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And permalinks are working (sort of)

April 5th, 2009

The Apache mod_rewrite module provides a nifty little way to redirect URLs by rewriting them on the fly at the server level. Whip together a little regular expression to parse the incoming URL, construct a new destination URL for it, and presto — seamless transition. So, for example, an old link to the RSS feed like . . .

http://www.tenreasonswhy.com/weblog/atom.xml

. . . gets transformed on the fly to this . . .

http://www.tenreasonswhy.com/weblog/feed/atom/

. . . so I don’t think I’ll be breaking your feeds.

That’s all well and good when the incoming URL has the data you need. Unfortunately, Ten Reasons Why has gone through being originally hosted on Blogger’s blogspot.com way back in 2000, to being managed via Blogger but FTP’ed to an account on my at-the-time dial-up ISP Mindspring, to being hosted on tenreasonswhy.com through several different versions of Movable Type. And apparently, I wasn’t really very diligent about making sure the permalink approach was consistent among all of those changes.

A good number of the old posts in this blog have permalink URLs that, while based on the title of the entry, have been truncated in some fashion. For example, in some past version or configuration of Movable Type, the permalink URL for an entry titled “Wireless Saves The Day” became . . .

http://www.tenreasonswhy.com/weblog/archives/2003/12/wireless_saves.html

. . . but in WordPress that URL uses the full title, thus is:

http://www.tenreasonswhy.com/weblog/2003/12/wireless-saves-the-day/

. . . which is a fine and attractive URL, but finding a regular expression that will magically add those missing words is, well, impossible. Given only “wireless_saves.html” as the incoming location there’s no way to reconstruct “wireless-saves-the-day” out of that.

So, as a workaround, all of the old Movable Type permalinks (which are all distinguished by the “archives/” directory) now point to the monthly archive instead of to the individual entry. Therefore, the old MT permalink . . .

http://www.tenreasonswhy.com/weblog/archives/2003/12/wireless_saves.html

. . . will now automagically redirect to the archive page for the appropriate month here in WordPress-land:

http://www.tenreasonswhy.com/weblog/2003/12/

For the most part, that shouldn’t be a major problem for actual users, since, except for a few years between 2003 and 2006, when I was really active, few months have more than a handful of posts. It’s going to hork up my referrer stats, but you don’t really care about that, do you? :-)

And, in any event, that’s plenty of thinking about regex for a sunny spring afternoon. Off to the outdoors!

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Feeds Are Working

April 5th, 2009

Feeds appear to be working now. Permalinks for old posts . . . not yet. :-/

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Up and Running Again

April 5th, 2009

So that migration between web hosts took a bit longer than expected, but turns out the issue was PEBKAC — I had to flip a switch in the new host to get it to use the new domain name servers.

Things are up and running again, though you’re probably not aware of it because I’m pretty sure no one actually comes to this web site directly anymore. Anyone who might be reading is probably reading via the RSS feed . . . but that’s probably not working. See, I’ve migrated this weblog from Movable Type 3.something-or-other to WordPress 2.7.1, and in the process have managed to munge all the URLs.

WordPress handles URLs differently than Movable Type, and I haven’t figured out (yet) how to rewrite the old Movable Type-style URLs to point to the new WordPress-style URLs.

On top of that, WordPress apparently doesn’t like the way that Movable Type did paragraph breaks, so all of the paragraphs in old posts are all mushed together. I’m hoping I can correct that with some CSS hackery and that I don’t have to try any SQL manipulation of the data.  Me writing SQL statements: not pretty.

Anybody with awe-inspiring Movable-Type-to-Wordpress migration skills, feel free to get in touch.

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Life-Changing iPod/iPhone Tip

November 7th, 2008

In his Tangled Up In White post, John Gruber of Daring Fireball writes about the “green” revisions to the most recent batch of Apple headphones that serendipitously make them slightly more tangle free. I had to purchase a new set of headphones in September when my original iPhone headphones went from functional to complete disintegration in a period of about 72 hours. When those things fail, they fail. I probably should have done my research and bought some uber-headphones for a couple hundred bucks, but instead I dropped into the AT&T store a block from the office and got a pair of the new Apple headphones (the ones that shipped with the iPhone 3G). I can attest to Gruber’s estimation that they are more “rubbery” than “plasticky,” but that’s not really the point of this post.
The point of this post is whether your headphones are rubbery or plasticky should be irrelevant to the effectiveness of keeping them untangled, because you should be following the One True Way Of Headphone Wrapping. Wrapi-do in Japanese, I believe. Also affectionately known as The Devil Horn Method. All snark aside (momentarily at least), this little hack really has kept my buds tangle-free for years now.
Here’s how it works: Pretend you’re at a Def Leppard concert and make the devil horns with your left hand. (Don’t pretend you don’t know what I mean — middle and ring fingers bent and held down by the thumb, index and pinky extended.) Tuck the buds underneath the middle and ring fingers to secure them and use your devil horns as posts around which to loop the cord. (Some people advocate a figure-eight wrap, but I find a simple loop works fine.) Leave a couple inches of cord at the end. Slide the loop off the devil horns, and wrap the remaining cord around the middle of the loops, creating a little bundle. Thread the plug end through the loop opposite the buds and give it a gentle pull to tighten the bundle. This little package now fits neatly in your pocket, is almost entirely tangle proof, and unravels with ease.
There’s no video of true wrapi-do, but here are two that come close. This dude has the right idea, but he has clearly never attended a Def Leppard concert:

On the other hand (haha, get it?), this fellow has nearly perfected the devil horn methodology, although the flailing thumb concern me a bit.
The figure-eight wrap is acceptable, if a bit ostentatious, but he goes off track with that whack tuck move at the end, instead of threading the plug through the loop appropriately. That’s just wrong. You’ll never get to nationals with form like that, bub.
UPDATE: Daring Fireball linked here and also to a perfect example of wrapi-do. This is dead on:

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Voted.

November 4th, 2008

I was quite impressed with the voter turnout today. This is my sixth year voting in this precinct — and second presidential election, which, in DC, is the only time you see any significant voter turnout since we don’t have Congressional representives/senators who can vote.
Kudos go out to the poll workers at my precinct, who kept the line moving swiftly.

Line for the polling location

Line for the polling location,
originally uploaded by True_Gritt.


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Definitive Answers to Questions That Really Should Have Died a Long, Long Time Ago

April 29th, 2004

I hereby declare these topics dead and/or resolved. They will not be written about anymore. By me, at least. I’m sure some other joker will continue to harange their readers with these moot points.
What’s the definition of a weblog? “A collection of discrete, dated entries that are organized sequentially in time and published to the World Wide Web.” From here. There. Done. Finished. Finito. Moving on.
Are blogs journalism? Idiotic question. Blogs are a medium, journalism is a practice. It’s like asking whether folded paper is journalism or videotape is journalism. The media of the form doesn’t make itself journalism; what someone does with the form makes it journalism.
Do blogs make education better? No. Good teachers (and good parents and good peers and, occasionally, the odd good administrator) make education better. Good teachers might use blogs as a tool to make education better, but they might use an egg carton, a meadow, the Library of Congress, or any number of other things as well (or even more effectively). Bad teachers with blogs (or egg cartons) don’t suddenly become good teachers.
Atom vs. RSS. Really, no one (except a handful of developers) cares.

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More from Syllabus

July 7th, 2003
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Site Re-Launch

April 6th, 2003
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: This site has been re-launched at a new domain.
Set your bookmarks to:

I’ll be working on getting the archives ported to the new weblog (powered by Movable Type, not Blogger).

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I’m back!

April 4th, 2003
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Hello folks. Don’t know if anybody still checks this site occasionally or is still subscribed to the RSS feed, but I’m about to re-launch this weblog in a new and improved version.
After a six month hiatus “to get a life” I have succeeded (to a certain extent) in doing so — getting a life, that is. Doing so gives me a little time and headspace to get back into this game we call weblogs.
More information to come, hopefully later this weekend or early next week.

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Hiatus:

October 18th, 2002
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In case it actually matters to anyone, I’m taking a break from blogging to get a life. May return in the future.

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