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Archive for May, 2014

PhpWiki is Obsolete and PHP is to Blame

TEN years ago (or more) I installed PhpWiki. I used it to manage communications with family and friends (privately), then to collaborate with colleagues (I had co-authored papers at the time, so needed to manage version changes) in a publicly-accessible installation (my second installation) of an up-to-date version of PhpWiki. It was up-to-date at the time, but not anymore. I later installed PhpWiki once again in It was the main CMS there (my only site to be managed primarily by PhpWiki).

PhpWiki is an important piece of software because it was the first public-available piece of software running a wiki using PHP. It goes back to 1999 when very few people knew what a wiki was. Its authors deserves big thanks for releasing it under the GPL.

I have found that some people — like myself — had their data ‘locked’/’trapped’ inside PhpWiki and as PHP is not backward-compatible they sought a way out (PhpWiki just stopped working with an upgrade of PHP). Various bits of wiki software offer importers of PhpWiki, but they don’t deal with the database directly, they require exporting of data (which earlier versions of PhpWiki don’t appear to have, except perhaps from the command line). Upgrading PhpWiki is hard because my host for this Web site offers no access to PHP log/error files and things do not work as expected. The only way to really view the Wiki data at the moment is through PHPMyAdmin. What a mess.

Having spent several hours wrestling with this issue of no upgrade and no export available (I checked numerous importers), I am left with no choice but to manually migrate the data to some other Wiki software. I have already set up FOSWiki and MediaWiki before, but I might be curious enough to try something ‘new’ (or exotic) like PmWiki, DokuWiki, WikkaWiki. The problem, however, is that they too might become deprecated/unmaintained one day in the future, leading to the same problem I am having right now.

PhpWiki is still being developed (just not frequently) and there are newer releases. I will always fondly remember the one Wiki software that I set up and used before people knew much about Wikis (except perhaps the example of WikiPedia). Here are some final screenshots of the Wikis that will soon go dark, despite the fact that I customised them a great deal and modified the code to suit my needs.

If only PHP was eager to keep old software functional (compatible with newer versions of PHP) this wouldn’t have happened. I still have several other CMSs to go through, trying to upgrade, hack, or export from. Why? Well, because a forced upgrade to PHP 5.3 will kill them. I mostly blame PHP here. It’s an applications killer. It didn’t have to end like this and I am not the first to complain about it.


PhpWiki private

Cleverboxes is Rubbish and Tesco Direct Should Dump Them

THERE IS a company in the UK called Cleverboxes. Its name may sound innocent and its Web site gloats/boasts about a relationship with Tesco Direct. Well, this is a warning to anyone who considers buying anything from Cleverboxes.

Cleverboxes is a dysfunctional business. It does not communicate with so-called ‘customers’, it does not deliver, it does not even properly cooperate with Tesco, it makes false promises, and it generally makes Tesco look bad. Well, Tesco is bad for having such a terrible partner.

Almost a dozen calls later (at cost of money and time to us) my wife and I cancelled our order, which was made through Tesco to Cleverboxes.

To be fair to Tesco, their staff was quite responsible and was eager to pressure Cleverboxes to deliver; it was seemingly the fault Cleverboxes alone. Do they have have staff there? Is that a real business?

Save yourself the disappointment and avoid Cleverboxes. It deserves to lose Tesco as a partner immediately because all it does is rubbish Tesco’s name.

Avoid EasyJet

Very hard, not easy


EasyJet’s utter incompetence has wasted not only hours of my time but also a lot of time of several relatives (with computer science degrees). Their site is broken and only a fool would trust the company to keep an airplane up in the air. Their customer support is too hard to reach and would probably be useless in this circumstance.

Save yourself a lot of headache by never even visiting the site of EasyJet. This airlines, EasyJet, is technically defunct.

EasyJet Crashes… Into Worst Airline Position


Over the years I have flown with over a dozen different airlines and never did I have as much problem as I am having with EasyJet these days. Their Web site is broken by design, their customer support is understaffed (been waiting for a long time before just giving up and hanging up), and anyone who considers flying with EasyJet should definitely think twice before doing anything. Upselling, spam, advertising of malicious software is all one ends up with after suffering bad IT and customer service.

EasyJet, based on my experience, is the world’s worst airline.

BT is Phasing in Internet Censorship of Totally Legitimate Sites

Today I received yet another SPAM E-mail from BT, this time too promoting censorship of my connection under the guise of “Parental Controls” (which I guess means Cameron and his cronies are our parents who try to control us). The key content of the E-mail was as follows:


We take online safety very seriously, so we’ve designed BT Parental Controls to help you stay in control of what your family accesses on the internet. It lets you block unsuitable websites and filter content you don’t want your children to see. And it’s free for all BT Broadband customers.

Setting up BT Parental Controls is quick and easy, and there’s no software to download. You can choose from three pre-defined filter levels: strict, moderate or light. Or you can customise it and pick individual websites you want to block.

To set up your filters, click ‘yes’ below, and you’ll go through to My BT where you can also update your settings at any time.
If you don’t need this service, click ‘no’ and we won’t send you this message again.

This mail did not specify what would happen if I did not press “no”. One day they might change the wording further to make censorship enabled unless requested otherwise. Worse yet, maybe new BT subscribers now have censorship on by default, as some sources seem to suggest. One sure thing is, Internet restrictions are on the rise here, and this has nothing to do with crime prevention or even decency. It’s all about control and maybe this is why the term that they use (“control”) is appropriate. It’s not you who’s in control. It’s BT and the government which it serves, also when it comes to surveillance and drone strikes (assassinations), as recently confirmed by the mass media.

EasyJet Powered by Incompetence, Seemingly Requiring Passengers to Install Malware on Their Computers to Just Board a Flight

Earlier today I was horrified when I attempted to print plane tickets that I had purchased last week. Check-in is possible now as the flight is less than 30 days away (that’s the standard accepted by several companies). Upon attempting to obtain the tickets (as PDF, also a common standard among airlines) I was greeted with nothing at all (no download). I proceeded towards an oblivion of cyclical links and cruft. Both Firefox and Chromium were tested for this, even the latest Android. Nothing would work. When pressing on “check in” I’d be redirected to the Adobe Web site. It’s absolutely impossible to do anything else. Adobe would then pressure the visitor to download and install (with full/root access to the system) a piece of spyware/malware known as “Reader”. In the process, by linkage, EasyJet was forcing one to receive more Adobe ads (proprietary software). Everything in the process is proprietary despite the fact that the Web is “open” and all the software I use is FOSS. Worse yet, EasyJet has me running through screens of non-ending malicious advertising while just trying to log in and check in. Without Adobe’s proprietary Reader, on the face of it, one cannot check in at all. EasyJet ought to take a closer look at who’s hired for its IT team to avoid such embarrassment.

EasyJet should know that Reader is not required to open PDFs. Every IT professional should know this.

Unrest in Ukraine

JUST under a year ago I protested in this blog against Obama’s intent to invade Syria and officially start another dirty war. It is now evident that the US teaches Syrian terrorists how to fight their government and also provides heavy weaponry, essentially promoting peace/calm by advancing profitable war at the expense of Syrian lives (cannon fodder and civilian casualties). In the United States, attention is being shifted away from the role of a US facility in Libya, which was being attacked while/after it had been funneling weapons (through Turkey) to Syrian terrorists. So much for peace, eh?

Less than a day ago a report surfaced in the German media (it is now in the French, Danish, and Russian press, to name just few examples, but the British and American media ignore it) saying that Blackwater, which is famously linked to the CIA, is now running things around the Ukraine (hundreds of mercenaries on the ground), only weeks after the CIA’s head visited the country, followed by — reportedly — several FBI and CIA agents. For those who don’t know, neo-Nazis gained power in Ukraine with much help from NATO and the US. These are the people responsible for the burning (while alive) dozens of nonviolent people in Odessa. The Western media is so fanatic about propaganda right now that it is lying to readers and viewers, mostly by omission.

Based on actions of NATO member nations in Ukraine, peace is clearly not a goal and calm won’t be restored any time soon. It is just yet another proxy war among several others. I feel sorry for the Ukrainian people, some of whom were my childhood friends.

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Original styles created by Ian Main (all acknowledgements) • PHP scripts and styles later modified by Roy Schestowitz • Help yourself to a GPL'd copy
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