June 21, 2004

Free Range Librarian Moves To New Nest

FRL HAS MOVED. (Second notice!) I beat a hasty retreat to http://freerangelibrarian.com.

I had been planning to do the neatnik librarian thing and only move after implementing a long list of tweaks, but the migration to MT 3.0 rendered MT Blacklist unusable, and I really wanted to move to comment registration. MT Blacklist is well-intended, but chasing after spam every day is annoying and labor-intensive. I was bombarded by comment spam this afternoon, and chose to make the move to the new site.

Come on over to http://freerangelibrarian.com! II'm trying to create a nice, tidy redirect (one of those neatnik tasks...), but feel free to forward this message to interested parties, and UPDATE YOUR FEED.

Posted by kgs at 11:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 06, 2004

The National Lobotomy

Has everyone forgotten that Ronald Reagan was the president who ignored AIDS throughout most of his administration? I am listen to encomium after encomium in disbelief. He's being remembered as charming, fatherly, courtly, and good-humored. Even BBC World News reporters gushed that "everyone" in America would be mourning Reagan.

Some of us are still mourning the many people who needlessly suffered agonizing deaths while Reagan pushed his anti-government, socially conservative agenda.

Posted by kgs at 07:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 05, 2004

Great Movable Type Support

They are probably weary of me by now, given that I am not exactly part of that high-end developers' community they need feedback from for 3.0, but Movable Type support folk have been terrific (and terrifically kind).

I finally "get" the templates (although I won't be doing too many tweaks without extensive tutorials or model templates from the likes of Elise), the tags make enough sense that I was able to replicate my favorite features and even implement a three-column style, and I now have comment registration working properly on the forthcoming new site for Free Range Librarian. (I'm not publishing the URL just yet, since I'm still tweaking the code, but if you think really, really hard, you can probably figure it out...)

I leapt into a 3.0 installation rather rashly, primarily because I feel the need to upgrade before I start the MFA program later this month (and plunge into a 2-year work/school abyss). Despite that, my blogs never actually broke, support staff were amazingly responsive, and three days later "I" (as in, I and the Movable Type support staff) have resolved all of the issues.

While I did make it through an upgrade, more or less, if I had to do it over again, I would save all of my templates, export the data, archive the existing MT installation (I actually did steps two and three), delete the existing MT installation, do a new install of 3.0, and recreate my blogs. I had to update the templates anyway, and my choices were to install new ones and add the edits, or fiddle with the old ones. (Procrastination awarded again: I've been foot-dragging about moving my main blog to its new domain, so I was able to blow away that blog and start over with all-fresh files I can tweak at relative leisure). Plus one of my problems had to do with several modules that I missed when uploading the files for MT 3.0. Had I simply taken a scorched-earth approach, and put up a barebones "watch this site" message, I could have had my existing blog up and working in at least a primitive fashion within an hour of getting MT installed.

I'm one of those folks who should not execute Perl commands without close adult supervision, I'm so low-end that I've been using the same 20 Unix commands since 1991, and yet I made it to the other side of 3.0. I'm sure it has its bugs, some of which will no doubt be made manifest the night before a major deadline for work or school, but I'm still rather pleased that I was able to get this far, and I owe that to excellent, patient tech support from MT (and a few good tip sheets from Elise, who is a treasure).

And among other nice features, I love, just love that comment registration!

Stay tuned for FRL's new, improved face.

Posted by kgs at 12:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 04, 2004

Comment Registration, Again

After several days of work with very patient Six Apart staff, they pinpointed something crucial: I hadn't modified the MT 3.0 default templates. They pointed me to some documentation I hadn't seen during purchase and registration. Ah hah! I immediately solved a problem with a test blog I had created (involving a DateTime module I hadn't uploaded) and am now deep, very deep into the documentation.

Posted by kgs at 05:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Amazon's Plogs

Did anyone else open Amazon this week to find they had a "Plog?" "Your Amazon.com Plog is a diary of events that will enhance your shopping experience, helping you discover products that have just been released, track changes to your orders, and many other things. Just like a blog, your Plog is sorted in reverse chronological order. When we think we have something interesting or important to tell you, we'll post it to your Plog."

My plog entries for that day were rather monotonous, as I had just ordered the same three books each for six staff. Amazon apparently thinks (not so far from the mark) that I might have difficulty remembering something I did yesterday, so it faithfully recreated this purchasing history, six times over.

It did make me wonder what the page would look like if I had ordered 100 books each for 600 staff, or if a user's Plog will unbeknownst to them show up on a public screen in, oh, say, a library.

Amazon included a page explaining blogging, and listing about a dozen blogs--might be nice to see a library blog on that list.

According to the pundits, "plog" stands variously for "product blog" or "project blog." Based on Amazon's use of the term, "plog" also stands for Ponderous Blog (my sister asked me, "what are these 'globs' you keep referring to?"). Of all the blogs I don't want to read, what I just did on Amazon is high up there. It's far too Crusoe for my tastes (Day 2,007: caught fish; cooked and ate). Not to mention if this were a family PC how my cover would be blown for holiday shopping (particularly how much holiday shopping is for me).

As Steve Oberg noted on Web4Lib, eagled-eyed Steve Cohen, our cub reporter in the blogging world, had mentioned plogs a couple of weeks ago. However, I may not be contextually grounded in the appropriate managerial perspective to appreciate the utility of perusing a plog within this development environment (to lift language from the management rag quoted in that post).

Posted by kgs at 09:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 03, 2004

ALA offers Wireless for ALA Council, Staff

Posted yesterday to the ALA Council list: "Following up on our discussions over the last several months, we have arranged for wireless internet connections in the Orange County Convention Center to be offered to the ALA Executive Board and Council during the ALA Annual Conference in Orlando." ALA is ponying up $4,000 for 200 logins, and I am not the first to suggest that if at future conferences, ALA offered it to all registrants at $20 or $30, we'd all save a pile of money over what we'd pay for wireless individually, and it could be a way to raise money.

In my dream, there's a "wireless at ALA" check-off on the conference registration page, noting that "a portion of this fee goes to ALA scholarships and awards," with a check-off list for designating where you want the donation to go. Your dream may vary.

If you too want wireless at ALA, send a message to feedback@ala.org and let them know! They need the input.

If you are a Councilor and are hoping I'll help you walk your way through this when we get there, I'm sad to say I'm missing ALA because it conflicts with the start of my second master's program. Go bug Jessamyn (though she won't be there til Monday) or ask questions now! Anyone for a Council Buddy List?

Posted by kgs at 10:47 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

MT Comment Registration Somewhat Funky

If you are commenting, or not commenting, or trying to comment (oh, go ahead, comment!), be warned that the comment registration feature seems way buggy. I put in a help ticket. I'm handling comments a little differently in the future--I eyeballed a posting from Liz Lawley talking about scripts that close comments after a period, and I think that's my route--so I'm not sweating bullets. I'll post any replies from Six Apart I get on this.

[Help Ticket Text]

I upgraded to 3.0, and it went surprisingly well, given that I'm exactly the sort of person who shouldn't be doing this. However, I'm a bit baffled by comment registration management issues.

I don't see any of the current approved commenters (many of whom are comment spam, unfortunately) listed in the Commenters area, including several I added last night to test the comment registration feature. When I list Comments, these users are "approved," and there is no way to ban them from there, either. When I see users listed in the Comments area that I want to ban, I can't ban them. I can approve them, or delete their posts, but I can't ban them.

I have comments set this way:

Accept Comments from Unregistered Visitors: UNchecked
Accept Comments from Registered Visitors: Checked
The typekey token is entered, autoapproval is NOT enabled, and e-mail addresses are NOT required.

I plan to manually disable comments tonight on nearly all of my older posts (I was using MT-Blacklist, which turned into a laborious cat-and-mouse game), so comment spam will be (temporarily) managed that way, and this is soemwhat moot. But I'm curious. Is this a general "developer edition" bugginess, or does this speak to something I did wrong in the upgrade process--a library not installed, etc...? (I had one external library I had overwritten, which I did fix from my old, carefully backed-up site.) Everything else seems, well, strangely easy and functional.

I do love the potential of this comment registration feature!

Posted by kgs at 10:09 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 02, 2004

Comment Registration Required for This Site

I've enabled comment registration for Free Range Librarian (and tested it to ensure it works). The first time you post a comment, it will be held until I approve it. After that, you can comment all you want, as long as you follow my posting guidelines. I will not keep your e-mail addresses; this is both for your privacy, and to ensure high trust for FRL readers. Not unlike "information you can trust."

Posted by kgs at 11:30 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Upgraded to MT 3.0!

Hey... I upgraded to Movable Type 3.0, in under an hour! (I just couldn't stand not knowing what it looked like.) Greetings, comment registration! Good-bye, Mr. Penis Ad! Hello, batch-process IP banning!

I haven't done anything with stylesheets... I'll get into that in a few days. Better get moving... once school starts 6-26 (and I already have homework!), I won't have any time for techno-hijinks.

Posted by kgs at 11:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Upgrade Universe

I'm in this maelstrom of migration and upgrade activity... moving the MPOW software to a new host, working with new people, planning new capabilities, cutting new contracts, etc. Plus it's the end of the fiscal year, meaning every single nickle must be spent, not more or less, by June 30 (or, in fiscalspeak, "encumbered"--I have to formally commit to spend it on something, and by early August, no less).

So this is a month of adroit last-minute decisions and purchases, flying paperwork, and intense discussions with long-term repercussions.

With all that going on, I keep sniffing and pawing the Movable Type 2.661 upgrade. It's not that much, I know, and I have really good supplemental directions written by a gent who also uses Dreamhost for hosting his site.

But I go back to Keegan's history of World War II, happy to retreat into the Battle of Britain. Grisly combat--my pink blanky for this month!

Posted by kgs at 09:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack