Deepwire's Blog

Archive for June, 2010

Downtime and Rebirth (or how I moved my WordPress blog).

by on Jun.24, 2010, under Web Development

About a week ago, I was alerted by a friend through twitter that my blog had been hacked, and all content was gone.  Fortunately I had most stuff backed up, but my last complete backup was 2 months old.  I was lucky enough that when I informed my hosting company, they had a backup only 2 days old, which they restored.  I then changed all passwords relating to it and made further backups of the up to date blog, including the database.

To my surprise, less than 8 hours later when I woke up the next day, it had been hacked again, in exactly the same way.  I reported it again to my host, who told me it was hacked through WordPress and to make sure I don’t have any unofficial plugins installed.  They offered very little help, other than to once again offer to restore my site.  This time, having made sure I had a complete up to date backup, I decided to move it to the host I use for my other site.

This sounded difficult at first, but is actually quite easy.  Here’s a quick run through of what I did.  This move was between hosts, the domain used was the same.  I think the steps when changing the domain of a blog would be more difficult.  Make sure you have everything backed up before you begin, including your database.

  • Change your domain’s DNS records to point to the new host.
  • Install WordPress on the new host, creating a new database for it to use.
  • Give the new database the same name as your existing one.
  • Upload the contents of your wp-content folder into the wp-content folder on the new server.
  • Go to your blog in the browser.  You will be able to complete the WordPress installation from here.  (If you don’t see this page, allow more time for the DNS settings to update.  This may take up to 48 hours.)

  • When configuring WordPress, use the same username, password and email address as before.
  • Now when you visit your blog, you should see a blank WordPress blog with example posts.

  • Drop all the tables in the new database.
  • Import your backup database into the (now blank) new database.  It should now contain all your original tables.
  • Find the wp-config.php file on your new server.
  • Edit this file so the $table_prefix value matches your original database table names.  (Your table names will be look like wp_posts, wp_comments etc.  Here, the prefix is wp_ so make sure $table_prefix = ‘wp_';)

You should now be able to visit your blog and find all of your posts, images, theme and plugins the same as before.  You will be able to log in with the same username and password you were using before you moved your blog (as these are part of the database you have imported).  You will be able to login using the same username and password for WordPress that you had before.  If you did set a new password while installing WordPress, you will need to change it, as it will be the old one that is in the database.

Hopefully this guide will help a few of you, but it may not be perfect.  I may end up revising it in the coming days if I find I’ve mixed things up or got something wrong.  Make sure you have all content and databases backed up before you attempt any move.  If possible, keep your blog on your existing host until you are sure it has been moved and works correctly on the new host.  At least then you will have a fall-back option if the move fails.  Hopefully you won’t be in my situation, having been hacked with nothing left on your original server!

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Bacon + Chocolate = …?

by on Jun.12, 2010, under Baking

Those who know me will know that recently I discovered a new recipe which, despite some thinking it’s ridiculous, has become a favourite among friends.  I can’t take credit for the recipe, that goes to Elissa from 17 and Baking.  Nor can I take credit for finding it, that goes to my good friend Amy, a fellow baking enthusiast who tweeted it some time ago.  But I can take credit for being the one who dared try it, with great success – Bacon Brownies!

When I first knew of the recipe, I didn’t intend to make them.  It was later after getting a strange request from Ben asking if I knew of a recipe for “bacon cake” when I gave it a go.  Apparently a colleague at work was leaving, who loves bacon, and Ben wanted to combine it with cake.  So I tried it, making quite a few, for Ben and his colleagues at Microsoft to try.  There was mixed reaction, I think they’re like marmite; you either love them or hate them.

Since then, I’ve made them for a number of occasions, parties and social occasions so my friends have been able to try them, and other times for Ben to take into work.  This week was another of those, with a special request via Ben from Steve Beswick, the Director of Education for Microsoft UK, a big fan, who wanted a large batch for Microsoft’s Fun Free Friday for Schools.  This was a day for Microsoft to show off it’s wide range of free and fun software available for schools and education, accompanied by freebies, including my bacon brownies!

For those who want to try it (avoiding the American ‘Cup’ measurement), here’s the recipe:

  • 4oz/120g Dark Chocolate
  • 4oz/120g Unsalted Butter
  • 12oz/360g Caster Sugar
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 5oz/150g Flour
  • 2 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 4-6 Strips of Bacon (Smoked Streaky works best!)

Start off frying the bacon until it is extra crispy.  It’s alright for some to be chewy, but it works better if it is crispy.  Put this aside on top of some paper towels to cool down and to drain some of the fat.  Melt the butter and chocolate together, either in a glass bowl sat in a saucepan of hot water, or if careful, in the microwave.

Let this chocolate mixture cool slightly, and whisk in the sugar, salt and vanilla (you may need to do this in a bigger bowl).  Then add the eggs one by one, stirring until the mixture is smooth.  Sift in the flour and cocoa gradually, mixing thoroughly each time before adding more.  I find 1 teaspoon of Baking Powder helps the texture and make them nice and chewy.

Now break the bacon up into small pieces, the size is up to you, but around the size of a penny or smaller works best.  It should break up easily if it is crispy.  Mix these pieces into the mixture. Grease up a 9″ x 9″ baking tin and pour the mixture in, spreading it evenly.

Bake at about 170°c (maybe lower for a fan-assisted oven) for 30-40 minutes.  After 30 minutes, keep checking the brownies by inserting a cocktail stick or something similar.  If it comes out clean, they’re done, if there’s still any uncooked mix on them, leave them for a few more minutes.  As always, experiment, change a few things, try a different type of sugar, or different chocolate, and see what results you get!

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Scone.

by on Jun.04, 2010, under Baking

When you’ve got no eggs, it can make baking complicated, as there aren’t too many recipes that don’t need them.  I thought of baking bread, but that seemed plain, and I had made it before.  So armed only with flour, sugar and butter, plus a few odds and ends, I looked around for something I could make.  There wasn’t much, but fortunately, one Scottish classic, actually a form of bread, came through.

Regardless of how you say it, I’m sure you’ve eaten a scone at some point in your life.  They are extremely versatile, being made sweet or savoury, with any number of different ingredients added to give them a different flavour.  My favourites include cherry for a sweet scone, or cheese for a savoury.  I happened to have some sultanas among my baking supplies, so chose that as the extra ingredient.

I used this recipe for Sultana Scones from BBC Food.  It took about 10 minutes to mix up the ingredients and have 12 scones on the baking tray ready to go in the oven.  I did have to add some extra flour at the end, as in adding the milk, the dough became too moist.  After 15 minutes in the oven, they were done, and definitely tasty.  Not bad for less than half an hour with limited ingredients.

Remember, cooking is as much about experimenting as it is about following recipes.  With these scones you could replace the sultanas with something else, maybe even chocolate (visit BBC Food for some different recipe ideas).  Even if it seems like you may not have enough ingredients to make anything, just have a look around, online and in recipe books if you have them, you’re bound to find something!

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