Consolidating, Focusing, and Rookie Mistakes

As my online endeavors grow, I find myself with different sites floating around, doing nothing, as I have so many ideas for each site, I wind up not posting to any of them. I originally started Blogging Meta because I thought I wanted to have a personal site, and a site that I could focus on tech related blogging. Well, as I’ve said, neither came to fruition, and I’ve found myself lately feeling as if I had some dual personality that were just spinning their wheels.

So tonight I decided to merge the two sites, and really try to gain some focus. I still have my cooking site, which I still intend to further focus on, but hopefully by committing to using this site again for everything not cooking related, I just might be able to accomplish both.

The rookie mistakes came from the fact that since Habari doesn’t have an importer in place yet to import one Habari install into another, I was faced with the only option of deleting the existing database, which was basically an import from the original WordPress installation, then dumping the bloggingmeta database, doing a quick search and replace for urls, importing that file directly into the database, then re-importing the old wordpress database using the importer plugin. What I failed to do was check what was active in the plugins. I already had the twitter plugin installed, so I’m guessing that it kept the settings from the old site, thus upon import, all the new posts were twittered. Complete…rookie…mistake. Couple with that that I also left the pingback plugin active, it tried to ping all the posts while importing. Another party foul. So not only did I spam Twitter, my import royally failed, so I was faced with doing the whole process over again, albeit this time I deactivated the offending plugins, and the import went off mostly without a hitch. I might have lost a few old posts and/or comments, but all in all, I’m pleased with the outcome considering I’m doing this at 2 a.m. in the morning, and my focus might not be what it should be. I wish I could write it off as having had a few adult beverages, but alas, I would be lying.

Over the next few days I will be doing some tweaking here and there, and shutting down the other site (and doing a 301 redirect). I really like the typography of Ali’s theme, so I most likely will try to find the custom image I had made for the bottom, and trick out a few plugins. At least for now. turns 2

birthday candle Perhaps a bit late, but just about 2 years ago, I started this domain, which has led me down a life path I can honestly say I didn’t expect. I no longer am cooking for a living, not going to school, and trying to make a go of it doing web design/consulting. Thinking back on it all, I’ve come a long way, and look forward to where things go. To any and all who’ve visited and commented, thanks. I’ve recently tried to blog more in general, and also realized that the site is in need of some overhauling, as I’ve not really done much with the design/updating in almost a year. So as soon as I crank out a new design for Tiny Little Dots, I’ll focus some spare time on the site.

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Gravatars 2.0 and Skippy’s Gravatars Plugin

I had heard that Gravatar 2.0 had been released, but hadn’t really paid much attention. Today, while doing a little housekeeping around the site, I noticed that none of my gravatars were showing up. After doing a little investigating, I realized it had to do with caching, among other things. First thing I did was dump the cache on my gravatars folder in wp-content. Second, I logged into the gravatar site, and re-associated my gravatar with my email that I use for that account. Still no gravatars, mine, or anyone else’s.

So I looked at the settings on Skippy’s gravatar plugin (which I like as I can set a local gravatar, vs using a default one from the original site), it was set to use caching. I turned that setting off, and voilá, gravatars are showing back up. Hopefully that could help someone else (though, from reading a few blogs, and the comments on the main site, there’s no guarantees the main site will be with fail).

Not as Painful as I Thought

So if anyone has an “old school” flickr account, they too received an email a while back saying that as of March 15th, they needed to merge with a yahoo id. I had a yahoo id, which I never really use. And like most people, they are probably a bit attached to their online identities. Obviously, I use miklb where ever I can. I was a bit upset at the prospect of losing my flickr account of /miklb. Granted, the yahoo account I have is, but somehow that just isn’t what I wanted. So I procrastinated in making the switch. Finally, today, I went about looking into it, as I didn’t want to get locked out of my moblog images. (Currently, I do not have a cell service with a camera phone, but not all of those images are still on my old phone, anyway…) I went to the flickr account, and saw the “merge” accounts option. I went to merge miklb with yahoo id No go. was already associated with flickr. Ugh. When did I do that?

So looking at that account, I hadn’t actually uploaded any images, so I saw I could delete the flickr account for that ID. I didn’t know if I could then re-associate it, but what the heck, I figured I’d give it a shot. I deleted the yahoo id from flickr, and tried again to merge, still thinking I’d become In the meantime, I found a flickr export app for the Mac, Flickrbackup, grabbed my images just in case, and then made the association between the old school account and the yahoo id. All went smooth, and to my surprise, I get to keep the miklb account, I simply now log in with the yahoo id. Excellent. Perhaps this will move me to use flickr a bit more, I know I’d love to get a friend of mine to use it, but he’s a myspacer, and I don’t even know what he’s using to host his images. (Goody Goody, I’ll even set you up with a blog if you make the switch from myspace).
So, long story short, it was far less painful to make the switch, and if you haven’t done so, fret not, if you have to be pumpkinpatch6969 instead of your favorite handle, you’ll not loose your flickr name.

Running with Habari

Nothing like a new blog engine to get the blood pumping. Not that I’m jumping ship, just looking to broaden horizons, and see what new and exciting might be around the corner. I’m a big fan of a couple of people involved, not such a fan of a few others. But that’s part of community. But really I’m just testing out the trackback feature on the most recent build. So really, just ignore this post…

Humbling Attention

As I’ve had this site for a while, I’ve become less and less of a stats whore, but at least a few times a month I check my referrer logs. The past month or so, I’ve been linked to by two separate design showcase sites. The first, Liquid Designs, showcases sites that use liquid width design. A lot of this site is based on that concept, and it’s something I’m learning more about. The second, and more recent is from Design Melt Down, part of their “Beautiful Blogs” section.
I did put a lot of time into this past springs CSSReboot for the site, and have tried to maintain the site despite the lapses in content. However I would have never expected ANY type of recognition for the work. So to the operators of the site, and those that have clicked over, thanks.

And the Beat Goes On…

It’s amazing how going back to work, working 60+hrs a week, and trying to assimilate a day time schedule can wreck any routine one had prior. I finally got two days off, in a row, to rest and reflect a little on where I’m heading. I’m really looking to establish a little more of a domestic life, call it a goal. I’ve all but abandoned my WP endeavors the past month, and feel guilty for it. I simply did not have the mental wherewithal. My inbox has routinely had 100+ messages, and my RSS feed is about 4000 unread links. Over the next week, I will catch up on my emails, start working off the RSS, and begin working on my blogs. My WP blog, WP Station hasn’t been posted to in a month, so I’ll try to catch up on the bigger releases I’ve missed, and try and do a re-boot for the fall. From there, I’ll probably release the theme used there.
I’m hoping some of those moves will also help me with my personal life, as that has really been a shambles. From the monumental mistake I made in February, on through the summer, my life has been turned upside down, no really fault but my own. There is probably no other bad decision I’ve made in my life that I’ve regretted more, and wished I had a mulligan, time machine, do-over, anything to alter the course.
Unfortunately, we don’t really get those, and I have to deal with the results of my actions, and I guess it’s time I deal a little more.
But if you are reading this, and you know who you are, I can only say I’m sorry, I regret that horrible day, and I miss you.

Is July Over Yet?

What a horrible month it’s been. I’m finally set up in my new digs with my internet and a environment that I feel comfortable enough to start truly moving forward, no matter how small the baby steps are.
The worst of it all is a dear man, a troubled genius, someone whom I was honored to call my friend, took his life this week. I’m not too comfortable with talking about it yet, perhaps at some point I’ll blog a little more. I’ll just say that the world took a shot to the kidneys this past Monday evening when my friend Mike O’neill took his life.
Tiny Little Dots has already posted a little more about it, so I’ll leave it to his site to fashion out the extended links.

I mourn losing Miguel, and I mourn for those who held him even closer than I. May the next part of the journey bring more solace than the last.

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jesseslife.comA guy dropping out of the hustle and bustle, visiting all of the national parks our great country (yes, despite wiretapping, FBI raids on congressman’s offices, and the like, I still think it’s a great country) has to offer. Beautiful pictures, and great insight. He seems to be about half way through the parks, so I’m looking forward to the rest of his journey. I’ve not been to quite as many parks as he, but reading his ventures through Rocky Mountain National Park and Badlands stirred memories of a younger, more bright-eyed miklb driving cross the the plains of North Dakota and Wyoming, down into Denver. Having grown up with the natural beauty of Florida, the northern plains and the Rocky Mountains were another world.
I’m looking forward to the rest of Jesse’s adventure, and wish him the best in his sojourn.

On Spam

There has been much buzz the past week regarding comment/trackback spam around the net. Discussions regarding a cyber spam war, threads all over the WP support forums, and blog post after blog post regarding spam. Meanwhile, I sit wondering am I missing out on something? Do the spammers simply not like me? I’ve gotten one or two Spam Karma digests, with a few caught spams over the past week, but nothing like the “100s” of spams I’ve seen people mention. I didn’t think I was doing anything exceptional to protect against spam. I’m running Bad Behavior and Spam Karma 2. No Akismet, the golden child of WP lead developer Matt Mullenweg, no captchas, nothing else.
Then I wonder, is it because I’ve donated to both plugin developers, that I really do have Spam Karma on my side? Either way, know if and when I get an adsense deposit, that a portion of it will go again to both plugin developers, just in case 😉

Moved Again :(

ASOAlas, I’ve moved servers again, and it’s not been fun. Not only am I moving this site and the subdomains, I’m moving two other domains to the new server. I’ve ventured into the realm of managing multiple domains. Yay! (not). Anyway, it’s a headache but at least once it’s done, it’s done. A Small Orange looks like great hosting so I shouldn’t have to worry about this again for a LONG time.

Switching to Feedburner

I’ve switched my feeds to feedburner, for a variety of reasons. I’m hoping whom ever has already subscribed (one or two of you at least 🙂 ) will get the new feed with no problems, and I’m testing it out myself. I’ve only ever used feedburner for new sites, so let’s hope this goes off without a hitch.
Speaking of feeds, I recently mentioned Share your OPML, well, I signed up, and it’s kinda interesting. I like the similar feeds feature. It compares your file to others, and then returns a list of people’s feeds. So you can read through other’s list, and find feeds you might interested in. (As if I didn’t have enough to read now!)

Blogging Identity Crisis

I’m sure I’ve touched on this topic before, but after the reboot, I’ve found myself wanting to simply “blog” more. I still have my cooking site, and mentally beat myself up for not using it more, and wonder if simply marrying it with this site is the best idea. I wouldn’t feel so compelled to produce content for two different sites, as well as keep up with WordPress Station. I could simply write about food, and food topics interspersed with my political rants, web finds, and occasional fishing stories. (Those have been few and far between for sure).
I read more and more blogs these days, and that’s exactly what I’m finding, that the sites are not just specific to one topic, that they truly are extensions of the author. So in a given week, a story about a loved one, web standards, a sporting event, and dinner out can all be intertwined into one site. As I type this, I feel that is where my direction will go, it just seems to make “sense”. Less focus on having to blog about a certain topic, and more on wanting to. Because, in the end, isn’t that what it’s all about?

Thumbnails on Home Page

This little tutorial is intended as a means of providing WordPress users the means of posting a thumbnail image on their home page, and having a full size image on the single page view. This is accomplished using the image uploader built into WordPress, and CSS. If you are intending on using excerpts on the home page, then the addition of Kaf’s Excerpt Reloaded plugin. His plugin allows for the inclusion of tags within the excerpt, something the built in function the_excerpt does not.
The first step is to make sure you have the_content or the_excerpt wrapped in a unique div class. I’m not sure of the exact correct semantics, but I simply call my home page excerpt “home”, and single page div “single”. (Note, depending on your theme, you may or may not need to create a separate class for the single page view. I actually wound up not using single in my theme, as I was able to use the class “primary” from the original code. The objective is to have a parent div to call with the specific class we assign the thumbnail).
Next, when you upload your images via the WP upload, be sure to note the path. Generally speaking, both the created thumbnail and full size image are placed in the same directory. the difference being the thumbnail file is yourimage.thumbnail.jpg. So now that you have uploaded the image, and the thumbnail has been created, it’s time to place both the thumbnail and full size image in your post. We are going to code the image directly, and not use the WYSIWYG or quick tag buttons, as we need to add a class directly to the image. Again, not sure about proper semantics, but I used “big” and small, obviously for the full size and thumbnail, respectively. Note, if you want to also float the image, you can use two classes, simply leave a space between each class. An example would look something like this :
Now to create the CSS to hide images on the different pages.
First, to hide the full size image on the main page, we need to add to our style sheet .home .big {display: none}.
Then to hide the thumbnail on the single page view, we add .single .small {display: none}.
That’s it. A couple of simple CSS classes and the built in image upload. A note about the code. Depending on your theme, you may or may not need to create a few more templates. If your theme only has an index.php file, then you’ll need to save a copy of that as single.php then make the changes to that, as outlined.
I’d love some feedback on the semantics of the classes, as that’s still an area I’m learning about, as well as any general feedback about the concept. It works fine for the theme structure I’m using, but if you run into any problems with your theme, please leave a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you make it work.

CSS Spring Reboot ’06

rebootrebootI’m in the process of installing my new look for the CSS Reboot, so if things look a little wonky, bear with me. Also, if you notice something awry, please leave a comment.

EditLooks like CSS Reboot is back online, so a little while from now, hundreds, if not a 1000 or more sites will be officially launching new designs. A great way to see the freshest designs and ideas out there.
Edit 2Oh, yeah, I also gave a little face lift to the rarely used

Happy (Belated) Anniversary to Me!

So, just over a year ago I started blogging. I believe I’ve grown quite a bit in my web knowledge in a short time of actually using a site I’ve started. I tried doing something with just about every free resource out there, it just never “took”. It wasn’t until my friend over at tiny little dots adopted WordPress, and thus I installed it on my newly purchased domain, did the light go on. At once I felt at home. I immediately begin cramming massive amounts of CSS knowledge into my already crowded head. I now can I say I can see myself actually putting food on the table and a roof over my head some day doing this stuff full time. I’ve got a long way to go, and need to particularly see where I “fit in”, but it is quite exciting, a feeling I lost quite some time ago in regards to cooking.

So a hardy thank you to tiny for adopting WP and to trench for my first blogroll link. Also a big thanks to the many people who’ve stopped by and left a comment, it’s always nice to know someones reading the site 🙂

I’m really looking forward to seeing what the next year of doing this brings, what direction things will go, but if the first was any indication, it’s going to be great.

Landzilla- From the Swamp WordPress Theme Updated

I had a client who chose the Landzilla theme, but wanted some color changes. While in the process of doing that, I found the theme used a single index file, with no seperate header, sidebar, footer, etc. So I’ve repackaged the theme with the new colors, a few other changes, as well as a .psd file to insert your own 181 x121 pixel images into the four boxes in the header graphic.
A screenshot can be seen here.

Here’s the download.

Any questions, just leave a comment, I’ll try to help.

Oh, the name, well, Florida is really just one big swamp…

Pimping Emusic Again

I just can’t say enough about this site, and have been that way for the 5 on and off years I’ve been using it. I’ve downloaded everything from Charlie Parker to the Cows. Some of the recent stuff I’ve downloaded includes Tres Chicas, Minus the Bear, and some old stuff including fIREHOSE’s if’n.
So if you are interested in a free trial -50 downloads (will require credit card, but won’t be charged unless you don’t cancel after month), and want to help me get some free downloads (if you like the service and keep it after the month trial, I get 50 downloads myself), leave a comment or use my Contact Page. I’ll send you the special link that will help me get the hook up too.

A New Desktop Computer For Miklb

So, I’ve been toiling away for years now with outdated G3 macs, and kept hemming and hawing, waiting for the “next wave” of new Macs. Well, I couldn’t take it any longer, and broke down and grabbed one of the new dual-core Mac Minis as I had a 17” VGA monitor for the window’s box, as well as existing USB keyboard and mouse from the old imac. So it’s up and running, albeit I need to find someone locally who can install 3rd party ram, as I’m not paying Apple $300 for a gig stick of ram so than can install it for free. Maybe Comp-USA? Anyway, one thing that I noticed right off the bat was FireFox was not liking running on Rosetta, the built in conversion for older apps to the new intel processor. So I was all but switching back to Safari, as FF was just choking. That is, until today, when I found an “unofficial” build of the soon to be released universal binary of FF. Sweet. All of my extensions work with “DeerPark”, and things load as fast as they should be, no hang ups. (so far). I’m really loving the move to Tiger as well, not to mention the shear fact of having a processor and HD meant for this century :). I haven’t really had to time to play with any of the iLife apps, or use Front Row, but all in due time.
No to start saving for when the new 17” macbook pros come out.

Hosting My Own RSS aggregator

When I first started using RSS, I choose NetNewsWire Lite and was quite pleased with the functionality. I then discovered Vienna an open source, free, aggregator. Which I liked a little better than NetNewsWire. I then went on my merry way adding and subtracting feeds, and keeping up with multiple sites with no problems. Then I got my new desktop computer, all snazzy with OS Tiger, and have begun using it much, much, more than I ever did the old one. Thus a dilemma began, how to keep track of what has been read and what hasn’t when switching from desktop to laptop. Enter Gregarious. I can host it on my server, and access it from both machines, and, voilá , no need to use a desktop aggregator, no need to deal with someone elses hosted aggregator, and ads, I’m sure. It was quite easy to install (though I did have to manually import the sql database info), and easily imported my opml file from vienna, so all my feeds were picked up, and I never lossed a beat. You can take a look at my feeds at Miklb’s Feeds. Right now it’s the vanilla default install, but I intend to give it some customization (like I have free time right now…)
So, take a look, maybe you’ll find a feed worth adding to your reader of choice, or maybe you’ll decide to give Gregarius a shot yourself.