One for friends and family

Gillian and me in Venice
Gillian and me in Venice (Photo credit: Iain Purdie)

I’m relieved and happy to say that my initial draft of this post has been overhauled and updated to reflect a slightly more optimistic view of the future, but that doesn’t lessen the importance of why I’m posting. I would be very grateful if friends/family could read this as it’s important to Gillian and I that you’re aware of our current situation and what may happen in coming weeks/months if things don’t work out.

Hopefully everyone will see this post at once. It seems the best way to get the “news” out.

Gillian and I came very close to separating recently.

As I stated in a blog post back in the new year, I was failing her as a husband and failing the kids as a father. Gillian was becoming less and less happy, and more certain that she was better off as a single mother.

In addition, I did something last year that I hugely regret. Use your imagination – you’re probably right and I don’t want to talk about it. However, at that time and while going through counselling to try and salvage our marriage (something I convinced Gillian to stop as I was finding it very uncomfortable and non-beneficial, in hindsight another error), I was given the opportunity to come clean about any other indescretions; one in particular about which I was directly questioned.

I chose to lie about it and cover up, believing that it was in the past, had no bearing on the present and future and was better left buried.

I was wrong.

Gillian discovered last weekend that I had been dishonest about this and asked me to leave the household forthwith. A friend, to whom I will be eternally grateful, offered me a spare room while I got my feet under me but – thankfully – after some frank discussions, some structuring of our life plans and some serious heart to hearts, Gillian has extended me one final chance.

I would ask all of you who may feel divided loyalties in this matter to bear this in mind: I am at fault. Entirely. Gillian is thinking, in the long term, of our family. I trust her judgement. I want nothing but the best for her and for our three wonderful children who I would miss more than I can ever put into words were we to part ways. She would, of course (we’ve discussed this), allow me full access. But I’d miss things like being woken up at 5am by a toddler screeching for Cbeebies. Much as I complain about this, it’s memories like this that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

More than anything else, I’m sorry for what I’ve done to Gillian who – and I appreciate that anyone would find this hard to believe given my actions – I love, respect and admire more than I can say.

Many of  you will have seen the post on the Moshville Times explaining that I’m putting it on the back burner at present – bubbling along, but not focussed on nearly as much as I have been up until now. This is the main reason. I’ve become far too distracted from my family and I need to dig myself out of the comfy, antisocial hole into which I had slid. Raising children and being a husband aren’t easy tasks, or at least they don’t come naturally to me.

The solution to this shouldn’t be to hide away from it as I have been doing, but to realise I’ve had a very rich and fulfilling (and easy) life up until now and to man up and face this new challenge. One which should (WILL!) be even more rich and fulfilling.


WordPress automatic upgrade problem

Image representing WordPress as depicted in Cr...
WordPress - now with added 2.8-ness

Full credit for this solution goes to “vtroia” on the WordPress support forum. However, just to ensure the information’s available in more places I’m popping it here.

Symptoms: When trying to use the inbuilt auto-upgrade of WordPress, you simply get a message stating:

Downloading update from …

The ending will vary depending on the version you’re trying to update to. Nothing else happens, or it’s just damn slow. There’s no way to tell.

My host is 1and1. I noticed others on the original problem thread had the same one, though I suspect the problem could relate to others as well.

Solution: You need to edit the relevant .htaccess file on your server. This is one of those “for crying out loud, make sure you know what you’re doing” situations, like hacking the registry. Do ensure you have a backup and do ensure you only make the following changes. Make sure you change the correct one, as well.

The problem is that WordPress is either using the wrong version of PHP on the server, or is confused as there is more than one available and it doesn’t know which to pick. Regardless, the solution is to tell it to use PHP5.

To do this, locate and edit the .htaccess file (you may have to download it, edit it and re-upload) and add the following lines:

# Ensure PHP5 being used
# For WordPress auto upgrade
AddType x-mapp-php5 .php
AddHandler x-mapp-php5 .php

The first two are only comments, but it’s useful to know what code is doing.

Once saved, retry your upgrade. I found that I now get a pause of around 15-20 seconds when I click on the “Upgrade Now” button, the screen refreshes and the upgrade is done.

Afterwards: Change it back again, or at least add “#” to the bottom two lines. I found that by not doing this, some functionality in WordPress was jiggered. Specifically, the display and edit of the Permalink underneath the post title as you’re entering/editing it. I’m also still missing the “Recommended Link” section from Zemanta but only on Firefox – it’s reappeared when I use Chrome since I restored the .htaccess file. This could be a caching thing, so I’m going to do some more checking and will update this post as and when I find a fix.

Update: The links issue was a Zemanta problem which they’ve swiftly repaired. However, I am now left with a half-functional dashboard page. This isn’t Zemanta – I’ve disabled it to check. I get only the left column of my opening admin screen and none of the pop-up menus work. As soon as I click on one of the non-popped-up buttons, I go to the relevant default screen and everything works again. It’s only the main admin screen. Gah.

Update 2: Seems there are a lot of issues with plug-ins and WordPress 2.8. If you can, check your plug-ins for compatibility before upgrading. However, note that some of the ones I’m having issues with claim to be compatible with this new release.

Update 3: I re-enabled the lines in the .htaccess and it’s resolved most of the issues. And created one tiny one that seems to be ironing itself out. By which I mean sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t. Bizarre.

Just as a disclaimer, it ain’t my fault if you screw your .htaccess by doing this. Be sure you know what you’re doing before to edit it. As long as you only enter the lines shown, as far as I’m aware it will not cause any problems that you can’t sort out by removing the lines again but every installation and setup is different!

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Bloatware? Erm… yeah

Office 2007 Professional retail box

Upgrading some PCs at the moment as part of the closedown procedures, and I spotted one patch coming down the wire from Microsoft Update – 2007 Microsoft Office Suite Service Pack 1. A whopping 194Mb. Ouch.

Now, given that one of the “selling points” of Office 2007 is its smaller OXML (.docx etc) files which are a significant space-saver over the old format Office files, isn’t it a little poor to issue a patch which is larger than some office suits? How big is Office 2007 if a patch is just shy of 200Mb?

I’m glad I stuck with OpenOffice. Version 2.4 is a whopping (not) 127Mb download. That’s the actual suite, not an update or a patch.

It’s all change…

This is the final one of my blogs to be transferred from Blogger to WordPress. And the biggest headache as I needed to get all 4500 or so comments across from Haloscan. I think I’ve got everything. Posts and comments all seem to be intact, so I now have to start the donkey work.

Any broken links will be attended to as and when I can manage it. If you spot any, please do let me know. I’ll get a “contact me” page up shortly for those who don’t know my email address, or just post a comment on this page.

Also, I know the layout’s a bit poop but my main concern was getting all the data over. I’ll glitz things up, apply a better theme and replace all the gadgets soon. Ish. Work’s about to get very busy for a week or so, so it’ll be around that.

As ever, comments welcome!