TypeKey is Now Required

Because I moderate comments, you haven’t been seeing the half dozen a day bits of comment spam I’ve been receiving and having to clear out. I’m tired of it, so I’ve turned off unregistered comments. If you want to comment, get a TypeKey account. It takes two minutes and doesn’t require any hoop jumping to get it to work.

You just click the “Sign In” link in the comments section, log in, and it’ll automatically redirect you back to that page so you can comment. Furthermore, you’ll remain logged in as long as that window is open, so if you go to other sites that use Typekey, you won’t even have to log in again. Considering Typekey is developed by Six Apart (makers of Movable Type), who also just bought LiveJournal, chances are good that LJ will start supporting Typekey (and possibly vice versa), so just do it now and get it over with.

Content Managers

I’m still not happy with my website. I feel half-assed with my Nucleus/MT setup, and continue to feel that there’s got to be a better (for me) solution, one that actually makes me happy.

Apple is adding a slightly tweaked version of Blojsom to Mac OS X 10.4 Server, so I took a look at that. It’s very pretty, and feature rich. It also requires programs my current web hosting provider doesn’t carry (namely, Tomcat). Additionally, some of the syntax is counter-intuitive, and I’m unhappy with the documentation.

Then, while looking into ecto, I noticed their current poll listed a slew of blogging solutions and communities that I’d never heard of. At last, hope for a system I like! I clicked through several, and came across Drupal, a content manager that I REALLY like the look of. The built in featureset is robust, it is under active development, it has an extensive and feature rich plugin library, and (important), it will run handily on my current web host. Worth noting in particular is the plugin that allows LiveJournal users to participate/comment without having to re-register. There is also basic migration support for importing MT entries into their system.
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I ranted about the high prices and subscription-based model that Movable Type had implemented for MT3 a while back, and said that unless things changed, I wasn’t going to upgrade to it…

Well, they fixed the pricing structure. So I upgraded. I’m just using the free version for now (no money to really spare at the moment, and for the moment at least I don’t need the paid features), and will be working out the kinks over the next few days.

In other news, Eli and I found a really nifty coffee shop in downtown Bellevue with free wifi access. (Oh the joys of http://seattle.wifimug.org.)

Why, MT, WHY?

So, Movable Type 3.0 was released yesterday. I of course found this out by them sending out an email saying “Yeah, we kind of dropped a bomb with this one…” to which I promptly said “HUH?!?” and dashed off to read about what is going on.

MT 3 is out, and has all the features they’ve been talking about having. That’s good. The bad? A SIX HUNDRED DOLLAR PRICE TAG. In the time between 2.6 and 3.0, they decided to “improve” their licensing structure by taking a page from UserLand and dropping a unmerited price tag onto software that is competing (and it’s honest to god competition) with FREE SOFTWARE.

They do offer a crippled free version, with the caveats that it can only have ONE weblog in the installation, and only ONE author. Further, there is a CPU restriction on that installation, so you can’t even install the free version on a dual processor for testing purposes (and you’re SOL if the server you’re hosted on happens to be multi-processor).

Suffice it to say, my “upgrade” will be taking a while longer. Like, however long it takes for me to go learn Flash and MySQL, which I’ll use to homebrew my own setup. I am VERY disappointed with their decision and apparent complete lack of market research in developing an effective pricing model.

New Gallery System

I finally got fed up with the Movable Type work-around photoblog system that I was using, so I looked into Gallery. Gallery is very technically robust and complex, yet extremely easy to update, so it seemed worthwhile.

I haven’t yet altered the layout to match more closely with the rest of the site. (I wasn’t kidding when I said it was technically complex.) One of the nice things that it adds is the ability to register an account with the system, which enables you to leave comments and vote on your favorite images.

It also means that I can set people up with an individual album once they’ve registered an account. This would/will allow my friends to have a space for uploading images of their own, for a shared community gallery. Pretty cool, huh?
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Back in Vermont

I’m back in Vermont for the first time since the beginning of August, and likely for the last time until April. It’s interesting to be back… the elation I felt as we touched down certainly reaffirms my firm belief that regardless of where I live or for how long, Vermont will always be Home.

During the days prior to leaving, I spent time with Mickey when I could (she’s been working) and for the rest of the time, I’ve been working on getting a local mirror of this site working on my computer. This took far more effort than I’d expected (or was really necessary), as I decided that it would also be an opportune time to update my versions of Apache, MySQL, PHP, and Perl on my local machine. After all said and done, I reverted Apache to what it was, MySQL got downgraded from 4 to the latest version of 3, and PHP and Perl actually managed to be updated (though not without trials and tribulations)

I’ve almost got it working, I just need to figure out why my author database isn’t working on the local machine, and how exactly I can fix that. I’m sure given a few hours to root around in the MovableType forums, I’ll find a solution. Once that’s done, I’ll be ready to really start gutting the site and making the more significant changes that I want to do. Of course, my reference books (O’Reilly’s Definitive Guides to MySQL, XHTML, CSS, and PHP, plus the PHP Cookbook) are all at home, so it may have to wait until November. We’ll see. (Well, I’ll see, since all changes will be on localhost until I have it running smoothly, at which point they’ll all get migrated to the website.)

I digress. Mickey’s father showed up the day before I left, travelling the countryside on a photo safari that I’m quite envious of. We all did some wandering, and swung by the local camera store (where Mickey thinks I should work, since I seem to be so good at evangelizing various types of equipment), and in general had a good time. Finally, Mickey dropped me off at the airport for my redeye on JetBlue to Vermont.
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Rain Down On Me

I really ought to just merge “musings” and “general” since they do tend to overlap so much. Before I get to rambling about the rain and such, a few things.

Shortly after finishing my first chapter last night, I spent many hours futzing with my website. It all started out fairly simple: change my archive lists into pulldowns. That way I don’t have to worry about space as much, and I can open up methods of navigation more. I’ve implemented this on the gallery and my written section.

Never one to leave things well enough alone, it occured to me that by using the pulldown technique, I could finally add navigation to my image gallery. Not to be satisfied with just a quick pulldown of “Home”, “Return to Gallery”, and possibly a “next image” and “previous image”, I opted to list all images in a given category in the category section, and all images in a given month in the individual section. After posting on the MT Forum for help, I finally got it working.

Of course now, I’m beginning to think that I should rethink the whole damn thing. Keep the pulldowns, yes, but change what is in them… again. Meh, maybe after I finish this next chapter (it’s a doozy).
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More Site Maintenance… Dangit

Yeah, that’s right, yet another little post annoucning alterations to the site instead of announcing (or being) new content.

I’ve removed Polymer City Chronicles from my links list, and replaced it with Ozy & Millie, a syndicatable (in other words, really really well drawn and written) webcomic suggested to me by my brother.

In other news, I installed Movable Type onto my brother’s site, Mellow Afternoon. He should have some content of some sort up soon.

My next post will be an actual update, or my name isn’t Finneas T. Squirrel… and it’s not.

Upgraded Movable Type

Just a quick post to say that I just upgraded the Movable Type blogging system (becoming more and more a CMS every version… makes me happy), from 2.5 to 2.63. The upgrade seems to have gone smoothly. Please post a comment if you find something has broken, though.

Not REALLY related, but: I am planning on revamping the site (again) at some point in the not too distant future. I’m still not satisfied with the level of involvement necessary to update minor things on the site, and I think there is an easier way (possibly using PHP). It shouldn’t change the interface much (as I still find this interface to be pretty clean, overall), but will make it a bit more dynamic and easily changeable (for instance, a dynamic php file for my links, so I can easily change them for all pages).

We’ll see if I can find time to do that in the coming weeks. I’m also finishing up my semester right now and am more than a bit crunched for time. The only reason I upgraded MT right now is because it took 5 minutes over breakfast. I guess that’s enough of an update for now… I’ll try to write again soon.