Ghost: Just a Blogging Platform

Ghost: Just a Blogging Platform flip.it/mntlx
Almost exactly what I want, for a diary backup thingy.

It is the simple, clean look that attracts me, almost something like I’ve got for this blog.

Well I’ve picked a theme for W…

Well I’ve picked a theme for WordPress, ideal for my current posting ‘method’. Pinboard.


WordPress woes

Resolved, or worked around at least.

Dented WordPress

Odd problem occurred that has had me scratching my head for the last couple of days, I’ve got this WordPress install running fine, but an identical install on the same shared host would not let me upload anything into it. Ok I’m only testing on the other site, but I’d like to concentrate on using WordPress as I’m impressed with the way it has been developed, so this was a big problem.
Google was not much help with anything on the current 2.7 version, but essentially it was a permissions/owner problem on the upload directory, and setting things to not upload to a year/month/day folder hierarchy worked. It was correctly creating the directories, but would not create the files, and now it is just going to dump everything into one big directory, which is not ideal for my intended use.
Strangely on this blog it works perfectly with the default Y:M:D folder structure with exactly the same folder ownership setup. I know there must be more to this than one simple setting workaround, as it is not a perfect solution, and I have noticed that both installs do not let me change to any other posting structure than the default, again I’d prefer to have things in a date order, rather than an obscure format, but I can live without it.

I could dig deeper, but right now this blog working perfectly is good enough, and the other site can be evaluated a little further. I should return to sorting it at a later date, but I guess if it works then leave it alone.


A final piece in the puzzle?

I’d like to think that along with Pocket Informant I’ve reached the end of my quest to finally tie up mobile tasks and calendering. The cynical side of me says that is not going to be the case, and I’ve a feeling I’m at the whim of Apple, Google and a few developers. It is a Holy Grail that has never quite been reached, thought it has been very close on occasion.
My guess is that because the iPhone is such a handy device that tasks and calenders don’t really need to be anywhere else, you pick up the device and they are there. With PI this is quicker than launching iCal, so even at the desk they are there. I also think that the fewer points of data change the better, so at work instead of using the Toodledo gadget, I just pick up the iPhone, and at home I’m pretty much doing the same. I does make me think why have I gone through all the cr@p to get here, but the cr@p has given my some important plusses along the way as well as proper syncing.

At work I’m an Outlook user, and I have to say that this, along with Exchange, is Microsoft’s finest piece of work, not because of the interface (it sucks), not because of it’s user friendlieness (there isn’t any), or because of it’s ease of setup (I’ve never setup an Exchange server, but do not hear good things), but because when it is setup, and it’s users are trained/informed, it is very good at what it is designed to do. Now my company can’t afford licences for all it’s staff, so imediatlyit is flawed in that environment, but where it is used it is exellent, my guess is that if there was an Outlook lite that linked to exchange MS would have a killer. I also believe that the real pinacle of this technology is actually Entourage, and I know it is not fully compatible through Exchange to Outlook. To me any user on Mac or Windows could do no better than having Entourage on their desktop because along with the rest of MS Office for Mac it is really ‘Rather Good ™’. This said, this week I had a nightmare trying to open a .wps file, from MS Works, on a Mac. Quite simply it would not open anywhere, Textedit, Pages, Open Office or MS Word on the Mac. I eventually managed to open it enough to extract the text, but you could forget any form of format, it was literally just text, inter-spaced with code. This is not how it is supposed to be, let alone between two products from the same manufacturer, but right now don’t get me even thinking of Open Document or other interoperability products, while very important to the future of computing they are way, way outside my field of experience or mindset right now.

For me MS could do no worse than taking the Mac Office product, simplifying the Word/Excel sections and making this work for all platforms as a cheap/free/bundled with Windows product that replaced Works/Outlook Express (Mail) and Windows Calendar as a usefull all in one PIM, for everyone. While I don’t dislike the Open Office product we are still waiting for them to produce anything like Outlook, instead they seem to be concentrating on making a Word/Excel wannabe,where the real killer app has got to be ‘less’ features on the Writer/Calc side, but a lot stronger PIM side. Again with a little work, and a long hard look at Entourage/Mac Office or even Works, they should have a killer cross platform application that would suit ‘everyone’.

I guess I don’t even want to go there on trying to get that lot to sync together though!

My real point of this post is that though I’ve got an almost perfect PIM setup for myself now, I’ve still this feeling that I’d like to use Entourage on the desktop again (knowing the pain of setup would begin again!) and the time of year for hosting renewals is drawing close. My .Mac membership soon expires, and as this is key to making Macs and iPhone talk together at the moment I can’t see a better way than renewing my account. I have had two previous Exchange accounts, one was free offered by someone who was kind enough to open his own server for the benefit of the XDA-Developer community. That has long since ceased, but I paid, quite cheaply, for an account and had reasonable satisfaction with it’s use, though again on an XDA. I’d be interested in going down this route again, but I’m going to hold off this for a while, partly because of costs, but mainly because I’m actually quite happy with the mobile end of my setup for now. For the desktop I still regret that I’ve never had any success running Chronos SOHO Organizer, if it would work that did really offer everything I’d ever wanted.

Job done!

Wrestling with machines….

It did’nt take long, but I’ve decided that WordPress is offering me an ideal blogging platform, and the iPhone app is a little bit of brilliance too.

So with the post’s moved using the built in import tool I’ve made the anouncement on the Blogspot account that from now on I’m going to be on here, and away we go.

I’m looking forward to the new ‘space’, and the options it provides, though I think that I’ll be making gradual changes rather than all at once. A few plugins and configurations are on the cards, SMS and MMS are top of the list (let’s prepare for iPhone OS 3!), but there are a few more things I’d like to do in the very near future. One important task I do need to do is rationalise the catagories, and expand the tags, no mean feat with nearly 800 posts in the system!

Enjoy the ride, I’ve got a new suite of domesticated software to try out..


After 2 brilliant weeks away I come back to a simple job and find everything has gone haywire…

Why, I don’t know, but opening up Rapidweaver to update a website gives me a ‘Rapidblog Plugin Cannot Be Found’ error (Note, nothing has changed since I last opened this file a couple of days before my break). Ahhh, an easy fix I guessed, downloaded the latest version of the plugin, installed it, carried out the simple update I needed on the site, uploaded it and checked the site.
F***. PHP errors all over the place on the Rapidblog page.
Now the real problems began.
I can’t revert to an older version of anything via Timemachine as I had a disc problem before I went away and I’ve a new full backup going across at the moment, so I used a backup of the Rapidweaver file for content, and downloaded a previous version of the Rapidblog plugin. No go. Now I can’t get the Rapidblog plugin loaded at all. Testing on my own site caused the same error, causing the two sites I use with Rapidblog to break. I’ve disabled the blog part of the inital site, which would now be the thing that really, really needs to have it running, and because I have not published my own site via Rapidweaver of course it is not actually broken online!
This leaves me with a real head scratcher. Do I bring forward plans to move to WordPress, or spend hours trying to sort this thing out?
I have to say that moving to WordPress does scare me after having major problems years ago with a Mambo CMS install. If things go tits-up in that database am I ever going to be able to revert? Should I really still be attempting to be a sometime web developer, time never seems to be on my side with the few projects I’m still involved with? Right now just having a Blogger account (or maybe Facebook?) would seem the most sensible continuation for my personal stuff, but the other projects??
F***. Welcome home!

The simplest things…


Sometimes it is the simple things that you miss… and drives you nuts.

I’ve spent several hours over the last few days figuring out a problem that I’d got in two Rapidweaver built sites, namely the in-built contact page refused to work. It is a simple php mailer built into the package, but I noticed a problem on the basics of a new site I’m putting together. Nothing could get the mails sent to appear in my inbox, and testing on another Rapidweaver site also resulted in the same non-action.

I trawled Google looking for answers, and even went as far as roughly drafting a replacement option to the mailer page. Nothing showed up as obvious, though I knew that the older site did work recently. Almost at the point of giving up again I went back into my host settings and spotted the first obvious mistake.

I’d set up that mail host to reject all messages, unless they are to one of the five allowed addresses, and I’d not set the script to send to one of these addresses, so consequently, no mail. Changing the page to send to the correct address solved that.

The next one was not so obviously solved, but it was an equally stupid error. Mailbox quota full. I’d enabled webmail a couple of days ago, and checking it I find that the last message received is the ‘quota full’ message. Everything since was being trashed.

Easily sorted, but a basic error that was such a pain to find.

Hosting problems

Seems that when I moved my hosting providor a year ago things had gone a little pear-shaped, and the problems have only just come to light.

Thankfully because of the ease of use now available with hosting providors and Nominet, .co.uk domains can almost be ‘user administered’, so I have avoided a small scale disaster this time.

This is a far cry from just a couple of years ago when I had a problem with the transfer of a domain ownership. That time it was all emails and stone walling by a junior admin, though now I should be able to make one (much smaller) payment and have the domain owner changed almost instantly.

Sometimes progress is welcomed!

Posted by ShoZu

Cool Stacks hint

macosxhints.com – 10.5: Add a ‘recent things’ stack to the Dock

Wow. I love this from Mac OS hints.. Ran it right away.

You can add a Recent Applications stack to the Dock. To do so, open Terminal and type this command:
defaults write com.apple.dock persistent-others -array-add ‘{ “tile-data” = { “list-type” = 1; }; “tile-type” = “recents-tile”; }’

After that, type
killall Dock
to restart the Dock and see your new folder. The only thing is that I haven’t found a way to have it show as a fan, it only shows in tile view. But it is already a nice trick.
Once the stack is created, control-click on it to reveal a contextual menu that lets you pick between recent applications, documents, servers, volumes, and items. Note that I’ve edited this hint to reflect the method shown by 
 to the 

Shopping Cart

I finally got the shopping cart installed and operating on the 6880 site after months (years?) of promising to implement something.

I’ve spent the last few weeks waiting for a ‘RapidCart’ plugin to come out of closed beta, and finally it did. Called Payloom it is a simple to implement cart that links to a PayPal account. It is not a fully featured e-commerce plugin, there are other options to go along that route, but very useful where you have a few items for sale and don’t use/want any backend running on your site.
Another huge +plus is that for a one off payment (£12.40 at this moment) it under cuts any other competition to implement. There is of course the PayPal fees, but I guess whichever payment scheme you choose you’d have these same charges.
There are still a few tweaks and preens to do to get it to make a perfect fit into the site, and a few more items to add, but I now can go back to concentrating on adding back some more of the missing site content. I can’t recommend it enough, if you use Rapidweaver, and have a simple range of goods to sell.
Guess I need to find some items of my own to market just to get to use this some more…

Web Week

It’s been a busy and tough week. I’ve got the 6880 site up and running, after a small battle about the look/feel of the site.

I’ve stuck out for Rapidweaver, and I think I upset people when I tried to say the designs they wanted were not designs I could produce for a variety of reasons. I had to do some basic web design education to explain that all browsers don’t display content the same way, and that I can’t do Flash. I’ve had to reject a couple of ideas they came up with on the grounds of ‘naf’, and reject the idea an genuine qualified Artist came up with. A template from some sort of host company was shown to me, and it was very understated and elegant, perfect for hosting good photography, but the mockup that was posted back as an ideal for a this website was garish and impracticable, it only retained a couple of the elements from the original inspiration.

I’ve tried to explain that my idea for the site are based around content first, and that as mine is based on getting the content back, the site running, then it should be an easy switch in Rapidweaver to a more suitable theme at a later date. A couple of ideas were rejected, and I compromised on the colour scheme, and agreed to retain the basic logo, but then I found the Business Media theme pack on Realsoftware’s site. With a little CSS hacking, a quick Photoshop session and a lot of work I think I found a perfect template.

Now I just have to extract the blood from the stone and get the new content to flow back to me, whilst defending the constant critical niggles from people who have a very narrow view of the web.

I wouldn’t mind, but even though they are my ‘clients’ this is all costing me some of my hard earned cash, and a lot of my time to produce. 🙁

iWeb no more…

Something went horribly wrong with my plans for using iWeb.

Quite simply I got to look at the start on the 6880 site I’d made using Internet Explorer on another machine, and discovered it was totally horrible, despite my cross checking in different browsers on the Powerbook, and checking it from work using IE7. Font rendering was awful, and things just looked crap. I made a quick calculation that the bulk of the ‘readership’ would be using a similar setup, and went back to the drawing board.

I had a bit of opportunity to scout around again today, and have splashed a little cash on Rapidweaver. This little piece of software is really iWeb 2, though I hope that Apple can add a little more spit and polish when they finally do get around to unleashing iWeb as part of iLife 08, or whatever they will now call it.

It’s a shame, I had high hopes that iWeb could produce results, but yes I did gamble on the unreleased iWeb 2, and now that is still not available, I still need to get some product out. The 6880 site is back to where I was a few days ago, with templates set up, something I’d not really managed in iWeb, and a decision to drop WordPress and move everything back to my shared hosting.

Running my own web-server always felt like a good idea, but with the demise for the need to be running a groupware server it has become an indulgence that I don’t have the time, or inclination, to feed, so, on-top of a heavy workload I’m going to move all the WordPress posts over to this site, then follow with my iBlog stuff, and then the old Blogger posts.

Got to think of an easy way to do it to!

Wasted weekend.

web graphic

What a weekend. Immersed deep in installing and trying out CMS systems for my ‘client’, the 6880 project.

It was time that I should have spent playing catchup around home, but bad weather on both afternoons made me feel less guilty about not getting on with some of these tasks.

Its a pity that much of the time sat in front of the Powerbook was wasted.

My vision for the site would be to make it multi user, I don’t want to do the updates, I only need to maintain overall control, and a CMS system, or modified blogging platform, would prove ideal, however even though the current site has run on Mambo for a year and a half, there were problems with working with it which the switch of host has prompted me to address. In addition a constant nagging from the client that the site was too complicated has pushed me towards using a simpler system.

That should have been pretty much the breif. Find a simple to use, but proffesional looking CMS, or modified blogging platform, that I could install easily, provide a set of templates, then hand over to the ‘client’.

Not so. I spent 4 hours on Saturday installing, and attempting to configure WordPress, befor always ending up with a ‘file permission’ problem when trying to upload images. Googling for cures gave me a couple of options that did not work, but a general idea that there could be a problem with some of the later builds of WordPress. I tried installing in two seperate ways, one by using my host’s built in install from Plesk, and by doing a manual install of WordPress. Both methods gave me the same errors, though produced them in differing ways, neither of which could I reilably find a cure to the problem. I’d chosen WordPress as I’m very happy with it for this blog, and though it is self hosted, and God knows what permissions I’ve applied to things to get it to work, it offers a lot for a news driven site with very little modification to make it work as a CMS based site.

As Saturday into Sunday I had to go back to the drawing board in the quest, and spent another 4 hours trying to find a suitable alternative. Sadly I failed, things either failed to install, for crying out loud, I’m using standard shared hosting, or were simply ‘too geeky’ to hand over to a client without major work. I think I took a look at most of the options available, from Joomala (Mambo) to some simple flat HTML file driven sites, all of them failed to deliver something special with my initial poke at the workings. Don’t get me wrong, some offered excellent potential, but I need to start to re-publish this site fairly fast, and have a whole chunk of data to add back, the least time spent configuring this thing the better. It appears to boil down to my usual set of problems, things are to geeky, and almost exist for the sake of there own development, or they are too simple to use on a semi-pro level. Even firing up Dreamweaver leaves me wondering how complex this job may have to be, if you’ve spent the last 3 years relying on Mambo, iWeb, Blogger and WordPress then you realise how little HTML you really need to remember to get the most of these applications, so I had to go right back to the beginning and rethink what I need to accomplish, and the way forward.

I was a little surprised by my decision.

A WordPress post


I’m now officially an Internet hosting reseller, though at the moment I’ve no plans on doing much of the ‘reselling’.

The hosting account for two of the 6880 names has come up again, and because the event site, which I don’t currently manage, is giving the existing hosting space a beating (1995 design, 2007 media content, and growing.) I needed to reconsider my options.

Googling for options for hosting brought up some interesting choices, price/options/features as always varied wildly, but even with a ’suggestion’ from another key 6880 member, I stuck with an existing host who provided a great features/price comparison. They are the recently renamed Layershift who I’ve used for a couple of years as a testbed host for some ideas I kept on the backburner. They offered a great reseller plan that was more than enough for the 6880 group requirements, and while not the cheapest, they did offer a good total package. I’ve had a long and happy relationship with Virtualnames, the previous host for much of my web ‘work’, but they are no longer offering a package that fits my needs at the right price, so it has become time to say goodby, and move onto greener pastures. Taking a reseller option has given me the oportunity to move everything into the same place, and while costs were not the priority reason, they have become a very good side effect.

So in one fell swoop I have rationalised my costs and spread of hosting into one basket, and left over some capacity that is marketable into the bargain, whether I’m willing, or able, to take advantage of this is open to question, but I do see a lot of web work looming in the near future.

A WordPress post.

Crashed and Burned


After several days of fighting the DeskNow server, at times winning, and at times desperately losing, I finally admitted defeat an threw in the towel.

Whatever happened during the last round of updates has caused a big problem. Was it the Clam update, DeskNow admitted to a problem there, but it did not match my series of failures, or was it the DeskNow server itself? Although no-one else on the forums has reported anything like the problem I was getting, or was it just a plain old Windows update?

Continue reading



A weekend of fighting the machines, not just wrestling them. Started on Sat PM, logged into the groupware server and decided to attend to the waiting updates. Some from Windows, ClamWin and while I’m there may as well update the DeskNow server itself. Read all the blurb. Everything appears straight forward so the buttons are pushed and away we go on the rocky roller-coaster ride into the unknown.
I’m still ridin’ that train, piecing together backups of data trying to rebuild the DeskNow server.

I have the backups, but they are spread around a mixed Win/Lin/Mac/NAS network in various formats that don’t want to restore depending on when and where I’m trying to access them. It doesn’t help that the server itself is remotely managed by RDC on the end of a 10mbps line, with a wireless bridge, but it has taken me nearly 2 days just to put a workable backup set in place, and then not only work out why it failed, why it damaged the standard backup and how I’m going to reinstall the damn thing. Work is still ongoing to discover exactly what may be missing from the system, thankfully there is no longer much activity on the machine, but that is a whole other story and one of the reasons behind my decision to leave the admin side of the 6880 project.

The Mac has also been a place I have not enjoyed. It is one thing to have something needing to be rebuilt from backup, and another when you have to watch 2 hours is work dissolve before your eyes! Two huge iWeb updates gone with only the beach ball of death left to watch. I’ve never had a Mac day like it, at some point in the day every app I used froze.
I watched every single running app and process fail one by one, even ‘force quit’ failed to quit, and with several windows open, with several works in progress, it was annoying, and depressing to watch. I don’t think that on a Windows machine I would have had so much running at once, so could never have lost quite as much in a single session, still its no use crying over it, I was back in a session after a restart, and everything seems ok now. The worst damage, apart from the time factor, was having to reinstall Missing Sync to get it back working because some how, some part of the system had gone missing/corrupted and while everything on the Mac end worked, it would no longer sync.

iWeb & FTP


I’ve just updated the iWeb tips
with a work around for another of iWeb’s little idiosyncrasies (read: buy .mac) and built my first


action to speed up the process of iWeb publishing.


It seems that iWeb publishes to .Mac in a different way to a folder. When publishing to a folder the full site is changed, iWeb alters the time-stamp on all the files, and the result is that you have to upload the whole site every time you publish via FTP. Not good even if you only have a site like this with an iWeb content of less than 10mb, and a nightmare if it is media rich. If you use .Mac iWeb is tuned to only upload those file that have been added or changed, I guess this is another ploy to get you to buy, and use .Mac.

To get round this limitation I’ve followed a tip found on


that uses rsync to create a second folder which is used as the local side of the FTP transfer, but the success of this method does also depend on how your FTP client handles the transfer.


This is the basics of the problem/solution.

First you use this command to create a second folder with only the changed content.


rsync -rlpgovc Sites/mysite/ Sites/mysite_updated

The first time you run the command it will transfer all the files, and you will need to synchronize all the files with your webserver. When you make any changes in iWeb, run the command again and you will see it sync only the changed files to the _updated folder. Now you should find that your FTP client should only need to transfer the changed files when using the synchronize option.

Continue reading

iWeb Version 1.1

Launched, and in use.

New templates, easier publishing, search and photo tools.

Pity it is all geared to .Mac accounts. If they could give some consideration to users of ‘proper’ webspace, or realise that this could be a ‘proper’ web tool there would be a lot more happy punters out there I guess.

Still, the wish list of features has got a little shorter.

Online in Technicolor

More than just a blog?

All sites online and linked. Quicker than I thought.

One of the advantages to iWeb is drag an drop. I don’t need to add images to the iPhoto, then import them when I can create incidental images, drag and drop straight into the page and simply delete them.
One of the disadvantages is publication. Surely there must be a scrip or shortcut to sync the local folder with the ftp site! Even using the syncronise folder option in Cyberduck is not just doing a quick sync of the two folders. Does iWeb overwrite every file every time you publish to folder?


Ok, so it’s only local for now, and on .Mac, but nothing permanent yet. I’ll configure something to publish to some webspace soon, and I need to tie in the older blogs too.

I’ve no intention of subscribing to .Mac again, unless there is some amazing value added that it hasn’t got now, and sure, I realise that using web services is the way to go, but is it always the best way to go?

Google have just launched their free calendar service, I’ve just subscribed to 4smartphones, $3.99 per month Microsoft Exchange server. There are dozens of free ‘groupware’ services, I run my own server for the 6880 project, hosted from home at God knows what expense in time, money and effort. I’ve a blogger.com account, yet I’m using iWeb, and Michael Robertson is coming up with a new online service almost every other week. I’m not saying they are wrong, or bad, they aren’t, but it is horses for courses.
Some online services are excellent, some have a way to go. Most offer some of the features I want, but very few offer all the features I want. Many services are free, but to get the functionality I need you have to subscribe, and my money only goes so far.
It is all about matching what you need to what works best for you at that moment in time. I’m not saying that in the future I wont be using some, or all, of these services, it is just right now I need control of my data, and devices, and the best way to meet that need is to remain in total control by using my own machines, and specialist services that offer something that meets my needs exactly.

Web services are the next big thing. They have been the next big thing for years now, and I’m keenly interested in their progress, but they have a way to go yet. Watch this space.

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