jmiller's blog

My first multi-site Drupal upgrade

Well, you're looking at the latest version of Drupal 5 (5.7 as of this posting). I just completed my first multi-site upgrade of the Drupal codebase. I upgraded three sites simultaneously.

Overall, it went pretty well. I did run across one issue, though. When I reactivated the PEAR Wiki filter module, my wikitext processing was not working. After a lot of digging and trial-and-error debugging, I tried re-saving the settings (without any changes) on the filter's configuration page. As is often the case with Drupal, I had to hunt for the proper page first. The path ended up being something like...

/admin/settings/filters/[filter id # goes here]/configure

Today, for some reason, the tabs that are normally visible on the filter configuration page were "invisible." They were still clickable, but you couldn't see them. If you happened to mouse over them, the links were still there. Weird!

In retrospect, I should have done better backups, specifically my .htaccess and php.ini files from the root of the Drupal installation.

Here's a tip: I used Internet Explorer to save my Modules configuration page for each site as a web archive file. This way, when I reactivated the site, I could see which modules needed re-enabled.

I'm very happy with the overall capabilities, structure, and organization of Drupal. I'd go as far as to say the I'm a big fan, and I have recommended Drupal to others for several projects. I haven't tried Drupal 6 yet (I'm a little nervous about upgrading all of my modules), but I expect good things in the future.

Email posting is finally configured

I've been trying to set up the mailhandler module for Drupal.  I think it's finally working.  Yay!

Central Ohio Day of .NET 2008

I just registered. See the link below for more details.

Central Ohio Day of .NET

Experts Exchange yanked free content--I yanked my good will

Experts Exchange used to be a great source of free information. Invariably, I would search on Google for an answer to a question, and results from Experts' site would be returned. Well, at some point, they started hiding the answers to the questions behind a premium membership. So, unless you want to pay to see the answer (I didn't even bother checking out how much), the best you can hope for is a 7-day trial membership.

UPDATE: I looked at their prices, and they want $100 per year! No thanks. I'll Google a little bit longer and keep my money.

Bottom line: I used to be excited about Experts Exchange hits it my Google search. Now they're just noise that I wish I could filter out.

I know that not everything can be free in this world, but when you start out with free content and then yank it away, it can leave some ill will.

Sometimes businesses have to be smart about what customers they choose to serve. Best Buy was reported to have tried dumping the bottom 20% of its customers by eliminating certain cheap (read: "low margin") items and discount policies. Their reasoning was sound because they had a lot of lousy, abusive customers that cheated their way into rebates and bogus returns.

I understand the need to be selective, but if you throw up barriers immediately (like Experts has), you will definitely lose some potential consumers. Those consumers might never have paid anyway, but if you're going to yank away access to free content (user-contributed, no less!), be prepared for negative feedback.

CodeMash 2008 presentation

Well, it's over. I gave my presentation at the AWH annual kickoff meeting. It went reasonably well (I think). Of the limited feedback I received, it was mostly positive. I'll take what I can get. :-)

Here are the slides for the presentation: <a href='/files/CodeMash2008.ppt' target='_blank'>CodeMash2008.ppt

I tried to mix in some humor, so as you read the slides you may find references to subjects that are not familiar to everyone (like "Radar" from M.A.S.H.). Hopefully the jokes are clear.

CodeMash 2008 post-conference presentation

My company (AWH) graciously paid for me to attend CodeMash 2008 held January 9th-11th at the Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, Ohio. One of the "conditions" of the trip is that I must present something I learned at the upcoming annual kickoff meeting. As I am an introvert by nature, this represents a big opportunity to get out of my comfort zone.

CodeMash was mostly exciting, so I should have something to talk about. The trick is how to be insightful and informative in a short amount of time without boring the audience.

I'm considering using this site as a place to post the presentation materials I develop. AWH also has a company blog/forum ( that I'll probably post info to as well.

Look for it soon.

Kalahari water park


The Christmas Box

Her present


Outlook Life Hacks Gone Bad

Well, I tried to make Microsoft Outlook work for me, but it's giving me fits. On two separate occasions, I've received email from frustrated coworkers complaining that they are receiving unwanted or reminders.

Please let me know when I have important email!

The first thing I tried to do was set up a rule to automatically forward email from my company to my cell phone so I would know to check my account. Well, Outlook (or maybe Exchange) automatically notifies the meeting organizer when someone forwards a meeting request to someone else (or in this case, my phone?!). Every time someone sent me an invitation to a meeting, Exchange was, unbeknownst to me, tattling on me and displaying the private nickname for my cell phone's email address. Eventually, my manager complained to me about the messages. And for some reason, he didn't think my suggestion to "just delete them" was funny. So now, I can't be automatically notified when I receive mail.

Or so I thought!

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