A couple of months ago I mentioned an annoying problem I was having with the RSS feeds on this site. The feeds on the sidebar to the right and the dashboard on the backend of the site would never update unless I physically forced them either by deleting and recreating the widget or going into the SQL database and deleteting the cache entry from the options table.
I was convinced that the cache/database or some other portion of this site was corrupted and wasted quite a bit of time digging through everything remotely related to RSS in the code and database always coming up blank.
Today in the office I was working on a completely unrelated problem when it occured to me… maybe it’s not actually the software/database at all. I remoted in to my firewall, started up the monitoring then hit the main page of my site.
HTTP-Proxy Error: Cannot parse start header
Crap. All the time I spent and it wasn’t the site at all. The HTTP proxy service on the firewall, while letting the original feed downloads through, was blocking subsequent RSS feed updates that the site was trying to pull down with a Conditional Get when the content had changed. A quick edit to the Proxy service and the feed refresh is no longer blocked.
Problem solved. I’m annoyed I spent so much time looking in the wrong location, but problem solved.
from WordPress 2.5.1 to 2.6. Painless as usual.
Though I do still have a rather annoying problem with RSS. The feed on my site appears to work fine but I cannot get an updated feed from anywhere else. Example: the RSS link on the right to my ‘Political Stuff’ blog. It never updates unless I manually go in and edit the widget. Then it pulls down a new copy of the current RSS feed. I would blame the widget for that except it also occurs on the dashboard back-end of the site. The display of the WordPress development RSS feed also never updates unless I force it. I’ve had this problem for a very long time over many versions of WordPress and its really starting to become annoying.
It looks like crap now (well, crappier), but I’ve finally updated this ancient WordPress 1.5 theme to work with widgets in a dynamic sidebar (thus the crappy sidebar).
Speaking of WordPress, if you’ve been putting up upgrading to version 2.5, now is probably the time to get off your butt and get to it. I’m running across several reports of active wordpress hacks that are injecting link pages and hidden adsense code into vulnerable installs (including ZDNet apparently).
Edit: No, really. Upgrade.
Okay, people, if you are running any version of WordPress older than 2.3.3*, you need to upgrade now. Seriously. WordPress 2.3.2 and older have security holes that are being actively exploited by hackers to inject spam links into blogs which are not maintained. And search engines like Technorati are de-listing hacked blogs. Are you listening now? Do I have your attention? Upgrade your web apps before you get hacked and your site drops off the search-engine radar.
I took all of 15 minutes (including download time) from my busy schedule today and upgraded the site to WordPress 2.5. The upgrade was, as usual, quick and painless. The new version is a pretty significant change behind the scenes so the jury’s still out on the new features/layouts until I’ve had a bit more time to play around with them.
side note: this template is really starting to show its age. I really need to get around to updating it. At the very least I need to add in widget support.