Wickerman Festival

wickermanJust back from the Wickerman Festival, a sort of laid back early Glastonbury, less commercial sort of affair. There were no real big names playing unless you count the Fun Lovin’ Criminals (who we missed) and the Proclaimers (who sadly we didn’t miss) and the Orb. The highlights for me were the Peat Bog Faeries who were excellent on the main stage and a few good bands who’s names I forget in other tents, especially the acoustic tent. The festival is loosely based around the Wickerman film which is shown on a small outdoor cinema each night and culminates with the burning of a giant Wickerman.

wickerman2At my age there’s not many places I’d feel comfortable dancing to ‘rave’ music but at this festival it seemed natural and I had a great time dancing with my wife and daughter. Perhaps it’s because your virtually outdoors all the time that makes people less inhibited, or maybe it’s because everyone else is doing the same sort of thing. There were inevitably some characters who went out of their way to give others a good time, I particularly liked the dark Spider Man especially when he was being hoisted aloft the crowd at the main stage. There were also a couple of guys who provided a few photo opportunities dressed as Frank-n-Furter from the Rocky Horror Show, I don’t know how they managed the soft grassy field in those heels.

On the Saturday night we hung around the top of the hill so we could see the Wickerman, we were quite a way from the main stage but unfortunately we could still hear the Proclaimers, fair go to them for building a career on one hit song but I really can’t stand them. At around 23:40 my daughter and I went to the toilet…bad idea, by the time we got out it was wall to wall people gathered to see the Wickerman go up in flames, it was just luck that we managed to bump into my wife again. wickerman3The show started with fire juggling with giant poi which was pretty impressive but I had to laugh when two cyclists on burning bikes cycled round the Wickerman in opposite directions, what mad genius came up with that idea? I did notice they got off the bike pretty sharpish after riding round the front of the Wickerman. Then the Wickerman itself went up slowly at first then into a giant running man shaped inferno.wickerman4 What is it with people an fire, we all seem to be totally fascinated by it and any show involving fire draws a crowd. It was all over pretty quickly though and the night was rounded off by watching some poi jugglers practising and listening to the Axis sound system from London. I think I’ll be back next year.

Using Ubuntu Linux on a Corporate LAN

Like so many people I have to use Windows at work because that’s what we’re supplied with and our IT support refuse to support anything other than Windows and MS Office. But like many other people I find Windows a real pain at times and I’d really like to use Ubuntu…but how? Well the answer was even simpler that I could imagine. The first stage was to create a dual boot system. It was important to defragment the HDD before going any further as I have read of many problems encountered by not doing this. Then simply boot from the Ubuntu (Feisty 7.04) live CD and hit Install. The process is fairly straightforward, the only complicated part being the creation of the partition for Ubuntu to reside on. That done you can re-boot and choose to boot to Ubuntu . So far so good. Now, how about my email (MS Outlook), calender and contacts? At first I wanted to use Thunderbird as this is my email client of choice, but it doesn’t interface with MS Exchange server. The solution was staring me in the face, Ubuntu installs Evolution as the default email client and amazingly it can interface with MS Exchange server using the Outlook Web Access (OWA), which is usually something like https://mail.yourcompany.com. Evolution is very easy to set up and if you choose MS Exchange Server then you’ll need to input your OWA URL. The last thing to set up with Evolution is your MS Outlook Global Address list (if you use it). To find the address for this list (from Windows) open your Address book in MS Outlook, right click on global address list and click properties, this should give you the server address for the list. You can then set this up in Evolution by going: Edit>Preferences>Mail Accounts then click on your mail account and click edit, under receiving options there’s text box for you to add the URL of your global address list. Job done, you should now be up and running on your corporate LAN with access to your Email, Contacts and Calender. There’s lot’s more functionality you can add like accessing shared folders on servers etc. but most are fairly obvious.

My WordPress was very screwed up

Over the last few weeks I’ve been struggling with a series of problems with my WP installations. I have this one on the root of my site and another in a sub directory. This one was WP 2.1 and when I installed the one in the sub directory it was WP 2.2. Not long after I started getting weird errors, the most obvious was the Dashboard was all messed up in both installations and displayed the index page of this blog in pieces all over the place making the Dashboard unusable. After repeated emails to my host they could not come up with a solution. Eventually after trying just about everything I could think of I deleted both installations and the databases and rebuilt each from scratch adding data to the databases table by table. This did not work. I then deleted this installation and replaced it with WP 2.1.3 this seemed to fix some of the problems but gave me some problems with my previous posts, so this wasn’t a complete solution.

After trawling the WP support forums for the various problems I was facing I came across the explanation that the problem seemed to lay with Ajax in the admin interface. Then I found this explanation which didn’t actually work for me but it was further confirmation that the problem was Ajax related. Digging deeper in the support forums I found another solution posted by macbrink who suggested the problem was that some servers blocked the headers in update Ajax scripts. The solution was to add an .htaccess file to the wp-admin folder with the following code

<IfModule mod_security.c>
SecFilterInheritance Off

I must admit I don’t fully understand the solution but all I can say is that it fixed all the problems I was experiencing in one fell swoop.