Entries from November 2006 ↓

Install WordPress

We are going to assume that you will be using PHP, Apache2, and mysql and that all this software is already installed and running on the computer that will have wordpress installed on it.

First unzip the wordpress software. After it unzip, it will have formed a wordpress directory with all the software located in that directory or in directories beneath it. This should occur in the home directory of the target machine running a version of Linux.

While in that home directory with the new wordpress directory in view while you are in a terminal as root or at least with root privileges issue the following command:

Debian-Etch#mv wordpress /var/www/apache2-default/

This will move the wordpress software into the apache2-default directory. It is assumed that the webserver Apache2 is installed such that it will allow software to be served from the apache2-default directory.

Go to /var/www/apache2-default and issue the following command:

chmod 755 wordpress

Now go to /var/www/apache2-default/wordpress/
Do an ls or dir. Locate the file wp-sample-config.php.


Debian-Etch#vi wp-sample-config.php

Edit the file by changing the mysql user (root) and the mysql password (root_pwd) and make sure that the database title is correct. It should be wordpress.

Save the file as wp-config.php.

Now startup a browser either on the Linux machine or on a machine that is on the LAN.

Address the IP of the the machine that has the target wordpress software. For example

You will get a screen complaining that wordpress has not yet been installed. There will be a blue link to a file that will take care of the installation. Just click on that link and follow the instructions on the screen. There are only three steps and the first two don’t count. The third step will give you a password and user name (probably admin) that you can use to get into the wordpress blog and begin blogging.

I any of this stuff does not work as expected, you may be missing some of the prerequisites.

Need to have the following installed and running in the background.

Apache or some other server

The server also needs to have any php enabling software installed if required. Apache needs the php software that allows it to talk via php programs to the database.

The database must be running. The database is mysql. It also needs to be set up with a password and have a database created that the wp-config.php file will call for.

Once all that is satisfied, the thing should work.

If you have gotten this far and it still will not work, seek help from someone who knows what he is doing. No, no internet browsing or phone help or other remote support. You need a real live person to come show you what needs to be done.


Setting up mysql for wordpress.

I have a local area network in my house. There are several computers on this LAN, one of them runs Debian-Etch and serves as a sandbox. A sandbox is a term used for many things. In this case it is a LAN blog based on wordpress.

The machine running this sandbox is also capable of being used as a standalone blog machine. It can be removed from the LAN and the blog can be viewed, maintained, and used through a browser working into the blog machine under Linux.

Here is a sequence of commands required to setup a fresh installation of mysql to work with the wordpress software.

First we make sure that mysql is running. If you don’t get the results below, it may not be running. In that case try:

/sbin/chkconfig mysqld on


/sbin/service mysqld start

Now set up the root password for mysql

mysql -u root mysql

mysql> UPDATE user SET Password=PASSWORD(‘root_pwd’) WHERE user=’root’;

note: root_pwd should be the password you want to use. Also, don’t forget the ‘ marks and the ; at the end.


mysql> quit

The password is now set. In the example above it is root_pwd.

Now log back on and create a wordpress database.

mysql -u root -p

mysql> create database wordpress;
mysql> show databases;

Make sure that the wordpress database is displayed.

mysql> grant all on wordpress.* to ‘root’@'localhost’ identified by ‘root_pwd’;

If mysql does not accept the commands, it could be you left off the ; at the end of the command. The ; identifies the expression as a command. Also, don’t forget the ‘. The ‘ is the character below the ” and is located on that same key of the keyboard.


After having absolutely no problems running any version of Debian it was about time that something went south.

On installing Debian-Etch on an old Cyrix 266mhz, 198meg ram, computer with a Sceptre monitor and A50 graphics card, I had trouble getting the xserver to work correctly.

This computer and monitor combination works just fine under win98se with the A50 drivers and the monitor forced as a SuperVGA 1280×1024.

The Debian-Etch installer does much to automatically identify hardware. There was no way it was going to identify the Sceptre monitor. Even I have not been able to do that conclusively. However, I would have thought that it would be able to identify the A50 card as being a sis6326 type graphics card. It did that but it turns out that does not work. What it needed was a manual selection of the VESA driver instead.

After several hours of installation we finally got to see if the xserver was going to work. When it failed, we were left with a messed up screen and no clean way to fix it. So we powered down, rebooted and came up in single user maintenance mode.

We had to use the root password to log in.

Once in we issued the following command – dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg.

After defaulting to nearly everything we manually selected the graphics card as being a VESA type and manually selected the monitor as being a supervga 1024×768 and defaulted to the maximum resolution possible.

That worked.

I Appreciate

Many decades ago a British subject took an interest in muslim tribes of Arabia. He was Lawrence of Arabia. His quest was to unify the many Arab tribes into a nation. He failed.

Today we have Bush of Iraq trying to do the same thing and it looks like he is having even less success than Lawrence did many decades ago. I guess lack of success is failure and failure is failure regardless of degree or circumstance.

Several months ago we discovered that feeling passionately about something or trying very, very, very, very, very, very hard is no substitute for success. If you don’t succeed then you fail and no amount of spin is going to change that.

Sometimes even students of history repeat past mistakes because recorded history is usually written by politicians and may not resemble the reality of what happened and why.

So we have a very appreciative leader showing a very unappreciative appreciation for histories past mistakes.

I can appreciate that.

What I can’t appreciate could fill a volume and is better submitted as a list.

1. I don’t appreciate Republicans parading as conservatives only to be found out to be liberals.

2. I don’t appreciate RINOs growing government.

3. I don’t appreciate RINOs claiming not to be interested in ‘Nation Building’ before election only to invade a nation after election to try their hand at nation building.

4. I don’t appreciated growing government by creating homeland security to pick up where the defense department failed. One or the other but not both. Fist we need to know why the Defense Department failed to defend us and fix that. Now we have two government agencies to abuse the purpose of their existence. When they fail we have twice the problem and more than twice the expense and taxpayer burden.

5. I don’t appreciate government spending with no sign of responsibility.

6. I don’t appreciate bi-partisanship. I think it is giving in to the opposition.

7. I don’t appreciate pardoning 12 million criminals and accepting them as citizens.

8. I don’t appreciate welcoming invaders as ‘Guest Workers’.

9. I don’t appreciate open borders.

10. I don’t appreciate bestowing rights of citizenship on our enemies.

11. I don’t appreciate claims that something we are doing is preventing something that did not happen. That kind of reasoning is the height of absurdity. It is right up there with claims of ‘I did not inhale’.

12. I don’t appreciate political correctness. Mainly because it allows the people who are ALWAYS wrong to decide what is right.

13. I don’t appreciate affirmative action unless it works to my advantage.

14. I don’t appreciate people who benefit from the misery of others.

15. I don’t appreciate not being able to vote for candidates whos names never make it to the ballot.

16. I don’t appreciate people who accuse others of the evil they, themselves do.

17. I don’t appreciate people who are so obsessed with a show of compassion that they are willing to become immoral and corrupt to make the evil doers feel better about themselves.

18. I don’t appreciate people who claim to have an appreciation when it is perfectly obvious that they have no idea, knowledge, or understanding of the topic being discussed.

19. I don’t appreciate office holders who take oaths to uphold the constitution and our laws only to see them ignore their responsibility to do so.

20. I don’t appreciate people who are obviously immoral lecturing others on morality.

21. I don’t appreciate the subtlety of spin. A lie is a lie is a lie.

22. I don’t appreciate people claiming ‘all men are created equal’. If that were true there would be much less conflict and competition. All men should have equal rights. Only fools worship the sanctity of a falsehood by calling it faith.

23. I don’t appreciate evil doers hiding behind priestly robes.

24. I don’t appreciate government stealing property and calling it eminent domain. Such action needs to be met by eminent revolution.

25. I don’t appreciate the worst of the crooked politicians claiming that by taking the money out of politics they attain higher moral performance. If you don’t have a moral compass before becoming politically involved, you are not going to find it as a politician regardless of how much money you take out of campaigning.

26. I don’t appreciate politicians telling me to ‘do as I say, don’t do as I do.’

When you look at that long list, you really have to ask how we got to this point.

Some of the more religious wonder if the end times are upon us. With things this bad, surely the second coming is not far off.

I suspect that the second coming occurred centuries ago. That we are the ones who descended from those who were left behind.

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Debian Upgrade

I have been using Debian Sarge, the latest stable release, for some time now on two computers. It has been stable. At least I have not experienced any incidences that I would consider unstable.

Still, I have always been wanting to upgrade to the 2.6 kernel. Debian Sarge uses the 2.4 kernel. The 2.6 kernel has some nice features that are missing from the 2.4 kernel.

So, I decided to investigate what it would take to upgrade. Forget it. Too much effort for an upgrade. Which is a real disappointment because I was so happy to find such a nice net installation for Sarge.

Well, there is also a nice net installation for Etch, the 2.6 version of the kernel. The best way (for me) to upgrade was to nuke everything in the 2.4 version and start over by installing Etch. That was easy for me to do since I did not have much invested. I did have mysql, apache2 and wordpress installed but those things are easy to reinstall. Much easier that it would have been to try and upgrade from the 2.4 kernel.

Thanksgiving Trip

This Thanksgiving we made a trip to Austin. We left at around 10AM on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and arrived at 2PM with much to be thankful for.

I have never seen so many accidents on one 200 mile stretch of road in my entire life.

We were south bound on I-35 from Dallas. We were still north of Waco when we traffic became stop and go. The problem was a wreaked, maroon, motor home the size of a greyhound bus. It had a Texas Aggie logo on the back.

The thing was turned around the wrong way in the northbound lane and was sitting on some concrete center dividers that were off to the shoulder of the northbound lane. No clue as to what happened. There did not seem to be any other vehicles involved. The highway was not blocked. The slow traffic was being caused by rubber neckers. Morbid curiosity on the part of the general public.

A few miles further on, traffic got back to normal and we again set the cruise to 70 and settled back.

I guess it is no longer fashionable to drive the speed limit. We were being passed on a regular basis by people in more of a hurry than we were. The old high speed convoy syndrome was in full effect. Bumper to bumper they drove and at speeds ten to fifteen miles above the speed limit.

I am not one of those who believe that speed kills. No more than I subscribe to the false theory that guns kill. People kill. Sometimes they use guns. Sometimes they use cars. Speeding while driving recklessly is never a safe or smart activity. The number of accidents we saw on our way to Austin were proof positive of our suppositions.

Just south of Waco traffic slowed again. This time it was chain reaction collision involving five cars in the fast lane of the northbound lane. That was accident number two.

Not long after that there was another traffic slow down. Same thing all over again. This time six cars were involved in a chain reaction collision in the fast lane. Luckily it was the northbound lane and did not block traffic flow in the southbound lane. That was accident number three.

At that point I was resigned to be on the road for a very long time. There was no way that ALL the accidents would only occur in the northbound lane. High speed, tail gateing, convoys were also southbound and passing me every few minutes.

Before we arrived in Austin around 2PM we saw three more chain reaction collisions in the northbound lane yet none in the southbound lane.

After we arrived, we felt very lucky not to have been effected by the insanity we witnessed on the highway. We had lots to be thankful for.

The return trip was somewhat less exciting. There was only one wreak but it added an additional hour to our trip. Stop and go traffic on all four lanes of the highway and all lanes on the access roads. Somewhere in the vicinity of Waco an 18 wheeler had decided to lay down in the middle of the center median. The tractor was in there somewhere but it was a barely recognizable, twisted mass of sheet metal. The trailer had been opened at the front and the impact had strewn hundreds of small parcels out onto the grassy ground in front of the tractor. A real mess. The trailer did not have any distinctive markings. That and the number of packages laying around made me suspect that this must have been a mail truck.

We passed by the accident site and made it home without incident. Later we discovered on the news that the truck accident had resulted in I-35 being shut down for four hours while they tried to recover the truck and contents. We must have been one of the few lucky that got through before the REAL accident happened.

Seems that the crane the brought out to the scene to lift the truck back onto its wheels, fell over and took out one of the fire trucks that were on guard against fuel fires. Now there was a story that will probably never get told completely. The crane fell over and destroyed a fire truck. I can understand bad things happening to good people, but this does not sound like that sort of event. I was not there. I did not see what happened, but I do know it did happen and it should not have happened. Probably would not have happened to people who knew what they were doing.

This has been a very interesting and thanks provoking Thanksgiving. We had just as much to be thankful for after the return trip as we had on the trip down there.

Not looking forward to any more holiday driving this year.

Pointless Ads

I have been noting an increase in the number of TV ads that try to sell automobiles based on their superior sound systems. One even claims to have a convenient MP3 player connection and cup holders.

They never mention any of the automotive characteristics, features, or claims about reliability or economy of operation. The whole ad leaves you with the impression that their marketing department has decided that they can sell a $20,000 cup holder, mp3 player power connection or radio.

Makes one wonder, if they have such crazies employed in their marketing department, what sort of insanity is occurring in their design and manufacturing departments. Must be pretty bad if they can’t talk about the car, just the accessories.

Brined Turkey

On Thanksgiving two years ago we began a tradition of having two turkeys, one smoked, the other roasted normally.

Our first grandson was born on Thanksgiving so, for us, it is a double celebration. Thanksgiving and a birthday.

This year will be the same except for a slight difference in preparation of the turkeys.

The food network is not our favorite cable channel but it does have some useful information most of the time. Of the programs on the food network, good eats with Alton Brown is a favorite because of good recipes as well as background information on what makes them good. This season Alton is pushing brined turkey. Not sure, he may also have been suggesting soaking the bird in salt last season but this is the first season we have decided to take him up on his suggestion.

We are following his recipe but changing the method just a little. Instead of stuffing the turkey into a five gallon bucket we are using the original plastic bag the bird was packaged in as means of holding the brine. The turkey, in the plastic bag is situated vertically in a large pot and braced with paper towel packing so that it remains vertical and can’t fall over. Then the brine is poured into the body cavity until it overflows and fills the rest of the plastic bag to the top.

The whole assembly is then carefully set into the refrigerator and left overnight. The following morning, the bird is removed, washed, stuffed with the prepared aromatics, and either roasted or smoked.

The first one is going to be smoked. We use a smoker. It is a five year old Brinkman Smok’n Grill Smoker. It is a dome shaped metal can that holds a tray of charcoal. Just above the charcoal sits a pan of water. One grill is located right above this pan. A second grill is located just above the first grill.

The charcoal provides the heat. The water turns to steam and the steam as well as the smoke cooks the meat. For a more distinct smoky flavor we add hickory wood chips and wood strips that have been soaked in water overnight. The hickory is placed into an open aluminum foil pouch that sits on top of the hot charcoal. That makes for lots of smoke and lots of flavor.

The smoker runs for about ten hours after which the turkey is removed and baked in the oven at 350 degrees for another hour to ensure it is fully cooked. We normally smoke chicken and allow about six hours of smoking for a chicken. The turkey is about twice to three times the size of a chicken, hence the extra time.

Cut into the meat to determine doneness. We do not trust the pop out temperature indicators, don’t own a meat thermometer, and like our poultry well done. Cutting into the breast and inspecting is the surest way we know of determining if it is fit to eat.

We have never brined or used the aromatic stuffing before this season. It will be interesting to see if it make a significant difference.

Death of the Helpful Hardware Man

Less than half a mile from my house is a shopping center. In that shopping center is an Ace Hardware store that has been there as long as we have been here, which is more than 30 years.

That hardware store used to be a super nice place to shop. It had more than one helpful hardware man. Not only were they helpful but they were very experienced and knowledgeable.

This store had a very good reputation in the neighborhood. It specialized in stocking parts for nearly any plumbing item ever used in this area over the last 40 years or so. If you had a problem of a plumbing nature, you could take in the offending item and have a replacement part a few seconds after finding their plumbing expert. I mean a repair part, not an entire faucet or fixture. Unlike a home improvement center, this Ace Hardware store believed a ten cent faucet washer failure did not demand replacing an entire faucet.

Their prices were not especially low. They might charge $2.50 for a 50 cent faucet seat but that was better than spending $50 at the home improvement center for an entire faucet.

About a year ago they started a remodeling project and reduced their knowledgeable staff to one person. They ripped out the small appliance repair shed and installed additional racks of merchandise. The existing racks of merchandise were moved closer together and were stacked higher. All of this activity occurred in the span of a month. The final touch was installation of a new floor so that you could not tell the racks had ever been moved.

Soon after that, the one helpful hardware man disappeared and prices began to increase. The increase was only a few percent at first but eventually grew to much more than that. For instance, a good well designed electrical plug went from $1.20 to $4.00. This made absolutely no sense because you could go to the home improvement center and buy a six foot extension cord with molded in plug for about $2.00. Just cut off the unneeded receptical end and replace the entire cord on the lamp needing the plug.

I also notice that their radio ads changed. Their jingle about the helpful hardware man was modified to present the helpful hardware folk. I did not think much of that or about that. I figured the helpful hardware man was just another martyr cut down by political correctness. As long as I could get help with hardware, I did not care about gender. I also did not care that much about price. If I was going to buy in quantity for a major project, I would go to a building supply place. Ace with the helpful hardware people was a low volume place where higher prices were justified by convenience and the quality of the help.

So the next time I had a plumbing problem I went to the Ace store. This time it was faucet washers for the bathroom shower. To make sure I got the right stuff, I removed the faucet stems and took them into the store with me. I was met by two eager young men. I held up the the faucet stems and told them I needed washers. The younger of the two asked ‘what size’ and ran off into the nuts and bolts section. The other had a better understanding of my needs.

We found two nice washers that looked like they would last for a long time. He put them in a little bag and wrote $2.00 on the bag. I thought that seemed a little high, but what the heck. At the checkout the lady rang up $4.00. After some consultation it became apparent that they were asking $2.00 each for the washers. I won’t be going back there anytime soon even if have to cut the washers out of sheet stock myself.

Change is not always good for everyone. In this case it will probably not be good for anyone including the new owners of the Ace Hardware store. Most of their customers were old timers like me. Now, with the unrealistic increase in prices and elimination of experienced help, it has become more than worth the trip to fill my hardware requirements at the home improvement center.