Goodbye blogrolling.com

I must admit that back in the days, blogrolling.com was a relief to an emerging community of bloggers. With a minimalistic interface and fairly good documentation, it was the only thing needed for managing links. However, things has changed recently and this dear and near service is no longer favored amongst weblogger due to frequent down times and slow service that it offers.
I’ve been looking for a replacement for a while and took a couple of different approaches. Though due to the fact that Kathy’s weblog was using MovableType and it’s a perl based system I couldn’t go very far. This was the story till recently I ported Kathy’s weblog to WordPress with internal link management feature built into it. However, this was not a complete alternative to blogrolling.com as it didn’t update the links automatically (later on I learned WordPress has built-in support for an in-house update tracking system called Pingomatic). The piece that completed the puzzle was a plug-in called WordPress Blogroll Update Plus which adds the updating to blogroll feature of WordPress. It has a fairly simple installation (as it’s the case with the rest of WP plugins) and just a handful of configuration options.
I’ve installed it on Kathy’s weblog and am waiting to see how it works. I’ll keep you posted.

Heck of a day!

I was talking to my little sister on Yahoo when suddenly thought it would be nice to set up a website for her on my hosting. She’s been blogging for a while on wordpress.com and from what I see, she’s into it and will continue (not like me that post one blog every few months). So started by getting the domain and then setting up the dns servers, accommodating the new site on my hosting space, setting up wordpress on her new web site, importing the entries from her old weblog ….

Then one of our friends called and asked for a lift. She was locked out and her husband wouldn’t return till midnight. Not shaved for two days – one of the good/bad things about working from home – I had to shower and shave in 5 minutes and be there ASAP as the temperature was dropping sharply.

Later in the night, before going to bed, I suddenly thought, well, if my sister can go to wordpress why not Kathy. I tried to toss away the thought for a while but didn’t work so I started by installing wordpress on one of the spare domains and then trying to set up everything – which I should say is nothing compared to the torturous process of setting up MovableType (hey, Mena, are you listening?). And then found the Persian translation – which is one of the better Persian translations I’ve seen so far – then the luxurious process of choosing a template and uploading it – thanks to Ali – time came for my all time favorite, dealing with exporting entries from MovableType. It wasn’t working simply. I couldn’t export the entries thanks to 36000 spam comments and close to 15000 pings. I tried it a couple of time with no luck and then I gave up as it was 4:15 in the morning and I had to prepare for a kick-off meeting for the morning.

To make a long story short, it took 4 precious hours to export those 1200 posts with 9000 comments into wordpress but the result was well worth it.

This afternoon, when showed the new wordpress admin pages – don’t forget the Persian translation – to Kathy and got the positive node from her (she’s one of the harshest critics of overly complex software) I knew that this one is coming to stay for a long time thanks to those overzealous fellas doing WordPress.

So ladies and gentlemen please put your hand together for our beloved WordPress.

Joost, IP tv?

I stumbled upon joost tonight while surfing the Net. The TV over IP or IP TV has been in spot light for a long time. Here in Toronto Bell started the buzz almost two years ago but so far, it’s been only smoke and light and no word on when it might be out and now it seems the wait is over.

The way it works is through a software with a fairly good UI. The quality of the shows are fairly good although it flickers some times and in a couple of cases, sound and image were not synched. I couldn’t find the shows I wanted but it’s an unrealistic expectation from something free to compete with good old TV. However, the day has already come for cable companies to feel a real competition.

Bottom line, joost is only the tip of the iceberg in this market and with cowboys like Google, it won’t be far when we see some real TV on the Net.

Cirque du Soleil

Had heard about infamous Cirque for years both here in Canada and back home in Iran I was more than eager to see one of their performances but my options were not so much. Either waiting here for them to come up with a new tour or take the hassle of a trip to Vegas which naturally I chose waiting for a new tour and that wait came to an end yesterday.

I originally planned it with a visiting friend but he being busy all the time with tons of post ponded stuff and I with my assignment at the time it didn’t happen. We even scheduled for it and started spamming each other with emails about when and how to go and what they can do to their kid but it died away on the way and we didn’t revisit the idea till they left for Iran last week so I decided I didn’t want to wait any longer and bought the tickets for the past Saturday.

Finding a good sit was another story, checking their web site, the seating chart was giving a false impression of a huge venue which made any seat other than directly in front of the stage worthless but not being an early bird made it extremely difficult to find a seat in front row so I settled with the next best and chose one in a slightly cornered section still with a good view of the stage and I’m glad I made that decision!

Show started on time with a couple of performers doing some kind of audience warm up here and there like the delivery guy looking for Mr. Ferguson and the balloon guy cheering up kids and then the main show started.

To make it short, it was a good presentation of a mediocre program. Not to undermine their efforts but I’d expected something more, something that lives up to the name of the Cirque and they had their share of hiccups here and there like they canceled part of the show due to “technical difficulties”. This said, however, their Circle of Death was one spectacular act which made the audience excited and terrified at the same time.

Bottom line is, Kooz, if only because of that Circle of Death was worth the 200 bucks we paid for that but I’d seen better shows in less glamorous presentations but it’s still Cirque du Soleil.

Songbird

songbirdmail.gifI found Songbird a while ago while hanging around on the Net. It’s a browser/media player/ media download manager developed on Mozilla’s Firefox engine. With a long list of features and the reputation of Firefox, it’s going to be another good open source software.

Good morning Dr. Chandra!

Well, I dunno if I’m going to write here frequently or just leave it alone for another two centuries but I’m here for now. Things have changed a little bit around here, the most obvious one is moving to WordPress. I’ve been playing with Joomla and MovableType for a while. Joomla was an overkill for what I needed and MovableType is horribly difficult to use (all right, no offense to Mena fans, but it is).

So far WordPress has been charming and welcoming to me and I hope it continues treating me like this. Set up was easy, adding a new theme even easier and adding a web gallery in a snap, what else I need? but never know, it can be just the starter luck …