Apr 12 2009

I removed the splash page overnight. An idea left over from yesteryear, long overdue on the to do list.

To have the blog page display by default when you visit icerabbit.com, I had to make some changes in WordPress and of course this didn’t go without a (minor) glitch.

Installing things in folders within any given website comes natural to me, so, the nice thing was that I had wordpress nicely installed in its subfolder and it was going to require minimal work. 

You can’t beat official instructions, so I followed the WordPress Codex instructions to “Giving WordPress its own Directory” which outlines this process. Even though my files are already in a subfolder, you can follow it to display the blog on the domain root. All goes well up to step 11. 

11. If you have set up Permalinks, go to the Permalinks panel and update your Permalink structure. WordPress will automatically update your .htaccess file if it has the appropriate file permissions. If WordPress can’t write to your .htaccess file, it will display the new rewrite rules to you, which you should manually copy into your .htaccess file (in the same directory as the main index.php file.)

Nothing. A blank page. Nothing to see or update. Tried removing one or both .htaccess files in the root and wordpress folder. No change. Figuring I can’t be the only one who stumbled on this, I searched the WordPress forum a little. Didn’t find a solution, posted a message in the support forum and since it was very late, I called it a night. The blog was working fortunately and so was the admin area, apart from permalinks.

I woke up early and figured the issue had to be with the .htaccess file. Before I looked at permissions, I compared the original site root .htaccess file to the new one that was moved in Step 7.

7. Copy the index.php and .htaccess files from the WordPress directory into the root directory of your site (Blog address).

Sure enough. The original one included a line to use php 5: 

AddHandler php5-script .php

After restoring this line the Permalinks page returned. 

So, if you have a host, like MediaTemple, which allows you to select PHP4 or PHP5 and you decide to move your WordPress blog index page to the root of the domain; try it with only moving the index.php file. 

The support request and my answer are posted here in the WordPress forum.

Apr 2 2009

I trolled through our photo library a little bit yesterday, looking for a couple images and somehow (A.D.D. ?) ended up setting a taller banner size for the site and decided to use less compression on the images. 

I did not take the decision easily, since it does add some KB to the site, which directly effects users on slower connections. And, because of that I may not be totally set on the taller size, but with the higher percentage of broadband users, I think the time is right to boost the banner a little. It gives me a little extra room  to crop certain images and I think the result looks better for a photo banner. 

Plus, I will now be making a surprise appearance in the banner from time to time.

No, I’m not the frog waiting to be kissed! You’ll see :)

Apr 15 2008

I just restored the image links for the old entries that originally were posted with iBlog.

After exporting the iBlog entries using Agitprop and importing them in a local WordPress install using MAMP (or WAMP) – Bruce Mc Kenzie has a very good write up on this process on his blog – the image links pointed to localhost. This meant they showed fine on the local computer.

Upon importing the entries into a live Wordpress blog, those links are not updated however and the images not imported. The typical result is no image is displayed and/or a blue question mark square in the entry:

Two things are going on:

1) the images are not present in WordPress

2) the paths to the images inside the entries are incorrect

There has to be an easier way to fix this outside of opening iBlog and a 3rd party offline Wordpress client (can’t be done online, as images need to be uploaded) simultaneously; and copy/pasting entry data between the two.

Each problem actually has an easy fix and can be done online or offline in your MAMP/WAMP environment.

Step 1: Add iBlog images to the Wordpress installation

iBlog has the following folder structure. Images are buried several levels deep.

Which would give you a serious workout if you were to manually retrieve those images.

Using FileJuicer (MacUpdate, Homepage) you can extract all the images in one step. In the Preferences, select the images file types you wish to extract (generally GIF and JPG) and in the results designate a destination folder. Deselect thumbnails as those are not needed. Drag and drop your Sites > iBlog > Bxxxxxxxxx folder over to the FileJuicer window and it will do all the heavy lifting for you.

In the result folder there will likely be some category icons and maybe some other files you know you will not need on the new blog. So delete those.

Time to upload the rest of the extracted files to your Wordpress blog.

You may know that Wordpress stores images in dated year and month folders, which would pose a problem. But, the old iBlog entries we imported have an image path without dates; so we can just simply upload all iBlog extracted images to one folder. To keep things neat and tidy I decided on a subfolder /iblog under uploads.

Using FTP I created iblog under uploads.

And copied all extracted images over.

That concludes step 1.

Step 2: Correct the image paths of imported iBlog entry images

Manually this would be another one of those repetitive nightmare things.

Fortunately we can use a super handy Search and Replace plugin. (Wordpress extend directory, Plugin Developer Homepage)

Download the plugin, copy it to the Wordpress plugin directory on your server and activate it in your Wordpress environment.

Safety note: There is no undo with this plugin. So, make sure you have a backup of your Wordpress installation and database and familiarize yourself with how you may have to restore it in case things don’t go as planned. The fact that this Search and Replace function worked fine for me doesn’t guarantee it does for everybody or that one can’t make a mistake in using it.

With that out of the way, let’s have a look at the path of working image link, which we can do via view source on the site itself and in HTML view inside the Wordpress:

And the path of a broken iBlog image link:

We know we uploaded the images to uploads > iblog in my case and so we can do the following replacement using the Search and Replace plugin.

Select the top option to search and replace inside Content.

And set the path to reflect that of your iblog images on your server installation.

Seconds later it will say it performed the action successfully. And, voila, the images are present in the old iBlog entries :)

Apr 15 2008

Or maybe I should say DNS hell? If you have tried to email me in the past week, you will have received a 550 Relay Prohibited automated reply. Which is unfortunately not fixed yet.

This 1and1 domain now points correctly to mediatemple (not .mac or wordpress.com), but it also ate my email settings. 1and1 Support said that shouldn’t have happened and has given me instructions on how to solve it. Basically you revert Basic DNS Settings back to 1and1 and then switch back to My Name Server, add mediatemple again as your own name server, save, wait for updating. You see the web domain go down … and back up. And, you still don’t get email. Wonderful. A second call. Followed the instructions on the phone. Wait. Still no email.

To me it seems there is an issue with their setup where Basic and Advanced DNS don’t mix.

With the Default Basic DNS you get access to the MX mail server.

Strangely enough once you point to your own DNS server – as per their instructions on how to do it – the MX server disappears from Advanced DNS.

I think their support suggestion of applying settings under both Basic DNS settings doesn’t work. To me it seems like a clear selection from a pull down menu for a reason. Which ever you have selected in Basic is what is retained when you hit Save.

Time for call #3.

I sometimes really cannot understand how something so simple can be so hard with large companies. I can’t be the only one, let alone the first one, having this problem. Can I?

I’m also trying to get some input from MediaTemple (mt). I have recreated my mailbox there, but neither the old mailbox at 1and1 nor new one at (mt) is getting any mail.

Hopefully things will be back to normal shortly. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to fix something you don’t have control over.

Update: Fixed!

Now, why didn’t any of the smart people at 1and1 tell me that after changing the DNS setting, the record is actually controlled by (mt)? Rooting around (mt) moments ago I just found I could edit my own zone file which contained my new MX server setting. And, (mt) just informed me I had created my email account correctly, but not activated it in another screen. Eh? All right. My bad then.

Apr 1 2008

Chances are this is your first visit to my new online home. Welcome.

After a little nudge from Bruce yesterday, and the release of wordpress 2.5, I decided to take the plunge and move the data over from wordpress.com and just go live here. Cold turkey. Dive in and swim. (or “Boom!” as SJ would say)

I had the server space for a while already, looked a little bit closer at wordpress.org but kept waiting for either a) me to manually fix the old iBlog entries that didn’t carry over well into wordpress.com or b) the new export function from iBlog 2. I don’t really want to do the manual thing, the iBlog export function is not here yet and at the same time I want to get a little bit of a custom blog up again. The old stuff isn’t that important right now and I can fix it later when I have more time.

So, here it is and here you are. New blog meet visitors. Visitors meet new blog.

No, the new blog is not finished yet. I still need to bolt a few things onto the chassis. I already had to make some changes to my original theme idea. That’s how things go, you think something will look right and then you say … eh, no! And, since right now the blog is running on a modified third party theme; I am sure there are still some cobwebs around. In fact I have only edited a handful of the dozen or so files … so who knows what you see on some pages. But, it is a start and a new beginning. The landing page looks OK and the rest will come gradually. We’ll get some extras installed. The gallery should be next shortly, in a few weeks, I hope. Time to throw some images from the past few years at it, redo the whole gallery while I am at it and rescan some of the originals (that is going to take a considerable amount of time). Since so many friends and family members now have broadband too, the time is probably right to start serving bigger and heavier images instead of tiny ones which were tweaked for dial-up.

Anyway. The gridserver blog is up and http://blog.icerabbit.com is forwarding here.  Update: Forwarding will be sorted out later. I ran into a little path loop between 1and1 and mt; so for the time being the blog subdomain is inactive.  

Mar 31 2008

Congratulations and welcome to (mt) MediaTemple ’s grid server, icerabbit.

Screen grab.

Dec 16 2007

I have just imported most of the old iBlog library into WordPress.

In the next couple hours & days I will be making some corrections like adding missing images back. The conversion process also left many entries with improper line breaks and read more links where they are not needed. And, there’s only several hundred of them.

Update: I am still adding images back to the older entries. I’m doing them a few at a time.

Sep 18 2005

I’m in the process of tweaking a few things, so I apologize if during
the update process certain pages and/or images are not available.Hopefully I can fix that pesky Safari stylesheet switching problem
(if not alternate styles will be dropped)

By the way; I did notice
the shoutbox column has been empty the past days. I don’t know why. The code is
there + the homepage myshoutbox.com is up; but I can’t pull the messages? Server
error? I notified the admin :)

Click here to read more …

Mar 24 2005

I just noticed that stylesheets no longer stick across categories,
entries, … in Safari?!Safari has a problem showing my blog without
the default style on the first visit (there’s a few blogs with the same
symptom), which is why I added the little extra note at the top “if no style
is …
” Now things just got worse. After the latest security update for OS
X (2005-003-001), every time I go to another page the styling is plain text. Of
course there’s nothing that obviously changed to Safari other than Unicode
International Domain Name support with the security update.

Strangely enough,
FireFox never has had a problem with the styling options. Every time, no matter
how empty the cache & cookies etc, it shows everything nice & styled.

I’m not sure what to do about it. I may take the stylesheets down
till I find a method that’s more Safari compatible. I did send another bug
report to Apple. Not that the previous ones changed anything. My luck they’ll
fix it in Safari 1.3 or 2.0, whichever we see with Tiger (sigh)

look into the problem tonight. Hopefully I can figure something out. In the mean
time I apologize for all the inconvenience.

Update: Surfin
from Safari guru Dave Hyatt suffers the same issue across
pages. So it’s a bug to me. I’m curious how long it’ll take for this issue to
make it through the “Report bugs”-mill. Tried to contact Dave directly, but it’s
a no go. His comments are locked down because of spam & no email displayed.
So I’m crossing my fingers that either Report Bugs, OS X feedback or Safari
Support message will get to the right inbox or desk and will result in a prompt
Safari update that fixes both alternate style-sheets issues.

Click here to read more …

Feb 8 2005

Testing sideblog integration.Should the sideblog not be displayed properly – as in
aligned to the right above messages, or not shadowed right – please refresh the
page in your browser. Safari is known to not automatically get the latest

Update: Minor bug arose since I modified
some CSS. The updated category & entry pages (where the Messages now appear
on the left – LOL) are being published.