LivingSocial is dead long live GoodReads

I have used LivingSocial since joining Facebook to keep track of books I am reading, have read and to pass this information onto my friends.  The service didn’t offer any other functionality really, a standard suggested books feature but that was about all.  However when recently I accessed the site to update my latest read I was surprised to be confronted with this message.

First of all, thank you for your enthusiastic support over the past four years. Your continued engagement with our these applications means a lot to us here at LivingSocial, and we're sad that we haven't been able to dedicate the time and effort you deserve to keep this community alive and thriving.  It's not you. It's us. You see — about two years ago — we tried a new idea, which has taken our team and company in a new direction. This community needs tools and products that are fully supported and continually improved, and unfortunately, this is something we just can't support right now.  We know your data is important to you. Before we discontinue the service, we want to give you the opportunity to save it.  On August 10th, 2011, we are going to shut down this suite of applications.Fortunately they supplied a handy link to export all existing data to the GoodReads site, which now having signed up seems to be a far superior and greater used service.  I’m often on the lookout for new ideas for books to read and this appears to be a valuable resource. It can also link in with Twitter, Facebook, WordPress and Kindle accounts, allows you to compare your bookshelf against your friends and supplies a number of widgets for inclusion in your site.  So I’m afraid I will not be mourning the passing of LivingSocial. Long live GoodReads!

Red Eyed Monsters read books

The Forever War
Bodyguard Of Lightning
Foundation and Empire
A Clockwork Orange
The Cider House Rules
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
The Tin Drum
In Other Worlds
Elric: Song of the Black Sword
Niagara Falls All Over Again
Postcards
The Pillars of the Earth
Legend
Smith of Wootton Major & Farmer Giles of Ham
Use of Weapons
Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bible!
The Player of Games
Sandman Slim
Vampire AD 70
The Desert Spear



Nigel Bachmann’s favorite books »

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Restoring WordPress

Moving across from legacy SupaNames account to 123reg and issues with permalinks

Supanames was taken over by 123-reg a few years ago.  This wasn’t something that affected me initially and I continued to use my Supanames account as always. However when recently trying to install the latest version of WordPress I found that the version of MySQL was not compatible with the latest upgrade.  I contacted 123-reg who informed me that there was no plan to upgrade old Supanames hosting and so with great reluctance I began to make preparations to move over to the more up to date 123-reg hosting.


The first thing to do was to backup the database.  This is remarkably simple to do using the Supanames MyPanel interface.

  1. Go to MyPanel and then in the Left-hand menu choose MySQL DATABASESMySQL Backup Submenu.
  2. Click on the link on the next page in MyPanel to Backup your Database.

 

If successful, you will receive a message confirming the backup has been completed. The backup is zipped and stored on the root directory of your web space. Having done this I then downloaded my entire site via FTP (I use Filezilla) including the zipped database backup.

I am fortunate that I don’t have hundreds of email boxes consider, all mine are hooked into gmail accounts and I have records of the alternate addresses. So I contacted the account holders to inform them that their mail would be down for maintenance.  Once this was done I gave 123-reg the go-ahead to close down my old Supanames hosting and fire up the new one.  This was ready to go in a couple of hours and the first thing I did was re-establish the mail boxes and send instructions to the users on how to reconnect.

Next I FTP’d the entire site back up to the root directory so that it had exactly the same structure as it did before.

The final step is to restore the database and modify the configuration so pages and database can talk to one another.  Restoring a database with 123-reg is not quite as simple as Supanames but it is no great technical feat either.  First you need to create a database. In your 123-reg control panel go to Web Hosting -> Manage

Manage Web Hosting

Then select Manage Database -> Add database

Add Database

Take a note of the username, password and server, you will need these for the config file. Return to the Add database screen and log on to your new database. Select the Import tab:

Import SQL

Select the previously downloaded backup via Choose File and then hit the Go button (you should be able to leave all other settings at default).  Hey presto your database is restored. Now for the configuration.

wp-config.phpYou need to edit your wp-config.php file typically found in the root directory of your web space.  Enter the database name, user and password against DB_NAME, DB_USER, DB_PASSWORD respectively (you can get the database name from the Add Database screen). On the old Supanames hosting the host name (DB_HOST) was set to ‘localhost’ this now needs to be set to the server name.  Once done save wp-config.php back to your web space.

After doing this I was pleased to see my front page (this blogg) functioning correctly, however when I selected any of the links I was given a 404 Not Found error.  A quick Google and my suspicions were confirmed, it was something to do with the permalink structure I was using. I found a number of solutions and didn’t like any of them much so before trying any of them I went into my WordPress  Admin and selected Settings -> Permalinks.  I did not change any of the settings, merely selected the Save Changes button.  This completely fixed my problem, so I urge you to try this before one of the more complex and possibly dangerous solutions on the net.


Widgets – Poorly coded?

Is it me or are a large number of widgets poorly coded?  Although they may look good on your site do they actually conform to any standard? As I’m still putting this site together I thought it might be fun to add a couple of good looking widget adding a bit of interactivity.  I grabbed the code for the Twitter profile widget and the Books Widget from LivingSocial.com entered the code into my sidebar and checked the results.  Well, they looked pretty good, but when I used the  W3C Validator I was astounded at the number of errors it brought up.  Now perhaps I’m being a bit anal, maybe its the autistic gene but I’m not even expecting strict compliance merely transitional.  So wouldn’t it, after spending so much time creating a good looking widget, only take a little more effort to add a little conformity?