So you’re merrily marching along, happy as a clam because you just set up a glorious new web site that uses, say, a PHP-based content management system like Joomla or WordPress running on a Unix or Linux server.
Everything is going well until suddenly, you start to get feedback from users that they can’t access certain pages or actions on your site. Worse yet, some people seem to be completely blocked from your site entirely.
The problem your users are seeing is a 500 Error, aka “Internal Server Error”. Most of the time, for most people, your site works great… But this is becoming a serious issue for some users.
What to do?
Everyone is totally crazy about security these days – especially computer security. We’ve all got antivirus software, a firewall, spyware scanners, and god knows what else loaded up on our PCs to protect ourselves from the “evils” of a networked world.
Some of us choose to use certain operating systems that we believe are inherently secure, while the reality is quite different. I remember hearing all about how “ultra-secure” OS X Tiger was in comparison to Windows XP. I know a lot of people who believed this, and who even went out of their way to harp on XP and how insecure it was. Well, there have been numerous updates for Tiger and Leopard that were sent out from Apple HQ. Guess what? There were scores of security vulnerabilities in OS X. What really might shock you is that the vulnerabilities in OS X read like a list of XP security holes (see here and here and here). That’s right, just because Apple tells you OS X is safer doesn’t mean that it’s actually true! Go figure!
Of course, there’s also Linux. In some respects, Linux is safer. In others, it’s no different than XP and OS X. Personally, I prefer Ubuntu and Vista at the moment. But the bottom line is that when it comes to security, it’s up to you to keep your data safe. The first and best way you can do that is to create and use strong passwords!
Let’s face it: in this dawning age of high-definition video, a good old fashioned VHS tape seems rather, well, ancient. Nevertheless, a lot of people have movies on VHS that they can’t get on DVD. And sometimes, there’s even a bit of nostalgia attached to certain video cassettes.
It has become more and more difficult to find an inexpensive VCR that doesn’t include a DVD player as well. If you already have a DVD player and you want to save some money (who doesn’t these days!), you may find yourself out of luck.
VCR repair is also a dying occupation. So if you can’t buy a new VCR, and you can’t get your current one repaired, what do you do?
Why, you open up your current VCR and fix ‘er yourself!
Ruby on Rails has become a rather popular framework that many have used to easily and quickly create some pretty powerful web sites. As with any web programming language or framework, it certainly does have its problems. For example, Rails has never been well-known for its incredibly speedy database layer. In fact, if you’re not careful, you can make a glorious application that will run your server into the ground because of all the heavy behind-the-scenes DB queries.
Another problem is that a lot of people get their Rails coding tips and tricks from others – basically what you’re doing right now! The solutions you find online aren’t always optimal, and are sometimes downright scary.
Take a custom 404 error page. It’s easy enough to make, but you have to be careful about how you actually implement it.
One of the problems I have encountered again and again is how to cheaply and easily soundproof something.
Whether you are dealing with a noisy dishwasher or you just want a soundproof wall, there are many products available that you might use. There are rigid styrofoam sheets, expandy foam, various types of soft foam, fiberboard, etc. Most of these materials will provide a slight degree of soundproofing, and different materials will block sound at different frequencies.
But when it comes right down to it, nothing beats the general soundproofing characteristics of a certain material that you probably didn’t even consider…
For those of you who ignored the bad press that Windows Vista has received and decided to take the plunge, congratulations. You have successfully avoided being taken in by the “Apple can do no wrong / Microsoft always sucks” mainstream tech media.
Nevertheless, Vista is far from perfect. You may have run into one of Vista’s greatest features and most annoying problems: Hybrid Sleep.
Unfortunately, it seems that for some of us, there is no solution to a malfunctioning sleep mode, and Microsoft isn’t much help.
Mmm, expandy foam...
Nearly everyone has heard of expanding foam, or “expandy foam” as I call it. It’s the stuff that comes in a spray can at your local home improvement store. It has a long tube that screws on to the top, and when you squirt it out, it usually looks like a thick, solid yellowish foam that expands over time as it dries and hardens.
Generally speaking, most people use it for insulating gaps, sealing around newly-installed windows, sealing cracks or gaps in old roof structures, etc.
What you might not know is that it has another particularly handy use.