The eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed that Mike is the first person in a long time to make it out of the Hall of Shame in the sidebar – which is where you end up when you don’t post on your weblog for six months. Mike’s recent posts on cash versus cards and his day at Wimbledon were enough to convince me that it wasn’t just a reinstall of his website – although it’s a pity he seems to have lost all his previous work. Not as much of a pity that he spotted when Dave vandalised his website last year…
Mike’s recent reappearance and Ed’s not-so-recent conversion to wordpress reminded me that my weblog needed upgrading once again – and I then spent two days fiddling with the new widgets in the sidebar. WordPress just keeps getting better. Finally, I can show where the recent comments are lurking – and it’s not always on the most recent posts – along with who’s posting what in the nearby circle. With all the new widgets though I’m considering adding a second sidebar!
Anyway, enough meta-talk for now.
It’s been a few days of upgrades recently. First off was the new version of Firefox, released last week. The lightning-fast forward and back is great – especially noticeable when you click on a link halfway down a page, and hit back. No more reshuffling the page as the layout is recalculated. Also, error pages (server not found and so on) are shown as pages, instead of dialog boxes. That’s been a long time coming. The only downside is that most of the themes haven’t been upgraded, so I had to find a different one. Most of the plugins I used are now redundant, since tabs are a lot easier to work with. Overall, a highly recommended upgrade. (If you don’t use Firefox already, you really should try it!)
Yesterday was a not-quite seamless upgrade for my Kubuntu install. I think it took about three chunks of upgrades to sort itself out – each time it would upgrade about a third of the packages. But it eventually worked, and I like the minor upgrades to all the software that I use (and especially to the package manager!). And it’s so nice having the OS and all the programs you ever need sorting themselves out automagically.
I’ve finally got round to upgrading the software that powers this weblog. That’s been a long time coming too. So if you notice anything wrong (or badly styled) let me know. I’ve also got all the spam-filtering plugins disabled; I want to see how well the new version copes by itself. It’s like putting your head in a lions mouth to see if he’s hungry…
This post was brought to you by the words “Open Source”, “Free Software”, and “absolutely fantastic”. Oh, and probably “preaching to the choir” too.
Wow, I’ve just checked the little calendar on the front page of my own weblog, and it looks like I don’t actually post here half as often as I think I do. But seeing as payday (tomorrow!) comes round remarkably quickly too, I guess I’ve just got a general not-keeping-track-of-things problem. Oh well.
But I am really busy, both at work and during the rest of the time, so there’s not much lazing around or trying to find something to pass the time. At the moment, in amongst everything else I do, I’m trying to upgrade the version of WordPress that this blog runs on. To do so, I’ve decided to write my own theme module for the new version, instead of just hacking my way through the code to make this version look like it does. Hopefully it’ll make it easier to upgrade next time – my cavalier approach means I have no idea what code I changed originally.
My hand is being forced by the return of the stupid spammers. Currently the spam comments are all being moderated, but I’m getting fed up deleting them twice a day. Hopefully the upgrade will sort it all out.
Wow. What a boring post. Still, you get what you pay for…
Well, a few minutes playing around with WordPress plugins, and I’m a happy bunny. Installing plugins for this weblog is a breeze – I guess I’ve just had too much experience with nasty nasty php programs (cough phpBB), which was putting me off sorting out the spam issue with this one.
So I’ve now got plugins to automatically put trackbacks and pingbacks in the moderation queue, and I’ll see whether they work the next time I get attacked. I’ve never had a proper trackback or pingback before, so I’m not that bothered about them. I’ve also added a general comment moderation thing, which looks quite cool. It’s the Spam Karma plugin, and it rates comments by all kind of options, letting good ones through, giving dubious ones a further test, and just killing the dodgy posts outright.
I tried testing it, only to find that the plugin is more clever than I am. First off, it would let me post whatever I wanted, since I was logged in as the administrator. Then when I logged out, and tried using the text of one of the spam comments from yesterday, it successfully intercepted the comment, told me to piss of, and automatically blacklisted my IP and the URL I had given. Oops! So don’t try testing my comment moderation system, it works quite well…
I’ve had around 700 spam comments and now trackbacks since the start of the holidays, and I’m fed up with it. For the moment all comments are being moderated until I get round to putting in place one of these anti-spam things like Mike has. The trackback spam is a new one today, but since everyone running WordPress is being hammered, I expect the new versions to be able to deal with it better.
And I feel ill, which isn’t helping.
Adam writes about the joys of rubber-necking. What confuses me is why british motorways don’t have hedges or somesuch dividing the different flows of traffic. I’ve seen them all over the continent, and not only does it improve the rubber-necking situation, it helps enormously during rainy nights, since you don’t have everyone else’s headlights blinding you.
Steve is making me feel guilty about my lack of fitness. I’ve got a long term plan to run the marathon, but that’s probably long-term as in never. We’ll see.
So, Sam has moved onto WordPress, and changed away from Fireburst to samsharpe.net. And got rid of all his former entries, again. That’s something that would have narked me 11 months ago, since I was very much into the whole ‘URLs are permanent, and all data on the intarweb should be so too’ philosophy, but with that, and many other things, I’m proud to say I don’t really care anymore.
In an attempt to directly contradict myself, I’ve ensured that if you try following an old link to a weblog post, you get redirected to the new archives. Cause there’s just sooo many people linking to my old weblog posts. I’ll give it a couple of days, and retire the old database.
Mike has also started using WordPress, so that makes three of us in as many weeks. I wonder if anyone else is going to give it a whirl…
I’ve now added all the posts from my old Chasing Rainbows weblog to this one. Although I’m not exactly proud of some of the posts (to put it mildly), there’s just about enough interesting things in there to make it worth while keeping them. So with a trusty SSH session and some PHP (and a fair bit of luck) I managed to convert my old weblog database into the new WordPress format, and managed not to screw anything up.
I’m not going to turn on comments for them though, and I’m not going to go through them all and try classifying them, since that would be a bit boring.
Today’s exercise in coding reminded me again why I’ve made the switch from a home-grown weblog to using a properly developed one (not quite off-the-shelf or shrink-wrapped, but you know what I mean). Next time I want to change backend, I know that someone else will have written an import script, and I won’t have to bodge one together myself. And now that I’ve spent about two working-days on the switch, I’ve gone from entering data into the database by hand, to having a proper admin interface, categories, sub-categories, comments, pingback and trackback, drafting, private entries, searching, linkrolls, plugin interfaces… which would have taken quite some time if I’d done it myself. And every time I’m in the pub, or sleeping, or whatever else, I know someone else is improving the software that runs my weblog. Which is nice. And I was getting fed up of the whole wheel-reimplementation thing anyway.