Restarting my life. Literally.

This may be the hardest post I have ever written.

The post, to those who know me well, may explain much, but it is really for myself. I’ve deliberately left details out ,as they will come in the future, when the two conditions of the subject matter not hurting so much and me having permission to talk about it are fulfilled.

It may be short but for me contains so much emotion, sadness, pain, love, hopefulness and the bright promise of a new beginning.

In a few hours I leave Denmark.

I fly to Ireland to start again. To become a better and stronger person and to follow my heart.

I leave behind almost every thing. Some precious, some mundane, but all of them part of my life. All of which have shaped me and I’ve been so grateful for each and every one of them.

I leave behind my wife, my adoptive Danish family, my friends, my home, my life.

Thank you for all the kindness, love and support you’ve shown me. For sticking with me when times were bad.

This may not be the most fathomable of choices but please understand that this is not a decision arrived at lightly or rashly.

It is something I need to do. To grow, to be better and in order to be true to myself.

Not making to make this move would cause more hurt to those I care about than the path I have chosen.

I need to do this or I am not the Paul O’Flaherty that any of you know and I fear that if I remain here, without doing this, I will cease to be the same man.

It’s time for a new start. A new chance at life. A new hope.

It’s time for me to reboot.

Wish me luck.

Finally one place to see all the O’Flaherty vidcasts

I’ve finally taken the time to build a way for you to see all the vidcasts I do in one location.  From now on the only URL you have to remember to get your daily dose of O’Flaherty is live.oflaherty.dk

It doesn’t matter if I’m on Fuelmyblog Live, The Mr. Business Golf Show, or anything else, you’ll be able to see them all live at this one URL and be able to join in to the chat rooms with just a single click.

I’m glad I got it built in time for tonight’s Fuelmyblog live because tonight is rant night for myself and Kevin.

The show kicks off at 10PM CET.

Oh, before I go I’ve got to say "Thank ya kindly" to Sugar Queen’s Dream for showing us a little love with some kind words about out last show.

Although Sugar: "resident hunks"?

What were you smoking.. LOL

And I’m back :)

Well it took a few (hectic) days but I’m back and the O’Flaherty blog is back as well with a new tag line and a new look.

First things first, the new tag line is "Paul O’Flaherty on Technology, Life and Passion", and I’m not going to get into the reasons behind changing that other than to say I want to expand the scope of this blog.

If you do feel the need for a little more information as to why I want to expand the scope of the blog then feel free to check out "Time for a change".

The sharp eyed among you (and those not reading this in a feed reader) will have noticed that the site has been redesigned.

The redesign is not finished yet, so you can can expect some bugs an inconsistencies which I will get ironed out over the next 24 – 36 hours. I just couldn’t have my site offline any longer so I decided to come back on with a 95% complete design. That may not be the best idea but I didn’t want O’Flaherty to be offline any longer than necessary.

The new design is a modified version of "StudioPress Orange" which I have been hacking away at for the past few days and will continue to hammer at until I am happy with it.

While the default version of StudioPress is great, I feel that it was very much an unfinished theme. Especially with regards to things like placement and styling of tags.

You can expect to see many subtle changes happen to the theme over the next 24 hours (once I wake up in the morning) until I have it setup just the way I want it.

This new design and new tag line marks a new direction for this blog.

I will continue to provide plenty of tech news and coverage because it is one thing I am passionate about. However, I will now be covering other topics that I am passionate about as I feel that will give a better representation of who I am as a person.

Plus, I hate being pigeon holed into a niche.

Thank you to the entire community of O’Flaherty readers who have stuck with me this far. I look forward to making this blog even better and making it more topically diverse.

Thanks everybody.

Paul

Time for a change

Yesterday things changed fundamentally for me on a personal level. I’m not going to get into what that change is right now, but I’m sure you’ll know all about it soon enough. I just need to get my head together and get to a place where I’ll be happy blogging about it.

So, as my life embarks on this new road I want to change this site to reflect my new direction.

As a rule I’ve almost never blogged about personal stuff on this site instead opting to lock it away and focus on the technology aspects of my interests.

I’m going to be breaking that rule a lot.

As an individual I am not defined solely by my interest in technology and my knowledge of the web, computers and other geeky things.

Changing my blog to so that I don’t just talk about technology may loose me a few readers. I’m well aware of this, but hopefully I’ll pick up some new readers along the way.

I want this site to reflect the other aspects of me as well and I think that the best way to do that is to change the design of the site.

I have no idea where I am going to go with the new design but if you see any weirdness occurring on the site over the next few days you can be sure that I am experimenting and things will return to normal rather sharpish.

Suggestion as to what you would like to see in the new design, what direction you think it should take or even links to existing design to build off of will be much appreciated.

Just drop a comment with your ideas or links… I’ll take everything on board and give credit in a post after the new design goes live.

Looking forward to your thoughts…

I’m back! My exile is over.

The suspension on this site was lifted a few minutes ago. I want to thank everybody who offered their support and help over the past 24 hours.

I’m now off to track down a new webhost.

While the suspension was in place I posted a couple of entires on a temporary blog at WordPress.com. I’m going to copy and paste the text of those entries below so that folks can see what was going on.

You can see the original posts at paulof.wordpress.com.

Post Number 1:

I’ve been suspended…

I’m severely pissed off right now because my web host, One.com has suspended my account for OFlaherty.dk. That means that all you can see when you visit my blog is a white page with the words: “This site has been suspended”.

So why have One.com suspended my account.

Apparently at 12:05 today my blog generated a heavy load on their servers.

the php code used generate a heavy load on our servers

Now, lets get something straight, I only run WordPress of OFlaherty.dk. I’ve got one installation for my blog, and one for Blog Resource. The root of the domain contains just a few pages of bog standard HTML.

Now, according to one.com the problem was being caused by my blog (pauloflaherty.com) but they couldn’t tell me what, or why, or how, or even hint at what “script” might be causing the problem.

I’ve had the OFlaherty.dk domain since June of 2004 and I have always had multiple WordPress installations in multiple sub domains. At one point I had 4 WordPress installations running concurrently without problems. About 6 months ago I reduced that to just two installations.

Now, I can understand One.com wanting to prevent other users on their server from being affected by my site using excessive resources, but what bugs me is that I haven’t changed the code of my site in a couple of weeks.

According to them the problem started at 12:05 today. All that happened at 12:05 was that I posted a blog post and then went in and moderated my comment spam. There was 101 pieces of spam in the moderation queue and 201 in Akismet waiting to be checked for false positives.

I deleted the 101 in the queue and then checked Akismet for false positives. Once that was done I hit the “delete all” button and my site stopped responding. I refreshed the page, it loaded but none of the spam was gone. I hit the delete button again, got a blank white page.

I tried to go into /wp-admin/ and got a white page with the suspended notice.

It’s a little too coincidental that the server load coincided with the only activity I performed on the site today, so I can only surmise that the deletion of a large number of spam comments from the database was too much for the server to handle at once.

But it was only 201 comments. That seems a very low number to me as just 2 days ago I deleted in excess of 4000 spam comments in one go.

Still my reasoning that it was something to do with Akismet (not necessarily directly but interacting with the server to delete a large number of comments) was supported after opening up my PHPMyAdmin panel.

I have 1301 comments on my blog. When I opened phpmyadmin I could see that the comments table was taking up 9.9 MB. I optimized the database (which I do regularly) and it quickly returned to a more believable 821 KB.

What’s bugging me here is One.com’s dealing with the issue. I received an email almost the same instant that the “site suspended” page appeared. It was an automatic response so told me nothing useful except that I should contact One.com.

I logged into my control panel and accessed their “live support” which is just java chat between you and an operator.

The first operator was NOT helpful. He essentially just told me that it was my fault and I’ve got to fix it. He wouldn’t / couldn’t give me any information about what “script” was causing the server load.

According to him I should just fix it, with nothing but FTP access to my site and direct my questions to the WordPress support forums (I have been checking the existing questions in the forums, but to no avail. I’ve also posted a question here.)

The second operator I spoke with at least informed me when the server load occurred which allowed me to match up my activities to the time.

So I disabled Akismet via FTP, and asked for HTTP access to my domain to be enabled. Apparently they won’t do that!

The operator told me that I had to email One.com support, explain the whole lot and await a reply form them. Unfortunately , my experience is that support emails can take up to 24 hours to be replied to.

Why can’t the operators just enable http access? I was told it was for security reasons! That can’t be right. They’ll enable FTP access for me but not HTTP access?

I’d hate to be a novice user in this situation. I’d hate to be unable or afraid to FTP in and delete files from my server.

What I really hate is the “This site has been suspended” notice. It makes things sound as if I’ve done something wrong, such as not pay my bill or violating the terms of service.

Don’t get me wrong here, I understand that One.com has to protect other sites hosted on that server, but I do think that considering I pay for 5 web hotels on their service they could be a little more helpful.

Anyway, below is a copy of the 3 conversations I have had with One.com support operators as well as an email I sent to them afterwards. I didn’t get nasty with them because I want to get the issue resolved.

Chat InformationPlease wait for a site operator to respond.

Chat InformationYou are now chatting with ‘Enzo’

Enzo: Thank you for using One.com Interactive Online Support. My name is Enzo. How may I assist you?

you: Hi.. I’m getting a “This site has been suspended” on OFlaherty.dk Why?

Enzo: yes

Enzo: i’ll check this out

Enzo: you’re the manager of this website ?

you: Yep. It’s mine

Enzo: the php code used generate a heavy load on our servers

Enzo: you have to fix it

Enzo: can you ?

you: The php code hasn’t changed.. It’s just standard wordPRess

Enzo: one minute

Enzo: we cannot determine which script causes the load, you need to identify and determine that at your end…

Enzo: WordPress’s working fine on our servers

you: All I have running is 2 versions of WordPress and a couple of html pages..

you: About 6 months ago I used to have 4 versions of wordpress and there was no problem

Enzo: we will active your FTP account so you can fix the issue

Enzo: Will you ?

you: I will try…

you: But if you guys could give me some sort of clue as to what I’m looking for?

Enzo: one minute

Enzo: it’s in your side

Enzo: try the WordPress Forum, a plenty of help

Enzo: The FTP is ACtif now

Enzo: you can enter it

Enzo: but

Enzo: .

Enzo: the Http access is still blocked, until this issue is fixed

you: Can you tell if it’s resource.oflaherty.dk or pauloflaherty.com is causing the problem

Enzo: needs to contact someone who knows programming to help you fix it

Enzo: the blog

Enzo: get back to us once its done

Enzo: we will Unsuspend your http access

Enzo: Is there anything else I could assist you with?

you: Not right now..

Enzo: Please feel free to contact us again for any further assistance. Good Bye and have a nice time : -)

12:35

Kaye: Thank you for using One.com 24/7 Interactive Online Support. My name is Kaye. How may I assist y
ou?

you: Hi Kaye.. I was just talking with another operator because OFlaherty.dk was suspended due to excessive server load. Could you tell me when this excessive server load began?

Kaye: just today 7/10/07 12:05 PM

you: Thank you…

Kaye: You are welcome

Kaye: Is there anything else I could assist you with?

you: Not right now..

Kaye: Alright

Kaye: Have a nice time

12:45

Chat InformationPlease wait for a site operator to respond.

Chat InformationYou are now chatting with ‘Enzo’

Enzo: hi

you: Hi.. I believe I’ve located the problem with OFlaherty.dk and have disabled the script in question

Enzo: so it’s ok

Enzo: a script you added

you: I believe so, the problem started at 12:05 pm which is when I was moderating spam

Enzo: ok, one minute

Enzo: Please send a mail to: support@dk.one.com Team, an explain them the issue

Enzo: they will be able to finelize this operation

Enzo: and maybe addvise more

Enzo: .

Enzo: Is there anything else I could assist you with?

you: So you can’t reenable my account?

Enzo: your http access will return aftrer

Enzo: for us now, the FTP

Enzo: after consulting support@dk.one.com all will be ok

Enzo: it’s for security reasons also

Enzo: Is there anything else I could assist you with?

you: no thanks

Enzo: Please feel free to contact us again for any further assistance. Good Bye and have a nice time : -)

Hi,

My site www.oflaherty.dk was suspended today after it apparently started using to many CPU resources.

I contacted your support who told me that the “php code used generate a heavy load on our servers”.

Other than that he was not particularly helpful telling me that One.com is unable to tell which script was causing an increase in load and expecting me to fix the problem with no clue as to what as going on except that it was on “my side”. His only suggestion was to contact WordPress support (I run wordpress on OFlaherty.dk).

Contacting them is kind of pointless if all you can say is “My site is generating excessive server load but I don’t know why”.

Anyway, I spoke to another operator, Kaye, and she was quite helpful in telling me that the excessive load started at 12:05pm.

12:05 pm coincided with me moderating spam on the site and I believe the load may have been caused by Akismet (Spam moderation plugin used in WordPress) as it communicated with the Akismet servers. The spam moderation was the only action performed by me on the site today besides create a blog post earlier.

I have disabled the plugin and request that you re-enable http access to my account.

Paul

Again, I’d hate to be a novice in these situations. I know a lot of people who had friends set up their blogs on their web hosts and have no idea what to do if there is a problem

Now I just have to wait to see what One.com replies back.

Any comments would be helpful, especially if anybody has experience of problems related to the wp_comments table and Akismet.

Hopefully my next post will be from my usual location….

Post Number 2:

Update on my suspension. Thanks to all for support

Well, I’m still suspended by One.com. I did however, receive this email last night at 18:18 pm after I had left for Vordingborg.

Hello Paul,

Thank you for writing.

We have forward your request to the concern department to activate your domain.

We will let you know as soon as possible.

Best Regards

SUPPORT

So no joy there then! What’s amazing here is that I received an an automatically generated email at 1:02PM acknowledging receipt of the email I sent them yesterday.

A little simple math shows that it took the staff at One.com 5 hours and 16 minutes to inform me that the email would be forwarded elsewhere.

It’s 11:34 in the morning as I write this post. Their concern department has had that email for over 17 hours now. All I want is my HTTP access enabled. How hard is that?

Anyway, enough ranting.

I want to thank everyone who has been so supportive so far, offering me advice, spreading the word and even offering to host my site.

In no particular order thanks go out to:

Kevin Dixie of FuelMyBlog

Rex Dixon of Lending Club and Technically Speaking

JohnC of Homelessinjax.com

Steven Hodson of Winextra

Scot Duke of Innovative Business Golf Solutions

What do you think of Twit-bits?

As you may have noticed there have been a number of post lately which are called “Twitter Twit-bits”.

These post are automatic and display my public tweets on Twitter for the past 24 hours.

I’m wondering if they’re out of place on this blog? I’m wondering if they detract from O’Flaherty more than they add to it?

What do you guys think? Should the Twit-bits stay or go?

Tonights Podcast Delayed

I’m sorry to announce that tonights podcast, while recorded, will be delayed until tomorrow morning.

Podshow is undergoing some upgrades so I can’t post my episode 9 of O’Flaherty at the moment.

Considering its current 23:31 in Denmark the podcast won’t go up until the morning.

Sorry!

In the meantime, you can always check out the previous episode of the O’Flaherty podcast.

428 on Alexa – or am I?

Alexa have added some features to help you get the most out of their rock solid (sarcasm) data.

I can now see how I rank against websites in specific countries and am rather amazed to see that I’m number 428 in Denmark. Now, keep in mind, that number 428 isn’t just out of Danish sites, it’s number 428 out of the all sites as visiting by Danish Alexa users.

What’s interesting is that they love me ;)  in Denmark and Iceland (8,277) but I’ve got a rating of 51,771 for Ireland. Don’t Irish users use Alexa much? Or is it a case of the artist never being appreciated in their homeland ;)

Still I’m not sure about how accurate this data is, even considering Alexa’s shaky reputation on accuracy.

Yesterday I was checking out my rankings so I could write this article and I ranked 418. That’s 10 places higher? What happened?

But forgetting my ten places, the top 100 for Denmark seems to have changed as well. Yesterday, those loveable Swedes IKEA, were at number 100 and today they’ve been replaced by Google Syndication (Google Reader?). Also, a good few of the other entries seem different to what I read last night.

Are Alexa updating their data daily? Probably! And if they are that’s good.

One really big discrepancy is that they say 27.5% of my traffic comes from Denmark and 31.6% comes from the U.S. I don’t think that’s even close to being correct.

My server logs show that, so far this month (February) 14.09% of my traffic comes from Denmark and 53.11% from the states which is typical for this site.

December showed 6.89% Danish and 47.99% U.S.

However, because of the Krak scandal last month, we had a jump in Danish traffic, with 28.8% coming from Denmark and 37.6% being from the States.

That’s a lot closer to what Alexa is reporting, which could mean that particular data set is a month behind and only covers a month, as it doesn’t correlate otherwise, even if you go back as far as July of last year.

Here’s a graph of the correlation between US, Danish and Total visits (not hits) since July 2006. Keep in mind that the data for this month is not complete.

Visitor Stats

As you can see, at no point, except last month, are the relationships between Danish and US traffic even vaguely similar to what Alexa is reporting. Even if you average out the numbers over any given 3 month period.

Which leads me to wonder, if the other data is being updated daily, why isn’t this? Either the geographic specific data is a month old or, is the data collected from users of the Alexa toolbar really that skewed?