Tag Archives: WordPress

Dusting off the Blog Theme

Most people that might follow this blog probably hit it though RSS readers, or a post here or there from a Google search, so the changes aren’t probably noticeable to many, but they are to me.

Having started blogging back in 2004, on Blogger, and then a year or so in moving to WordPress (self hosted) – but moving it and changing it over time, you get some cruft. Back in the day, things weren’t so “easy”. You wanted a change, it meant PHP time. Over the years WordPress has become more and more “drag and drop” if you want it to be, of course you can still code whatever you want in your themes, etc, but the “widget” concept is pretty cool.

I think the last time I changed my theme in a major way was around 2006 or 2007, (if I remember, it was a “code camp” Saturday with Joel Dahlin at G Allens). It didn’t change too much but I think I started with Google AdSense after the last theme change. In order to do what I wanted it was code code code

Fast forward to today, where the theme is looking outdated, hard to update, etc. I wanted something new. Without totally jacking everything I had, I wanted to start fresh but yet be able to continue what I am doing and how I want to do it. The ads on the site pay the bills, for the hosting and other tools I use. By no means am I living high off the hog, but it is nice to have the site pay for itself and also allow me to do other projects online.

I searched around a bit, and was looking at WooThemes and others, but then stumbled into Headway. It really isn’t a “theme” in the sense that most other themes are, but a framework/system to be able to do whatever you want easily, visually, etc.

I set it up and I am really liking it so far, I have some ideas where I can go at my own pace yet keep things they way I want them easily, fully extensible and the “code” I might use isn’t at all embedded in the PHP files of the theme, but configurable like a modern CMS.

I hope to get more pictures and article, magazine type look as I move forward, that’s the goal anyways. It’s fun to dust off the site and theme and get back into it a little bit, so much out there to learn and use, pretty cool, also is making me rethink all my plugins I have been using, etc.

Another minor changes? I changed the favicon to my current avatar, which is kinda cool.

Another minor note, I am approaching 1000 posts on this blog. I should amend my 2011 goals and try to get to 1000 by the end of the year.

More to come as time goes on, as always.




Random Things around the Net Week of 02/14/2009

Yammer iPhone app goes Open Source – Yammer is a kind of Twitter clone, but for your company. I believe it is made by the same people that created Geni.com. Pretty cool that it is open source, just another way to get a good idea on how to build iPhone apps. WordPress has their app open source as well.

iusethis.com – stumbled upon this site, good way to find nice apps for mac, iPhone, windows, see what people are using.

Best Website Monitoring/Performance Tool – from Mahalo.com – if you manage web servers or are a server admin, read it.

wwwsqldesigner – if you want to make SQL ERD diagrams through your browser, check it out.

Feed Flix – if you use Netflix, check out this site. You link it to your account, then it gathers metrics on everything you do with Netflix, really eye opening. Things like tell you your average cost per dvd rental, an dhow long you keep titles rented out, etc.

Pismo File Mount – ever wanted to mount a zip file as a drive? Check this app out.




WordPress Export

WordPress Export. There is a menu item in WP that lest you export out to an XML file, they call it “eXtended RSS or WXR”. The options is under Manage->Export.

Well you should use this to keep a half way decent back up of your blog, but if you want to transfer to another blog service or anything then you want this file. I have been toying around with moving my blog, to TypePad, or MT, or WordPress hosted, just to see what happens, and really, none of them are better than self hosted WordPress.

What I did find, is that the export wasn’t working for me. Was getting cut off at like 1.4, 1.5 MB and tons of my posts were missing from the export. I read in the forums and such on WordPress support but nothing really gave a good answer. So I did what you usually have to do when WordPress chokes on some export or import, play with the memory and execution settings in php.ini

What I found was the max execution time was 30 seconds for a script, which was about how long it was taking to export my file. So I upped it to 120 seconds

max_execution_time = 120;

And ran the export again, and lo and behold, my entire blog archive was now in the import file. Yessssss.



Obligatory Post From iPhone

Post from wordpress app on iPhone. It’s open source I think. I should raise pocketblogger from the dead and merge it with this or something. This could be cool for reporting news real time, but for now here is good old Winston

photo



Upgraded to WordPress 2.5

I decided to upgrade to WordPress 2.5 this evening. Worked like a charm. Seems like everything is working fine. I really like the “automatic” plugin upgrades!!

wordpress-2.5_upgrade

Technorati Tags: ,,,


Amazon S3 and WordPress Video Site – 2 Hour Project – What A Debacle

About a month ago, I wanted to test using Amazon’s S3 service, for storage. I couldn’t think of any quick, easy projects to use it for, then it hit me, how about video/photos?

I decided to see how long it would take for me to make a video site, with comments, views, etc, on a small budget.

My first thought was maybe to use a hosted WordPress.com blog, and just redirect the domain, which is about 10 dollars a year, and then use S3 for the video/photo hosting. That idea was nixed because hosted WordPress.com blogs can’t embed flash, javascript, or iFrames, etc.

My next idea was just getting a WordPress hosted blog at HostMySite, which is what I went with (which eventually I will move to my own server). This was 45$, and the domain was roughly 10$, so 55$ so far.

Now, to get videos working, and a cool theme. First the theme. I just searched free WordPress theme sites, and found one that looked cool. I set it up, slapped up some Google AdSense and Google Analytics, and changed the logo, rearranged a few things.

As for getting video to work. I was having issues embedding jscript (for the flash video embeds) in WordPress. It would work, but then screw up the formatting of the rest of the page, etc. I knew iFrame would work, so I went that route. Since I am a .NET dev at heart, I made a page where it will take some params on my www.stevienova.com site, and grab the file from S3 and play it. So on WordPress, I just iFrame that site with the right params. I suppose later I could make a PHP page to do the same thing and keep it all self enclosed. Probably will do that once I move it to my server.

For video I found a nice little flv embed, which has a ton of options, even can do pre and post roll ads if I want. What is nice with the setup I have is that there really isn’t and bandwidth being eaten by my webhost. Just the theme images. Everything else is on S3. The videos, thumbnails, etc.

Pricing for Amazon S3 is pretty good.

  • Storage Used: $0.15 per GB-Month of storage. This fee applies to all object data and metadata stored in buckets that you created under your account.

    It does not matter who created the objects in your buckets, so think twice before you give somebody the right to write objects to your bucket!

  • Network Data Transferred: $0.20 per GB of data transferred. This fee applies anytime data is read from or written to one of your buckets. It does not matter who is reading or writing the data, so consider this when you give public access to one of your objects that may become popular.

With the site just starting, the storage and transfer is really low. Less than a dollar.

So, in about 2 hours and less than 60 dollars later, I created a self managed Funny Video site, from the ground up. I can now use Windows Live Writer to post to it, and I use a S3 tool to upload files to S3.

I also have other people putting videos on it, so that is cool as well. I am not sure where it will, because it really was just an experiment to see how fast I could get a video site up, and for how cheap.

Not sure how funny the videos are or will be, but if you want something up, I will put it up. Once nice thing, is that I can just iFrame YouTube as well, so if there is something there that might be Copyrighted by a YouTube uploader, I don’t have to worry about that, since its just the YouTube player which you can embed legally.

Fun stuff :)

Check out the site.

whatadebacle

http://www.whatadebacle.com

 



Windows Live Writer – API Open (not really) – I Want To Download Existing Posts

So, I am sitting here scratching my head again. I use Windows Live Writer (WLW) to post to my blog. I like it, it rocks. There is a plugin architecture, which is cool, and some other API’s for doing things.

WLW saves drafts and posted posts as .wpost files to a directory in your My Documents. The files are in a proprietary binary format. It is cool though as all your posts are saved and you can open existing ones, edit, and republish easily.

I want to go through my posts and add WordPress tags. Not technorati tags, but WordPress tags, so I can have a cool little tag cloud. WP 2.5 support WLW tags by default, WP 2.3 (which I am running) can get tags from WLW through a little REG hack which I have applied and it works for new posts.

What I want to do, is update all my historical posts through WLW instead of WordPress web interface.

Since I have reformatted, changed computers, started blogging before WLW came about, of course I don’t have all my posts on this machine. So I thought, why not download them from my blog and create .wpost files so I have them?

First I looked for a plugin, no dice, doesn’t even seem that anyone has wanted to do this. I searched forums, blogs, Google, whatever. Found little info.

Next I dug into the API, nothing there that would really help me. What I would do is just access my posts through the XML-RPC interface WordPress has and create new .wpost files in my directory, you wouldn’t think it would be that tough..but it is.

It would be nice if the .wpost file was open and had a documented spec, that way I could do it easy as 1,2,3. Even if there was some API with WLW to create new posts and save them (you can create new posts, but only by programmatically opening WLW).

Well, I guess I will keep my eyes open for anything that comes along that will make this possible, until then, it is using the WP web interface. I suppose I could write an app to just directly edit the post tags through the XML-RPC API, and save them, but I want them on my machine as well. Just another good backup I suppose.



WordPress on IIS 6.0, Windows 2003 – Some Tweaks (URL Rewrite and SMTP)

OK so I lied. Everything wasn’t working after I set up my WordPress blog on IIS 6.0 on Windows 2003. Two things were broke: SMTP (email from the blog) and URL Rewrites/Permalinks.

SMTP worked through IIS just fine, I could telnet and send email out, but from WordPress, it was getting a 501 error. From what I could tell, it was the way that WordPress was formatting the outgoing “mail from” with <From Name>from@address.com . IIS was bombing on the <> in the string (I am pretty sure). I tried some tweaking on WordPress, some plugins for SMTP, couldn’t get them to work. I tried MailEnable, I couldn’t get that to work either. I did fine hMailServer and that does work after configuring it. Like IIS, I have it just set to local, and port 25 is blocked anyway so outside relays won’t work.

The other thing that wasn’t working was my permalinks. By default WordPress doesn’t use permalinks with a rewrite, it just uses ?p=<post id>, but I have mine changed to year/month/day/title. In Linux/Apache, there is mod_rewrite for rewriting URLs, but in IIS 6.0 there isn’t anything (IIS 7 has more functionality). I could have gotten a rewrite DLL and wrote rules, but I found a sweet plugin that does it for me, especially for WordPress permalinks – http://www.binaryfortress.com/wordpress-url-rewrite/

Other than that, everything seems to be working fine. On other news, I have been looking into other blogging engines, comparing/contrasting, etc. Not sure where I will go with that though.



Server Move: Hosting My Own Site(s)

Well, I have been on HostMySite for a few years now, and I just wasn’t liking it. I didn’t have control, and couldn’t do everything I wanted to. Last week I signed up with ServerBeach and I have my own dedicated server. I am running Windows 2003, IIS, SQL, MySQL, PHP, etc.

I changed for now my DNS to GoDaddy from Active-Domain, since GoDaddy has SPF records (for Google talk federation, etc). I might change that up here in the future as well.

Transferring a domain takes way to long! Took like 4 days overall. Also, I first went with EasyCGI , a VPS solution, but the box couldn’t get to the Internet! I put in tickets, etc, they just wouldn’t fix it, so I canceled and went to ServerBeach. I am liking them so far, they had the server provisioned in about 4 hours.

One thing I can do now as well, is write a site for myself and import all the log files (Firewall, SMTP, All the Sites, FTP, etc) and have a nice little reporting solution.

ServerBeach is good, very professional. If you want to sign up, use referrer code BW27Q37B6D  (http://www.serverbeach.com/)

To get PHP/MySQL/WordPress, I loosely followed these three tutorials

How to Install PHP on IIS 6.0
How to Install MySQL On IIS 6.0
How to Install WordPress on IIS 6.0

For my ASP.NET Site, it was just copying over files and configuring IIS a little. For my blog, I used this dbbackup plugin (http://www.ilfilosofo.com/blog/wp-db-backup/) and then once I had my WordPress files over, and MySQL/PHP running, I connected to the instance of a DB I created and ran the SQL backup script, which created everything the way I needed it for WordPress.

For Mail, I use the built in SMTP in Windows 2003. I just had to turn on relaying, but yeah, spammers, so I just allowed the local server to send mail, and it works. Tested it using this (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/323350) and it worked.

Other than that, its pretty much basic server admin stuff. Firewall, FTP, etc. Everything is running smooth… for now :)

I will just have to make sure I have backups!