The Bronco Marching Band announces High School Band Day 2014. This year’s event will be on Saturday, November 15, 2014. Students will rehearse and perform a special halftime show with the Bronco Marching Band. Kick-off is anticipated to be 2pm and the rehearsal is expected to be from 8-10am. Registration materials, and a more detailed schedule, will be available in October. Participation will be limited to the first 500 registrants. Click here for the announcement flier. Cost is $10 per student.
Hey everyone! I haven’t made any posts in a while. The reason for this is because when I made website changes, stuff stopped working and I spent my time fixing. I’m not sure if this is the most technical post so far but I added GIFs so its OK. Our site is in my hands and I have butterfingers.
Now, all of the problems I was having until now I am not 100% sure what they were all caused by. That being said, every time I filed a help desk ticket with OIT all they pretty much said was “We don’t really work with WordPress, only Drupal so when you have random problems like you always seem to, we can only suggest you disable your plugins and try to work from there.” Solid advice because all of the times I have done that, stuff started to work again. In fact, this is such a regular thing, I used to have to look up how to disable my plugins from the database (normal people with normal problems do this from the admin panel. Since the entire site or just the admin panel would not work, I could disable plugins via SFTP or from the database. The nice thing about the database is I can re-enable the plugins via the admin panel which is way more convenient than messing with remote files.) level but since I have done it so often, I can debug the tour program when they get back.
In the history of this site, outages have occurred because of plugins more than anything else. One might say “Well stop using those plugins!” and others might say “These plugins that routinely kill the site must be poorly developed!” which would be very fair observations. When I find out a plugin has killed the site one way or another, I mess with it a bunch, stop using it, or find a suitable replacement. So yes, I stop using plugins that cause problems.
What about the development of the plugins? To explain that, I first must briefly explain that wmich.edu as a domain is crazy restrictive. Its like asking a 1992 Taurus SHO owner how fast their car is, most will tell you a Taurus SHO is stupid fast. This isn’t the best analogy because having a fast car seems super awesome and having a domain that restricts as much as OIT does is not super awesome. In my opinion, developing for wmich.edu is like replacing one’s front lawn with bamboo so you have to use a machete to get your front door.
Is the way they do that bad necessarily? I don’t manage servers at a sysadmin level but I would imagine a website for a national University not only gets a lot of hits, but people probably try to hack in a bunch. The way I understand the websites on campus, all of the departments do their own development in house. If someone has an insecure site, it could compromise the entire domain in theory. Thanks to firewalls and restrictions, any site that could get hacked into wouldn’t be able to do that much. That being said, I have no idea how the hosting for my personal domains protects themselves since they don’t restrict me at all. At western, it will eat a lot of compute cycles, they’ll lose part of the system for a while, there is a finite amount of memory you can’t use it for everything, are you going to compile for half an hour..
So what does website security have anything to do with plugins? The most recent escapade with website failure fun was with a plugin called All in one calendar or otherwise known as time.ly which happens to be their URL. I personally do all of my testing on a domain that I own because wmich.edu domains cannot talk to other websites from a server level, they can only talk to the database and accept uploads from users like me. On the domain that I own, it can talk to other sites thus it will notify me of updates that will protect me from intrusions and provide those plugins to have updated features including bug fixes. The plugins that cause problems, I can only assume are trying to talk out to other sites too and start causing problems when stuff doesn’t work. Before the latest update, I think it was crashing the site about once a week where I had no notice or warning. When I updated to 2.0.5, it not only did not work, but it took down the entire site/admin panel with it. Everything works fine on my test site and when I put it live…
So all of my faithful readers, don’t grab your pitchforks and chase down the developers of time.ly because my problem is so unique to Western, no one else on their forums is having that issue. My solution as of four hours ago has been to use another calendar plugin that does pretty much every thing time.ly did and more. It was somewhat of a gamble because I wanted all of the information in the system before I started playing around with the display of everything but thankfully I was able to get it to display normally after I had inputted all of the information. I’m done for now but I’ve merely scratched the surface with what this plugin can do so stay tuned for some exciting calendar changes. I can see the headline now:
Calendar page on bronco band site…now in orange!
Anyway, I’m off to work on more fun projects and hopefully, the site doesn’t go down again before I finish messing with stuff.
This whole procedure about the website going down is getting so consistent, I should really start throwing a party with cupcakes and ice cream weekly to honor the lost bandwidth.
Apparently this site has a 1 GB file limit which I found out yesterday when I was doing some routine backups. Reaching that file limit corrupted the existing files and thankfully I was able to restore from a backup I made on Tuesday and now all is well. I try to tell people to always backup their digital data and hopefully I can lead by example because this could have been a huge pain if I didn’t practice good backing up practices. After getting in touch with OIT a few times yesterday and finding out the solution was so simple, I now feel like Gary Oldman.
Anyway, I have decided to have all onsite backups be from the current month and all other backups will be offsite. Now I know.
It is that time of the year again to consider joining the BMB! The information about being part of BMB as a non Western student is now available in the top menubar and here. The link on the top will stay visible likely until band camp. There is also a printable version on the bottom of that page.
Hi everyone! Sorry for the outage/lack of features for the past 4 or so days. In my last post, I mentioned I had to upload database files in chunks (which was a pain) but luckily the next day, OIT had fixed the issue associated with that problem. Unfortunately around that same time, it completely broke the ability for me to edit and make posts. I’ll spare the sob story and say that the lack of www in front of the wmich.edu was pretty much the problem. It wasn’t an issue 4ish days ago but it is now. Since this took me two minutes to fix, I pretty much feel like this:
On another note, I am now running an exact clone of the marching band site as it was on my test server rather than something that I wasn’t sure fully worked so I have that going for me which is nice. I also would like to point out that I only uploaded one database file instead of 46. That makes me feel pretty good.
On an ending note, I am looking for a good picture showing our color guard in action. I’ve found a few pictures but my pickings are a bit slim. If anyone has a few cool images of the colorguard, I would greatly appreciate you contacting the webmaster from the Contact Page.
9:54AM March 11th, 2014 Edit: Turns out all of my problems existed because Western now requires admins who are making some changes to VPN to campus. If the www issue did legitimately exist, it wasn’t the only problem. The gif still applies to how I feel.
Hey all! Sorry for the brief outage between midnight and 1:30AMish. There are a few changes that have been made that I would like people to know about:
- Little change in colors. This is a result of the existence of Western’s Visual Identity site. I’m sure complaints on non compliance on visual standards were going to start pouring in like orders for McRibs whenever McDonald’s decides to bring them back (top secret, it is when pork prices are down) so I decided to make the entire site conform. That being said I am aware that some colors (like the red on some of the links) don’t look super good with the current color scheme. This is both a contrast issue and a…not look good issue. I am working on it.
- Updated plugins. This includes a Google Analytics monitor because my sources tells me this site gets more traffic than Western’s homepage. My stats program says around 50,000 hits a day so I want to see (a) if Google Analytics works (b) If it truly is that much, it definitely is time for a good Anchorman Gif. It even gets its own bullet point.
- I have also added a ColorGuard frequently asked questions page with answers provided by the lovely and talented Kyle Keiser. If any ColorGuard members notice there is something super obvious that is missing please contact me through the contact page on this site. If any upcoming members have questions that are not covered on any of the frequently asked questions pages, feel free to contact me and I can direct your question to the appropriate channel. After that, I should be able to update the FAQ.
- I removed the “www.” in front of the url so anyone that types it in will automatically redirected to http://wmich.edu/marchingband and it should be super seamless. Try it. Right now. My decision to do this is a result of me not wanting to type “www” in front of two database entries but it may cut Internet Explorer 4 support. As much as I would like to keep the site working for those using ancient browsers, I’m pretty sure this is the least of your worries.
If you see a bug, contact me if you think it should be fixed. I might not know about it.
- Western’s database side of things did not like any of my database files so I had to use a program to split my 89 Megabyte file (which apparently is huge as far as databases go) into files around 2 Megabytes. There were 46 of them. I had to upload 46 files individually using the interface. I wrote down the numbers so I could make sure I didn’t miss any of them. I’m sure many of you would like to contact me and tell me how my life is so terrible that I had to click upload, go, and import over and over while watching YouTube videos but not to worry, I submitted a trouble ticket to the IT helpdesk. I don’t think I was very specific so they might not respond to it so I’ll have to complain about it when I have to upload database files in the future. I’m sure I can find a way to make it smaller too.
- Also, if you want to sign up for an audition for the site, do it now. It should be set so you you can edit your entry so you can always go back and change it.
- Yes I know the site is slow. It also is slow on my super secret test site. I’m working on it. Stay tuned!