Musings @musicandmeaning.com

All I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.
"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

Archive for the 'WordPress' category

Various opinions and reports about my WP experiences, including WP itself, its plugins, documentation, support forums, etc.


Friday, 7 October 2005

wordpress dot com

Much to my delight, I unexpectedly received an invitation a few weeks ago to start a blog on WordPress.com. I’m still debating what to set up there. Yes, I do have my own domain/space and could easily set up another WordPress blog here if I needed, but I’m interested in being a part of a WP-only blogging service and seeing what WordPress.com provides its denizens.

Posted at 9:57 pm | Filed under WordPress | 2 replies »

Tuesday, 16 August 2005

WordPress 1.5.2

The weekend saw the release of WordPress 1.5.2. It’s a recommended upgrade with a number of modifications and fixes. Check podz’ upgrade support thread for a list of changed files.

Posted at 1:14 am | Filed under WordPress |  

Monday, 18 July 2005

WP shorts

[I started writing this on 6 July 2005, but I'm posting it now.]

This is old news, but WordPress 1.2.1.3 is a recommended security upgrade. Check the change log and the related support thread for more info.

Speaking of WordPress, now that I’ve had more time behind the wheel, I’ve arrived at these conclusions:

  1. If you know what you’re doing, WP is very easy to install.
  2. Customization is the tricky part. There are scads of plug-ins, themes, and other mods. Some of the plug-ins don’t work quite as smoothly as one might hope, and working with themes — as with any creative endeavor — may consume most of the blog-tinkering time.
  3. For Movable Type migrators who want to keep MT post ID numbers: it is much easier to do this from Movable Type 2.x rather than MT 3.x. At least, this was true for MT versions 3.15 and below — I’m not sure about 3.16 and 3.17. I found this migration guide by Scott Yang extremely helpful, especially modifying the MT CMS.pm file. After learning that trick, I used it in different ways (e.g. using the MT CMS to export only the comments in the database, while associating them with their correct post IDs).
  4. Before importing any posts into WP, make sure they will validate in XHTML 1.0 (you should be checking this when you write a post anyway — especially if your blog offers RSS or Atom feeds). Valid markup helps prevent blog quirks from occurring. Currently, WP uses the XHTML 1.0 Transitional DTD.
  5. Also, WP automatically formats entries (it inserts automatic line breaks and paragraph tags), so if you used <br /> or <p></p> in your previous blog posts, they may look funky after you import them into WP. Otherwise, you’ll have to install a plug-in that negates the default auto-formatting. (Here’s one: Text Control, which incorporates such plug-ins into the "Options" menu. N.B. I haven’t tried it.)

More WordPress observations forthcoming…

Posted at 11:10 am | Filed under WordPress |  

Saturday, 28 May 2005

WordPress 1.5.1.2 security update

In case you haven’t heard yet, there’s a security update for WordPress 1.5 (and 1.5+) users who run the default template. The manual fix is pretty easy if you’re familiar with editing code: just add a line of code to one file.

For users of 1.5.1, you might want to upgrade anyway, especially if you didn’t upgrade to 1.5.1.1 (which fixed some issues with feeds/trackbacks/pingbacks).

Posted at 2:18 am | Filed under WordPress |  

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.


Saturday, 5 March 2005

Migration to WordPress 1.5 complete

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s finally done. It took me long enough, but I have switched this, my main blog, to WP 1.5. The installations of WP have been fairly simpler than my experiences with Movable Type. I had no problems upgrading from 1.2.x to 1.5, or installing a fresh 1.5. The time consuming aspect is having to re-learn a completely new system. The tags are different, the protocol is different (I didn’t know anything about PHP), and the templates are different. I’ve played with earlier versions of WP before, but Strayhorn has many more features. It took me a very long time to figure out how not to break the PHP (which I did a few times while I modified the templates), but I’m still not sure how to do certain things.

Wrestling with the templates and getting everything to look right on the pages with CSS and the WP tags took me a few days. I couldn’t have done it without the scattered help out there — thankfully, there’s a ton of more documentation (official and otherwise) now, compared to when I first installed WP about a year ago (a very empty Wiki). As time progresses, I hope to post more about this latest migration experience, and to specifically mention the blogs and other sites that helped me along the way.

Some things post-migration:

The site still has some display quirks that I need to iron out if I want to make the blog more user-friendly. Some of that involves the PHP end of things (figuring out how to modify some navigation, for one thing), so it depends on how long it takes me to learn. The most obvious thing you may notice will be the weird line breaks on some of the archived posts. MT had an auto line break toggle, but WP does not. So the posts that did not use the auto line break feature in MT — well, now they have breaks in strange places. I remember reading about this a while back. I hope I can find some way to fix those posts without having to go through each one manually…then again, that may be my only option. It shouldn’t take that long. We’ll see.

The URI for the XML feed has changed, so if you subscribe to musings that way, please update ( http://www.musicandmeaning.com/site/musings/feed/ ). I’ve set up redirects for the old link. For now, the new feed is enhanced through FeedBurner, and apparently will be compatible for all readers.

That’s about it. Comments should work, although I’ve shut off trackbacks for now. Let me know if something doesn’t work.

So my brief review so far: WP 1.5 is pretty nice — there are some very cool features, e.g. non-date-based pages and the new templates. It just took me a while to figure everything out. I’m sure I’ll have a better idea of the WP vs. MT aspects after I’ve spent some more time posting and managing.

Posted at 9:54 am | Filed under WordPress |