Telemarketer for an Evening

This evening I had the joy of helping my mother attend to some of her IT needs—fixing up her CCA’s contact list. Ok, it’s not a terribly impressive task, but it’s just about being able to help her out.

So, in the list, there were, obviously missing data, etc. and I ended up calling students to fix up the contact list. It’s been some time since I last did something like that.. :-)

A New Day

After much struggle, I’m glad that I made the best decision I could at that time to move back to Singapore. At the end of the day I’m sure it isn’t so much my geographic location but the people I surround myself with that affect me. I am also glad to be close to my parents after having been out of the country for most of the past 6 years.

I so loved Ps Phil’s story of the three hags. One who wanted a house in the city, one who wanted a room in the palace, and one who wanted to marry the prince. How the third hag was transformed by the magical fountain, and how she loved the prince even to the point of death. Truly.. but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits. Daniel 11:32

Tomorrow will be the start of a brand new week and it will be time to go out there and look for work. Excited!

Choosing Our Futures

I was just reading Growing old in China: The business of going grey. The bulk of it is about the aging population in China, exacerbated by the one child policy. I understand if the most of it was written from a neutral/financial point of view. It would make a lot of sense for people to want to cash in on a growing market segment.

In the words of a typical lady who lives in the city away from her mother in the country, she said, “I hope mum can live her retired life happy and comfortable, but for most old people in China, the happiest thing is to live with their children.” Actually I don’t think that is just a Chinese thing, though perhaps I should ask my western friends some day.

However it is the last bit in the article that really annoys me:

However, these attitudes will change further as cities develop and people move around, believes Professor Ren.

Placing their parents in retirement villages will be the choice young people have to make, he says – sooner or later.

True, many may make that choice because of various reasons—financial, etc. but to say that that is the choice that we (young people) have to make is just a lie. Perhaps that is why all the more we need God to give us creative ways to overcome these “market forces” and societal pressure to hold strong to what we believe we ought to do. Let’s hope it was just a translation error.

On the other side of the balance, I do of course believe in the need for healthy space for a marriage to blossom.

A Productive Day

What a day! I can’t believe I just rocked up to work imagining that I would carry out the migration that I intended to. Well alright I wasn’t expecting that, after what happened on Wednesday. But we still ended up going 60% over my initial expected time.

Haha when I first entered the office, I told Nam that I didn’t bring my laptop. He was pretty nice and offered to search for a spare machine for me to use. He fell for my trick :). Found out that April Fool’s day in Vietnamese is called ngày cá tháng tư—loosely translated as April fishing day (baiting other people?). I almost fell for someone’s trick too but didn’t :D

Anyway, here’s a log of the migration from Rackspace Cloud Servers to Rackspace Cloud Sites for reference:

  1. Upload all files and database SQL dumps into a folder first. This can usually take the most time.
  2. Open a Live Chat window (which will likely come in handy along the way)
  3. If latency is high, ask tech support to perform the following operations swiftly:
    1. Provision Cloud Site
    2. Remove any DNS records pointing to Cloud Site (Cloud Sites does some “automagic” updating of DNS records)
    3. Verify that DNS records match previous set exactly
  4. As of this stage DNS should be running on Cloud Sites, but still pointing to Cloud Server
  5. Create new databases and request tech support to restore data if database is big
  6. Update database details in PHP scripts
  7. Verify .htaccess redirects
    1. non-www → www
    2. WordPress and other apps’ nice URLs
  8. Use test URL to ensure that everything looks fine
  9. Set up SSL (note that Cloud Sites will update DNS again but if all of the above has been performed, this DNS change should be fine)
    1. If generating new certificate, Cloud Sites will generate a private key and CSR. Submit CSR to signing authority to get the CRT file. Submit this to Rackspace.
    2. Bring your own (this is what we did): paste in private key and crt file’s contents into the web form.
    3. Once you click Finish, DNS will be updated
  10. Final check on everything

And also some notes:

  • Prepare a comprehensive checklist of all the components to migrate beforehand.
    • Web domains
    • Applications
      • Databases
        • Database server hostname
        • Database name
        • Username
        • Password
      • Files
    • DNS records
    • SSH, SFTP, DNS registrar accounts that may be necessary.
  • Plan. Prepare a list of items to test. dig commands for DNS, wget commands for web.
  • Document, document, document.
  • Expect delays especially when dealing with new systems (i.e. in this case Cloud Sites). Today we started at 2pm and finished around 7pm.
  • Fanatical Support ⇏ Knowledgeable Support
  • It would be good if one could do a dry run first. We gained some experience from the previous migration on Wednesday 30 March that gave us a better idea of what we were doing today.
  • Migrations are like operations. Teamwork helps greatly.
  • Prepare tools to do testing from across the globe, e.g. just-ping.com

Ok… so I guess that was the bulk of it and I left the office with a headache, but was quite happy that the major parts of the work is now complete :-)

Looking forward to working on a personal project in the morning and joining a Hackspace meeting in the afternoon! Time to hit the sack. Can’t believe I took so long to write this..