The random thoughts of Andy Heathershaw

I try and blog about things that pique my interest, something I've had difficulty with, or just anything in general that I either want to keep at hand or think may be useful for others to know.

You can therefore find posts covering diverse subjects such as software development/programming, writing and all things Disney.

Announcing the launch of Blue Twilight Cloud

It’s 3 years to the day since I made the first commit to what would become Blue Twilight – my open-source PHP photo gallery. Today I’m delighted to announce the availability of Blue Twilight Cloud. Blue Twilight Cloud allows you to run your own photo gallery as an alternative to sharing your photos on Instagram, […]

Software Development Read more


Developers – score yourself a .dev domain today

Google is the registry behind the new .dev TLD – the ultimate vanity domain for developers. The .dev extension has historically been used by developers fudging their host files to create realistic-looking development environments. Now, .dev is open in Early Access Preview to allow the world to register their .dev domains. It’s actually been open […]

DevOps, Software Development Read more


Deploying PHP applications with RunCloud on UpCloud

My first post of 2019 is a tutorial that’s all about the cloud.

I’m going to show you how to use the RunCloud control panel to deploy a PHP application with a MySQL database on a cloud server from UpCloud.

My friends at UpCloud have also provided a promo-code to get ample free credit to try out their service. Check out the tutorial for the details.

DevOps, Software Development Read more


Variable declaration can be inlined – C#

It’s almost two years since I published the post on the Visual Studio IDE information message: “delegate invocation can be simplified.” It is now the second most visited article on my blog! While reviewing some error messages in a new MVC project, I recently learnt something equally as simple and eye-opening. This time, the suggestion […]

Software Development Read more


Website maintenance: 16/17th October

My new hosting provider (blog post on that coming soon!) has notified me of 2 maintenance windows next week: 16th October, 22:00 – 02:00 17th October, 00:00 – 00:30 The first window specifically targets the VPS platform, and will see my server powered down and migrated to new infrastructure. The second window will see an […]

Miscellaneous Read more


Upgrade Ubuntu Server 16.04 to 18.04

The Ubuntu team will this week release Ubuntu Server 18.04.1, the first minor revision to 18.04 since its release on April 26th.

In this article, I’ll show you how to upgrade Ubuntu 16.04 to 18.04 using the command-line. This can be used on all Ubuntu derivatives, but is mostly aimed at Server installs that do not have a graphical interface.

DevOps Read more


Encrypt your database with MariaDB encryption at rest

The new EU data protection legislation, GDPR, mandates that every reasonable effort and technology is used to protect personal data. It even goes as far as specifying encryption. The open-source database MariaDB (a drop-in, compatible replacement for MySQL) has supported “encryption at rest” since version 10.1. Use MariaDB encryption to satisify the GDPR recommendation of […]

DevOps Read more


Top 10 things to do in Florida

Florida is my go-to destination for a holiday. I’ve been several times since our honeymoon in 2012 and yet I still manage to find something new to see or do each time. When I fly into MCO airport and walk through the stunning atrium, I know I’m back in my happy place! Whether you’ve never […]

Disney, Reflections Read more


Install a LAMP stack (Apache, MariaDB, PHP) on Ubuntu Server

Ubuntu Server is a Linux distribution that is ideally suited to server workloads. For example: hosting websites and web applications.

In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to install a LAMP stack – that’s Apache, MariaDB (in place of MySQL) and PHP – on Ubuntu Server using the latest available releases, and how to keep it up-to-date.

DevOps, Software Development Read more


Brexit forced me to change my identity

… but I’m OK with it. A few days ago I sat in an airport lounge in Gatwick, waiting for our flight to Florida. I had finished a diet Coke and was chewing on a piece of yoghurt-covered honeycomb (which was delicious, FYI) when I read a news article about Brexit that stunned me. Europe […]

Reflections Read more