Tech Frustrations

I'm sitting here in pieces, and you're having delusions of grandeur!I hate it when I become dependent on a piece of technology and its creator decides to stop updating it. I feel kind of lost and directionless. I have been frustrated trying to find methods of keeping up with replies to comments I leave on blogs without subscribing to a bunch of comment RSS feeds that will clog up my feed reader. So as a result, I feel like I have just dropped out of the conversations I start. I used coComment‘s Firefox extension. It was great. Every time someone replied to a comment thread in which I had left a comment, the little coComment button turned orange. New comments! I could easily go check them and see if any of the replies were to me, and I could continue the discussion if they were. After Firefox 4.0 came out, coComment was broken. It’s been like that since March, and despite several comments in their help forums, no one representing coComment has said whether they intend to update the extension or let it die. And I can’t find an alternative. You know of one? If so, please, please tell me about it. Some folks allow you to subscribe to replies via email, but not everyone has that feature enabled on their blogs.

Another frustration: I used to use a WordPress plugin called Apture to add links to all kinds of content. I could click on a button in my post editor, and I could search for information on the Web using a variety of search engines and easily link to books on Amazon or Wikipedia articles. I thought it was great because it made writing posts a snap. Then Apture decided not enough people were using the plugin, and they pulled it. It didn’t even work if you already had it installed. I was not alone in my frustration on this one, but it looks like the folks at Apture felt that what users liked most was the Apture Highlights, which allow readers to highlight text and search right from your page without leaving it. Well, I don’t care because I can always open a new tab rather than leave a site. What I liked was the ability to easily create posts that had links to relevant material. I found a great Amazon plugin called WordPress Amazon Associate that enables me to easily link to books and other items for sale at Amazon the same way that Apture did, but there is not another plugin that does everything Apture did.

I think a lot of Delicious users had a similar panic attack when it was announced that Yahoo intended to “sunset” Delicious. After Chad Hurley and Steve Chen acquired Delicious, users had a reprieve from losing a social bookmarking service they loved (I had moved on to Diigo and cross-posted links at Delicious so that anyone subscribing to my Delicious bookmarks would still receive them).

It is anyone’s prerogative to take their toys and go home, I guess, but I just find it frustrating when I really enjoyed playing with those toys and can’t find any like them to have for my own. I also don’t know how to build them myself—which is a fixable problem, but a one that will not be fixed without a whole lot of work.

Creative Commons License photo credit: pinkpurse

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New Features

When I remembered today that WordPress 2.7 enabled threaded comments, I decided to try to implement them here on this blog. While enabled threaded comments within the content management system involved only checking a box, I realized my theme didn’t support threaded comments. I tried to follow instructions for modifying my theme that I found online, but I messed it up somehow, so I checked out Cutline’s Web site (that’s the name of the theme I use), and lo and behold, they had created an updated version with support for threaded comments. I updated the theme. Now you can reply to commenters as well as to me, and it will be perhaps a little more clear who is being addressed in comments.

I also added some sharing and saving capability. On the bottom of each post, you’ll see a new button with a few familiar icons: the share icon (or at least it’s used by Shareaholic, the Firefox add-on), Delicious, and Facebook. If you mouse over that button, you’ll discover lots of ways to share and/or save the post. Just about every kind of social bookmarking, networking, and note-taking service is included. You can also e-mail the post or bookmark it directly in your browser. I removed the Feedburner FeedFlare, which enabled sharing by e-mail, Delicious, and Facebook, from each post. Essentially the new sharing/saving feature does much more in the way of allowing for users to save and share content that I decided it wasn’t needed. If you care, the plugin I used to create this button is called Add to Any.

The new theme handles a few tiny details differently. For instance, there is now a frame around images inside posts. I kind of like it, so I left it there. If there is some element of functionality you miss that I’ve forgotten to implement again after the upgrade, please let me know.

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Site Troubles

Thanks to the wonderful Ms. Place of one of my favorite blogs, Jane Austen’s World, I discovered that a plugin (WP Super Cache) I installed was wreaking havoc on my site.  The problem is that I ignored one of Donncha’s directives — that fancy permalinks are a requirement for the plugin — so it’s my own fault; however, as I don’t really need the plugin (as far as I know, I’ve never had my site submitted to /. , Digg, or Reddit), I decided to just disable and delete.  I wasn’t able to reproduce one error reported — that permalinks and archives were redirecting to the index page — and I suspect that is because I was logged in and was not seeing a Super Cached page.  I think Ms. Place was seeing a Super Cached page that served up that error with permalinks (my fault for not listening to Donncha) because I don’t think she has commented here before, or at any rate, she has not commented regularly.  In addition, my RSS feeds were broken, or at least were not updating properly, and when I left test comments, I was unable to see the published comment. I also use some plugins that Donncha explicitly said don’t play nicely with WP Super Cache, so what I have learned is to listen to Donncha!

If you are so inclined, I would appreciate it very much if you could test to see if you are having problems with any of the permalinks or archives, RSS feeds updating in your feed reader (if you subscribe), and commenting.  Keep in mind comments are moderated based on the Spam Karma plugin.  Your karma has to reach a certain level before they post automatically — some of you all are already there.

I apologize for the inconvenience.  Also, those of you who follow me on my Feedburner feed, I am going to stop sending you my del.icio.us links now that I have an RSS feed for them in the sidebar.  I hope this won’t be an inconvenience — it is possible to subscribe to my del.icio.us feed if you find them useful.  I’m going to attempt to redirect my other feeds to my Feedburner feed — crossing my fingers that I don’t break my site.  Again.

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Subscribing

Update: You can now subscribe to receive posts via e-mail, but if you were previously subscribed, you will have to resubscribe using this new service.



Powered by FeedBlitz

I am sorry, but I am going to have to discontinue the option of subscribing to new posts via e-mail. Unfortunately, this plugin was causing 500 errors in my database, which those of you who are not technically inclined probably don’t care about.  It looks as though the plugin requires a larger sleep time between queries than my host will allow, or at least that’s my suspicion, and because it isn’t feasible for me to change hosts right now, I will have to disable the plugin, which means if you subscribed to receive e-mails whenever I write a new post, you will no longer receive those e-mails.  However, I would like to invite you to discover the joy that is RSS, if you haven’t already.  If you click on my Subscribe link at the top, you will be able to subscribe to my RSS feed via your favorite feed reader.  I suggest Google Reader, but I liked Bloglines well enough before I switched.  In addition, you can get updates via MyYahoo or iGoogle.

Once again, I apologize for the inconvenience, and thanks for reading my blog.

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WordPress 2.3

I have just upgraded to WordPress 2.3, and I am maily posting to check it out. I had to disable the feature that used to appear in my sidebar called “Most Popular Posts.” It was generated with a plugin called “Popularity Contest” that is broken for 2.3, and although the author has stated previously that it will no longer be supported, it looks like Alex plans to fix it, but it may be some time.

So far, I like some of the features. For instance, I receive notifications when plugins are updated right through my user interface, so I don’t have to check every once in a while to see if new versions are available. I also like the new implementation of tags. I am going to try to figure out how to import my SimpleTagsPlus tags so I don’t have to keep that plugin.

You can learn more about WordPress 2.3 at the development blog.

Update, 9:36: I’m having trouble getting the tagging to work. Hopefully, I can figure it out tomorrow.

Update, 8:29 on September 26: Well, I still can’t get it to work, so until the theme is either updated to integrate tags or someone is able to help me figure it out, I’m going to stick with SimpleTagsPlus. I am quickly becoming frustrating trying to guess where the line of code I’m supposed to add goes and which templates it goes in. Using the tagging feature saves me eleven keystrokes, so maybe it’s not worth the aggravation.

[tags]plugins, upgrade, wordpress[/tags]

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