I started out this morning happy with my web host. They’d sent me an alert about disk usage that allowed me to catch an error that would have filled up all the available space on my VPS and taken down this site and several others, and I was able to fix it before that happened. That changed as I discovered what had actually set it up, as revealed by another, more pressing issue.


A few months ago, my VPS did lock up, because I’d set up backups on a new site and forgot to add a cleanup script. Tech support brought the server back online, I cleared out the backups, and I copied the script over from this site.

But this site’s cleanup script stopped running, and it reached 90% usage. The script was there, but the cron job was somehow pointing to the other script. I figured I must have messed it up at the time, made sure it was correct now, and moved on.


Later this afternoon, though, I discovered that a test blog I set up last week was pointing to the wrong site. That seemed really weird. I looked in the control panel and it was very neatly pointing to the other site’s folder. How does that happen?

Then I remembered: A few days ago, I’d reconfigured several sites to upgrade them to PHP 7.2. I’d opened them in multiple tabs to I could get them all at once. And I had this sinking feeling.

Sure enough: DreamHost’s control panel doesn’t put the form state in the page. As far as I can tell, the ID of the record you’re editing is stored in the session somewhere, which is fine if you only ever have one page open at a time, but if you open two pages, it gets confused.

That’s what probably happened a few days ago: I opened two forms, saved them both, and the settings for one site got written to the other. And it’s probably what happened a few months back with the cron jobs: I opened one to edit, the other for reference, and it overwrote the wrong one.

As near as I can tell it’s just the one site that got messed up, which is a relief. Even better that it’s the test site and not, say, this one. But I’m still waiting for the fixed config change to take effect.


Always, always put the record ID for an edit form in the form. People will open multiple records in different tabs or windows, to compare them or just to speed up their workflow.

If you store it in session, or in a cookie, or anywhere else, you run a good chance of saving the data into the wrong record.

Photo of a door with a sign that says This Is Not a Door.So, remember this photo of a door labeled “This is not a door?” Last year, someone else sent a picture of the same door to FAIL Blog. Then a week ago, someone submitted mine to Friends of Irony, where Katie spotted it a few days later.

Here’s where things get interesting.

On both sites, people were absolutely convinced that it was “obviously” photoshopped.


No, it’s real. It’s in a small business complex at the corner of Newport Ave. and Irvine Blvd. in Tustin, California. You can go there and look if you want. And of course there are the two photos taken from different angles.

The obvious conclusion is that people don’t really know how to tell whether a photo has been manipulated. At least on FAIL Blog, some of the doubters had reasons, even though they amounted to not understanding perspective.

I was tempted to post a comment linking to this XKCD strip (My hobby: insisting that real-life objects are photoshopped), but settled for requesting a photo credit instead.

In the decade I’ve been using Linux, it’s gone from something that required lots of technical know-how just to set up, to something that (in its major flavors) can auto-detect most hardware and provides friendly GUIs for most configuration tasks. But every once in a while, I have the kind of experience that would turn a new user off of Linux. Usually because Fedora has decided to change something during an update.

In this case, it was a digital camera problem. Since we bought our Canon PowerShot SD600 last December, I’ve used KDE’s digiKam to transfer and manage the photos. DigiKam detected the camera and accessed the photos right out of the box, no configuration needed beyond telling it to remember the model. But something changed in the last two weeks, and last night I started getting an error message: Failed to connect to the camera. Oddly enough, it could still detect the camera when it was connected. But it couldn’t display or download the images.

I searched all over, hitting dead end after dead end, until I got a hint that it was a permissions problem. Continue reading