Wordcamp New Zealand – Scaling Servers

On the 22nd of April, I (Liz) was lucky enough to be able to speak on scaling WordPress and servers at the New Zealand WordCamp.

The people there were great, and i ended up meeting and talking to many fascinating people about all sorts of code, servers, set ups among other things.
I was a little nervous that i only had 30 minutes to fit in a lot of information, and i had to dumb it down a fair bit for those with less technical knowledge to make it understandable.

I did manage to fit the talk in with no problems at all, it only took 45 mins, plus question time! Nobody seemed to notice the missing 15 minutes from their clocks luckily, and everyone appeared to understand and have great questions about how it worked.

Because scaling is really specific, the hardest part i came up against was really trying to describe something, and explain something, in a way that was non-specific. Anyone who knows servers, knows that there is no one solution to suit everyone. How ever there are a few common areas you can usually look into.

For WordPress one of the bet things you can do is deactivate and DELETE any unused plugins or themes. Get a developer to check them, a broken one can take down your entire server easily! Not deleting them leaves a potential security hole should that plugin be discontinued, those files are still accessible via the web remember!

A few things identified were setting up things like a Cache (or Cache Plugin), enabling the wordpress object cache in wp-config, and moving as many things offsite as possible.
By moving things offsite, i mean things like video content, photos, music etc.
Why spend hours of your time setting up a shockwave/html5 video player, converters, and using disk space to play video when you can just use youtube? This is what they do for a living, they have extensive programmers who specialize in this, so it stands to reason they are very good at it, and it will save you a lot of money and time.

The same method works for Photography, Music, or any other large files if you can do it. It will save you a lot of pain and money later on down the track.

Another key thing for scaling a single server larger is setting up HyperDB, then having 2 separate databases on other servers. This offloads database offsite, but without the difficulty of having to setup MySQL replication.

If you are using WordPress and want to know more, check here for your nearest WordCamp http://central.wordcamp.org/

Sexism, TechWebCast and Brad Chasenore

Anyone who knows me, knows that i’m most definitely not a hugely vocal feminist , i’m usually the first person to say some feminists go over the top. However, when i see it blatantly, i usually will call it, and not tolerate it.

One thing that does make my blood boil, is people who cross over female pornography or near naked pictures, with Tech. These things are NOT related. Females in Tech do not generally just rip off their clothes and pose with half a can of paint on their face.

Sure, some females in technology do this, but most do not. I also play ukulele, im not seeing anyone posting ukuleles on their I.T. blogs or feeds? Just because somebody may model or do other things as well as I.T., does not make it related to I.T.

The worst part about this crappy idealism in I.T., is that men somehow start expecting that females in I.T. ARE these sorts of people. It’s embarrassing and awkward when a guy hears you work in I.T. and asks for a picture.

So yesterday, i was a bit ‘WTF’ when i saw a picture of a near naked women go past in my google+ stream. Now, I have nothing against pornography, nor near naked females, models, or anything of the sort at all. I just have a problem when its posted by what is supposedly a Technology related page. In this case, it was  TechWebCast

I took a breath and carefully worded a question and my objection to the image in question, only to be laughed at and have it trivialized by the guy that runs it Brad Chasenore . After i commented a second time, to explain that it was seriously objectionable, he removed the post.

Original Post:  

I was rather annoyed at the treatment, but did not want to make a huge deal of it at the time, so i private messaged him asking why it was posted in the first place. I am always a believer in educating people rather than screaming at them, i figured perhaps he just did not realize how important this is to people?

In that conversation i felt that, again, he did not seem to really care, and seemed to try and imply somebody else posted it, but did not reply when i asked who. I went to his profile and found he had posted several other similar images of the same and another women at the same time from his own profile.

At this point i was still a little peeved off, but i can live with that, i was going to let things lie, i had mentioned something in passing to a friend Randi who also is female in Tech that i was a bit miffed . At this point in time, i was happy to let things lie, block him and forget about it all, accepting that he’s just a another idiot who does not get it. I had hoped for an apology, but had accepted that was not going to happen.

Private Conversation:

Randi made a small post about it which said

“So after all the controversy about geekli.st, they got a ton of signups. I guess +Brad Chasenore is trying to do the same thing with +Techwebcast … but in a far less interesting way. Learn some unique marketing techniques, buddy.”

At this point , he +1’d that, reshared it, and asked what that meant and what it was about, Several people commented asking about it. Randi mentioned to me this had happened, so i checked it out. I posted a link to a screenshot i had taken, because people were asking what it was about.

This was when Brad pitched in and must have decided to go all out and say ‘If you dont like what i post dont look’.

Brads Post  

For me, that was the tipping point. It’s one thing to make a mistake, its another to be deliberately offensive and sexist, especially when you represent a Tech Podcast and have a larger Technical audience than average.

So i post this, in the hope that others will see the stupidity that most women in technology area have to deal with , and would prefer not too.

Another related post by Brad  

And he shared my post (and deleted it)

Turning your Cell Phone into an Access Point

So i got an iPod Touch 32Gb the other day. I got sick of waiting for  a 64GB model.

I had the choice of iPhone which is 16GB (found the Cricket iPhone APN settings already) and nowhere near big enough, or iPod Touch which is big enough but has no GPS or Phone. Other than the wireless it has no way of accessing internet if im in the middle of nowhere. I figure i had a perfectly good phone (Nokia E65, all the features, but none of the size!).

So last night i was thinking, my cellphone has WIFI …. if i can turn my Cellphone into an ad-hoc access point then I can route the iPod Touch through it … so i promptly went hunting about on the net and stumbled across joiku.

So i grabbed the free version to test it, and low and behold it works brilliantly. Then i setup the iPod to use it and it fails … turns out it has a Proxy and needs to proxy things.

So I looked about online and found that to setup the proxy on the Ipod Touch I had to click on Settings -> Wifi -> Connection Name (the blue arrow) -> scroll down to proxy and make it ‘Auto’

Then in the box below this put in – for some reason it doesnt pick this up.

So i tried manual. That doesnt work either. So now im at the frustration point. I wasnt going to pay for the good version if I couldnt even get the light version. Why did i need a proxy in the first place? that seems a pretty silly way to go about doing things. After a couple of days messing about with this I decided there must be a better option, If there wasnt I would have to write my own.

I googled about for a better solution, and found http://walkinghotspot.com/

Paid the $25USD, it sent me a URL and emailed me a pin number to use so i could download it. I went to the URL (which was just http://walkinghotspot.com/s60 ) and i was able to download without using my reg code. Needless to say this frustrated me somewhat having paid for it and any old person could download it.

So i sat down and installed it on the phone, got a tad confused with the strange setup it has, but worked it out eventually. After many hours i kept getting “connection error #2 please check network settings”. So i kept going over and over every single setting i had for both phone and connections.

Another day of frustration goes by (ok i have a day job so i cant spare more than a couple hours on things like this). So at Lunch I gave the installer to husband (hey it didnt ask for a pin number yet!), and he installed it. He also has an E65 phone (yeah yeah we are both geeks), and fairly good technical knowledge.

He starts it up, and away it goes … and it connects!! … and then asks for registration code , which we didnt have at that time  (we were in the middle of the shopping area).

So i figured if it worked on his phone, and not mine, i must have some setting wrong. So i sat down this evening with both phones side by side going through every single setting. They were all identical. grrr! I was about to fully reset my phone at this point, but I had to go out and take my youngest son to the school dance.

The oldest was texting me asking for money so i text the bank seeing what my balence was (I still had to go shopping yet). Bugger, i got the ‘you have no credit’. I was on my way shopping anyway, so i grabbed more credit ….. and then of course it hit me! DUH! it didnt work because i had no friggen credit! im such a fool!

So i promptly went home,  and tried again, same error … I got this 2 more times, then moves the phone to a different angle and tried again … it promptly logged in!

I then registered with the key they gave me, and now my ipod Touch is able to access internet using the Cell Phone as an access point.

So my main issues would be that Joiku is garbage and makes you use some proxy, I need to make sure i put money on my phone (i get free calling to family, and dont really use it otherwise so i forget), and that I live in the edge of a small town with no decent coverage 🙂