Archive for July, 2008


Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

OK, another web publishing platform. Only this one seems to offer a more comprehensive tool set over that offered by WordPress. This is bad, and good. WordPress does one thing–blog publishing–and does it well. Joomla promises to be a complete content management system. Like a dustpan into which I can collect all the flotsam and jetsam from around my site and …throw it away? Preferably not, but to erect it all into a charming and inviting structure. This presents several of those broad questions which are so massive in their scope that they are easily (and often) ignored.

* What am I trying to do?
* Why am I trying to do it?
* How will I do it?

What am I trying to do? Well, I guess I want to present my writing, most of it old journal writing in the form of archives. And to create an attractive (to me) method to encourage me to produce new writing more often. And in both cases–the journal archives first, then the new writing later–to have it all presented in a cogent, consistent, easily navigable site.

So, why do this? Apart from my fascination with the ‘how’ of it all (that comes later), I can only come up with reasons why NOT to do this at all. Let’s face it, we all have secrets, or things we maintain as secrets even though they may in fact be known to many others. Maybe they are not published facts, but certainly they are not secret as in ‘known only to me.’ Suffice it to say that truth-telling can get to be very messy and very unpleasant. And that (truth-telling) rings some bells from long ago, from when I first felt the urge to write, publicly.

Back then I chose to use essentially my real name as my ID in all things Internet. My motivation was linked rather obscurely with my reasons for having always avoided television. Something feels similar between them. Checking out of reality, and inviting others to brainwash me (which is TV), seems related to checking out of my identity, and inviting you to think I am someone else. Intuitively, both felt like traps.

The diversion of television and the subversion of identity are both ways of hiding. I think that is where originated my desire to do truth-telling, to write candidly about my feelings, about my relationship to the world, and to combat my very powerful urge to hide. This truth-telling ended up as writing on the internet because the Internet for me is the primary alternative to television, and because the Internet is massively lingua-scopic–it sucks up content in the form of words like the dry desert absorbs water. While the Internet absorbs much more non-text content now, I believe the Internet began as primarily test-based, and in 1999 text (along with a few pictures) is what I provided, and it is still what I am most comfortable producing. So that skims the ‘why’ of my website.

Trying to answer the question of how threatens to take me into an unending labyrinth of possibilities from which I might never extricate myself. Indeed, I have spent most of my time since the beginning of my website lost in these possibilities, trying one set of tools, then switching to another, and another, tweaking and customizing inconsistently all along the way. And that process is precisely what led me to try Joomla. Which in turn, led me back to ask the original questions which have lain unanswered at the entrance to the labyrinth. What? Why? and, How?

One of the answers to ‘how?’ must provide a pleasing way of integrating WordPress into Joomla. I rather like WordPress, and while I am not averse to junking it entirely for something better (or something just more fun and interesting), I have just recently succeeded–after many months of trying–in upgrading to its latest version. While that experience alone might compel some to abandon WordPress, I should confess here that that torturous process was not all WP’s fault. I frankly gave up after a while. Yes, their upgrade process was not as polished a year ago as it is today, and my skills then were slightly less than they are now. But, in its current incarnation, WordPress 2.6 has lots of cool stuff I have not yet fully explored.

More labyrinthine diversion, you say? Maybe. But unfortunate or not, labyrinthine diversion seems to be the upgrade path along which my creativity has chosen to lead me.

Besides that, WordPress has custody of almost everything I have written since 2001, and if the only reason for keeping WordPress was just to avoid transposing all that old content, that would be enough.

It’s time

Friday, July 25th, 2008

Lunch. Now or never.

IE nonsense

Friday, July 25th, 2008

I discovered that my code rendered disastrously in Internet Explorer. So much for standards compliance. IE requires some obscure workarounds in page code, and probably some secret incantations known only by the chosen initiates of the master serpent corporation MS, Inc.

Having gotten things back to workable in Firefox–after royally screwing things up trying to get MSIE to work–I have now also gotten MSIE to render at least readably for the moment. The sidebars are not where they belong, but they are not in the way anymore either.

Now it is time for bed, cuz I got to get up early to meet Shay for lunch (early means before 2PM).

queer formatting

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

This is what the page should look like. Since upgrading, a lot of weird things have been happening, like CSS formats failing, text disappearing, images not showing up. All of it is, I am sure, my fault. But if I always did it wrong before and it worked, then I am slightly resentful when I continue to do it wrong, and it suddenly stops working.

For those (if anyone at all reads this) who are familiar with WordPress, the theme I am using is old, tweaked up the ying yang, and should be commended for having endured so well all the machete-like plastic surgery I’ve done on it. As soon as I get it to work flawlessly with WP 2.6, I will replace it with a new ‘up-to-date’ theme which will introduce a whole new set of vanishing elements and queer formatting.

There is no such thing as ‘well enough’, and if there was, it should never be left alone.

That was painless

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

Well, I upgraded to WordPress 2.6. No disasters or nothing. In fact it took longer to read about upgrading than it took to actually do it. And i have backups galore! But it’s nice not to need them.

Now I must decide what to do about my theme. Of course I’ll have to upgrade that too…

But not now. I’m eating and trying to break out of the cocoon of depression in which I have encapsulated myself these last two days. Midnight is not too late to go grocery shopping, is it?

WordPress upfail

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

It seems I tried to update WordPress about a year ago. June 2007 was my last post. Since WordPress version 2.2 was released on Tuesday, May 15, 2007, that was probably the version I tried to upgrade to.

It failed.

It failed with the notorious Post-upgrade-you-haven’t-installed-WP trap. It goes like this, though it has been so long, I can’t remember precise details: I upgraded WordPress, according to a careful reading of the upgrade instructions. This involves obliterating the former installation (which I must have backed up since 1.5.2 is what I am using now). After everything is overwritten, except a couple specific things that have to be held aside and then copied back, I browse to upgrade.php, which implies a process, but then cutely reveals that the process is all done, telling you happily that it is really only one step. With what I now know is morose irony, the upgrade program provides the link to login.php behind the hypertext ‘Have fun!’ Clicking there, I was led to the dreaded “It doesn’t look like you’ve installed WP yet. Try running install.php.”

Have fun.

With no other alternative even remotely accessible, I do as told and click on install.php. What feeble hope I have left is then completely drowned with the output, “You appear to have already installed WordPress. To reinstall please clear your old database tables first.”

Having lots of fun.

That was a year and a month ago. I searched high and low for a solution, many days in a row at first and then as discouragement set in, less often. And I attempted every conceivable variation of the recieved wisdom, that all the database tables needed to be ‘dropped’ in order to recover from my failed upgrade. That would have eliminated eight years of accumulated blog posts. They would of course continue to exist in the db.sql file which I had saved, but there they were as inaccessible to me as if they had all been deleted because I could now no longer get into that database with WP 1.5.2, since the attempted upgrade had altered some crucial part of the database. And every fresh installation of WP 2.2 required an empty database.

Could I have imported the wp_posts table from 1.5.2 into whatever the equivalent would be in 2.2? If so what is the equivalent? But then what about comments? And if any of these were possible, why was there no suggestion of such a remedy anywhere?

I gave up for a year. Even though my blog writing had only been in fits and starts, I kinda continued it using flat html files. And as tedious as that method was, it was still less infuriating than wasting time trying to fix the WordPress 2.2 upfailure.

Today, after several months to forget the trauma of abruptly losing my WordPress blog, I took another look. I searched the same pages on and googled others eslewhere. Somewhere I read something that led me to try something different. I ’emptied’, not ‘dropped’, the wp_users table. Then I retraced the upgrade.php, to ‘Have fun!’, to ‘try install.php’ sequence again, and lo!, at install.php I was prompted for user settings. And finally I was directed to the long sought after login.php.

I don’t know how to make a long story short, as you may have guessed. But if I ever attempt to upgrade from WordPress 1.5.2 again, I will not do it by the recommended upgrade path. I will probably get a completely seperate WordPress installation up and running without touching this current installation. Then I will export all my posts from 1.5.2 and import them all into 2.whatever.

Hello world!

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!