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2010-04-03

 

February Frights Redux: Unification for Creative Destruction

I have moved from February Frights to April Insecurity. Here’s an update on the items that I had on my plate:

  1. Frailty of Compagno, the web-development server, is increasing. Danger, danger … . I am operating on chewing-gum and a prayer for now. I have to do this, but figuring out staging for coming up in a reliable way on the Windows Home Server is daunting for me. More urgency is required.
  2. I have successfully migrated Vicki onto a docked laptop. There are some software installs remaining for the Windows 7 Dell Inspiron 15, and WiFi roaming needs to be figured out. Everything is operating beautifully and I am jealous that Vicki has the most advanced system in the house at the moment. Before removing her 2006-vintage Dell desktop system, I repaved it with Windows 7 too. Worked like a champ, and we gave that system to our niece, Liza.
  3. I rolled Quadro, my Tablet PC, back to Windows XP from Windows 7 RC1. This worked easily, by using the restore discs for the Toshiba Satellite Tablet PC. I forgot about all of the craplets that Toshiba installed on this machine. I miss the improved Tablet functionality (and 3-d chess) of Vista, but being back on Toshiba drivers and a stable configuration is worth it. I gave up on the idea of having it be my e-mail machine and attempting to have more than one version of Microsoft Office was also too painful, but Quadro is in a stable, fully-functioning state now. Of course, I am far beyond Toshiba’s 2-year update commitment and must find a Windows 7 Tablet PC replacement eventually. I figure the later the better.
  4. Upgrading the Development Desktop will wait. There’s no technical reason to hurry and I will keep watching the desktop pricing-performance curves move. The biggie, beside running multiple VMs on a hot processor with fast RAM will be managing to drive a 36” display, once energy-efficient and affordable ones of those become available.
  5. Moving off of FTP’d Blogger to different Blog Hosting. There has been a reprieve. Google will continue support for publishing of Blogger blogs via FTP until the end of April. I’m now trapped in two races, once against a Google deadline, once against entropy death of a frail 1998 laptop. Thanks to advice from Rob Weir and researching other ways of self-hosting a blog, I have a plan. You are seeing the early steps right here:
    • I am going to unify all of the blogs I manage under a consistent Blogger template set. The features and layout will be the same, with changes in color scheme and symbols only. This means that it is all going to be table-based HTML 4.01 transitional too. I fooled around with CSS-only layout enough to know that I will stick with what works and solve the CSS problem later.
    • The first stage is to adjust the Orcmid’s Lair template as the pattern. I am starting with a generic sidebar on the left, and some cleanup to what I call the title block at the top of the page. If I have that right, this post will drive out those changes to the main page and all posts from here on out. I will continue working on changes to the body text and comments on Orcmid’s Lair.
    • The next stage is to propagate variations of the unified template to all blogs. This will including Spanner Wingnut, my laboratory for experimenting with further changes. The format unification accomplishes two things. First, I have been resisting blogging over unhappiness of the formats. I wanted something more pleasant before investing in more posting, especially on Vicki’s blog and my nfoWorks: Pursuing Harmony blog. Secondly, once I have migrated Spanner Wingnut successfully, whatever I had to do to establish a new template matching my desired style can then be replicated back to the other blogs.
    • I want to host multiple blogs on a single web hosting account that has multiple domains implemented on a single site. I also want to retire the existing blogs in place. To continue to develop new, self-published pages on the same folder structure, I don’t think systems like WordPress will work easily. In general, I am reluctant to move to systems that generate pages dynamically and/or use directory-redirection techniques to map URLs to what the blog engine really uses. I learned a lot about exploring WordPress and more checking into Drupal also. At the moment, Movable Type looks like a better choice.
    • The only way to be certain that I have found a worked case is to attempt to migrate Spanner Wingnut first. Once I have a working migration that allows Windows Live Writer authoring and multiple blog hosting, I will move over the main blogs, including this one.
    • There will be some breakage. I will retire the current blogs “in place.” The new blogging system will generate all new pages. But the new-systems RSS feed will start anew and the archive links will not include the Blogger-generated pages. Also, comments will stop working on all “legacy” blog pages. I might find some sort of bulk change procedures to repair some of this later on, but it won’t be that pretty during the cutover. May 1 is no longer in the distant future. The big job is accomplishing migration of Spanner Wingnut and then one other.

Labels: , ,

 
As part of blog-template unification, I have now adjusted the way comments are shown on the main page (linking to the post page) and the way blog linking is shown.

I can test how this all shows on the main page, but I can't see how it shows on an actual post page without driving out a new actual post page.

I figure this is the right page to do that with.
 
 
The previous comment failed to appear by some magical reason, even though it is counted on the main page.

I am making another because I need to see how comment permalinks are being handled now.

And this may be a clue that I have wedged comment generation in my experiments with the blog template. Let's see now.
 

 
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