Domain

I recently recovered the .com version of my domain. I originally registered it, forgot about it and when it expired someone tried to squat on it for a paycheck. I guess they finally gave up. lol Bitches thought they could get blood out of a turnip! heehee

Anyway, I originally purchased it to use it as a photoblog. Now that I have it back I am doing just that. Let’s face it, I’m all over the web and it gets confusing at times to keep track of things. lol Not to mention, there are often a ton of pics I never post to social media. I either get distracted or am on the go and I just forget. How dare I deprive you of such things, right?

Of course, I also want to get cross posts of pics from the various social media sites in one location. Doing it manually of course isn’t an option. The goal is to automate the process as the tediousness quickly kills the desire. Most of my FB and Twitter posts come from Google+. Getting them to WordPress from there isn’t overly difficult except most plugins support all or nothing methods. Well, I just want the pics to go.

The easiest method so far is to push from Google+, even it is rather convoluted at times. And as you can see, I still have some holes.

Pic > Google+ > FB, Twitter, Tumblr (via friendsplus.me)

Pic > Tumblr > Photoblog (so indirectly I can push from Google+)

Pic > Instagram > Tumblr > Photobog

Pic > Foursquare (swarm) > ? > Photoblog

Pic > Twitter only > ? > Photoblog

Pic > FB only ? > ? > Photoblog

The only drawback so far is posts that get created from social media show up with no-name. It’s not the end of the world for a photo blog but I’d like to change that at some point. I’m sure there are work arounds for Twitter and FB only posts but I then I have to avoid infinity loops.

All that madness aside, and if you care, pop over to www.sfmoby.com and check it out. It is still on a basic template for now but it is up and running. I plan to merge more stuff in from my archives (if I can) as well as load a snazzier template. Some of the older pics might be a tad on the R-rated side but most are work safe. If you are a coworker reading this, you have been warned.

Filter

As previously mentioned, I’ve been doing some cleaning on the blog. As of today, I switched off my beloved SK2 junk comment filter. I’ve been threatening to do so for some time now. t hasn’t been supported in years but continued to chug along doing admirably at blocking unwanted comments.

Sadly, as WP has continues to grow and evolve it’s code the filter was becoming too much to manage. It would break as much as it fixed so I finally axed it.

I switched over to Akismet. If you find your comments aren’t getting thru, please email me or contact me via social media to advise. I’ll try to keep a good eye on it for a few weeks to make sure everything is functioning as planned.

More to come!

Tinker 2.0

Many of you have probably noticed I’ve been tinkering with the blog theme and formats a bit. As the push for integration becomes higher, newer better
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features become available to perform many of the functions I hack together thru various plug-ins from time to time. Normally, I wouldn’t blather on about it however some of the changes might affect registered users.

Subscriptions: I’m phasing out the old plug-in for a newer simpler one. You won’t notice much for existing subscriptions. However, if you notice you are no longer getting updates by email, you should resubscribe. Anytime you post a comment, click the option that applies. If you are itching to be proactive, you can follow the link on the email to unsubscribe. Then the next time you leave a new comment, simply click the appropriate check-box. This does not affect the existence of your user account.

Social log-ins: One of the open-id providers has ceased operations. Another provider allegedly picked up their user base but time will tell. I’m also switching to a new log-in module for social site IDs like FB, Twitter, Google, etc. Again, you’ll be presented with an option to log in anytime you try to leave a comment . I’ve phased out Yahoo as no one has used it, not even once. lol  Anyway, the option to log-in with social media from the registered user page is currently disabled until I have a chance to test how the two plug-ins work together. I’m assuming it is seamless but we know where that gets us…

Social Comments: If you reply or leave a comment regarding a post via Facebook or Twitter, it does get pulled into the blog. It doesn’t happen immediately so no need to email me. It runs as a cron-job on my server every so often. If you get notified your comment was labeled as junk, just email me and I’ll fix it.

Theme: I’ve removed the static mobile theme in favor of responsive theme that adapts to a mobile display automatically. I’m still searching for one I like best so the theme may change a few more times. The one I have now is OK but not quite a good fit. Suggestions are appreciated.

I’m also taking recommendations on a new junk filter. I’ve been using SK2 for years. I keep threatening to dump it but it’s been my favorite. It is no longer supported and sadly becoming less and less effective.

Captcha

Because I’m deleting upwards of 2-3 hundred fake user accounts every month now, I’ve installed a new hidden captcha plugin. You as the user should never see it. It doesn’t depend on the traditional method of captcha pictures to solve, which I detest with a passion.

Instead, it uses a rather interesting javascript output and cookie combo that effectively (for the moment) prevents most autobots from registering fake accounts. There are very few people who refuse to use javascript so I don’t forsee this as a problem. However, should you encounter errors, email me.

I also reviewed a lot of comments and feedback on the authors site. None were problems with it’s functionality so I feel comfortable it will not interfere with most of you.

Wish me luck! lol

Roles

No not the dirty kind. Get out of my gutter. After my snafu with the Intense Debate plugin, I got a request from a reader on how I managed junk comments on my blog. The WordPress plug-in community is wonderfully diverse and there is usually a plug-in for almost anything.

Because I leave my blog open to new users as a requirement for 3rd-party log-ins like FB, Twitter, Google, etc, I get tons of fake users meant to get around my comment filters. Their tricks rarely work but I still have to occasionally go thru and delete all the fake accounts.

The easiest way I’ve found is thru a plug-in called Role Manager that defines the user account groups built into WordPress as Roles.  Each user group/roles has a break out of all the capabilities any user in the group/role can perform. Reading, posting, editing, deleting, etc. I find it a much easier way to manage my user base.

Anyway, it has a nifty feature where you can duplicate a user group/role and give it your own name and capabilities. I duped my subscriber list of real readers into its own group. This leaves the default subscriber user group/role to fill up with the fake accounts. When I get ready to delete the junk, I do a quick perusal for real new users and move them to the correct group. I’m then free to delete the rest en-masse.

Simple and effective.

New

For those few of you who still visit my blog via the web vs RSS, mobile, etc, you should notice a (hopefully) unobtrusive first time visitor message right before the first post on the blog. As soon as you reload or revisit it should disappear. I hate popup windows so opted to make it show as easily as possible w/o interfering w/your visit.

It sets a small cookie1 showing you’ve been here before. For you security minded folks, I’ve examined the cookie and it only collects enough info to function.

As my site visits increase, I felt the need to post messages for new visitors. I’m just experimenting for now. This one seems the most stable and the least intrusive so I’m trying it out first.

  1. which you can delete anytime []

Pings v2.0

As I settle into my new digs, you should begin to notice “likes” from facebook showing up in the comments section. Imagine my surprise when they suddenly started showing up! I’m discovering several of my plug-in errors were caused by not by poor coding skills but my old host, 1and1.com.1 I can’t tell you how happy I am to be on a new host. If I’d know it would be this easy, I would have dumped 1and1 ages ago.

If anyone is interested, I’m now on lunarpages. My only beef so far is their tech support is only avail 24 hours by email. They do tech support by phone 7a to 7p. Not the end of the world but in this day and age you’d think it would be ubiquitous. Anyway, I’m now going back over a few of my old plug-ins to see if the original errors have been fixed.

In related news, I have like 10 or so posts backed up. lol It’s funny when I was holding off on posting due to the move, I wanted to blog about everything. heeheee Instead of dumping them on you all at once, I’ve scheduled them out every other day. Some I’ve already had to edit for relevance.

  1. Needless to say, I do NOT recommend anyone EVER using them. []

Comments

So I’m considering disabling my janrain plugin and switching to Intense Debate. I’m taking feedback from anyone who has used Intense Debate as an end user and/or on your own site.

This really only affects folks that log in via universal log-ins like Google, OpenID, Twitter, etc. Those of you who have your  own log-ins here, won’t be affected.1  The janrain plugin is easy to install but the back end setup takes more programming knowledge than I have to keep it running correctly. Plus, every time one of the big players update their api’s I end up having to start over with fixing it on my end. I don’t really have the time to screw with it. I like janrain because everything remains in-house, meaning all my comments are stored in my blog, not on someone else’s servers. This removes any problems with people not being able to comment if afore mentioned other servers go down.

There are a variety of comment management systems out there. I don’t like Disqus as I always have problems trying to use their platform from mobile devices. For whatever reason, the log-in mechanism never seems to go thru. Even worse, the comment box doesn’t seem to come thru as an actual box so I can’t activate the keyboard to type. Since about 70% of how I access blogs these days is thru mobile devices, I sure as hell ain’t planning to shoot myself in the foot. lol

Intense Debate seems to be very tightly integrated with WordPress. Instead of trying to hold all my comments, they sync with my WordPress installation. In simple terms, they keep comments added thru their platform on their servers but they also sync with my WordPress installation. In a nutshell, this means I get to keep my old and new comments. And, if I ever decide to ditch the platform I still keep all my comments. But wait, there’s more! I also don’t have to worry about mobile comments as my mobile plugin uses the WordPress built in comment system, which gets synced! I remember way back when I migrated from Blogger to WordPress, I lost all my comments. They didn’t have an import-comment function then and to do it manually was more headache than I wanted to research. Intense Debate also offers a variety of log-in options built into their platform. That means I don’t have to manage it on my own. You could still leave comments via your favorite universal long-in.

The only problem I can foresee is a user conflict if/when I switch over. Even when using universal log-ins, WordPress creates an internal user account on my blog tied to your email. I don’t know if a different platform like Intense Debate would understand if it’s the same user account or try to create a new one, which would generate a conflict. I sent Intense Debate an email asking how it would work since I couldn’t find anything in their FAQ or support pages.

Wish me luck!

  1. This means you still have access to all the “private” stuff I post from time to time. heehee []