Thoughts on Migrating from TypePad to WordPress

Since 2003, this blog has been hosted by TypePad. They’ve provided excellent service – I have no complaints in that regard.

So, why did I decide to migrate from TypePad to WordPress?

Basically, the TypePad version of this blog had been put together (by me) using Advanced Templates and a bunch of hacks. It worked – but even I couldn’t figure out how to maintain it going forward.

So, I decided to migrate.

Over the last two years, I’ve launched several other blogs based on WordPress – and have become more familiar with the administrative aspects of WordPress. WordPress has just become more comfortable. That’s not to say it’s simple. WordPress is complicated – especially with respect to themes, plug-ins, etc. Be careful.

That said, while the posts export and import readily, there are many other issues – like image libraries that don’t export/import cleanly, category archives that have different permalink locations, and photo albums that simply don’t migrate. Not a pretty picture – but no surprise given the current state of the blogging art. Cruft. Crap.

I stopped using the TypePad photo albums a few years ago – when I became such a Flickr fan. But, there earlier links are still around, in the search engines, etc. Want to view my photos? Checkout my Flickr site!

Among other things, my migration initially screwed up the images displayed on another of my TypePad blogs. We’ve figured out a clever workaround for that – but it’s dependent on both the old and new sites being available. No way to cut the cord between the two without a lot more work. We’ll deal with that eventually.

Tonight, I spent time adding a bunch of redirects for the TypePad category archives – to their new locations on my new WordPress instance. This was just another giant hassle – but, with only about 30 categories, something I could get done without a lot of pain. Luckily, .htaccess provides a lot of power for redirection of URLs – but it’s still a giant PITA.

Tonight, I think we’ve got most of the conversion issues resolved. I’m watching the logs to see what URLs from searches aren’t resolving correctly – and may need to add a few more tweaks. Such is the life of the aging sysadmin…

Dealing with the Interwebs!

So, last night I rolled sjl.us over from TypePad – where we’d been since 2003 – to a hosted WordPress.org site. All in all, took about an hour to do the work – and then another couple waiting for the DNS change to propagate.

All of the old post content is now on this site – although almost all of the URLs have changed as a result of differences between TypePad and WordPress handling of permalinks. Unfortunately, the import/export process doesn’t support all of the images in my historical posts either – so we’ll be manually sorting through those over the holidays and trying make things presentable again. Such is the nature of things.

Hopefully, Google will begin making sense of this new site in relatively short order – although at the moment I’m frustrated with Google Webmaster Tools and an inability to force a refresh of the site’s robots.txt fiie. Apparently this only happens on a 24-hour cycle.

What happened to the “real-time web” anyway?!

[Update: I decided to change the permalink settings in WordPress to mimic the permalink format that TypePad used. So far, so good. Some of the archive and category pages aren’t mapping – but the individual post pages are now working nicely.]

Pardon Our Dust!

We’re in the midst of moving this blog to a new hosting service. Things may be messy around here for a few days! We hope to be back to normal soon enough! We know that many of the links from search engines were broken during the move – we’ll just wait for them to catch up! Meanwhile, to find something here, be sure to use the Search box in the right sidebar!

The Dropbox Phenomenon

DropboxLike many others, a while back I setup a free Dropbox account – what’s not to like about a free 2 GB of storage “in the cloud”?

On my Mac, Dropbox shows up as a folder in my Finder list of Places – it’s always right there. The Dropbox app starts automatically when I reboot – enabling all of this magic. The Dropbox apps on my iPhone and iPad enable me to easily access the Dropbox folder’s content – while I’m out and about.

On recent trips to both India and Ireland, I took full advantage of this mobile integration enabled by Dropbox. Before my flights, I dropped the key files of interest for my trips into folders in my Dropbox – and then accessed them ahead of time on my mobile devices, marking them as favorites (enabling local copies to be saved on the mobile device) and then read them while I was enroute. My laptop stayed stowed in the overhead compartment. A great use case! There are many others!

Somewhere along the way, I upgraded to the 50 GB option ($99/year) – as I quickly bumped up (amazingly) against the free 2 GB limit. Like many others, I’ve become a real advocate for Dropbox – it’s perfect at what it does. Elegant, simple, just works. Doesn’t get much better than that.

If you’re not yet using Dropbox, sign up here (and both of us will get even more storage in the cloud!). If you are using Dropbox, aren’t you also impressed?

Happy Birthday – Celebrating Nine Years of Blogging!

Turns out yesterday was the 9th birthday of this blog – with the earliest posts being made back on November 25, 2001. Next year, we’ll celebrate 10 years of personal blogging!

There actually were earlier posts – a quick look at the Wayback Machine shows an early page on October 19, 1998 – just a placeholder with no content! So the November 2001 date is really just a placeholder for the content I was able to bring across on to whatever platform I was using back then.

A page from August 1999 shows the actual beginnings of the blog – created back in those days using Microsoft FrontPage! So the true birthday was more likely back sometime in 1999 – but the cruft gets the way of actually seeing it!

A New Header Graphic Image

Once or twice a year, I change the header graphic image on my blog – to something new that I find fresher than the old image! Over the last couple of days, I’ve been playing with some new Photoshop plug-ins and learning how to use them on some older photos in my library.

Earlier this afternoon, I picked a shot of the Blue Angels over the Golden Gate Bridge from last November to play around with – and was pleased with the result. The original photo was shot with my Canon 5D Mark II shooting in RAW. The photo was tweaked using PhotoMatix Pro and then adjusted in PhotoShop CS4.

Hope you also enjoy it! You can see the complete history of my earlier header graphic images here. To view more of my photography, see my Flickr photostream here.

Some Musings on 2009

Looking back at my late December 2008 blog posts, I made a wish about simple and beautiful HDR photography becoming super simple – unfortunately, it hasn’t yet. I’ll restate what I said last year: “But it still feels like we’re living in a 1995 world when it comes to HDR photography.”

On the other hand, on this day last year I wrote about Walking with ChrisChris Gulker to be precise. In mid-2008, Chris, Lily and I began a twice weekly 1.5 mile walking regimen every Tuesday and Thursday morning when our mutual schedules permitted.

We had a great time continuing our twice-weekly walks throughout 2009 – solving the world’s primary technology and political problems along the way – and very much look forward to resuming them next week – on the first Tuesday in 2010!

Over Ten Years of Blogging

I was recently reading one of Anil Dash’s blog posts and noticed he was about to celebrate ten years of blogging.

That caused me to go back to the Internet Archive and see if I could find any history of when I first started blogging. It looks like I put up a basic home page sometime in late 1998 and then started a basic blog in June of 1999 – just over 10 years ago. It looks like we started our Scott’s Kitchen blog in November 2005 – just about four years ago.

Hard to believe it’s been that long. Time sure flies when you’re having fun!

WordCampSF 2009 – The WordPress Community

I attended WordCampSF 2009, the WordPress community gathering, in San Francisco today – and had a great time (pictures)! Held at the Rutter Conference Center at the new UCSF Mission Bay campus, this was a most impressive turnout of the WordPress community for an all-day session of talks about blogging, having fun and, yes, about all things WordPress. Eventually, the videos from today’s talks are to be available on WordPress.tv.

wcsf-smallbutton.pngI’ve been a long-time TypePad blogger and fan. This blog, my personal website, started out originally in FrontPage back in the 1998 timeframe then moved through Manila and Radio Userland to Typepad when it launched in 2003. Recently, at work, we launched a new blog – PaymentsViews.com – and decided to try using WordPress for the first time. Bringing up PaymentsViews was a great experience – thus my newfound interest in all things WordPress and in wanting to attend today’s conference! The $25 all-in conference price made it a no brainer to attend!

Continue reading “WordCampSF 2009 – The WordPress Community”

Added Slimbox2 to This Blog for Better Image Presentation

While sitting out on the back deck this gloriously beautiful Spring afternoon, I started looking at a new Mac backup utility named Persistance.  I noticed that its screen images had that nice feature where when you clicked on them a new window would open showing a larger image against a black background.  This effect has been around for some time – but seeing it again motivated me to add it to this blog – so I did.

I chose Slimbox2 by Christophe Beyls – the latest optimized version of the original Lightbox2 Javascript package by Lokesh Dhakar.<p>Installation consists of creating two new directories (css and js) and uploading a total of six files.  You then need to modify the head portion of your templates to include the Javascript and CSS files along with Jquery.  

Once those additions have been made to your templates, you can then start using Slimbox2 on your images – by including rel=”lightbox” in the reference tag.  You can see the effect in action by clicking on any of the three images included in this post from my photo/painting outing with Don Neff.

Here’s another example – using a thumbnail of Don which, when clicked on, opens up to the larger image. Pretty cool!

There – now I’ve documented the change so when I try to remember how to use it again I can find this post easily!