Author Archives: Steven Dowd

About Steven Dowd

Live in Newton-le-Willows, Work in St Helens, Loads too many hobbies for the time I have available.

Fix for wordpress xmlrpc.php ddos attack

The last two days we had major hassle from people doing a kinda DDOS on the xmlrpc by trying to ping back urls, I was banning Ip’s as fast as they popped up, but there were just too many, I altered the name of the file, but that doesn’t help, cause then the idiots get served the 404 page, and thats still a massive load on so many connections, I tried altering permissions, and also tried adding code i found into the theme functions.php, but nothing seemed to help, until I found this…

RewriteRule ^xmlrpc\.php$ “http\:\/\/0\.0\.0\.0\/” [R=301,L]

I added this to the .htaccess and loads dropped from 90% to a more reasonable 3% within a few seconds. all it does is redirect the fools to a 0.0.0.0 url, so it doesnt even have to serve them the 404 not found pages.

Worked great, and gave me time to properly ban the offending IPs

Walk-by Panorama’s

Been playing with the iPhone, used it loads for panorama’s, click and twist, how simple can it get, but then a few days ago, thought why not click and walk-by the scene, holding the iphone camera pointed always in the same direction. These are the first results of my Walk-by Panorama’s.

Image8

Image11

Image10

Image9

 

They will never stitch 100% but I am sure I can improve on these first attempts.

 

Happy Money – Wigan ASDA

We went shopping to Wigan ASDA and my daughter bought a Focus magazine, after we got home, she sat down to read it, opened it up and out popped a £5 note with the message attached “This is your Happy Money, God Bless You” with a Happy Face on the sticky note….. So a Big Thanks to whoever put £5 into the Focus magazine at Wigan ASDA, my daughter is chuffed to bits over the discovery of it, which when added to the value… means it brought more happiness than a £5 pound note would normally buy…. Its loads better than just finding a £5 on the floor, because there’s always that ‘small’ guilt that you gain from someone losing it, this was placed with a purpose…. and it worked.    So Thanks again – mystery person…. 🙂

happy-money

Easter Head at Dunnet Head

Was sat deleting old stuff from my phone and I found these images, I admit they don’t look much..

Taken in Aug 2012, while on a bit of a tour of Scotland. They show the most northern point of the British Mainland, most people think that John O’groats is the most northern point, but its actually Easter Head at Dunnet Head.
scotland-2012These are the ruins of Ardvreck Castle on Loch Assynt, I had forgot where this photo was taken, but after a bit of google searching I found it http://goo.gl/UwXvwy

Stupid fact: My home address to Paris is only 30 miles further than this ruin is from my home, and it’s motorways all the way to Paris, so would be lots easier driving and more comfortable for the passengers… I’m not sure I should tell Liz it would have been a quicker and easier trip to drive to Paris….

Hardknott Pass – Roman Fort

Went exploring around the lake district at the weekend, ended up visiting the site of a Roman Fort that is in Cumbria beside the road from the Duddon Valley to Eskdale otherwise known as the Hardknott Pass, amazing place and road, definitely not for the faint hearted, I can honestly say I have never driven along a more daunting bit of road anywhere in the UK, I have owned cars that had turning circles so bad that they would never have made it around some of the hairpin bends, and since some of the bends are actually on one in three slopes, they are correct with the signs saying “not suitable for most vehicles”.

The fort is quite well preserved, as good as any of the Roman Fort ruins visible at Hadrian’s Wall, It dates from the AD 120 – 190 period, its about 120 meters square, three main building structures are to be seen within the walled section,and a Bath-house between the fort site and the road that passes it. Its really worth the visit, if your interested in this type of thing.

This Roman fort site is accessed only by this one road, and the Hardknott pass is officially the steepest road in England, I am not sure I would ever try to go up it in the summer, how the hell you would you manage to pass other cars on the road to the site, especially if you approach from the eastern Duddon Valley side, there are passing points, but there mostly in places that you cannot see, over the next rise or around the next corner, and once your committed to going up and around that next 30 degree sloped hairpin, if you meet someone else trying the same on the way down, your clutch is going to be in a world of pain… Really have never gone so far up a hill along the same bit of road in first gear anywhere else in the UK, so be warned… I think it would be safer and easier to visit from the Eskdale direction, which only has one or two seriously steep and bendy bits on the roadway.

No one said it was Easy {listening}

Decided that I’d try listening to some different music, thats different for me, not something wild or different to everyone else in the world…

So this week I loaded the car with a few mp3’s of Coldplay Albums and I’ve been listening to those as I drive back and forth. 

My conclusion is that most Coldplay tracks are perfect to commit suicide by, I find myself wanting to turn left into the nearest brick wall, (ok, not funny) but there are the odd tracks which the melody and lyrics over-ride the call to draw my own blood, and are actually ok,

My preference across their range of albums are actually the better known tracks, Yellow, Clocks, trouble, and the one that I chose to add as a video link below, "the Scientist" which I like the rhythm and  the lyrics ‘hit a chord of their own’.

[youtube_sc url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdBym7kv2IM]

Decided upon a video that had the lyrics included within it, seems more…appropriate than watching a live performance..

 

 

Website updates

I have finally found some time to do some updates to my local history website, http://www.newton-le-willows.com , its only taken a few years, its almost embarrassing that I have left it so long, it was still running on Joomla 1.0, and I am sure that was replaced with newer code in about 2005, I still hve to figure out what todo about the forum section, it has so many posts, attachments and users that I am a little worried that any change will break the whole thing, I might take a few years more to just have a think about whats needed to update it  🙂

Google accounts

I am having a bit of a google account meltdown, I’ve had different accounts with gmail / googlemail, youtube etc since they were all individual systems, from well before google owned youtube, and now that Google have unified their logons across their different systems with Google+ being tied into their email, webmaster tools, youtube etc, I find that I just cannot get access to all my data from any one account, I have thought about it, and it looks like I am going to have to trash my youtube account,, and an old gmail account, to bring everything into one new single Google+ account, there just doesn’t seem to be a way to change ownership of youtube accounts from one gmail to another, you cn add and associate the account with other email address’s but ownership stays with the original account, so I spent the last hour downloading all my videos, and I plan to just leave the old stuff online to gather dust and then add new videos into a new youtube account which I can associate to a main Google+ account

See what I mean, its all too confusing, I already had a headache, but now…..

Atheist, Agnostic or Humanist

This is a subject matter which I haven’t ever written before either here on in the Newton website, in fact I don’t normally even get drawn into discussion about religion (or politics) but somehow it came up in conversation earlier today, and I found myself thinking about it, so what the hell, here’s a few lines

I’ve never been a religious person, I wouldn’t call myself an atheist or an agnostic, I suppose I am more a Humanist, someone who thinks you should be able to live a decent life without having it ruled or controlled by religious or superstitious beliefs.

I think everything known about human history supports the humanist view more than any other, man’s existed on the earth for hundreds of thousands if not millions of years, and I would argue that at no time did any of the different societies not have some sort of Gods to which they prayed, and each one would have citizens utterly convinced their Gods were the one and only true Gods.

Every different religion cannot possibly be correct, many, one, or all of them must be praying to a false deity, unless there all correct and that wouldn’t make sense to the one God scenario which most religions follow, so I think the presumption should be, that they are all equally wrong, and following on from that, that if the many historical world societies and their many millions of people of all races, for thousands of years, were praying to their own now long forgotten Gods, then why should the same not be true for current religions, are they correct or just the latest religion in a continuous cycle that revolves and recycles into a newer version every few thousand years.

I wonder how many of the religions that ever existed, were no more than some king, pharaoh or governments pre-calculated way to keep their populations controlled, having a book or chiseled tablet with the ruleset required to keep the order in that society, it seems to me that religion would be (is) a "most excellent" medium for control of citizens.

Each successful society seems to have rolled over the previous religions into their own, Its like a code project forking, part going stale getting forgotten and a new better code coming forth and attracting newer brighter coders, the Romans and everyone else just wrapped earlier religious beliefs around and into their own Gods, then Christianity etc have done the same to the old Roman Gods, so that I do not think any of the religions have any real historical merit, I mean, whats 2000 years when judged against 100,000 years of mankind walking the earth, some people would have us believe that for the first 98,000 years no-one prayed, yet were finding archaeological sites in places like Turkey’s 1963 discovery of the stunning Gobekli Tepe estimated to be 11,000 years old, it predates Stonehenge by upto 6000 years, and noone knows to which Gods the Stone Henge builders prayed, so you can pretty much bet the choice of deity at Gobekii Tepe had little to do with any of our current religious options.

New religions and idea’s popup all the time, and gain massive followings, Scientology has been around now for about 60 years, and although its been named in parliament as a cult, its just been allowed by the Courts to hold its first in church wedding, its now by this court ruling recognised as a religion equal to any other, with Scientology being based on the belief that trillions of aliens got stranded on Earth by a dictator from another world millions of years ago I do wonder if any of our current religions could ever roll that into a future all encompassing religious model. There-again, we might find that in the future people move away from faith based religions, to some form of Tech based system, kids may well praise console companies and see games releases as preachings, with historically classic console versions and game levels changing hands at some future Sothebys auction like a Rembrandt painting or a 12th century Latin bible might sell today.
 
So, having laid out my own humanist belief, you might ask why the hell I agreed to look at building a website for Christian news and Prayer requests, well there isn’t really an answer to that, other than I’m just edging my bets.

I could be as wrong as the rest of the humanists, agnostics or atheists, who knows, like David Bowie says in one of his songs "Knowledge comes with deaths release"..  How true,, so I am betting on both teams 🙂

Anyway, here’s a link to the unfinished tester for a Christian Prayers website that I am building
 

Seconds a Day Video

I was reading earlier about a 30 day challenge that Google man – Matt Cutts set himself, to film a second a day of video, which he then edited together, seems a bit of a mad idea, so, from tomorrow I am going to start my own seconds video recording, the end result could be interesting, if only to me, but I want to see what it will produce, most likely I’ll cheat and add two or three extra clips from some days, and I think that I can allow myself a few extra seconds for xmas day and new year.

Watch this space…  ( Sometime in early 2014 )

Deja Vu – Communication Breakdown

Its been an odd week, cannot remember a time, when so many different situations in one week have brought upon a feeling of Deja Vu.. Twice through music and then a number of times with situations in work. A few days ago I listened to "Tangled up in Blue" by Bob Dylan and found myself thinking about things that happened almost 30 years ago, then again today a Led Zeppelin track ‘Communication Breakdown’ that I hadn’t listened to for many years also started me thinking of the past

[youtube_sc url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5etcNNOCVk]

I most likely remember this totally wrong, but It brought back memories of the Mad Hatter, Lovely Lane, I think on Thursday nIghts, and being totally shocked and amazed watching a friend head banging their brains out to this song every time it was played, there was another tune that also got the full hair treatment, might have been "Good times, bad times".. but I’ll have to wait for the next Deja Vu moment to recall that one, ’cause it escapes me.

Do schools kill creativity?

Was sent a link to this video a few years ago,  watched it again earlier and really enjoyed it,  thought i would post a link to it here

[youtube_sc url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG9CE55wbtY]

I think it should be made compulsory viewing for anyone that wants to work within the education system, and some existing teachers

 

Tangled up in Blue

Listened to this Bob Dylan song on the radio this morning while driving to work, 

Early one morning the sun was shining
I was laying in bed
Wond’ring if she’d changed it all
If her hair was still red
Her folks they said our lives together
Sure was gonna be rough
They never did like Mama’s homemade dress
Papa’s bankbook wasn’t big enough
And I was standing on the side of the road
Rain falling on my shoes
Heading out for the East Coast
Lord knows I’ve paid some dues getting through
Tangled up in blue.

Continue reading

Whittington Castle, Oswestry

While out on the same run that We visited Old Oswestry Hill Fort my wife and I took a detour to Shrewsbury, another place we have never visited, didn’t even realise that it had a Castle, but what made the day, is that on the way home, we drove through a small village and stumbled upon another really great medieval castle site, with just the best moat and keep, really pretty and well restored, it was open to visitors, and free to visit, so we stopped and walked around, the village is called Whittington, and I found that the ruins are the restored remains of the Medieval Castle.

Whittington Castle, Whittington, near Oswestry

The Castle is community owned and run, and its a real credit to them, tea rooms, book shop, £1 parking, all very well laid out, wooden walkways, nice gardens, really couldn’t be done any better.

Heres a link to their website, and if your ever anywhere near Whittington Village, then visit the Castle and take a look for yourself, its well worth a visit.

Old Oswestry Hill Fort

Today I took a drive out to Oswestry to take a look at the old Hill Fort that sits just outside of the town

Oswestry Hill Fort

I hadn’t ever visited Oswestry before,and really didn’t think the site would be so large, was well worth the visit

There’s a few car park spaces right against the west entrance to the site, and it’s really easily found.

The only thing that I didn’t like is the arrogance of the bloody dog walkers, the place was full of people with no interest in where they were, just using the place to let their dogs run free and shit anywhere they felt like, why the f*%k do some people with dogs ruin these places for other people, it’s almost as bad as someone letting their dog crap in the middle of a playground or football field.

So, great place to visit, especially if you’re interested in this type of thing, but be careful of dog shit.

Google Maps – Airplane over Bagshot, UK

While searching on Google Maps for a postcode and then clicking through to the location to work out a route how to get to the place I noticed this airplane..

I did some searching on Google, found that quite a few people have spotted different aircraft on the google map system, but I didn’t see this airplane listed on any of the pages that I visited. Heres a Google Map Airplane link

 

Edit…

Wierd, I checked this link above to the airplane on google a few days after I found it, and its gone, looks like its flown away, itooks like google have changed the map images for that area to a different set, because the image I posted above has the landscape in bright sunshine, and yet the current image has a much darker image.

 

CPanel Wildcard Sub-domains

Thought I might post this as I found it really useful, and its info not easily found online..
The following is how to add a wildcard DNS entry for any domain on a WHM/CPanel server.

======================

edit the dns zone to add * in A with IP address
make or edit the directories for your domain (not the public_http dir, this has to be in the root server files)
for non-ssl http make a directory here..
/usr/local/apache/conf/userdata/std/2/username/domain.com
and for ssl https make a directory here..
/usr/local/apache/conf/userdata/ssl/2/username/domain.com
And then in those directories add a file:
some_file_name.conf
which contains the configuration options you want added to that specific VirtualHost.
For example if you want to add a wildcard ServerAlias, you would just create this file and add:
ServerAlias *.domain.com
The key for the filename is that it has to be a .conf extension so that it is picked up.
Once you make the first change to the VirtualHost, from ssh prompt as root run:
/scripts/ensure_vhost_includes –user=username
======================

Was Stonehenge ever finished?

This evening I watched yet another TV program about Stonehenge, and again the artist impressions and animations show how in history it was a full circle of stones all with capping stones.  This idea that the circle was completed doesn’t ring true to me, I have read and seen that in certain circumstances the stones from ancient monuments have been stolen, quarried away to be recycled into local buildings, it happens lots, where a castle or fortification is used as simply gained building supplies, but at Stonehenge, some of the largest stones are missing totally, and then in some cases the topping stones are missing totally from the still standing large stones, if the site was used as a source of stone by some local family, they surely would have started their stealing, by removing the smaller stones first, yet a large number of the smaller blue stones still exist, so why would anyone ever start by breaking apart and carrying off the largest stones? or by removing the capping stones from the top of existing standing stones, and leave the similar sized Blue stones.

If your building a barn, or your building a wall, and your seriously considering whether to open your own quarry, or bring your own stone from 25 miles away, or.. should i steal a few of those large stones from that old circle of stones, why would you then start by removing the larger or harder gained stone….  you would just use the smaller blue stones first, and when they were totally used up, built into walls or your new house, then you might then consider how to get the other larger stones broken up and into useable sizes…

I think Stonehenge was never finished, it has never been a full circle of stones, as always suggested.

 

Wasp Nest

Just had to have someone call to remove a massive wasps nest from inside the canopy over our front door, he said the nest has probably been there for a few months, I can’t see how we missed it until today, when all of a sudden there were thousands of wasps outside the front door, we noticed that when they landed it was always in the same spot, they then they went into a small hole just beneath the roof tiles and into the hollow space inside the over-door canopy.

Maybe the last few days of rain had kept them all inside the nest and this afternoon they all decided to have a hover party outside the house, all at once.

So having had a guy kill all the wasps that were inside the canopy, we now have all the ones that were away from the nest arriving back here, finding the nest dead and now they are buzzing around like mad things outside the door, and there very pissed off wasps.

St Aelred’s Catholic Technology College

It seem that some local idiot posted a message on an anonymous forum page named "/b/" that he was going to visit St Aelreds School here in Newton today and harm people.

They published a photo of themselves one of them brandishing a Gun, with a notesaying..

Tomorrow last day of School   /b/    We gona fuck up the bullies and leave this world

This is the photo they published

Later in the same forum thread, it seems that theoriginal poster ( alledged poster) added..

OP here, tested it at firing range, we have 2 shotguns as well, its locked in but tomorrow i have key.
St Aelred’s Catholic Technology College ,England
watch BBC

The police were informed and this morning have been at the school, and have just released info that a 19yr old boy has been arrested but not yet questioned.

I wonder who the other hooded idiot is thats on the right of the photo, hiding behind his hood, glasses and cloth pulled up over his face?

The police haven’t said they have two people arrested, so I guess we will have to wait to find out who the masked figure is…


The St Helens Star website has a short breaking news post about the incident

http://www.sthelensstar.co.uk/news/8214587.BREAKING_NEWS___Security_alert__at_school/

POLICE have confirmed they attended a ‘security alert’ at St Aelred’s Catholic Technology College, in Newton-le-Willows this morning.

A police statement read: "Officers were made aware of threats to the college in the early hours of this morning (Friday, 11 June) and appropriate measures were put in place.

"A 19-year-old man from Newton-le-Willows has been arrested on suspicion of threats to kill and has been taken to a police station on Merseyside where he will be interviewed by detectives."

It is understood a squad of armed officers were sent to the school earlier this morning following an intelligence tip-off. Police say there have been no injuries.


The BBC have also picked up the story..

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/merseyside/10294844.stm

Man makes threat to kill at Merseyside school

A 19-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of making threats to kill at a school on Merseyside.

Police received reports of threats to kill in relation to St Aelreds college in Newton-le-Willows in the early hours, a spokeswoman said.

Officers went to the school earlier and "appropriate measures were put in place" she said. They have now left but local patrols have been stepped up.

Nobody was injured in the incident, a spokeswoman said.

 


 

Andy Burnham, the Leigh MP, who is contesting the Labour party leadership is a former pupil of  St Aelred’s secondary school, now known as  St Aelred’s Catholic Technology College.

 

 

 

 

 

 

M.P. Expense’s: Constituency owned London Property

While chatting with a pal yesterday, he mentioned something which I think is a brilliant idea.

Why doesn’t the Council for each area of the UK, each constituency, which sends an MP to sit in the House of Commons buy a property in London, and from then on that property will always be used as the home for which ever M.P. they have elected to represent that Constituency at Government.

In this way, no single M.P. would profit by getting Interest Payments on any personal property, it will stop M.P’s keeping for eternity the furnishings and fittings that they manage to get through their expenses on that personal property.

The Constituency owned London property would be an asset on the Council books/accounts, and all expenses, furnishings will belong for all time to the Constituency.

There would be no home flipping, because they will always have their own home, and have to pay their own home costs, there could be no arguements then over needing a propety in the London area, and the local Council would have full transparency over the costs of housing their M.P. at Westminster.

 

Saga of the Seven Suns

Quite a few years ago, while confined to my bed with a serious back problem, and bored to the point that you would even read the instruction manual for a VCR, I was handed a nice thick book to read, 700 pages of story called ‘Hidden Empire, THE SAGA OF SEVEN SUNS’, I was captivated by it, couldn’t put it down, ended up reading the whole thing over the next two days, only to discover at the last page, that it was book 1 of a multi-volume series, and now I just had to have the other books, the Earth Defence Forces and the Ildaran Empire just couldn’t sit around in space and wait, I needed the other books now!

One by one relatives sourced me the other books in the series, and I started reading, book, 2, 3, 4 5 arghhh! book 6 and 7 where not even written yet.. I was leaving the hero stranded, treading water in the one sea on a water world, and the next book wasn’t even written…

A year later, the eagerly awaited book 6 was released, and I was first in line to get a copy, having pre-ordered many months before with Amazon. Knowing the publication date, and expecting the delivery, I speed read through the first 5 books, to get myself back upto warp speed, and on delivery morning eagerly awaited the postman.

The book arrived, and I immediately started reading.

Everything worked out for the heroes, and the whole story moved on loads, then I ran out of pages, and looked at the publication date for book 7 … sh*t, I have to wait another 12 MONTHS!

The time passed, and again i placed a preorder with Amazon, and again, knowing the arrival date of the book, i speed read through the previous 6 books, and then the morning of the delivery arrived, and I started reading.

12 days later, i finished the book, i just couldn’t get into it, Book 7: The Ashes of Worlds, it just doesn’t flow like the other books did, it was almost boring, to be honest, if this had been book one, I wouldn’t have even bothered to finish it, the whole book to me at least read like it was written by a man who was totally fed up with the whole story, who was looking for a way to just get it ended, it was like a film that was going great, but someone realised it had reached the 1hr 28min time point, and they had to get it finished by the 1hr 30min mark.

I feel the last book, a total disappointment, not written with the enthusiasm of the previous ones, and having the feel of a film that ends oddly, or the hurried script rewrite of a weekly TV episode that one of the stars gets sacked, and the story-lines get re-wrote to kill them off in some off-screen event, because the actor was sacked and the final departure couldn’t be filmed.

All the story threads of the Saga of the Seven Suns all get finished, nothing gets left unanswered, but some of the concluding events seem almost laughable considering the effort that obviously went in to planning the complex story-lines of the previous 6 books, it may have been better to close the saga over two books, but this would have meant an 8th book, and the authors contract was most likely only for the seven.

Having taken the time to read them all, and then laid out the cash to buy the series, which isn’t a small amount to buy all seven books, I am regrettably unimpressed by the concluding volume.

Cuil Spam?

There’s loads of hype around about the ‘new’ cuil search engine, everyone seems to be saying how good it is, how different etc, but I really do not like it, and I am not sure that its bots are very website friendly, they ran wild in my websites about 18 months ago, disregarding totally all that is in the Robots.txt, so much so that I ended up adding the complete range into iptables to save my server from continued hassle, at this period ‘Twiceler’ cuils roaming website scraping bot was still in training, at least thats what i was told when i emailed Jim (Jim’s the guy who keeps track of Twiceler, when he’s not busy with his horses.) asking what the f*** he was doing to my server

The cuil search engine is now alive and kicking and it seems they have changed the name from the original version of cuill to cuil, but I still don’t really like it.

So… The last week, I have been hit by spam into webforms, spam comments etc, but oddly it’s all been cuil related.

Why would anyone want to spam ‘for a search engine’?

All the spammed links have been coming into my sites from US based open proxies with no x-forwarded ip’s, the form fields, address box’s and details sections are being prefilled with crap and the main content item is then spam for the cuil search engine written in bbcode

[b][url=www.cuil.com]New Search Engine[/url][/b]

I can understand spammers that post spam links for gambling sites, drug sites or even spamming xxx site links, but who and why would anyone bother to spam website forms with links to www.cuil.com

I’m baffled, maybe Jim’s horses know?

Oxford Ambassador

I am glad to be able to say that my daughter has been selected to participate in the Oxford Access Scheme Ambassador Programme being run by Oxford University, she is one of 37 school children from her age group, from around the UK, apparently around 5000 children from different schools applied to join the scheme, and the 37 successful applicants will represent their Schools as Ambassadors for further education, the programme consists of  four years of residential and one day events leading up to university application, which can be for any university, not necessarily Oxford, she attends St. Aelred’s in Newton-le-Willows. It was the first time that St. Aelred’s had applied and put forward any of their pupils, so I am sure they are as happy as my wife and myself that our daughter got selected

There is a full website that gives all the details, CLICK HERE, from that I have selected the following which describes the programme and its purpose

"The Ambassador Programme is a four-year programme designed to support its participants (Ambassadors) throughout the remainder of their secondary education. The Programme aims to work with both the Ambassadors and, through them, their peers with their post-16 choices. The Programme hopes to encourage the Ambassadors to apply to a university that matches their potential. In addition, the Ambassadors will serve as ambassadors for higher education in their school, helping to inform their peers about the options available to them."

We are invited to attend with my daughter and one of her teachers from St. Aelred’s to the introductory event at Oxford University in December, will tell you more about it after that..

Family Party

Saturday evening we went to a family party, It was a Dunbar event, a surprise party for my wife’s Uncle Peter Dunbar, who is visiting from Australia, had a really good time, and the music was provided by Peters brother, Terry Dunbar, Singing and playing guitar with his pal Colin Guthrie on guitar.

I will put some more of the video clips of them onto my youtube account later, there a tremendously musical family, and really know how-to have a family party.

Friday 13th

I am not normally superstitious, I have never been someone to worry that its Friday 13th, but yesterday, it was that day, and yesterday I had loads of hassle and bad luck, so maybe there is something in this superstition lark after all..

  1. One of my canon lenses seems to have failed, the internal motor which does the auto focus, just buzz’s and doesn’t do anything else, seems to have stripped a gear or slipped somehow internally, this is really annoying, as I just checked Sigma’s website, and they charge 39 quid, just to take a look at a lens, then for work on the motor another 40 quid, and then add any parts onto that.   I bought the bloody lens second-hand for 100 quid over a year ago, so the cost to fix is almost the same as looking for another one,,,  well thats going to be my excuse for a new lens..
  2. Recently I upgraded one of my failing hard drives, bad sectors on a 120 gig drive, with a brand new 500 gig drive, and yes, you guessed it, yesterday it started knocking, it also has bad sectors, and it seems to be just ‘trying to die’ .     It does have a guarantee, so at least I know it will get replaced FOC, but, what’s more annoying is, this ‘new’ drive is where I placed all my stitched panorama’s from the recent Lady Hill excavation, I did write DVD copies of the images, and gave copies to Bob and Mark Olly, .. now it looks like I am going to have to ask for copies back of my own DVD’s, because the bad sectors seem to be right across the section that hold the images, and most simply do not open anymore… so that’s that.
  3. My web server decided to have a white page day, it ran out of resources, with little or no allocation of memory left it just started to display white pages, I spent around 3 hours attempting to solve the problems, restarting services, killing connections from yahoo and Google’s search bots, watching error logs etc, nothing I did seemed to help, the memory situation just got worse, I eventually got the support staff at the host involved, thinking I had missed something, or started some stupid looped process, but it turned out it was someone else, who has a VPS hosting account in the same shared server, who had major configuration issues, which was pulling the resources from all the other shared accounts, and effecting everyone, not just myself.  

So Friday 13th was a crap day, maybe i should have seen it coming, maybe its time to take more notice of superstition

Neolithic Burial Mound

In recent months I have been immersed with some real life stuffs, and following some of my other than www interests.

Along with another local antiquarian Bob Heyes, and with the help of local Archaeologist and TV Presenter Mark Olly alnig with numerous Volunteers, we have been instrumental in the discovery of a Neolithic Burial Mound.

we have a few known mounds locally, windmill hill, and Castle Hill are both listed in this megalithic website, but we have other mounds that are not, and this mound we excavated was one of these lesser known local ones


Lady Hill Mound

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At Home.. :)

Home at last, still very sore, but being home is cool, will be on crutches for approx 6 weeks, not supposed to drive for a few months, should give me time to get some of the many code projects i have hidden away to get completed. Have decided I am going to convert the Newton website to use joomla code, I am really impressed with Joomla, cannot see any reason to plod-on with postnuke, will probably convert my dowd webspace also to joomla, the easyspace hosting runs out soon and i have already transfered the dowd domain name to 123reg, so this enforced home detention will give me the time to get these things done

postnuke 2 Joomla

I have now done a few test conversions of a full working postnuke website into a joomla one Even managed to transfer all the forum posts from pnforum into joomlaboard. it wasn’t too difficult, finding the correct scripts via google and other forums was the hardest part. then i had to seperatly transfer all the pnforum posts into a standalone verion of phpbb, then later when i had inported all the users, weblinks, articles, categories etc from postnuke into joomla, imported the forum posts from the standalone phpbb, their seems no way to directly import the posts pnforum 2 joomlaboard and not loose the users details etc. So now i know I can do it, i suppose i have to decide am I going to, and if so when?

Steven Dowd

Nuke or Joomla!

I am in a dilemma, I have used postnuke for years, but lately am very disheartened with it, it seems to be lagging behind other systems, particulally Joomla. I have used postnuke for websites since day one of nukes creation, I have been stood back from the community for quite some years due to my legal hassles, but have always kept up with whats been going on, at the moment I feel the system is failing to keep up, to make the system do some of the pretty things joomla does, i would have to find 3rd part addons etc etc, and then worry whether the authors would upkeep them, yet Joomla does most all things straight out of the box. If I had to list the particular things which have impressed me with Joomla, which are missing in postnuke I would have to list them as follows.

  • Built in Image system, image uploads, content image insertion, Image admin for all sections, groups, links, contacts, menu items etc
  • Front page management, article / news order management, ordering for front page items, ordering for links, sections, contacts etc
  • Module, Components, Themes Installation system.
  • Simpler permissions, Groups and User management.

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