Category: General

Feedburner and b2evolution

Those of you out there using b2evolution might be interested to know what I did to enable Feedburner on b2evolution.  The key thing was to redirect all RSS feeds from any reader to my Feedburner site.  Changing the physical site links was easy and required some code tweaks, the harder part was modifying the system so that existing subscribers would transparently move to Feedburner.  To enable this, I had to use a custom .htaccess to force apache to redirect all RSS requests to feedburner.  Note, that I used basic instructions Feedburner provided in their help section, but had to extend upon it.  As an FYI, the basic URL to access b2evolution RSS feeds is as follows: http://yourblogurl/index.php?tempskin=_xxx where xxx equals rss, rss2 or Atom.  Here is the basic syntax:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} !FeedBurner
RewriteCond %{Query_String} ^tempskin=_rss2
RewriteRule .* http://feeds.feedburner.com/myFeed? [R,L] 

Here is a summary of what is going on. First, we turn on the rewrite engine in Apache.  Second, we check the URL to ensure that the incoming request is not from Feedburner.  Third, we check to see if the querystring "tempskin" exists with one of the RSS values.  Finally, I redirect to feedburner.  Note that I repeat the code (excluding RewriteEngine On) for the _rss and _Atom feed types.  So far this works perfectly.

I am not an Apache guru so if anyone has any suggestions for enhancements, let me know.

Blogger

I have a friend who runs a blog on blogger.  She was having some issues with her posts and asked for my help.  The problem was that she wanted to embed a podcast and wanted to do some advanced formatting.  I created a blogger account and logged in and was horrified to see how rudimentary the compose interface is.

There seems to be minimal WYSIWYG functionality in there and so advanced formatting requires html knowledge!  Yecchhh, don’t get me wrong, I understand and can code in HTML, but I see no reason why I should waste my time doing so just for a blog.  All my current blog applications support rich HTML interfaces using TinyMCE. (I am referring to b2evolution and self hosted wordpress)

The other problem is that there is no way to easily host an MP3 file there.  Both my current apps provide a simple way to upload files and then link to them in a post.  There is only limited ability to do this in blogger.

In the end, I had to create a google website for her to host her documents and then had to create a hyperlink to that URL.  This was very doable since I understand the web, but for her was very difficult.

In short, I just do not understand blogger.  It is meant to be a simple
and cost effective solution for people who just want to blog, but
the interface is anything but simple.  It appears that the only people who can really take advantage of it are more web savvy folks which contradicts the premise in my opinion.

Does anyone else have any thoughts about blogger?  Am I missing something obvious here?

New RSS Feed

I have just migrated to Feedburner for my RSS feeds.  In order to smooth the transition, I have implemented server based redirects so all existing feeds should work properly with no change.  If you experience problems, I suggest that you re-subscribe using the RSS urls.

Finally, I also just realized that my RSS feeds only included the title of the articles.  This has been fixed and now the RSS feed will include the complete content of each article.

Feel free to commment with any problems and/or issues.

Computer Error Messages

I recently ran into this article that highlights 13 of the most common computer error messages throughout history.  This is a great article that talks about numerous errors that I am sure many of my readers have seen over the years.  Here are a couple of my favorites:

  • "lp0 on fire" –  lp0 refers to a printer port in Unix/Linux and this message is suggesting that the printer is on fire!  How great of an error message is that?
  • "Does not compute" –

There were a number of good additions in the comments.  Some of my favorites from there include:

  • "Keyboard error, press F1 to continue"
  • "You don’t exist go away" 
  • “Installation failed. Something is wrong. Find out what it is, fix it, and try again”

I highly recommend that you check this out.

Limo Liner

I periodically travel for work and recently had a trip to NYC come up.  The interesting challenge with NYC is that it is one of those trips that is on the edge of travel options.  That is, you could drive, fly, take the train or a bus.  I have tried all of the first 3 options with mixed results, and this time, I decided to try the bus.  I know, you are problem thinking some dumpy gross bus (Fung Wah anyone? :-)).  Nope, I decided to try something completely different and took the Limo Liner. This is like no bus I have ever been on before. It is fully equipped with power jacks in each seat, WiFi, leather seats and a dedicated cellular repeater to ensure continued cell coverage!

I am now cruising to NYC and blogging away.  I have to say that this thing is fantastic!  Much less of a hassle than flying and much more comfortable.  The good news is that it drops you off right in the middle of downtown at the NY Hilton.  I give this a thumbs up and highly recommend it to people looking for a convenient way to get toNYC without the hassle of long airport lines, frequent train stops or driving yourself.