Rough Book

random musings of just another computer nerd

Tag: wordpress

Popularity Contest WordPress plugin breaks RSS feed

I’m using a somewhat old plugin (it hasn’t been updated since ’09) called Popularity Contest to show the popularity of my posts. However, I noticed that it was breaking my RSS feed. This is due to the fact that the plugin doesn’t properly escape the ampersand character inside an image URL. Instead of & it uses just &. You can fix this by changind line number 2272 to:

$str .= '<img src="'.site_url('?ak_action=api_record_view&#38;id='.$post->ID.'&#38;type=feed').'" alt="" />';

A new look

I decided to change the theme on my blog. I went for a wider theme this time because on my older theme the real estate for post content was rather narrow. This made the posts excessively long. This new theme has a lot more room for posts and so it doesn’t look like I’m posting a wall of text… well, mostly… I still tend to write a lot sometimes.

vivin.net is back… mostly

So I’m sure you’ve noticed that this website was down for a while. It went down about three weeks ago when one of the (two) hard-drives on my server died due to bad sectors; it was eight years old. I didn’t panic (too much), because my WordPress database was on the main drive, which is still alive. However, my home directory was on the bad drive and I hadn’t backed up in a while (sigh), and so I lost some images that I had uploaded. What baffled me were my WordPress uploads. I was sure that I had installed WordPress on my main drive, but when I went to search for it, I couldn’t find any trace of the install. Due to this, I’ve lost a few images and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to replace them unfortunately. Oh well.

Also, I must bid farewell to a dear and old friend: my webserver enterprise. I set up my webserver almost 10 years ago (running FreeBSD of course), and she has been serving me faithfully for all this time. Over the years I’ve dealt with all kinds of disasters and I’ve been able to keep her running. However, after this latest disaster I’ve realized that I just don’t have the time to maintain and administer a server anymore; it’s hard to do with a full-time job and with a full-load at school (did I mention that I am doing my Masters?). Therefore, I’ve moved my site over to dreamhost. The cool thing is that they also offer shell access too, which in my opinion is absolutely indispensable. It took me a little while to migrate my WordPress installation over (I had to work out a few kinks), but now it looks like everything is running smoothly.

On that note, I’m looking forward to less server-administration and more blogging!

Akismet flagging everything as spam

If you’ve been commenting on posts and now seeing anything, it’s because Akismet as been flagging all comments as spam. I don’t know why. I think it started after I upgraded WordPress. I’ve turned it off for now. Oh well.

Displaying images side-by-side in WordPress

I’ve been using WordPress for about two months now and I really like it. It takes away a lot of the pain from blogging. Recently I was writing a blog post and I was trying to get two images displayed side-by-side. This proved to be more difficult than I thought. There’s no immediately obvious way in WordPress to display images side-by-side. I tried to use tables, but that didn’t work out. I also tried to use the gallery, but that displays all the images, and I just wanted to display two. I was able to get it working finally.
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The new vivin.net

Well, I finally did it. I decided to migrate over to WordPress! For a long time I was thinking of rewriting my homegrown blogging-engine (that I initially designed over seven years ago). I never got around to doing it because it was just so much work! I know part of it has to do with the “reinventing the wheel” syndrome. There is a certain pride that a developer has in coming up with his own solution for a problem. But then I realized that the problem has already been solved, but other people, with more resources than I, and in a much nicer way that I could ever do. I also realized that any new design would be a constant work in progress, and frankly, that just gets tiring after a while.

So, I made the decision to use WordPress. This meant that I would have to migrate all my old posts from my old database into WordPress’s database. Thanks to WordPress’s excellent database-schema documentation, this wasn’t hard at all. I wrote a Perl migration-script to move all my posts, comments, and tags into WordPress. I also had to make some changes to my .htaccess file (and write a redirect php page) to ensure that links in the old format would get translated into the new format. Everything seems to be working pretty well so far! I know there are a few rough edges to sand down (basically the old project pages, which aren’t visible now) but I don’t think it should be that difficult.

To my readers (the two or three of you!) if you spot anything out of the ordinary in my old posts (bad formatting, unparsed tags, broken links) please let me know so that I can fix it! Oh and another thing, since WordPress makes it so easy to add new posts, I think I will be writing a whole lot more!

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