Shutterfly Winner

As promised, the winner of the recent Shutterfly Contest I held is being announced via this post.  As luck would have it though, I had received several codes but a family member ended up not wanting a code, so the other two entrants are both winners!  Everybody wins!  🙂

Congrats to Lori and Jaime and thanks to everyone for sharing your favorite holiday memory.  Thanks also as this was the first “contest” I’ve ever ran and although only three people posted, it was still fun!  Details and promotion codes have been sent to the winners via email.

KeithMcD Network

Yesterday I spent most the day configuring WordPress MultiSite. This is a feature that the WordPress team introduced in version 3.0 and expanded upon in version 3.1. This allows me to basically run my own blogging service – similar to or Blogger.

So, I now can run my own blogging service – what is the benefit of doing this? I have no current plans to offer blogs, however the benefit I have in doing this is that I can now manage all the sites my family has under one global umbrella.

However, last night, I found that after I had already migrated three other sites to the new platform, my main site (, was exhibiting some oddities in the blog posts. A “” was showing up at somewhat-random places in all posts regardless of how far back I went, but was not showing up in the database itself. However, new posts I created to test had no such characters shown. It turns out this was a remnant of my early WordPress days.

Back in the days before WordPress 2.1.3, the database used latin1_swedish_ci collation for whatever reason. As such, my blog was using that for all tables created at that time onward. Any new blogs I created were created with later versions and as such, were created with utf8_general_ci, so did not have this issue. So, now that I knew what was going wrong, how to fix this?

First, you have to take a complete backup of all the affected tables. After I had a dump of those tables, I simply edited the CHARSET which is used by those tables and re-imported the tables. My dump included drop statements so the tables were dropped then recreated immediately which would minimize any issues from random WordPress tables in a production environment just suddenly going missing. However, this didn’t quite fix it. It made the “” visible in the database table. Next, I had to run the following SQL statement which replaced the “” with nothing and cleared up this issue.

UPDATE wp_posts SET post_content = REPLACE(post_content, ‘Â’, ”);

I haven’t checked other tables to see if they are effected as well, but this resolves the user-visible items at the very least.

So, with those issues fixed I can now shift my attention to migrating two remaining sites and fixing any issues which may crop up from those as well.

This brings me to a minor topic which is this: the KeithMcD logo is in dire need of a refresh.  Have any ideas or design suggestions?  Currently there isn’t much of a logo – it is really just the favicon which is pretty bad and lacks any design at all.

Site Upgrade

Yesterday WordPress, the software which powers this and other sites that I host and support, updated to version 3.1.

I have upgraded this site and am playing around with some of the new/updated features.  As such, a few very minor changes will be coming up.  I will also be tweaking the theme some and trying to make it a bit more fluid in its appearance.

New Year Randomness

A few things for the new year:

  1. Congratulations to those in New Hampshire for being another state allowing gay marriage.  It’s a crime that it’s not globally recognized, but we’ll get there eventually.  I guess I wrongfully assumed that the phrase “…all men are created equal.” in the Declaration of Independence actually applied to ALL men.
  2. I was bad during the holidays and ran very very little, however I was able to at least maintain my weight, which is as good as one can hope for.
  3. I have removed the CAPTCHA from my site.  Apparently my WordPress upgrade last week broke that plugin.
  4. I am fixing the RSS feeds as they apparently haven’t been updating since about July.  Oops!

Have a great new year and I’ll post again soon – hopefully later this week.

Server went for a lie-down

Well, it looks like sometime either late Wednesday or early Thursday the server that my sites are hosted on wanted a rest, so it took one.  The RAID array that it’s located on had major issues and failed to rebuild twice which prompted my host to replace hardware.  They ended up building a new server and are currently in-process of restoring the data from last week’s full backup.  After the restore is complete they’re going to try to restore from the broken RAID but that’s almost definitely going to not work.  However, as this is a blog and I don’t update it often, all the data is stored in a database on a different server completely.

Anywho, all my sites are currently running on a backup copy of the data until the full data is restored, which should be sometime Sunday or earlier.