Goodbye MovableType, hello WordPress

Finally I’ve got around to updating my blog from MovableType to WordPress.

Steves original movable type blog
How the old blog looked

If you’re looking at this today (and maybe for another month.. or year) you’ll see the template is still the default WordPress template. Eventually I’ll update it but for now at least the content from all the old posts is still visible.

The move has come about because of a number of reasons:

1) Spam. There was too much comment spam. Most didn’t get past the spam filter but every attempted post was a load on the server. At times the server was overloaded by spammers trying to post.  The anti-spam features stopped almost all of them but it was annoying me.  I say this knowing there’s probably even more spammers trying to break WordPress….

2) Server Migration.  The old server is being retired.  My web host gandi.net has introduced a new service where instead of having a fully managed ‘virtual private server’ (VPS) they run a ‘platform’ they call ‘simplehost’.  Simple host has a number of advantages

  • It has a built in web cache for performance
  • They keep all the software up to date (PHP, Mysql, etc)
  • It costs less than their VPS (less than half for roughly equivalent performance)
  • It scales easier than a VPS (in the unlikely event one of my posts becomes popular I can up the power for a short time to handle it and lower it once the world moves on)

It has a number of disadvantages

  • I don’t get full control. Limited control of PHP settings, limited Cron options, no Perl, no Ruby, no Nginx.  It’s just plain LAMP (Linux Apache Mysql PHP)
  • Each vhost can only have one domain pointed to it. Although I’ve got the WordPress Network working by using symbolic links and actually this might make my spread of domains and subdomains being used somewhat neater (I have lots of vanity domains pointed here, steveroot.co.uk/com/sroot.eu).
  • I only get one login (so where I used to host a few friends and gave them SSH access to upload their files, I can’t do that any more because they could access all the sites and accidentally break something. Note that only applies for those that need to upload things, where they login through a web interface like with WordPress I can still host that for them, or they can send me the files they want uploaded like my sister in Australia does.).

3) If I put my blog on the simplehost service I no longer have Perl which is the software MovableType runs on.  Wordpress uses just PHP so that’s another motivator to switch

4) A lot of friends are using WordPress for different things.  I’ve had to use it for a couple of community/charity projects I’ve been involved with so I thought I might as well learn how to use it full. I actually had it running on the old server too but just as an experiment a year or so ago.

Which is best?  I honestly don’t find much difference between them so far.  Although any code alterations I want to do should be easier in wordpress (I’ve coded PHP in the past but never Perl) I found there was always an open plugin that did the job and that’s been good enough for me.  After all, I’m just typing rubbish for my own benefit anyway 🙂

Next post – some notes on the migration method.

My name (root) – most dangerous word in computing?

I haven’t posted for a while, I know. I’ve been busy doing other things is all. Some of which you may hear about soon, others only if I get around to posting about it.

One thing I have done recently is set up an http://about.me page. For most people, that’s a very easy thing to do. If the name you want hasn’t been taken you’re good to go. For me, picking the name sroot turned out to be quite a challenge!

I’ve always had problems with my name and computing. On unix and linux, ‘root’ is the name of the super user. ‘root’ is god. ‘root’ can access anything, do anything, delete anything. When a server gets hacked, the last bit you want hackers to get access too is the ‘root’ account. Many services often prevent anyone registering the name root. Many prevent people registering anything that contains the string ‘root’. I first remember noticing this when I tried to get a hotmail account. ‘steveroot’ and ‘rootskitchens’ were simply not allowed.

When I tried to sign up for an about.me page, I figured the failures being displayed were because of my name. I like the about.me site, so I persevered. I emailed their support and they helped! It turns out the name was blocked by the AOL namespace. I don’t really know what that means, but I guess their usernames connect with AOL services in some ways and my name failed to be accepted. What’s most impressive, is that for this FREE service, they actually took the time to find a solution. I genuinely expected to be told, ‘you can’t have a name that contains root, try using a nickname, or maybe remove the last letter like steveroo’.

Having had them go to so much effort just for little old me, I hope my about me page http://about.me/sroot does them justice.

By the way, I’ll keep that page up to date with things like my twitter name, social media spaces and any other big projects I may be working on.

5 and a bit years of blogging… just

So I may have been quieter than usual over the summer, but the blog still goes on. What visitors are reading though has changed since last year when this post gave the top 4 posts. Now they are:

1. Useful Windows Shortcut key to show Desktop is still number – This was written for XP but the shortcut works in Vista too.
2. Margins and Markups – what the difference is and how to calculate them.
3. Red mushroom with white spots – a photo I took while walking
4. BBC iPlayer and it’s built in Kontiki software – though I must make a new entry about this, as the iPlayer has moved on since 2 years ago. We’re now watching iplayer via our Ninendo Wii! Nicola used it to watch Gavin and Stacey for the first time to see the kitchen I designed (it’s the maple one, in the house set in Essex).
5. Welcome to the Christmas Party season – a review of our 2007 works christmas party.