MovableBlog: Archives: This Site

A weblog about the Movable Type Publishing Platform and other geekery

January 2nd, 2005

Comments on MovableBlog »

Keeping with a New Years resolution, most entries here on MovableBlog will have comments enabled. As time approaches infinity, so does this weblog approach the features of, so Asides with either commentary or that link to something without comments enabled will also have comments (as does the inaugral "Aside"-with-comments about 43 Things). If it's merely a summary of something that has comments enabled, then no comments. All feature entries will have comments enabled for 2 weeks. Comment moderation is in effect, so if your comment does not initially appear, it probably needs to be approved by yours truly.

To put a twist on the original, each individual "Aside" will have an RSS feed for comments, signified with a linked graphic as well as a link RSS autodiscovery element in the page's header of individual "Asides" with comments enabled.

Posted by Richard at 10:55 PM | Comments (0)

August 11th, 2004

How I Won the Xoduszero Contest »

I won the Canadian Search Engine Optimization Contest, which was to become #1 for the made-up keyword Xoduszero. I'm writing this on my new, very pretty, 17-inch Flatron L1710S. Even though I don't believe in Him, it is now clear to me that the good Lord above did not intend man to surf the Internet on a flickering Dell 15-inch CRT monitor. Not that I'm going to throw away the old monitor: I'm seriously considering setting up a dual-monitor system, the one thing holding me back being the fact that I will never want to go to a single-monitor setup ever again.

The reason I won the contest is very simple: I had pre-existing Pagerank. I'm linked in the Open Directory, which, I understand, also matters. Oh, and I asked for (and received) a Google Bomb. I thank those that linked to me. To pre-emptively thank those that linked to me, I added to the Xoduszero article, in the "Extended Entry", a little PHP script that took the RSS feed of a Technorati watch for the permanent link (hypocrisy!) showing an unordered list of those who linked to that post. The code is very similar to the code to integrate using PHP. I also linked to the entry from my other weblogs—with their own pre-existing Pagerank—and it was automatically syndicated in at least 4 places, 3 of which I have admin access to. (The one I knew about but don't have admin access to is the MT-Plugins syndication page.) Let the record reflect that the syndicating sites existed before I even heard of the contest.

Syndication helped increase my chances of winning. So did the bloggers who linked to me. I'm not entirely convinced that valid XHTML code really helps that much in one's ranking, but I'll be happy to delete this sentence and link to someone who can provide me with a concrete example. The reason, I think, people linked to me was because many had read this site previously, thought it a useful addition to the weblog community, and were nice enough to Google-bomb me to win a $500 monitor ($600 including taxes). Anil Dash wrote, when he linked to the page declaring him the winner of the search engine optimization contest he entered, "remember, bloggers, use your pagerank for good, not evil". Offering to donate to charity if I won was my way of doing good (same with automatically linking back to the weblogs that linked to the Xoduszero post, using Technorati, which, helpfully, also kept the entry automatically updated throughout the month).

A word about the other competitors. At the end of the competition, there were three weblogs in the top 10: mine, Roland's (he was not an entrant, and as disclosure, he is a colleague, but he linked me of his own volition), and the Xoduszero SEO Blog. I imagine that if that last one was updated a little more frequently—a lot more frequently, since it was updated twice—it had the best chance to win. The other "static" sites were all nonsense, one even making up a definition of Xoduszero to give an official air to it. The Xoduszero SEO Blog writer, though, even considered donating to the Vancouver Community Network, the non-profit ISP for low-income Vancouver residents, that I donated to, because the writer once worked for VCN. If it wasn't me who won (hey, I gotta look out for #1 here), I would have liked to see it win, because it would prove that actual, interesting content wins over keyword stuffing and link spamming.

Did I learn anything from it? Not really. I already knew weblogs and their individual pages had relatively high-ranking in search engines. The neat thing about search-engine ranking contests, though, is that there is material incentive for people other than search engine optimization experts to participate, and then when it's over, to go back and analyze what search engine optimization techniques work and which don't. So far, after Anil Dash's victory, weblogs are 2 for 3, his win coming in the second round of the Nigritude Ultramarine contest (and coming a close second in the first round). If there's ever a business case for blogging, showing that weblogs can get you high-ranking for specialized keywords is a pretty compelling one.

Posted by Richard at 08:55 PM

July 7th, 2004

Xoduszero »

Like Anil, I have a fairly low opinion of the SEO industry. Boris Mann rebranded it Search Engine Voodoo and gave away for his tips for "optimizing" for search engines. Long story short: validate your code, keep the code structured and semantic, and update your site frequently. Weblogs are perfect for that, and individual weblog articles often function as weblogs themselves: Mark Pilgrim is, at this writing, #1 in Google for 'favorite jokes' because his code is semantic, the URL is clean, and, importantly, he left comments open. (Unusually for Mark, they are still open after 3 weeks.)

Canadian Search Engine Optimization Championship logo After I closed the comments on a weblog entry asking about a local popular cell phone plan, it dropped from #1 (over the company's official website for the plan) to, well, out of the top 10. The site, if you're wondering, is a static redirect, while the weblog entry has over 100 comments, and months after the original posting, still had about one comment per day. (Some even thought of the weblog entry as a forum, which, in a sense, is true. Weblog entries with comments enabled are effectively forum topics.) In that spirit, is sponsoring the Canadian SEO Championship, the key phrase being Xoduszero, and this weblog entry constitutes my entry. If I win the first prize, a 17" flatscreen monitor, I'll donate $25 to Creative Commons and $25 to the Vancouver Community Network, a local non-profit ISP for low-income people, so helping me out with a link to this weblog entry with Xoduszero either in the link text or the title attribute of the link will also help out CC and VCN.

Update Aug. 8, 11:55 PM: I won, and as promised, I've made the donations.

For those wondering about the username in the image above, those are my initials: my middle name is Erik.

Posted by Richard at 08:50 PM

September 1st, 2003

Blogging Ramp-down »

Blogging will be less than regular over the next 4 months (that is, if "regular" can accurately describe the last couple of weeks). I'm returning to school for a semester and that means a change in priorities. Comments for all the previous posts are set to "closed" and to save (a little) bandwidth, the number of items in the RSS feeds for the main site is reduced to 1 (i.e. this one).

The sidebar will be used for MT-related announcements, links to cool MT tips that I stumble upon, and otherwise interesting tech links that I'd rather not keep in my bookmarks for overly long. If you need to contact me, this contact form will prove useful.

Posted by Richard at 02:04 PM

July 10th, 2003

Changes to Asides »

Here are some changes to my sidebar of links. If there is a greater-than sign inside the square brackets, that means there's an extra quip about that link. Clicking on the greater-than sign will take you to that quip with possible extra links, and doing a mouseover the greater-than sign will show the quip in a tooltip. (Mozilla still has that annoying little bug where it shows only a portion of the tooltip.) Any link with a number sign (#) in between square brackets means there is no quip. Both the greater-than sign and the number sign function as permalinks for that, er, link.

Here is the template code for the sidebar. It requires the MTIfEmpty plugin, and you can adjust the filename it generates for the permalinks as suited to your blog.

<ul> <MTEntries lastn="25"> <MTDateHeader><li><$MTEntryDate format="%B %e, %Y"$></li></MTDateHeader> <li><a href="<$MTEntryBody convert_breaks="0"$>"><$MTEntryTitle$></a> [<MTIfNotEmpty var="EntryMore"><a href="<$MTBlogURL$><$MTEntryDate format="%Y_%m"$>.php#asides<$MTEntryID pad="1"$>" title="<$MTEntryMore remove_html="1"$>">&gt;</a></MTIfNotEmpty><MTIfEmpty var="EntryMore"><a href="<$MTBlogURL$><$MTEntryDate format="%Y_%m"$>.php#asides<$MTEntryID pad="1"$>" title="Permalink">#</a></MTIfEmpty>]</li> </MTEntries> </ul>

There is a good tutorial on creating a sideblog using MT at

Posted by Richard at 11:33 AM | Comments (1)

May 22nd, 2003

Slowdown »

I'm slowing down blogging on the main page for a bit. The reasons have to do with a suddenly busier schedule (work, height of dragon boat season, taking a summer class for which I'm already 3 weeks behind, out-of-town friends visiting soon, etc.). In the meantime, the sidebar links. called—and the pun is intended—Asides will probably be continuously updated. There is an index page that has more links, with easier-to-read quips that may or may not themselves have further links. The quips appear, without links, in the title attribute of the links on the sidebar.

There is also a blog search function. Enjoy.

Posted by Richard at 12:22 PM | Comments (0)

May 15th, 2003

New Installation »

There are some changes to this site, which those pinging the sidebar will want to pay attention to.

Posted by Richard at 07:37 PM | Comments (0)

May 11th, 2003

Note to self »

Self, when looking for a way to do something in MT, check to see if you blogged it already before asking someone.

Posted by Richard at 06:31 PM | Comments (1)

May 9th, 2003

LYD Redesign »

little. yellow. different. redesigns, and moves from Blogger to MT. Ernie, the guy behind LYD, is really funny (even funnier in person!) but expect the unexpected from this guy. That's a complient. I think.

Some notes about his this site: Ernie has jumped on the side-bar mini links bandwagon, and it's a really great bandwagon to jump on. Problem is, it looks like I'll be turning down on the blog reading and turning up the book reading (that, of course, is due to the weather and my taking an English literature course over the summer, as well as other commitments). So instead, I'll probably stick with the periodic posts replete with links, like the one yesterday.

Another note: the URL for the sidebar Trackback may change in the near future. Hopefully that doesn't affect those taking advantage of it too negatively. I'm moving the installation of MT to, which will allow for a search function on this weblog.

Posted by Richard at 11:03 PM | Comments (0)

April 19th, 2003

Trackbacks on Individual Entries »

Trackbacks are enabled only for the sidebar and individual entries that have to do with Movable Type. This site now uses the PHP code for including Trackback pings on individual entries, modified for formatting. That should eliminate all pop-up windows on this site. The method provided by Mark Pilgrim, using .htaccess and SSI didn't work for this site. That's not to say it won't work for you, because on my end, it was probably because of the .php extensions. Using the virtual() function in PHP didn't work either, but that is evidently because of Content-type problems.

Posted by Richard at 03:39 PM | TrackBacks (0) | Comments (0)

April 18th, 2003 »

As some have already noticed, this site has a new domain, making it the third in its brief history (it's not called MovableBLOG for nothing folks; actuallly, it's called MovableBLOG because it started out as a blog about Movable Type, but then expanded in scope). now points to this weblog and all posts contained within. There is no real need to change your bookmarks if you have URLs starting with, as they will point to this blog (and its archived posts) as well. Also, there is no need to update any links to previous posts or the URL of the XML feeds either: they should also continue to work.

In the near future, there might be a URL scheme change, but again, the old permalinks would automatically redirect to the new one using header("Location: link") PHP snippets. This because cool URI's don't change. (Okay, as a mea culpa, switching over the domain made for a lot of 404's. This time is different. Really.) It's not clear, however, what that URL scheme will be. That's a job for next weekend.

Posted by Richard at 02:37 PM | Comments (0)

April 12th, 2003

Blog Anniversary »

This site is officially a year old. I treated myself to a domain name (a totally obvious one, and should propagate in the next day or so), which, for the time being, will be a simple redirect.

So it appears this idea of mine lasted at least a year, even though the subject matter expanded from simply Movable Type in February of this year.

Posted by Richard at 11:04 PM | Comments (2)

March 28th, 2003

Slashdotted »

Well, heading out to work this morning, I noticed that I was quasi-Slashdotted, in that the Slashdot news item included the my URL after I sumbitted the aforementioned XML Doesn't Suck article. The Slashdot Effect doesn't seem to happen with much ferocity to contributers though (it's merely doubling my not-so-impressive hit-count), which is understandable, since it's not the meat of the item.

Posted by Richard at 12:45 PM | Comments (0)

March 1st, 2003

Site Update »

eliot landrum has pointed me towards the cool-looking RSS icons/buttons I asked for earlier, and put one of them up. I also changed the RSS validation icon, and updated the RSS 1.0 feed to using Ben Hammersley's updated RSS 1.0 template.

More after the hockey game. Pretty good game. That last penalty call was BS, not to mention the non-call after that, but let's nevermind that.

I updated the individual entry template to incorporate Ben & Mena's changes. I'm holding off on making two changes. First, making the titles of weblog posts the permalink is awfully trendy, but maybe a little too trendy. Second, I have a LazyWeb Request 'feature', which would have things I'm looking for on the sidebar, and once they are produced or found, the link would change to point to that resource. It's a little too convoluted for my liking, but I may introduce it tomorrow.

Posted by Richard at 10:01 PM | Comments (0)

February 20th, 2003

Minor Request »

Since it's apparent I don't know where to find them, can someone point me towards a repository of icons for RSS and RDF feeds? There are some elegant ones out there, and I'd like to change the de rigeur white-on-orange XML icon (which, admittedly, goes nicely with this site's colour scheme) to something prettier.

Unrelated: hopefully nobody linked to the category archives that until recently were on each post's footer. At least three of them need to be renamed: 'Mozilla/Phoenix' to simply 'Mozilla', 'HTML/CSS' to something like 'Web Design', and 'XML/RSS' to simply 'XML'. Partly because for truth-in-advertising (e.g. Phoenix will eventually change its name, but will always be associated with Mozilla), but also partly so I can add an XFML link for this page (for no other reason than to understand-by-doing).

Posted by Richard at 01:26 PM | Comments (1)

February 6th, 2003

Final Decision Soon »

Expect a final decision on the future of MovableBLOG soon. I'm leaning very heavily towards conversion to a geeklog with emphasis on MT. Of course, that would leave the Trackback sidebar in limbo, and would need to create categories and maybe 'about me' pages as well. But my Sunday is free, so it should get done then.

Posted by Richard at 08:23 PM | Comments (3)

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 | TrackBacks (0) | Comments (1)