Monthly Archives: May 2013

Maintenance: Backups and Switching to MariaDB

DB Swap

DB Swap

Still waiting… So here’s a technology post…

I have been managing WordPress site on this Raspberry Pi for a while now and I have been diligent in upgrading everything as it comes out. It is a little bit risky, because this is in effect a PROD server, but I have been taking regular backups that go onto a RAID5 NAS. If anything catastrophic happens, I *should* be able to recover.

As we are waiting for the arrival of the baby, I had a chance to do a couple of house keeping items I have been putting off:

  • Resize the main partition on the USB key – I copied it from the SD card when I swapped over from 16G to 32G
  • Update MySQL – It’s been bugging me to build something when I run pacu (my aliased pacman -Syu with AUR)
  • Run a monthly image backup
  • Run a content xml backup

I budgeted that the time for this maintanence window to be something like an hour. The backup image usually takes 20 minutes and the resize and content backup would have taken 5 minutes or so. The update to MySQL was the big unknown for me as I had no idea how to build a package or really how AUR works. Usually, I would do work like this in the middle of the night, probably before posting something so that there is no traffic. But seeing as that I have time now and I will soon need all of the sleep I can get, I figured this was a good a time as any. So I checked the stats and it seemed like nothing really happening in terms of people looking at the site, and away I went!

After doing the backups and resizing, I took a look at the MySQL update. I tried using PKGBUILD to get it running, but I seem to be hitting roadblocks every now and then that stop the build. It was a little frustrating having things come up and settings you have to change to make it work for the Raspberry Pi (arm). After doing some searching, it turns out that ArchLinux changed their implementation of MySQL to MariaDB and the usual MySQL packages got banished to AUR. See announcement here and some compatibility notes here.

Skimming the incompatibilities, it didn’t seem like it affected me as I run a pretty stock set of configurations for WordPress. The instructions seem easy enough and I am glad that they posted it.

# systemctl stop mysqld
# pacman -S mariadb libmariadbclient mariadb-clients
# systemctl start mysqld
# mysql_upgrade -p

I upgraded the MySQL to MariaDB without much hassle. I just had to diff the my.cnf file and copy some tweaks/settings from the old file to the new my.cnf.

All in all, it was a better and shorter maintenance outage than expected.

Into the Final Countdown!

Amaryllis - Ready to Bloom

Amaryllis – Ready to Bloom

And we are now into the home stretch! Our baby is due at the end of the week, and its looking like there is light at the end of the tunnel.
This week the baby is about the weight of an LCD projector and about the size of a small pumpkin or jackfruit. So imagine having to push those items out of you, I think we are going to be in for an interesting ride.

“Stretch” is a fitting term for these last couple of days…
For the expectant fathers out there without Google, the last phase of your wife’s wonderful journey is priming her body to get the baby out of her. Braxton Hicks contractions are probably occurring frequently as the body is getting used to flexing those muscles in preparation for labor. You can tell she is having this type of contraction when the belly gets really hard and passes within a few seconds. It is really cool to feel it as it’s happening, one minute, it’s kinda soft and sometimes with a foot kicking your hand, then next, it’s hard like you have your hand on a bowling ball.

Basically, this continues until the contractions becomes stronger while the cervix dilates and labor begins. Then the rest of the process should just fall into place. Apparently, the media has portrayed that the final pushing part as the hardest, but we have told otherwise. The hardest part is the active labor part, and the final looks much worse than it actually is because the couple is usually bone tired when it gets to that stage. Yes, both the expectant dad and the expectant mom, one from mental fatigue and the other from the physical exertion respectively. We’ll see whether or not that’s true when we go through it.

The recommended timing of the contractions by the people at the prenatal course at our hospital is 5-1-1. When contractions gets to 5 minutes apart, contracting for 1 minute, regularly for 1 hour, that’s when you should be in the car driving to the hospital. So far, my wife has been having irregular Braxton-Hicks and some back soreness. If you can call them contractions, they aren’t painful, it’s just a funny feeling with everything being tight. Nothing regular yet, so it seems like the 5-1-1 count and me speeding on the highway is still far away. While it seems like that, I feel like it can happen at any moment.

To that thought, the car is packed with all the gear that we’ll need: her overnight bag, my overnight bag, the baby’s bag, the car seat which is already in the back seat, and some food items/snacks have been put into the bags to tide us over if we need to stay in the delivery room for an extended period of time. In short, we are all ready to go!

The waiting game begins…

Google I/O 2013

Google I/O 2013

Google I/O 2013

This week is Google I/O. I usually go to this conference, barring a shortage of the tickets. This year though, the due date of the baby sits around this time, so we figured that it would probably not be a good idea for me to be away. I didn’t even bother with the ticket lottery this year. Given that fact, I am convinced that the baby will arrive in the next day or so, either during or immediately after the conference. While everyone is getting swag this year, I will probably be getting a baby! :-)

Yesterday’s keynote was very interesting with lots of announcements and upgrades to Google Services.
The key ones of note for me are:

  • Google+ updated look and the ability to auto hashtag and discover deeper with other posts
  • Google+ Photos updated with new features like Highlights, Auto Enhance, and Auto Awesome
  • Google Maps update to integrate with other location products like StreetView, Earth, and personal maps
  • Hangouts is the new messager tying together all of the messaging services that they offer and now on iOS too!
  • There were other things too, but the above were the ones I thought that would have the most impact for me.

All in all, while there weren’t that many announcements for Project Glass and Android (And I was looking for updates), I think the announced changes with Google+, Maps, and Hangouts will come in handy when I am off from work with the baby and want to explore the web, publish content, and connect with friends.

These are exciting times and I look forward to seeing what else Google will bring to the table.
This I/O isn’t even over yet, and I can’t wait to maybe go next year!

My First Pin Party


#BeautifulBabyShower on Pinterest

A few days ago, I attended my first Pinterest Party. To be honest, my social media skills primarily lie with Twitter and Instagram. Facebook is up there too, but I haven’t really gone beyond the functionality that was around when I first signed up in 2004. Google+ is cool, I like it but I often neglect it, though I am working to be more diligent with posting.

So aside from having my account registered to reserve the name, my Pinterest skills are virtually non-existent. I had to ask my wife to give me the 5 minute abridged version of the instruction manual. It’s kinda cool, being able to take pictures from the web and ‘pin’ it to a category, make notes, and share it with others. I can see why it has been so popular.

Once I was primed with how everything works, I signed up to the pin party and was given contributor permissions on the board. When the pin party started, I started pinning away. It was really cool to be able to select pictures on a website to post and then add your own notes to it. While I was adding my pins and ideas on the board, I saw a rush of post from all the other parents posting as well. There were some pretty great ideas, ranging from baby shower suggestions to nursery decor to newborn photography ideas.

All of this was sponsored by some really cool brands by means of a giveaway. It was a really great way to get your brand out there and get people interested about your product. I found this pin party through @StokkeBaby on Twitter. They make baby products ranging from strollers to furniture to car seats. I really love the design and style of their products. There were other brands involved as well, such as @ilovehippeas, who makes natural baby hair products, and @BabyCargo, who makes stylish baby gear. I have never heard of Hip Peas and Baby Cargo, but they all look like cool products and I will be thinking of them now that I know who they are.

Sadly, I didn’t win anything, but I had a blast with this pin party and I am looking forward more of these in the future. I will probably be also using Pinterest more to get ideas for baby stuff.

Thanks again to @lilstylefile and @BonBonRoseGirls for hosting this!
Congrats to all the winners!