James's Weblog

Sabbath Rest

Mon, 18/02/2019 - 10:30 -- James Oakley
Image Credit: milinkapoor

I'm taking a 3 month sabbatical starting in May. This is something many Christian ministers find helpful. The Diocese of Rochester, within which I serve, used to recommend this every 7 years (although I see that their guidance now says 10 years).

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Manual Server Backups (without control panel)

Mon, 11/02/2019 - 10:41 -- James Oakley
Hard Disk
Image Credit: OpenClipart-Vectors

Control panels make a web server a sinch to use. If you sign up for shared web hosting, you'll be given a login for the control panel to manage just your account. Even if you run a whole server (virtual or dedicated) there are great advantages to using a control panel. Some control panels are free (like VirtualMin), and others you have to pay for (like cPanel).

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Adding SSL / https to lighttpd

Mon, 04/02/2019 - 10:30 -- James Oakley
Lighttpd

After my earlier post on setting up Lighttpd for simple sites, I thought I'd follow up with how to add SSL / TLS / https to your lighttpd setup. Increasingly, search engines and browsers are encouraging the use of https for all websites, so this is becoming more important. These instructions continue to be for Debian (or suitably similar) flavours of Linux.

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Setting up Lighttpd for Simple Sites

Mon, 21/01/2019 - 10:29 -- James Oakley
Lighttpd

From time to time, I want to run a simple website on a server as cheaply and simply as possible.

That usually means running on a VPS (Virtual Private Server) with as little memory as possible. It therefore means not using a web hosting control panel such as cPanel, because that comes with its own RAM requirements (usually, 1 GB as an absolute minimum) and may have license fees as well.

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Review: Stan and Ollie

Mon, 14/01/2019 - 12:15 -- James Oakley
Stan and Ollie
© Sony Pictures

It's a rare treat to watch a film while it's still showing in the cinema. Normally it's DVDs or terrestrial TV rights for us. But as a long-time Laurel and Hardy fan, Stan and Ollie was one not to miss.

And boy was it one not to miss.

Their films are well known, as is the era when they made them - mostly under Hal Roach Studios. Stan and Ollie tells the less well-known bittersweet story of their reunion in the early 1950s, their plan to make a film in the UK, and a music hall tour here to rebuild their profile for that.

Jericho and Violence

Mon, 07/01/2019 - 13:07 -- James Oakley
Archaeological Remains at Jericho

On Sunday at church, we looked briefly at Joshua 6, the fall of Jericho.

I say briefly. This was an all-age service, and we're running through a Bible overview at these monthly services. So my rule of thumb is that the talk should be followable by someone aged about 7, whilst having application and food for thought for those of any age. That means one main point, and the talk has to be brief.

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Mary and Joseph

Mon, 24/12/2018 - 10:30 -- James Oakley
Mary

Children's Bibles are great. They retell key stories from the Bible in a way that children can readily follow. Each one has its own editorial policy, aiming for a particular reading age and style, with consistent illustrations.

But they're a minefield. When you try to summarise to remove extraneous details, it's easy accidentally to remove the most important thing. Like Jesus forgiving the sins of the paralysed man in Matthew 9:1-8.

When you have extra details that need a little explanation, it's easy to do so in a way that removes the most important tensions of the narrative. Like this example ...:

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Cousins

Mon, 17/12/2018 - 12:55 -- James Oakley
Cousin Explainer
Image Credit: Dean Kehoe

The past couple of weeks, this image has been circulating on Facebook, entitled the Cousin Explainer.

Given the huge number of likes (256, at time of writing this) and shares (3,400, at time of writing this), it seems I wasn't the only one who needed this mapping out clearly.

As a mathematician, it always bothered me that I could not explain, or even better 'define', what an mth cousin n-times removed is. Well, now I can. And I share it here so that you can too.

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