Making a few changes, hopefully for the better

Site Under Construction.gif I’ve been sitting here for nearly three hours converting a movie from avi format into something I can burn to a DVD. I’ve been doing it for a local client of mine since he can’t. The annoying part about this is the program I use to convert movie file types maxes out my laptop’s processor so I can’t really do anything else but let the conversion software run.  Lots of fun.

Anyway, I’ve made a number of changes to the blog, hopefully improving things:

  • I’ve fixed a number of broken layout issues that I’ve noticed over time. Had to track down a couple of them but I believe I got them all. I need to make the content area a bit wider though. The older images along side the Google Adsense forces the content text into too narrow of a space.  The lists in the footer got fixed as well as well as the Next and Previous Page links found at the bottom of most pages.  I also changed the permalinks to be the actual title of the content instead of being a separate link.  Have to admit that I found that rather silly, like how Movable Type does their comment links.
  • ShareThis is now found on every Post page.  I had tried it previously on a few, not to much success, but I desided on rolling it out anyway.
  • I’ve turned on gzip on a trial basis. I know that the webpages served are rather large, almost as large as some WordPress blogs I’ve seen. I’ve noticed a drop in the bandwidth used so hopefully that’s an improvement. If you have any issues, please let me know.
  • I’ve reduced the number of posts found on each page from 10 down to 6. Again, the size of the page served was a factor to this but also too much information was being displayed that made it a bit confusing for folks. At least that’s how I felt.
  • Related to that, the category, monthly and daily pages now only show an excerpt of each post, similar to WordPress’ the_excerpt() function. Wish I could leave images in there but I’m not going through the code to fix that.
  • I’ve installed a Related Entries script. Hopefully you’ll see it right after the content on some Posts. Unfortunately this means I have to go back through and retag every single Post here so it may take a bit for folks to see it. If you really want to see it in action, the posts I’ve written about Apple and the iPhone is where I tested it.
  • Oh, I’m just sigh of 1,400 posts so I updated the tag in the header. Comments stand at about 460 in case you’re interested.
  • I’ve made room for a list of Favorite Posts in the footer. Haven’t listed any since after adding that bit in there, I started to give some thought about also putting in a tag cloud down there as well. Something for the next round of fixes I guess.
  • The Category and Monthly pages now have Page Counts in their titles. I did that since Google was complaining about similar titles on many of my pages. That took some fixing of the Paged Archives plugin I installed previously.
  • I fixed a number of 404s and broken links.  Hopefully this will be less of an issue for folks.  I still have a list that I need to go through some time soon.
  • Oh, and I’ve also installed iMT, a Movable Type plugin that allows me to Post from my iPod Touch. Doesn’t allow for more categories than a single one and it won’t allow me to include any photos but it’s there in case I need it.

I think that’s everything.  My notes are kind of messy.  If you see anything broken, please let me know.

How Many Posts Are on Your Front Page?

I find blogging_tips.jpgmyself wondering about this, not only because Problogger asked about it way back when, but because I’m sitting here looking at this site.  One of the features of WordPress is that you can have multiple index pages.  Movable Type doesn’t do that out of the box but it’s a two second fix with Alden Bates’ Paged Archives plugin, a plugin that that I’ve blogged about before.  If you check out the main index page for this site, you should see the links near the bottom of the content column.

It’s not a big change.  I mean we already use category pages as well as monthly ones.  I also have a complete post list, something that WordPress doesn’t do out of the box.  I did a test of 5 Posts on the front page instead of the normal 10 but quickly changed it back.  I hate it when the sidebar is longer than the content.  You’re usually stuck with that on individual post pages unless you normally write a bloody book each and every post.

The image is from Sue’s post about Blogging Tips with EDUBlogs.  It came up when I did a few keyword searches for an images to use on this post.  Maybe we can get her to do an article on the subject.

Damn Spam

damn_spam.png

What’s with all of the trackback spam lately?  That picture to the left there is the count for the last 20 hours or so since my last post.  Add 600 trackbacks that I’ve already deleted as well as the 303 comment spams from the other page and you get 2,886 of those little annoying buggers.  All caught by TypePad AntiSpam of course but then you have to go through and double check them.  At least I hope folks do that like I do.  Would hate to see something get caught by accident.

edit: OK, I found one issue that I fixed.  MT Auto Ban was not configured correctly.  That’s now been fixed and hopefully will be dropping bad IP addresses into the correct block list. (Just in the five minutes I’ve been looking at the plugin, I received 147 more trackbacks that got flagged as spam.) Maybe that’ll give me some breathing room.

Fixing the Comment Links

Some thing that has bothered me for quite some time is how Movable Type does it’s comment links. Instead of just a normal link to a website, it does this weird internal redirect. I’m sure the software does this to help prevent spam but with all of the protection built in, there’s really no need for something like that.

It’s easy to fix.  Here’s the code for the Comment Detail template.  You’ll find it under Design -> Templates -> Quickfilters -> Template Modules.


<div class="comment"<MTIfArchiveTypeEnabled archive_type="Individual"> id="comment-<$MTCommentID$>"</MTIfArchiveTypeEnabled>>
    <div class="inner">
        <div class="comment-header">
            <$MTCommentAuthorLink default_name="Anonymous" show_email="0"$> <MTIfNonEmpty tag="CommentAuthorIdentity"><$MTCommentAuthorIdentity$></MTIfNonEmpty> said:
        </div>
        <div class="comment-content">
            <$MTCommentBody$>
        </div>
        <div class="comment-footer">
            <a href="#comment-<$MTCommentID$>" title="Permalink to this comment"><$MTCommentDate format="%x %X"$></a>
        </div>
    </div>
</div>

See the line up there with $MTCommentAuthorLink? That’s where the “Commenter bla-bla says:” get generated along with the link. All you have to do to get rid of the weird redirect link is add in no_redirect=”1″ to the line.

So the new line will look like this:


<$MTCommentAuthorLink default_name="Anonymous" show_email="0" no_redirect="1"$> <MTIfNonEmpty tag="CommentAuthorIdentity"><$MTCommentAuthorIdentity$></MTIfNonEmpty> said:

Why am I posting this? Because it’s missing from the docs. Rather annoying actually. Almost like reading WordPress’ codex once again. There used to be a plugin for this but it’s no longer needed.

Hopefully this will help someone else out. (And maybe get the docs edited to show this feature.)

Now I’m off to regenerate about 200 comments. 🙂

edit: Also considering that I don’t use nofollow on this blog, I think it’s important for folks to get credit for their comments.

reedit: You have to do the same to the Recent Comments widget.