October 22, 2005

Digest::MD5 Problems

Out of the blue (it seemed) I started to have problems with my Movable Type installation, with the error messages appearing in connection with the marvellous Markdown plugin and when trying to update a template or rebuild the site all indicating the MT application was not able to access the Digest::MD5 Perl module.

Via support consultation with our great hosting company Openhosting, it turned out that the server on which brokenenglish is hosted was recently upgraded, and some problems connected with Perl module compatibility were being experienced.

Trawling the Movable Type Support Forums and googling around, I eventually located a Digest::MD5 package put together back in 2001 by Ben Trott of Ben and Mena, Movable Type’s illustrious founders and owners. After unpacking this, I uploaded just the Perl directory inside it into my MT > extlib > Digest directory within the MT installation, which (obviously) already existed inside extlib, and only contained a single MD5.pm file. After uploading the Perl dir from Ben Trott’s archive, this was added inside the Digest dir, and itself contained a second md5.pm file. Once done, eveything returned to normal with my Movable Type installation.

This rather garbled report may help others experiencing a similar error, which appears to be fairly widespread.

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Posted by Iain Stewart at 1:53 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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June 4, 2005

Google Sitemaps and Movable Type

Niall Kennedy shows how amazingly easy it is to make a Google sitemap for your Movable Type blog.

Niall’s sitemap template and his clear instructions demonstrate the massive advantages of having a site run under a content system like Movable Type when it comes to outputting any new XML or HTML formats. To do this in an unmanaged yet content-rich site could prove daunting, putting it mildly. With the potential Google Sitemaps have to tell the Google spider every page you want it to index, and when it should come and re-index new or updated content, you can bet any SEO experts and addicts worth their salt will get their own and clients’ sites sitemapped-up no matter how tedious the process. But the cool 30 second answer provided by Niall must surely further enhance Movable Type’s allure as a site-wide management platform in the commercial web space, way out ‘beyond the blog’. After all, when Push comes to Pull, better shove than get pulled any time, en’t it?

Posted by Iain Stewart at 4:02 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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May 18, 2005

Killer Plugins of the Spam Wars

Drowning in the neverending tsunami of comment and trackback spam, I was at the point of reaching out with my dying breath through the online-poker-infested, phentermine-polluted foamy flood towards the trackback/comments OFF switch of ignominious surrender, when the [aquatic disaster] cavalry at last arrived in the heroic form of legendary pluginmeister Brad Choate wielding his glittering Weapon of Mass Spam Destruction (WMSD), the modestly named SpamLookup.

Seamlessly linking up with my trusty but increasingly battered trackback minder MT-Moderate and further taking on board MT3’s ever-solid platoon of comment moderation options, SpamLookup leapt into savage action against the unhealthy horde of page-rank-crazed comment and ping usurpers already piling up for moderation at the gates of publication.

The result of adding SpamLookup to MT-Moderate is, amazingly, the virtual overnight disappearence of all trackback and comment spam from the site.

Happy? Yo. I am de.ler.ious - really.

Posted by Iain Stewart at 2:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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May 5, 2005

MTBlogroll Up and Running

Arvind Satyanarayan’s great MTBlogroll 2.01 for Movable Type has now been tweaked to work on Windows servers, and is consequently the force behind the new categorised, xfnified and generally revitalised Blogroll in the right column of the brokenenglish home page.

Posted by Iain Stewart at 9:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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February 25, 2005

MT-Moderate 1.1.1 (for Windows!)

Chad Everett has thankfully got the much-needed Movable Type plugin MT-Moderate to work on Windows servers, with just a little graciously-acknowledged help from Windows-hosted blogs like Kate’s and here at Brokenenglish.

The biggest thing about MT-Moderate is that it at last provides a wall of defence against those pestilent spammers who plot to hawk their tacky wares via Trackbacks, something you might have thought Movable Type would have provided by default, as they have for moderating comments, seeing as how they were the one’s who really pushed the trackback as a crucial element of the blogging experience.

So now thanks to Chad, as well as moderating comments, we will also be moderating trackbacks - which in practical terms means the slightest of delays before any kosher trackbacks, like any kosher comments, appear on the site.

This may perhaps seem a rather stupid move for a site so patently in need of a great deal more of both.

But it must be better (mustn’t it?) than the endless fervent promotions for Texas Hold’em Poker and weird sex drugs we get bombarded with as though we were comment/trackback billionaires on a Page-Ranking par with the likes of Glenn Reynolds or, on a good trackbacking day for her bowel movements, the delightful Heather Armstrong. I suppose.

Whatever, it was great seeing up close just how hard and fast a plugin guru like Chad works to get an update like MT-Moderate 1.1.1 out of budding beta and into blossom, notwithstanding the vague after-taste of shame those of us on Windows servers are left with in the wake of such brief encounters with the geek-cool, mod_rewritten, Apache-happy world of A-list blog developers - and which only a quick visit to Scoble can help to wash away.

Posted by Iain Stewart at 10:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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January 30, 2005

Blogging from the Desktop

A first post using MT Client 1.60 - so am now blogging straight from the desktop.Came upon the program first via the MT Wiki, then, having learnt a degree of caution with the onset of old age, checked it out at a good overview/test of available Blog Clients (mainly for Movable Type) carried out by the delightfully-named ohfuckingwell blog, I took the plunge and..here we are.

First take - pros: very easy set up; great to have a MS Word-like spell-checker; plonks the whole of the MT entry interface on to the desktop, customised as desired; imports all your categories and different blogs from each domain specified; has a UK English as well as US English dictionary, plus a Custom dictionary you can add to; and there’s a useful online forum. Also basic HTML formatting, link-insertion, entities insertion for accented characters etc., and a good deal more I haven’t yet looked into.Cons - no visible Help system (not that its really all that necessary) and no Preview function (which I understand is planned for the first public release - this is a late Beta version I’ve got). Generally speaking: great! Oh, and its all free, which is nice.

Further reports as usage dictates.

Posted by Iain Stewart at 3:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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December 2, 2004

Database disaster (again)

Out of the blue MT ceased to function on the server where it had been happily hosted for well over a year, forcing a complete site relocation to another server, which was carried out with only one minor error - the loss of the mySQL database.

I had backed up the entire site in anticipation of disaster, and have now been working my way through the MT Disaster Recovery program as finely summarised here, but it is so fraught with trial and error that a rethink makes one wonder whether any of the ‘lost’ site deserves recuperation. In the meantime, the templates and stylesheet have been reinstalled and are at this very moment under test.

Posted by Iain Stewart at 9:08 PM | Comments (0)
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