Updated October 3, 2010Doc Sheldon
I’ve been fighting and cussing my Dell Inspiron laptop all week! I still don’t know what got into it, but after several days of hair-pulling and probably a hundred or more re-boots, I was finally able to get it to act right!
The registry looked like someone tossed a hand grenade in there, and my event logs weren’t in any recognizable language. Aside from that… let’s just say it’s a good thing it has so many cables connected – more than once I picked it up, and was ready to put it through a window!
Late Friday night, I finally managed to get it working, and yesterday morning, I started doing some things that had been piling up, and I learned something important: Don’t play around in your htaccess when you’ve only had an hour and a half of sleep! Especially, inadvertently!
Next thing I knew, my browser was showing me this:
Internal Server Error The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request. Please contact the server administrator, firstname.lastname@example.org and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error. More information about this error may be available in the server error log. Additionally, a 500 Internal Server Error error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.
Talk about cold chills. Hell, I thought I was in my robots.txt file, via the WP backend. Who’d have thought a lack of sleep could an idiot make, eh?
Point is, for not paying attention, I did something stupid, that could have been a lot more serious. To make matters worse, I had already closed my WP admin, and couldn’t get back into it. So I went to my server’s CPanel, and couldn’t find the robots.txt anywhere. Still sure that my screw-up was based in my robots.txt file (yeah, I know… makes no sense), I started to break out in a cold sweat. I didn’t think I had gotten anywhere near my htaccess, so I didn’t even look for a problem there (yeah, I know that too… I should have).
Luckily, I was able to get back into my Skype yesterday without precipitating another crash, and a buddy of mine zeroed in on the problem immediately. While he was in there, he helped me out with a couple of needed tweaks that sped my load up a LOT.
So, I learned a lesson, which brought home a point to me. All my life, I’ve enjoyed taking things apart, to see how they worked. Of course, my intent was always to put them back together, but it didn’t always work out that way. Kind of like that unfortunate incident with my Dad’s Big Ben alarm clock.
I taught myself most of what I know about computers by just jumping in and mucking about. I learned basic and machine language by trial and error, and eventually did the same with fortran and cobol. Only a basic working knowledge, mind you, but still, it gave me some satisfaction, and I was able to accomplish quite a lot with them.
I set out to learn html the same way, and now I’m working on php. Of course, my knowledge of all of these is sometimes only enough to get me in trouble, which sometimes makes my life… let’s call it, interesting.
Now and then, I’ve gotten myself into a proper mess, and on occasion, I’ve had to get someone else to bail me out. Sometimes, I’ve found and fixed the problem myself, which always feels good. But I can’t say that my learning style is one I’d recommend to anyone else.
The Plain-Jane html pages of the early 90s were well within my grasp, even then. But how many of us worried about code validation twenty years ago? Search engines were just starting to appear, and our biggest concern was adding our pages manually to their index.
Looking back at some of my early, cobbled-together pages has given me more than a few chuckles. Today, though, it’s a different story. Those homemade pages I slapped together by trial and error wouldn’t rank for squat, and would likely leave many webmasters in convulsions of laughter. Thanks… I’ll be here all week folks.
I’m sure there are a lot of folks out there that learned their programming skills the same way.
Fun, isn’t it?