Wayback Machine saved my skin

A while back I did a very silly thing. Well, actually I did a series of things that all seemed perfectly sensible at the time but the upshot was a bit of a disaster.

I started this blog way back in 2006 and over the years I accumulated over 100 posts, which is not a lot compared to many people but they represented a fair investment of my time over the years. A couple of years back I decided that I would migrate away from WordPress and go to Ghost, a shiny new node.js based platform. The idea being that I’d blog a bit more and learn about node at the same time.

The migration to Ghost went smoothly enough, but in the end the blog just ended up languishing. I decided not to bother to continue paying for Ghost hosting and eventually the ghost version died. “No problem” I thought, “I’ll just reinstate the WordPress version on Dreamhost”. I can’t be sure exactly what happened, but somewhere along the line I either overwrote the old version of my database, or it had already been deleted. Whatever the cause, I had lost all of my old posts and I couldn’t find any backups to restore from. I did some swearing.

Then it dawned on me… archive.org have archive copies of my site. Slowly and painfully I managed to get all my posts back and they’re all on this site in glorious technicolor for you to enjoy! A lot of the links will link to web archive and some of the pictures are hot linked from there, but for the most part all of the content and categories are still available. I didn’t bother bringing over any of the comments.

So thank you Archive.org! A small PayPal donation is on its way to you.

Does this mean I’ll start blogging again? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Maybe… I’d like to, if I have the time

Back in the saddle

In the last few years my enthusiasm for blogging had dwindled to the point where I’ve only posted twice in four years.

I’m hoping that’s about to change.

Last week I was at Full Frontal in Brighton a one day conference for JavaScript Developers. It’s a great event which is now in its sixth year, I’ve been lucky enough to attend most of them.

I always leave Full Frontal pumped up and full of ideas, and this year was no exception. I left with a mental list of things I want to play with or do; getting back into blogging is the first of these.

Hannah Wolfe gave a very interesting talk about open sourcing Ghost, a node based blogging platform that I backed on Kickstarter. It reminded me that I should really pull my finger out and take Ghost for a spin, so I’ve imported all the posts from my old WordPress based blog and moved across to fordie.uk.

It’s a start, I hope I can maintain a bit of momentum.

Next up (hopefully) a couple of posts about the internet of things, starting with wearables.

A bit of a spring clean…

In preparation for launching a new design for fordie.co.uk in the coming weeks I’ve just been re-jigging the site’s categories. They are now organised hierarchically under either personal or technical.

This hasn’t made any obvious effect to the look of the site yet, but it will (hopefully) help me achieve the layout I want for the site.

All incoming links should still work and hopefully I haven’t just knackered my search engine rankings.

That was painless!

I just update this site to WordPress 2.1 (Ella).

The entire process took under ten minutes and so far, eveything seems to be working as it should!

This is the first WP update I’ve bothered with and I’m not sure how many of the new features I’ll use (I already have a spell checker in firefox for a start). Any way, the new features are listed as follows:

  • Autosave makes sure you never lose a post again.
  • Our new tabbed editor allows you to switch between WYSIWYG and code editing instantly while writing a post.
  • The lossless XML import and export makes it easy for you to move your content between WordPress blogs.
  • Our completely redone visual editor also now includes spell checking.
  • New search engine privacy option allows you take you to indicate your blog shouldn’t ping or be indexed by search engines like Google.
  • You can set any “page” to be the front page of your site, and put the latest posts somewhere else, making it much easier to use WordPress as a content management system.
  • Much more efficient database code, faster than previous versions. Domas Mituzas from MySQL went over all our queries with a fine-toothed comb.
  • Links in your blogroll now support sub-categories and you can add categories on the fly.
  • Redesigned login screen from the Shuttle project.
  • More AJAX to make custom fields, moderation, deletions, and more all faster. My favorite is the comments page, which new lets you approve or unapprove things instantly.
  • Pages can now be drafts, or private.
  • Our admin has been refreshed to load faster and be more visually consistent.
  • The dashboard now instantly and brings RSS feeds asynchronously in the background.
  • Comment feeds now include all the comments, not just the last 10.
  • Better internationalization and support for right-to-left languages.
  • The upload manager lets you easily manage all your uploads pictures, video, and audio.
  • A new version of the Akismet plugin is bundled.

…and much, much more.

What I’d really like is a nice simple way of including HTML code in my articles. I’m not sure if I’ll find that in this release. Fingers crossed

Anyone got recommendations for blog stats packages?

At the moment I’m using google analytics, which is frankly overkill; plus it doesn’t tell me things like how many comments I’ve had in a given period.

I’m also trying performancing.com’s metrics which do have more relevant reports for blogs but (and this is very irritating) you can’t change it to display in your local time.

I’d really like to try measuremap, but they’re not currently accepting new signups. I’ve emailed them to see when they’re likely to offer the service to new users, but so far no response.

Does anyone have any suggestions for other services to try?

A change of theme

I decided it was time for a change of theme. I know I’ve only had the blog going for a couple of months, but I’ve not been entirely happy with the look of the site since the word go.

The old “Almost Spring” theme was OK but not quite what I was after. The new three column layout is based on Fluidity3c 1.0 by Kaushal Sheth. The only real change I’ve made so far is to the header image, and replaced the <h1> in the header with an image.

I still need to tidy up the lists in the side bars for some reason the list items are squashed on the left hand side, so that needs sorting. But overall I’m much, much happier with the site’s look.

moblogging…

It would be dead handy if I could post to my blog from a mobile. I rarely find time to right entries for my blog at the moment, being able to post quickly from the phone would be realy nice.

I’ve been playing about over the last day or so with lifeblog from nokia. It’s a programme that ships with nokia smark phones, it allows you to post to typepad blogs (though sadly not wordpress) and upload photos to flickr which is what I’ve used it for.

It would be really nice if there where a wordpress plugin for lifeblog, unfortunately I think it’s probably a bit beyond me to try and create one.

In the meantime, I’ve just found kablog which is another bit of software for symbian, I think I’ll try installing that later.