Still a bit broken

I’ve been faffing about with the templates here for a few days and I’ve nearly got it sorted out.

The thing is, I really shouldn’t have started messing with the templates in the first place. I thought I’d try out some of the other default styles from within Movable Types rather excellent style switcher – StyleCatcher. Unfortunately, my old version 3 templates didn’t particularly like the new templating system and when I tried to go back to my old style it’s had disappeared from the list.

Having subsequently tried copying things around from my server and failing miserably to get it working properly, I decided to just pack the old style in and start afresh. This caused me even more issues when I started to “refresh” the templates from within Movable Type’s dashboard. I managed to break my archives by not really knowing what the hell I was doing. Let’s face it, instructions are for the weak and it just makes it more interesting if you blunder around like a clueless pillock.

I eventually figured that out (I had to set the archiving back up from scratch) and have stuck with this default minimalist design for the time being.

Some things aren’t working yet. At the moment some of my widgets aren’t showing, so you can’t see the category list or the monthly archives. I’m sure that there’s a fix for this in pipeline as I finally had to resort to reading the Movable Type support forums where I learned that there was a bug regarding the widgets not showing properly.

No doubt I’ll be making some more changes shortly that will break it even more. I like a challenge.

Broken template

As per my previous post, here is another example of my inept attempts at making things better. I was looking through the various styles available for Movable Type 4 and seem to have overwritten my old template.

This one will have to do for the time being. I’ll find some time later to either fix the old one or make this one a bit nicer. Or maybe break it some more. Whichever.

Funky things to do with Ubuntu

I’ve recently developed an urge to repeatedly break the operating system on my home PC. It’s not that I want to break it, it’s just that my incessant tinkering usually results in me having to either reinstall my graphics card driver or carry out some serious back-peddling to undo my disastrous attempts at “improving” my desktop.

I use Ubuntu Feisty as my operating system of choice. This means that I can do all sorts of horrible things to the source code of my box without really having to know what I’m doing. Over the last few years as a Linux user I’ve learned a dangerous amount of information about Linux – just enough to make me interested in tinkering with it but not really enough to get me out of the mess I inevitably make.

I’d managed to get a rather lovely set of desktop eye candy going in Ubuntu in the previous version – Edgy Eft. Beryl provided me with some great-looking tools and was actually a very useful package. I wanted this to work again when I upgraded Ubuntu to Feisty Fox.

The upgrade killed Beryl but as Feisty included Compiz (Beryl had forked from Compiz and re-merged since) within it’s build I figured I’d give that a go instead. Unfortunately, I’ve since been unable to correctly install Compiz, or rather Compiz-fusion, it’s more advanced cousin.

There are a number of reasons for this, but ultimately it boils down to one thing – my previous tinkering. I’ve installed some kernel headers that are interfering with all my attempts to install a more up-to-date nVidia driver. Whenever I change from the old legacy version I’ve installed it crashes X and I have to reinstall the old version again. I’ve been struggling for a few days with this and I’ve only got myself to blame!

So, when I get home from work this afternoon I’m going to strip out as much unwanted and unneeded software as I can so that I can get this new nVidia driver installed. I really, really want to get Compiz-fusion installed because I want to be able to create some lovely transparent terminals on my desktop.

I’ll probably break it even more in the process and as my DVD drive is bust (replacement in the post) I can’t even reinstall from scratch at the moment.

Here goes nothing…

Goose poo!

Bloody geese!

I’m lucky, in that the place where I work backs onto a rather attractive nature reserve. It’s fantastic for walks at lunchtime, or even for the occasional three mile run on an evening. There are all sorts of birds to see and it’s a great little place to spend an hour or so.

However, it presents us with a little problem every now and again. Canada Geese. These generally unwanted visitors seem to love the nature reserve. There are loads of the buggers, and they just love eating the grass on our business park. The just love to saunter about the carparks and grassy areas making a nuisance of themselves.

They’ve excelled themselves over the bank holiday weekend though. While everyone else has been away sunning themselves during a rare, sunny long weekend, these bloody geese have been indulging in a little mine-laying. When I arrived at work this morning I discovered an immense quantity of goose-provided pavement parcels. In three days those sodding Canadians have covered us in Goose Poo.

Bastards.

It doesn’t help that I’m mildly coprophobic. I hate poo in all its forms. I don’t want to see it or smell it, and I definitely don’t want to stand in it. Just thinking about it is making my palms sweat.

Let’s hope that site services get out some goose poo clearing gear before I head off and strangle every goose I can find.

Blog update update

I’ve figured out what was causing the broken images in my blog backend. I thought that I’d correctly copied the image files across to my host, but it appears that I didn’t. Or perhaps something else happened, because I’m positive that I chose binary mode rather than ASCII for those.

Anyway, I re-uploaded the site images and they’re now showing correctly.

There are some flash bits in there but I have no idea what they do. At the moment all I can see is a white rectangle where some information is supposed to appear. Nothing happens, but I’m sure I’m missing out on something exciting and essential so I suppose I’d better figure that out. I’m lazy though, so we’ll see.

I’m getting some pretty persistent spam attempts still and most of them are getting blocked. However, they’re getting wise to some of the protection steps and changing lots of things around in their fake posts in order to get through. I’ve had to block all entries that link to either Geocities or Tripod. These are both website communities from back in the history of the internet and I don’t think that anyone has an active website over there anymore, so I doubt I’ll be blocking any real posts by adding those two into my filters.

I do intend to blog more in the coming weeks. It’s easy to get out of the habit but I’ve enjoyed blogging over the years and will continue to do so, no matter if anyone ever reads these entries or not!

Movable Type 4

Well, I went for it. I decided to plunge into upgrade mode and download the new version of Movable Type.

So far I’m quite impressed. I’m not sure that there are any huge improvements, but they’ve changed the back-end interface completely and it’s rather nice. The upgrade went well enough, although the database conversion took a while. I don’t seem to have broken anything important, which is a definite positive in my book!

I do seem to have caused some of the Javascript-controlled images in the backend to not work. No doubt I’ve either copied some js files into the wrong place or I’ve neglected to change some permissions on something. I’ll have a look in a bit.

I’ve not tried much of the new functionality just yet either, but so far it looks nice and stable and it didn’t break my template.

I’m still not tempted to switch to WordPress. I’m not a huge fan of the backend of that, as good a product as it is. Plus I’ve read that the templating is even harder than Movable Type.

They found me again

I moved the blog over to a new directory a few months ago. I did this for a few reasons, but mainly because I felt that I wasn’t really blogging that much anymore and that I’d be better off putting a Pixelpost blog in the root of the site to showcase some of my photography.

Well, since then I’ve not really added many photographs and I’ve hardly blogged here at all.

However, there was one boon to my relevant inactivity and site move. The spam stopped, or at the very worse calmed down to a trickle. I hardly got any spam comments and trackbacks any longer. This was down to two things – the fact that my comment and trackback scripts moved and that I was no longer pinging some of these blog update sites.

This was great! While it lasted at least. Unfortunately the buggers have found me again. I made one post a few weeks ago and the spam started up at full throttle. It’s all a waste of effort on their part as it almost all ends up junked, even with only the default Movable Type spam protection enabled. The few bits that scrape through I catch immediately and junk them myself.

This means that if my junk filters provide a genuine commenter with a false positive spam result then I may miss that comment in amongst all the genuine spam offering herbal remedies and preteen snowmen (I was surprised by the latter too!).

I’ll be updating Movable Type to the new version four soon, once I get the time, so we’ll see if there are any improved spam tools in that. I know I can manually configure the comment and trackback scripts to be called something else, but I’m lazy and so far the junk filters are doing their bit.