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2010-02-02

The February Frights Begin

My computer infrastructure seems to be falling apart.  February is going to be the month in which I have to fix it.  I always fear infrastructure changes and computer upgrades and conversions.  And the price of procrastination is that pay-me-later comes due, with interest.   Here’s what it looks like:

  1. The invalid, my web-development server, the vintage-1998 Dell Inspiron 7000 laptop, Compagno, is on its last legs.  I need to offload everything to the Windows Home Server, including Visual Source Safe (VSS) integrated with Internet Information Server (IIS) via FrontPage Extensions.  I have been avoiding that.  I can’t any longer.   (Hmm, I mean that my laptop is an invalid, not that it is invalid.  Tricky that.)
      
  2. I need to migrate Vicki off her Dell desktop onto her new Inspiron 15 Laptop with docking for printer, LAN, keyboard+mouse, audio, and 24” widescreen monitor.  This also means moving Office 2003 from her XP SP3 configuration to the Laptop’s Windows 7, finding counterparts for the applications that currently work for her, including FrontPage 2002 (see 1, above).
      
  3. My Tablet PC has been running Windows 7 RC1 and that is about to expire.  There is no reason to use one of my Windows 7 upgrades on that machine because the manufacturer stopped providing the needed drivers before Vista.   I could reinstall Vista (and play 3D chess again) maybe, or go back to Windows Tablet PC Edition 2005.  This is all a holding action until I figure out what is a decent Tablet PC upgrade path that doesn’t cost a fortune.
      
  4. I have ambitions to replace my Desktop system with a hot multi-core Windows 7 64-bit kit.  I want to use virtual machines for other operating systems and multiple versions of office productivity software for exercising ODF and OOXML implementations and their inter-conversions.  I can also do better at development of software for multiple platforms this way.  This is not something I’m in a hurry for, because I have to deal with my critical peripherals (HP Scanjet 7400C and E-MU 1820m) being supported.  This should be on the end of the list.
      
  5. TODAY, after not noticing all this time, I received this happy e-mail from Blogger:
      
    “[W]e will no longer support FTP publishing in Blogger after March 26, 2010. We realize that this will not necessarily be welcome news for some users, and we are committed to making the transition as seamless as possible.”
      
    Of course, all of the transitions are to Google hosting of one kind or another.  These all involve changing the domain name.  I use FTP publishing in Blogger because I already have the domain names for my blogs, and far more, and changing domain name and/or hosting is not the kind of transition that works for me.  What I need to do is disintermediate from Blogger.
      
    I desire a way to bring up some sort of blog publishing function, still usable with Windows Live Writer, alongside my existing blog directories on the servers where my blogs are now published via FTP from Blogger.  I can then make a side-by-side transition from using Blogger as the intermediary for publishing to using a more-or-less direct self-hosted publishing mechanism. 
      
    That is probably workable, and something I had always meant to do.  Now I have an incentive I can’t ignore.
      
    Of course, I have no idea what I am going to do about comments on those blogs.  I think about Disqus, but not real hard.  We’ll see.

And I still use Technorati tags despite every indication they are absolutely useless.

But hey, I am driving out yet-another change to my Blogger template with this post. 

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Comments:
 
I've been whining about the gap between slates (such as the iPad) and Tablet PCs. Today I see that the Hewlett-Packard Touchsmart tx2t Notebook is approaching the $1000 price-point that I'm looking for (hat-tip to Sara Ford). I will keep my eye out for more action in this niche.
 
 
I was using Blogger with ftp publishing to my own domain until last December. I then moved to WordPress. The migration process went very well. I was able to preserve all my posts and comments. There were a lot of URL mismatches initially, but there is a great plugin for WordPress called "Redirection" that logs all the 404 errors and allows you to turn them into 301 redirects with a couple mouse clicks. Now that I've moved over, I regret not doing it sooner. WordPress is far more flexible than Blogger was.

-Rob
 
 
Thanks Rob, that's very encouraging. I only hear good things about WordPress and I am curious to know what the pain points are and how much I can preserve my existing blog pages. In-place if possible.

My hosting service has a one-click WordPress install setup, and your feedback is exactly what I'm looking for. They also have some others I've never heard of so I intend to look at WordPress first.

Fortunately, I have a developer-only test blog that I can experiment with first. I am intrigued that you were able to preserve comments. Do you have any specific tips for the migration process?
 
 
I followed the guide here:
The New Ultimate Guide to Migrating from Blogger to WordPress

Essentially, Blogger has an export option, and WordPress has an import option. The only complication was that WordPress has a different naming convention for permalinks, but you can override that in WordPress before importing your Blogger posts. Even then some names will be off. Specifically, Blogger and WordPress differ in how they generate permalinks from post titles. Blogger strips out "stop words", while WordPress does not. But you can go in and manually rename those posts.

Other than that, I didn't run into any other issues. Even my draft posts came over intact.

I was already using FeedBurner for my feeds, so that was an easy central change. In your case you'll need to redirect your old feed URL to your new one, so you don't lose your existing subscribers.

Of course, your mileage may vary. It is worth setting up a temporary test WP blog to test the migration before doing it for real.

-Rob
 
 
Great!

This sounds like the perfect job for Spanner Wingnut! It is time the lad earned his keep.

I am tempted to close off the existing ftp'd blogs and freeze them as an "archive" the way Bob Sutor appears to have done.

I will then need to do something constructive about the comment support being shut off (and Blogger will be denied access any longer in any case).

I have maintained the practice of not republishing the site even though I make template changes over time. I would like to preserve that.

I will look at the migration guide with great interest.

I'm not sure what to do about never-published drafts held in Blogger. I'll see what luck I have in sucking them back onto my desktop system under my Windows Live Writer drafts. I probably won't miss those drafts, since I haven't for at least 5 years now.
 
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