Free Image Resources on the Web

About.com has a terrific article listing 30 free image resources on the web.  We’re always looking for images that can work in various situations – whether on our blogs, for school projects with the kids, for civic or ministry activities, etc.  This kind of list of sites is invaluable.  Visit that article for descriptions of each site.  Here’s the list for convenience sake.

  1. MorgueFile
  2. Mayang’s Free Textures
  3. Nations Illustrated
  4. Stockcache
  5. Amazing Textures
  6. Yellowstone Digital Slide File
  7. Big Foto
  8. Free Images
  9. Every Stock Photo
  10. Open Stock Photography
  11. Free Stock Images
  12. Stockvault
  13. Yotophoto
  14. Visipix
  15. Free Digital Photos
  16. FreeFoto
  17. Pixrat
  18. Stock.xchng
  19. Picurls
  20. Uncle Sam’s Photos
  21. Spffy – Only works with Firefox
  22. PicFindr
  23. Fotorama
  24. Public Domain Photos
  25. Public Domain Pictures
  26. Public-Photos.net
  27. Karen’s Whimsy Public Domain Images
  28. Open Clip Art Library
  29. Burning Well
  30. Gimp-Savvy

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IE7 Content Hiding Bug

I’ve been working on a WordPress theme for my company’s internal web site – I’ve settled on Emplode – and I ran into a display problem when using IE7 that was giving me fits.

The basics of the problem is a strange interaction between definition list tags (<DD>) with a background image specified and an embedded paragraph tag (<P>).  Sometimes none of the content would be displayed, sometimes part of it would be displayed; sometimes the background would be uniform, but sometimes it would alternate for each paragraph.

After I spent several hours troubleshooting, a friend helped me track down a solution on the net.  Christof Höke wrote an article that describes the solution that works for me:

Add display: inline-block to the style for the <DD> tag.

Check out Christof’s article for more details to see if it solves the problem for you.

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Installing WordPress (Single-User)

This article will show the exact steps for setting up a single-user WordPress blog.

Dependencies

Before you can perform the steps in this article, make sure that you’ve performed the steps in the following articles:

If you’ve performed these steps, you are ready to install WordPress.

Configure WordPress

Before we can create the WordPress site, we have to create a configuration script which will tell it where to find the database for storing content, how to access it, and other settings.

  1. Load the wp-config-sample.php file found in the root of the WordPress files you copied earlier in a text editor.
     wp-sample-config.php Loaded
  2. Set the name of the database the site is to use and the user and password for accessing it that you specified earlier when creating the database.
     wp-sample-config.php Setting DB, User, Password
  3. You need to specify several unique keys for proper authentication.  Scroll down to the Authentication Unique Keys section.
     wp-sample-config.php Authentication Unique Keys
  4. You’ll notice in that section that there is a URL for generating those keys – https://api.wordpress.org/secret-key/1.1/.   Navigating to that location in an Internet browser will automatically generate the keys.  If you don’t like the keys, refresh the page to generate new ones.
     Generate Authentication Unique Keys
  5. Copy the lines from that page and replace the lines in the WordPress configuration file (lines 44 through 47 in the above image).
  6. If you plan to store the content for multiple WordPress sites in the same database, you will want to change the table prefix for each one.  The default value is wp_, which works great for most sites.  Scroll down to the WordPress Database Table prefix section in the file.  Change the prefix to a value that makes sense for the new site, if necessary.
     wp-sample-config.php Table Prefix
  7. Some WordPress plugins don’t work properly if WPLANG is not set to a valid non-empty value.  Scroll down to the WordPress Localized Language section and set the value to en for English.
     wp-sample-config.php Language
  8. Save the file in the same directory as wp-config.php.

Create WordPress Blog

Now it’s time to actually create the web site.

  1. Navigate to the URL for your site.  You should see the WordPress welcome page for installing the blog.
    WP Install
  2. Type the name you want to give to your blog in the Blog Title box.  This could be something as simple as Joe’s Blog or it could be the name of your business.
  3. Type your email address.  This is used as the email address for the admin account.
  4. If your site is an internal blog, e.g. for your company or is a test blog, uncheck the Allow my blog to appear in search engines like Google and Technorati.  Otherwise leave it checked.
  5. Click the Install WordPress button.  You should be presented with a Success page that gives you a username and a password for logging in to the site.  Note that this password is randomly generated and will be different each time you set up a WordPress site.  Select the password with your mouse and copy it to your clipboard.  Then click on the Log In button.Note that if you lose this password, you will have to delete the tables that were created and start over.
    WP Install Success
  6. Notice that the name you specified for the title of your blog is displayed at the top of the login page.  Enter admin for the username and paste the password you copied to the clipboard into the password box.  You’re going to change the password right away, so don’t check the Remember Me checkbox.  Now click the Log In button.
    WP First Login
  7. You are now presented with the dashboard for your blog.  This page gives you an overview of posts, pages, comments, etc. that are part of your WordPress web site.  You’ll notice at the top right of the page is a greeting – Howdy, admin.  Isn’t that nice?  WordPress does not allow you to change usernames, so if you want to use a different username for logging in to your site, you’ll want to create a new user and make it an admin.  To do that, click on the Users link on the left and then click on the Add New link underneath it.You could also simply use the admin account.  If you want to do that, click on the word admin in the upper right so that you can change the options for your profile, most importantly the password.
    WP Dashboard
  8. The Profile page allows you to modify the options for the user, including first and last name, contact info, and, most importantly, the password.
    WP User Profile Top
    Scroll down to the bottom of the page and enter a new password in both boxes.  Then click the Update Profile button.
     WP User Profile Password

Your WordPress web site is now set up and ready to receive visitors.  Take some time to explore the dashboard and the other parts of the admin panel.  The next parts of this series will discuss various WordPress plugins to consider for your site.

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Preparing to Install WordPress on Windows and IIS

This is the fifth part of the Installing WordPress From the Ground Up series.  Previously I discussed installing MySQL, the FastCGI Extension to IIS 6.0, PHP, and phpMyAdmin.  This article will show the exact steps for configuring MySQL and IIS to prepare for setting up WordPress on Windows and IIS.

Dependencies

Before you can perform the steps in this article, make sure that you’ve performed the steps in the following articles:

If you’ve performed these steps, you are ready to proceed.

Download WordPress

There are two editions of WordPress that you can use – WordPress and WordPress MU (multi-user).  WP-MU is what is used by http://wordpress.com/ and is good when you want to be able to create multiple sites with the same user information.

With either edition you will want to keep your WordPress software up-to-date with the latest version offered – which at the time of this writing is 2.7.1 for WordPress and 2.7 for WordPress-MU – as there are always security fixes being made.

Note that WordPress-MU isn’t supported on IIS, so we won’t be discussing it further here. Once you’ve downloaded the zip file, extract the files to the location on your disk that will be hosting your WordPress web site.  If you specified a value for the open_basedir setting in the php.ini file, you will need to extract WordPress to a directory below that directory.  For example, if you specified C:\Inetpub\wwwroot, you must copy the WordPress files to a directory such as C:\Inetpub\wwwroot\blog.

Configure MySQL for WordPress

You can configure MySQL using the command line tool or you can use phpMyAdmin.  I’ll show you how to use phpMyAdmin here.

  1. Navigate to your phpMyAdmin site (e.g. http://localhost/phpmyadmin) and type in root for the username and the root password for your MySQL database server.
     phpMyAdmin Login
  2. Create a database for the WordPress site.  To do this, just enter the name of the database in the filed under Create new database (for this tutorial I’ll enter wordpress for the name of the database).  Make sure the MySQL connection collation is set to utf8_general_ci, or set the database collation to that value.  Then click on Create.
    Create Database in phpMyAdmin
  3. We need to create a user for the database we just created so that WordPress can access it.  Click the Home button then click the Privileges tab.
    phpMyAdmin Home and Privileges
  4. Click on Add a new User to create a new user.
    phpMyAdmin Privileges Page
  5. Fill in the details for the new user.  Note that both the username and the password will be used later when configuring WordPress.  I’ve used wpuser for the username and a custom name for my company for the password.  You could also have phpMyAdmin generate a password for you.  Click Go at the bottom of the page to create the user.
    phpMyAdmin Add User
  6. Next we need to add privileges for that user to access the wordpress database.  Scroll down to the Database specific privileges section and select the wordpress database that we created earlier.  As soon as you do that the page will change.
    phpMyAdmin Select Database
  7. Select all privileges for the user by clicking the Check All link at the top of the Database specific privileges section.  Then click the Go button at the bottom of that section.
    phpMyAdmin Add All Privileges

That’s it.  Your database is ready for WordPress.

Create the Virtual Directory in IIS

In order for anyone to get to your site, you need to create a web site or a virtual directory in IIS Manager to point to the WordPress directory.

  1. Launch the Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager.
  2. It is a good idea to keep the processes for your WordPress site separate from other web site processes on the server, so create an application pool for your WordPress site if you don’t already have one.
  3. There are two ways for IIS to direct users to your site.
    1. Top-level domain (e.g. example.com) – If your blog will be offered as a top level domain, create a new web site by clicking on the Web Sites node and click on New -> Web Site.
    2. Below a top-level domain (e.g. example.com/blog) – If your blog will be offered at a lower level, navigate to the top-level web site below Web Sites, right click, and then click New -> Virtual Directory.
  4. In either case, you’ll browse to the directory to which you copied the WordPress files.
    Web Site Content Directory
  5. On the next page make sure that the first three checkboxes are checked:  Read, Run scripts (such as ASP), and Execute (such as ISAPI applications or CGI).
    Web Site Access Permissions
  6. View properties of the new web site or virtual directory and click on the Home Directory tab for a web site or the Virtual Directory tab for a virtual directory.  Select the application pool created earlier.  You may want to change the name of the application as that is how it will show up in the application pool.
  7. If you are creating a new virtual directory, it will inherit settings of its parent virtual directory and/or web site.  This may require that you add support for PHP.
    1. Click on the Configuration button and then click on the Add button to add an entry for the .php extension.  See [cref installing-phpmyadmin-on-windows-and-iis] for more details.
    2. Click on the Documents tab to make sure that index.php is enabled as a default document.
      VS Properties Documents
    3. If index.php is not in the list, click on the Add button, type index.php into the box, then click OK.
      Add Content Page
  8. Click OK.

Create the WordPress Site

Now we’re ready to actually create a WordPress blog.  The next articles in the series will go over installing WordPress and installing WordPress-MU.

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Installing phpMyAdmin on Windows and IIS 6.0

This is the fourth part of the Installing WordPress From the Ground Up series.  Previously I discussed installing MySQL, the FastCGI extension, and PHP.  This article will show the exact steps for setting up phpMyAdmin on Windows and IIS 6.0.

phpMyAdmin is a web-based tool for managing MySQL database servers.  I would go so far as to say it is indispensable.  The latest version as of this writing is 3.1.3.

Dependencies

Note that this application requires that the following PHP extensions have been installed:

  • MySQL
  • GD
  • MBString

To check whether these extensions are installed, open the php.ini file in the PHP installation directory (e.g. C:\Program Files\PHP) and make sure that the following lines are uncommented:

  • extension=php_mysql.dll
  • extension=php_gd2.dll
  • extension=php_mbstring.dll

Download phpMyAdmin

  1. Download the appropriate package (english.zip for me)
  2. Extract the files.
  3. Find the lowest directory containing all the files (phpMyAdmin-3.1.3-english for me) and copy that to a directory like C:\Inetpub\wwwroot.
  4. Rename the resulting directory as phpMyAdmin, so the resulting path will be C:\Inetpub\wwwroot\phpMyAdmin.

Configure as an Application in IIS

It is usually preferable to run applications in their own application pool so they don’t affect other applications and so you can manage them independently.

  1. Launch the Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager.
      IIS Manager - Application Pools
  2. Right-click on Application Pools and select New –> Application Pool.  Type phpMyAdmin as the name of the application pool and click OK.
    New Application Pool
  3. Click on the Web Sites node in the navigation pane and double-click on Default Web Site.
    IIS Manager - Web Sites
  4. Right-click on phpMyAdmin in the right pane and select Properties.  Click the Create button next to Application name.  Set the application pool to the previously-created phpMyAdmin application pool.  Click OK and then click OK on the phpMyAdmin Properties dialog box.
    phpMyAdmin Application Properties

Configuring phpMyAdmin

phpMyAdmin stores its settings in a file called config.inc.php.  To create the file, we will start with a sample configuration file provided with the phpMyAdmin download.

  1. Open the file config.sample.inc.php in C:\Inetpub\wwwroot\phpMyAdmin.
  2. Find the line that says $cfg['blowfish_secret'].  You must put something between the empty single quotes in order for phpMyAdmin to work.  You can put anything here.  I’ll put in DPotter.net.phpMyAdmin01.
     Config phpMyAdmin Blowfish Secret
  3. Find the lines that say $cfg['Servers'][$i]['controluser'] and $cfg['Servers'][$i]['controlpass'] and uncomment them (remove the leading //).  Change the password.  These are used for accessing advanced features in phpMyAdmin.  For this demo I’ll set it the password to dpotter.net. Note that it is a good idea to change the username for security purposes since pma is the default username.
    Config phpMyAdmin Advanced Features User
  4. Find the section Advanced phpMyAdmin features and uncomment all the lines under it.
    Config phpMyAdmin Advanced Features
  5. Save this file as config.inc.php.

Testing

At this point phpMyAdmin is ready to use.  Let’s test it out by navigating to http://localhost/phpmyadmin.

phpMyAdmin Login

Type root for the username and type the password you specified when installing MySQL.  Then click the Go button.  At this point you are good to go.  You can create databases, update tables, delete rows, inspect data, etc.

Creating the phpMyAdmin SQL Account

Now is the time to create the user you specified in step #3 above for the controluser setting (defaults to pma). Once you’ve logged in to phpMyAdmin, click on the SQL tab and type or paste the following text:

CREATE USER 'pma'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'your_password';
You’ll want to replace your_password with the password you selected in step #3 above, and if you changed the username, replace pma with what you specified. Then click the Go button. Once you’ve done this, the error message at the bottom of the page will go away.

The next article in the series will cover installing WordPress.

Resources:

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Installing PHP on Windows and IIS

This is the third part of the Installing WordPress From the Ground Up series.   Previously I discussed installing MySQL and then installing FastCGI on IIS6.   This article will show the exact steps for setting up PHP on Windows and IIS.

PHP is an open source general-purpose scripting language especially suited for web development.   WordPress along with many other applications are built on top of PHP.   PHP is available on several platforms, but it appears that the most common platform on which it is used is Windows.   If you click the downloads link on the php.net site you’ll see download links for source code and Windows binaries.   My recommendation is to download the installer package.   As of this writing version 5.2.9-1 was available.

Choosing Your Web Server

The first major decision in setting up PHP is which web server to use.   Most of my experience up to now has been with the IIS ASAPI module.   However, I have been reading that IIS FastCGI is better solution (see the articles at iis.net referenced below) so that is what I’ll recommend here.   FastCGI support is built in on systems that include IIS 7.0, such as Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008.   For systems with IIS 6.0 (e.g. Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP) you’ll need to download and install the FastCGI Extension.   The wizard won’t let you continue without installing it, so let’s do that now.

Web Server Setup

The pages of the setup wizard preceding the web server choice should be self-explanatory.   On this page, select IIS FastCGI extension.

Note that for some reason the wizard allows you to click the Next button without making a selection, so don’t forget to select something before clicking Next.

Web Server

Choose Items to Install

It is tempting to take a look through the list of extensions included with the installation package and select ones that sound interesting.   Resist that temptation.   Unfortunately not all extensions are created equal – or are designed to work with one another.   It is recommended that you only install the extensions that you know you will need.   You can always install extensions you missed at a later date.

Choose Items to Install

With that said, the following extensions are commonly installed on system to be used for WordPress:

  • Curl – Client URL library functions.
  • GD2 – GD library image functions.
  • Multi-Byte String – Multi-byte string functions
  • Mcrypt - Encryption functions
  • MySQL – For interfacing with the MySQL database server in which all WordPress data is stored.
  • zip – A zip management extension.

PHP Configuration

You may want to make some changes to the PHP configuration file found in the PHP installation directory (e.g. C:\Program Files\PHP).  Here are some that you should consider.

  • fastcgi.impersonate – Set this to 1 on Windows.
  • cgi.fix_pathinfo – Set this to 1.
  • cgi.force_redirect – Set this to 0.
  • date.timezone – Set this to one of the timezones listed at http://us2.php.net/manual/en/timezones.php. See PHP Failure Due To Missing Timezone for details on why this is important.
  • open_basedir – Set this to to the root of your web site files (e.g. C:\Inetpub) if you want to restrict PHP to a specific folder hierarchy.   If not, leave this commented out.
  • upload_tmp_dir – Defaults to C:\WINDOWS\Temp.   Set this to a different location if you are concerned about the space available on the system disk.
  • session.save_path – Defaults to C:\WINDOWS\Temp.   Set this to a different location if you are concerned about the space available on the system disk.
  • SMTP – Defaults to localhost.   Change this if your SMTP host is on another machine.

Testing

Once you’ve completed the installation, you can test it to make sure it is working correctly.   Create a file called phpinfo.php in the C:\Inetpub\wwwroot directory:

<?php phpinfo(); ?>

Next, navigate to http://localhost/phpinfo.php.   You should see something like this:

Testing PHP

The next article in the series will cover installing phpMyAdmin to manage databases hosted by the MySQL database server.

Resources:

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Installing FastCGI on IIS6

This is the second part of the Installing WordPress From the Ground Up series. Previously I discussed installing MySQL. This article will show the exact steps for setting up FastCGI on IIS6. If you are running a later version of IIS (e.g. 7.0 or 7.5), this step will not be necessary as FastCGI is built in to those versions of IIS.

Installing the FastCGI Extension

The FastCGI extension package can be downloaded from iis.net. Download and install the correct version for you system architecture (32-bit or 64-bit). Installing it asks not questions.

Configuring the FastCGI Extension in IIS

You may want to refer to the documentation for the extension when configuring it in IIS. Here are the steps to configure it.

  1. Launch the Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager.
    IIS Manager
  2. View properties of the Web Sites folder node.
    Web Sites Properties
  3. Click on the Home Directory tab.
    Web Sites Properties - Home Directory
  4. Click the Configuration… button.
    Web Sites - Application Configuration
  5. Click the Add… button.
    1. Click the Browse button and navigate to %windir%\system32\inetsrv\ to select fcgiext.dll as the executable.
    2. Enter .php as the Extension.
    3. Select Limit to in the Verbs box and enter GET,HEAD,POST
    4. Ensure that Script engine and Verify that file exists are both checked.
      Add Application Extension Mapping
  6. Click OK to each dialog box to accept your changes.

Configure the FastCGI Extension Settings

The FastCGI extension settings are stored in the fcgiext.ini file found in %windir%\system32\inetsrv\. There is a lot of good information right in the file. There are two sections that need to be specified – a Types section and an application section (referenced by an entry in the Types section). Here are the contents that are required for using WordPress:

[Types]
php=PHP

[PHP]
ExePath=C:\Program Files\PHP\php-cgi.exe
;Protocol=NamedPipes
;QueueLength=1000
;MaxInstances=10
;InstanceMaxRequests=1000
;IdleTimeout=300
;ActivityTimeout=30
;RequestTimeout=90
;ResponseBufferLimit=4194304
;FlushNamedPipe=0
;UnhealthyOnQueueFull=0

The lines that are commented out (those that begin with a semicolon) specify the default values for those settings.

Note that every time you change the FastCGI extension configuration in fcgiext.ini, you must restart the application pools associated with web sites that use the FastCGI extension in order for configuration changes to take effect.

The next article in the series will cover installing PHP on IIS.

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Installing MySQL on Windows

I’m installing WordPress on a new server for my company and realized I didn’t have detailed instructions for how I set it up last time.   This article is intended to show the exact steps I take to set it up.

MySQL comes in two primary flavors (from the downloads page) – community server and enterprise server.   The one we are interested in is community server (also known as the Generally Available (GA) release).   The community server page lists links for a variety of platforms as well as for the source.

MySQL is distributed in three forms for Windows:

  • Windows Essentials
  • Windows MSI Installer
  • Without installer (unzip in C:\)

For my purposes I have always chosen the Windows MSI Installer download package.   As of this writing, MySQL version 5.1.32 is available for download.   I tend to download the latest publically available production version as I assume that has all the latest bug fixes and security fixes as well as support for the latest features required by the software I need to run.

What to Install

The installer offers three choices for installing:

  • Typical
  • Complete
  • Custom

Setup Type

My habit is to select Custom to make sure I know what is being installed.   It turns out that Typical is almost always the correct choice.   The only thing not installed by selecting that option is the developer components.   Everything else should be installed.   Here are the components that are installed when selecting the Typical option:

  • MySQL Server
  • Client Programs – Includes a command-line interface.
  • MySQL Instance Manager – Allows you to manage several MySQL server instances.
  • Documentation

Installation Settings

Configuration Wizard

The Instance Configuration Wizard will run after MySQL has installed (it’s an option at the end of the Setup Wizard).   The Instance Configuration Wizard offers two configuration types – Detailed Configuration and Standard Configuration.   Standard configuration is only recommend if you already have a MySQL server installed, so select Detailed Configuration.

Configuration Type

Type of Server

The next page asks what type of server is being installed, which determines how much memory the MySQL process will use.   If all you’re doing is testing it out or developing against it, select Developer Machine.   If you’re going to deploy it with other server applications, select Server Machine.   If you are going to dedicate a machine to MySQL, specify Dedicated MySQL Server Machine.

For my uses, I typically select Server Machine.

Server Type

How the Database will be used

The next page asks how the database will be used.   Your choice will determine the storage engine to use and the capabilities that will be available.   Multifunctional Database is the most flexible, so if you don’t have a specific reason to use transactional or non-transactional databases specifically, just choose Multifunctional Database.

Database Usage

Database File Location

The next page asks for the location of the InnoDB database files to be managed by MySQL.   It would be best to specify a disk that has plenty of space and that won’t interfere with the operation of the system.   Putting this on a different disk than where the system is installed is a good idea.   The UI for this has improved since I first installed MySQL.   At that time it defaulted to putting the database files in a folder in the installation directory below Program Files.

InnoDB Tablespace Settings

Concurrent Connections

The next page asks you to specify a profile describing how many concurrent connections should be allowed to the server.   How you set this will be determined by how many visitors you expect to your web site.   For limited purpose sites where you know the number of users, you should set this to as close to that number as you can plus one for administration purposes.   For a general purpose web site, something on the order of at least 50 would be advisable.   On the database serving this web site I currently have it set to 100.

Concurrent Connections

Networking and Strict Mode Options

The next page presents two options.

Enabling TCP/IP Networking should be enabled if you ever want to host your MySQL database on a different machine than your clients.   Unless you have a good reason, leave the port number set to the default value of 3306.   If you are using MySQL for development purposes on a single machine, there is no reason to add an exception to the firewall.

Enable Strict Mode should always be enabled.

Networking and Strict Mode Options

Default Character Set

The next page presents options for setting the default character set for databases.   Choose Best Support for Multilingualism unless you know you are going to be using a specific character set.

Default Character Set

Windows Options

The next page allows you to specify how the MySQL database server should run.   In most cases you’ll the best choice is to check Install As Windows Service.   You can also specify a different service name if you are installing multiple instances.

If you want to be able to use the MySQL command line tools, you should also check Include Bin Directory in Windows PATH.

Windows Options

Security Options

The next page allows you to specify security information for accessing the MySQL server instance.   Specify a password for the root account.   In most cases you will want to use a web-based management tool such as phpMyAdmin or cPanel for managing the MySQL serve instance, so you won’t want to check Enable root access from remote machines.   Also, in most cases, you won’t want to check Create An Anonymous Account.

Security Options

Ready to Execute

You’ve now entered all the information required to install the MySQL server instance.   You’ll see the following page requesting that you press the Execute button.

Ready To Execute

The next article in the series will cover installing FastCGI on IIS6, followed by installing PHP on Windows and IIS.

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High IIS CPU Usage

The IIS processes on my web server (w3wp.exe) have been experiencing high CPU usage lately, but only for one of my app pools – the one for my main WordPress sites.  I use two ISAPI DLLs - PHP5 and Ionics Isapi Rewriter - but I am also currently using an older version of WordPress.  I did a little bit of research starting with the following Google query:

w3wp.exe high cpu

This turned up a few good hits, one of which allowed me to track down which app pools were using the most CPU.  Here’s the command I use:

cscript /nologo %SystemRoot%\System32\IisApp.vbs

I’m in the process of moving to the latest version of WordPress, so hopefully that will prove to be the solution, but if you encounter high CPU usage by w3wp.exe processes, try this command out to track down the culprit.

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DvdCrate – A DVDSpot Replacement

Since DVDSpot closed down (see article DVDSpot is Closing) I’ve been looking for a replacement that would allow me to record my collection and allow me and my friends and relatives to view it.  Steven Hildreth may have just the ticket with DvdCrate.  He opened it up to a public beta in December and just recently released it officially.

Steven, who goes by the moniker of CmdrTallen, has been extremely responsive to feedback and has assembled a very nice site, written entirely in ASP.NETW.  It doesn’t have all the features of DVDSpot yet, but it’s on its way.

Features I Like:

  • Rich database schema for specifying just about everything you can think of about DVDs, HD DVDs, Blu-ray Discs, UMDs, etc.
  • Provides many options for displaying information.
  • Searchable by UPC, title, actor, etc.
  • Author is very responsive – and respectful.

Work Left To Do:

  • Performance.
  • Can’t search within a single collection yet.
  • Some fairly minor bug fixing and user interface features.

The site has a forum as well which makes it very handy for giving feedback and getting help.  If you’re looking for a way to maintain your collection on the Internet, I recommend you try it out at http://www.dvdcrate.com/.

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