Doing things the hard way (as usual)

I decided that it was finally time to actually be an active participant on the web again after a substantial break (since the WWC Intro to Engineering page, though calling that ‘participating’ is a stretch).  The easy (and normal) thing to do would’ve been to sign up with one of the zillions of totally free and totally adequate blog hosts.  However, due to a variety of reasons I’m compelled to host it myself.  (Overactive DIYness, owning a domain, VPS with plenty of unused bandwitdh, and a mild dose of paranoia.)  Naturally, the first temptation is to build out my own content management system; however, knowing myself, and that content management really isn’t that interesting to me, it’d never get done.   A very informal survey of the various popular options (Drupal, WordPress, Typo) indicated that WordPress was the way to go: focus is on managing silly little posts, open source, free (as in libre), free (as in beer), has an Ubuntu package, and apparently easy to install (the claim is 5 minutes).

And for the most part they were true to their word.  Getting MOST everything up and running took about 45 minutes, most of which was setting up a MySQL database (just enough different than Postgres that I had to dig though the documentation) and getting Apache configured properly.  The actual WordPress configuration involved giving it the database connectivity information.  Cake.  What they don’t tell you is that you’ll spend a couple of hours tinkering around with various settings, themes, etc., but you can’t really blame them for that.  All was good, until I noticed that e-mail notifications weren’t working.  5 hours later, the issue was finally resolved, though I don’t know exactly what finally made it work; what I do know it that PHP and Postfix weren’t playing nice.  I’m not sure where to assign the blame… PHP for its lack of troubleshooting information, Postfix for its lack of troubleshooting information, or Ubuntu for not quite configuring things properly out of the box (which is fairly rare). For those curious, I think the problems were that the permissions on the Postfix configuration files were too restrictive (400 instead of 644) and the PHP configuration (php.ini) needed an absolute path to sendmail.

Anyways, the real purpose of this post is a “hello world” sort of thing and to set expectations for future posts low. Posts will more than likely be infrequent, boring, uninformative, rambling, contain grammatical errors, contain factual errors, and generally waste your time. This way, anytime something halfway decent comes along it’ll appear to be awesome.


  1. htimsnivek
    Posted August 11, 2009 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    You set expectations appropriately! Typo here: “(just enough different than Postgres that I had to look a dig though the documentation)”

    I had to be that guy… just this once. Looking forward to hearing more from Professor Chrispens.

  2. jachrispens
    Posted August 11, 2009 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Ah, thank you; fixed now. Feel free to be that guy. 🙂

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