Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

All better now

Caution signHolding the appropriate piece of luck Scottish heather, I think I can cautiously report that all the ills that have befallen this site in recent days have been resolved, or are just about to be.

The obvious one that everyone trying to access the site will be aware of was the loss of the hosting service – or as our provider put it “A bug in the cloud”.

If you’ve ever considered ditching local storage on your desktop or laptop, take this as a lesson in what happen when the cloud bursts!

I use the cloud in various ways, but in 2012 it’s just too new and not trustworthy. Anything personal and important still lives on storage inside my home, and I’m the only one with hands on – even it is backup up and stored elsewhere as well.

We’ve now passed 24 hours online with no significant hiccups, and the host has put a provisional ‘Fixed’ tag on the episode, provisional on seeing a further clean 24 hour period with no problems recurring.

Unseen problems

Unrelated to this issue with the host, we were also suffering some problems with out automated ‘Comment Spammer Killer’.

This has proven almost 100% effective in tests, and was being tidied last week, just as the host went down.

We were unaware that some edits to this script had left a hidden bug in another script which it modifies automatically, and this only came to light when we tried to edit some of the forum setting to make some new graphics formats available within posts.

This appeared to work ok on the first run, needing only some edits to the settings control file… but when we went in to edit these for the second time – ALL setting were lost and could not be restored.

The cause was assumed to be down to problems with the host (similar effects have arisen before) and we (and they) tried to resolve this separate issue, but with no success.

Both of us were more than a little puzzled as there did not appear to be any identifiable faults or errors in sight.

Fortunately (and by chance) I noticed that some of the work on the spam killer had led to some error messages being generated a few weeks ago, but were not relevant to the code being developed.

Equally fortunately, I keep these records and was able to work out that some characters in the files had been altered at this time. The changes did not impact the development at the time, but when we fired up the option to edit some of the forum settings, they would no longer save, and for good measure, confused things further by unsetting all setting that were already made.

Even more fortunately… once identified, this was very easy to fix, and to restore the full operation of the ‘Comment Spammer Killer’ routines.

Bar some dusting to clean things up fully – we should now just about be back to what passes for normal.


August 16, 2012 - Posted by | Site News | ,

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