About blogging

  • Register Plus. A Wordpress plugin to add extra fields to user accounts.

Changing the table prefix in an installed Wordpress

Changing the table prefix in an installed Wordpress. Otherwise an obvious task, but steps four and five can stump you.

For step five, the following SQL snippet may come in handy.

UPDATE new_prefix_usermeta SET meta_key = REPLACE(meta_key, "wp_", "new_prefix_");

There’s also a plugin available.


Secure your Wordpress uploads directory

If you serve only specific file types (eg. images) it can’t hurt to secure your Wordpress uploads directory a .htaccess file. Add to the file extensions as necessary.

Order Allow,Deny
Deny from all
<Files ~ "\.(jpeg|jpg|png|gif|pdf|gz|zip)$">
Allow from all


How to retire a Wordpress blog (make Wordpress a static site)

Dear LazyWeb, I’d like to see two Wordpress plugins: one to retire a Wordpress weblog (i.e. generate a static copy of the site, add a “blog retired” note on all pages, and close commenting), and one to export the site, rich text, images, comments and all. The export would mainly be to extract a copy into one document, like a PDF.

Despite the prevalence of guides on going the opposite direction, I’m not the only one thinking about converting a Wordpress blog into a static site. As for the one-document export, I have a quick and dirty solution, which I’ll be posting soon.

As for creating a static copy of a blog, one way to go would be to use a spider tool. I haven’t actually used any of the “grab a whole site with one click” tools, so there may be easier ways, but one great utility is wget.

It’s available on all platforms, and it has tons of nifty options. Here’s a quick run-down of options you may need to grab a Wordpress site. As always, the wget MAN page has all the details.

Why retire?

Why does a Wordpress blog need to be retired? Well, for one, it’ll lessen the strain on your database and speed up the site.

The main reason is that every once in a while, a vulnerability is found in WP, and keeping a bunch of old installations up to date is a hassle.

Create a “retired” theme

I suggest you make a copy of your current theme and do at least the following changes:

  • remove the XML-RPC API link from the header
  • add a note to the header that the weblog is no longer being updated
  • disable commenting and trackbacks

Now, wget it

wget -r -E -T 2 -np -R xmlrpc.php,trackback -k http://[BLOG URL]

I’ll briefly explain the options:

recurse through the sub-directories
don’t include the host name in the downloaded directory
how many times an URL will be tried; this is good to set, as xmlrpc.php will fail
don’t include parent directories
convert links to work with downloaded site
adds .html extension to application/xhtml+xml or text/html content types without .html extensions
reject file suffixes or patterns
-X DIR1,DIR2,…
exclude directories, may contain wild cards

I’ve excluded the xmlrpc.php and trackback files as they are redundant in a static site.

Disable Wordpress

Finally, disable Wordpress. This was the whole reason to retire the site, right?


Making Wordpress mobile-friendly with plugins

Looking for a nifty way of making you Wordpress blog mobile-friendly? There are numerous plugins that aim to do just that. Some are better than others, however.

Note: I’m not talking about making the admin interface mobile-friendly, only the public site.

The plugins don’t seem to have much chatter going on in the Wordpress support forums; this can be considered a good thing: at least people aren’t complaining in droves that the plugins don’t work.

WordPress Mobile Plugin

WordPress Mobile Plugin was the first plugin I tried. The moment I clicked Active, it brought the Wordpress admin plugin page to a grinding halt. While this probably was because the server in question just didn’t allow external HTTP calls (even through port 80), it sure didn’t make a good first impression.

I basically ditched this plugin after checking out its options page. It’s way too deeply bundled with ads.

WordPress Mobile Edition

Alex King’s WordPress Mobile Edition is the plugin that I ended up using. King’s approach is to sniff the user agent string and offer mobile browsers a paired down template (it uses a cookie to keep the ”mobile state”, so desktop-testing is easy to do after forcing the mobile version). The pros to this approach is that main site is left alone, and the mobile template is easy to customize.

Just be sure that you don’t serve search engine spiders the stripped down mobile version.

The plugin works in Wordpress version 2.7.1, though the template does use some deprecated template tags. It doesn’t consider Iphone to be a mobile client, but this can be fixed if you want.

(Another way to go would be to modify the plugin to use WURFL, like done in this tutorial.)

Wordpress PDA & iPhone Plugin

Wordpress PDA & iPhone Plugin — Haven’t tried this one, but it seems similar in approach to Alex King’s, so it might be good.

Mowser Wordpress Mobile

Mowser Wordpress Mobile. The plugin detects mobile devices and uses the Mowser service to render the blog in mobile-friendly way. Generally, my experience with Mowser hasn’t been good. However, with effort, you could probably tweak you main site to work nicely with Mowser.


MobilePress has the nicest looking site of the plugins. But not having tried it, I can’t vouch for it. I do appreciate that it allows you to serve custom templates for Iphone, Opera Mini and Windows CE. Not sure which one would the majority of mobile browsers in the world fall under, though(did someone forget S40 and S60?).

MobilePress version 1.0.3 claims to detect Google and Yahoo bots. Why this is noteworthy, I’m not sure — surely they’re using opt-in for known devices and defaulting to the main site for unknowns?


Vanityn uudistuksesta ja Hemingway-teemasta

Vanity on uudistanut ulkoasuaan. Olen aina ollut Hemingway-teeman fani, mutta Vanityn uudistus palvelee blogin sisältöä paremmin. Ulkoasua voisi vielä vähän hioa, mutta päivän lyhyiden Notes-merkintöjen siirtäminen oikealle toimii erittäin hyvin. Hemingwayn ongelma blogiteemana on juuri sen epäblogimaisuus: pelkän viimeisimmän merkinnän “nosto” piilottaa liikaa aiempia merkintöjä. Teema sopiikin parhaiten harvoin päivitetylle, pitkien artikkelien blogille.


  • Tim Bray: “If it doesn’t have a “Publish” button, it’s broken.”

Inman against widows

Shaun Inman works to eradicate lonely widows. This is like a league of design superheros. Working one plugin at a time to make weblogs typographically correct.


Creamaid: get pay for what you say

Creamaid connects advertisers with bloggers. They offer bounties to write-up stories on featured companies. Moderated, of course. They’re calling it a conversation widget. Okay, if you say so.

While I think that something like this could be used constructively, I expect that this’ll just lead to more whoring-guised-as-blogging. Surprisingly, Creamaid was featured (in Finnish) in today’s print edition of Taloussanomat. Based on a Technorati search, it doesn’t seem to have made a big splash in the blogosphere yet.


Asides may be apart, but they still should be within

In February, Om Malik spun off The Daily Om, a link blog. Malik wanted to devote GigaOm to longer, meatier pieces, and not drown them in the chatter of “asides.”

I don’t know how Malik is publishing The Daily Om, but publishing separate “blogs” (or feeds, or types of posts) should be possible with standard blogging tools; it shouldn’t be necessary to set up a new blog — at least not on the admin side. Unfortunately this “one site, one admin” problem is much worse in the traditional CMS world.

  • This Financial Times article on blogging (via Kottke) takes a refreshing look at blogging, but I still don’t accept the pitting of weblogs against traditional media. I guess the challenge is much more acute from the trenches of the press (declining readership, lost ad revenues), but what the hell? Weblogs are never never going to overthrow the press. Blogs make the media better. But if the host dies, the parasites go hungry.

Great templates for Textpattern

The winners of Textplates’s Textpattern template competition have been announced. There’s some nice ones in there. My favorites are Serene and White and Wild.


Haluatko tienata blogilla rahaa? Osallistu brunssiin, niin kuulet miten!

Hmm. Procom jrjest maksullisen Asiaa blogeista -brunssin, jossa selvitetn mik blogi on ja miten sit voidaan hydynt. Puhujina mm. Sami Kykk, Matti Lintulahti ja Alex Nieminen (tietysti).


Nested comments vs. out and out branching

I don’t like threaded discussions. Not in forums, not anywhere. But the way Phil Ringnalda’s blog comments nest is a neat solution that doesn’t take away attention from the general discussion. It provides replying-to context without spreading out the comments by branches. While it still isn’t perfect, I’m not sure there even is a way to have reasonable “discussions” among crowds, online or off.


Ajax-based “Web desktops”

Ajax-based “Web desktops” are sprouting up like mushrooms. What’s funny, is that their functionality is basically the same as Netscape’s customizable portal back in 2000.

Cribbed from Techcrunch’s round-up, the newcomers are Netvibes, Protopage, and Zoozio. Then of course there’s Google Reader and Microsoft’s Start (or is that Live?).

While I really liked Start at first, Bloglines fairly quickly won me over. It’s better as a feed aggregator, at least. There’s still a lot of room for improvement, but I was impressed that, despite being hard to find, there is a way to export feed subscriptions as an OPML file.

  • Blogscient claims to provide a bird’s eye view of the blogosphere. The user interface is much clearer than Memeorandum’s.

Memeorandum, the automatic blog newspaper

Memeorandum glues blog posts and news pieces together as newspaper-like frontpages. Unfortunately, my first look didn’t impress me. Wired talks to Gabe Rivera, the creator of Memeorandum.


Blogi on kuollut

Blogi on kuollut, pkirjoittaa M&M:n Matias Erkkil. Omituisia vitteit ja todisteita. Eik blogeja tulla kirjoittamaan en, kun niiden uutuudenviehtys loppuu? Onko blogien huonoutta se, ett niiden kirjoittamisesta ei (yleens) makseta? Ja kyll, se, ett Nieminen, “bloggaamisen edellkvij”, lopetti bloggaamisen, on selkesti merkki lopun alusta. Ei kannata vlitt siit, ett Nieminen pyritt nyt yrityst, joka omistaa Blogilistan. Blogi on kuollut.

Pivitetty: Erkkil pehment julistustaan, muttei malta olla tkkmtt haarukkaa monologibloggaajien silmn.


Never Search For New Content For Your Blogs Again, Let Other People Write the Content. You Just Post it to Your Blog!

RSS to Blog (don’t want to link directly to it) is a horrible idea! The sheer audacity of it!

“Never Search For New Content For Your Blogs Again, Let Other People Write the Content. You Just Post it to Your Blog!”

Well, gosh darnit, that’s exactly what I’ve been looking for! Never again will I have to strain my fingers hunting-and-pecking away, writing my own posts. I’ll just let someone else do that!


Some blogs to follow

A few days ago, Saras asked me if I read any blogs. “Only Kottke,” I said, “and even that only when I want to surf.”

Saras had read in some survey that weblogs are one of the major passtimes of Web users, and he’d been looking into them to see what they’re all about.

Now, Saras is a Unix geek, of the rabid “vegan, no TV, there’s more to life than consuming” variety, and not in the least ignorant of current events, so I found his questions about weblogs curious.

“I don’t understand blogs,” Saras said. “Why people are into them. I haven’t been able to find one that I could read for more than ten minutes. There were some almost-well-written ones, but they were only good for five minutes.”

I didn’t quite know what to tell him. I ended up shrugging: “to each their own.”

For me, following blogs has become less like reading books and more like reading a newspaper. Nothing wrong with that, it’s just changed how it feels.

Anyway, here’s a few blogs I found noteworthy (but which I probably won’t really be following).

Republic of T — “Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.”

Business Logs. — “BusinessLogs helps companies communicate better with their customers through the use of weblogs and smart user interface design.”

Professional PHP. — “Web Development with PHP, PHP Advocacy and Best Practices.”



Kas, Hesarillakin on blogeja: Kuukausiliitteen toimittaja Unto Hmlinen aikoo seurata weblogissaan presidentinvaaleja. Mitkhn muita blogeja HS:lla on?

Blogilistalta lytyvt ainakin HS:n tiedetoimituksen Kvarkeista galakseihin ja Anssi Miettisen Kuukausiliitteest, piv!, joka toimii apuvlineen blogeista kertovan jutun kirjoittamisessa.

Digitodaykin julkaisi tnn perjantaina uusimman bloginsa, harmittavan pliisusti nimetyn Ulan-Ude-blogin. Tekstiviestitse raportoiva Tuomas Karhu kirjoitti kesll huimaa suosiota nauttinutta Moskova–Vladivostok-blogia.



Digitodayn Moskova–Vladivostok-blogi aukesi viime torstaina. Toimittaja Tuomas Karhu pivitt blogia ainoastaan tekstiviestein. Vaikka viestit ovatkin haircut-tyyppisi, on blogia ihan hauska lukea.

Alla oleva viesti on yksi blogin parhaimmista. (Anna on Karhun tapaama puolalainen kanssamatkustaja. Parilla ilmeisesti synkkaa.)

5.7.2005 klo 18:20 — Ravintolavaunussa on pari muuta asiakasta minun ja Annan lisksi. Taustalla soi hiljaa venlinen musiikki. Vanha tarjoilija palvelee verkkaisesti.Vietmme vaunussa kolme tuntia jutellen viime pivien tapahtumista ja juoden venlist olutta. Koko tilanne tuntuu eptodelliselta, kuin elokuvasta. Vlill alamme kyttyty, kuin olisimme osa elokuvaa. Olen koko matkan aikana lukenut kolme uutista tekstiviestin. Elm on tll, tmn junavaunun sisll. Ainutlaatuista kokea, miten ympriv maailma menett merkitystn. Olen kahden pivn sisll Vladivostokissa.


Kolmannes teineist on Irc-galleriassa

Enterin mukaan yli 30 prosenttia 15–17-vuotiaista suomalaisista on rekisteritynyt IRC-Gallerian kyttjiksi. Oho. Via Janne Jalkanen.

Huhujen mukaan Sanoman toimitusjohtaja kvi Jenkeiss kuulemassa blogigospelia, ja on kntymss uskoon. Heti kun keksii, miten siit saisi bisnest. Kuinkakohan usein hn ja Alex Nieminen nykyn lounastavat?


Why weblogs work, in four words

Tufte’s goal in his work: “Simple design, intense content.” If I had to describe in four words why the weblog format works, these would be the ones.


How geeks and other people use computers (to get stuff done)

While I haven’t jumped on the GTD bandwagon (yet), I really like Cory’s transcript of Danny O’Brien’s talk about the productivity of alpha geeks.

I have a dozen text files on my desktop with various lists. Mainly URLs, but also song names and notes and books recommendations. I never used the desktop until I stopped blogging for a while and started keeping this miscellaneous stuff in flat text files.


On fonts, lists, and weblog structure

Janne’s always-excellent Kuutio has moved. No links are broken, but the old site is still up and there’s no forwarding.

Via Kuutio: Fontleech, a weblog for free fonts, and some recommendations on free fonts that all designers should have, Vera and Libertine. This is a topic that has crossed my mind often, and Janne whistfully says that it’d be nice (if he had time) to upkeep a list of must-have typefaces.

While on the topic of keeping comprehensive lists, I will now meander into a little talk about weblogs, a favorite subject matter of oldtimer-bloggers everywhere.

One of my principles of running a weblog is to collect, in atomic entries, items that could be collected later into a list of resources. While categorization is one way of providing this kind of structure, it generally fails due to the difficulties of using categories in the first place. In my own blogging system I also use a freeform textfield called “topics”, in which is meant to tie entries together by other factors than their topic.

For example, when I was importing old posts into Fathom this, I noticed I had many posts in which I mused about Sunday evenings. Now, Sunday evenings is not something I would give its own category, but it is a topic I had returned to several times, and might do so again. How then, to connect each post without manually linking to each one? Topical keywords.

While I do have a tool that shows me all my existing topical keywords, I decided when I was designing the system that I’d leave the field as open-ended as possible. I hoped it’d allow me to accidentally create unexpected connections and complementary two-way links between entries of superficially irrelevant nature.

My excitement over topical keywords has so far proven unfounded — I have the same problems with keywords as I do with categories. How many keywords should I assign? What should they be based on? Feelings, moods, people, places? General or specific topics? Some of the problems of categorization go away with keywords, but others arise.

Tags have created a big stir lately in blogland. I like the idea. What I would really like to see would be open ontologies to map different tags together. And then I want automatic categorization. CS (that’s computer science, not Counterstrike) gods, do you hear me?

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