weblog

What’s old is new again

by Michael Alderete on 12/3/2004

One of the funny things about converting from one weblog system to another was that I discovered a bunch of old posts which never got, well, posted. I had them saved as drafts, but the old system didn’t show drafts in a pending section, so if I forgot to actually publish, they would eventually roll off my screen entirely, to be forgotten.

The new system makes it really obvious when there are drafts sitting, waiting to be completed. So, I’m going in and finishing them up, and then publishing them on their original dates. This means that you won’t see them unless you scan back (way back) in time, or run across them in a search. But who knows, maybe Google will pick them up and funnel someone to them someday. Worth getting online, anyway, if only to get them out of the Drafts bin.

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LTFP

by Michael Alderete on 12/3/2004

LTFP” was an acronym we used at Cymerc, the dot.bomb I worked at for 14 months before it imploded. We started using the term a couple weeks before we released the first version of our public web site. It stood for “Launch This Fucking Pig,” which basically meant we thought it sucked but were tired of testing, and just wanted it out the door.

LTFP is what I did very early this morning.

I’ve been dicking around with WordPress on my Mac OS X system, setting it up, configuring it to use the same URL scheme as my old weblog system, tweaking the template a bit, and — most importantly — importing all my old weblog posts from the old system. After four weeks of dithering and obsessing, it’s not done, but it’s going live anyway.

I’ve tried to not break any permalinks to pre-existing posts or the syndication feeds, and otherwise keep it compatible with the bookmarks that people may have for this site. But I’m sure there will be a few things to fix. Leave me a comment if you find something.

There’s also plenty to do on plain cleanup. I will probably have to edit every single post to clean up the HTML and re-link the URLs I included in old posts. And I’m not terribly happy with the design of this template, which is pretty basic, and virtually unchanged from the generic version of Kubrick, which I used to get started. It’s a great template, but there are well-understood steps I still need to take to make it my own…

Anyway, by switching to WordPress, a much more popular weblogging system, I should be back to posting regularly, as the system will get in my way a lot less.

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No, really, back online

by Michael Alderete on 11/16/2004

I have finally managed to get this weblog going again. I had a fair amount of weirdness associated with the migration from my old computer, and decided the “easiest” way to solve the issue was to change to a new weblogging system. I’ve been wanting to upgrade the capabilities of this weblog for a while, so it seemed like as good a time as any, and a better reason than I usually have.

So, after evaluating Textpattern and WordPress, I decided on WordPress. I actually like many things about Textpattern better, but the approach it uses for categories made it virtually impossible to get working with my old blog structure. WordPress, on the other hand, works exactly the way I want when it comes to categories. So here I am.

Now, let’s see if I can start writing regularly again!

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Back again

by Michael Alderete on 9/21/2004

Back on the air. I’ve been in the process of switching from my old QuickSilver G4 desktop to the new PowerBook, and when I took the old computer offline, I locked myself out of this blog. I actually run the editing client on my personal computer, but have a read-only version on the FreeBSD server that actually makes it public. So, when I took down the old computer, the site was still online, but not editable.

Getting the editing client running again was a fair amount of trouble. First there were all the code files to move over and into the right place. Then there was configuring Apache and PHP correctly. Then I needed to allow access to the database server from the new machine.

And then I got stuck. On the same problem that stuck me three years ago when I moved onto the QuickSilver: I could not include() in the code files for the blog. Or any files, for that matter.

Finally tracked down the problem, a teensy little thing, that I’m sure I’ll forget again by the time another three years goes by, and it’s time for the next new computer.

So, in the hopes that Google will find the answer when I try looking for it again:

Problem: For some reason, even though your PHP include_path does contain the location of your include file, PHP cannot seem to actually include() the file. The paths match exactly, and yet you still get errors.

Symptom: Trying to include() PHP code files into a main file results in errors like this:

Warning: main(include-file.inc): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /path/to/main/file on line 18
Warning: main(): Failed opening ‘include-file.inc’ for inclusion (include_path=’.:/Users/username/Library/WebServer/…:/Library/WebServer/…’) in /Users/username/Sites/blog on line 18

Answer: You are keeping the include files in a location inside your own home directory (~/Library/… here). The permissons on ~/Library are no access for group and world. So the web server process cannot access them — even though the actual include directory has correct permissions.

Resolution: chmod go+rx ~/Library

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Semi-back online

by Michael Alderete on 2/10/2004

About five minutes after I posted that UPS was going to deliver my new DSL equipment, the doorbell rang. Three minutes later I had the box open on the floor in the office. 15 minutes later I the DSL filters installed on all three phone lines in the house, and the DSL cable plugged in. Five minutes after that, I had Rochelle and I online on the new DSL connection.

And locked out of our e-mail, and this weblog.

This is because I didn’t move our server right away, and it regarded our attempts to access our mail and the weblog database as external attacks by crackers, which was almost true, given that we were now connecting from “outside” the server’s network, instead of being network “roommates.” I got e-mail working again quickly by converting the e-mail clients to a better authentication scheme, but there was no way for me to safely post to this blog while my systems were on two different networks.

Last night I finally finished reconfiguring the server and the firewall DMZ for the new network, and moved the server (which actually only involved connecting the server’s Ethernet cable to a different jack 3” away from the old one). So, now I can post.

Of course, the DNS changes are still percolating through the internet, and for the moment you are effectively blocked from sending me e-mail, or viewing this blog. Hopefully that’ll be fixed in another day or so.

Oh, yeah, the new DSLspeed is heaven compared to the old connection. Almost as big a difference as when I upgraded from a modem to DSL in the first place. Woohoo!

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DHI 115-121

by Michael Alderete on 5/11/2003

DHI 115: Continued my obsessive tweaking of this site’s HTML template until I finally got it to (once again) validate as correct HTML. We’ll see how long that lasts…

DHI 116: Stayed home to wait for The Cable Guy to fix our cable. Two days in a row.

DHI 117: Began some major work on this weblog’s design, with the intention of moving it to XHTML + CSS. This is going to be some effort, so you may see the results in chunks as I roll them out.

DHI 118: Added Geo Tags to this blog. Now, before you sneeeeef at how nerdy this is, you should check out the geoblog, where you can see the world wake up and blog, in real-time. Very groovy. Uh, to us nerds…

DHI 119: Moved some empty (future eBay shipping) boxes down to the basement, and generally cleared the crap from a small area of the massive pile of crap in my office.

DHI 120: Added channel-specific RSS feeds for this site. This involved fixing a defect in the software that I use to run this blog, which was preventing the easy changes from working.

DHI 121: Emptied out one of my many plastic storage bins of a bunch of home electronics (center speaker, side speakers, cables, cheap analog camera, etc.) that I don’t want, or want to store, any more. On its way to Goodwill, eventually.

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New RSS 2.0 syndication feed

by Michael Alderete on 4/28/2003

This weekend I spent a few hours writing a script to provide an updated RSS syndication feed, conforming to the RSS 2.0 specification. This is basically an upgrade to the RSS 0.91 spec, which adds some additional metadata. In particular, it adds publication times and categories to the items in the feed, which might make it a little more informative in your news aggregator (it does in mine).

So, if you’re actually subscribing to this weblog, please update your subscription to use the new feed. The old one continues to work, but the new one is better.

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DHI 102-107

by Michael Alderete on 4/27/2003

DHI 102: Began work on a major consolidation of all my software CDs, from the scattered piles, shelves, and bins that I’ve tossed them into, down to a single CD rack. This is going to be a big project, since I just put in an hour, and I’ve barely dented the task. I think I might need a second CD rack!

DHI 103: Continued working on the migration of my system, installing a number of software packages from CD and fresh downloads. This is a huge task! It will likely take me a couple of months, because I am trying to only move things over as I need them, so that my new system setup has only the software and tweaks that I actually use.

DHI 104: Edited one of my websites to update the contact e-mail address, and configured Sendmail to block messages sent to the old address. I did this because there was a sudden jump in the amount of spam being sent to the old address.

DHI 105: Did some tweaking on this blog’s page template, updating the copyright date, adding the subtitle to the page as well as the TITLE attribute, and replacing the text RSS subscription link with the rapidly-becoming-standard 80×15 graphic badge for the same.

DHI 106: Submitted this site’s new URL to GeoURL, and added the graphic badge for it to the page.

DHI 107: Added an RSS 2.0 syndication feed to this web log.

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On the market

April 11, 2003

This site is for sale. On Blogshares.com, that is.

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DHI 58-63

March 9, 2003

Daily Home Improvements: changes of addresses, a little patchwork, correcting the bounce, a change of view, a quick un-tag, and some payola for the Feds.

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