Posts Tagged ‘WordPress’

MobilePress caused 55,000+ files in c:\windows\temp

March 19th, 2009

A while after installing the MobilePress 1.0.3 plugin for WordPress, my IIS server locked up.  I rebooted it and all was well.  A while later, it locked up again.  Upon further investigation, I found 55,000+ files in the c:\windows\temp\ folder and new files were popping in there at a rate of a few per minute.

Each of the 55,000 files looked like:

sess_1dq5436rb4m9b399cojhnmitd1

sess_3meinb58v9oqra5ia0869pqig6

sess_5hbicsnrt0hn1qj9lc5q9n7g30

where the prefix of sess_ is common but the rest is random.

Using Sysinternals procmon.exe, I was able to identify right away that the process responsible for creating the files was w3wp.exe which pointed me to IIS.  However, I wasn’t sure why IIS would begin doing this after being stable for a long time.

Searches on the internet said the files were being generated by PHP and indicated new user sessions as visitors hit my blog.  That helped confirm the fact that these were coming from IIS and the blog but still no tell tale reason as to why all of the sudden.

Then I opened up one of the files and it showed:
SESS_MOBILE_BROWSER|s:6:”mobile”;SESS_MOBILE_ACTIVE|b:0;SESS_MOBILE_THEME|s:7:”default”;

That was enough to jog my memory that I had recently installed the MobilePress plugin.

Removing the plugin immediately resolved the issues and the temp files are no longer created.

Horray! We’re mobile device friendly

March 9th, 2009

I received the feedback that the blog was not easily readable on mobile/handheld devices (Blackberry, iPhone, etc.)  Taking the suggestion from a few friends to install the MobilePress plugin for WordPress, the blog was mobile friendly within five minutes. While I had always “dealt” with the blog’s rendering on my own Blackberry, I hadn’t realized it could be improved (with so much ease).  I like it much better now as a lot of the “noise” has been removed. Thank you for the suggestions and feedback! Update:  The MobilePress plugin has been disabled for the time being due to a bug.

Upgraded to WordPress 2.7

December 28th, 2008

Blog maintenance tonight:

  • Upgraded the Pixeled theme from version 1.1 to version 1.5.
    • This theme appears to be compatible with WordPress 2.7.
    • Had to re-hack a few of the theme files for blog customizations I made.
    • No known cool improvements other than bug fixes.
  • Major WordPress upgrade from 2.6.5 to 2.7.
    • Followed this guide. Fairly straight forward. Maybe a bit advanced for the less technically inclined. Theme/plugin compatibility is the big deal here.
    • Some plugins listed on the compatible list. Some were not listed at all. Proceeded with upgrade anyway.
    • Before upgrading, backed up database and entire blog directory. Disabled plugins (re-enabling plugins retains plugin settings thank God).
    • Widgets seem to be unaffected.
    • After all was said and done, one plugin isn’t working: WP Super Cache. The plugin configuration page is blank and I don’t see any cache directory on the server nor do I see a “delete cache” link in the admin console. I went ahead and disabled this plugin until this can be worked out. The blog will still run without it, however, each page will now be dynamically rendered by the PHP engine thus chewing up quite a bit more CPU cycles on the web server. I host my own blog so there is no risk of being evicted by a web host for utilizing too much CPU which has happened to the more popular bloggers like Scott Lowe at VMworld 2008 and Rich Brambley. Honorable mention, Mike Laverick of RTFM Eduction was also shut down due excess bandwidth utilization. These web hosts obviously don’t know who they are messing with 😉
    • Initial observations:
      • I knew it was a major upgrade and unfortunately for the readers, most of the cosmetic improvements happen behind the scenes in the admin console which the reader doesn’t see.
      • Ok, the new console is refreshing and cool (literally cool with a cool-like blue theme – I’m getting the chills as I write this…)
      • Everything is moved around completely. It’s the Windows 3.1 Program Manager to Windows 95 interface migration all over again. However, the concepts and building blocks of WordPress don’t really change, so seasoned WordPress veterans should be able to adapt quickly just as experienced Windows administrators did in 1995.
      • If the redesigned UI doesn’t entice you, the promised future ease of WordPress upgrades should be enough to justify the jump to version 2.7.
      • I hope the WYSIWYG editor is fixed and doesn’t randomly garf bulleted lists and font formatting like the 2.6.x versions did. I often had to use the HTML tab to manually fix things in source view using my old school HTML tag skills.
      • The WYSIWYG editor seems a tad bit more sluggish but in fairness that is probably because I’m on my slower computer right now. I write most of my blog posts on my faster computer.
      • The Dashboard now has something called “QuickPress” which reminds me a bit of Twitter micro-blogging with tag functionality. It’s basically a fast track method to post quickly from the Dashboard view without the bells and whistles that the WYSIWYG editor provides.
      • There’s a Word Count display underneath the WYSIWYG editor. For those who are paid to blog, this should come in handy. I wish there was also a Quality Count. I could use that to help me with some of my posts.

That’s all for now. I waited for the suckers… ahem… the early adopters… to upgrade to 2.7 first so I could watch for fallout. Not much fallout to speak of really. 2.7 went through many beta and release candidate revisions. It was cooked pretty good and the quality shows. Just make sure you back up your database and content directories before the upgrade so you have a good recovery point. I’m off to the couch to watch a few more of my Twilight Zone Xmas DVDs (seasons 1 through 3). Tomorrow morning I go out to breakfast with friends and then to the Metrodome to watch the clueless Minnesota Vikings lose to the New York Giants.

Update: Flickr Manager 2.1 doesn’t work after the upgrade to WordPress 2.7. When I click on an image to insert, the Flickr Manager hourglass just spins its wheels and never returns to the blog post inserting the image. I’ve restarted IIS services a few times to no avail. For my blog entries that have inline images, this really sucks because now inserting images is a much more manual process where I have to go out to Flickr, find the picture within the correct set, click on it, view all sizes, then copy the image URL location.

Update: The Flickr Manager 2.1 issue has been resolved.  I found this gem on the support forums.  Apparently the author fixed the issue and slipped it back into a re-release of version 2.1 (download the updated 2.1 version here) without telling people who downloaded the original broked version of 2.1 before January 2009.  My personal and professional opinion is the version should have been incremented from 2.1 to 2.2 but nonetheless I’m happy now.

Update:  Fixed WP Super Cache not caching and blank configuration page issues:

  • The enabling of the WP Super Cache plugin was not creating the wp-content\advanced-cached.php and wp-cache-config.php files like it was supposed to.  This FAQ lead me to the manual creation (copy) of these files which fixed the blank configuration page problem.
  • Once the config page was working I thought all was well, but it wasn’t.  The plugin wasn’t caching.  I was able to witness this by no cache files being created in the wp-content\cache\ directory.  Upon further examination, a default setting for the plugin is to reject caching of pages with the string index.php in the URI.  This is ridiculous because every blog page served up by WordPress on the web server has the string index.php in it!  This essentially told the plugin not to cache any of the blog posts.  Simply removing index.php and saving the configuration jump started the whole thing and now everything is working correctly.

1-7-2009 11-21-38 PM

Additional spam filter and comment subscriptions installed

December 6th, 2008

I’ve been dealing with an increasing amount of comment spam since mid last week and I decided to do something proactive about it.  I’ve installed a new spam filter plugin called Simple Spam Filter for WordPress by tan tan noodles.  It leverages both Akismet and reCAPTCHA technologies but in a slightly non-traditional way which I prefer.

When a user submits a blog post comment, they are not automatically required to decode a reCAPTCHA banner image.

If their comment passes the Akismet filter and it passes filters integrated in the Simple Spam Filter, the comment will be posted as is.

If the comment fails either of the previously mentioned filter checks, then the comment submission will be challenged by a reCAPTCHA banner image.  If the reCAPTCHA banner image is decoded successfully, the comment will post.  If the reCAPTHA banner image is not decoded successfully, the comment is immediately rejected and discarded (it won’t wait for me in a spam queue for approval).

Since I haven’t used it before, I can’t guarantee this plugin is 100% bug free. If you are having any issues submitting comments, please let me know via email so I can look into it.  The last thing I want to do is hinder meaningful discussions or the functionality of this blog.

I also installed the Subscribe To Comments and WP-Mail-SMTP plugins earlier this evening which allow readers to subscribe to new comments as well as manage their existing comment subscriptions.  Notification is delivered via Email (hence the need for the Mail plugin).  I’d like to thank and recognize Rich Brambley over at vmetc.com for leading me to the comment subscription plugin.

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 27th, 2008

For those that celebrate, I wish you a happy Thanksgiving. Travel safely. For the first time in ten or more years, I’m not working the Friday after Thanksgiving. I’ll be relaxing at home on Friday, probably rebuilding my gaming PC. Saturday I’ll be network gaming all day at a buddy’s house (the Team Fortress 2 dedicated server naturally runs inside a VMware VM, what else would you expect from me). Sunday night I’ll be with the Minnesota Vikings as we host Sunday Night Football against the Chicago Bears.

And before anyone becomes gravely concerned about my developing blogging habits, I’m not blogging at 6am Thanksgiving morning. I’m leveraging the WordPress scheduled posting function. It’s actually Tuesday evening right now and I’m on the bus ride home. With any luck, I’m fast asleep when this post goes live.

WordPress Easter Egg

November 26th, 2008

I’ve always enjoyed Easter Eggs.  It’s too bad they don’t seem as popular today as they once were years ago.  I don’t really see new ones any more.  I discovered one today though.  Not on my own, but by reading about it on another blog.  WordPress Easter Egg – The Matrix style.  Check it out!

Blog maintenance

November 12th, 2008

A few housecleaning and upgrade tasks in the past 24 hours:

  1. Banned several IP addresses for brute force attacking the FTP server.  This should increase available bandwidth and response time.  This is a problem I’ve been dealing with since I brought the server online many years ago.  It’s a game of cat and mouse.  New attacks will continue to occur almost daily which is to say on a daily basis I could be banning new IP addresses.  I’m not sure I have that kind of time but I’ll check sporadically.
  2. Banned two .MPG cataloging sites for referring boatloads of traffic my way for the sole purpose of downloading model railroad .MPG clips probably in the hopes that the .MPG clips are something other than model railroading related.  Their intentions seem clear to me.  This should increase available bandwidth and response time.
  3. Removed all model railroad .MPG cilps from the web server.  This should increase available bandwidth and response time.
  4. Upgraded GD Star Rating from version 1.0.1 to 1.0.2.  Bug fixes and new features.  I’m still seeing one bug with the product and have provided feedback to the author.  Ratings are bells, whistles, and clutter and I’m half tempted to just get rid of them.
  5. Installed WP Super Cache.  This should increase available bandwidth and response time.

Please let me know if you see any funk that may be caused by serving static/cached pages instead of dynamically rendered PHP WordPress pages.