My Blog is Back!

Just a quick post to let you know where I have been, or more accurately where my blog has been. At some point in June, the AWS EC2 instance I had been running my blog on for a few years stopped working. I did not think it would be too much of a problem, as I have a good backup routine for my blog and with my new AWS Certified Developer – Associate skills spinning up a new EC2 instance would not be a problem.

However, life and a few other things got in the way. the first job was to test the backups on my local WordPress environment (based on the official WordPress image) – all my posts were available, but the last few backups of the “Uploads” folder had failed. Fortunately, I retrieved an earlier backup from AWS S3 versions, and I will be able to replace the missing images from the most recent posts shortly.

The decision that contributed most to the extended downtime is that I wanted to avoid this situation again, by using infrastructure as code to automate the deployment and configuration of an EC2 instance to run WordPress. It was also a good opportunity to get some hands-on experience with the AWS Cloud Development Kit – which more than lives up to the hype, it is bloody brilliant! My plan is to today up the repository I made for the blog infrastructure and to share it on GitHub.

Before I can get around to that, I have some posts to write – a progress report on my goals for 2023 and a new bike check, I am attending a photography workshop in the Peak District tomorrow and next week we will be setting off for our summer 2023 road trip!

New Blog Server

This is the first post written on my new blog server!

Migrating my blog to a new server was one of my goals for 2019 – one that I underestimated! The main motivation was that I could not upgrade to the latest version of the WordPress platform on my old server – due to some permissions issues (probably related to how I had set it up originally). My old server was also using the AWS custom Linux operating system, which was fine, but is only available on AWS instances, meaning I could not replicate it in Virtual Box on my Mac. As I am more familiar with the Ubuntu Linux operating system, which I can work with locally (and have even made an automated script to deploy a virtual machine) I wanted to use that on the new server.

Over the last few weeks I have done a lot of testing on my Mac, making sure I could install everything correctly and migrate my data across seamlessly. I span up a new server on EC2, installed WordPress with the plan being I would simply point my web address at the new server, restore an UpdraftPlus backup and be running with minimal downtime. However, I forgot that WordPress does not play nicely with having its address changed and I ended up with a bit more downtime than anticipated whilst I fixed that issue. I also had a problem with the Jetpack plugin, which I was unable to test on my Mac, but I was able to fix that fairly quickly.

Hopefully I have squashed all the bugs and the only noticeable change to the blog will be that my theme now plays nicely with smaller screen, so if you are viewing my blog on a mobile device you will see my black theme, rather than the standard Jetpack mobile view. I will now be able to concentrate on my 2020 goals for my blog: building a new theme and improving the way series of posts (such as my Parental Leave II blogs) are displayed, which I have already been working on – so keep your eyes peeled…

Blog spring clean

You may have noticed some slight changes to the structure of my blog recently. You aren’t going mad – I am giving the blog a bit of a spring clean, as I move it away from being a photography based blog, to being more of a general blog. Old posts should be easier to find now – especially important now that I am over two hundred posts and seem to be posting more than previously.

I have also moved server recently, so there may be a few broken links, which I will be sorting out as I come across them. The new server is part of AWS, as I had identified a gap in my web development skills when it came to managing webservers. A side effect of the server move is that it should offer better performance than the old one, especially when I have finished optimising both the server and the blog. I am taking my time over these as the main goal is to learn the skills and I want to do them properly.

Owen in the MR2 and other news

Owen enjoying the MR2

The last few weeks since my visit to Prodrive seem to have been non stop in all aspects of my life – I have a few things to blog about and others will come to light soon. However, today was an important milestone for Owen (and me) – it was Owen’s first ride in the MR2! I had been excited about sharing my love of sports cars with him ever since we found out we would be having a baby, so I was relieved that Owen seemed to enjoy it. I think he especially enjoyed being sat next to me and able to see where we were going.

One project I have been working on recently is this blog – you may be able to see a few subtle changes, but the big one is that I have moved it to a new server (Amazon EC2 for any other geeks reading), so there may be a few glitches to iron out. Once those have been sorted there will be a few more tweaks and updates.

I haven’t been doing too well on the goals I set myself in my new year post, although my weight has been less than 90kg for over a week, so I’m on my way to the first goal. Hopefully after that some of the others will start falling in to place.

New year, new blog…

Happy new year!

After 18 months of not blogging I have started this blog, which will mainly focus on my photography, with updates on what I am up to as well as showcasing recent shots.

For 2009 I will continue to follow the Ma5da Racing series, which I covered in 2008, with more cars registered for the championship this year, the racing should be closer, hopefully resulting in some great images. I will also be covering other motorsport events throughout the year.

In addition to motorsport, I am planning on taking more landscape photographs, after a recent successful weekend in the Lake District. Portrait photography will also play a bigger part this year, with a few shoots already in the pipeline.

Stay tuned to see details of my new website which should be going live soon…