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A Geeky Week: from Tiger to Leopard (server) in 48 hours and the rest...

I'm a geek and proud of it, although sometimes there never seems to be enough time to 'play' as much as I would like. This past week, well, it's been almost two weeks, (but who's counting?) has been pretty much full of geekiness.  I love tinkering around 'under the hood' and rolling up my sleeves. I'm quite enjoy being the mechanic or the oily rag and I suppose on reflection, it's the challenge of working through technical problems and learning about the solutions that I seem to revel in the most.

It started last week, during my half term break when I headed down to Brighton to upgrade two servers to Mac OS X Leopard Server from a previous Tiger installation. Both servers are now running on Xserve hardware. The Leopard installations didn't quite go according to plan with quite a few unexpected problems. One being the migration (or lack of) of the web services settings from one platform to another. Exporting and Importing settings from a earlier Server release to the latest one (migration) didn't work and so I was left with a very long night ahead, adding the web services data manually and the numerous sites that each machine hosted.

Having got the web services running, I then discovered several pieces of software requiring the GD library in PHP were broken. The standard build of PHP (5.2.4) that comes with Leopard Server doesn't come compiled with GD Library. This meant that I had to re-compile PHP with the GD libraries installed.

I've installed a PHP server monitoring application on another Leopard (client) computer to alert me of any unexpected downtime of either Xserve. I had to enable Postfix using MailServe because this isn't something that is enabled by default.

Leopard Server also requires a realm to be created to enable permissions for users accessing iPHPCalendar using WebDav.

It's been a week of being knee deep in httpd.conf files, MySQL databases and tables, crontabs, and Terminal commands.

These pages helped lots too:

Tiger to Leopard Server Migration, Part One

Tiger to Leopard Server Migration, Part Two


Mobile blogging from iPhone using TypePad, Blogger, Flickr

Sony Ericsson blogging client for Blogger.comI've been running a mobile blog site for a long time now (since 2006), and although my main blog has been rather quiet over the past few weeks, I've found time to reflect on some recent activities using my new iPhone. In the past, I have used the Sony Ericsson software on the handset to send photos captured by the mobile phone's camera straight to a Blogger.com site.

Clearly this software wasn't available on the iPhone, but as with all sites that have a programmable API, there are plenty of other routes for creating blogs, many of them not new of course. Email to webpage technology allows web content to be authored within an email client and then published by sending an email which is read by the server and published. It's a really neat solution and although it has been around for at least the last 6 years it hasn't, for me, had a use until now.

The iPhone has a great web browser, and handles forms really well, so it's great for posting to any website. However, it won't allow you to upload photos because of the restrictions to being able to access the file system (with the exception of hacked iPhones.) The iPhone also has a great email client, which overcomes the problem of uploading images to a blog site.

iPhone email to web technology using Blogger.com

Using Blogger.com's email to blog option, I can take pictures on the iPhone, choose the Email Photo option and send it to a private address that only I know about, but one which Blogger.com receives and then publishes as a blog entry. A perfect solution, and quick too. Here are some of my most recent entries, all taken with an iPhone and blogged straight to Blogger.com using Mail.

Of course, it's not just Blogger.com that enables this technology as Flickr does this too, see my iPhone pictures on Flickr, in fact, you can see everyone elses iPhone pictures on Flickr.

Flickr will also publish your photos and accompanying annotation to most popular blog sites, or to any blog that supports xmlrpc, such as WordPress, Drupal, Movable Type.

For those of you who have a TypePad blog, the developers of TypePad have already created an iPhone interface.

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