VirtualBox 4.1.18: How to solve “Failed to load unit ‘HGCM’ (VERR_SSM_UNEXPECTED_DATA)”

(Update 7/18/2012: My theme cuts off the title. The full title is, “VirtualBox 4.1.18: How to solve “Failed to load unit ‘HGCM’ (VERR_SSM_UNEXPECTED_DATA)”.)

So, this is a bit of a departure from my usual type of post, but it’s still DevOps-related (an area I’m increasingly getting into), and people are probably searching for this.

My experience with this error

I had to send in my Windows laptop for warranty repair, and I was running a couple work-critical VirtualBox virtual machines (“VMs”) on it. I use Vagrant to run them without a GUI, and moving them was easy. I used vagrant package, copied over the project files, and ran vagrant up on the destination machine. This was not the issue.

I got this error when I suspended the virtual machines, then tried to resume them

So for some reason the VMs started up without issue. However, upon suspend and resume, I started getting the titular error. I searched for it on the Internet and found a VirtualBox forum which linked to a bug report which suggested editing the .vbox file. This is in <home directory>/VirtualBox VMs/<name of VM> and is named after the VM as well. It ends in .vbox.

Now, before you edit it, make sure you:

  1. Suspend or shut down all running VMs
  2. Close VirtualBox

If you don’t, this won’t work because VirtualBox will use the previous configuration anyway.

OK, so open up the .vbox file. Search for SharedFolders. You will see something like:

<SharedFolders>
<SharedFolder blah blah blah />
</SharedFolders>

Anywhere in the file you see that, change it simply to:

<SharedFolders/>

and save the file.

Now open VirtualBox and try resuming the afflicted VM again.  It should work. If it doesn’t, go check the .vbox file and make sure VirtualBox didn’t change it back. If it did…then make sure you followed the two preparatory steps above. I’m speaking from experience here. You can’t skip those.

And you’ll be good!

Update (7/17/2012): If you have several VMs that you run together, sometimes one of them will resume while the others fail with this error. If you resume that one, you may be able to subsequently resume the others. Not sure why this happens since the VM in question didn’t have any VirtualBox shared folders (not even in the XML), though some were using NFS. Perhaps it was internal-network related. Just noting this here since it happened.

My mobile office is now in the Toolbox

If you follow me on Twitter, you probably already know all this. If not, however, allow me to explain.

When I’m away from home, whether at a cafe or a Drupal event, there are a few things I take with me to ensure a pleasant working experience. You may have encountered me with them at a Drupal event. I’ve had the setup since SANDcamp 2012 and also had it with me at DrupalCamp NJ, DrupalCamp Twin Cities, and DrupalCamp Sacramento.

These tools definitely increase my productivity (hint: one is a USB-powered monitor that you can carry around!).

So, without further delay, check out my mobile office!

I’m a mentor at the free DrupalCamp Sacramento training on June 8!

I haven’t been blogging enough recently, but I will try to keep you posted with short updates at least. It’s been a busy first quarter of the year!

But I wanted to post to announce that I’m mentoring this training, which as I write is tomorrow. It’s full, so this is sure to be an interesting experience on my part. BuildAModule.com’s site is here (affiliate link).

DrupalCamp Sacramento: link (Fill PDF Service is a Bronze Sponsor).

Hope to see you there!

WizOne Solutions Winter Update

Update: I’ve also sponsored DrupalCamp NJ (http://www.drupalcampnj.org/sponsors/fill-pdf-service) at the Silver level.

I wondered what I should call this post, and the title I picked seemed to fit. It’s been some time since I’ve written a proper blog post about my attendance to (or sponsorship of) camps. I’ve definitely tweeted about it, but the blog posts have been lagging behind. Time passes, and opportunities do too. I think I’d be beating a dead horse to try and catch up now. I’d rather just list the highlights since around July:

  1. Was an individual sponsor of DrupalCamp LA (http://2011.drupalcampla.com/sponsors/wizone-solutions) and attended. Presented on hooks with Oliver Seldman and subbed in for Christefano’s presentation (http://2011.drupalcampla.com/sessions/professional-staging-and-deployment-todays-best-and-worst-practices). Also scored a great new photo courtesy of Sawako Leslie (thanks!).
  2. Attended my first DrupalCon…in London (ahem, Croydon)! I also did an individual sponsorship for that (http://london2011.drupal.org/sponsor/wizone-solutions) and ran a couple informal discussion sessions (BOFs).
  3. Experienced Drutober with nearly back-to-back DrupalCamps.The first was the Pacific Northwest Drupal Summit. This was a pretty cool event (yeah, sponsored this also. See a trend? http://pnwdrupalsummit.org/sponsors/wizone-solutions). It was targeted more at developers, apparently, and it was really well organized. I mean really well. Everything just went so smoothly and was so professionally done. My paltry $50 (OK, $200 total) was worth every penny.

    The second camp was the Bay Area Drupal Camp, a.k.a. BADCamp. (Individual sponsorship in profile: http://2011.badcamp.net/attendees/wizonesolutions.) I had to work for this one (the Coder Lounge was around 15 minutes away from the sessions), but it was worth it, and I made some new acquaintances. My session on Fill PDF also made it in at the last second (http://2011.badcamp.net/program/sessions/fill-pdf-module-web-form-data-completed-pdf-form-out). That was surprising, but cool, and the presentation went pretty well.

    Drutober was interesting because it was the first time I went to DrupalCamps with concrete goals. I think that helped me get more out of it.

  4. SANDcamp 2012 (two sponsorships! https://www.sandcamp.org/sponsors#block-views-sponsors-block-11 and https://www.sandcamp.org/sponsors/fill-pdf-service) and DrupalCamp NJ (individual sponsor; see this page: http://www.drupalcampnj.org/event/attendees) are coming next.

So it’s been an interesting year. In the coming year, I’m hoping to polish up Fill PDF Service and make it properly rock. That’s part of the reason for trying to ramp up the marketing a bit. We’ll see how it goes!

(And I’ll try to write more.)

Drush Make: Avoid the Unexpected

There are two things that are no secret and which form the basis for this post:

  1. Using the development versions of Drupal modules is sometimes the best choice.
  2. Using development versions as the project[module_name][version] parameter in a Drush Make file is always a bad choice.

How can we reconcile these two seemingly irreconcilable truths? The answer is actually very straightforward, and it’s even documented in Drush Make’s README.txt file itself1!

I tweeted a link to this pastebin snippet the other day. Keep that open, and let’s take a closer look.

This example comes directly from a Drush Make file I actually use:

; Download the module with Git
projects[webform_userpoints][download][type] = "git"

; Find this revision by clicking View Commits on the project page
; in the lower right-hand column. Click on the most recent commit
; in the branch you were going to use. Copy and paste the full revision
; identifier.
projects[webform_userpoints][download][revision] = "25bfe11d2c6dc6480d0aabc79b1edb54dec06236"

; Tell Drush Make it's a module. This might not be necessary.
projects[webform_userpoints][type] = "module"

; You can erase or change the subdirectory. I like to separate
; my Git-downloaded modules.
projects[webform_userpoints][subdir] = "_custom"

The comments are there for explanatory purposes, of course. They explain the basics, so let’s look at the finer points. First of all, what was my thinking behind doing it this way? To answer that, take a quick look at the Webform Userpoints module and the available releases. I’ll wait.

OK, as you can see, this module only has a development release. However, I’ve also used this technique for modules where the development version had a feature (or even a bug fix) that I needed. The benefit of doing it this way instead of simply specifying the version as “1.x-dev” is that your site will never suddenly stop working after a Drush Make (or Aegir)-based deployment because of the latest development version having different code than you expect (i.e., new code). Git repository revisions are fixed points in time and code. You can rely on them not changing. This is a very good thing.

Finally, I thought I should include a screenshot of where to find the commit identifier. There are a couple places; let’s start with the one I used the first time:

Click the "View commits" link on a project to get here

That’s the View Commits page for Webform Userpoints. It’s accessible through the right sidebar. You usually want the latest one for the development version you need. Click on it, and then click here to skip ahead.

Sometimes, though, especially in actively-developed projects, you’ll find that there are so many commits that it’s impractical to find the revision that way.  In these cases, the Repository Viewer is the answer. To get there, click Repository Viewer on the Drupal.org project page of the module or theme with which you’re dealing, and then under the heads section, find the one that looks like the development version you wanted. This will typically be something like 6.x-1.x. Next to that, you’ll see a few links such as shortlog, log, and tree. Click log, and then click on the title of the latest commit.

With either approach, this type of page is your final destination:

Once you click a specific commit, you wind up on a page like this

The highlighted text is what you want. This will be different for you unless you’re doing this for the same revision of the same module.

Bonus developer method: Clone the repository with Git and check out the branch corresponding to the development version. Run git log and copy the full commit identifier. Stick it in the right place in the Drush Make file. You probably didn’t even need me to write all this if you’re using this method.

1 http://drupalcode.org/project/drush_make.git/blob/086793e8887008a7841a5ef6081f8cf2766347db:/README.txt#l268

Toolbox page launched

You may have noticed there’s a new tab on the site: Toolbox. This is a simple list of various tools I use in my day-to-day work and in running the business. There’s no need to keep the fact that I use them secret, so I thought I’d start maintaining a page of said tools. It will also hopefully help me generate some affiliate income.

So check it out, and if any of the tools on it interest you, check them out!

UPDATED: Weird fix for CCK fields not appearing with Display Suite (Drupal 6)

Update: Oops, this wasn’t the problem at all. It was actually with the Content Permissions module. Forgot the site was using it! Pretty embarrassing 🙂

I just went through quite a struggle getting my CCK fields to appear on my Display Suite-managed node. I finally succeeded, though, in the end, and thought I would share the solution.

Don’t worry, there isn’t much to read: just disable and re-enable the Node Displays CCK (nd_cck) module found within in the Node Displays Contributions module.

I initially tried disabling and re-enabling all Display Suite-related modules, but that didn’t work. For some reason, however, disabling and re-enabling that specific one did.

Hope this solves someone’s problem!

(To read my full rant, check out this issue comment and the ones below.)

Last-ditch Solution to Non-Working PHP-FPM + Apache Configuration

I had a surreal experience yesterday. I was following online tutorials about setting up Apache + PHP-FPM (for example, this ServerFault question: http://serverfault.com/questions/326919/how-to-set-the-httpd-conf-when-using-php-fpm-with-php5-3-8-and-apache2). I’ll let you read that rather than re-hash it.

My goal here is only to share quickly how I actually got this working.

Alright, so you know the part where it says to add the directives:

AddHandler php5-fcgi .php
Action php5-fcgi /fcgi-bin/php5.external

This didn’t work for me no matter what I did. No errors were produced, so I knew that it simply wasn’t executing the Action directive for whatever reason. In checking the Apache 2.2 documentation for Action, I noticed that a MIME type could be given in lieu of an action-type (the php5-fcgi thing). Having exhausted all other options, and knowing that the PHP file was being sent to the browser unprocessed with the MIME type application/x-httpd-php, I decided to add:

Action application/x-httpd-php /fcgi-bin/php5.external

to my configuration. And, much to my shock, it actually worked!

So, if you find yourself as frustrated with setting up Apache + PHP-FPM as I was, I hope this tip may ease your suffering.

Multi-conference report coming

I’ve been to several camps this summer and early fall, but I haven’t really written anything about them since I mentioned sponsoring DrupalCamp LA 2011. I’ve decided that I’ll probably never document them individually but that a combined blog post would be reasonable. I’ll write this soon, probably next week (once things calm down a bit).

There will be pictures.