I can’t blog right now, which is ironic considering that’s exactly what I’m doing.

I think I have the cursed writer’s block, brought on by a general malaise about blogging in general, the quality of news reporting and the full-on futility of blogging for money.

  1. Blogging’s Changed. Everywhere you look these days, people are hoping to make money from their blogs. It used to be all about conversation, not the whole thing’s tainted with people trying to milk it for cash. I’m trying to reconcile making money from websites with starting interesting conversations about things I love.
  2. Quality Of Reporting. Some news outlets will print anything to avoid missing out on a story. Most news these days seems to be pure regurgitation. Watch a story appear on one site and slowly spread across other news sites throughout the day. It’s so boring. I’ve tried to do the re-reporting thing, but it just doesn’t work for me. Personally, I think it’s squeezing the will to write out of me.
  3. Blogging For Money. I used to religiously check AdSense and other earning stats, but I’m slowly weaning off that trend. Online earnings – unless it’s product related – are virtually worthless for the majority of bloggers. Partly to do with poor revenue streams, partly to do with the difficulty of gaining market and mindshare. The little guy just can’t get to prominence, no matter how good he/she is.

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Firefox LogoMozilla FireFox and Opera both have a nifty bookmarks feature which allows you to give a bookmark a shortcut, sort of like speed-dial for websites.

Here’s how it works: Browse to a website you visit often, say this one. Bookmark the site by either pressing CTRL+D or going to Bookmarks / Bookmark this page.

Once you’ve bookmarked the page, go to the Bookmarks menu and locate your new bookmark. Now, right-click on the bookmark and choose Properties. Under the usual title and URL fields, you’ll see a Keyword field. Type ‘gerard’ as your keyword (assuming you’re bookmarking my site!) and click OK.

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WordPress logoI’m throwing in the towel with Dreamhost. The downtime problems that started in the summer and seem to be intermittently reappearing have caused me to completely lose hope in DreamHost.

I signed up for a Media Temple Grid Server (affiliate link) account a few weeks back and have been gradually porting my blogs across one-by-one. With other people following suit, I thought I’d share my notes for moving a WordPress install over to Media Temple.

Naturally, this guide assumes that you have existing blogs on Dreamhost and a Grid Server account with Media Temple!Continue reading

Just upgraded to the latest and greatest version of Kubuntu Linux yesterday, the Dapper Drake edition. Such a smooth upgrade path – just modify your /etc/apt/sources.list file, replacing every instance of breezy with dapper (back the file up first, of course), then you simply run the following commands:

sudo aptitude update
sudo aptitude dist-upgrade

I left mine to download and upgrade overnight and the next morning I had a fresh install of Kubuntu Dapper! Easy. And everything was intact from before – NTFS partitions mounted, FireFox on latest version, etc.

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I’ve been working on a couple of projects recently where I’ve had to retain legacy databases and integrate them into new websites.

In order to do this without damaging the original tables, I find it useful to make a copy of the original database table and use that for the development work. Since I do all of my bespoke CMS development on hosted Microsoft SQL Server databases, I had to hunt down a quick method to copy an existing database table into a new one.

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WordPress logoWordPress‘ default theme (Kubrick) is great, but I’ve always had a problem with the title tags that the Kubrick theme generates. They could be so much more search engine friendly, don’t you think?

<title>
	<?php bloginfo('name'); ?> <?php if ( is_single() ) { ?> &raquo; Blog Archive <?php } ?> <?php wp_title(); ?>
</title>

This usually results in the title reading like Interweb World » Perfecting WordPress Title Tags, which is fine.

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Because I develop sites using both ASP.NET and PHP, I’m tied to a Windows setup for the foreseeable future. However, I’ve been doing more and more work recently with LAMP-type applications which normally require a working Linux server installation.

Although I currently dual-boot with Kubuntu (because KDE’s pretty), I don’t have the Linux know-how to set up and run Apache/MySQL/PHP. XAMPP is a fantastic alternative, because it runs a fully configured LAMP setup on a Windows machine.

I installed it today for the first time, and one warning is to switch off or disable your IIS installation, because Apache will conflict with IIS for use of Port 80, and FileZilla will also clash with IIS for access to FTP on Port 21.

Anyway, I was able to install WordPress into a local folder in a matter of minutes and set up a new database in MySQL just as quickly using the bundled phpMyAdmin.

Also, I was able to enable mod_rewrite for my WordPress blog by modifying httpd.conf (in XAMPP/apache/conf/) – look for the line that identifies the rewrite module and remove the # from the start of the line. Restart your apache server and you’re all set.

This looks like it could be a lot of fun! The biggest advantage is being able to test and develop sites on my own test server, rather than constantly FTPing to a remote site.