Notifications of changes to the hosting environment, such as security upgrades will be provided under this category.

Mollom - The Bullet Proof Vest

I can remember the good old days when blog spammers were as bad or worse than email spammers. I've mananged to quelch the noise of my email spam through the Google's Email service. It's nice to hear myself think again when I open my inbox. Now I'm deluged mostly by stuff I ask for.

Protection from blog and web form spam has been another issue entirely. Things have come along, but they all have required my attention. I haven't been deleting thousands of comment spams a week on my blog for a long time, but the methods for protection were always a nasty necessity. I wanted my noble readers to be able to participate in the discussion immediately. Having to wait for me to wake up and realize that they have commented and then letting their comment through the net slowed thing downs in a fast world.

Churches and Drupal

Churches are increasingly turning to Drupal for their websites. Sometimes built by web guys who are related to the church, sometimes built by pastors who see the need and then sometimes built by people with experience dealing with Drupal. I'd be glad to share with you how Drupal can make your church website sing. A list of other churches and religious organizations using Drupal for their websites can be found here.

Since elementary school, I've had the opinion that you can tell a lot about a person by their shoes. I would watch shoes as I stood in the lunch line. Now I say you can tell a lot about a church by their website. I rejected this for awhile, but our latest church search simply confirmed it for me despite my desire not to believe it.

You may enjoy flipping through some and learning about the churches based on the information on the site, the quality of the writing, the quality of the design and the overall care taken in developing the site. Also, watch for who the audience of the website is. This will tell you a lot about who this church serves best. Some churches are better at discipleship and strengthening Christians. Others are stronger in evangelism and reaching outside their walls. Enjoy this casual study, should you choose to accept it!

Drupal 6.4 Security Upgrade

Last night, the Drupal project released version 6.4 of their software in response to a security hole that had been found. I have upgraded all websites maintained by me.

In the process, I also upgraded a couple modules FileField and Token both are now running the latest versions.

Website Demo: "Our Mission"

It can be hard to visualize potential. I've created this video demo as a way to show what a basic website looks like, including a brief look under the hood. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Website Demo: "Our Mission" from Josiah Ritchie on Vimeo.

Drupal 5 to 6 duplicate entry problem

I moved one of my last sites over here to my new hosting environment. This is probably my oldest. It's been around since some time in the Drupal 4 series, at least 3 years.

When I moved it here I upgraded it to Drupal 6 from 5.7. This created some problems that resulted in not being able to make comments as well as other issues that boiled down to minor problems with the database causing big problems.

Here is an example error message we received from the watchdog module. The comment module provided something similar.

user warning: Duplicate entry '0' for key 1 query: INSERT INTO watchdog (uid, type, message, variables, severity, link, location, referer, hostname, timestamp) VALUES (24, 'user', 'Session opened for %name.', 'a:1:{s:5:\"%name\";s:2:\"Ed\";}', 5, '', '', '', '', 1215526129) in /home/user/public_html/modules/dblog/dblog.module on line 144.

It turned out that these database tables simply didn't have auto_increment set. In Drupal 6, the developers changed the way they handle the incrementing of the record IDs. They are using the database feature to handle it now instead of doing it themselves in the code.

The resolution to this was a couple of simple SQL commands to turn on auto_increment where it was needed. Here they are.

alter table comments modify cid int(10) auto_increment;
alter table watchdog modify wid int(5) auto_increment;

Getting Started

So it appears that this contracting thing will be kicking off real soon. I enter the realm of IT contracting with confidence in my technical and support skills; however, I am a bit unsure of my business skills. I suppose this is how all new contractors feel.

As this is the path God has given, I'm confident that He will provide for and teach me along the way. May his wisdom go with each action taken in this endeavor.