blog server tech

Since I do these software and hardware tests to learn about them (and they are interesting and sometimes fun, too), I will shortly document here the technology used for this new blog site:

  • HP Proliant ML 110 server
  • Powerware UPS 5115-750i/6 uninterruptible power source
  • Fujitsu-Siemens Storagebird XL external 250 GB disk for backups
  • Linux Ubuntu Drapper Drake (6.06) operating system
  • Apache 2.0.55 web server software, with several extensions, including mod_php5, mod_rewrite, and mod_ssl (for several different features, including more secure system access)
  • PHP scripting language version 5.1.2
  • cURL, with libcurl version 7.15.1 (for enhanced URL manipulation)
  • phpMyAdmin, a set of MySQL administration scripts for web-based access
  • mySQL database server and client, versions 5.0.22, with various extensions for PHP, Python and other uses
  • Postfix mail transport agent (v. 2.2.10) with various antispam tools and safeguard implementations, necessary for the WordPress notifications such as registration password mails to go out

And on top of those, the actual blog:

  • WordPress, version 2.0.2-2, with numerous plug-ins for comment spam management, Flickr and email integration, Cron-jobs, and so on.

This is not the most recent version of WordPress, but I let Ubuntu to maintain my software packages through its Synaptic Package Management, to maintain compatibility and automated system upgrading. But in this case the latest stable release of WordPress (2.0.4) had implemented an important change by removing ‘Check Admin Referer’ security measure, which was exactly that feature which created most troubles in this installation. Admin Referer is a logic where WordPress tries to make sure that only the rightful admin has access to all admin pages by checking that the previous page accessed was also part of the admin console. In my case there was an error in the way the blog address (URI) was registered into the database, leading to a situation where every attempt to fix the error was stopped by the Admin Referer check, which did not think I was coming from correct admin pages (due to the previous faulty registration of the WPress install directory). A complete Catch-22 situation. In the end, I had to learn to edit the mySQL database manually in order to fix the wrong entry, and installing, comparing and learning all the tools needed for this took also more time. The more current WordPress versions use something called Nonce to pass a unique code from page to page during the administration processes. Good luck so that you never have to get stuck into this particular hole.

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Author: frans

Professor of Information Studies and Interactive Media, esp. Digital Culture and Game Studies in the Tampere University, Finland. Occasional photographer and gardener.

3 thoughts on “blog server tech”

  1. Catching up on the reading of your blog. And after read this post, I can’t avoid to congratulate you and wondering how do you mange it?!

    Even that it can be sensed, while reading your posts, that you enjoy technology a lot, and also nature. But how with all the activities that you have (you are overbooked), and with a non-engineering background, you involved yourself with Unix issues, which besides to demand time scares a lot to people!

    All your pages got a really nice and professional personal “corporate image”. Congratulations for all your work and time invested!

  2. Heh, many thanks also for this comment, Carolina! I have been tweaking with the technology of my computers from the dates of C64 and old DOS-based PC machines, but Unix has never been my main operating system. Thus, the learning pains.

    But I have been thinking that tweaking your system might actually be some weird way of self-expression even. These digital domains have an important role as our communication, working and even living environments, and personalising them is important for construction of identity. On the contrary, having a system that you cannot control and use for personal expression fluently is really irritating, since it almost feels like a limitation to your ways or moving, speaking, or dressing. Weird? Well, remember that I have been writing about “Man-Machines” since the early 1990s! 🙂

  3. Thanks for your replay. And your comment, more than weird has been interesting for me. I found amazing how different people approaches one thing from complete different angles offering diverse opinions. Actually, I found as rich experience, be able to hear, or read such a diversity of ideas, trying to “sense the whole”.

    Regarding this topic, I admit it is the first time I read this approach towards “tweaking your system”. You idea that it could be important for the construction of “identity”, which it is so important for the development of each human being and that not everybody seems to pass aware about their identity construction process, invite my brain to take off. How much do we make people “dependent” of what it is just available and secure for them to work?, or if this “tweaking with your system” can be use embedded in a learning process to go beyond the “security” that the system offers, inviting to the reflection of what do I want? How do I get it? why? , etc. Could this “process” have implications on what for people represent even their own “security” of their personal real life?, on the other hand, as some authors mention, a lot of systems at the same they are getting more powerful they get intimidate newcomers. Then are we “filtering” the entrance to this process only to the “brave ones”? And questions like that… As I said, my brain took off, sorry!, to much lately reading I guess ;-P

    However, now my recognition of your effort goes beyond of the technology itself. Be humble enough to keep on learning at the same time you are conquering higher skies. A life long learning experience, isn’t it? Refereeing on your attitude to keep on learning and discovering all the time, even where you do not have to do it. This “learning pains” shows, at least to me, that you are doing a real effort, as when we are doing sports trying to break our own record. At the end of the day, as in sports, it will give you a good satisfaction. Or as playing a game, actually 😉 looking to win, or reach the next level 😉

    Now, I should follow good examples, and keep on my own development process, oh my!!! 😛 , yes sometimes it is not easy at all but addictive at the same time 😉 (@least for me)

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