Silenced by an Acronym

tiaraApart from my Sunday Round-up, I’ve been pretty quiet for the last few days for the very basic reason that I couldn’t get at my WordPress dashboard.

It was all very weird. All was fine on Thursday but when I woke on Friday, there it was gone even though Shooting Parrots was still up. Instead, I got a mysterious Error 500 message which as error messages go is so generic as to be useless.

I spent almost all of Friday speaking to the tech people and that’s where it got weirder because although I couldn’t get to the login screen, they could. We went through the usual routine of switching off the plugins and forcing the site to revert to the default theme, but I was still locked out.

They thought was that the problem was my router, but all seemed well there. Then they suggested that the provider was the problem. It wasn’t and neither had Shooting Parrots somehow ended up on Virgin’s black list.

So how to explain that the tech people in Germany could access the login screen but I couldn’t? I asked my sister-in-law to try it on her Sky connection and neither could she. So was it a UK problem? Nope because nor could my daughter in Japan. You could hear the heads being scratched all the way from Berlin.

In the end, the very helpful techie bent a few rules to pass the problem up the line. By now it was late afternoon and they don’t work weekends so I had twiddle my thumbs until Monday morning when the more techie techie called me and then went off to fiddle with the files and reinstall WordPress which did the trick but didn’t explain what had gone wrong in the first place.

After much messing around, I now think I know what it was. I was using the now deprecated 5.3 version of PHP and my site just wasn’t happy with version 7. I know a bit about websites and that PHP somehow tells them how to work, but that’s about as far as it goes so I decided that broadening my knowledge to understand what PHP stands for was the least I should do.

And here’s the thing – PHP stands for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor which is a recursive acronym meaning that it’s an acronym that starts with an acronym. Only computer nerds could come up with that one.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

3 comments… Add yours
  • Yorkshire Pudding 8th November 2016

    Hypertext Preprocessors were aliens in the third series of “Dr Who”. They looked like actors dressed in rubber suits with TV aerials on their heads. Their megalomaniac leader was a cruel brute called Trevor.

  • Steve 8th November 2016

    I thought PHP was a hallucinogenic drug. Possibly consumed by a cruel brute named Trevor.

    • Mr Parrot 8th November 2016

      I’m afraid that Steve has the correct answer. The full term is ‘Psycho Hillary for President’, a popular placebo for the Trump effect, also known as bullshitting in the wind.


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