Category Archives: Site admin

RSS in full

Our RSS feed now includes full articles, not just annoyingly short extracts. ‘Cos although I’d love to make some money from the Google ads to cover the hosting costs, the hosting isn’t actually exhorbitant (in fact it’s a bloody bargain) and anyway the concept behind this site is to spread and discuss ideas, not to try and make money. Besides which the proliferation of site content via RSS may in itself bring more site visitors.

Thanks especially to Paul on the comments on full vs summary RSS feeds.

Okay, we’re running

Obviously in a geek blog, you should blog about how the blog got setup.

Domain name. and .net were already taken, but .org was free. I registered it with Gandi. They’re a French company, have been around for a while. I think I first encountered them some years ago in a list of domain registrars. At the time they were up near the top of the recommended registrars not only for being reasonably cheap and reliable, but also for having a domain registration policy that precluded all sorts of the kind of legal mumbo jumbo that some other registrars had at the time, which theoretically gave you rather less than complete control over your domain. Whatever the reason I originally went with them, they’ve been good over the years, and provide useful stuff like free domain and e-mail forwarding. At 12 Euros a year, perhaps not the cheapest around, but reliable and quick. Quicker than I thought, actually. I assume Those In Charge have improved the speed of new domain propagation over the last few years, because everything seemed to be done after a couple of hours.

Hosting. The hosting is at Aussie Hosts, a mob in Brisbane who specialise in shared hosting on Linux, and using the Plesk7 web site control software, which is frikkin’ marvellous. I’ve never come across a web control panel quite so useful and user-friendly. It does everything, and is light-years ahead of most of the other very clunky web control panels I’ve seen.

Software. Installing WordPress is dead easy. Upload the files into the http directory, create the MySql directory and its user in Plesk, then run WordPress’s install script. That’s it. It creates all the tables, creates the initial user, and away you go. Then I logged-on to WordPress and created the users, set the various options like comment spam parameters, and structure of permalinks. For the latter it tells you what your .htaccess needs to look like. You just paste it into the file and you’re done. (Admittedly it shat itself the first time I tried it. I wiped it out, and tried it again a bit later. Not sure what was different the second time, but it worked.)

Template. For WordPress’s templates, you basically need to edit: index.php (the main page), wp-layout.css (the stylesheet), and wp-comments.php (the comments section, which for some reason WP’s default installation has quirks like the caption for the comment fields appearing after the fields themselves. Wacky). I’m not entirely a master of CSS yet, so I just fiddled with the fonts and colours, and fiddled a bit with the links and so on. I’ve messed the template up slightly — right now the XHTML validation gets a thumbs-down. Will fix that when I get the chance to look at it.

We started creating a (perhaps over-ambitious) hierarchy of categories for articles to fall into. Hmm. Probably should have just copied out of DMOZ or Yahoo or something. (Just the hierarchy that is. If you look around, it’s incredible the number of directory sites that have swiped content completely from Yahoo.)

Also created a basic logo in my trusty old copy of Corel Photopaint, added in a Google advert to try and recoup some of the hosting and domain name costs, and that’s about it for now. Further fiddling can (and no doubt will) come later.

Excuse the dust

Welcome to Still getting things setup. The idea came yesterday when mucking about with MamboServer. Mambo is a fine product, with a lot of cool features, and was in contention for a web site of mine. But yesterday it finally dawned on me that Mambo doesn’t allow a post to sit in multiple categories. That just plain sucks. Along with the URLs it spits out, some of which are what they call “SEF” — Search Engine Friendly — but are in no way human-friendly, that was the nail in the coffin. That site’s going WordPress instead.

Like this one. And several sites I’ve setup, in fact.

So I e-mailed a couple of mates to ask if anybody wanted to join in. Josh reads his mail every few days when he’s not at work… no doubt he’ll get back to me sooner or later. But Tony’s in. That was good enough. A few hours later, the domain is registered, WP’s setup, and it’s all systems go. Idea to web site in less than 24 hours. Not bad.

Well, apart from little things like the site design/CSS/template. Yeah. Well. All in good time.

So what is this? A place for people to rant or talk about geeky stuff. Issues they’ve come across, clever things they’ve done, wondrous things they’ve discovered.

More later.