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"He had a theory that musicians are incredibly complex, and know far less than other artists what they want and what they are; that they puzzle themselves as well as their friends; that their psychology is a modern development, and has not yet been understood." – E. M. Forster

Thursday, 12 May 2005

Fanatic about Fanatical Apathy

One of my regular reads is Fanatical Apathy, the blog of Adam Felber from NPR’s Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!.

Anyway, so he posted a message asking for help with upgrading his blog (which was on Movable Type 2.661) and defeating the comment spam waves. I figured he’d have a bunch of offers already, but there was only one comment on the post, so I e-mailed him and said I’d be happy to help. I’d just moved this, my own blog, from MT to WordPress. So I offered to do that or upgrade to MT 3.xx.

Eventually, he got an enormous outpouring of comments from volunteers for the ol’ upgrade. I didn’t really expect to get an e-mail from him. Even when I saw his name in my inbox, I figured his message was a "Thanks so much; I’ve got it covered" type of thing.

Almost two weeks later (has it really been that long?), I’m sitting here and looking at the new Fanatical Apathy, where Adam Felber has written a post thanking me, and visitors of FA have posted compliments to me. I’ve had a pretty quiet blog life for the past few years, so this is pretty surreal.

Let me go back a little bit and explain more about the blog: I figured that the transfer of power from MT to WordPress would be a simple process, but I ran into some unforeseen…how shall I say this…quirks. I won’t go into details right now. Let’s just say that for the past week and a half, I’ve worked, eaten, and dreamt about WordPress, SQL database backups, text search-and-replace, and MT exports. For the record, let me please urge anyone using MT with a Berkeley database: Just say no. Really. This is your brain. This is your brain on MT-and-Berkeley-DB. Any questions?

Seriously, do yourself a favor and please switch to SQL; it’s much easier to manage, especially if something happens to your MT installation. (And let me clarify…Adam’s site used SQL. But somewhere, sometime, MT had switched to Berkeley.)

In the post I linked to above, Adam mentioned the attack of the giant worms against felbers.net. I really am thankful that I had about 99.1% of his posts saved locally before the virus attack, and the consequent shutdown of MT. I cobbled the rest together, but the comments may not be complete.

To the FA commenters who left a nice note about the site and/or me — thanks very, very much. And of course, thanks to Adam for giving me the chance to work with his blog and for enduring my long-winded e-mails. I really do appreciate all the kind words and the feedback. The thing is, I enjoy doing this blog stuff. Some of the quirks I encountered were a bit challenging, but as I’ve mentioned a little earlier, overall it’s fun. I love learning about WordPress and plugins. I enjoy getting something to work and look good, and still have a site be easy for the reader/visitor to roam through. So it’s wonderful when someone notices and likes something I’ve done with a site. (Shameless plug: if you know anyone who wants to set up a site/blog or otherwise needs blog or Web help, I’m available for hire. :) )

I’m not quite done yet over there, though. Since we had to launch the site early, we still have to iron out a few more things. Since I’ve worked on the new FA, I’ve grown rather attached to it, and I can tell you right now — I’ll monitor everyone’s suggestions and try to improve the site, for as long as I can. As long as Mr. Felber lets me, of course.

If you’re not already reading it, visit Fanatical Apathy. And I’m not just saying that because I worked on the blog. Adam’s writing is full of insight, humor, and aplomb. Go visit and subscribe.

Posted at 6:40 am | Filed under Radio, NPR, etc., Tech/geek, WordPress

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4 replies


  1. Re: plugins for extendable blog systems…

    Once upon a time, I wrote a plugin to allow people to display their recent and upcoming GreenCine movies. (It’s a service similar to Netflix. You may’ve seen people who use the Netflix plugin.) While doing it, I wrote a very clever portion that was designed to locally cache the cover images locally. I suspect this last part should be portable into other plugins. If you’re interested in seeing it, drop me a line.


  2. I will, thanks. I’ve never designed a plugin, but it’s one of my long-term goals.


  3. When you say SQL, I assume you mean MySQL, PostgreSQL, Firebird (my DBA teacher raved about Firebird, an OSS version of the old DB2 system) or other DBMS that uses a client-server model. AFAIK, BerkeleyDB uses SQL type querying but is a single flat table. Even versions of MySQL prior to 4.0 didn’t use standard table types or properly support locks (he says with all the authority of a 6 week database administration class).


  4. Of course, you’re right…MySQL.

    Are you going to make a plugin anytime soon, madbard? :)