Tag Archives: Blogs

A Reason, Not The Other

Post are a bit sparse here right now because I’m moving from San Diego to San Francisco, and Cassie is coming with me! My company are moving us both, the movers are coming this Thursday, and this time next week (hopefully) we will have all our stuff set up in the new apartment in Noe Valley.

I’ll write more about the search for a place, and what else I’ve been up to recently, but right now I ought to go to bed. The other problem has been that some tweaking of the proxy servers at work mean that I can’t access my website from work – a real pain because it means I can’t add posts when the mood strikes, and then when I get home there’s always something else to do. I think there may be a text file in my Dropbox which I could just stick up. Yeah, I’ll do that.

Blosxom to WordPress – The Glacial Saga Continues

A long time ago, I ditched the tiny elegant Blosxom for the slicker, more user-friendly WordPress. Installation of the new system was a breeze. Importing my entries from Blosxom to WordPress was not so much of a breeze, and it continues to this day.

The method I used to export from Blosxom was to create a new “flavor” (a display template) which would display ALL entries in one long (looooong) list, without paging, and with the dates and times and so on displayed in a specific way. Then I could save the entire page as a single text file, do some minor edits, topping and tailing, and then use the WordPress import tool to import the text file and split it automatically into many individual posts. This seemed to work fine at first glance. But then I looked closer and realised there were a few problems which would require quite a lot of work.

The import did not preserve the categories of the posts, which is fair enough when you consider the mechanism Blosxom uses for posts – it uses the file directory e.g. “blog/travel/europe/berlin”. As a result I have to go through all the posts and re-categorise them manually. This is a chore, but it also means I have been reorganising the posts more logically and with hindsight.

The handy Batch Categories plugin has been very useful, and would be even more so if it were not for one thing. All imported entries are marked as “Uncategorized”, but when you filter your posts in the post management tool, this category shows up as having zero entries. This is apparently impossible, which is not comforting when it’s happening in front of your eyes.  It means you have no way to see at a glance how many posts are left to categorize, and you can’t grab them and fix them in a batch with the plugin.

I even tried to edit the WordPress MySQL database directly using my hosts PHPAdmin system. Each entry is given a category number, and the number for “Uncategorized” is 0  (zero) (I think, working from memory). But the phantom uncategorized posts have the number 0, so they should show up as proper Uncategorized rather than phantom Uncategorized. But they don’t.

Another big PITA is the fact that many of my old posts had a link in them which said “now read on” which linked to a full version of the post. The imported version only had the “now read on” link, and not the full post – many entries were truncated. I’ve had to go through each entry in the old Blosxom, finding the “now read on” links, and copying the remaining text into the equivalent imported entry. This was my fault.

Existing links to old entries in Blosxom have also had to be changed, so they link to the new URLs. I’ve had to use searchable holders like [LINK] to mark where I need to come back later and put in a link to a post which has not been properly imported and categorized yet.

I’m sure there could have been some easier ways of doing all this, but once you’re engaged on a particular soul-destroying course, it’s sometimes better to just see it through. I hope there wasn’t an easier way.

Lambs To The Slaughter

My pals Kristen and Ian have started blogs today, so head on over and take a look.

First up, Wannabe Scriptwriter is all about the pain and the passion that is being a wannabe scriptwriter and actual movie extra. Expect discussions on when it is appropriate to eat Rich Tea, and when HobNobs are in order. From post number 1, it’s looking like a heck of a ride.

Then there’s StuffWhatIHaveWroted, the discordant ramblings of a true original. Expect nothing less than total submission. Again, first post looking splendid.

I bid you welcome, guys. Welcome to a world of checking your rankings, trying to figure out trackbacks, and of course, hurt.

The What-O-Sphere?

Last night’s seminar organised by spiked was pretty interesting. It was the first one of this kind of thing I’ve been to. My good friend Mira told me about it. We thought it would be a good insight into how this blogging is affecting publishing and online life, considering the fact that I’ve just started doing it.

Various luminaries of the area vented forth, from various heights of moral ground. A blog was defined as a series of posts, in reverse chronological order. Surprisingly little was said about the ease with which bloggers can now blog. For example, this blog, small and meaningless as it is, is hosted on Blogger, which is free, and the rest of the site is hosted on Freeserve, which is also free (hence the adverts). To update my site, all I need do is login to Blogger, and type away. I hit Post, and the site is updated. No mad skeelz necessary. I can do it at work, or wherever I am, with any web connection. It’s an easy way to keep your site up-to-date. I think that’s the point. Or one key point of many. People had regularly updated web journals since the beginning, but with the content management tools like Movable Type etc, the process of posting and maintaining the content became much easier, in fact almost transparent. (MT still needs techie knowledge though – Perl etc.)

In the seminar, much was made of the political aspects of blogging. I think this is very important, but I seriously doubt whether it will revolutionise politics. It will have an impact though, as did the printing press, and radio. Printing presses allowed more people to produce pamphlets, although the technology was still costly. Radio allows easy communication across the world, but again the technology is costly (to some). The personal computer is a machine that many people already have, or have access to, so the technology hurdle is jumped. OK, OK, a huge percentage of the world’s population don’t access to the web, but a huge percentage don’t have access to clean drinking water, either, so I’m just starting from my own position, here in Western Europe. Publishing is political: the act of someone writing down their thoughts so that others can read is inherently political – even if the person is just yammering on about themselves.

Usenet was mentioned as a technology and community that was touted as a catalyst for political change. Or at least as a community where like minded people can blah blah blah. But Usenet had/has a structure. The tree hierarchy helped a user to find exactly the topic they wanted. And they could be pretty certain that the people on that newsgroup would be discussing/having flame wars about that topic. Blogs are in the web. They dilute and are diluted by other web pages. You have to search hard to find a blog discussing the topic you want, and even then it may not stick to it. Anyway, those are just my comments on the seminar, and on my first experiences with blogging. Will anyone read it? Probably not. That’s another feature of blogs. They aren’t necessarily read by anyone.

After the seminar, it was down to the Mulberry for a swift jar or two. There I had the good fortune to meet Dave Green, one of the men behind the rather splendid NTK. Had good chat with him, as well as Gareth Lloyd of Kuboid, which I’ve just been looking at, and it has a very flattering (ie blurred) pic of Green and myself. I will be visiting Kuboid again – good looking site and what I’ve read sounds cool. I already read NTK every week.

Actually, Beer In The Evening is a good site for finding somewhere to sink a few. Hmmm, Streatham…

Archetypal First Entry

Well, here we go. The webpage is being overhauled, stuff that should have been done ages ago is being done, and the best way to just get some content up there is to spew it all out.

And where better to spew than one o’these new-fangled blog things.

Come back soon, there may be something interesting coming up in the near future! Though I doubt it! heeeeheeeee. I’m just like a crazy guy!

[edit: since this entry was copied over from Blogger to MT, and then to Blosxom, then to WordPress, I have the wonder of 20/20 hindsight. This enables me to realise that the entry is pretty much THE standard first blog entry. I thank you.]