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Operation Wipe-Out

I ran an ‘optimization utility today on this blog, it seemed to go fine in the WordPress Dashboard but then I visited the website and *poof* the entire site of posts, pages, comments and links were gone. It was almost like a brand new WordPress site install.

Of course these optimization utilities always say, ‘back-up your database before proceeding.’ And like reading the iTunes Music Store Terms of Service I ignored it and plowed ahead. Truthfully, I usually do backup the database before doing this kind of operation 99.9% of the time. But this was a 0.1% opportunity to live dangerously.

Of course one of the funny things is that I had just deleted another database backup plugin before destroying the site so I couldn’t use that to restore the database. Actually I could by re-installing the deleted plugin since the back-up directory and files still exist but hey I proceeded to screw things up even more.

Operation Restore

I did still have the plugin utility BackupBuddy installed and I could see that I had a full database backup from December 22, 2014 which included all post changes before this one so I was in luck. Should be easy to restore.

The plugin has a restore wizard and also a button to rollback the database. That rollback thing sounded good so I pressed the button, watched it do it’s magic, watched some progress indicators spin then watched it stop and spit-out an error message that linked to an explanation saying that there was an error and things stopped, not like I didn’t already know that.

Okay, I decide to try again. I hit a link and *boom*. Blank webpage saying, site is unavailable, undergoing maintenance. Both the Dashboard and front page saying this. Can’t go forward, can’t go backwards.

Operation Restore! Part Deux

Okay, this is more serious. Not quite website Chernobyl, more like Three Mile Island. A wrong step could make life difficult but still far from meltdown.

BackupBuddy has a feature that allows you to do a restore, or migration, without using WordPress or needing the Dashboard. Just run a PHP script and voila, your restore begins. I run the script and it asks for a password. Not just any password, it asks for the ImportBuddy password. This is NOT the website password, not the BackupBuddy company password, this is a special password that was created when first installing the plugin. And, get this, there doesn’t seem to be any password recovery system if you don’t remember the password.

Of course I don’t remember the password, nor is it written into any of my password keeper apps. After a bunch of failed attempts, getting locked-out of the login screen, resetting the logs so I can try again I finally guess at the correct password. I guess at it because I have a mnemonic system I used to generate unique passwords and it worked. By the way, I don’t use that system anymore as it’s kind of only medium strength.


I now had my password, ran through the moderately complicated restore instructions (or very complicated if you’re not used to WordPress or other other database driven websites). Some online unzipping and database building and the website is trasported back six days in time.

So what did we learn kids? Aways back-up your websites. And back-up when you’re doing some kind of optimization or website upgrade, especially if just above the do it button says, ‘back-up your database before proceeding.’


BackupBuddy – A solid backup plugin/utility. This is a paid app but it’s worth it.
VaultPress – Offsite automatic backup utility that keeps your mission critical site backedup every minute and they even can hold your hand when restoring. Better than BackupBuddy and for extra money they can security scan your site continuously. It’s a paid subscription but it can get you out of a serious jam.

photos sci-tech software

Magic Lantern for Canon 60D FW 1.0.9


Looks like the Magic Lantern firmware hack for the Canon 60D has been posted for Firmware version 1.0.9 here

This is an alpha version (really early software, before even beta) of the software hack, hope they can move it along as the Canon 60D really needs some of its features like:

  • on screen audio meters during recording
  • ability to have both external and internal mics recording to separate channels
  • focus peaking
  • manual audio control while recording
  • zebra stripes for exposure
  • cropmarks
  • intervalometer

Hope they can make it happen. I might have to give the alpha a go.

UPDATE 4/20/11

Loaded Magic Lantern for 60D firmware 1.0.9 and although I could get all the nice features up on the screen I ran into two problems:

  1. I can’t get the firmware to autoboot yet. I can update the firmware and all the menus work but if the camera is switched-off then I have to update again which I’m not going to do. Instructions warn, “DO NOT repeat the firmware upgrade step with magiclantern.fir! There may be a firmware update counter like on the 7D, and you may end up with a bricked camera.”
  2. Can’t get the record button to work. Yeah, this is kind of essential if you want to record video but hey it’s an alpha version. *update* Someone said record button won’t work with the lens in autofocus mode so I’ll have to try with AF off.

So it looks like it shows great promise. Having audio feed into both channels at once with internal and external mic is great. Focus peaking somewhat works. Live audio meters are darling and I don’t know why Canon doesn’t just have that on in the native firmware.

Hopefully in a week or two they will have some of these bugs worked through. Great work is being done on the project. May hat’s off to them.

UPDATE (4/27/11)

Zsolt Sz. Sztupák has released the his fourth alpha release of the Magic Lantern firmware here and this time it has install instructions, a manual, all the files needed (except MacBoot if you choose to use that to prepare your SD cards).

I still can’t get the firmware to set the bootflag on my 60D for some reason despite preparing a 32GB & 2GB SD card according to instructions using MacBoot and later trying with a script command via my Terminal app. According to the Wiki site the ML firmware currently doesn’t set bootflag.

Users should wait until the firmware is at least out of alpha stage before trying an install. It is still unknown if the 60D has a firmware upgrade counter like the Canon 7D. The counter will only allow a certain number of firmware updates. After that the camera will lock-out the user from performing anymore updates, even official ones from Canon.

UPDATE (7/17/11)

Magic Lantern has a new Wiki page for 60D owners which is unified with some of the Rebel versions of Magic Lantern


If you follow the links and download the firmware make sure you download the correct version! The filename of the zipped file and extracted folder should say 60D  in it if that’s the camera you’re going to run ML on.

This is a great update! Loading of the firmware is so fast it’s close to using the native firmware as there’s no start-up wait screen anymore.

Projects software wordpress

Developing WordPress plugins

Geek-talk ahead

I put together my first WordPress plugin and was going to submit it to the plugin repository but on second thought I decided not to because:

  • You have to jump through a few hoops to install it
  • You have to continue jumping through a few hoops to maintain it
  • I may lag in the hoop-jumping maintaining the plugin myself though I’ve been updating it fairly well so far

The plugin solves the use of shortcodes like those that come with WooThemes and Elegant Themes when displayed via WPtouch/Pro on a mobile device. Without the plugin scheme the raw shortcodes will be rendered on a mobile screen which is both ugly and dysfunctional.

So if you want it go the link at the top of this page or click here.

The formatting of the plugin page isn’t pretty because it was created according to the strict guidelines of WordPress plugin documentation.

Remember, I warned you about the hoops.