Is your new WordPress 2.6 install giving you a blank white screen? Here’s how to fix it.

Blog Meta, ECMA / Javascript, Miscellaneous, Word Press 46 Comments

The most common cause of a blank screen at any stage in the process, if your source view shows empty, is that PHP aborted during its run without dumping buffers.  During software upgrades, this is usually due to one of three reasons:

  1. An incomplete transfer of the requisite files.  Don’t insist that you’re certain that didn’t happen, even if it’s from a command like svn or cp that shouldn’t fail; you’re not certain until you’ve checked.
  2. PHP has run out of some resource, typically RAM.
  3. mod_security is set up brokenly

[digg-reddit-me]In both cases, you can figure out which by checking your apache logs.  On windows, go to the Windows Event Viewer.  On unix, this may live in a variety of places; most common is shared hosting by cpanel/plesk, where you can get it in your control panel, or to just look in /var/logs/ .

If it’s #1, you’re likely to see something like this in logs (this is from my site, which just suffered this problem and was quickly fixed) :

[Tue Jul 15 18:45:28 2008] [error] [client 24.117...]
PHP Fatal error:  Call to undefined function
force_ssl_admin() in /var/www/html/wp-settings.php on
line 390, referer: http://.../wp-admin/post.php?action=edit&post=55

Don’t worry if that undefined function has a different name or a different referrer, or whatever; that’s how you track down missing code, and missing code means some file didn’t get updated.

What would make a good image plugin?

Blog Meta, Daily Image, ECMA / Javascript, General Interest, Miscellaneous, Picture Links, Programming, Tools and Libraries, Web and Web Standards, Word Press 4 Comments

I’ve been thinking about making an image plugin for WordPress.  I want to restart my image of the day process, but the import process has been dreadful, and there’s no programmatic access to the image list, meaning things like random images and images from subgroups aren’t particularly reasonable.  To that end I need to write my own, and since I’d love the rank that comes from having a high-usage plugin, I need a clear idea of what things go into an image plugin, what features are missing from existing plugins, et cetera.

I’m already doing complex efficient randomization, API access, bulk posting, timed bulk posting, base autotagging, auto-categorization, a catalog widget, and I’m going to make sure that my stuff is compatible with the All In One SEO pack.  I’m going to provide integration points, and I’m going to provide an example integration with LightBox, or one of its relatives.  I’m going to provide voting, moderated tag suggestion and home-post permalinking.

I’ll also be writing strict, browser/version portable code without hacks.  Yay!

Please let me know what you’d want to see if there were a new image plugin coming out.

Planning a new focus on Erlang

Blog Meta, Erlang, Programming No Comments

I’ve been writing a ton of erlang libraries lately (some more useful than others).  After throwing Google Analytics on my site, I’ve discovered an inordinate focus on the little bit of Erlang stuff I posted.

Time to give the masses what they want, I guess.  In the upcoming month or two, I hope to release my modest testing library, my stub webserver and my utility library.  If they get useful traffic, maybe I’ll release more.

Stay tuned.

New domain, new blog; so long, so long, hello

Blog Meta, Miscellaneous, Rants 2 Comments

I splurged a little to get a new domain that I’m quite fond of.  Bahamas domains may be very expensive, but frankly, I think it was worth it.  One of my good friends Shea Silverman may have said it best: “if it wasn’t you, I’d say it was a waste.”

I’ll be moving content from several old sites, including,, and others, to this site by 301 to keep as much rank as possible.  That said, there’s a whole *lot* of half-written content on several of those sites, as well as content I haven’t gotten around to releasing, and I haven’t updated my image collection in years.  This is about to change.  (I’m not 301ing the old images so that people who’ve been using them in forums and so on don’t get a bunch of busted images; the old site is on a server that’s going to keep running.)

This’ll be a better site than my last several, and a lot more uniform.  I’m going to start doing a lot of new stuff, including some made-for-redistribution video tutorials that should make my old tutorials look pretty flimsy by comparison.  There are some games in the wings, too, and I’m going to start getting some shared resources together for flash developers.  I’ve been writing some Erlang material, too, and I’m really starting to like the way my tutorials come out in that language, so maybe it’s time for a directional shift.

Maybe more importantly, I’ve made a bunch of updates to some libraries that I had released as well as a bunch of libraries that I hadn’t released.  Quality has increased significantly.  I’m also setting up a SupportSuite instance to help support those libraries more effectively (I’m quickly falling in love with SupportSuite).

Finally, I’ve pretty much given up on hybrid sites.  I’m going to be using pages instead of the wiki from here on in.  Should be a lot easier to deal with.  So, the new site should have a great proliferation of static pages.

In short, there’s a whole lot of new stuff coming.  Stick around.

Yay For Flexible Plugins. Boo For Assumptions.

Blog Meta, Polls, Tools and Libraries, Web and Web Standards, Word Press No Comments

Well, I had something of a pleasant surprise, just now. Two Word Press plugins which weren’t expected to work together in fact do quite nicely. I now have inline per-article polling.

[?php jal_democracy(3); ?]

Read the rest…

Make Webpages, Damnit

Blog Meta No Comments

In setting up my new blog page, one of the things I did was to create a Friends Panel. Some of my dickhat friends have no webpages or essentially non-functional webpages. These people don’t go in the panel, unfortunately. At any rate, here’s a quick list of the people I’d like to add, if they weren’t such damned intarweb luddites.

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Word Press is Remarkably Painless

Blog Meta, Web and Web Standards No Comments

You know, if someone had told me there was a blog tool that genuinely felt like a low duty-cycle word processor, I probably would have laughed at them.

Also, I would have been wrong. Word Press turns out to be exactly what I wanted.
Read the rest…

New blogging system time

Blog Meta No Comments

Okay, I’ve decided that I don’t want to implement all the Web 2.0 stuff in MediaWiki as a set of extensions. Too pain-in-the-assical. So, instead I decided to set up WordPress. It looks pretty okay, it seems pretty painless, and it’s time to migrate, so that I can bind into the ever-growing set of connected systems out there.

Don’t get me wrong – I still love my wiki dearly. That said, connectivity is a bigger deal on the web than it is anywhere else, and thanks to the new boom of speculation driven by such fancy buzzwords as AJAX and Web 2.0, there’s a tremendous amount of new technology and effort going into the whole thing.
Read the rest…

Blog? What blog?

Blog Meta, DynoBright, My Games, Southgate No Comments

Oh right, I’m supposed to be updating this thing. What month is it again?
Read the rest…

Blogs Piss Me Off

Blog Meta, DynoBright, RAFB City 1 Comment

They say that the key to maintaining a successful blog is to write regularly at a pace people can predict, so that they’ll come back and check what’s new. Obviously, I’m doing a great job of that, cough. Read the rest…

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