Hello Squarespace

I should have done this ages ago.

My only excuse is that I wanted to know the ins-and-outs of WordPress, so I used a self-hosted WordPress installation for my personal blog. 99% of the activity on that blog was behind the scenes: constantly updating WordPress to fix security holes and bugs. I have wearied of the self-hosting treadmill.

The history of Leoville is long and checkered. I started blogging in early 2001 with a long lost Perl CGI blog program called Grey Matter (footnote – Noah Grey was a pioneer in blogging. He’s still posting on Tumblr.) My first posts are lost forever, but the earliest post I still have is here.

I was promiscuous. I tried Blogger, Moveable Type, Vox, Posterous, WordPress, and a couple of other long ago forgotten platforms. Each transition shed images and links, but for the most part the text has survived. The bigger threat to this blog came from Twitter (and Jaiku, Pownce, and Plurk). Like many others I was seduced by the ease and speed of micro-blogging and let this blog lie fallow.

But as I look back through 14 years of posts I realize that this is the best record of my temporarary infatuations with the technology of the month. From moblogging to Instagram, MySpace to Moveable Type, I fell for them all. And probably will continue to do so. But at least this record of it all will remain safe here at Squarespace.

I still have some of the missing images stored elsewhere including Posthaven – the lifeboat built for people cast adrift by Yahoo’s sinking of the good ship Posterous. I wish I could say the same for pictures left on TextAmerica and Picplz. Lesson learned: keep your stuff on your platform or risk losing it. (I’m not the only one learning this lesson as it turns out .)

I’ll try to fill in some of the missing gaps here. But inevitably Leoville will be only an imperfect record of the second half of my life, from age 45 onward. I hope there’s a lot more left, and with the help of Squarespace perhaps even some of it will survive. For my own entertainment if no one else’s.

Do Not Like

Do Not LikeI said I never would do it, but there it is: a Facebook Like button (and a Send button, too) on each and every post here. I can’t help myself; those damn buttons drive too much traffic to ignore.
If it were a plant, scientists would call Facebook an invasive species, like kudzu. Kudzu is a Japanese vine that was introduced into the US 125 years ago. It’s taking over the Southeast US, spreading at the alarming rate of 150,000 acres a year. There’s nothing inherently wrong with kudzu. It’s just too damn successful.

There’s nothing wrong with Facebook. It’s just taking over the Internet. And that I do not like.

Oh, and by the way, please Like this post!

Updated to 3.0.1 But…

wordpress logo.jpegFor some reason the automated updates are broken on WordPress and I have eight out-of-date plug-ins. I’ll be fixing them over the rest of the day, so pardon my dust (and occasional down time).
(You may wonder why I’m bothering you with this trivia – I’m still trying to get my Buzz working and I’ve been posting to it using every possible means, including this blog post. If you’re following me on Buzz, and would like to get all my Buzz posts back into your timeline, unfollow me then re-follow me. That seems to fix the bug. You can see all my recent posts whether or not you do this on my Google Profile. If you don’t care in the least about any of this, I don’t blame you. I’m having a hard time caring myself!)

Facebook Connected

connected-3.png I’ve turned on Facebook Connect (yes it only took a week after Amber told me about it) with the Disqus commenting system we use here. Now you can post a comment on the blog using your Facebook account for credentials. Despite all the attention Twitter gets in our neck of the digital woods, it seems to me that Facebook is building overwhelming momentum in the social media space. With 150 million plus users the network effect is really starting to kick in.
The success of Facebook also puts the lie to the widely accepted truism that Twitter competitor, FriendFeed, isn’t growing because it’s hard to use. I’d argue that Facebook is just as overwhelming to the new user but it rewards his or her initial struggle immediately and palpably due to the size of its network. Twitter succeeds for the same reason. It’s not simplicity, it’s simply the number of people who use the service.

crowd.png

Give our new Facebook Connect-powered commenting system a try and let me know what you think.

I’m Back Baby

BlueprintWell I think I’ve got this place pretty much back to where it was. In fact, I took this opportunity to upgrade to the latest version of my theme, Revolution 3.0, and make some minor cosmetic improvements. I’m liking it even better now than before.
I lost many of the images from past posts, but it turns out that both my graphics program, Skitch, and my blog editor, MarsEdit, preserve uploaded images in an archive, so I was able to get most of the pictures from 2008 back on the blog. Thanks Plasq and Daniel!

Only one thing is stumping me. I can’t remember the WordPress command to insert the most recent post in a given category. I use that on the front page to put the most recent news and blog posts at the bottom on either side of the Stickam video. It’s a little WordPress PHP and it’s quite handy, since I don’t need to do anything to update it. Do you know what I’m talking about? Got any idea what the syntax is?

UPDATE: Tollie gave me the command – I’ve got it working. Thanks Tollie!

General LeoNow it’s on to resuscitating the TWiT Army and TWiT Contributor Forums. I’m going to take this opportunity to fold the forums back into the TWiT.tv Drupal. Among other things this will automate logins from new contributors.

The TWiT Army Canteen should be up pretty soon with a much improved design, thanks to The Frogman and Mongo. Sounds like a Morning Zoo team, doesn’t it.

And I’ve learned my lesson. Daily backups are in progress. Automatically. So, knock on wood, this will never happen again.

Let me know if you spot any bugs. I think everything is back working again.

Ugly In So Many Ways

Yes Leoville is looking pretty awful. I’m reconstructing it from scratch. Fortunately, as you can see, all the posts survived the apocalyptic demise of my server’s RAID 5 Array. Unfortunately, none of the WordPress customizations did. So I’m downloading the plug-ins, restoring the template, hacking the CSS, and desperately trying to remember the changes I made.
All the comments are safe with Disqus and will return when I turn on the Disqus plug-in. (Done. Thanks, Disqus!)

Unfortunately, the image directory was not saved. That means all the attached images will be blank. I will be able to recreate some of them from my local archives, but most are lost forever. -sigh-

All of this is because I was too cheap to buy the many gigabytes of storage required to backup that data. It was a false economy. I’ve purchased 200GB of storage from my host, Softlayer, at the extortionate rate of $180/month. (That’s twice what a hard drive of that size would cost outright – 2400% more per year – and I thought the cell phone companies were bad.) And I’ll be setting up rsync and S3 for a secondary backup, as well.

Meanwhile it’s back to the depressing and very time consuming work of fixing this place up again. Now I know, in a very small way, how it must feel to survive a hurricane.

Happy Birthday To Me

Today the Leoville.com blog turns seven.
Over the years it’s been running on Blogger, GreyMatter, Movable Type, Expression Engine, Vox, and now, I’m very happy to say, WordPress. It’s been so much fun, and when I look back at the old posts I realize what a long, strange decade it’s been!

There will be no cake. The cake is a lie.

Now With Video Comments

Viddler.com - Dashboard.jpgThanks to Colin Devroe and Viddler now you can post your blog comments here as video. You’ll need a free Viddler account, and you can either record right at the comment box, or pre-record something on Viddler and add it later. Either way, I hope you’ll try this feature out. I think it’s a great way for us to get to know you!

Site Redesign

Yep, something does look a little different around here. I’ve moved Leoville.com to WordPress (it was PMWiki) and integrated it with my blog (which I moved to WordPress a few months ago).
This new template is Brian Gardner’s Revolution and it makes magazine-style pages like this possible, making WordPress suitable for web sites as well as blogs.

I’m sure you’ll find numerous bugs, both cosmetic and serious. Please let me know when you find something off (you can leave a comment on this post). I’ll be tweaking the site for the next few days and weeks. Thanks for visiting!

A Little Help Here

I love the “This Day In Leoville History” plug-in. On a blog like this with nearly seven years worth of posts it’s fun to go back in time. But you’ve probably noticed that a number of the entries are 404: file not found. They’re there, it’s just that they have punctuation in the title. For some reason WordPress can see the entries, but the links don’t work.
For example, today you’ll see “2001: I’ve been farked” – something about the apostrophe throws off the permalink. The actual page is there but I can’t link to it.

Anyone have any experience with this? Got a fix? Maybe some sort of MySQL script to encode the non-text entities? Or a change to the default encoding? I’d appreciate any help you could offer. It’s kinda bugging me.

UPDATE: Ben had the right idea. I was using “pretty” permalinks that had the post title in the link. I changed it to year/month/day/post_id and that fixed the problem. Thanks for all your solutions!!

Plugin Mania

Niners!I’ve tweaked the site in a few more ways. Adding a print link, post ratings, an online user page (all from Lester Chan), and a mobile version that’s particularly tuned to the iPhone (but works fine on other cell phones, too).
By the way, did you know you can listen to my podcasts right from this page? See that Radio Leo block to the right? Click one of the triangles. Cool, neh? That’s Angsuman Chakraborty’s Taragana’s Del.icio.us mp3 Player Plugin.

I did all this while watching the Niners win a squeaker on Monday Night Football while Henry “did his homework” next to me. My idea of a perfect evening.