Anybody Need Toner or a Copier? And Some Personal Notes…

First off, happy Internet JackAss day. I’m too busy to really browse around and find the good stuff, so post a comment with your favorites.

We’re moving offices here in a month or so, so I’ve been cleaning out closets here at the office. I have a truckload of laser printer toner (mostly for HPs) that I have on Craiglist and also have a good Canon copier for sale. I also have a few twinky flatbed scanners and a few other parts I’m still going through, so let me know if you are looking for something specific and I’ll see what we have.

The rest gets a bit technical here, so you can read on if you’d like…

Secondly, if you’re wondering why I’ve been a bit off radar the last few weeks, life at the office and life personally have been a bit nutty. I’ve been spending most of my free evenings the last few weeks moving folks on and off Web servers. First was Jack, who has a site popular enough that it needs its own dedicated server. I manage the server for him, and the server had a primary hard drive failure about a month ago. Long story short, because of how support was during that process and how long it took to get the drive replaced, I moved his domains over to the same server that hosts this site for a couple weeks while I found a solution for him (which caused high load on this server for a while). After doing a bit of research, I moved him to a server with Handy Networks and upgraded him to a better, more reliable, more stable server that shouldn’t suffer any sizable downtime due to hardware issues (RAID, Constant Data Protection, etc…). I’ve been with Handy for years for the server hosting this site, and while they’re not the cheapest, they have been tremendous with support and their stuff rarely fails (and when it does, they replace it fast). His server’s been working like a dream since I got it up and going.

I also manage a server for my personal accounts (including this site) as well as for some clients/employers. That server was a nice server, but it was a bit too expensive for what I was making (money-wise) off it as I don’t have the free time to be trying to get more clients and give them the support I’d like. An old friend of mine (who has taught me a ton about this kind of stuff) has a much more powerful server than I could ever afford, with the same Handy Networks provider, and has space on it, so I’ve been slowly moving everybody over to her server (you’re reading this right now on the new server). At the same time, since I’m paranoid about backups after Jack’s mess (I had backups of his accounts), I setup a cheap reseller account with Eleven2 that I’m going to be backing up some accounts to (both the servers have CDP with R1Soft, but I’d rather have too many backups than not enough). My personal e-mail is also on that Eleven2 machine, though I might move it to the free Google Apps version.

One little gotcha that came up during the move to this new server was that my old server was using the DSO php handler, but her new one was using SuPHP handler (see the differences here). Not the end of the world, but I forgot to check that before moving, so I ended up with a bunch of permission and internal server errors on the various PHP-driven sites I manage (including this one). This cPanel forum thread helped me clean things up. I’m still having a few oddball DNS clustering issues between Jack’s and this server, but we’ll get those resolved fairly soon.

I’m also trying my dangest to redevelop some sites I manage to use some more up-to-date software, easier-to-deal with software. I’ve moved to over to Dreamhost, since they offer freebie hosting for registered non-profits. In the process, I’m moving them off the dated MovableType install I have for them to WordPress so a) I can get some more experience with it and b) so I can hand over page-edited duties to somebody else in the band. That, and MovableType was a pain-in-the-butt to properly install and run on Dreamhost, and WordPress was a single-click, and it was pretty easy to import the MovableType blog entries in. Still working on the design of that, but it’s getting there.

I’m also working on moving my family’s church site from Typo3 to WordPress as well (again, so somebody else can start editing things, if need be). Typo3 and the Web-Empowered Church stuff is really cool, but it’s a royal pain to use if you want to make any sort of changes to the template. Its back-end is just not nearly as user-friendly as many of them out there. It’s fine for a geek like me, but confusing as heck for those who aren’t a nerd. I’m running that site on my Eleven2 account, just because it takes up so much space (many years worth of MP3 sermons).

And then there’s Bend Blogs. Traffic’s getting higher on that site, but it’s not growing well. Gregarius, the software powering that site, hasn’t been updated in years. It’s powerful, but it’s fragile, collapsing and causing major server load with any sort high amount of traffic. I’ve had to block a bunch of really nasty IP ranges that have nearly killed the server on a few occassions. I had to block the MSN/Bing bot as well, as that thing was killing it when it was indexing (GoogleBot’s been fine). It’s also freaking out a bit after the move, where the non-WWW domain ( causes the site to 404, but adding the www back in (, and it works fine. So I put in a redirect to force the www subdomain in .htaccess, and it works in Chrome and in MSIE, but won’t in Firefox. Still need to do some more testing on that one, as I haven’t the slightest idea what’s going on there. But my long term plan (unless somebody else has any ideas on what back-end to use) was to use MovableType with the Reblog plugin. Since MovableType builds static pages, they will be stupidly easy for any server to load. Getting the content merged from the Gregarius database into the MovableType database might be a bit out of my league, so I’m going to have to do some more research on that. But it will enable the site to load much faster and give me far more flexibility in the future — assuming I can get it all to work (and find the time to do it). But I did recently clear out a ton of old entries in the archives of the database, basically only keeping the last couple years worth of blog archives on there. That did help a lot, but it could still be better.

OK, back to work. It sucks being the one-man IT wrecking crew sometimes :-).


Trying To Get In Touch With Me?

If anybody tried to e-mail me on my personal email (jake {at} orty {dot} com) the last 24 hours or so, you might want to e-mail me at jakeortman {at}…