Rolling Backups with Cron

I recently needed to add some better backup systems to my current pet project.

There are 3 pretty important things to consider backing up in the case of this system:

  • The code
  • The database data
  • Some flat file uploads from users

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Linode VPS Hosting

On a recommendation I signed up for VPS hosting with Linode. I’ve moved my blog to the service and I’m testing some side-project development on the system.

Sure there’s higher latency for me, I’ve moved the blog from an Aussie shared hosting to this Linode located in California. Overall I think the website’s performance for everyone else will remain fine though and I’ve already set up Varnish to improve the time spent on the server.

They have some nice statistics available regarding usage of their hardware and an amusing iPhone app to monitor, configure and even reboot the VPS if needed.

So far I highly recommend the hosting to anyone interested, just start paying month by month if you’re not sure :)

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Reboot

I’ve just finished applying a new fresh coat of paint to my website. Hopefully I can find time to blog again on here.

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Ubuntu 9.04 on X31 Thinkpad

My laptop is a second-hand X31 Thinkpad.

They’re an extremely durable and reliable device in my opinion. I love that it’s light-ish at 1.6 kilos but doesn’t compromise on the keyboard size. I actually purchased it just before the Netbook craze kicked into gear in 2007. Sometimes I wish it was lighter but I’ve read enough complaints from people regarding the keyboard problems on Netbooks that I’m happy.

I run Ubuntu on the laptop and it’s getting better with a couple of gripes. Originally in 7.10 there were some fan and wireless problems but now 9.04 has everything working except two parts broke that I’ll detail here.

  • The external sound controls are no longer responding. Annoying but not too bad. I haven’t researched what has changed but I will update this post when I find out.
  • A more pressing problem was a small change in the xorg.conf file. The result was a bizarre, sluggish effect on the entire interface of laptop that was worst when minimizing windows and scrolling a page in Firefox. By sluggish I actually mean unusable :|

The omission was (under the device section):

Option “AccelMethod” “XAA”

The responsiveness is back to normal with that inclusion.

I personally don’t need Compiz on my laptop (a waste of battery I find) so here’s my current xorg.conf file for anyone that’s interested.

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Top Firefox Add-ons

Here’s a few lists of customisations I use in Firefox.

For web development:

  • Firebug – All round awesome web development tool. Allows for on-the-fly alterations to CSS, the HTML DOM. Inserting break points into JavaScript, viewing any existing JSON objects in memory and providing a JavaScript interpreter for debugging.
  • YSlow – Useful web profiler that adds itself to Firebug. Provides recommendations on how to optimise web pages as well.
  • Web Developer Toolbar – I prefer Firebug overall but Web Developer has a few extra features like resizing the window for different screen resolutions.
  • NoScript – Easy approach to enabling and disabling separate JavaScript files on a website.

My favourites:

  • Compact Menu – Allows you to get rid of the regular ‘File’ menu in Firefox and provides either a small ‘Globe’ icon or the simply the word ‘Menu’ that’ll drop down and provide the regular Firefox menu when clicked. Saves a lot of screen real estate for the user.
  • Fission – Turns the address bar into a loading indicator by representing how far loaded the page as a coloured bar spreading across the address. Similar to Safari’s address bar loading system.
  • Download Status Bar – Does away with the regular ‘Download Window’ of yesteryear and provides information on the status of downloads on the regular Firefox window via a pop-up status bar.

An essential (but detrimental to this blog’s revenue!) add-on:

  • AdBlock – Automatically hides (doesn’t even waste bandwidth on) adverts according to automagically maintained universal regular expressions.

Note: The ordering of the add-ons is not meant to indicate my preference or importance I place on them :)

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