TapReview of 2006 +2

I was glancing back over past posts and realised that I hadn’t reported back on what happened last year so better late than never (as they say), hence it covers 14 months.

  • Very little has been done on West Penwith Resources though I note that 14 major new sections were added at the start of the year bring it up to 857 pages. The promised makeover never happened. The primary cause was a major commitment offline which took up a large proportion of my time; I even had to drop work on the Census project for a while.
  • Custom fonts were abandoned. I came to the conclusion that not enough browsers supported them and the bandwidth penalty was too high.
  • I surprised myself by keeping up a flow of posts to the blog, managing one or two most weeks. Accidentally I seem to have become a national authority on the Renault Laguna, the Advent GPS system and mobile phone scammers, none of which I know a lot about.
  • This was the year that blog comment spam became a problem. I first installed the Akismet plugin which trapped it nicely and then, later, Worst Offenders to manage the collected spam and attempt to block it at source.
  • email spam got completely out of hand so I had to abandon the open domain approach and restrict addresses to a short list which involved changing a large number of sign-on accounts. It is now down to manageable proportions again.
  • Other than that and a small hiccup mid-year, email has been working reasonably well. I did consider changing supplier but the only one I contacted never replied. I don’t know how easy it is to separate email from hosting on the same domain.
  • The site is now running as a search engine for the Cornwall Online Census Project as their server doesn’t allow scripting. It is the biggest bandwidth user on my site but keeps the load down (and hence the host company happy) by using the Zoom CGI rather than PHP engine.
  • Offline I have finally detached myself from MS Office and gave away my copy to a deserving cause. OpenOffice 2 is good and the retraining curve has not been too great. The Firefox 2 upgrade was painless and has improved the spelling on this site by checking before posting.
  • While installing a new home computer (a traumatic and very time consuming business) I took the opportunity of re-organising our file server so that it is automatically backed up and can hence hold archive as well as backup files. I have fine tuned the client backups so they are easy to run (using Backup4all). I use my home setup as a sandbox for the church system which is run largely unattended and used by non-technical people so it has to be low impact.

For this year … ? I am wary of making resolutions as I met so few of them last year; any way it is a bit late now.

  • I will have to jump to WordPress 2.1 soon and Thunderbird 2 is promised as well. From past experience these will be quite easy. Vista is not even in my range of vision.
  • I am getting concerned that the UPS I installed is having a measurable impact on our electricity bill over and above having things like the server and network equipment on all the time; I need to find a way of measuring it.
  • A longer term project will be changing the church website over to a content management system, probably WordPress, but I don’t know if it will be this year.

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