My Blog

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.

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.Following the release on July 26th*, Ubuntu 16.04 machines everywhere will soon start to get notifications that a new release is available to upgrade to.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…

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 using encryption to protect your personal data.Most websites and applications would need significant work…

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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 been before, or are going for the 20th time, this is a list of the top 10 things to do in Florida that I think will make your visit that little bit more memorable.(Spoiler alert: Disney features a lot!)10.…

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.One of the annoying things I find about some Linux distributions – Ubuntu included – is that packages are “frozen in time” through the life of a release. For example, Ubuntu 16.04 was released with PHP 7.0. However PHP 7.2 is now the latest release. Vendors typically apply security fixes to their packages, but you’re still missing out on new features.In…

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 dumps 300,000 UK-owned .EU domains into the Brexit binA year to the day before the UK leaves the EU, the European Commission announced that all .eu domains registered to a UK address would be dropped.Horrified at…

Reflections Read more


Redirect all visitors to a primary domain in Apache

There are several scenarios in which you may want to redirect all your website visitors to a single, primary domain in Apache:Redirect the www and non-www (root domain) hostnames of your domain to avoid duplicate content and improve SEORedirect an old domain to a new domain, maintaining links and search engine reputationRedirect secondary domains (e.g. “spelling mistake” domains, or alternative-spelling domains) to your primary domainI have recently implemented the following on my own…

DevOps, Software Development Read more


Why I prefer self-hosted Git repositories to Github, Bitbucket, etc.

It’s the year 2018 and it’s impossible for a software developer to have not heard about (or used) Github, or a variant like Bitbucket. Even self-hosted Git evangelist GitLab is a popular choice.I have held a paid-for Github account for a few years now. Github hosts my open-source PHP photo gallery, Blue Twilight.However, at the start of February 2018, I provisioned a new Cloud VPS to run my website and other apps. I also chose to migrate all my private Git…

Software Development Read more


The Great Big Cloud Hosting Speed Test 2017

2017 was an exciting year for the bigger players in the cloud hosting arena.Both Linode and DigitalOcean upgraded their network capacity.OVH opened new data centres in Germany and the UK.Bytemark launched an automated backup service for their cloud server platform.My own hosting provider, Memset, launched a new OpenStack region in their wholly-owned Dunsfold data centre. They also launched block storage for VPS and rebranded their product range to be more “cloud.”With all these improvements…

Software Development Read more


Content Delivery Networks can improve your website’s performance

Content Delivery Networks were created for one reason: to speed up your websites and web applications. In this article, I explore how you can take advantage of Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) to improve your website performance for a small cost.  The ProblemModern websites and web-based applications have a number of digital assets. These are the stylesheets, scripts and images that make up the websites you use. My website is no exception – it has 15 such assets.These assets are…

Software Development Read more


Daughtry performs Demons in The Passion

Earlier this week, I couldn’t sleep. So I did what I normally do when I can’t sleep – I watch music videos on YouTube.The first video in my “here’s what YouTube wants you to watch” list caught my eye. I immediately thought I had missed a piece of new music from one of my favourite artists of the last 10 years: Chris Daughtry.However, as I watched it, I quickly realised two things:It’s Chris Daughtry performing the Imagine Dragon’s hit – Demons (one of my current favourite…

Entertainment, Reflections Read more