October 14

Adventures with WordPress, my new blog software


In case you’ve been wondering if I’ve taken a powder, fear not, I’m okay. I’ve been evaluating WordPress, a new, open source blogging software for the past couple of weeks and decided, since I was traveling this past week with limited computer access, to go ahead and switch over.
I wanted to make the switch from my previous software, Movable Type, for a couple of reasons. First, because WordPress is so much easier to use. Movable Type has been, for non-techie me, difficult to work with because the documentation is hard, for non-techie me, to follow and understand because it’s written in techie-speak.
The second, and primary, reason I switched was because I’ve been inundated with spam comments. Movable Type doesn’t have a decent way to weed these things out whereas WordPress does. In the old blog format I added a program asking commenters to type in a code word (which was lowcarb) to tell the system that they were legitimate commenters. Problem was, that most people commenting hit the button letting them preview their comments (which I certainly would have done myself), which then undid the process that typing in the magic word had initiated. All those comments then went into the junk comment pile. As it turned out, for every comment that got into the regular comments file, about five or so went into the junk comments file. And, along with these comments, were literally hundreds of spam comments that I had to wade through to pick out the legit comments, a task that consumed more and more of my day. Once all the legit comments were plucked out and transferred–a job requiring five steps for each–I could delete the junk spam. If I checked half an hour later there would be 30 or 40 more junk spams with a legit comment or two built in. I can’t for the life of me figure out where the spam comments come from–they are 90% porno and 10% ads for various phone ring tones. It’s weird because I get a lot of spam emails, none of which are porno or ring tone ads–the email spam are all for discount watches, various pharmaceuticals from oversea and interest rate reduction proposals. Strange.
For those of you who comment you will find that you have to type in a series of letters and numbers in a weird script before you will be allowed to comment. I’ve tried it and it’s not to cumbersome. It doesn’t matter what case the letters are typed in as–capitals or lower case, both work.
This whole scam avoidance deal is a real pain. It’s kind of like department stores that lose a lot of money to shoplifters. These stores could reduce shoplifting to zero by initiating a program where a store person was assigned to everyone who walks through the door or by attaching monitors on all the shoppers or by having video cameras everywhere, but normal, non-shoplifting customers would be put off and quit shopping so the stores would lose more than they were losing from the shoplifters.
Programs to prevent blog spamming work the same way. Many bloggers require registration, which is offputting to a lot of folks. These bloggers don’t get any spam comments, but they don’t get as many readers either. I had the option of requiring registration, but opted instead to use the system described above. I hope you don’t find it too much of a pain.
One problem I’ve encountered that hasn’t been fixed yet is that all the picures and other images I had on the Movable Type software failed to transfer over. We are working on that at the moment and hope to have it fixed soon.
If you are desperate for an Eades blog with pictures on it, check out MD’s post today. As is often said in the Ozark hills where I grew up, I learned her how to put up pictures today, so there’s no telling what she’ll do from here on.
Oh, one other problem. When the software got changed over there were about five or six comments awaiting approval. These comments didn’t survive the transfer. If I approve them in the old software, they won’t see the light of day. So, if you commented in the first part of this past week and didn’t see your comment, do it again, and I’ll get it up. I’m sorry for the inconvenience.

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  1. Sir….i take serious umbrage that you use my relative, Great Uncle Aloicious second from left.
    A very undignified ending.. and freak knitting accident.. and then to be plastered thus.!
    Hi Simon–
    So that’s who it is? Thanks for the identification and the cause of death.

  2. Very pretty! I agree Movable Type is difficult to use. But this is easier to read! Hope it works well for you. –Anne
    Hi Anne–
    Thanks for the feedback. I agree. It is a lot easier to read.

  3. Personally, I like the new layout, except for the pictures of the skulls. That was the first picture to pop up when I first saw the change in the layout, and it was quite a surprise, almost a little too explicit for my taste, but I understand why you would have it there, as your blog isn’t constrained to simply diet and food matters, and neither is your philosophy. It was just quite a surprise to see skulls pop up before any of the blog had.
    With that said, I don’t think the new system is in any way cumbersome, and I actually do appreciate your decision not to force registration. I have another blog I enjoy reading every so often, and they changed to registration and it completely turned me off to leaving comments. I understand the reasons for switching, but I do think it stifles expression simply because people are either too lazy to register or don’t feel it is worth it.
    I’m glad to see the website and your blog progressing nicely. And I do like the idea of pictures in a blog…definitely adds to the reading.
    Thanks for the great blog!
    Hi Michael–
    Thanks for the feedback. You’re the second person who has commented on the skulls. Maybe I had better rethink using them. I’ll see how others weigh in on the issue.
    I didn’t want to go the registration route because, like you, every time I’m confronted with registering I typically just move on. I figured a lot of people would do the same here.
    I think using the little string of words and letters is probably the least objectionable thing I could do and still rid myself of the hundreds and hundreds of spam comments I was getting daily.

  4. Dr. Mike,
    I got my first “no valid entry” just now. Sometimes those characters are case-sensitive.
    No matter- and please don’t feel the need to reply. But I love the skulls! It’d be nice to see the timeline, or the exact species represented. Please keep the skulls.
    I like the new format, especially the fact that commenter’s names now appear before their comment.
    Your blog is fantastic, and hopefully most folks know that the content transcends the software on which it is written.
    Hi Karen–
    Thanks for the kind words about the blog.  Sorry you had a problem with the ‘no valid entry.’ I tried it both ways and it worked for me.
    I’ll tally your vote for the skulls.

  5. Hi Mike, I’m trying again to see if I get the ‘invalid entry’ message. Last time, I suspected that the validation characters were case sensitive but you said you’ve tried both ways and it works. So, here it goes!
    On a side note, I noticed the skulls too and didn’t think much of it, except that it related to your interest for the Paleolithic Diet. Maybe an artwork that relates more to that than just the skulls may relfect it better. Something like cave paints depicting Paleolithic man hunting, gathering and eating, intermixed with the actual development of the human skull to make the point across. Anyway, just some thoughts.
    Great blog layout by the way!
    Hi Gabe–
    Thanks for the feedback.  I’ll put your vote in the non-skull column.  BTW, I do have a cave painting on the blog.  There are three pictures that alternate, one of which is a cave painting.

  6. Please keep the skulls; they’re cool. I like the new layout, very well done for a non-techie, lol.
    Hi Kathy–
    Thanks for the feedback.

  7. This is what I have at Blogger. I allow annonymous comments because of some regulars I have, but they have to type in a code similar to the one you have. The only spam I get now is an occational live person spamming me.
    Nice layout here. I like the skulls and the blood vessel and platlets. I hope there’s more than just those two rotating.
    BTW, hitting the “new ID” button deletes any message typed, so by sure to copy what you’ve written if you want a new ID.
    Hi Victoria–
    Thanks for the feedback.  Right now I have only those three rotating.

  8. Hi Mike,
    The comments come in with giant font on my computer…just sayin’
    Hi Val–
    I don’t know what to tell you.  I don’t have a clue as to why they would come through in a giant font.  I’ll ask my web guy to see if he knows any reason.  Anyone else out there know why?

  9. Oh, what I meant is that I didn’t think the skulls were unpleasant to the eye. I guess I worded that wrong uh! I don’t mind seeing them there. If anything, they say more than red blood cells, which could mean all sort of things, from Malaria infectious to cardiovascular tone. The skulls at least give the message of something ‘Paleo’ going on!
    I think I’ve seen the cave painting… but doesn’t show people eating, does it?
    Hi Gabe–
    I’ll switch your vote to the for-the-skulls column.  I don’t have any Paleo art that shows early man eating, just Paleo art showing the food.

  10. I have a few comments that might be helpful.
    1. When YOU (Dr. Eades) comment back to someone posting, there is no separation or change of the font. It would be much better if your follow-up comment was easier to see.
    2. Your caption for the email block is entitled “Mail.” I have never seen that on a web site. The term “Email” would be better, me thinks. (Even if someone pauses for a few seconds thinking “What is he asking for,” that’s not good from a webmastering perspective.
    Also, the term “will not be published.” I don’t think that is very good. I don’t know if the average person knows what that means. It means their email address will be kept private and not displayed to the public.
    Lastly, “Website,” I assume this means you are asking “If YOU (the blogger) have a personal website, you may enter it here.” That’s not self-explanatory.
    (I realize each term much be succinct, I just don’t think those terms are the best.)
    Hope this helps. I look forward to digging into your site; I have read your book.

  11. Follow-up. The term “Website” — maybe you are asking for the referring website? Hmmm… I honestly don’t know. Thus, if I don’t know, other people don’t know.
    I see that there is no blank line inserted between the date and the first line of the post. To me, it would be much better on the eye to have a blank line there. I’d bet WordPress could be configured to do that.
    Hi Bill–
    I’ve passed your suggestions (many of which I agreed with) along to my web guy.  We’ll see what happens.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

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