computer before around 2001 but maybe I did. Internet access was poor then anyway. I do know that when I worked at my second school in about 1998 I had a site that was up and running.

My OldSites are listed on this page.

Habits

Considering how much time at home I have at the moment you would think that I would be writing quite a lot on this site. I think I’ve just got out of the habit and the next album review is going to take some time so this is a communication make me feel as though I’ve actually done something positive. I’ve spent quite a bit of time sorting out the technology in the house over the last few weeks.

I have bought and installed a new PC including getting the software all transferred and working properly. I’ll put some pictures on here once it is finally complete. I’m waiting for some kit to arrive and I need to get out to collect the new desk for it. After that I’m sure I’ll put something on here about it. The new PC runs X-Plane a lot better than the old one so I’ve been playing on that a little recently.

ERCO Ercoupe X-Plane 11
ERCO Ercoupe X-Plane 11

I’ve been playing some Minecraft running my own server. It’s good fun and feels productive. I really enjoy the farming and mining aspect of this. The complex builds I leave to the kids. It’s a far better world than this one currently. To enable three of us to play in the house we are using the Bedrock edition along with playing on the PS4, PC and iPhone. The phone has a DS4 controller binded to it and then the video is output to the TV in the dining room. This whole system works quite well but when moving from one platform to another some of the button mapping is slightly different and this can cause issues.

I’ve also been playing Deliver Us The Moon on the PS4. I’m enjoying it. The puzzle solving isn’t that hard but there have been times I’ve wandered around trying to figure out what I am meant to do. I hope to finish this game over the next week or so.

Next week I’m going to get back to writing “music” on the PC. I’ve been practising recently trying to re-learn the things I last did about five years ago. I’ve also changed which software I use to one that seems a little more intuitive. Eventually I hope to write something that actually sounds good and fun. It’s hard because I nearly gave up at first before I remembered that everything is hard at first and the only way to get better at something is to do that thing. It’s something I say in my day job a lot and it’s nice to take my own advice!

I installed some security cameras in the house. Not really because I’m worried about crime but more because I can and they were on sale on Amazon. I do like that they alert me when there is movement in the frame and they also have a good night mode. What I’m less happy about is the auto-arming software needs to always run on my phone and I don’t like any piece of software that does that. This isn’t a problem at the moment because it’s not like I’m leaving the house that much. I’ll investigate more when I return to work.

I am working. From home. In a way that seems strange but I’m doing what I can and trying my best given the resources and limits that I have. I do hope everyone is safe and that’s the bigger issues really. I know I’m lucky to still be getting paid and I am making sure that is justified. I wish everyone well at the moment and understand that I come from a position of privilege completely on this. This current lockdown situation must be utter shit for a lot of people. I’m reasonably used to being away from work for the summer holidays and I have been thinking that the last summer I worked through was probably when I was nineteen in 1991. I have only ever had one job where the summer was just a normal work time.

I’ve been listening to podcasts while moving around the house and doing little things. I would normally have the radio on and listen to a radio station from New Orleans but their news is just as shit as ours and so now I’m trying to listen to more podcasts and that means just playing stuff through my phone during the day. Mind you, I can only concentrate on the podcast when I have certain brain functions going. While typing this I am listening to music, because I am doing words and so listening to conversation would confuse me more than I am currently. I’m listening to Amerikkkant by Ministry.

On to the habits. I need to change my habits slightly to make sure I add content to this site whenever possible. I’ve been away for a little while and I’ve been busy restoring this site along with setting up things on a new PC. Also, I’ve been trying to make sure that my back up systems work properly. There are routine things that I am working on to improve my site security and content. Here’s to new habits and enjoying the things we do along with being productive.

It Took A Few Days

Well, I found out a few days ago that it looked like this site had some malicious code injected. I don’t know how it happened and it’s the second time this site has been successfully attacked. I’m not sure if I wrote about the previous time, I guess it’s not something you advertise to the world. I know it happened when I asked a class to look at my site and some of them told me that Google was returning a “this site might be hacked” warning. What was quite interesting was that the bad code that had been injected knew when I was looking at the site and would return the standard website.

This time noticed because a load of php files had appeared where I didn’t think they should be. Friends confirmed it was messed up and sometimes redirecting to a dodgy website. After an initial panic and swearing outburst I set about fixing this problem. I was a little annoyed as recently I have moved to an external server and also set up a security certificate proving that I own the domain and website and securing communications between you and the website.

Basically I took a copy of what backup files I could. Copied the uploads folder. And then completely reset the entire website to zero. I then set about the process of rebuilding what this place looked like in its glory. This requires quite a bit of time consuming work including resetting security certificates and propagating DNS information around the world. The frustrating thing for me is the lack of upload bandwidth that I have at home. It takes some time to upload about 6GB of data to the server.

So, I think it is working again. I will check using a few techniques I have learnt over the years but I could also do with you people letting me know. Of course, if it’s still broken you can’t see this but perhaps you could let me know if you can see this.

Have fun, stay safe and be good.

Secure

Yesterday I took the plunge and decided to do something that had taken me around two years to get to. I think the time was mostly because it was going to cost me money and the benefits weren’t that obvious to me. Back in January I migrated this site to a server somewhere and started paying a hosting company for the privilege. Yesterday I paid to get a secure certificate for this site.

I am now the registered owner of this domain and that is proven with this security certificate. So you can see up in the address bar one of those padlock symbols. This means that anything you enter to this website from your computer can’t be read by anyone else. Not that should really have a need to enter anything on this site, unless you search for something. Also, when I’m editing this site it now uses a secure connection which means my password is encrypted.

Down at the bottom there’s a little picture tag showing the authority that approves my owning a certificate allowing me to run the secure server. All sorted.

A Migration

A couple of years ago I transferred this website to run from my own NAS Drive in the house. I did this for no other reason than because I could along with getting decent bandwidth. After thinking about it I decided to change back to a proper hosting service and then transfer this website there.

So, I now have new hosting and I have spent the last couple of days getting the website up and running and doing some basic maintenance. I had to transfer the contents to the new hosting company and then a lot of my images didn’t upload so I had to organise some FTP style movement.

It now appears that the website is working well. I have begun to set up a back up service to make sure the years of effort aren’t wasted. I’d hate to lose it all!

I did consider giving up the website. I do however quite enjoy the challenges running it along with making sure I’ve got an outlet for spouting whatever I think. I will keep it going. I’ve just got quite a bit of admin to do with it and the older sites to make sure everything is nice and efficient.

One problem is that my old DDNS addresses will now no longer work. I used that style on a lot of tweets and so if you go back and look at old tweets those links won’t work. Sorry. You’ll just have to search for the communication you want from within this site. Finally Fooyah.net is back to running properly.

Naming Conventions

If you browse this site regularly you may have noticed that the title of the communication doesn’t immediately have a lot to do with the content of that communication. It does, it’s just not obvious.

When I review a film on this site then the title of that communication is the name of that film such as this review of Now You See Me from 2013. There is a page somewhere in the old sites that has reviews of films going back to 2004. There might be stuff mentioned about films in this page which has stuff going back to 2004, I can’t be bothered to read it all.

Some of the cadet camp communications follow a naming convention of using the RAF TLA for the base where I stayed like this one from my first summer camp as a commissioned officer. I used the term BZN for the name of the RAF Station. That way I know I can find the other camps by searching although I think the Cyprus camp was named Via Platres. This was a reference to the name of the village we drove through everyday to get anywhere from Troodos base high in the mountains.

The Lego communications follow the format of Lego XX – Kit Number. The XX stands for the number of the communication of that type. It turns out there have been sixty six communications about the building of Lego sets. The last one is here. I think quite a few cover my building of the bucket wheel extractor a few years ago.

All my album reviews are named Album – Band. This makes a certain amount of sense and along with the movies is probably the only group of communications that is easy to find. Although as I write this I am only up to the P section of the albums by name. I chose to write these alphabetically by album name because I wouldn’t then be writing reviews for twenty AC/Dc albums on the trot. It mixes things up a bit.

The main problem with me trying to be clever about the naming of each communication is that I forget what they were called and end up searching my own website to find what I wrote or thought about a particular thing. This isn’t easy as sometimes I haven’t used the words that I thought I did when writing about that topic. In one communication I reference the Olive Harvest but that doesn’t mean anything unless you have the key to the code.

I’ve basically created a mess with these communications and I love it. It makes things harder to find. I end up seeing stuff I’d forgotten about. It is also slightly click-baity for which I apologise. You see I’ve written something and it won’t be obvious what it is unless it’s in those categories mentioned earlier, I bet you can’t wait to find out what madness lies within.

Migration

Well, that was a weekend! For some reason I decided to have a go at running my website [this one] from my own NAS drive. I figured this will save me money in the long run?  won’t have to rely on GoDaddy who have hosted my website since its inception. I’ve not had any problems with GoDaddy but it’s a bit like car tax. When it comes around to paying for the hosting I just find I’d rather not.

So, I spent many hours staring at my computer screen. The first thing was getting the NAS to run as a web server and get the data out to the world. This took a little while to configure, especially the port forwarding and stuff, but I had done this for my Raspberry Pi and it’s web server so I did have some experience. I installed Webstation on the black box and got it working.

The next thing to do was trying to migrate my website from the GoDaddy servers to the NAS. However, this means running WordPress and that means the following have to be installed on the NAS drive:

  • Maria Db for the SQL database
  • Text Editor for getting into those pesky php files
  • phpMyAdmin to read and mess around with the SQL databases
  • WordPress

WordPress configured everything to run well and then I followed a web guide which had explained it should be easy to transfer the data with a little knowledge. I have a little knowledge and I think that makes me more dangerous than most! I FTP’d my site to my PC ready for uploading to the NAS drive.

I then tried importing the SQL database and setting up WordPress to read that database and work properly.

I failed at this about three times.

I failed terribly. To the point of uninstalling WordPress and deleting all the data and trying again. Each attempt took about an hour. It was quite frustrating because I do think I was close and only needed to change a “space” or “comma” in one of the php files and it would have worked wonders. But I started to despair.

So, I paid for some migration software. I already use UpdraftPlus and this automatically backs up my site to the cloud and they offered a migration package for about £20. Considering how much time I had spent doing all this it would have made more sense to spend that in the first place. But, you know, I wanted the experience. I do know a lot more about SQL and stuff now so it wasn’t a complete waste.

UpdraftPlus migration was easy to use and it even sent the files straight to my webserver. I thought that was quite impressive. It did take a long time though and I left it running overnight. I checked on it this morning.

The local version of WordPress was asking me to locate the backup files and then import them. As I was running a very basic and unmodified version of WordPress I hoped the import file would write all data to the SQL database and also import all the settings.

It did and quite quickly.

However, it did come up with an error reading one of the “upload” zip files. I think there must’ve been an error. Most of the website was working well and the WordPress dashboard was looking good. I think the database thought all these media files existed but Updraft couldn’t remove them from the zip file and so stopped working.

I FTP’d into the existing site and downloaded all the media files, about 5GB and FTP’d them to the NAS and hey presto. It all seems to work quite well. I am quite pleased.

I now have to go through and change the odd link here and there which won’t work because of the directory structure, but generally I am very happy with everything. I have a plugin which will crawl through and check links for me. I could also get Google to do a crawl for me, it worked really well last time to indicate some issues on the site.

This is the very first Fooyah communication on this new hosting. I am happy. If blurry eyed.