A blog on IT, PHP, ASP.NET, MVC Frameworks, Shopping Carts, IDEs, etc
Welcome to my blog on PHP, ASP.NET, MVC Frameworks, Shopping Carts, IDEs and IT in General. Recently I have spent quite a lot of time research many IT related topics and often couldn't find all the info I was looking for in one place, so I decided to finally create a blog to aggregate and share the info to make other people's research a little bit easier (and add my 2c worth of course).
I’ve read quite a few blog posts comparing PrestaShop and OpenCart. Both systems are quite good in terms of functionality and OpenCart has certainly come a long way in terms of functionality, but if you’re a developer or ever intend to make any changes to the system one thing you should be concerned about over and above functionality is how the system is built. OpenCart is built very cleanly and in a very minimalistic manner so making changes is easy for anyone familiar with PHP and the MVC pattern. This is how modern PHP applications should be built. When you look at the code behind PrestaShop you can see that every single module generates lots and lots of HTML directly out of classes by effectively string concatenation. This is BIG BIG NO NO. No self-respecting modern PHP developer would ever consider doing this. This is absolute and utter rubbish. Mixing code and html like this results in spaghetti code and is poorly maintainable. You should NEVER do it, it belongs in the nineties or early naughties, not in 2013!!! I’m extremely disappointed to see this kind of poor programming in 2013. If all you care about is functionality then perhaps PrestaShop is the way to go, but if you care about the architecture and want to make changes and enhancements which requires programming then OpenCart is probably the better option. PrestaShop certainly does have a lot more module and it’s a lot more commercial, but to get a real store up and running you’re most likely going to have to spend a fair bit more money and if you’re looking to make enhancements there’s a good chance you’ll run into all sorts of issues. Have a look at some of the negative reviews on to get a real feel for the issues as they’re the ones that will cause you problems.
I’m sooo extremely pissed off about what I’ve encountered while trying to upgrade the firmware on our Cisco / Linksys SRW2024 and SLM2024 switches that I’ve felt the need to post this to vent and let anyone and everyone out there googling know of these issues!
As it turns out the SRW2024 and SLM2024 switches really really don’t like when their firmware is upgraded and there is a damn high chance that you’re going to brick the bastard when you try to upgrade. Generally the moral of the story is don’t kick a piece of shit if you don’t want it to stink (i.e. don’t upgrade the firmware if you don’t want it to break). I would also say DON’T get a Cisco Small Business switch because you think it’s a Cisco switch, IT’S NOT. Either get a REAL Cisco switch or get a Netgear switch instead, as based on this experience I can only say that the Cisco Small Business switches are rubbish. Aside from the fact that their interface only works in IE (which is also a problem with the likes of the SRP527 modem router), upgrading the firmware is a real Russian roulette of a gamble and you may well end up with a glorified paper weight.
Luckily on the SRW2024 switch I was able to upgrade the boot code and the firmware after a lot of stuffing around, downgrading the firmware and then re-upgrading it through a serial cable connection, but unfortunately on the SLM2024 there is no serial cable, so NO SUCH LUCK. All I did was upload the latest 188.8.131.52 firware file via HTTP using the Admin > Firmware Upgrade page in the Web GUI and then reboot the switch once that was done. However, the switch didn’t come back up! Now I have a glorified paper weight. In hindsight I should have just left it at 1.0.1 as it was working, but I took a gamble and lost! You’d think Cisco would have been able to work out a way to roll back firmware or be able to do something, but doesn’t seem to be the case.
I have to say, Redmine (and ChiliProject) has got to have one of the absolute worst applications to install for anyone who isn’t a RubyOnRails ace. As nice as the applicaiton is, the installation should be enough to turn anyone away. Redmine and ChiliProject have probably the absolute worst documentation I’ve ever seen. When I tried to install Redmine on Windows I encountered all sorts of problems with Ruby on Rails MySQL connectivity and when I tried to install Redmine on Linux I found the so called installation guides to be wrong, outdated, incomplete and all over the place. Surely it’s not that friggin hard to write a decent installation guide for getting Redmine running with Passenger/mod_rails on Apache. Why on earth would you tell people that using webrick in production is bad and then not give them decent instructions on how to install the basterd with something that should be used in production. Or the CentOS installation guide is all over the place as well, it’s friggin bullshit when it tells you how to install using CGI and yet has steps for installing with Passenger. Complete and utter bullshit.
We just bought a newly realease Cisco SRP527W Modem Router (or Services Ready Platform as Cisco likes to call it) (part number SRP527W-U-E-K8 and the first thing I tried to do is get it setup. Like many people I use Mozilla Firefox and like many people I have the latest version which happens to be 9.0.1. I had no problem access the Web Based Configuration Utility by going to the default 192.168.15.1 IP address of the router, but when I started trying to browse around I noticed some really really strange stuff going on. When I clicked on the tabs in teh SRP527W Configuration Utility it would go to the wrong screen and when i clicked in the panel on the left the top heading in the content area would not change, but the content would! I found this behaviour really strange, so I decided to try Internet Explorer and Google Chrome. I tried both and it seemed to work fine. I also tried Firefox 5 which I had running on another machine, that also seemed to work. This to me seemed like a bug or incompatibility that Cisco should know about, so I called Cisco Small Business support and after waiting for over an hour on the line I was put at the start of the queue again so I hung up and called back to finally get a person by selecting Managed Switches as the option (even though my issue had nothing to do with managed switches). The lady was very nice but when I explained the issue and asked if she could record it as an issue with the Cisco SRP527W and Firefox 9 compatibility she tried to convince me it’s not an issue at all and that I should install the Firefox IETabs extension. Seriously? I told her that it’s friggin year 2012 and it’s Cisco, not some no-name brand that we purchased because we expected the product to just work and not have configuration or performance issues (which is why we bought it in the first instance). The other IT guy in the room almost pissed himself laughing as I was trying to explain to her that it’s in Cisco’s interest to record this as an issue and not ignore and at least make it clear in some online doco that there’s currently a compatibility issue with Firefox 9 and that as a workaround people should use a different browser. The lady told me she’ll let the engineers know, but when I asked her to give me a case number she said she can’t… which basically means she hasn’t logged it and probably won’t. So, I figured the next best thing is to write a blog post so that anyone having issues with Cisco SRP527W with Firefox 9 will know that there is in fact an issue and the workaround is to use Internet Explorer, Chrome or an older version of Firefox. Perhaps it’s a Firefox issue, but as the product maker Cisco should at least acknowledge the issue and make it clear to customers what to do, but I guess they like wasting their time and money on customer dealing with incompetent support staff who try to convince seasoned IT professionals that an issue isn’t an issue or not an issue with their product.
Sometimes you want to install more than one webserver on the machine. WAMP Server is great for running an Apache, PHP, MySQL stack without installing each component manually. However when you try to install Apache as a service WAMP tries to install it on port 80. Luckily WAMP is very flexible and it’s easy enough to change so that it installs on a different port (or rather you don’t even check what port you’re installing on).
To do this, simply go into wampmanager.tpl and find the tag [ApacheServiceInstall]. Below it you can see what actions get executed when you run the icon. The simples thing to do is to comment out the first action, which runs testPortForInstall.php located in the scripts folder. Alternatively you can modify the php script to test a different port.
Then modify your httpd.conf file and run the Install Apache as a Service from within WAMP.
When you try to install Service Pack 4 or Hotfixes using Live Update in Backup Exec 12.5 on SBS 2008 you might find that you ge tError LU1812 and if you click the link you are lead to believe that the issue is with msxml3 or something along those lines. In relality the issue is actually with the fact that you didn’t run Backup Exec as an administrator when you started it and stupid UAC kicks in and prevents Live Update from installing the updates. All you need to do to work around this issue is to “Run As Administrator” when you start Backup Exec with the intention of running Live Update to install any service packs or hot fixes. It’s certainly annoying that you are led down the wrong path by Symantec but at least there’s a simple solution, which in hindsight seems rather obvious. Hope this helps someone.
There is nothing more annoying than waiting for hours while Small Business Server is Applying Computer Settings and you don’t even know if its going to work or not because you’ve just installed some Windows Update which will in all likelyhood break just as many things as it will fix. Luckily a search for SBS 2008 Applying Computer Settings quickly revealed that SBS 2008 is having an cow because IPv6 is disabled. Any normal IT person would consider disabling something they’re not using, but Microsoft doesn’t seem to think of that and doesn’t warn you about it or anything else. It turns out half of SBS 2008 seem to be dependent on IPv6. How bloody stupid is that when hardly anyone was using IPv6 in 2008 when it came out and it’s still not very widely used now. If you want your SBS 2008 to apply computer settings fast you just need to make sure IPv6 is enabled or is completed disabled using a registry hack. You can re-enable IPv6 by going into safe mode with networking and your network cable unplugged.
You can find more information here: http://achugh.wordpress.com/2009/06/17/small-business-server-2008-and-applying-computer-settings-message/
You can also find some more here: http://achugh.wordpress.com/2009/09/07/more-on-sbs-2008-issue-applying-computer-settings-message/
Hope this helps.
Once you have this working you can try work out what else is wrong with you piece of shit SBS 2008.
If you are looking for a Business Grade VoIP Service Provider I would recomment that you avoid Engin unless you’re looking for a very basic level of support and don’t care much about your service. Their resources seem to be overstreched as is and when it comes to public holidays in Australia their support is simply non-existent. Today I’m having issues with my Asterisk PBX being unable to register to Engin and when I called Engin there is just nobody there competent of helping me. They have a call center somewhere overseas for level 1 support and apparently for a connectivity issue like mine, which to me seems to clearly be an issue on their end, they have nobody there to look at the issue. The level 1 support guy simply told me to call back tomorrow. This is all well and good if you don’t care much for your phone but it’s just not good enough for a BUSINESS VOIP service. It seems that Engin are not quite capable of distinguishing between consumer and business telecommunications needs. Perhaps if anyone from Engin reads this they will find out that businesses cannot afford to have downtime just because it’s a public holiday because they still work on public holidays. That means there needs to be a competent support person available to resolve critical issues. The level 1 support guys seem to treat everyone including highly technical users as idiots and are completely useless themselves other than to read out scripted answers. My advice if you’re looking for a business voip provider, avoid Engin and ASK whichever service provider you intend to go with as to what their support is like on weekends and on public holidays. Unless you just don’t care about that.
I havn’t been using SQL Server on my development machine for a while so to speed things up I changed the service startup to manual. Recently I’ve needed SQL Server but when I tried to start the service I got an error saying Windows could not start the SQL Server on Local Computer with the Error Code 3417. This was rather odd, so I started doing some google searched but with no direct answer other than people saying that there are issues with the master DB. As it turned out because i havn’t been using SQL Server (and hence the DB files weren’t being used) Windows has compressed these files to save space (They were coming up with blue colour in the file system). So I selected all DB and Log files in the C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL10.MSSQLSERVER\MSSQL\DATA folder, went in Properties -> Advanced and unticked the “Compress contents to save disk space” checkbox. After this all files have turned black and I had no issues starting the service
I have recently bought a High-Point RocketRAID 640 card so that I can run some SSDs in a RAID. After installing the card by following the instructions I found that the system started getting a driver issue with Base System Device. After considerable searching on the internet I have found a post on a forum about this issue (RocketRAID Base SYstem Device Driver Problem). The issue is basically that there are no drivers for the PLX PEX 8609-BA50BC bridge chip that is used on the RocketRAID card. So, what I have done is emailed HighPoint and asked them to send me the drivers (which is apparently what they did to resolve the issue for the guy at Tweak Town who tested their device). I’m not sure why on earth they don’t just publish the driver or stick it onto their CD that comes with the card. I will update this post if I get the driver from them. Read more…