Sidebar fun

I’ve added a few things to my sidebar! Webcomics came first, after obvious things like archives and search. Today I  made a cute Welcome box that explains what I write about and includes a picture of me.

I also added a random assortment of my latest photos from SmugMug and a list of the most recently updated SmugMug galleries. This way, I can avoid blog posts that are nothing but one or two pictures. I always felt that picture posts detracted from my writing, but I was never sure how to solve the problem. With WordPress plugins it was quite simple to place my pictures in the sidebar.

Similarly, there was no easy way to incorporate an RSS feed into my FTP-published Blogger blog. Now all I have to do is drag a box to the right and add a link…so I’ve put a list of my latest blog posts on SparkPeople on the sidebar.

Back in the day I would post whatever came to mind here on pixelscribbles, because I wanted this blog to be wholly representative of who I am. I feel a little like I’m compartmentalizing my thoughts about health and fitness by putting them over on SparkPeople. But I don’t want pixelscribbles to turn into a weight loss blog. I don’t feel that health, fitness, and weight loss are “who I am” in any respect. Yes, I want those things, but I don’t want to become some sort of guru. I don’t want people to know me for those things. I just want to lose weight and feel better so I have the energy to concentrate on the things I truly enjoy–“writing, photography, travel, language, Japan, and the web”, as it says in the Welcome box ;>

Writing about my weight loss “journey” (as they say) has been helping me, though, and I want to keep it up. Plus, I adore feedback. So I’ve decided to actively blog about the process on SparkPeople. Hopefully the sidebar listing here will earn my thoughts some eyeballs and comments.

I may add more items to the sidebar–I haven’t addressed the issue of my blogroll yet, for example. But for now I think it’s shaped up pretty well.

Missing (but not lost completely) comments

Late last night–as I was googling various keywords on my blog, testing the links that came up, and changing the slugs on the ones that didn’t forward properly–I discovered yet another issue: missing comments. Some posts that I knew to have comments on them now have none.

I checked the posts at cosleia.blogspot.com, and the comments weren’t there either…meaning they were not saved in Blogger’s database. I can only guess that something happened when Blogger first changed the way it handled comments on post pages. I’m pretty sure this happened before the October 2008 shift to embeddable comment forms, but I’m not sure exactly when. I wish I could nail down a date, because then I would have an idea of how much work is ahead of me.

You see, the comments aren’t lost. They existed on the static html pages on my server, which I saved. So what I can do is go through and manually copy and paste each group of comments into a new comment at the end of each post. It’s not a perfect solution, but there’s no way I have the time or patience to individually post each comment, and I’d like to retain the original timestamp information, even if it’s not listed correctly in the database.

When Blogger first enabled comments, I had to copy over existing comments from LiveJournal, Xanga, and Blogkomm, so this is nothing new…but I get the feeling the task is going to be monumental this time.

I suppose what I will end up doing is starting at the very beginning of my blog and checking every single post to fix the following errors:

  • Missing comments
  • Slugs that include the words a, an, and the (infuriatingly, sometimes these words are included in Blogger post URLs, so I will have to find a way to continue using Google to check the links)

While I’m at it, I will tag and categorize old posts that never got this treatment in Blogger.

Then I will move forward to posts starting in November of 2009. I’ll save and upload all Blogspot-hosted images to my server, then change all the affected img links.

This is what I get for having a blog with nearly 4,000 posts, I guess.

Update: So far I have found posts as recent as 2007 with no comments on them! Ugh.

Some solutions, more problems

I have solved the problems of redirecting from /journal and removing the .html extension by using 301 RedirectMatch. It was really a matter of trial and error, especially getting the .html extensions to go away without affecting pixelscribbles.com/index.html, but I think I managed it. If you see any weird behaviors or post links that don’t work, let me know. (Of course, I still haven’t solved the problem of Blogger’s post links not including the articles a, an, and the.)

I became aware of two new problems while using Google’s cached search results to test my settings: archive pages and “label” pages. Blogger archive URLs were formatted like /2004_07_01_archive, while WordPress’ are the much nicer /2004/07/. Similarly, Blogger keywords/tags, called labels, had page URLs formatted like /labels/travel, while WordPress’ tag pages are /tag/travel/. I think I can write a couple more RedirectMatch statements to fix these problems.

I do wonder if all the RedirectMatch-ing is going to hose my server. Is there another way I should be doing this? I guess in time search engines will map the new addresses for all the posts, and then I can remove the redirect expressions…right?

So now my issues are:

  • Removing the articles (a, an, the) from WordPress URLs
  • Redirecting old archive page URLs [done]
  • Redirecting old label page URLs to tag URLs [done]
  • New: Replacing spaces with dashes in tag links
  • Changing image links from Blogspot to my server*

* Update: I had thought that the images were all on my server already and I just needed to change the links. It turns out that all images uploaded after November 3, 2009 are saved to Blogspot and do not exist on my server. So I will need to upload those images and then change the links…manually.

The shift has been made…sort of

If you’re reading this, you can perhaps see that I’ve switched my blog to WordPress and also moved it from pixelscribbles.com/journal to plain old pixelscribbles.com. Both of these changes have been long in coming; I’ve thought about doing them both for years but just never had the motivation. Blogger’s ending of FTP support changed all that, and last night I slapped everything together in something of a rush.

This is not the template I’ll be sticking with, though I do like it. I’m hoping to design my own. This, of course, will take time; in the meantime you may see this blog cycle through various looks. My first order of business, though, is to see if I can’t do something about a few lingering problems.

My old post URLs don’t work anymore. This is sad, since many of those URLs had been around for years and years and years. I’d like to fix this problem, but to do so I will have to cope with three things.

  1. I need to redirect links including /journal/ to the root directory. [done]
  2. Blogger removed articles (a, an, the) from post-title URLs; WordPress doesn’t do that.
  3. Blogger permalinks had .html at the end; WordPress permalinks don’t.[fixed with redirect]

I’m thinking I will need to do some sort of mod_rewrite to solve these problems, which is a bit beyond my knowledge at this point.

The next issue is post images. My posts have pictures from three sources: this server, from back when I uploaded and embedded everything manually; SmugMug; and Blogger uploads that were sent via emails from my phone. The first source isn’t a problem; I simply left all the images on the server as they were in /journal/images, even though I don’t use /journal for anything else. Similarly, all the SmugMug images are still where they were before, so no need to change anything there.

But the Blogger uploads are quite the issue. When I was publishing via FTP, all the images saved into a folder on my server called uploaded_images. It would have been ideal had I left things this way, but alas, last night I was in a fit of “good grief I’m tired of looking at Blogger’s ‘We will no longer support FTP’ notice”, and I impulsively moved everything to Blogspot. It was only after that shift was done that I realized I really, really prefer to have my blog on my own server, where I can control things like .htaccess.

Unfortunately, Blogger’s migration tool was quite thorough, and it copied over all the Blogger-uploaded images and changed the URLs in the posts that referenced them. So now I have 1200 posts (apparently) that are pulling images from Blogspot.

I’ve left cosleia.blogspot.com up for now, so I shouldn’t have any broken images for the time being. Comments are disabled over there; that blog is a relic that maybe I’ll delete and maybe I’ll save for fun. Regardless of what I do with it, though, I need to somehow get rid of all the Blogspot images over here. I’m guessing this is going to involve a lot of manual searching and editing, but who knows? Maybe there’s a plugin out there that can help.

So that’s the state of pixelscribbles for now.

Despite all the pressing issues above, I’m thinking my first moves really ought to be to restore my blogroll and webcomics [done!] lists…I miss them!

Edit 3/16/2010: I’ve solved one issue with a redirect. And webcomics are back, baby.

smugmug’s down

The message when I try to visit my gallery is:

We’re having some temporary technical difficulties. We’re working on them at the moment, and expect service to return shortly. We apologize for the inconvenience.

We’re not happy about it, of course, but we are prepared for it and expect there to be no data loss or any long-term reduction in service.

Thanks for your patience and understanding!

Somehow I don’t find the phrase “we…expect there to be no data loss” very comforting. :/

Update 1:40 pm: They’re back up, and I don’t seem to have lost anything. Sorry for being so paranoid, but those photos are literally all I have left :/

Published
Categorized as Housekeeping

Really old posts, brand new comments

A week or so ago I noticed that Blogger had separated the style of the date and time on the comments from the style of that of regular posts. This is something I had been hoping for for a long time, because “posted by Anonymous at 6:30 PM” didn’t really tell me much. Now I know how new my comments are. I’m still not getting emails for all of them, so I could be missing quite a few, but at least when I do notice a comment I haven’t seen before, I know how long it’s been there.

Two posts have been getting quite a few comments recently, even though they are pretty old posts:

The first one, “Avril Lavigne sucks“, was posted on October 25 three years ago–it’s one of my very first posts. And for some reason, people have been commenting like mad this year. (Mainly anonymous people.)

The second one is the infamous constipated Naruto post, which isn’t nearly as old; it’s from January of this year. People have been commenting fairly regularly (and anonymously…hmm).

I really need to switch to WordPress so I can at least have more data on the people who are posting…

Published
Categorized as Housekeeping

h4x0rz3d

Somebody replaced the front page of the old Aubrey family picture site I put up aeons ago. I guess there’s a Post-Nuke vulnerability that got exploited. Anyway, you can still get to the content via the Google cache. I’m going to save the content tonight, remove Post-Nuke, and set up a Blogger blog there, I think.

We don’t even really need that site anymore, as Mom and I are both quite happy with smugmug. It’ll really just be a matter of shifting the images elsewhere.

Published
Categorized as Housekeeping

Updated sidebar

I spent some time throwing together a partial list of stuff we lost–it’s mostly DVDs right now. Then I set up an area in the sidebar for it, under Links. So there you go.

I seem to have fallen into depression of late.

I’m avoiding things I feel like I should be doing, like grocery shopping, making meals, and working on my WordPress theme. This really only adds to my feelings of depression, but I can’t seem to muster the will to do any of those things. Maybe today I’ll finally get some groceries so I can cook for my husband again.

Instead, yesterday I started a new project, and that is to add all my pictures from my Japan trip in 2001 to smugmug. Now, if any of you have spent any time over there you’ll know that I already had many of them up (through Takayama). But I’d been selective about which to upload, and I’d resized them all to 800×600/600×800. Since smugmug gives me unlimited storage, this seems silly, in retrospect. So yesterday I started going back and replacing the smaller files with the full-sized ones (including some pictures that I hadn’t uploaded before), copying the captions over, adding to the captions, and adding “tags” to each photo. This is a big project, but I’m already through Yamagata. Only two galleries to go until I get to uncharted territory: Kyoto, Nara, Himeji, Hiroshima, and Yatsushiro. Then I’ll have to figure out how to organize the homestay pictures.

After that’s done, of course, I’ll want to upload the pictures from our honeymoon to Japan in 2003. And I’ll also want to go back and add tags to all my galleries…

You can see how this is a project that could wait until after I was done with my blog move, but for some reason I am really interested in finishing it all right now. I even thought that I would like to copy my notes from the Japan 2001 trip into my blog, because the pencil I wrote them with is starting to smear away. (Why would I write in pencil? Gah.)

Maybe I would rather do these things because they’re easier than building a theme for WordPress. :P I’m tempted to just use a pre-made theme, but to be honest I don’t like any of the ones that are available. Not that much, anyway. I want my own unique style.

So I’ll just suffer through with Blogger for awhile. (I think all the server problems are irritating me more and more lately because I know I can do something about it, and because I am the only cause of delay.) I just hope when I’m ready to export my posts, Blogger is able to republish my journal in the proper format without freezing :P

I had the majority of my calories yesterday at dinner. Over 1000 calories for a meatball sub and some baked Lay’s. I felt like I was starving all day, so I guess that was my “reward”. Fortunately, the three pound artificial weight gain from yesterday has gone down 1.5 pounds today. (Does that mean I actually gained 1.5 pounds? :P) For some reason, I’m finding my diet harder and harder each day. Maybe because I don’t have any groceries…

Template tweaks complete!

I have finally finished tweaking the template to make the comments look right, to fix some messed up links, and to add some new links. You’ll notice a new navigation bar at the bottom of the pages now; this will hopefully assist people who have scrolled down while reading to get to where they want to be without having to scroll back up. I’ve also made the title graphic into a link to the main journal page–I don’t know how many times I’ve moved my mouse cursor over to it and wished that it was a link, so now it is one.

Miscellaneous other changes have been made that are small but that satisfy my anality. (Is that a word? Sounds better than “analness”, anyway…but I’m prejudiced against the suffix -ness.)

Blogger has been lagged recently, which has made the publishing process take a lot longer. I imagine this is because everyone is realizing how cool it is and there are people signing up left and right. Plus, there are probably a lot of existing Blogger users who are updating their templates to include the comments (just like me!). Needless to say, I’m very relieved to have finally gotten all of this done. :)

I hope that those of you who are planning on posting comments a lot will go ahead and sign up for a Blogger account. You don’t have to use it ever except for posting comments. I promise that this is the last thing you’ll have to sign up for in order to respond to my posts, at least for the foreseeable future. I’m very pleased with Blogger right now and see no reason to suddenly change to something else. So to those of you who signed up for Xanga or LiveJournal accounts solely to post to my blog…sorry! Please indulge me!

pixelscribbles.com circa June 2004
Screenshot of pixelscribbles.com with Blogger comments enabled from June 2004

Blogger comments enabled

As you may have noticed, the old Blogkomm system is gone, and in its place is the new Blogger comments. You may register for a Blogger account to post with, or you may post anonymously. If you choose the latter, please include your name (or alias, or whatever) in your post. I like knowing who I’m speaking with :)

Last night I spent many, many (I don’t even want to think about how many) hours porting all old comments into this system. By “porting” I mean “copying and pasting one by one”. I put in not only Blogkomm stuff, but stuff from Xanga and LiveJournal too. Now this site is completely autonomous.

The comments are pretty messy right now…I have them center-justified, which of course won’t do, and the name of the poster and post time isn’t very well differentiated from the rest of the message. I’m going to have to redo my template again to fix this problem, something I’ll work on when I have the chance. I need to incorporate the archives better, anyway, and include a link to my Blogger profile too. (Plus I have to remove the Blogkomm link…)

But for now, things are working properly, which is good.

Wrestling with software

I’ve fought and fought today to get Gallery to work properly, but it doesn’t seem to like being embedded in Post-Nuke. I’ve heard that Post-Nuke is a poor choice for a CMS anyway, and I’ve pretty much come around to that point of view. I’m not sure what else to install, though, so it’s staying the way it is for now.

Basically, the “Photos” link points directly to the Gallery installation instead of to the module-loading php file. That seems to skirt the embedding issues. Since I reinstalled Gallery while trying to make it work, everyone who had a user account will need to have it readded. Email me and let me know. (Mom, I’ve already done yours.)

Anyway, if you missed it in the previous post, Savannah pictures are (finally) up. Enjoy.

Check it!

New template is up. I’m going to tweak the comments plug-in a little bit, and I still need to redo the archive page template, but the bulk of the work is now done. And it’s functional! Yay!

pixelscribbles.com circa May 2004

Newness

I’ve added a comments feature to this page, using BlogKomm. (Who knew?) And so, from now on, I won’t be updating my LiveJournal or Xanga sites. They will, like my unknown Blog-City account, fade into obscurity and nothingness.

I’m going to try to move the comments from both sites over to this site eventually. For now my main goal is to redesign this page to make it look a little nicer, and to make the comments fit better. I also need to add my new RSS (Atom) feed as a link on this site.

The main reason I’m posting now is because I’ve started using Bloglines to subscribe to pretty much everything I read…and through Bloglines I’ve been reading a lot more news. Because of that, I have six links I want to share…so here they are!

And that’s about it. I’m sure I’ll find more links soon though…Bloglines is going to suck my life away, I just know it.