MovableBlog: Archives: January 2003

A weblog about the Movable Type Publishing Platform and other geekery

January 30th, 2003

PluginData »

If you are a plugin developer, or otherwise code in Perl, you will understand the following post. (And you might be able to explain it to me, someone who barely has a handle on PHP.)

Ben Trott, from the MT-Dev mailing list: "We will be adding MT::PluginData to the main distribution in MT 2.6." If it means anything to you, here's, which is available for download at

There is also a MySQL schema, which Ben included in his message:

create table mt_plugindata (

plugindata_id integer not null auto_increment primary key,
plugindata_plugin varchar(50) not null,
plugindata_key varchar(255) not null,
plugindata_data mediumtext,
index (plugindata_plugin),
index (plugindata_key)


Here, maybe it'll make more sense for you if you read Ben's whole message.

Posted by Richard at 09:06 PM | Category: MT | TrackBacks (1) | Comments (0)

Saying Goodbye to Blogger »

How has Blogger changed your life?: "Today I say goodbye to Blogger and Blogger Pro. I've finally come to a decision. I've finally made the leap to Moveable Type. It's a strange sensation - knowing that I won't be seeing that comforting black, blue and red site each and every day."

Post your comments about how Blogger changed your life. Basically the same as Tom: through Blogger (in my initial stage of Blogging before switching to MT), I met a lot more friends (and enemies) than I thought I would.

[via Anil]

Posted by Richard at 05:30 PM | Category: MT | TrackBacks (0) | Comments (1)

Alma Mater Switches to Mutt »

Bastards. My alma mater decided to remove Pine and switch to Mutt as the Unix email client. I only found this out today, but evidently Pine was removed in November. At least they say why.

So looks like, even though I've used Pine for years, and use it at work, I must switch to Mutt for my alma mater's mail. (It don't really matter in the long run: my alma mater's account is only spam these days.) I did find a pro-Mutt comparison with Pine, and apparently there is a version of Mutt for Windows, which is cool, because Mutt has threading.

Posted by Richard at 02:42 PM | Category: Geekery | Comments (0)

Trackback NG »

The Next Generation of TrackBack: A Proposal: "In taking all of the recent discussion and experimentation with TrackBack and related interfaces, I thought it would be helpful to draft some suggestions for consideration for the next generation (NG) of the interface. This document and forum (more on that later) is meant to be a starting point to begin a productive discussion and further the constructive and valuable work being done thus far."

[via mt-dev]

Posted by Richard at 10:53 AM | Category: MT | TrackBacks (0) | Comments (0)

January 29th, 2003

Open Source Office Suite »

Wow. There's an open-source office suite la Microsoft Office. It's very cool, and even opens Microsoft Office files! Why did I just find out about this? There's even a version for Macs (well, kinda: you have to be running X11, but still). How cool is that?

Posted by Richard at 11:25 PM | Category: Geekery | Comments (0)

Two Interesting Plugins »

MTValidate and MTSpeling (get the pun?), although it does seem like there's more installation steps required than usual plugins.

[via webgraphics]

Posted by Richard at 08:41 PM | Category: MT | TrackBacks (0) | Comments (0)

January 28th, 2003

MT 2.6 Coming Soon »

It's right around the corner. Text Formatting and enhanced comments options look most interesting to me.

Posted by Richard at 03:54 PM | Category: MT | TrackBacks (0) | Comments (0)

January 27th, 2003

Quicklinks and RSS »

Photodude knows a good weblogging trend when he sees one, and the latest is having a sidebar of links to articles and websites with RSS feeds. This is a grand idea because a) it gives us an idea of the surf patterns of famous (as well as not-so-famous) bloggers; b) we as readers get cool links with short, pithy comments; and c) those recent converts to news aggregators (like myself) get RSS feeds to them.

Both bloggers mentioned in Photodude's post as well as Photodude himself use MT to post the links, or was it needless to point that out?

Posted by Richard at 10:15 PM | Category: XML | TrackBacks (0) | Comments (0)

January 26th, 2003

Switch to Linux (and Phoenix!) »

Everyone looks spiffy with a Tux: switch to Linux! "Linux gives us the power we need to crush those who oppose us!"

Phew! Looks like Phoenix development is merely behind schedule and not stopping.

Posted by Richard at 09:11 PM | Category: Geekery | Comments (0)

MT Bookmarklets in Safari »

I'm a PC boy, but secretly I yearn for a Mac.

Huh? Did I say that out loud? Oh, yeah, what I meant to say is, for those who use Safari, MT, and want to get bookmarklets to work, a response to a help request from Antipixel has solved your problem (at a cost: see the comment for details). [via webgraphics]

Posted by Richard at 06:43 PM | Category: MT | TrackBacks (0) | Comments (0)

January 25th, 2003

Future of MovableBLOG »

For a couple days now, I've strongly considered turning MovableBLOG into a weblog about geekery. Things that have been on my mind lately have been not merely Movable Type, but also stuff I should have been interested in a year ago—it isn't out of character for me to be about a year behind in terms of some technological developments: i.e. I don't yet have a DVD player!— include the Phoenix browser (and the Open Source movement in general), RSS syndication (see my last post), XML-RPC, Wiki and today, a very much half-assed (and very much failed) attempt to build PHP on my Linux installation. At the moment, because I don't really have a place to write about my geeky successes and failures, MovableBLOG seems like the logical place for it.

Since day one, I've been categorizing posts, but there hasn't been categorization on the public site. All of the old categories simply need to be renamed to fit into a new more general geeky weblog, which I'm thankful for. The purpose of a reconceptualized MovableBLOG would be to evangelize stuff that, granted, is already ably evangelized by others. It's just that, either my credentials as a geek now feel strong enough to have my name put to them, or that geekdom has finally, for me, been legitimized as a passion.

At this point I should say that I'm ambivalent about reconceptualizing it, for these reasons: a) it has a niche as a blog only about MT; b) this is by no means the only weblog that aches for my attention; and c) a full-time job beckoned me back into real-life, which, necessarily cuts down on time at my own computer. On the other hand, a blog about geekery would go a long way in proving my credentials as a computer nerd, which isn't easy when your degree is in Political Science. And everybody needs a passion or passions, and a geekery log would go a long way in furthering a passion for computers and technology that has been long-held. This weblog is also growing in terms of hit-count, with people visiting from all around the world. (Vancouver Webloggers, my highest-trafficked site, necessarily has a geographically-concentrated reader-base.)

I'm reserving a decision until I settle into my new job (which is technology-related) and figure out how much time can be devoted to other, more leisurely pursuits. Just thought you were better off being warned that I may start talking about non-MT related stuff here in the near future.

Posted by Richard at 11:31 PM | Category: This Site | TrackBacks (0) | Comments (1)

Extraneous SiteMeter Code »

If you're having problems eliminating the extra HTML comments info that SiteMeter code generates in Mozilla, use the following Javascript code, found in the source code of Vanishing DIV in Mozilla:

<script type="text/javascript">
var site="your-SiteMeter-site-ID";
var g_leavenoscript="true";
<script type="text/javascript" src="your-SiteMeter-counter-URL"></script>

Posted by Richard at 02:53 PM | Category: Geekery | Comments (1)

Google and Cleverness »

Is Googling O.K.? by Randy Cohen

Apparently it is.

Ian's Life Policies: what a neat idea. My life polices change too often to be codified like this, alas.

Wiki Getting Started FAQ: this is a clever idea as well.

Posted by Richard at 01:36 AM | Category: Geekery | Comments (0)

January 23rd, 2003

RSS and MovableBLOG »

During my research into RSS, I looked for (and found) a post on the pros & cons of including the full post in one's RSS feed. At the moment, the RSS feed for this site includes the full post instead of the excerpt, which is the current default. The feed currently linked on the sidebar—index.rdf—is RSS 1.0. There exists a RSS 2.0 feed as well, the template for which I got at Dive Into Mark (unless it's gone now...?).

I'm using Syndirella as my RSS aggregator at the moment. There is also a page on how to validate your RSS with Movable Type.

The tutorials I read today:

Posted by Richard at 02:10 PM | Category: XML | TrackBacks (0) | Comments (0)

January 22nd, 2003

Thoughts on a Plugin Manager »

A friend and I were discussing the level of computer knowledge one needed to install and customize MT, much less do some of the more advanced stuff (like using PHP and MT, hacking the MT code, etc.). We agreed that the level of skill required to add plugins to MT was slightly above that of the average MT user. (Of course, I recognize the risk of misunderestimating the average MT user base.) Basically we felt that beyond templates, the average user was flying blind when it came to hacks and plugins.

Well, perhaps no more. If plugins were a way for Ben and Mena to allow users (read: programmers) extend MT and (as I suspect) let them concentrate more on the backend and design of things rather than worry about tags, then the proposed plugin manager (see here and here for updates, and watch, as I will, the development at this site) will give users (read: ordinary bloggers) a user-friendly tool to manage plugins. The only thing I'm not so sure about is the centralized aspect of the 'official site' for plugins: maybe the official site would point to links to plugins not on the official site's server? Anyway, a minor quibble. As a recent convert to plugins, and since I still find installation difficult—it's always a pain, not being a Unix nerd (although I want to be, really!), to have to untar, unzip, and place plugins in the appropriate directories—I'm excited about a manager which will facilitate installation and use of plugins.

I wouldn't have known about the plugin manager if it hadn't been for my being on the mt-dev mailing list. Just so you know, I barely know what they're talking about half the time.

Posted by Richard at 08:50 PM | Category: MT | TrackBacks (0) | Comments (0)

January 20th, 2003

Mozillazine Converts to MT »

In the Movable Type Support forums, mxn reports that the weblogs hosted on Mozillazine have been converted to MT from Blogger. Here's the proof that the MT revolution continues.

Posted by Richard at 12:52 AM | Category: MT | TrackBacks (0) | Comments (0)

January 19th, 2003

MTEntry Plugin »

MTEntry Plugin: Now, if I understand this plugin correctly, this would allow one to have an entry be "sticky" at the top of a weblog, even though it was written before the posts below it. The ability to include a specific post somewhere in the templates has been something I've been looking for for a while.

Does this work for, say, Trackback pings as well? I'd like to be able to isolate the pings to Trackback ID 1, and have only those Trackbacks appear on the sidebar, rather than have all Trackbacks appear there.

Also at David Raynes' site is development of a LazyWeb-like add-on for MT. Looks promissing. I'd investigate further if it weren't so late (yes, the timestamp to this post is correct).

Posted by Richard at 04:34 AM | Category: MT | TrackBacks (0) | Comments (1)

Creative Commons »

Creative Commons: I know little about copyright, but I think this initiative is interesting and innovative as hell, and wish I produced content that could legitimately be described as original. If I had a camera, I'd be all over having a photo weblog, and would necessarily be all over trying to figure out which licence to use over at Creative Commons.

Posted by Richard at 02:18 AM | Category: Geekery | Comments (0)

January 17th, 2003

I'm Not a Lawyer »

Would you take legal advice from someone who says "I'm not a lawyer, but...".

Neither would I.

(This in regards to the Warchalking Legality FAQ. Which is in regards to FatPort locations in Vancouver. FatPort. The logo's cute, but the name ain't so hot.)

Posted by Richard at 01:25 AM | Category: Geekery | Comments (0)

January 15th, 2003

Graphical Dates »

Graphical Date Tutorial: It requires that you make little graphics for each month, and for each number from 1 to 31 inclusive (and graphics for the years: I've long suspected that Expiration Date does something similar to this).

[via What Do I Know]

Posted by Richard at 11:44 PM | Category: MT | TrackBacks (0) | Comments (0)

Kottke Sells Himself »

Webloggers and designers have a love/hate relationship with Jason Kottke: some consider him to be a good designer (I do as well, but I didn't find his Gawker creation very good-looking), but on his weblog he doesn't really talk about anything. That said, I do like it when he comes up with mockups for various things. I always wondered why he didn't have a public portfolio, but now he does. It looks great (as do his sites), but sideways scrolling? Whoa. That's pretty bad. Flaming logo bad.

There is also a resume.

Posted by Richard at 09:00 PM | Category: Geekery | Comments (0)

Internet Addiction »

Will the Internet Become a Significant Advertising Medium? by Rishad Tobaccowala and Robin D. Hafitz

Addiction isn't relevant. People like their favorite media. They usually have more than one favorite. But an addiction contest between the Internet and other media will lead to the triumph of television. Television is the cocaine, the heroin, the after-work cocktail, and the chocolate bonbon of media, all rolled into one. An average of 7 hours and 47 minutes a day.

I'm exactly the opposite. I watch about an hour of TV a day, at most. I'm on the Internet almost constantly. (I'm not saying this is a good thing.)

The Internet is my TV.

Posted by Richard at 03:45 PM | Category: Geekery | Comments (0)

January 14th, 2003

Bravo, Mark »

As if I needed another reason to like dive into mark, he posts about his switch back to HTML 4.01 while alluding to the 3rd book of The Hitch Hiker's Guide to To the Galaxy 'trilogy'. Bravo, I say.

Posted by Richard at 04:29 PM | Category: Geekery | Comments (0)

January 13th, 2003

Domain Maddness? »

O'Reilly Network: Domain Maddness!

Turns out I was wrong when talking to friends: not all of the words of the dictionary have been taken as domain names. I can't believe nobody's taken boycottism.

Posted by Richard at 04:20 PM | Category: Geekery | Comments (0)

Validation, Plugins »

Mark Pilgrim bemoans the diminishing returns of validating websites as well as the creeping obsolescence of tags and attributes he uses regularly. I've fought battles with the W3C validator, and quite a few times threw my hands in the air. I've come to rely on the MTRegex plugin to replace <u> tags with <span style="text-decoration: underline;"> (actually I use a CSS class, but you get the idea) to validate a site of mine into XHTML 1.1, and place <p> tags within <blockquote> tags when writing a post in MT and then I use the FormatBreaks plugin to make sure the proper breaks are inserted around <div> and <blockquote< tags. It's a little frustrating that I have to use so much glue to fix something of MT's just to get validation, when it looks fine, really, in any browser. In July, I joked that "we all know that trying to make your weblog validate to XHTML Transitional is a waste of time", but that seems to be what Mark is saying: there's too much glue that goes into validating a weblog, and that sometimes validation fixes one problem while creating others.

Just wanted to point out something else: I'm a recent convert to using plugins over using PHP code to achieve something on a weblog. In a way, Ben and Mena opened up MT so that users could be responsible for creating new MT tags while they concentrate on the database/interface aspect of things.

The sidebar has some links to some interesting plugins that I'd like to check out. I'm going to use—which is to say I have been using—this site as sort of a playground for MT, PHP and now plugins.

Posted by Richard at 03:43 PM | Category: MT | TrackBacks (0) | Comments (0)

January 8th, 2003

Requested Features List »

girlie on the MT Support boards has posted a Requested Features List, An Overall View.

Very cool.

Posted by Richard at 02:42 AM | Category: MT | TrackBacks (0) | Comments (0)

January 5th, 2003

Redesign snag »

The redesign has hit a snag: it's fallen victim to the infamous IE6 F11 CSS bug. This code doesn't seem to want to work, so I've emailed Zeldman, who posted that there was a solution (without saying what it was) and that the bug exists (and that they'd update soon with the solution, this being back in September). The September 2002 archive is a page I know that triggers the bug (and gives a JS error when I use the 'workaround'; this page on the workaround itself also give as JS error).

Thanks Phil!

Update Feb. 1, 2003: Zeldman has now revealed the code he's been using for a while. With Phil's help, I've been using the Javascript hack for about three weeks now. Now it's official I guess.

Posted by Richard at 11:37 PM | Category: MT | TrackBacks (0) | Comments (1)

January 4th, 2003

Wanker Writer »

How to Write Like a Wanker [via dive into mark]

Popular sites filled with cutting-edge Internet cognoscenti (such as Slashdot and ShackNews) give the lie to this harmful and destructive myth: they are brimming with horrific grammar, atrocious spelling, gratuitous abbreviation and childish, arrogant attitude. To be "in" on the net, you must write like a wanker.

Posted by Richard at 09:01 AM | Category: Geekery | Comments (0)

Text Formatting »

Six Apart Log: Text Formatting coming to MT [via dive into mark]

Posted by Richard at 08:43 AM | Category: MT | TrackBacks (0) | Comments (0)

'This' Month's Entries »

Some actual MT-related content, to make up for the last post: 'this' month's content only on the front page (girlie's last post).

Posted by Richard at 12:34 AM | Category: MT | TrackBacks (0) | Comments (0)

Redesign »

Being in a mood to redesign almost all my sites at once—it's not clear why, but I'm in the mood nonetheless—I put together a simple XHTML/CSS no-tables redesign of this site (link not permanent). If it looks wonky in your browser, and have a smidge of free time, can you grab a screen shot and send it to a Hotmail address of mine? I'd also appreciate, in the comments section, a note that the design works in your browser(s), if someone hasn't already commented on that browser. Thanks.

In Mozilla/Phoenix/Opera 6+, there's a top border as well as a side border, but no top border in IE 6. I'm aware of that, and not too inclined to fix it (unless you know how).

Posted by Richard at 12:25 AM | Category: MT | TrackBacks (0) | Comments (0)

January 3rd, 2003

Devon on TV »

Fellow Vancouver weblogger Devon gets a 2-minute segment on CTV (note there is a link to the video on the sidebar). They explicitly say she's not a camgirl, but most of the segment is about camgirls. Plus there's more to 'camgirls' than nudity (it's more the attitude than anything). No offense to Devon, but wouldn't it have been a cooler article/news segment if they found an actual camgirl to compare to Devon?

Things we learn: Devon is indeed a fast (and loud?) typer; that she's been online for 7 years (does that include her BBS days?); she "devotes all her free time to mundane journal entries" (all her free time? are her posts always mundane? I don't think so); "she's almost famous, or at least she wants to be" (who wants to be almost famous?); that media-types are easily impressed with how many visitors people's websites get (you can hear the off-camera interviewer exclaim "wow" after Devon reveals she gets 400 visitors a day).

And talk about a bland statement from a professor. The police officer is actually right: it's easier than people think to find a website owner's address. How do I know? Type whois and then your (or someone else's) domain at a Unix prompt and see if your (or the owner's) street address and phone # appears in the listing. If it does, ask your host how to change/eliminate it.

Posted by Richard at 02:12 AM | Category: Geekery | Comments (0)

January 2nd, 2003

Blockquote and Character Data »

Your site is getting

character data is not allowed here

while using the <blockquote> tags and trying to validate to XHTML 1.1 because you're not enclosing them with <p> tags (or any other block elements).

Posted by Richard at 08:58 PM | Category: Geekery | Comments (0)

MeFi Remixed »

Metafilter: Remixed

Cool idea if you ask me. Kinda like how Kuro5hin works (in that someone posts, then readers vote as to its worthiness of gracing the front page), except that MeFi Remixed is an unofficial project, likely an attempt to spur Matt Haughey (a man who has been busy lately, launching Creative Commons and TicketStubs.

It even appears that Haughey is considering putting this feature in place. First saw it this MetaTalk post, however.

Posted by Richard at 08:23 PM | Category: Geekery | Comments (0)

Text Marker »

I don't know a whole lot about PHP—okay, I probably know enough to make a crude CMS, with a lot of effort—but this PHP Text Marker idea is pretty dang cool.

Posted by Richard at 05:06 AM | Category: Geekery | Comments (0)