Movable Type 3.33, and associated FTP problems

Movable Type 3.3 badge-type thingSix Apart have just released a new version of Movable Type (3.33) which contains several patches for a bunch of potentially nasty security holes. Given the problems I had upgrading to 3.3 in the first place, I wasn’t exactly relishing the idea of another install, but security comes first.

And, just like last time: HTTP 500 server errors as soon as I tried to log back in afterwards.

It looks like my problem isn’t related to Movable Type at all, though, but instead to the FTP upload process. I had grabbed the .zip version of the movable type package, unzipped it locally, and then uploaded all the individual files to my web server. My FTP client is FileZilla, and the server is running NcFTPd. With FileZilla set to use multiple simultaneous connections (for a faster upload) it would occasionally transpose the contents of two files.

This is very ungood. Not only does this lead to the obvious failure situation where an app doesn’t work because its internals are screwed up (the HTTP 500 server errors I was seeing), but there’s also the possibility of a silent failure, where everything still appears to work, but all is still not well. For example, a file containing passwords could be swapped with a simple HTML file so that they become publicly readable (and Google-able).

Curiously, the transposing of files doesn’t seem to be entirely random. When I first noticed the phenomenon, I tried re-uploading the pair of files that had been switched, and they ended up switched again. It was only when I dropped back to using a single connection (menu: Queue -> Use multiple connections) that the upload worked properly.

A quick search on Google showed that although this is uncommon, it’s not an entirely unknown problem. A few people have mentioned this happening with FileZilla (here and here, for example), but this also seems to be an occasional problem with CuteFTP, too: see this forum post.

The fact that the problem shows up on multiple clients makes me wonder if it’s the server that’s at fault. Alternatively, both CuteFTP and FileZilla could be using a very similar, but subtly wrong piece of code to do multiple simultaneous uploads. Very curious. But at least knowing what has gone wrong will make me feel much more at ease when the next MT upgrade comes around.

Now with 10% less fat!

We haven’t been making a big thing of it, but since we got back from holiday in July, Abi and I have been on the “Flickr Diet”. (That’s where you look at all the pictures you’ve just uploaded and think, “Urgh, I really don’t like the way I look.”) And by amusing coincidence, today Abi and I both hit the point where we have lost 10% of our original body mass. I started at 80.1kg and am now down to 71.7kg; Abi started at 77.0kg, and is down to 69.3kg. Wow.

Our strategy has been two-pronged:

  1. Eat less
  2. Stay honest

The “eat less” bit has come from counting calories. No fancy points or diet meals; just getting into the habit of paying attention to the nutritional information for everything that we would be eating normally, and rigorous portion control. No snacks. No seconds. This was really difficult for the first week or so, but since then it has been easy.

We’ve been enforcing the honesty part by weighing ourselves daily, and keeping a chart on the fridge, where we can both keep an eye on how we’re doing. Daily weigh-ins are tough, because natural daily variations can easily kick you up 500g or so. But just like eating less, it’s all about the habits. The general trend is always downwards, and you have to trust that.

With this regime in place, I’ve even found that the occasional pizza emergency isn’t a disaster. Provided I don’t eat a massive dinner as well, a nice lunch every now and then doesn’t have a significant impact on my weekly progress. (They key is in the “every now and then”. I don’t think that “every other day” would cut it.)

This is pretty much the same technique that Abi and I used to lose a good deal of weight back in 1997 or so. It worked then, and it worked now. I tried the low-carb Atkins thing back in 2003, and although it was successful in the short term, the weight came back on again pretty quickly. Habits, habits, habits: a low-carb diet is not a sustainable habit for me, and so it fell by the wayside very quickly. Other people may be different, but I can’t live without my preciousss bread. Smaller portions are much more realistic.

So anyway, yay us. We’re not stopping here, though. I’m aiming to get below 70kg, and Abi wants to be under 67. The downside of all this slimming behaviour is that last weekend I ran out of trousers that fit me, and had to go shopping for new clothes. Not my favourite activity, but that’s a rant for another time.

Related links:

Beyond funny

hard diskAfter two dead disks last month, another one died on me this evening. This time it was the 400GB external drive I have attached to my Mac Mini. The data on it wasn’t critical, fortunately. I’d been loading it up with ripped DVDs from our collection, so the only thing I’ve really lost is time.

That, and my cool. Data loss FREAKS ME OUT at the best of times. Losing three disks in the space of a month has practically got me hyperventilating.