Archive for the ‘General’ category

Upgraded to WordPress 2.7

December 28th, 2008

Blog maintenance tonight:

  • Upgraded the Pixeled theme from version 1.1 to version 1.5.
    • This theme appears to be compatible with WordPress 2.7.
    • Had to re-hack a few of the theme files for blog customizations I made.
    • No known cool improvements other than bug fixes.
  • Major WordPress upgrade from 2.6.5 to 2.7.
    • Followed this guide. Fairly straight forward. Maybe a bit advanced for the less technically inclined. Theme/plugin compatibility is the big deal here.
    • Some plugins listed on the compatible list. Some were not listed at all. Proceeded with upgrade anyway.
    • Before upgrading, backed up database and entire blog directory. Disabled plugins (re-enabling plugins retains plugin settings thank God).
    • Widgets seem to be unaffected.
    • After all was said and done, one plugin isn’t working: WP Super Cache. The plugin configuration page is blank and I don’t see any cache directory on the server nor do I see a “delete cache” link in the admin console. I went ahead and disabled this plugin until this can be worked out. The blog will still run without it, however, each page will now be dynamically rendered by the PHP engine thus chewing up quite a bit more CPU cycles on the web server. I host my own blog so there is no risk of being evicted by a web host for utilizing too much CPU which has happened to the more popular bloggers like Scott Lowe at VMworld 2008 and Rich Brambley. Honorable mention, Mike Laverick of RTFM Eduction was also shut down due excess bandwidth utilization. These web hosts obviously don’t know who they are messing with 😉
    • Initial observations:
      • I knew it was a major upgrade and unfortunately for the readers, most of the cosmetic improvements happen behind the scenes in the admin console which the reader doesn’t see.
      • Ok, the new console is refreshing and cool (literally cool with a cool-like blue theme – I’m getting the chills as I write this…)
      • Everything is moved around completely. It’s the Windows 3.1 Program Manager to Windows 95 interface migration all over again. However, the concepts and building blocks of WordPress don’t really change, so seasoned WordPress veterans should be able to adapt quickly just as experienced Windows administrators did in 1995.
      • If the redesigned UI doesn’t entice you, the promised future ease of WordPress upgrades should be enough to justify the jump to version 2.7.
      • I hope the WYSIWYG editor is fixed and doesn’t randomly garf bulleted lists and font formatting like the 2.6.x versions did. I often had to use the HTML tab to manually fix things in source view using my old school HTML tag skills.
      • The WYSIWYG editor seems a tad bit more sluggish but in fairness that is probably because I’m on my slower computer right now. I write most of my blog posts on my faster computer.
      • The Dashboard now has something called “QuickPress” which reminds me a bit of Twitter micro-blogging with tag functionality. It’s basically a fast track method to post quickly from the Dashboard view without the bells and whistles that the WYSIWYG editor provides.
      • There’s a Word Count display underneath the WYSIWYG editor. For those who are paid to blog, this should come in handy. I wish there was also a Quality Count. I could use that to help me with some of my posts.

That’s all for now. I waited for the suckers… ahem… the early adopters… to upgrade to 2.7 first so I could watch for fallout. Not much fallout to speak of really. 2.7 went through many beta and release candidate revisions. It was cooked pretty good and the quality shows. Just make sure you back up your database and content directories before the upgrade so you have a good recovery point. I’m off to the couch to watch a few more of my Twilight Zone Xmas DVDs (seasons 1 through 3). Tomorrow morning I go out to breakfast with friends and then to the Metrodome to watch the clueless Minnesota Vikings lose to the New York Giants.

Update: Flickr Manager 2.1 doesn’t work after the upgrade to WordPress 2.7. When I click on an image to insert, the Flickr Manager hourglass just spins its wheels and never returns to the blog post inserting the image. I’ve restarted IIS services a few times to no avail. For my blog entries that have inline images, this really sucks because now inserting images is a much more manual process where I have to go out to Flickr, find the picture within the correct set, click on it, view all sizes, then copy the image URL location.

Update: The Flickr Manager 2.1 issue has been resolved.  I found this gem on the support forums.  Apparently the author fixed the issue and slipped it back into a re-release of version 2.1 (download the updated 2.1 version here) without telling people who downloaded the original broked version of 2.1 before January 2009.  My personal and professional opinion is the version should have been incremented from 2.1 to 2.2 but nonetheless I’m happy now.

Update:  Fixed WP Super Cache not caching and blank configuration page issues:

  • The enabling of the WP Super Cache plugin was not creating the wp-content\advanced-cached.php and wp-cache-config.php files like it was supposed to.  This FAQ lead me to the manual creation (copy) of these files which fixed the blank configuration page problem.
  • Once the config page was working I thought all was well, but it wasn’t.  The plugin wasn’t caching.  I was able to witness this by no cache files being created in the wp-content\cache\ directory.  Upon further examination, a default setting for the plugin is to reject caching of pages with the string index.php in the URI.  This is ridiculous because every blog page served up by WordPress on the web server has the string index.php in it!  This essentially told the plugin not to cache any of the blog posts.  Simply removing index.php and saving the configuration jump started the whole thing and now everything is working correctly.

1-7-2009 11-21-38 PM

WorkBay chairs

December 12th, 2008

I’m not sure where exactly the fine line is drawn between productivity and antisocial behavior but this is a nifty idea.  For the office of course.  Not for home use on family members (ie. wives)  🙂  Reminds me of those chairs Will Smith used in the movie Men In Black.  Thanks for the heads up @davikes.

WordPress 2.7 has been released

December 11th, 2008

It’s finally here.  Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t been waiting on pins and needles for this release.  I’m happy with the WordPress 2.6.5 version I’m on now but maybe once I see the new features in 2.7 I’ll get more excited about it.  At any rate, I’ll be proceeding with much caution.  Probably not for at least a few weeks.  Much like a Microsoft Windows service pack, I’ll let other early adopters find out the joys first, then I’ll stand on the shoulders of their learning and success and avoid the pitfalls myself.  My concerns are with the dozen or more plugins/widgets I use in addition to my blog theme.  If you have any experience or hear any sort of news good/bad/ugly, please share the knowledge.  Comments always welcome here (as long as they are not spam).

Microsoft clothing line launched

December 9th, 2008

In case you don’t have enough technology shirts or you are not projecting your geekness as much as humanly possible onto others, Microsoft is here to save the day with the launching of their new clothing line Softwear.  In a nutshell, mid-80’s style t-shirts reflecting Microsoft technology accomplishments reminiscent of the era in addition to other icons from the same era.  Thankfully, for fashion’s sake, there wasn’t a whole lot going on in 1985 compared to today so there are only a few selections to choose from (including the classic Bill Gates police mugshot).  I’m not sure where exactly Microsoft is going with this but if it garners any success, expect more of it.

Additional spam filter and comment subscriptions installed

December 6th, 2008

I’ve been dealing with an increasing amount of comment spam since mid last week and I decided to do something proactive about it.  I’ve installed a new spam filter plugin called Simple Spam Filter for WordPress by tan tan noodles.  It leverages both Akismet and reCAPTCHA technologies but in a slightly non-traditional way which I prefer.

When a user submits a blog post comment, they are not automatically required to decode a reCAPTCHA banner image.

If their comment passes the Akismet filter and it passes filters integrated in the Simple Spam Filter, the comment will be posted as is.

If the comment fails either of the previously mentioned filter checks, then the comment submission will be challenged by a reCAPTCHA banner image.  If the reCAPTCHA banner image is decoded successfully, the comment will post.  If the reCAPTHA banner image is not decoded successfully, the comment is immediately rejected and discarded (it won’t wait for me in a spam queue for approval).

Since I haven’t used it before, I can’t guarantee this plugin is 100% bug free. If you are having any issues submitting comments, please let me know via email so I can look into it.  The last thing I want to do is hinder meaningful discussions or the functionality of this blog.

I also installed the Subscribe To Comments and WP-Mail-SMTP plugins earlier this evening which allow readers to subscribe to new comments as well as manage their existing comment subscriptions.  Notification is delivered via Email (hence the need for the Mail plugin).  I’d like to thank and recognize Rich Brambley over at vmetc.com for leading me to the comment subscription plugin.

WordPress Easter Egg

November 26th, 2008

I’ve always enjoyed Easter Eggs.  It’s too bad they don’t seem as popular today as they once were years ago.  I don’t really see new ones any more.  I discovered one today though.  Not on my own, but by reading about it on another blog.  WordPress Easter Egg – The Matrix style.  Check it out!

Binary Sudoku

November 22nd, 2008

Binary Sudoku