Testing out a new Facebook app 1

JISHOU, HUNAN — As often happens in the land of open source applications, the developer who created Wordbooker has abandoned the project. So, now I’m trying a new WordPress plugin called Facebook Auto Publish. If you can see this post, it’s working. Wordbooker allowed me to automatically post from this blog to my Facebook timeline, but occasionally it would fail because FB would require re-authorization of the app, or FB would change its APIs, breaking the feed. Facebook Auto Publish promises to do the same thing. I have just set it up. So here goes! — Twenty-five minutes later, I believe I have it working right. We’ll see if it takes this update and pushes it to Facebook.

Site was down for a while

JISHOU, HUNAN — Spammers or hackers were attacking all the WordPress sites hosted at Planet Earth Hosting over the weekend, at least on the server this sites shares, so our hosts shut us all down until they could resolve the issue. So, if you tried to access Wheat-Dogg’s World recently, you probably got nothing at all. Even the DNS entries were coming up blank. But all seems OK now. We are back in operation. The hackers or spammers were apparently hitting the login page for WordPress, trying to gain access to the WP sites on the server. Earlier versions of WP may have had a vulnerability they were trying to exploit, but this site is up to date. The shutdown was frustrating, because there was nothing I could do about it, and I had blogs in mind to post over the weekend, which was when I had time to write. Now classes have started, so you’ll just have to wait a few more days.

The new Wheat-dogg’s World 2

JISHOU, HUNAN — Same old stuff in a bright, new package! While rebuilding the site this afternoon was a pain in the butt, considering all the other things on my To-Do list, the result is quite pleasing, if I do say so myself. The most noticeable change is the new theme, called Montezuma, created by the same shop that made the last theme, Atahualpa. I’ve moved from a three-column format to a two-column design, but may return to three-columns in the future. A few plugins have changed. The weather plugin I had before was eight years old, and I’ve switched to a new one developed by Weather Underground. For social networking, I’ve switched to the AddThis plugin, which offers the usual social media, as well two of the most popular social networks in China, Sina Weibo and Qzone. WPTouch should be offering a mobile-ready site to mobile users, as before. Wordbooker, which links my Facebook status and the blog, may or may not be working. The webserver seems to be blocking some curl_exec functions. Given the situation I was left in this week, with a demolished site and no decent backups, I’ve added a new plugin, UpDraft, which will automatically ...

Back in business again

JISHOU, HUNAN — I took about 10 days off from blogging, focusing on school work and planning for a short junket to Guangzhou on the 15th to 17th. When I got around to blogging about the trip, I discovered my site was G-O-N-E. Vanished. Desaparecido. Nearly all the files in my public_html directory were missing. I was hacked big time! Not only that, my webhosts backup server had also had problems, so they had no backups of the files. On the bright side, the databases were untouched, so rebuilding the site is not a big deal. Just a nuisance. Thanks so fucking much, Mr Hacker Dude. It’s not like I have anything else to do this afternoon. So, depending on when you visit this site, it may look different than before. I am considering changing to another theme, but for right now it’s the same look as before. I need to re-enable the plugins I had running, and take care of a few other cosmetic items first. Other than that, I’m fine. How’s your day going?

WordPress to Facebook feed working again, but for how long?

JISHOU, HUNAN — There’s a new plugin for WordPress — Wordbooker — that once again restores the connection I had between my blog and my Facebook timeline, at least until the wonks at FB change their code again. A previous plugin just stopped working, so I resorted to a kludge: automatically tweet my posts, using a functional WordPress plugin, and link my Twitter feed to my Facebook status. This worked fine, but also meant anytime I (rarely) tweeted, those tweets would end up on FB, puzzling anyone who was not following that particular Twitter thread. Wordbooker solves the problem, so I’ve turned off the Twitter-to-FB feed. The new plugin may also make it possible to once again transfer comments between FB and the blog, a neat function that another obsoleted plugin had provided. The kludge also tended to post random images in my Facebook timeline if there was none in the post: the Akismet graphic and the TigerDirect sales logo in the righthand sidebar, for example. Those thankfully have gone away, making the feed look somewhat more professional.

Facebook comments fix on the fritz 4

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY — I bragged awhile ago that I finally had a plugin that would automatically post Facebook comments to my cross-posted entries here on the blog. Thanks to the wizards at Facebook (may they forever rotate in a rotisserie), the plugin stopped working about two weeks ago. The developer is working on a fix to the plugin, but knowing FB’s habitual tweaking of, well, everything, the code will need to be revised — again — in the near future. Grumble, grumble.

Facebook Comments problem solved! 6

JISHOU, HUNAN — A while ago, I linked this blog to my Facebook account. My posts here are automatically imported into my FB Notes. Once upon a time, I had another plugin that extracted comments to the imported Notes from FB back here. But it stopped working, and its developer gave up working on it. But another developer stepped in to restore the functionality. Facebook Comments TNG works! I installed it just now, and it pulled comments from FB perfectly. Now, I may have to go through them and edit out duplicates, but that’s a minor irritation compared to having to manually copy-and-paste FB comments myself.

Testing a mobile-friendly plugin; feedback needed 3

JISHOU, HUNAN — I’m trying to make my blog more mobile-phone friendly, so I’m trying out the WPTap Mobile Detector plugin for WordPress. It’s supposed to detect a mobile-phone browser and automatically switch to a mobile-friendly theme (Carrington Mobile, in my case). I’ve tested it with Opera Mini on my Nokia e63, and it does just what I want. But I’ve had less success with the built-in Nokia browser, which insists on using the site’s default theme for computer-based browsers. What I need is folks with iPhones, iPads, Blackberries, Palms, Windows smartphones and Android smartphones to visit my site and tell me what you see. You should see something like this. Please leave a comment using your phone by clicking on this post’s headline, and scrolling to the bottom of the page. Or, if that doesn’t work, visit the site with your computer and comment, or comment in Facebook Notes. Thanks!

Some housekeeping chores finished

JISHOU, HUNAN — Website maintenance is a pain, but at least WordPress makes it easy to do. A few weeks ago, I upgraded to the most recent version of WP, using the automatic update feature. This latest version is reportedly more secure and quicker loading. I had only one glitch that I only discovered yesterday: the archives plugin (in the left sidebar, click on “Archives by Title”) was not working with the new WP version. Installing the latest version of the plugin (SmartArchives) and making one change in the HTML for that page removed the glitch. Today I upgraded to the latest version of the Atahualpa theme I use. This new version has an admin page that tweaks every single setting of the theme. As I discovered, if you don’t visit the admin page and start saving settings, your blog will be virtually blank. I’ve got it about 97% done, enough that the site looks much the same as it did yesterday. I still want to enlarge the post headline font size and make the header area a bit better looking, but those can wait for now. As for my activity in the real world, I’m halfway through a week-long ...

WP-mail fail 1

JISHOU, HUNAN — Whilst traveling last week, I tried sending posts from my phone to the blog, with less than wonderful results. Don’t get me wrong, the wp-mail.php script is a great feature of WordPress. You set up a secret email account, point WP to check the account, and it will take plaintext messages and post them on your blog. It didn’t work so smoothly for me, though. First, my account with China Mobile doesn’t seem to have email services, but I can send multimedia messages. When I tried that with WordPress, it just took the MIME portion of the message and printed it as ASCII gobbledegook. So, I took the same message and sent it first to Gmail, which did display the text. But forwarding that message without the MIME attachment to WP just resulted in a blank post. In the end, I had to use a browser to post the blogs. Clearly, I need to enable email services on my mobile account. It will make blogging while traveling a little more spontaneous.

Should I join the Twitter crowd?

JISHOU, HUNAN — Since I am all into this Web 2.0 shtick, a few months ago I signed up for a Twitter account. Then I did nothing with it. Until today. Twitter is great if you have mobile Web access. I was using a prepaid T-mobile account in the USA, and we prepaid peons get no Web joy from T-mobile. My situation is not much better here in China: no Web access, but for some odd reason I can send MMS emails out, but not receive emails. Well, it seemed to me that if Twitter is such hot stuff, it would allow you tweet using email. As if. Twitter.com has no such service in place, though it seems painfully easy to implement. A quick Google search turned up a third-party solution: twittermail.com. Twittermail gives you a secret email address. When you send a message to that addy, it automatically becomes a tweet. I tried it, and it works! Whether I actually use the service to tweet now remains to be seen, but at least I know I can do it when I want to, from anywhere in China. (China Mobile service is pretty universal here.) Then I got to thinking. ...

Crossposting WordPress posts to MySpace 5

JISHOU, HUNAN — Before I upgraded WordPress and trashed my MySpace layout overlay, I had a WP plugin that automatically inserted my posts into my MySpace page. That plugin, MySpace Crossposter, doesn’t work anymore. The new code in WP 2.6 effectively killed it, and its developer (it seems) is not maintaining the plugin anymore. What to do? I rarely visit MySpace. I’m more a Facebook man. But I would like to advertise this blog on MySpace to get more readers, so I needed a replacement for the outmoded plugin. The solution is easy. Use a widget to grab your WP blog’s (or any) RSS feed and insert it into your MySpace profile. I found a nice little news feed widget at SpringWidgets. Enter your blog’s RSS feed URL, customize the look of the widget, then copy and paste the code into your MySpace profile. No plugin woes! Here’s what it looks like.
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