Migrating a wordpress blog – mysql charset problems and backup script


The, now previous, hosting company of my wife’s blog had a major data corruption and completely lost a years worth of database entries and files. There was no communication before we found the problem ourselves, so we were very unhappy and decided to reconstruct the host on another site.

Luckily I had set up WordPress to send a complete database dump weekly as tar.gz balls, so no database entries were lost. All uploaded images and such was permanently lost, but reconstructing this is much easier than reconstructing posts and comments.

Charset problems moving the site to another webhotel

After creating a backup of the files left on the old host I made a local copy to my computer and another copy to the new webhotel. After the DNS changes had gone through and had imported the database dump on the new hosts the only thing left was to edit wp-config.php with the new database settings… or so I thought. It turned out that the all the tables of the database were in charset latin1_swedish_ci, but some of the posts contained utf8 characters as well. The result was the all Danish letters and many special characters in english looked garbled on the blog.

After searching the web for hours through variations over simple search and replace, which I did not find feasible, I finally found the holy grail – the ‘replace’ command as part of the mysql (now mariadb) project. The following command corrected all entries in the sql file from the mix of different charsets to a consistent utf8 output that rendered beautifully on the website:

replace "CHARSET=latin1" "CHARSET=utf8" "SET NAMES latin1" "SET NAMES utf8" < database.sql > database_uft8.sql

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Replacing a failed disk in a mdadm RAID


I have a RAID5 with 4 disks, see Rebuilding and updating my Linux NAS and HTPC server, and from my daily digest emails of the system I discovered that one of my disk had issues. I found the following in dmesg:

[ 8347.726688] ata6.00: exception Emask 0x0 SAct 0xffff SErr 0x0 action 0x0
[ 8347.726694] ata6.00: irq_stat 0x40000008
[ 8347.726698] ata6.00: failed command: READ FPDMA QUEUED
[ 8347.726705] ata6.00: cmd 60/08:38:78:10:00/00:00:17:00:00/40 tag 7 ncq 4096 in
[ 8347.726705]          res 41/40:00:78:10:00/00:00:17:00:00/40 Emask 0x409 (media error) <f>
[ 8347.726709] ata6.00: status: { DRDY ERR }
[ 8347.726711] ata6.00: error: { UNC }
[ 8347.731152] ata6.00: configured for UDMA/133
[ 8347.731180] sd 5:0:0:0: [sde] Unhandled sense code
[ 8347.731183] sd 5:0:0:0: [sde]  
[ 8347.731185] Result: hostbyte=DID_OK driverbyte=DRIVER_SENSE
[ 8347.731188] sd 5:0:0:0: [sde]  
[ 8347.731190] Sense Key : Medium Error [current] [descriptor]
[ 8347.731194] Descriptor sense data with sense descriptors (in hex):
[ 8347.731195]         72 03 11 04 00 00 00 0c 00 0a 80 00 00 00 00 00 
[ 8347.731204]         17 00 10 78 
[ 8347.731208] sd 5:0:0:0: [sde]  
[ 8347.731211] Add. Sense: Unrecovered read error - auto reallocate failed
[ 8347.731214] sd 5:0:0:0: [sde] CDB: 
[ 8347.731216] Read(10): 28 00 17 00 10 78 00 00 08 00
[ 8347.731224] end_request: I/O error, dev sde, sector 385880184
[ 8347.731227] end_request: I/O error, dev sde, sector 385880184
[ 8347.731241] ata6: EH complete
[ 8348.531767] raid5_end_read_request: 2 callbacks suppressed
[ 8348.531779] md/raid:md0: read error corrected (8 sectors at 385878128 on sde1)
[ 8348.531785] md/raid:md0: read error corrected (8 sectors at 385878136 on sde1)
[ 8348.534558] md/raid:md0: read error corrected (8 sectors at 385878080 on sde1)
[ 8348.534560] md/raid:md0: read error corrected (8 sectors at 385878088 on sde1)
[ 8348.534562] md/raid:md0: read error corrected (8 sectors at 385878096 on sde1)
[ 8348.534563] md/raid:md0: read error corrected (8 sectors at 385878104 on sde1)
[ 8348.534564] md/raid:md0: read error corrected (8 sectors at 385878112 on sde1)
[20132.633534] md: md0: data-check done.

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Migrate from RAID 6 to RAID 5 with mdadm


lian-li-qo08bI have been using a quite secure setup for the last couples of years with a 4 drive RAID 6 setup. This setup can tolerate two disk failures without any data loss. Recently though, I have been getting close to the edge of the filesystem and could use some extra space and since I have both monthly backup to an external hard drive and nightly offsite backup I am actually not very afraid of a data loss on a RAID 5 setup. So I have planned to change my 4 disk RAID 6 to a 4 disk RAID 5 without any spares.

A word of caution: Please do not do any of the actions below before a backup has been made.

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Completely silent and powerful workstation, spring 2013

Someone in my close family needed a update for a workstation primarily used for emailing, browsing, audio and light video editing. The computer was never used for any 3D demanding games, so no separate GPU was needed, provided that I could find a CPU with a on-die GPU. Furthermore a recently bought NAS took care of all the large files, so the objectives for the build was to create a silent, very fast booting computer that could also handle heavier problems as audio and video editing.

The following build is completely silent. The case has built-in heatpipes that cools the CPU, the PSU is also fanless and the SSD doesn’t make a sound. Still the SSD is blazing fast, the i5-3570K CPU is very capable and the on-die HD4000 GPU is more than enough for the workstation.


Mid January 2013 in Denmark this totaled, with delivery, to 6711 DKK (1210 USD).

  • CPU: Core i5 3570K, 6 MB
  • MB: Gigabyte GA-Z77N-WIFI, mini-ITX
  • GPU: Intel HD 4000 built-in on the i5-3570K
  • CASE: Streacom FC8B EVO Black, Mini ITX, Passive Heatpipe CPU Cooling
  • PSU: Streacom NANO150 PSU Adapter, Passive
  • SSD: Samsung SSD 840 Series 250GB, 540/250MB/s
  • RAM: Corsair Vengeance 2 x 4 GB, low-profile, PC3-12800, 9-9-9-24
  • DVD: Sony DVD Writer, AD-7640S, slimline
  • Cables 1: SATA adapter for SATA slimline DVD drive, 6+7 pin, slim SATA – 4-pin power + 7pin SATA
  • Cables 2: Streacom SC30 USB3.0 Internal Cable

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YABI – Yet Another Boids Implementation (simulation of flocking animals)

Just before I started my paternity leave I saw a documentary about flocking animals and how these can be modeled in computer simulation. I found it very exciting and eagerly thought I could implement a simulation in a days work. I, however, quite underestimated the free time available while on paternity leave and the project extended in to many pieces spread over a few weeks. First a little teaser from the animation I made using python and Matplotlib, where the Boids (birds, fish or flying sheep ..) are in blue and predators are in red:

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