Tech Talk & Other Thoughts

Some nerd talk by Brian and other random thoughts

I successfully upgraded PHP and still have my wordpress site working!  I hadn’t touched a PHP upgrade since I setup my server a while ago.  I thought this was going to be a disaster, but it wasn’t too bad.  I discovered my spam blocker ad was no longer supported which created errors the first night I tried to jump to PHP 7.X.  To figure this out, I deactivated all plugins and changed to a basic theme.  Then I upgraded to PHP 7.X and individually turned on each plugin and restored the theme. When I hit the spam blocker plugin it was clear this was the problem from the first night.  Next up trying to upgrade Apache….


I discovered that many excel save problems I’ve been having are a result of the “new” Google Backup Sync program. In Windows MS Office when a file is open it creates a ~filename temp/lock file. With BackupSync running, it would backup/copy this file and somehow it wouldn’t release the file. Then when saving in Excel the save would fail.

So I decided to only turn Backupsync at night and then turn off 2 hours later. That should be enough time to copy everything from the previous day and if not it should eventually catch up.

To turn it on I setup a TaskManager task to simple trigger at 3am and start the program.

To turn it off is a bit more complicated. In the end I created a .bat file based on this post. Which resulted in the code below. From there I have another TaskManager task to run the .bat file at 5am

tasklist /fi “imagename eq googledrivesync.exe” | find “:” > nul

if errorlevel 1 taskkill /f /im “googledrivesync.exe”

I replaced the main board and now it just resets, flashes, and repeats. Any suggestions?

The following deals were at Costco.  Not sure what the problem is/was, but Costco didn’t get me signed up for it.  Then after 6+ hours of chat with sprint and an hour phone call they finally honored the deal (I think).  Though I’m not sure Sprint ever really found this plan and just gave me what I told them

I also bought a new phone that is supposed to have the following deal. I suspect this is a mess and I’ll have to fight to get the deal too. Fortunately, I have plenty of saved IM conversations with Spring saying they will honor the deal.

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For a while I was making my own certs, just to see that I could and to understand how to setup and force https.  However, since my certs were not signed every browsers said my site wasn’t secure (rightly so).  So after a few times of my certs expiring I turned off forcing https and all redirects related to it.

With Chrome now making https more mandatory I looked into getting real SSL certs.  I found could do the trick.  I followed the new user directions and have a few trips I was able to get real certs.  However, I read that these certs expire every 90 days.  Now I’m not the best at remembering to do updates like this so I set out to figure out how to refresh my certs automatically.  

Perhaps I’ll get into the details later, but my final messy solution is a php script that will create an html output will run the refresh command.  It translates the refresh command output to a less descriptive output (i.e. it hides all the folder paths and files used).  If the refresh command generates keys the command is setup to place the keys in my webservers SSL folder. From there I use a windows batch file to call the php file and to log the output to a html file.  The batch file also transfers the lastest html log file to a known folder that I can see from my website (the reason I don’t capture the full refresh command output into the html log file).  Finally, I have Windows Scheduled task setup to run the batch file every night.


And with that I should have SSL certs always up to date….at least that’s the theory.

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