If you can find them….

“In 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn’t commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them….maybe you can hire The A-Team.”

A-Team Van
A-Team Van

I found them. Looks like there is a bit of damage there from that time it had to ram through the barricade.

A-Team DVDs

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Complete Step by Step directions for WordPress Multisite setup

Complete Step by Step directions for WordPress Multisite setup

There are a ton of blogs and directions about how to setup WordPress Multisite, but none took you through all the steps that were needed. I just recently combined eleven separate sites, each with their own separate domain name, into a single WordPress MU setup on a new host. I just moved over to iWF Hosting and so far LOVE them. Using my method below will keep your total downtime to zero as you will transfer the domain as the last step.

Here is how I did it, step by step. If you have any questions about the process, please comment below.

*1.) Designate one Domain as your “main” domain. It doesn’t matter which one it really is, but this will be the one your Super Admin logs into. Transfer this domain to your new host. It will likely be tied to your account somehow, which is fine. Note that the transfer can take up to 48 hours, but typically will take 4-12 hours. You won’t be able to get past this step until the DNS transfer happens though, so if it’s on a live site – that site will be down for a while. For this reason I used a throw away domain so that none of my important sites would be down.

*2.) Install WordPress and configure MU per WordPress Codex instructions.

*3.) Combine all Themes and upload in to the wp-content/themes folder on the new host.

*4.) Combine all Plugins and upload in to the wp-contet/plugins folder on the new host.

*5.) Setup each site under Sites -> Add New. These will initially be setup as directories under the “main” domain. So you’ll have http://MainSite.com/Site2, http://MainSite.com/Site3, etc. To keep this simple for me, my site2 was the full domain name minus the .com part. This way I could look at it easily and know what site I was working with. Site title doesn’t matter at this point, but Admin Email will designate the admin user for later on. I simply set this to the email address of my Super Administrator that was setup in step #2.

*6.) Plugin and Theme activation is a bit weird. You can force a specific plugin or theme (or all of them,) to be active on all sites “network wide” using the Network Enable option. Or installed themes and plugins can be activated on a per site level. I did a combination of both. Performance plugins such as Cache Plugins, Google Analytics, and my adverting plugins were Network, while plugins that perform specific actions were on a per site level as need. This allowed me help keep resource usage at a minimum. The per site plugins are enabled under the normal Dashboard -> Plugins method.

Themes can be activated Network wide, or per a site level also. BUT, to do so on a per site level, you have to go into Sites -> Site name -> Edit -> Theme Tab to enable the themes you wish to be visible to that site. IAfter enabling the theme on the per site level, go into the site’s Dashboard, then activate that theme. In my case I made sure there was only one theme to activate, but I still had to manually activate it for each site. Otherwise the theme frequently defaults to whatever the main network theme is (on your throw-away domain name,) or to the default WordPress Theme.

Note that if you make any edits in the theme (such as hardcoding site name, hardcoded links to a commerce solution, CSS Style Sheet tweaks) it will show up on all sites that use that theme. So it might make sense to you to make sure that each site uses a completely different theme. It’s also a good way to make a large number of sites look exactly the same though.

*7.) Export (Settings -> Tools -> Export) your old WordPress blog. Do everything, unless you want to take this chance to remove stuff such as comments or users. I tried to use a variety of backup plugins but they all had issues, were a pain in the behind to setup, or just plained failed to work due to resource restrictions. Export is simple and takes seconds even on a large site.

*8.) Install the WordPress Import Plugin. Settings -> Tools -> Import -> WordPress. It’s one click there and installs Network wide.

*9.)In WordPress MU, click on Sites -> New Site Name -> Dashboard. This puts you into the dashboard for the new site. Import the file you exported from step #7 under Settings -> Tools -> Import -> WordPress. Choose the export file from your computer. Click the box to include media.This will take some time and doesn’t give you any kind of timer. On some sites it may time out due to resource issues. I read all kinds of ways to tweak this, none of which actually worked for me.

The best way for me was to note the number of images and posts on the old site. I then opened two tabs in my browser to the New Site. One tab was the import process, the other was opened to the posts page. The import process started moving media files first, but will fail on most anything that is not an image. So note the failures as you will need to move them manually – usually this is because they’re too large in size. I believe the limit is 10mb. I would then refresh the post page every five minutes and make sure the number was rising. If it stopped for more then ten minutes, I simply went back to the import tab and hit refresh on the page then clicked “send.” This simply starts the import process over, BUT it skips everything that has already been downloaded/imported! Files and posts that exist already will generate an “error” message so you know that it’s working.

It took me about two hours to move 4gb of images and another three hours to move 1000 posts and about 5000 comments. I probably refreshed the import page about every hour. Lastly I manually uploaded the rest of the Media attachments that didn’t transfer over and edited the posts that they were attached too.

Note that the import will also pull over users. It will try to match user names, so Admin Posts will go to Admin. But it will keep the original user unless you specify otherwise, OR didn’t import the users from the old site. Also note that all users on one blog can now be users on all blogs in your network. This is editable under the Site -> Site Name -> Edit -> Users tab.

*10.) Once the import is done, I setup the new site however I wanted it. I enabled the required plugins, configured adsense, made sure everything (except the domain name) worked and looked like I wanted it too. In my case this was pretty much copy the old site exactly and set it up the same way. This only took me about five to ten minutes per a site because I wasn’t doing anything crazy. Make sure you tweak things like your permalinks, site name and tagline, Widgets, etc. Note that whatever your site name is, that will show up under the “My Sites” Button. So you want to be a little different in the site names. Oh, and do not forget to trash the Sample Page and Sample Posts.

While you’re setting things up, you can “Visit Site” easily by going to My Sites -> Site Name -> Visit Site.

*11.) Now is the time to move your domain name. Go to your DNS Provider and switch the DNS from the old host to the new one. If your host is also your DNS provider, you may have to transfer the domain name over. I personally keep DNS at my Domain registar so I can move from host to host easier.

*12.) On your new host you should be able to “Park” the rest of your domains. If you’re in CPanel there is an option to Park Domains.

*13.) In your main site, WordPress MU Dashboard, install the Plugin “WordPress MU Domain Mapping.” It must be network enabled. Go to Settings -> Domain Mapping. In the Server IP address put in the IP address of the server where your files are hosted. OR just put in the CNAME (usually your first domain name.)

*14.) Go to Sites -> All sites. Hover the mouse over the new site that you want to map to a specific domain. Look at your status bar of the web browser to see where that link goes to. At the very end of that link is an id=x, where x is a number. Remember that number.

*15.) Go to Settings -> Domains. Site ID is the number you noted from step 14. Domain is the fully qualified domain name. So enter www.mainsite.com. There are several options here to setup domains, I suggest this blog post if you want to tweak any of them.

At this point you are done. If you do it this way you will have no downtime when transferring from the old host to the new one. I used the same Google Analytics code, so there was not even a drop in stats. As peoples and the host’s DNS updates it will automatically go from the old site to the new site.

Please let me know if you have any questions or problems!

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Guild Wars 2 Champion Trains

Guild Wars 2 Champion Trains are no doubt contrary to the developer’s wishes on how Guild Wars 2 should be played. But from the players’ viewpoint, they’re a quick way to level characters, get nice loot, get karma, and get Daily and Monthly Achievements out of the way.

Below is a list of Champion Trains with waypoints. If you know of any that are NOT on this list, or have a correction, please comment below.

Queensdale Champion Train (Levels 1-17)
As of June 2014 all the Champions except the Champion Rotting Ancient Oakheart were changed to Veterans or Elites to discourage Champion Trains in starting zones.

Lornar’s Pass Champion Train (Levels 25-40)
While Lornar’s Pass has a lot of champions, they do not spawn predictably at this time. If you have a pattern for them, please post in the comments below. Thank you!

1.) Frostmaw [Stonescatter Waypoint]
Head north towards [Bearstone Shrine]. He spawns in the flat area to the east.

2.) Champion Ice Wurm [Durmand Priory Waypoint]
Head immediately south, take stairs down to bottom of hill. Turn north and enter caverns. Follow caves to [Posternus Caverns] point of interest.

3.) Lord Ignius [Vanjir's Stead Waypoint]
Head directly south into Venison Pass

4.) Champion Steam Commander[Pinnacle Enclave Waypoint]
He actually originates at another location, but frequently ends up right at this waypoint .

5.) Champion Troll [Durmand Priory Waypoint]
Wanders the caves below the Durmand Priory north of [Posternus Caverns] point of interest.

6.) Champion Ettin [Vanjir's Stead Waypoint]
Head north towards the heart, then turn right. Go up in the hills, follow path generally south to Vista.

Harathi Hinterlands Champion Train (Levels 35-45)

Timberline Falls Champion Train (Levels 50-60)
- Ram

Iron Marches Champion Train (Levels 50-60)
1.) Champion Drakin Cinderspire (Fire Shaman and Minions) [Gladefall Waypoint]
Head southeast over the bridge then curve around to the Northwest. The champion is at the North end of the Scorchlands. There is a break in the wall just south of the Scorchlands Vista that can be jumped through. Kill all the Ember and Fire Elemental Minions in the area before attacking the Shaman, do this three times.

2.) Champion Branded Devourer [Gladefall Waypoint] or [Grostogg's Kraal Waypoint]
Head north into The Infestation. Located in the middle area

3.) Champion Victurus the Shattered [Viper's Run Waypoint]
Roams through Crystalwept Groves with an entourage of branded creatures.

4.) Bria [Hellion Waypoint]
Head south to Bria’s Manor

Sparkfly Fen Champion Train (Levels 55-65)

Frostgorge Sound Champion Train (Levels 70-80)

Guild Wars 2 Champion Train

1.) Wurm [Dimotiki Waypoint]
Jump off the ice flow and starting swimming down and slightly to the North East. The Wurm at the bottom of a chasm in the sea.

2.) Drake [Skyheight Steading Waypoint]
Head north out the gates and angle slightly west around the cliff. The Drake will spawn in a nest area straight ahead.

2A.) Quaggen
Will spawn near the Drake to the North East. Has a long spawn time, so it only appears about every five rotations.

3.) Troll [Earthshake Waypoint]
Head slightly Northwest, jump the fissure to stay on top. Keep heading west until you get to an open area full of trolls. Jump down, the Troll spawns on top of the rock out cropping. There is also a Chest on the north side of the rock out cropping.

4.) “Trio” [Drakkar Waypoint]
The Trio has a long spawn time and will come up about every second or third rotation through the other Champions. It consists of three Champs. If all three can be killed within the time limit (currently ten minutes,) then an extra chest is given as a reward.

Malchor’s Leap Champion Train (75-80)

Cursed Shore Champion Train (Level 80)

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Downtown Disney, Anaheim, California

Somewhere in the past couple of decades, Disney added something called Downtown Disney. The California version of this is a bit better than the Florida version in my opinion. Not because it’s larger, or it has better stores, restaurants and “gift shops.” No, because it’s better integrated into the larger Disney conglomerate. Downtown Disney is easily accessible from both the Magic Kingdom and California Adventure theme parks and from the multitude of Disney Hotels nearby.

Where as at Downtown Disney Orlando, one must either drive or take the monorail from the various parks. Granted, there are more dining options. A plethora of entertainment options in itself populate Disney Downtown Orlando, along with plenty of shopping and eating options. But, the fifteen minute ride slash drive to Downtown Disney in Orlando makes it less of a destination.

Monorails and pool at Downtown Disney
A picture of some monorails shadowing the pool area outside one of the Disney Hotels.

Lego Dragon at Downtown Disney
In Lego, one of the most iconic Disney movie moments.

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Cars Land at Disney’s California Adventures

I was lucky (or unlucky) enough in 2012 to end up at the new Cars Land at Disney’s California Adventures about a week after it opened. Lines were long, especially for the Radiator Springs Ride at 60 minutes, a mere twenty minutes after the park opened. Within an hour the wait had soared to 120 minutes and hovered there for most of the day with an occasional drop to 90 minutes.

The attention to detail and staying true to the Cars movie franchise is downright amazing. I had just as much fun taking pictures of the signs and scenery as I did actually riding the ride. We went again in April 2014. It was just as busy.

California Adventure

California Adventure

California Adventure

California Adventure

Radiator Springs Ride

Mater, voiced by Larry the Cable Guy

Lightning McQueen, Voiced by Owen Wilson

California Adventure

Radiator Springs!

Cars Land at Disney's California Adventures

California Adventure

California Adventure

California Adventure

Stanley's Oasis

California Adventure

The outstanding view!

California Adventure

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