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Comment Very expensive in UK and hard to find with Pro (Score 3, Informative) 160

The UK price of the $699 tested 256GB SSD model is unbelievably expensive in comparson - it's over 800 pounds ($1200) which is sheer madness and will kill its UK sales. Add the fact that it's very hard to find it with Windows 10 Pro pre-installed (there's another 100 pounds - $150) and this will see near-zero UK business sales.

Comment Except a computer monitor is *much* more expensive (Score 2) 90

Yes, I too would like a monitor-style TV (loads of inputs, *no* built-in tuners or even built-in audio), but you wouldn't suggest an actual computer monitor because the price increases exponentially once you go beyond a 24" monitor.

Dell's 55" computer monitor ("only" 1080p!) is over 1,000 pounds ($1500) in the UK, whereas a 55" 1080p TV can be had for little as 400 pounds ($600).

Comment Re:Adaway is the best adblocker I've ever seen (Score 1) 189

I use Adaway too, but supplement it with Adblock Plus in Firefox to get wider coverage (my assumption here is that some URLs in Adaway aren't in Adblock Plus and vice versa). The only time I look at ads now is usually for a short video to let me be resurrected in a game or get some bonus coins, but even that can be tedious (if you must show me video ads, uniquely cycle through them rather than having the same video ad over and over again and only switching it after about 5 views).

Comment Absolute URLs in the WP DB drive me nuts (Score 1) 39

One of the major pains in the backside of WordPress is its use of absolute URLs for pages on the site thousands of times in the WP database. PHP is always had $_SERVER variables to dynamically find the top level component of your URL (e.g. http://www.joebloggs.com/ if you need to (does WP ever need to know it anyway?), yet if you dump the SQL DB, you'll see that URLs are pretty well all absolute rather then relative. This is horrible because:

* HTML generated by WordPress contains absolute URLs all over the place for resources contained within the site, when they clearly should be relative URLs to save bytes if nothing else.
* Any need to change the URL of a WordPress site causes massive pain because you can't just mysqldump/sed/mysql to change the URL because of serislised data. I have to use a special tool for this, which is highly annoying to have to do so (though the tool is nice to use admittedly). Warning: WP-CLI's "wp search-replace" often missses replacing some URLs, so I don't use that any more.

In case you think you'll never change a top-level URL of a WordPress site, think again - it's very common indeed:
* Site goes from national (www.joebloggs.co.uk) to international (www.joebloggs.com) and wants the latter to be the primary address.
* Site needs to be copied from dev -> UAT -> live (and maybe -> DR) or in the reverse direction and all instances have different URLs.
* Site is converted from http to https.

Comment Re:Just-in-time exploits (Score 1) 39

...and sites with Wordfence :-) The latest Wordfence release outrageously renames a core WP file (/readme.html) by default which breaks the official WP API used to verify checksums of core WP files (tools such as WP-CLI use this). I posted up to the Wordfence forum about this and got a useless reply and my thread marked as "resolved" despite nothing being done about the breakage!

I've now had to go around all WP sites with Wordfence installed, manually turning off this renaming of /readme.html (which was turned off by default in older Wordfence releases and very sneakily silently turned on in the latest release).

Comment Re:Upgrade hell (Score 1) 39

WP-CLI is your friend - lets you do all the admin pointy-clicky stuff via the command line instead (cue a cron'ed wrapper script!). Even manually updating WordPress is painless compared to pretty well any other CMS out there. If I mention "Umbraco updates" (yes, I know, it's Windows only) to anyone within earshot, they run away screaming. Umbraco has *no* updating facility at all (manual clicking in admin interface or automated) and it can literally take days to update just one Umbraco site following a horrendous set of complex instructions!

Comment Re:Upgrade hell (Score 1) 39

I, too, have an ever-growing script that wraps around WP-CLI, but there's a *lot* of gotchas you've got to deal with:

* Use "wp core verify-checksums" to make sure no-one's modded core files before you do a WP core update.
* Check at least the Web site home page is returning a 200 success code before attempting any updates.
* If the home page fails to return 200 after an update, auto-rollback the Web/DB from the pre-update backup you took.
* You need the ability to exclude specific plugin updates if they break a particular site (so you can rollback/freeze UAT/live on the last working version while you work on dev to find a workaround for the newest version). This means you need to construct a list of "available" updates from the output of "wp plugin list" and then exclude broken plugins for specific sites i.e. you can't use --all like the parent post did.
* You should do a second plugin update pass if the first pass updated any plugins - some plugins such as Woocommerce can trigger fresh "available" updates for other plugins.
* Massively irritatingly, many commercial plugins fail to hook into the standard WP upating system (i.e. "wp plugin list" fail to list new updates as being "available"). I've had to resort to horrendous site scraping to detect and download such updates - paid-for plugins often insist you manually log into their site and manually download/install a plugin zip file, which is madness.

There are quite a few other things that my script does (e.g. scan Apache config for ServerName and DocumentRoots containing wp-config.php for a WP site list, generates Web pages for each server detailing the updates, e-mails the WP admin contact when core/plugins are updated for a site), but too much is specific to my setup to be publicly released I'm afraid.

Comment Buy from a whitebox shifter who lets you customise (Score 1) 325

If you're worried that you'll not build your PC correctly and it'll fail to work, then one alternative to that is to find a good whitebox shifter that lets you customise everything. Of course, you'll have to check they'll not overcharge for components (they sneakily don't put the absolute price for each one up, instead picking a "default" component and then displaying the +/- delta price difference between the default and each alternative you can pick from a list).

You will be restricted to what components they let you pick of course, so make sure there's nothing too restrictive. At the end of the day, you'll get a well-tested box that can be purchased without an OS if you're only going to run Linux on it. My "trick" is to order the best bang for buck components that can't be easily replaced (CPU is the scariest - I know you'll say it's easy, but it's just too frightening to change IMHO simply because of the high chance of damage of what's often the most expensive component) and then get the minimum of what can be easily swapped out/upgraded later (disk, RAM, graphics cards and the like).

Oh and I'm fussy about keeping my PCs quiet - I think there should be a decibel rating for all components and an overall one for the final built PC. There's nothing worse than firing up a PC and having it sound like a jumbo jet on the runway. I order silent/quiet components for as much as I can and add soundproofing if the case doesn't come with it (make sure that's an option for your whitebox shifter). The acid test is: can you sleep overnight in the same room as your running PC? I can with my current PC from a whitebox shifter...

Comment Try 16 point text in your browser (Score 1) 197

I like to use Linux Firefox with DejaVu Sans 16 point (minimum font size set to 16 as well, plus I don't allow pages to use their own fonts) and it's quite shocking how many sites break with this. Web designers don't seem to think anyone would ever use than 10 point fonts (which are ludicrously tiny on my monitor). It's annoying how Web fonts have crept into sites in recent years as well. Rather than images, they set up Web fonts for navigation icons, social media icons etc. which come out as hieroglyphics (random bitmaps almost) if you don't allow site to use Web fonts like I said I don't. Again, site designers never test their designs with Web fonts disabled, ho hum...

Comment Re:amanda (Score 3, Informative) 118

Amanda is great if you're backing up only Linux clents, but the Windows Amanda client is a total abomination. Not been updated in over 2 years (don't believe the version numbering - check the timestamp of setup.exe), pointlessly uses a MySQL DB on the client side (ridiculous!) which the Linux client *or* server doesn't use, regularly times out, regularly crashes, produces byzantine error codes without any description/documentation of them, much slower than the equivalent Linux client and produces ZIP64 backups that are pretty well impossible to extract from on Linux (which is annoying, because the Amanda server side is Linux-only).

We have a Ultrium tape drives with multi-slot autoloaders/barcodes, so there are very few Open Source backup solutions that can handle this (including tape-spanning if needed) out-of-the-box. Bacula was another potential solution, but it's horrific to set up (makes the dreadful Oracle DB install process look like a breeze) - just reading the Bacula install docs brings me out in a cold sweat :-) I guess business-level backups just aren't sexy enough to warrant a decent Open Source solution...

Comment LG G Pad 8.3 with CyanogenMod (Score 1) 283

Although LG have come up with newer models, my trusty old LG G Pad 8.3 is still my "go to" tablet for when on the move. 1900x1200 resolution (none of this 4:3 nonsense seen in recent tablets) and an SD card slot are nice bonuses, though watch out for colour calibration issues and a somewhat darker display than other tablets.

I *strongly* recommend that you put CyanogenMod on the G Pad 8.3 - it's an officially supported device and CM lets you tweak the colour calibration too in the Settings. I just wish LG would come up with a decent successor to it - all their later models just don't do it for me.

When it comes to Android, there's only three solutions to getting decent updates: a Nexus device, a device that ships with Cyanogen OS or a (preferably official) CyanogenMod custom ROM install.

Comment UK TV has worsened as the channel count increased (Score 1) 307

> The British did perfectly well on four channels.

Yes, they did, but with the advent of cable and satellite in the late 80's (and Net-streamed channels in recent years), the number of UK channels exploded and are now probably approaching 1,000. Of course, 950 of those 1,000 channels are completely hopeless and probably have viewers in the hundreds or thousands.

The quality of British TV has nosedived in inverse proportion to the number of channels available - the "big 5" UK channels are now so bad, that I'm down to recording maybe 5-6 shows a week (it used to 40-50 about 20 years ago). BBC and ITV compete for the lowest of the low-brow now - endless quizzes, soaps, reality shows and "talent" shows dominate prime-time viewing and it's been many years since I've liked any UK TV comedy (Have I Got News For You remains the only regular UK comedy show I'll bother recording).

I'm finding that the best US shows are just so much higher quality now than their UK equivalents, so a decent broadband connection is all I need to satisfy my viewing needs...

Comment Hope that includes dumped dog poo bags (Score 2) 177

I have a long grass verge by the side of the road and several dog owners have taken to dumping their dog poo bags on it, which is bewildering. Why make the effort to collect the dog poo in a small black plastic bag, only to illegally litter it right afterwards? It's an on-the-spot 80 pounds = $120 fine where I live, but unless I install CCTV and review the footage (and even then identifying them might be impossible), they're never going to get caught by the local council.

Some scoundrel even *saved* 10 of their poo bags and then dumped them at various intervals along my verge. And, no, I'm not enemies with anyone local before anyone asks...

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