Apr 29 2009

I thought it felt a little warm out yesterday. Especially since this is the end of April and we’re in Maine, so I put two thermometers in the shade on the patio table.

93F in the shade

It was >90F (>32C) in the shade!

Quite a departure and historic heat record in Maine, considering the previous record was 73F, according to wunderground

April heat record in Maine

Apr 12 2009

I removed the splash page overnight. An idea left over from yesteryear, long overdue on the to do list.

To have the blog page display by default when you visit icerabbit.com, I had to make some changes in WordPress and of course this didn’t go without a (minor) glitch.

Installing things in folders within any given website comes natural to me, so, the nice thing was that I had wordpress nicely installed in its subfolder and it was going to require minimal work. 

You can’t beat official instructions, so I followed the WordPress Codex instructions to “Giving WordPress its own Directory” which outlines this process. Even though my files are already in a subfolder, you can follow it to display the blog on the domain root. All goes well up to step 11. 

11. If you have set up Permalinks, go to the Permalinks panel and update your Permalink structure. WordPress will automatically update your .htaccess file if it has the appropriate file permissions. If WordPress can’t write to your .htaccess file, it will display the new rewrite rules to you, which you should manually copy into your .htaccess file (in the same directory as the main index.php file.)

Nothing. A blank page. Nothing to see or update. Tried removing one or both .htaccess files in the root and wordpress folder. No change. Figuring I can’t be the only one who stumbled on this, I searched the WordPress forum a little. Didn’t find a solution, posted a message in the support forum and since it was very late, I called it a night. The blog was working fortunately and so was the admin area, apart from permalinks.

I woke up early and figured the issue had to be with the .htaccess file. Before I looked at permissions, I compared the original site root .htaccess file to the new one that was moved in Step 7.

7. Copy the index.php and .htaccess files from the WordPress directory into the root directory of your site (Blog address).

Sure enough. The original one included a line to use php 5: 

AddHandler php5-script .php

After restoring this line the Permalinks page returned. 

So, if you have a host, like MediaTemple, which allows you to select PHP4 or PHP5 and you decide to move your WordPress blog index page to the root of the domain; try it with only moving the index.php file. 

The support request and my answer are posted here in the WordPress forum.

Apr 12 2009

[ Part 1 is posted here ]

Here at icerabbit HQ we have been a little too busy recently to focus on testing the new Mac mini 2009 2.26GHz with other hard drives, after we upgraded the memory. Last night I finally gave the mini a nice place on my desk under the 20″ Cinema Display to which it is hooked up.

My original plan has been to use the Mac mini with a faster 3.5″ external hard drive, rather than upgrading the internal drive, which is rather tricky. If you like detailed instructions to perform such an upgrade, look no further than this iFixit guide.

Noting that I haven’t switched to the mini as my primary machine yet; so far, I have been very satisfied with the speed of its 2.5″ Fujitsu …. hard drive. The combination of this drive + the mini is more responsive than many macs with 5400 rpm drives I have seen over the years. So, I haven’t special ordered an anno 2009 zippier 3.5″ 7200rpm drive yet for the ministack. Right now it looks like I will use the ministack for secondary mass storage with a regular drive.

I still want to do some tests using the newertech miniStack v3 with some older drives as well as a couple retail external drives from Maxtor (3.5″USB2 & FW400) and Seagate (2.5″USB2). While I agree that the internal SATA bus is the fastest connection, it doesn’t mean the internal hard drive is the fastest by default. Regardless of connection method, the internal hard drive is still the slowest component in the computer (apart from the optical drive) and so an external hard drive could be faster.

Even if I don’t find something faster than the internal drive in the house it will be a fun exercise to see how long it takes to back up the mac mini using USB2, FireWire400 and FireWire800. What external bench scores will be? Which will be the faster drive? Which applicaion will be faster? SuperDuper or CarbonCopyCloner? And what about temperatures? Does all this hard drive activity kick the fans in overdrive, or not? Click through for the findings.

Click here to read more …

Apr 12 2009

Daffodils 2008

We wish everybody a Happy Easter. Hopefully you can enjoy some nice weather and time off, just like we are, to relax in the garden.

Apr 2 2009

I trolled through our photo library a little bit yesterday, looking for a couple images and somehow (A.D.D. ?) ended up setting a taller banner size for the site and decided to use less compression on the images. 

I did not take the decision easily, since it does add some KB to the site, which directly effects users on slower connections. And, because of that I may not be totally set on the taller size, but with the higher percentage of broadband users, I think the time is right to boost the banner a little. It gives me a little extra room  to crop certain images and I think the result looks better for a photo banner. 

Plus, I will now be making a surprise appearance in the banner from time to time.

No, I’m not the frog waiting to be kissed! You’ll see :)

Apr 1 2009

Our first flower has been blooming for a week now, with a dozen more just days away from unfolding. 

First krokus

Spring came a good two weeks or so early this year. We haven’t had snow since the beginning of March, which is exceptional, and the snow cover is practically entirely gone. Apart from some little shaded corners, you would not know we had quite a hard winter with high snowfall and record breaking cold temperatures.

The other weekend we were finally able to put our outdoor christmas lights away. No, it is not that we’re lazy! That’s what happens in a northern climate when the stuff gets covered by many feet of snow and wiring gets encased in a thick ice layer on the ground as the snow melts.  

While it is still to early to do anything in the gardens, we were able to start the first remodeling project of 2009: creating access to a 100 year old unused attic and converting it into storage space. It feels good to hammer  something together.