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frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair

Regular blog here, 'microblog' there

Many of my traditional blog post live on this site, but a great majority of my social-style posts can be found on my much-busier microbloging site at updates.passthejoe.net. It's busier because my BlogPoster "microblogging" script generates short, Twitter-style posts from the Linux or Windows (or anywhere you can run Ruby with too many Gems) command line, uploads them to the web server and send them out on my Twitter and Mastodon feeds.

I used to post to this blog via scripts and Unix/Linux utilities (curl and Unison) that helped me mirror the files locally and on the server. Since this site recently moved hosts, none of that is set up. I'm just using SFTP and SSH to write posts and manage the site.

Disqus comments are not live just yet because I'm not sure about what I'm going to do for the domain on this site. I'll probably restore the old domain at first just to have some continuity, but for now I like using the "free" domain from this site's new host, NearlyFreeSpeech.net.

Thu, 28 Apr 2011

The search box in FlatPress only searches blog titles, not full text

I just found out that the search function built into FlatPress does not look at the text of the entries but only at the titles (and possibly the tags; I’ll have to check on that one).

I know this because I was searching for an entry, and it wouldn’t come up when searching for a word I knew was in the body of the entry but not necessarily the title.

It’s not a FlatPress deal-breaker, but bloggers might want to explore the alternatives. I’ve been using the Google Custom Search box on some of my other blogs, and that works very well.

Wed, 20 Apr 2011

FlatPress revs to 0.1010.1 to fix login/authentication exploit

If you're running a FlatPress blog, keeping an eye on the main site and the forums lets you know about any potential problems with the software as well as available solutions.

That's especially the case right now as forum member pierovdfn has released a patch to one of the PHP files in FlatPress that eliminates a potential exploit in the authentication code.

FlatPress creator NowhereMan has already updated the FlatPress code and released it as 0.1010.1.

For existing FlatPress installations, applying the patch is as easy as swapping in 21 lines of PHP code. I did it this morning, and everything is working fine.

Fri, 04 Mar 2011

FlatPress tip: Enable the PostViews plugin and get a visitor-per-post count

I wondered why the official FlatPress blog shows the number of views per post, and mine did not.

The “xx views” at the end of every post is enabled by the PostViews plugin.

To enable the PostViews plugin, go to the Admin Area, click on plugins, then go down to PostViews and click enable.

The per-post counter starts when you enable the plugin.

Wed, 02 Mar 2011

FlatPress and other flat-file blogging systems

I’ve been experimenting with other flat-file blogging systems, including Blosxom and Ode.

Both Blosxom and Ode are based on Perl scripts, while FlatPress is written in PHP.

Blosxom is pretty much dead, though there are many offshoots, including the Python clone PyBlosxom, the above-mentioned Ode and more, the list of which you can see at Blosxom’s Wikipedia page.

Ode has in its favor an excellent default design/theme, its mission of teaching the user Perl (since it was developed with the now-classic “Learning Perl” O’Reilly book in mind and includes two extensively annotated extra versions of the main Perl script), good documentation and an enthusiastic and inclusive lead developer in Rob Reed (Ode has its own Twitter feed as well).

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Sat, 05 Feb 2011

You can drop a photo into a FlatPress entry from the menu

Sweet! You CAN call in a photo from the menu after you’ve uploaded it. FlatPress uses BBCode to drop it in. I’m starting to think I need to learn a whole lot more BBCode than I do, even though FlatPress responds very well to straight-up HTML.

FlatPress themes

Look at the wiki for FlatPress themes. I’m overwhelmed a bit by how many themes there are to choose from, many of which have been ported from WordPress.

Fri, 04 Feb 2011

I haven’t started working on the design for I, Debian, but I will

I’ve made a few changes here and there, but thus far I haven’t started hacking into the CSS and the templates for this FlatPress blog.

But I will.

Thu, 03 Feb 2011

A Debian blog created with FlatPress

After writing my entry on CMS and blog software that doesn’t require a database, one of the commenters recommended FlatPress.

It’s not just the name (a play on WordPress, on the off-off-off chance that you missed that particular bit of wordplay). OK, a lot of it is the name. By way of explanation, it’s called FlatPress because it stores its data in “flat” files and not in a database, such as the MySQL that powers the back end of WordPress and innumerable other content-management platforms.

But it turns out that FlatPress is a very easy-to-install blogging platform that uses PHP, stores the entries in the aforementioned flat files, runs extremely fast, takes up very little disk space (1.9 MB after the files are uncompressed, 508 KB before you unpack it) and is refreshingly simple.

Part of that simplicity at the level this particular blog is at includes entering a lot of HTML (or BBCode) tags, and it’s not as easy to bring images into the system as it is with something like WordPress. But there is an uploader in the FlatPress software, and once you know where the files go, it’s easy enough to call them into the blog with the proper tags.

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This blog is set to Universal Time

I took the offset off of the UTC so this blog reflects when the entries were created in Universal Time.

FlatPress facts

Edoardo Vacchi is the coder behind FlatPress, which is under the GNU GPLv2 License.

Edoardo does request donations, with a PayPal link on the FlatPress home page. I did make a donation — the first screen is in Italian, and the currency is euros. But once you enter the amount in euros you wish to donate and the enter your PayPal password, things magically turn into your own language (English in my case).

Thanks, Edoardo, for hacking on such a cool project.

When I get the time I’m going to start hacking into the code and customizing this particular FlatPress blog. I’ve tentatively decided to offer one entry three entries per page, and that works quite well both in WordPress and FlatPress because there are links at the bottom of the entry to easily go from one page worth of entries to the other. Kind of like paging through a book, no?

I’m always torn about how many entries to include in a blog index. Most, including my own, seem to go on much too long.