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Who’s best for WordPress hosting GoDaddy Vs Bluehost

Well – I’d finally had enough of GoDaddy’s incessant time outs which they’d attributed to common run of the mill plugins like JetPack and others.

I’d installed their recommended caching plugins to try and improve page load times and even installed their own proprietary P3 profiler plugin to measure my blog stats but it didn’t tell me anything I already knew, that my tiny wordpress blog was responding like a fly stuck in a jar of honey. Granted I’m on a shared plan and I take it as a given that the page load times won’t be instant on a shared host – but page time out’s and ultra slow load times I will not stand for.

So it was time to up sticks and move to another provider.

My main criteria for moving was that the host have great performance and support for WordPress.

There’s a ton of conflicting advice on the internet about the best WordPress host – believe me, I’ve researched this for a long time so I decided to go with the advice from the horses mouth – WordPress itself, and Bluehost it was. Look they’re right up the top, like the gold winning champ they are and it’s been a huge improvement – the time outs and slow page opening times have been eliminated, even though I’m still using Jetpack, – isn’t that strange GoDaddy?

I’ve also found out the reason GoDaddy’s shared hosting can’t cut the cheese – they don’t throttle down “abusive” users like Bluehost do with their shared hosting users.

My advice – go with Bluehost for your WordPress blog, it’ll save the hair pulling and back pain of transferring your blog from GoDaddy when you realise they’re not up to the task. It was a great learning experience, but not something I’d recommend if you don’t have a technical background.

Bluehost

WiDi and Android (Miracast) wireless streaming in one device

I’m a big fan of WiDi.

If you don’t know what that is check out my previous posts here and here

Wirelessly streaming your laptop screen (or desktop screen for that matter) to your TV – amazing you say? Well now it get’s even better…

Netgear have updated their PTV3000 device firmware to also support some Android devices via Miracast. Now you can display your laptop and Android screens wirelessly on your big screen, with one device!

Kudos to Netgear by adding value to their PTV3000.

If the inclusion of Android wireless support has made you decide to pull the trigger on the PTV3000  – just make sure whatever Android device you’re using is supported by the PTV3000. Netgear seems to have gone through a couple of firmware revisions already so I’m sure the supported device list will increase as time goes. If your device isn’t on the list check back to the support page every couple of weeks.


PTV3000

JetPack disappears after installing version 1.9.2

I has some problems updating to the latest version of Jetpack today – version 1.9.2. Normally the automatic install from within the Dashboard carries off without a hitch but today I had to dig into my GoDaddy FTP host storage to resurrect my Jetpack statistics.

I started off the automatic install but at the point where the new Jetpack files are downloaded and unzipped the installation looks like it goes nowhere.

I attempted to kick off the install again and left it over night to see if that would jump start Jetpack but when I checked my Dashboard this morning I found the admin GUI and all my stats had been erased from the Dashboard like it had never been installed – not good.

So I decided to launch my GoDaddy Account Admin FTP Manager – that wasn’t playing ball either, returning a spinning circle when attempting to read the wp-admin wp-includes and wp-content folders.

Time to break out the big guns – luckily I’d already installed Filezilla and knew the in’s and outs of connecting to GoDaddy’s FTP, what I found when I connected to my shared FTP was a jetpack.tmp folder located within wp-contentupgrade. I was wary of deleting this folder but there were no config files lower down in any of this folders sub-folders so I guessed the update process aborted itself for whatever reason and went ahead deleting jetpack.tmp

All Jetpack stats are stored at wordpress.org so after another Jetpack 1.9.2 automatic install from the Dashboard, I got them all back – job well done.

Nifty Minidrive

Here’s a smart little device you can use to backup your files in OSX without having to revert to buying an external HD or a “Time capsule”

I’s not going to back up all your files but if you only have a small subset of files you think are really important 64GB may be fine for what you need.

Saves carrying around those extra external drives, if you need to do a restore.

Cross OS keyboard sharing with Synergy

I’ve tested Synergy at work for some time now but the current release is the only one I’ve found to be stable enough to recommend which is why I’m posting a blog update now.

What does Synergy do?

Quite simply it shares one mouse and one keyboard so they can be used across up to three computers simultaneously.

Say you have a PC, Mac and Linux computer sitting side by side, Synergy will allow you to control all of these using a single mouse and keyboard.

Synergy also allows you to copy clipboard text from one computer to the other. Very useful for those times you have a website url open on one computer and need to open the same on another.

Copying and pasting of files isn’t possible yet – but you never know what the future may bring.

I’ve tested Synergy on Windows 7 and OSX 10.6 using the following 1.4.10 Beta releases:

Windows7

OSX 10.6

I use my PC as the Synergy server (the keyboard and mouse I want to use is attached to this computer) and the Mac as Synergy client (the computer I want to control with the server keyboard and mouse).

Of course it’s possible to swap so it’s the other way around but this is the way I have it configured at the moment so I’ve written my config instructions to reflect that. If you manage to configure your PC/Mac in the setup I’ve outlined you should have no problem getting Synergy re-configured the way you prefer further down the road.

Ok so once you get Synergy installed on your PC you’ll get a dialog box similar to the below:

Synergy PC Server Setup

Choose the “Server (new setup)” radio button then click on “Finish”

You’ll then see the main Synergy admin window:

Synergy PC (Server) Config

At which point you’ll click on the “Configure Server” button to get access to the “Server Configuration” window:

PC (Server) Config 2

Drag the monitor icon to the relevant space the Mac occupies on your desk then double-click on it to add a screen name and alias for the Mac (the Synergy client) using your current Mac host name. I’ve given an example from my configuration below.

For “Screen name”: MyMac

For “Aliases”: MyMac.local

Once you’ve populated both fields, click on “Add” first then “OK” to save your changes.

PC (Server) Config

Once changes are saved and you’re back at the Synergy admin dialog click on the “Start” button to start the Synergy server service making it ready to accept a connection from the Mac (client).

If you want the Synergy server service to start each time you restart your PC (I know I do) select “Edit – Settings” in the Synergy admin dialog and enable both “Start Synergy after logging in” and “Automatically start server/client” followed by “OK” and “Apply” back in the Synergy admin window.

Synergy-PC-Auto-Start

Now swap to your Mac and install Synergy on that. Immediately after installing you’ll see a “Setup Synergy” dialog like the one you got on your PC.

Mac (Client) Setup

Select “Client (Add to Setup)” in that dialog box and click on the “Done” button. You’ll then see the Macs Synergy admin dialog:

At which point you need to add the name of your PC (the Synergy Server) – Mine is called “MyPC” then I clicked on the “Start” button to initiate the Mac client connection.

If you’ve successfully configured Synergy you should now be able to move the mouse between your PC and Mac screens seamlessly. You should also be able to copy and paste text between both computers.

Don’t forget to drag the Synergy icon into your dock on your Mac to make it easily accessible.

Press the CTRL button on your keyboard and mouse click on the Synergy icon then enable “Keep in Dock” and “Open at Login” to make sure the Synergy client auto starts once you next login to your Mac.

Synergy Auto Launch

Hope you have some success with it – and don’t forget to donate if you’d like to support Synergy.

* Update – I indicated above that you should be able to swap your Synergy client/server configuration so that the Mac is the Server and PC is the client but I’ve since found out that this is not possible (at least not on the OS version’s I’ve tried above). So you’ll need to try Synergy on a newer version of OSX or swap your Mac keyboard and mouse to your PC if you prefer using them to your PC’s keyboard and mouse.

Skydrive – A great way to sync your files across all devices

I’ve had a hotmail account since the service first came out in 1996 – it was the “fashionable” web mail client to use until G-Mail landed at which point my hotmail account started gathering internet dust bunnies.

I’ve now found a reason to go back though thanks to SkyDrive – Hotmail’s Cloud service.

SkyDrive has seen many iteration’s and re-incarnations with names such as Live Mesh, Live Sync etc but this version seems to do exactly what it says on the tin. For a free service (with 7GB of cloud storage) the performance is great (compared to how it used to be under the Live Sync name) and it’s compatible with iPhone and iPad via a free app, so you can sync your files across Win7, OSX, iOS and  WP7.

There’s no official Microsoft app for Android yet but there is a 3rd party Browser for Skydrive app available for the Android platform.

I’ve had no problems with the service at work either. Our proxy server hasn’t interrupted the service or prevented me accessing my Skydrive files at any time during the past month I’ve had the application installed on my Win7 PC so it’s a thumbs up all round.

Try it out

Latest posts will not appear on my WordPress blog

I had some problems with my WordPress blog not displaying new posts unless I was logged in as an admin.

Fine for me but a major problem for readers of my blog – since they all can’t be logged in as admin’s 😉

I found the problem started once I updated to WordPress 3.4.0.

If you use WP Super Cache 1.1 try de-activating it as the new posts showed up straight after.

Don’t get me wrong – I love  WP Super Cache as it vastly improved my blogs performance (hosted with GoDaddy) by eliminating a lots of page time-out errors a few months ago (I’m on a shared plan and performance isn’t a priority for me yet).

I’m not going to say the above is specifically an incompatibility between WordPress 3.4 and WP Super Cache 1.1 as I don’t have a very common hosting configuration (so another factor could be involved) but for me – that’s what worked.

If it works for you please get in touch with Donncha the plugin developer.

I’m going to leave WP Super Cache disabled for now as I’m not seeing as many page time out problems with GoDaddy as I did a couple of months ago but I’ll certainly be looking at WP Super Cache 1.2 when it gets released.

PC will not appear in my SCCM OS deployment collection

Here’s one we were having problems with a couple of months ago:

My colleague after registering two PC’s in “Operating System Deployment – Computer Association” and making them members of our “OS Pre-Staged Computers for Deployment” collection found there was absolutely no trace of either PC in the “OS Pre-Staged Computers for Deployment” collection when it came time to assign these PC’s to their required OU and role in order to kick off deployment.

It was a very odd situation as the PC’s had been purged from SCCM and AD before being re-registered for a bare-metal build scenario.

After going back and registering the PC tags and corresponding MAC details in “Computer Association”  I couldn’t find any trace of either PC in the OS Deployment collection even after “Updating Collection Membership” and refreshing the collection. Note re-registering PC details if it doesn’t register in your OS Deployment collection the first time probably isn’t that great an idea (duplicate entries in your SCCM database records) – but I was running out of options at that stage myself.

A double-check of the PC tag and the MAC address the PC was returning from a paused F12 PXE boot confirmed he used the correct details for the machines in question and I knew the PC’s had been removed from AD and SCCM but just for a hoot I double checked and found nothing. The PC’s could boot into F12 fine and pick up a valid IP address so this had me stumped.

After spending quite a bit of time trying to figure out why the PC tag was not registering in SCCM – I decided to perform an nslookup of the PC tag we were trying to associate in SCCM. It was at that point I noticed the IP address returned by nslookup was different to the ones assigned by PXE/DHCP boot for both PC’s, my conclusion was that DNS had not been doing it’s job properly purging old DNS registrations.

I asked our Security team to purge any old records of DNS registrations that matched the ones we were trying to build and about an hour later after re-registering the PC’s in the Computer Association node they finally appeared in our OS deployment collection and I was able to assign the PC to the correct OU and role.

Extract text from print so you can work with it on your PC – requires Office and scanner

1. Scan your page as pdf then save to your desktop.

2. Drag the pdf/jpg into OneNote which is an Office program

OneNote

3. After dragging the jpg/pdf into One Note select “Insert the file as printout so I can add notes to it” in the following dialog box and click on “OK”

4. From there click on the pdf/file to highlight it then right click and select “Copy text from Picture” (for jpgs) or “Copy text from this page of the printout”/”Copy text from all the pages of the printout” (for pdfs)

You should then be able to paste the copied text into any application you require.

It’s not 100% accurate but if the text on the page is type print, legible and a paper copy is all you have the above will eliminate having to re-type pages of text.

Problem with Direct Access and Vodafone 3G/HSDPA – Update. SEP is the problem

I found the source of our Direct Access problems back in May during a lull period at work. Sorry for not updating then guys…

Here’s a link to my previous Direct Access post

I had a suspicion our anti-virus may have been causing our Direct Access problem so I went ahead and removed Symantec Endpoint Protection using CleanWipe which you can find here

I’m not that big a fan of Symantec as we had problems with our previous generation of PC’s – we suspected it was causing random out of the blue power downs of some PC’s while users were working. We could never prove it though as no event viewer logs were recorded just before the PC’s powered down unexpectedly. Luckily we’ve not had any problems of this type on our current generation of PC’s – they do have a new version of SEP installed though! In hindsight I should have tried removing SEP to test with Direct Access sooner in light of my previous experience with Symantec.

Anyway – Back to Direct Access. Once SEP was uninstalled with MS Security Essentials replacing it – Direct Access started behaving as it should on our laptops over a HSDPA/3G connection, and I didn’t have to run the “netsh interface 6to4 set state disabled” command  indicated in my previous post anymore.

I then decided to do  some more digging on the subject once I realised SEP was causing the problem and found this little nugget from a Symantec forum post.

So if you’re thinking about deploying Direct Access and have SEP deployed you have three choices:

1. Wait for the SEP update to come out in August 2012.

2. Uninstall SEP and replace with an antivirus that works with Direct Access (might be workable if you’ve only a small group of users that need to use Direct Access) i.e. replace AV for that group and leave the others with SEP.

3. Create a batch file that will run the “netsh interface 6to4 set state disabled” on start up on each laptop.

Hope this helps guys