Pardon Our Appearance

A crazy week and a half. I’ve been overextending myself with work and life, and neglecting this blog. I’m going to try and pick up the pace this week and write some more posts, but heading into Thanksgiving, and then into the craziness that usually constitutes the December holiday season, I’ll be lucky if I can turn out a decent number before the year is out. I’m just sayin’, is all.

Let’s start things out with a little housekeeping, though: I’ve had some very generous help from Su at House of Pretty in trying to get my intransigent Movable Type problems in order.

We’ve tried a few things, like optimizing my templates, enabling Fast CGI, clamping down a bit harder on comment spam and search bots, all with varying degrees of success. The situation is a little better now, but the problem hasn’t completely disappeared. We’re groping our way towards a solution, and I hope to have things relatively ship-shape around here before too long.

A few people have recommended jumping the Movable Type ship for something a bit more modern and reliable, like perhaps Expression Engine, or even rolling my own via Django. My response is that I’d jump for joy if I could do that, but I’ve no idea when I’d find the time to rebuild everything within a new blogging framework. I mean, if I had the brains, talent and revenue-based impetus to roll out a brand new, custom blogging platform the way some people do, I wouldn’t be writing this post.

In the meantime, you’ll also notice some broken PHP includes here and there; thanks to those of you who have emailed me to let me know. And the site-powered search is broken too, though it’s been broken for a long while, and I need to find some time to remedy that. I guess what I’m saying is: please pardon this site’s appearance while improvements are being made. Thanks.

  1. As long as you provide quality content(and clearly you do) you might as well publish the site with Frontpage on Geocities with extra large banners on the side and purple Comic sans for text font.
    We are with you, just keep them coming (the posts).

  2. Once you go EE you won’t go back…

    That said, the platform matters not. Content is still king, and you have gobs of good stuff with your current system.

    Oh and just a quick edit. The link to the EE website in your post points to

  3. We experienced similar problems at Dreamhost over the past couple of months, coupled with some really horrible page-load times. Ultimately we ditched Drupal and Dreamhost for Mediatemple and Ruby on Rails, and everything’s fabulous.

    I’ll give you our Ruby on Rails CMS if you make our site look as pretty as the NY Times…

  4. Geof: Thanks for catching that, I’ve fixed it.

    Everyone: thanks for the nice things you have to say about the content. I won’t let these MT troubles prevent me from writing and posting. Too much.

  5. Yup, i’m gonna say it … WordPress. it’s really come along in the last few years. it’ll do what you need, and it’s written in PHP. With page caching via WP-Cache, performance is very good.

    Also, Dreamhost is pretty unpredictable, IMO. Some say they oversell their servers, and i have experienced occasional problems as well. Truth, Dreamhost really isn’t that great a deal anymore. I would consider a hosting upgrade.

  6. I’m always intrigued by the conversion mania that tends to surround blogging software, and WordPress in particular.

    At any rate, Geoff(D) is to be commended at the very least for even mentioning the possibility of this being something of a server(read: Dreamhost, whom I’m inceasingly disappointed with myself) issue, which things increasingly point to. But unless you plan on throwing some Mediatemple hosting in with the Rails CMS, I’m not sure that offer’s so good *grin*

  7. Y’know, I did the WordPress thing for about a year. It left me wanting more – more user-friendliness, more stability. Most importantly, more customer support.

    WordPress has buzz at present. It’s loved by geeks far and wide, from hardcore to part-time. Once the fanfare wears down, what will happen? Will everybody be lit up about another product in a year? Most likely.

    I’m not saying EE is better than WP – I just happen to like it better.

    That said, in the long run, stable/mature products with a stable/maure support system will usually win out.

  8. Hi Khoi,

    sorry to hear about the blog hassles. Check your email, I’ve got something for you.

    Whatever the case, I’m glad the tech issues won’t stop you from posting. I’m looking forward to whatever you’ve got planned.

  9. Hey Khoi, sorry to hear you’ve had these issues — we’ve got some resources for helping to troubleshoot these kinds of issues, and frankly after cranking out tons of content for year after year, it might just be time for some routine maintenance.

    Let me know if we can assist in fixing up your MT configuration; Most of the time it turns out that there’s just some years-old technological assumptions that we can clear out, and that’s a lot easier than redoing all of your templates, styles, designs, and accumulated knowledge.

  10. I think you are spot on – move to Expression Engine and you’ll likely find it’s far easier and less troublefree. I’ve been using pMachine products for 5 years and love them. Expression Engine has its weaknesses, but it is far superior to most other blogging tools. Of course, that’s because Expression Engine is more than a blogging tool.

    Keep up the good work!

    Scott Abel

  11. I’m with the people accolading ExpressionEngine. It’s one of the best and most flexible web apps I’ve ever used, and I would be more than happy to assist you in transitioning over to it (or anything, really) if you ever decided to make a move and delegate some of the work.

    As long as you provide quality content(and clearly you do) you might as well publish the site with Frontpage on Geocities with extra large banners on the side and purple Comic sans for text font.

    Heh… I can just imagine the design lead for the New York Times with purple Comic Sans on GeoCities. I wonder if people would start to question his skills on the job…

  12. I heart EE. I’m with the group that readily recommends Expression Engine. Your site wouldn’t be that troublesome to switch over, to it, if you wanted to give it a try. I always recommend, if your not changing the design, just: (1) copy the stylesheet(s) into EE; (2) create a template for each type of page—main page, article/comment page; (3) copy the source code from one sample pages, like this article here; then (4) replace the text with EE code; (for example: {title}, {author}, etc.)

    Obviously, you’ll make additional tweaks here and there, but EE can import Moveable Type exports, including comments.

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