Category Archives: New Technology

creating web portfolios, software and plug-in reviews

Stepping up to PHP5

This page has been off-line for a week, through no change by me! Suddenly it stopped working and produced a server error (500). Technical support suggested changing the settings to use PHP 5; How to do this? Go to the FAQ page on 1and1 and scripts and PHP; but make a long story short, copy this single line: AddType x-mapp-php5 .php into the .htaccess file; and, voilá, the page came back to life!

Note, the .htaccess file normally is hidden (since it starts with a “dot”. But it is visible to Fetch ( I use Fetch for ftp purposes.) In the Fetch window, I changed the file name temporarily removing the dot, downloaded the existing file, added the line, re-uploaded it, and then changed the name back again, adding the period.

What we call poetry

Starting a new blog thread here, as I join a collaborative project to create multiple iterations of a single poetic text by Kevin Stein, employing new media, animation, time-based, interactive, electronic, performance and print.  The poem is “on being a Nielson Family” and is, in part, a reflection on how we define ourselves by our relationship with media.

I have been printing poetry for over a year using letterpress, but for even longer, i have been exploring text in animation, with and without audio; first with Flash, then with AfterEffects. It will be interesting to see how these elements come together and interact in one space.

Drupal installation and configuration

The trials and tribulations of installing Drupal on your 1and1 account server.

To start with, maybe it is best not to download and install the very latest version of any open source program. I did that that with WordPress 2.5 (and found that it was pretty buggy with regard to upload of images. The best answer I got was “stay tuned for more updates.” . Many of the modules that check out fine for version five seem to be “untested” for version 6x. So if you are going for a quick implementation, stay with a tried and true version.

OK, create your database on your server account and make a note of the username, pswrd and host name. For 1and1 that will be something like “xxxxperforxx.net”

As soon as you start to change install and activate new modules (like the image module and image assist module (which, by the way, have to be installed together) you will get an “fatal error” message.

Fatal error: Allowed memory size of 8388608 bytes exhausted (tried to
allocate 373670 bytes) in
/homepages/45/d194830414/htdocs/drupal/includes/database.mysql-common.inc on line 41

This is rather opaque and really gives you little help. After puzzling over it for a while, and contacting 1and1 to see if it was something they could adjust (at first I thought I might have maxed out my allotted database space. They assured me that I had 100MB available)

I went to the Drupal support link, put in “memory error” as the key word and it took me to http://drupal.org/node/29268 a page titled “Increase memory in your php.ini”

It made three suggestions for changing the memory settings:

* memory_limit = 12M to your php.ini file (recommended, if you have access)
* ini_set(‘memory_limit’, ’12M’); to your sites/default/settings.php file
* php_value memory_limit 12M to your .htaccess file in the Drupal root

I tried the .htaccess file with no effect (but more on that later)
Changing the settings in the “sites/default/settings.php.” file seemed to do the trick. I reset it to 12M, activated the imags module, updated php as requested and was advised in the next screen that I really should be using 16MB. So made that change.

Now to see if that works.

Lightbox

Lightbox provides a great way to enlarge thumbnail images, creating a floating, specifically-sized window that contains the image and grays-out the page in the background so you can view the enlarged image without having to leave the page you were on.

Another strategy, and perhaps more common, provides a series of links and an image-field into which the image appears. In this case, the number of clickables squares or links indicates the number of images that can be viewed (good user-centered design). Implementation can be done by several methods:

  1. The images all load with the page, but are in divs that are “hidden”, except, perhaps the first image. Each link has a script that sets the “visiblity” property of one of the <div>s to “visible” and the others to “hidden.”
  2. In another implementation, each link goes to a new page with a new image. This works best if the main page structural elements do not move so much as a pixel- giving the impression that only the image (and maybe some text or link indicators change. For this kind of implementation it is very helpful to have all the individual pages linked to a common template for ease of updating.
  3. PHP or some other dynamic programming that pulls the information for a a new image url from a database and dynamically updates the page content. This is, by far, the most scalable method of implementation and the most flexible. But not necessarily the easiest for a novice to implement since it requires knowing the basics of html, php and sql.