Category Archives: Odds and Sods

Stuff that really doesn’t fit into any other category

Uploading files in WordPress on IIS – WTF moment.

There are whole slew of blog posts and technical articles on configuring IIS and windows permissions to enable file uploads in WordPress sites. I’ve read them before and had cause to re-visit them over the last couple of days as I struggled to get uploads working on this site. Whenever I attempt to upload a file, the site would just site their until an HTTP timeout message appeared. No HTTP 500, just a PHP timeout error.

My IIS and folder permissions were correct as were all the paths in php.ini. As I was testing tweaks or configuration changes, I could see the temporary files being written in the PHP temp folder. In other words, the actual PHP upload was working. Something was blocking the copying of these files to the WordPress site. Was it WordPress itself or a Windows permission?

To compound my confusion, WordPress’ own update functionality was working without a hitch, so this meant the site had the correct write permissions at least on the wp-content folder.

After several hours of fustration I found the problem and it wasn’t with IIS, PHP or Windows. It was with a WordPress setting. I eventually wandered over to WordPress’ Settings > Media and the uploads folder path contained a reference to a W drive. I have absolutely no idea where this has come from. This site has never been on a server with a W drive. However, once set back to the default of wp-content/uploads, file uploads worked again.

Happy New Year

A day late, but Happy New Year and best wishes for the year ahead.

2011 was a year of great change across the globe and anxiety for many (especially for us folks in Europe!).  Some commentators have suggested that it is a year to forget.  I disagree.  In many ways we should be thankful that 2011 is over, but we should not forget the events that defined it.

The Tsunami in Japan whose effect will be felt for future generations.  The Arab Spring where successive totalitarian governments were toppled like Dominoes.  The killing of Osama Bin Laden.  The continuing Euro crisis that will almost certainly never be resolved fully – I smell a Heath Robinson half-baked euro-bodge-solution in the coming months.  These are just some of the events that have profoundly reshaped the world we live in.  I suspect that in the future, 2011 will be viewed as the turning point where the world truly started to become less West-centric.  The economic emergence of the BRIC nations at the time of the decline of the European block has all but ensured that this scenario will come true.

Every year has defining events.  2011 stands out due to the sheer and almost incessant number of events, spread out across the world affecting a significant proportion of the global population.

Here’s to hoping that 2012 will be a great year.

A new location, a new name

We’ve moved!  And just to add some extra confusion, we’ve changed our name as well! Well, at least this blog has.

First, the change of location.  As I’m now doing work for companies other than Whiteleaf Networks, I’ve moved this personal blog outside of its’ domain and nominal purview*.  Although future posts may touch on work done with Whiteleaf Networks or any other company, they will neither be official or approved.

Changing the name is mostly about appearance and perception.  The original name of CrossNotes was a vague pun on the origin of the name Whiteleaf Networks (if you don’t know, above the village of Whiteleaf there is a large cross cut into the chalk hillside).  However, it does give the impression that I’m always slightly miffed at the world or life in general (which I don’t think I am).  Also, as this blog is becoming a little more personal, it does make sense to stick my name at the top.

So what is to come?  I’ll be expanding the subject matter to include web design & development and perhaps a few more esoteric topics.  I do have some IT posts in the works including an updated version of a powershell script to automate the backups of Hyper-V Virtual Machines.

* For the purposes of transparency, this blog/domain is still hosted by Whiteleaf Networks

Blogging Away

As I have comment previously, I blog for my own enjoyment and personal development.  However, of late I am begining to suffer what can I only term as Minor Blog Fatigue.

This hasn’t been caused by simply reading too many blogs, but rather from writing on too many.  In addition to this blog, I also maintain at least three others.  Fortunately, they don’t all cover the same topics – one is a corporate blog, whilst another is a company one – but the effort of regularly writing updates for all four can become a little wearisome and time consuming.

In many ways, blogs are truly unique as they may be used in a wide variety of scenarios covering an almost infinite number of subjects.  For me, writing on blogs not only addresses and immediate operational need, but also something that I view as being personally very important: the ability to write properly.  Now, I’m not saying that all my blog posts are works of unsurpassable prose, as frankly, they are not.  However, I feel that the only way to improve on a subject it to almost endlessly attempt it.  With my luck, I probably won’t write my first truly grammatically perfect blog entry until I’m well and truly into my dotage.

Anyway, until then, happy blogging.

Why Blog?

Why do people blog?  Why do people who would probably never stand in the middle of a street and deliver a speech on their personal life feel free to write down the same information and then make it freely available for anyone to read?

The actual concept behind a blog is nothing new.  At its’ core it is nothing more than an online diary or journal.  The principal difference between a blog and its’ traditional counterpart is one of accessibility.  A written diary is normally something that is intrinsically private and personal to the author.  Readership beyond the author, if at all, is limited to close family or friends.

A blog is different.  Authors seem to feel liberated enough to write personal information and details without the fear that would probably accomplish the publication of a written diary.  Perhaps most authors feel the Internet provides a layer of detachment and annoymity.

One of the interesting aspects of blogging is that it is not limited to individuals.  It has become almost de riguer for companies to have some form of corporate blog.  A company blog is a cheap and easy method of delivering information in a manner that lacks the formality of normal press releases.  A company blog can contain almost any information, and the very format enables the mix and match of subject matter without presenting an undigestable mess.

The reasons behind a blog are various, especially personal ones.  The authors seem to vary between the mundane to the naturally garrulous with all variations of the rainbow in between.

Just as varied are the topics that a blog can cover.  From information about family life to detailed technical announcements.  If you can think of a topic or subject, there is probably at least one blog out there covering it.

What is certain though is that irrespective of the reasons behind a blog, there will be an audience available.  The ability for people in general to be nosey and inquisitive into other people’s lives (as the readership of the celebrity magazines will testify) will never abate.

So why do I blog?  Well, I don’t actually write this blog for other people to read, if they are actually are any readers apart from myself.  I write this blog as a record for myself.  I also do it to improve the fluency and style of my prose.  As I work within a technical industry, written information often gets bogged down with a stogy style and, in many cases, plain bad English.  I’m not aspiring to be the next Keats or Dickens, but I do aim to improve my proficiency of the written word.  Hopefully, the more write, the more I will improve.  I can only hope.

One thing that you will never find on this blog is personal information.  That is my business, not Joe Public’s.  And yes, I do read other people’s blogs.

Snow. Again.

Whilst cold weather is nothing new in old blighty, snow is.  Where I live the snow stayed on the ground for a whole week, as did the ice – there were several repeat performances of Snow Lake with cars on Ice.  Anyway, here are some snapshots I took while travelling into work.  Needeless to say, the car was stationary when the photos were taken.

It may look pretty, but there was a thick layer of ice under the snow.

It may look pretty, but there was a thick layer of ice under the snow.

Ooh, look, tarmac

Ooh, look, tarmac

Note the trees bowing under the weight of the ice and snow.

Note the trees bowing under the weight of the ice and snow.

It was actually colder inside the car than out.

It was actually colder inside the car than out.

Snowy Carnage

A combination of snow, a gale and a frost brought a fair bit of arboreal carnage to my normal drive to work this morning.


I think this hole had just been made by a delivery truck.


Yet More Damage

The Tree Surgeons have just arrived

The Tree Surgeons have just arrived

A pretty picture to finish

A pretty picture to finish