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I use to back up MySQL by copying the directory that held the database files. This worked for over a decade, but now has issues. So, time to look into doing the duplication correctly. Turns out it isn't that hard. The command mysqldump can export all the databases to a text file, and that file is simply a set of queries to create the databases.

This command replaced my con job to make an archive of the database:

mysqldump -u {user} -p={password} --all-databases | bzip2 -c > /{path}/mysql.bz2

I also found a simple way to synchronize my console to the server over SSH:

ssh -C {user} mysqldump -u {user} --password={password} --all-databases | mysql -u {user} –password={password}

Put in a shell script, this is much easier than my old method of stopping the local server, deleting the old database data directory, decompressing the archive to the data directory, and restarting the server.

April 09, 2014

Updated King's Quest page go live



   After a lot of monotonous editing to reformat, and a rewrite to the comment scripts the King's Quest walkthrough updates are complete.  Although I considered verifying and updating some of the content on each page, I decided against it.  I have too many other projects that need attention.  It may not look like much on the surface, but the reformat took about 20 hours.

April 08, 2014

King's Quest work underway

   A long day, but the King's Quest I game walkthrough has been entirely ported to HTML5/CSS3.  Frames have been eliminated and replaced with PHP includes.  I still need to verify all the links, replace the comment system, and verify the site in a suit of browsers.  The grunt work is over, and it was long and dull.  I watched all the original Cosmos and knocked out a few episodes of the original Star Trek.

April 07, 2014

King's Quest work begins

   With the site up and running on new scripts, it is time to start the next part of the project.  The gallery scripts need attention, but before I start that I have decided to pay attention to my most popular site: the King's Quest I game walkthrough.  The site was created in 2003 and still gets around 5,000 visits a month.  My biggest problem with the site is that it uses frames—the only site I have ever designed to do so.  There are 140 pages all needing updating.  In addition to the updates, I would also like to revisit some of the content and verify it's validity.  So the next project begins...

April 06, 2014

New Article System Goes Live

   The new article system that has been in the works for a couple of months has now gone live.  Now some might think "But Que, it doesn't look any different?!"  This is mostly accurate as the fundamentals have not changed.  The biggest change is the addition of categories and series.  The pull-down "articles" contains a list of categories and I have created several.  Any article part of a series will have the series listed in the title bar.  Clicking on the series will list (and sort) the entire series so it can be viewed in order.
   The transition went fairly smooth, except for the old image gallery.  We still use this set of scripts.  Because the gallery is huge (43 gigabytes and 75,000+ files) we linked it rather than made a copy for testing.  This link causes the old include directory to be used for the gallery script.  Thus all the include files we had removed didn't effect the sandbox test version.  However when the new system went live and gallery didn't work.  I had to manually restore each of the include files.  An update to the gallery is planned so I am not too worried about it.  I will isolate the old script from the new system soon.
   For now everything looks like it is running.  All pages have changed to HTML5/CSS3.  The new article system should have all the old articles and old links should still work to reference them.
   I trimmed down the root of (less the gallery images) to 82.2 megabytes and around 2,200 files.  It was at 144 megabytes and over 4,000 files.  Everything I removed unused, left over from previous themes of the site.
Mississippian Sculpture

Mississippian Sculpture

   Updated all the computer pages today so they can go back on-line.  This means all the public areas of the site except for some old log files use HTML5/CSS3.  Also verified all the major themes used on the site to make sure they all rendered correctly.  With that done, it was time to start cleaning out the image directory.  This had become a dumping ground and most of the images were no longer used anywhere on the site. 
   Installed a new log analysis to look through the web site logs. I pretty much stopped doing this in 2010, and that may have been due to a hard drive crash on the server. Well, it looks like the King's Quest Walkthrough site is still our most popular site by a huge margin. I was hoping our Polynomial Regression project had been increasing in traffic. While it does get a fair number of visits, it has nowhere near the traffic of King's Quest.

   Added some more CSS to slim down the site. Now the image download sizes are no longer display under the picture—they only show up of the picture is hovered over. I feel this looks cleaner than always having the sizes on the screen.  When will the site be live?  Like I always tell my boss: soon.

April 02, 2014

PHP update

  I've grown rather fond of phpMyAdmin for testing MySQL queries. Since my machine at home is running a pre-configured LAMP system I had everything I needed. But the Micro-Dragon ('s server) didn't have this installed. Time to update PHP. This is always a slow process, but I've found if you are patient and find something else to do in parallel the configure/compile/test/install process isn't so bad.

  While the update to PHP worked, the update to Apache did not. I received complains about my config file. This doesn't surprise me since I have the same config file I started with in 2003. While modifications have been made, it is using the old format. So rather than a quick change, I will have to study up on the modern config files and how to port my setup.

25 m Radio Telescope

25 m Radio Telescope

   The updates to include a complete port to HTML 5 and the use of CSS 3.  It was time to verify my site still worked in various browsers.  Here are my results:
  • Firefox

    • 28.0 – Perfect (designed in this browser).

    • 3.6.10 (2010) – Some CSS doesn't show up. New JQuery doesn't work.

  • Opera

    • 12.16 – The style for the e-mail submit button has the wrong background color.

    • 10.61 (2010) – CSS doesn't render correctly.

  • Chrome

    • 22.0.1229.79 m – Flawless.

    • 6.0.472.53 (2010) - Flawless.

  • Safari

    • 3.1.2 – New JQuery doesn't work.

  • Internet Explorer

    • 11.0.9600 – Flawless.

    • 8.0.7600 – Does not render correctly, New JQuery doesn't work.

   Since many of the browsers didn't work with the new JQuery (version 2.0) I went and read the directions.  Version 2 is out, but only recommended for sites that have no old browsers.  So I switched to JQuery version 1.9, and that solved the JQuery problems.  I am fairly pleased with how well the site did under these browsers.  Looks like the industry is taking standardization seriously, which makes my job a lot easier.

2 comments have been made.

From Liz

April 02, 2014 at 9:19 AM

Ever think about playing with mobile optimization?

From Andrew Que (

Middleton, WI, USA

April 06, 2014 at 1:40 PM

Thought about it.