world : what are you upto?

May 30, 2007

Seems my postings, along with those of some others, are being sucked into this aggregation ( Presented as text-only with all embedded links and images missing. This renders my posts somewhat out of context, diluted and next to useless. I also find the claim to copyright somewhat incredible considering that all the content seems to be scrounged from elsewhere. I can’t quite see the purpose of this aggregator either for good or bad.

So if you happen to be reading this on domain, do yourself a favour, visit the real sites, in my case and get the full context and links.

Flex 2.0.1 Hotfix 2

May 26, 2007

Available from this Adobe Technote

install Bugzilla on a HyperVM VPS running LXAdmin

May 24, 2007

Following my quest to find a suitable VPS for my needs, it was time to get the newly released Bugzilla 3 installed and running. It did take me 3 or 4 attempts to get this right. As I’ve stated previously, I am no sysadmin, so my failures were probably simple inexperience. These are my notes to save myself some time should I need to do this again.

Note: What follows assumes a clean install of the VPS.

I had started with CentOS5. But I found that as soon as I hit the button to install LXAdmin, my VPS was rebuilt as CentOS4.4. In my first attempt and in the final stages of Bugzilla installation I felt I really needed the system to be using Apache rather than the default of lighttpd. I could not find any way of persuading LXAdmin to make this switch despite the control on the ‘server’ page of the admin user interface. I later found this support thread on the LXLabs forum, and I started again…

  1. Log-in to the HyperVM control panel
  2. Rebuild the OS
  3. Choose the centos-4-i386-afull template

We now need to get and run the LXAdmin SSE installer script (apache/bind) available from the LXLabs download centre. To do this I ssh’d into the the VPS shell as root…



Once the shell script has completed you have LXAdmin installed. You need to get yourself logged in as admin and change the password. I choose to do all my LXAdmin work through SSL:


If you run ‘top’ back in the shell, you should see about 8 httpd processes running and no sign of lighttpd.

While in LXAdmin, we should set up a plan. I have no intention of polluting my system with any FrontPage stuff, so my basic plan has FrontPage extensions disabled. Once that’s done you might as well set-up the domain you are going to serve Bugzilla through – and a MySQL database for it – noting down the database name and password – which you’ll need later. It is important that this domain does not have FontPage extensions, as they will stuff-up the .htaccess file. Before continuing, use the “Misc Config” button to “Enable Cgi In Documentroot”.

The next step is to get some system libraries installed. These can all be installed with yum. So back to the ssh session, the following are what I installed, along with any dependencies where asked…

yum install xorg-x11
yum install xorg-x11-devel
yum install expat-devel
yum install ImageMagick-*
yum install libdbi-*
yum install gd
yum install gd-devel

At some point we’ll need to edit some config files. I haven’t used vi or emacs since I really did work with a VT200 terminal, and they are now well and truly forgotten. A simplified alternative is nano, so…

yum install nano

With that lot in-place, we are ready to actually install Bugzilla. Change directory to your web files directory and download Bugzilla…

cd /home/httpd/your.domain/httpdocs/www/

Then use gunzip and tar to extract the files to your www folder. At this point if you are running a low memory VPS like mine (max 256MB) you might find it useful to stop Apache. (I had one of the modules fail to install because the installer ran out of memory, which I solved by stopping Apache.)

At this point follow the Bugzilla instructions for running:

./ –check-modules

followed by:

/usr/bin/perl -MCPAN -e ‘install **SOME_MODULE**’

Substituting **SOME_MODULE** in each case for a module listed in the report. In just-about every case, accepting the default when prompted did the job. However when GD is installed you are asked a series of questions with respect to image formats (png, jpeg etc). These are fine, but in the case of Animated GIF I found I needed to choose N, or the module would fail.

Note: Due to the low memory available to my VPS. I decided not to install or use MOD_PERL module (which I read requires 30Mb per httpd).

Next step is to establish the localconfig file as per the bugzilla configuration instructions

You should now run again, this time without the –check-modules switch.

Once localconfig has been created, you need to insert the mysql user and password details you established earlier. This is where nano comes in…

nano localconfig

Once you have saved the file, run yet again. This time it will connect to the database and insert the tables. It should also have sorted out the .htaccess file.

We need to check that the httpd conf files are ok. There are a couple of changes I neeeded to make…

nano /home/httpd/your.domain/conf/lxadmin.your.domain

There are two <VirtualHost> blocks in this file, one for http (port 80) the other for https (port 443). For both you need to check the <Directorary> block relating to the www folder. In my case, the only change I made was “Options +Includes +ExecCgi” became “Options +Indexes +ExecCgi” in both blocks. Save the file and exit nano.

We could at this point restart Apache. However, unless you have any intention in future of hosting a FrontPage site I would (and did) remove the line that loads the frontpage_module. To do this…

nano /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf

The last line in this file loads the unnecessary module, and it can be commented out by prefixing a #. Doing so will save us wasting about 10Mb of RAM.

So at this point we can restart apache…

apachectl start

Our current working directory should still be www. If we now…

./ http://your.domain/

All should be fine. If you get an error stating that localconfig is accessible, this is probably an issue with .htaccess. If you remove the .htaccess file, then re-run, a new .htaccess file will be generated. Re-test and you should be ok.

As stated above this post is really my aide-memoire. It is not a substitute for reading and understanding either your hosting documentation, or the Bugzilla guide. However I hope it is of some help.

hunting a vps

May 23, 2007

I’ve been a New Media developer (RIA developer in modern speak) for a fair few years. Despite a period of Web-Application development, I’ve so far managed to avoid any serious sysadmin. However I now have a number of different applications I’d like to run on-line (the likes of WordPress, Bugzilla, Drupal and others), and keep them live 24/7. None of them are high-traffic, and while I have machines at home that I could run them from, for the sake of the planet, my electricity bill, as well as the temperature, and noise in my flat, I didn’t want them running here 24/7. So the quest was on to find a VPS, and do so without breaking the bank.

Obviously Googling on VPS Hosting will return loads of potential providers. Following are my notes against those I gave further examination and my final choice.


I’ve been with Hostway for what seems like for-ever, both through my last ‘permanent’ employment, and my more recent years with my own company. My main site is hosted there via a windows shared hosting account. It is relatively in-expensive, and has served me well over the years. However it doesn’t allow me the flexibility I feel I now need. Their VPS solutions start at £39.95 / month, which is way too expensive for me. (The value of VPS with respect to my requirements is far less than that.)


I was quite interested in MediaTemple. A number of prominent respected bloggers are hosted by them, and they seem very much oriented to serving freelance designers and techies of my ilk. Their “Grid-Service” is a step up from a shared service – but not quite VPS. This service allows multiple domains and one-click install of loads of applications, and includes SVN pre-installed. They are US based, and at $20/month the current £:$ ratio makes the pricing pretty good – especially compared with my Hostway web-share. The fear-factor for me was the mysterious GPU measurement. I have read some bad press out there (although I think they’ve fixed most of the mysql issues that were the root of most complaints).

I suspected that my chances of getting Bugzilla to run in that environment, may be problematic. (It is not the most straight forward install in the world.) Admittedly I didn’t get around to asking them the question.

An alternative for which I’m sure I would have had no trouble installing Bugzilla is their “dedicated-virtual” at $50/month (20Gb disk 256Mb Ram, 1Tb bandwidth) seemed worth a look and good value compared with Hostway’s VPS. However I really wanted the server based in the UK if at all possible.


I had a look at WebFusion. Starting at £19.95/month for “VPS value” seemed worth investigating. I’m generally happy with 123-reg (part of the same group). However I’ve had a bad experience with WebFusion in the distant past. Since they were bought out by Pipex I thought they’d be worth a fresh look. A cursory glance shows that pre-installed software is quite old – PHP4, MySQL 3.23.58. A quick google-around revealed a couple of complaints of poor support, and an unresponsive VPS over a prolonged period of time. These complaints made me somewhat less interested.


Following a thread in the WAUK mailing list, a colleague made a valued recommendation for ByteMark.

You essentially start with a 150MB (RAM) machine, 10GB disk, 50GB traffic at £15/month but can grow it if you need to. The machines are in the UK (helps with things like data protection).

This is for a plain VPS. I’m not a sysadmin (nor do I wish to be one), and while I can cope with Apache config, I’d be a complete newbie as regards DNS and email etc, so thought I’d really need/benefit from a control panel. The only black mark against using ByteMark for this is that I’d need help finding and installing such a control panel.


I chanced upon CheapVPS. Normally a name like that would deter me immediately. But I thought it worth a punt, with the pricing for an entry level Linux plan:

128Mb ram
5Gb disc
150Gb band
£4.75 / month

The server is in the UK. It is implemented with HyperVM which allows you to install the LXAdmin control panel which itself includes an application installer for a load of stuff including WordPress 2.1, Drupal 5.1 etc.

After playing around with it for a few days, I got a couple of plain sites, a test WordPress site and Bugzilla running. I am pretty happy with progress so far. I’ll follow up later with a post on installing Bugzilla into this system, as it did take me 3 attempts to get it right.

new domain :

May 21, 2007

If you came here via you should have been redirected to which is the new and permanent domain for this blog. This is the first step in what will be a migration away from’s free hosting to a separate server where I’ll have greater control. Feed users may like to update their book-marks to the new feed address.

initial gripes with new Flash CS3 ui

May 9, 2007

I know – I’m turning into Victor Meldrew. I can’t seem to help it. Should Adobe sort out the current licensing and pricing nightmare I’m going through, I’m sure I will become more chilled.

While others have been hung up on the new icons, personally I have no issue with them. They remind me of Rowntrees Tooty Frooties – which is not a bad thing! My issues (admittedly minor) are with some of the work on the new user interface.

I can appreciate the general investment in improving the UI. However I find some of the additions odd, and on my system some seem poorly implemented?

1. Introduction of Windows style controls on the Mac.

Most of the palettes introduce a collapse control (-) and close control (x) in the top right-hand corner. Mac convention is for the close control to be top left control and in both cases I think aqua controls and positioning would have been better – more consistent with other (non Adobe) applications.

I also find it strange that most palettes introduce this new arrangement, but other ‘windows’ retain the standard Mac behaviour (e.g. document windows and the control window). Mixing it up in this way just feels odd.

debug palettecontroller palette

2. Palette drag

When dragging a palette, it will go semi-transparent. Potentially useful – being able to see what will be covered up before dropping the palette into position. This is also part of the softening of the UI and should enrich the user experience. But on my system, when the mouse is released, the palette disappears briefly before being re-drawn opaque. This ‘flicker’ when a palette is released is plain ugly and detracts hugely from the user-experience. Until it is fixed I would have rather not bother with semi-transparent efforts.

I guess this might be an issue with my system being quite old? (Mac G4 Dual 1GHz Mirror).

3. Welcome panel links to the Adobe site are not working as intended

I think this is just an issue of the Adobe site not having been updated to service the links. You’ll find that from the Flash Welcome window, clicking on either “Getting started ››” or “New features ››” simply dumps the user at the flash product page. The problem seems to be server-side. The pages which flash attempts to take you to, simply re-direct back to the product page.

We fare slightly better with “Resources ››”. However most of the content on that page is written for FlashMX 2004 or Flash 8. I think by now there should be some CS3 articles on there.

Hopefully that’s the end of today’s grumpiness. Although I just read the SaveAs Gotcha written up by Aral. 😦

worth a view…

May 8, 2007

Video of Christian Cantrell demonstrating an Amazon S3 (which I didn’t know existed) library and client application in Apollo using the soon to exist Apollo Beta.

Not sure what he’s been drinking (cup of pink stuff) but even with the empties, his desk is far tidier than mine.