antanova

MOVED: My blog is now at http://antanova.com/blog

Moving from Blogger to hosted Wordpress

I’m moving my blog from Blogger to my own site, using Wordpress. During the move, both my Blogger blog and this one will look pretty average, because I’ll be using basic themes for both. When I’ve settled in to this new Wordpressiness, I’ll theme it up and I’m planning to use Wordpress to drive my whole site.

One problem I have had already was in importing my Blogger posts and comments to this site. Wordpress comes with an “import” function that supposedly imports from a lot of different blogging engines and CMSes, but I found that it didn’t work for me.

What I tried to do was import directly from my Blogger account, but Wordpress kept getting stuck showing one post and one comment imported, although those posts never actually made it to Wordpress. So, after reading a couple of posts on the Wordpress support forums, I signed up for a Wordpress.com account. Then, using the import tool on that account, I successfully imported everything from Blogger. With me so far?

Next, I used the “export” tool from that Wordpress account, exporting a Wordpress XML file with everything in it. It was this I tried to import to my this site. I say “tried”, because that didn’t work either. There was a problem with the permissions on my server forbidding Wordpress from creating the folder where the XML file would be stored.

A bit of Googling later, and I saw that this is a known WP bug. The temporary fix was to CHMOD the uploads folder to 777 - meaning that anyone has read, write and execute permissions in that folder. Right, so that done, at last I successfully imported all my posts and comments, not forgetting to reset the permissions on the upload folder.

And here we are.

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Jason posted this on Sunday, November 16, 2008 at 2:29 pm.
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Code bits: PHP date year box script

Creating a warranty registration form for the proud owners of a new LCD panel should have been a very straightforward job. Well, actually it was, but that sort of interrupts the flow of this post a bit, so I’ll skim over that inconvenient fact.

For the ‘date of purchase’ field, I simply added the day and months items as <select> form controls. Then I got to the ‘year’ box, and realised that soon we’ll be leaving 2008 behind like a piece of temporal rubbish, and embracing the glistening newborn that will be 2009. I know the client wouldn’t really appreciate having to come back to me a month after his site goes live just so I can add a new year to the form, so I decided on the only sensible course of action a quality web designer like me could take, and made a super-simple php script to write the year into the form.

Here’s the php function:

function writePurchaseYear()
{
    $currentDate = getDate();
    $currentYear = $currentDate['year'];
    $startYear = 2008;
    $output = "<option value=\"2008\">2008</option>\n";

    if($currentYear - $startYear > 0)
    {
        for($i = $currentYear; $i >= $startYear; $i--)
        {
            $output = $output . "<output value=\"$i\">$i</option>\n";
        }
    }
    echo $output;
}

So, put that somewhere on the page that’s going to use it, and then, where you need the actual form control to be on the page, you need to put:

<select name="purchaseyear" id="purchaseyear">
    <option selected>----</option>
    <?php writePurchaseYear();?>             
</select>

So there you have it. HTH, and all that.

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Jason posted this on Thursday, November 13, 2008 at 3:44 pm.
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Off-topic: A perfect pen for left-handers

While hardly anything to do with web development, I thought I’d post this for the despairing left-handers out there. I’d almost given up on finding a writing tool that I liked the feel of and that didn’t cover the bottom edge (little finger side) of my left hand with grey. The Internet came to the rescue, as ever. I found a few recommendations for pens that dry quickly, including the highly rated Pilot G2 gel pen.

I’d tried gel pens before, but had never been that pleased with them. Whether it was the sometimes scratchy feel of the nib on the paper compared to a biro, or the way that the ink often simply stopped coming for a few letters, I don’t know.

Encouragingly, even though there were few mentions of it online, the Uni-Ball Jetstream seemed to be the answer for a left-hander. So I gave it a try. It’s great! Now I can take notes at meetings without coming out looking like I’ve changed the toner on all their printers. The texture’s good, too. The only catch is the price. They’re a lot more expensive than your bog-standard Bic, but worth it.

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Jason posted this on Friday, October 31, 2008 at 9:34 am.
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IE6 bullet aligned to bottom of list-item (LI)

I just thought I’d jot this down for posterity as I’ve seen it before but not often enough for me to remember the solution. Posting this should help that, though.

When using LI in IE6, if the LI has hasLayout activated, then the corresponding bullet will be aligned to the bottom of the item instead of the top. Why the devs writing IE6 thought that this would be useful I don’t know. Or perhaps, it’s a bug? The shock of it all.

The solution is to target the LI and to disable hasLayout. The method I used today was this:

li {zoom:0;}

This directly countermands the zoom:1; I had added to other elements to get the page to hang together in IE6.

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Jason posted this on Thursday, September 18, 2008 at 1:43 pm.
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Google Chrome

As you will of course be aware, Google has released its new browser, Chrome. I’ve tried it out briefly, and everything seems hunky-dory. I think I’ll use it to access Google’s own apps. As for day-to-day browsing, I think I’ll stick with Firefox. After all, can I really trust Google not to harvest data relating to my web browsing? I don’t think so. Also, there’s no No Script available for it, without which it’s a bit difficult to block Google Analytics.

On the plus side, another browser is a good thing. It gives people another choice other than the dreadful Internet Explorers. Yes, and I mean IE7, too. Chrome uses the Webkit rendering engine, so there shouldn’t be any real surprises in rendering.

Let’s hope this comes out of beta soon, along with IE8 and we can start using some CSS3. How I long for that day.

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Jason posted this on Thursday, September 04, 2008 at 7:46 pm.
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ScreenEdit Sessions

Well, that was a nice break. I’m sorry that I’ve been so long in between posts again, but hey - I’ve seen the stats and let’s face it it’s not going to make a massive difference to the server loads at Blogger, is it?

You’ll be ecstatically happy to hear that since I last posted I’ve been on holiday to Portugal to see my best friend getting spliced to his most excellent girlfriend. It was grand to see them do that, and even better that I got to be the best man without having to give a speech! I did get one ready last-minute, but there was no call for it, so in my pocket it stays. Shame, it was bloody brilliant.

Last night I went to the ScreenEdit’s Sessions event. It was a good event: I caught up a bit with somem people I haven’t seen in a while, drank some free beer, and saw a couple of good talks.

The first was by two Mark and Tim from AllofUs. They went through some example of the work that that agency does and told us about the time they spent in Seattle working at Microsoft’s HQ as part of MS’s Artist in Residence programme. The second talk was by Brendan Dawes of mN. I’ve seen him speak once before, at Adobe Live last year, as you may have read on this blog. He was brilliant again: he’s just got that certain charisma that you need to get the crowd on-side with you.

Brendan talked mainly about some of his personal projects and showed some of his early work for club 18–30. It was shit. Thankfully he’s improved somewhat, and talked us through some of the experiments he went through to get to his Cinema Redux prints. These are where he processes a film and converts it into artwork. A couple of them are exhibited in MoMA in New York. I was very impressed with that, but also slightly scratching my head. I always do that when I see project of this nature. It’s not something that is totally inaccessible: for example, you don’t need to be a fine artist or sculptor. The whole thing hinges on the idea, that’s the key, not the execution. The reason I’m scratching my head is because I haven’t had that idea and wonder what might be if I ever had that inspiration. Would I actually follow it through and do something about it, or would I just file it? Anyway, Brendan inspired as he did last time I saw him talk, so I think I should go and see him talk once a month, just to keep that energy going.

A successful night, then, it seems for ScreenEdit. If they have more events like this, I will definitely go. I suggest you do, to.

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Jason posted this on Friday, July 11, 2008 at 12:18 pm.
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Ace service

I of course spend a lot of my time on a computer of one description or another, banging away at the keys, clicking and moving the mouse, and generally giving my wrists and fingers hell. This has proven to be an issue recently. I’ve started having pains across the back of my hands and in my wrists. Nothing major, but it’s a sign of potential problems to come.

I started thinking about why this was occurring. I have worked on computers for many years, and nothing of this type has happened before. I haven’t changed position even: I work at the same desk that I have for a long time. That could be part of the problem.

I did notice though that the left button on my mouse had started to resist more than before. I had to press harder to click. Even the slightest change in the force needed to click the left mouse button is enough to notice, because clicking the left button is something I do thousands of times a day.

I got in touch with Logitech, the makers of my mouse. They were absolutely amazing. It turns out that my mouse has a five year warranty on it, and so they would send out a replacement mouse for me. My old mouse was an MX500, and their suggested replacement was a G5 laser mouse. So, after a little exchange where I sent them a photo of my old mouse, they posted me out a new one.

Now THAT’s customer service for you. Next post: A new keyboard.

Jason posted this on Tuesday, May 06, 2008 at 2:43 pm.
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