Friday, January 20, 2017

What to do in the age of Trump?

Well, that's the question of the day. If you're part of an organization that does advocacy work, rather than waiting to see what happens first, might as well get yourself ready, even if the details are sketchy still. Here's one opportunity that's ready for you now, message courtesy of Steve Anderson of OpenMedia.

OpenMedia, David Suzuki Foundation, SumOfUs and a range of other organizations are supporting a new shared set of civic engagement tools.

Vancity Community Foundation is providing some support to subsidize some of the cost of the tools to select values-aligned organizations that sign up before February 28th.

Interested? You can learn more or book a demo from here: http://tools.newmode.net/

Here's some live examples of the tools you can take a look at:

1. Click to Call: http://www.davidsuzuki.org/blogs/healthy-oceans-blog/2016/11/to-help-protect-canadas-oceans-weve-made-it-easy-to-call-your-mp/#newmode-embed-4-266

Check out this video of David Suzuki's daughter using the tool: https://www.facebook.com/DavidSuzuki/videos/10154754874493874/


2. Letter to the Editor: http://www.deliveringcommunitypower.ca/letter

You can see how powerful this tool can be via this blog.

3. Click to Target (works for all levels of government): http://www.deliveringcommunitypower.ca/banking

Here's another example targeting provincial politicians: http://www.b4stage4.ca/#newmode-embed-209-217

Update, April 28: we've now got CiviCRM integration, so if you signup for one of these tools, the signatories/participant data can get pushed back to your CiviCRM site. Hooray for the CiviCRM REST interface!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Using varnish in front of a webhosting canada or other shared hosting site? Pay attention to your probe!

I've had a varnish installation protecting http://www.fairvote.ca -- a wordpress site hosted at webhosting canada (whc.ca) -- for about a year. Last Friday in the evening, it started spitting out 503 errors, for no obvious reason. I spent a few hours yesterday in vain trying to get the hosts to tell me what, if anything might have changed at their end.

What I eventually figured out is that they changed how their servers respond to http requests without a domain - previously it was a 200, and it became something else (a redirect, I believe). That's not unreasonable (though relatively pointless to change at this stage, I would imagine), except that, by default, varnish probes its backends with requests that don't have a domain. What that meant is that varnish started thinking that the backend was broken, so stopped talking to it (even though it was perfectly capable of doing so).

The fix was just to add a customized probe that included a valid domain to the request.