Make it go faster – Enabling GZip Compression

Things were getting slow around here, as you can see with the results from

Now WordPress, in versions before WordPress 2.5, had a GZip compression option.  It was removed in v2.5 because WordPress thought it was better to implement compression at the OS level.  All fine and good, but by default, my hosting provider does not do compression.

The quick performance fix was to enable compression.  But how???

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Checking that the weblinks are working.

I use a small program called Xenu’s Link Sleuth.  Which looks at all blog posts, grabs the links I’ve mentioned, and then check that they still exist.  Or to put it more accurately:

Xenu’s Link Sleuth (TM) checks Web sites for broken links. Link verification is done on “normal” links, images, frames, plug-ins, backgrounds, local image maps, style sheets, scripts and java applets. It displays a continuously updated list of URLs which you can sort by different criteria. A report can be produced at any time.

Xenu screenshotFrom this month’s Xenu run, I’ve updated the following posts:

Update September 2009:
I also now use a WordPress “Link Checker” Plugin

Lists O’ IT Goodness

Is something I refer to every other day.  The list has articles which has lists of things like Print Screen utilities, File Recovery tools, and the item I referred to, today:
5 Key security questions that every executive should be able to answer

I found a security flaw on a customer system, which could allow Information Disclosure.

But how to present it to management?

I looked at what Eric Cole had written on determining the Return On Investment (ROI) for any risk, and here it is:

The issue?
The FRED system baseline security setting is set at too low a security level.
The impact of this is that it would be possible for an attacker to gain access to FRED.

What is the likelihood of it occurring?
Low for external attacker,
Low -> Medium for internal attacker.

The vulnerability would require the following to exploit:
Knowledge of the FRED system.  This information is readily available, and just requires an attacker to “join the dots”

If it occurs, what will it cost?
Exposure of confidential/sensitive corporate information.
Impact to our reputation, and customer confidence.

What will it cost to eliminate the risk?
30 hours of effort to configure FRED into a secure mode.

What will it cost to reduce the risk to an acceptable level?
as above

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“If you can fly a Sopwith Camel, you can fly anything”

PHP Squad - two cheerleaders in a convertible wearing PHP tops… programmer’s equivalent.  6502 assembler.

Not that I could easily do that these days.  But it’s been a good thing to know, as I can debug most languages.  Except Erlang.  Some things ARE too strange to touch.

When I changed the blog theme to Thematic, the “Leave a comment” option disappeared.  Now, one of the tenets of the open source community is that you can fix your own bugs.  Not that many people do, as it often involves downloading/installing weird open source compilers, and growing a shovel beard.

Fortunately (?) as PHP is interpreted, I was able to find the offending bug with WinGrep.
And here it is:

// Display comments link and edit link
// comments open mean the blog post is accepting posts.
if (comments_open()) { 
    postcommentnumber = get_comments_number();
    // postnumber is number of posts.  If more than 1, display “x comments”;
    if (postcommentnumber > ‘1’) {(display “x comments”;)}
        // if 1, display “comment”;
        elseif (postcommentnumber == ‘1’) {(display “1 comment”;)}
                // no comments, so display Leave a comment.
                elseif (postcommentnumber == ‘0’) {(display “Leave a comment”;);

The bug?  postcommentnumber was returning “-1”.  I don’t know why, but I suspect it’s probably Disqus related.

And while I don’t particularly like PHP, I can debug it.
As the bug is fixed, you are welcome to “Leave a comment”.

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How do I measure thee? … or site stats for dummies

This has proven difficult, as I only have two web statistics packages available to me.  Webalizer and AWStats.

I first had a look at Webalizer, and I was impressed with the numbers.  Too impressed.  The numbers didn’t pass the reasonableness test.  I’m good, but I don’t think I’m that good.  That Webalizer is no longer being developed was another turn off.

So here are the hit counts from AWStats

Hit count for

"So why were February and May such great months?"  Glad you asked!

February can be explained by a couple of posts linking to Microsoft blog posts.  Ironic when you think about it.

May?  Just some good posts in my opinion, and not just a miracle.


"So how does it actually compare to Weblizer?"  Not as bad as I originally thought, but you can see that Webalizer is clearly higher, here’s the comparison graph:

Hit count comparison between Webalizer and AWStats, for

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So you want to move from Blogger to a WordPress blog

Blogger to WordPress image - courtesy of Digital InspirationThere’s plenty of advice out there on how to automatically move from Blogger to your own site.

The general steps you need to take are:

  1. Setup your own site with a hosting provider.
  2. Backup your blog site.
  3. Import blog posts, the WordPress blog has an import function which works well.
  4. Setup Blogger to redirect.
    This was the most difficult thing to find out about.  You want to setup your blogger blog to redirect automatically.
  5. Done!

These three sites are the best references I found:
How to redirect Blogger Beta to – October 2007
Moving from Blogger to WordPress: Best Practices – May 2006
Migrate from Blogger to WordPress without Losing your Google Search Rankings (September 2009)

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“Give me a light that I may go forth into the unknown.”

As we come up to the end of the year thought I’d start off with a favorite quotation:

I said to the man at the gate of the year, “Give me a light that I may go forth into the unknown.”
And the man replied,” Put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than a light, safer than a known way.”

– A New Year’s message from Britain’s King George VI, to his embattled people at the beginning of WWII.