Category Archives: software

Fixing 500 Internal Server Error with WordPress and 1and1.com hosting

We interrupt these postings with some really geeky stuff…

********UPDATED Below*********

I have several blogs hosted by 1and1.com. I have been adding some plugins and kept coming across 500 Internal Server Error. I went back and forth, activating plugins, deactivating plugins and deleting them off of the FTP server. I was also coming across the WordPress blank screen on my admin dashboard. It was getting very frustrating. Then I came across something about one of the plugins generating the 500 Internal Server Error when the hosting company was not using PHP5. So I did some research into 1and1.com with WordPress and found a solution.

Find your .HTACCESS file on your server. It is a hidden file so make sure your FTP client (I use filezilla) can view hidden files. Open up the file in your text editor and add the following line after the line # END WORDPRESS.

AddType x-mapp-php5 .php

That’s it. Since I added this line I have not had an error 500 and all of my screens in WordPress have not been blank. Note: I did have one time when a plugin rewrote the .HTACCESS file. So keep a copy of the file handy. If you come across the error 500, just copy your backup of this file onto your FTP server.

*******UPDATE****** Since writing this post 1and1.com had made it easier to make this change. Simply login to your customer account. Look for the Web Space area and click on Global PHP Version.  Select PHP5 from the pull down menu and click Save. That’s it. For those of you who are not on 1and1.com the original posting above should work as well.

…we now return to our regularly scheduled postings.

The Future Computer User Interface

Computers keep getting smaller. But one thing that will have to change if computers continue to get smaller, is what kind of interface will be used to interact with them. Keyboards can’t get much smaller and still be usable. Talking to a computer may be the future, but that is still a ways off to be practical. That reminds me of comical Star Trek movie segment where they go back in time and Scotty tries to talk to a present day computer.

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But the most fascinating work that I have seen to date is being done by a young gentleman by the name of Pranav Mistry from MIT. He recently did a demonstration of his work at a conference. It is far too amazing to describe. It it best to watch the videos.

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The 8000 mile tech. support call with Skype and Crossloop

It has always amazed me how complicated vendors make it to set up a WiFi network at home. Case in point. I am currently in Saudi Arabia. My sister lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. She recently received a new laptop and wanted to connect to her WiFi router. When I was out there in 2008 I had set up their home network for them and written down all the important passwords such as the router administrator password and the network key. That was over a year ago and things get misplaced. Thanks to Skype I was able to talk to her about some of the things to do, but without those key passwords, there was skypeonly so far I could go. So I took the last step of resetting the router and proceeded to set up her home network for her. Usually this could have been a very long process if I had to describe this over the phone to someone who is not technical. Trying to explain to a non-techy how to enter http:// by itself can be confusing for some. But I was using Crossloop which allowed me to connect to her laptop and do all the work as if I was sitting right there. Now I know that the latest version of Skype allows you to share screens, but when you are rebooting routers, you loose the connection. So I was using Skype to call her land line. With Skype subscription service, I pay $3 a month for unlimited calling to North America.

crossloop

Crossloop is a very simple program to use. You go to Crossloop.com and register an account. The registration and use of the software is free. Then you download the application and start it up. You have 2 tabs depending on which end of the call you are on. If you are the one needing support, you click on the Share tab. You will be given and 12 digit number. The person doing the support clicks on the Access tab and enters your 12 digit number that you give them, and clicks on connect. After a few seconds the person getting the support is asked if they want to connect, they click on the connect button and say yes they want to allow the person giving the support access to view their screen. From then on it was like was sitting there on the computer in Vancouver (except for the +25 degree difference in temperatures). Crossloop is very secure as it generates a new code for each connection. So there is no need to worry about the support person dialing back in and downloading data. Once the session is ended, the code is no longer valid.

So thanks to technology, a happy ending to the story. My sister is happy and everything is working fine with her new laptop and home network. I wonder what the fee would be for a tech. support call from 8000 miles away?

Finally, Free Instant Messenger for the Blackberry

OK, I know it has been awhile, but I moved across the country; so I was a little tied up 😉
Webmessenger

I have blogged about a couple of other instant messengers for Blackberries before, and have had various amounts of success with them. There is a new player out there. WebMessenger has been around for awhile, but they recently announced that they were offering their personal instant messenger for FREE!

I tried it out and it was a breeze to set up. One of the biggest issues with Instant Messengers has been to get MSN Messenger, or Live Messenger on a Blackberry. WebMessenger does this without a hitch. RIM has been saying for some time that they would have a version for MSN, but so far only Yahoo and Google Talk.

Before you try to get it working on your Blackberry, you need to set up an account on the WebMessenger site. You simply tell them your logins for each of the IM’s out there and then when you login on the blackberry, all your contacts will be there.

…now if I could just get Rogers to offer a cheap data plan.

Instant Messanger within your Browser

Meebo is an online Instant Messenger application that allows you to run the application from within your browser. This is perfect for those times when you are traveling and need to use an Internet Cafe, or a locked down PC at work that does not allow you to install applications. I wrote about Meebo previoiusly.

To further integrate Meebo into your browser, Meebo has just released a Firefox extension. This adds a pane to the right side of your browser and lists all of your buddies online. You can also ‘disconnect’ the pane and have it work as if it were a stand alone application.

MSN Messenger on a Blackberry

I have had a Blackberry for a few months now and am finding more and more features for it. This week I finally found an IM client for MSN Messenger. (note to US readers, AIM is the IM of choice in the US, in Canada MSN is the most widely used) The advantage of EQO is that is can do ICQ, Yahoo Messenger, AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) and even Skype via a plugin.

Blackberry does have IM support on its server software, but only if you have the most recent 4.1 version

Now I have email and IM wherever I go…(I just have to figure out if that is really a good thing 😉

Folder Share

I recently upgraded my network at home to 1GB. I wanted to find a software that would backup my files incrementally. Meaning, as a file was changed, its backup would also be changed. I was able to find FolderShare. This is now a free service from Microsoft Live.

You simply download the software onto the 2 computers you want to synchronize. Point to the folder(s) you want to be in sync. and the software does the rest. As you change files on one computer, it is backed up on the other.

Foxit PDF reader

FoxitEveryone knows that Adobe gives away their Acrobat reader for free. This is a free alternative. Over the years Adobe Acrobat has grown to a 20 MB+ program that like to “call home” often and download 20MB updates. Due to its size, it also takes a long time to load.

Foxit PDF reader can read PDF files but is less than 2MB to install. Their uptdate files are also less than 1MB. Plus it loads in about 1/5 the time of Acrobat. If you need the high end features of forms building etc. then Foxit is not for you. But if you just need something quick and easy to read PDFs, then give Foxit a try.