I really like WordPress’ Twenty Twelve theme

I just switched this WordPress.com blog over to the Twenty Twelve theme — freely available for WP.com and self-hosted WordPress.org blogs.

It’s refreshing. It’s clean. And I’m tired of Twenty Eleven (and Twenty Ten before that). Funny how that happens.

Is WordPress.com leaving Firefox 3.x (even 3.6.x) behind?

Last time I looked, even though Mozilla didn’t seem totally in love with supporting Firefox 3.6.x, they still were. But it looks like WordPress.com, the Automattic-hosted mega-blogging service, was intent on leaving FF 3.x behind.

At least that’s the way it looks right now in Firefox 3.6.x for PowerPC Mac. Running TenFourFox — the Firefox 4.x code built for PowerPC Macintosh — seems to help.

WordPress – easy as prebaked pie

That’s what I love about WordPress.

Catching up with WordPress

I believe that it’s fairly easy to turn just about any Linux server into a WordPress installation. There is even a port of WordPress for OpenBSD. I thought that I’d try to run Movable Type on OpenBSD, but getting PHP and Perl working with the Web server looks incredibly difficult. If somebody else did this and laid out how they managed it (like How to Forge), I could probably follow along, but the difficulty of dealing with the chroot environment in OpenBSD’s default Apache Web server — which isolates the Web server’s files from the rest of the computer for security purposes — makes it extremely difficult for mortals to set up services in the Web server environment.

For a normal Web server with nothing but HTML pages (and no PHP, Perl/CGI), OpenBSD couldn’t be an easier system to use. It’s when things get more complicated that this that the non-OpenBSD geek is especially challenged.

But as I say, there is a WordPress port for OpenBSD, as well as WordPress packages for GNU/Linux systems such as Debian. I also seem to remember talk about a Movable Type package for Debian Lenny, and if it made the installation and configuration of the blogging system easier, I’d be all for it.

As it is now, between installing and configuring MySQL (or PostgreSQL), making sure PHP and Perl are running and getting all the directory permissions correctly set, putting together one of these blogging systems, even on Linux, is no trivial matter. The last time I set up Movable Type, all the MySQL issues I was having prompted me to dump it and use SQLite as my database software. At least MT gives you some options in this regard.

Why am I writing about Movable Type in WordPress?

I’m using my WordPress blog to write about Movable Type because it’s time for an MT break. I’m suddenly knee-deep in reconfiguring a few dozen Movable Type blogs and find myself baffled by layer upon layer of templates and widgets.

I know there’s a reason why this project uses Movable Type, and I’ll probably figure it out eventually, but in the mean time, I remain baffled by all that is MT.

I’ve been using Google Docs

In an effort to have just a little more control over what I write, on which of the many PCs I use I write it, and where I post it (i.e. to one or more of the blogs and other sites to which I’m spreading the news), I started to use Google Docs again.

The problem being that I can hardly keep track of anything that I didn’t write and post instantly. I’ve got three notebooks, each a different size (one “moleskin” type book, though no skins were harmed in its making; one composition book; one steno notepad), and a number of computers ($15 Laptop, $0 Laptop, converted Maxspeed Maxterm thin client, Dell Optiplex GX520, iBook G4), have of which change Linux distros as often as most people change underwear (that’s daily, for those of you not following), with /home partitions constantly moving, being deleted and otherwise being ignored.

So the theory is that by centralizing everything on Google Docs, I can better keep track of what is where, what is going where and what went where. That’s the theory anyway.

And while I’m on the subject, it’s time for me to make complete backups of all my blogs, especially Click, which has the most posts and is on a server that is nowhere near as reliable as those of Google or WordPress. The great thing about WordPress, as far as backups go, is the ability to export the entire blog as XML. For Google, and probably for Movable Type, I’ll just have to save monthly archives going all the way back

But I haven’t been the most prolific blogger of late. It all began when the esteemed, highly qualified individuals who run the insidesocal.com blogs (including Click) decided that the best way to stop DNS-level spam attacks was to put an IP block on the entire European continent, costing me every link I could hope to get for Linux-related material (yep, Linux and FOSS is huge in Europe; where else would they even think of publishing “Debian Fur Dummies”?).

So I stopped pimping Click and started this blog, also throwing items to the great LXer. Losing Distrowatch as a source of links to reviews of Linux and BSD distros was probably the biggest blow. So I’ve pretty much been not caring about traffic on Click, which hovers at a steady 150-250 a day.

A great-looking Ubuntu WordPress blog

I don’t know the first thing about making a WordPress blog look as good as All About Ubuntu, but I’d sure like to learn.

The RSS feeds and tag cloud on the side I could probably do. The theme Digg 3 looks good enough that I just might use it here. I don’t know how he did the graphic at the top, but I’d like to roll my own and do that, too.

So far, the positives about WordPress are the built-in statistics, ability to import and export from other blogs (and save this blog in XML format), and general good looks for the blogs as they are.

Negatives: The 50 MB photo limit. As I’ve calculated before, that means 1,500 JPGs, which is a lot of images, but if I ever wanted to do video or audio, I’d bump up at that limit pretty quick. If I was using the system that heavily, paying $20 a year for more space might be worth it … but Blogger doesn’t have such a limit.

Also, it may just be my lack of familiarity with WordPress, but it seems a little bit clunky when compared to the Blogger interface.

But seeing a nice-looking blog in any system is the thing that makes me want to go with one or the other. Since both Blogger and WordPress work on what I think is called a “flat-file” database, entries are saved almost instantly, and you never have to “rebuild” a blog Movable-Type style.

WordPress’ killer app

The ability to import posts and comments from other blogs is what sets WordPress apart from Blogger

But does it get images, too?

The ability to bring in all my old Blogger posts … and maybe my Movable Type ones, too, would be huge.

I’ll check into the images situation.

You can also export a WordPress blog as XML. That’s a great way to make backups as well as potentially move WordPress blog content to another platform. Blogger doesn’t have that, I think.

WordPress charges for uploads beyond 50 MB

That’s a way to make money. I don’t anticipate uploading anything beyond JPEGs. So how many images is that? Let’s say the average image is 50 KB. Ten such images would total 500 K, 100 would be 5 MB, and 1,000 would be 50 MB.

But not all images are that big (although some might indeed be bigger). I’ll give some wiggle room and say that you have to hit 1,500 images before you have to start paying ($20 a year, I believe).

It would take a long time to get that many posts and images, so it may indeed be nothing to worry about, especially since I’ve been posting fewer and fewer images on my tech-related posts. But … Blogger doesn’t charge for anything, as far as I know.

Are the built-in stats really worth it? Does Blogger not include built-in stats so it won’t eat into business for Google Analytics?

WordPress vs. Blogger

I’ve only been doing this for a few hours. It’s too early to tell.

One thing that attracted me to WordPress was the built-in statistics. Not that counting up traffic is what this is all about, because it isn’t.

Right out of the box, I’m not super-impressed by the pre-canned blog “themes” in WordPress. I assumed there would be more. I’m sure there’s a way to tweak or overhaul them; I just don’t know how to do it yet.

All my Blogger blogs are so old, I don’t have the “new” templates that supposedly can be changed easily. I never explored that “improvement” in Blogger because a) I haven’t been on Blogger all that much, and b) I know that doing so will wipe out my blogrolls. The latter isn’t so important anymore, as the blogrolls are pretty old and out of date. I just converted one of my Blogger blogs to the “new” template format, and all looks pretty good. As far as Blogger goes, I didn’t see anything new in terms of blog design, and I haven’t looked at templates in more than a year. At least WordPress appears to be coming up with new templates.

The WordPress interface is, in a word, different. I’m used to Blogger (and, sadly, Movable Type), but I’ll keep on going with WordPress and have more to say at a later date.

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