Just My Nerdiness

Keep Your WordPress Blog Running Smoothly and Reliably

This post is might sound over the head of your average WordPress blogger but trust me, if you can click a mouse, you can turn your sluggish and bloated WordPress into the lean and reliable blog you’ve always wanted.

If you have a WordPress blog with a few years on it, there is a good chance that you have a messy database. Every theme, plugin or tool you add to your WordPress installation can leave behind a unhealthy handful of orphan database entries.

Ironically, often times these orphan entries come from a plugin or theme you have removed in an effort to speed up your blog. Sadly, many themes and plugins don’t leave your blog as clean as they found it. Sometimes these orphan entries come from theme and plugin updates or even blog settings and customizations.
Database Edits

Just today I did a cleaning of my blog which resulted in my database shrinking by 11.3 megabytes, a decrease of over 50%. This removed 4,122 orphan entries in my database. To accomplish this I used two must have plugins. Keep on reading…

Griffin Simplifi Dock

When I got my iPhone 3G, I was a little bit annoyed that it didn’t come with a dock. Really Apple? No dock?

To get the dock you had to pay an addition $29. Not for me, no thanks. If I’m going to have to pay for a dock it either be really cheap or do more than hold my phone, am I right?!

Enter the Griffin Simplifi Dock

It’s $69, fun number, but I got mine for $39 at Amazon.com. Have I told you lately, that I love Amazon.com?

What is the Griffin Simplifi Dock? It syncs any iPod/iPhone ever made in it’s dock (original iPod Shuffle uses the USB hub in the rear) while reading xD, SD/SDHC, Memory Stick/Pro and Compact Flash. That’s a lot.

So it syncs your iPhone, adds two USB ports and let’s you take pics off your digital camera’s memory cards! All that for $69/39?! That’s really a steal.

Mine came in today.

So how about it. The build quality, like any Griffin product, is stellar. The dock is heavy, the rubber pad below it keeps it stuck to the desk when you push in a memory card and it comes with all the dock adapters you’d ever need.

Oops, wait. Unless you have an iPhone 3G. Yep. It’s advertised for something for which it doesn’t have a dock adapter. You can buy one for $1.99… plus $6 in shipping. Well, it works with the original iPhone dock adapter.

I’ll stick with that. Though the 3G adapter will be a bit sturdier.

It’s a great dock, I love it for that. However, when syncing with Aperture, it took a good bit longer to get my 10.2mp NEF files from my SDHC card. Significantly longer. But, then again, it always takes a while to import 1-4gb of photos into Aperture so maybe it isn’t so bad. Definitely better than having to unplug things to get my card adapter into the back of my computer!

I really should run some tests comparing speeds of syncs and taking data off the cards. If anyone shows interest, I’ll do it otherwise… In the end it gets a solid B+. It’d be an A/A+ if they included the dock adapter for the iPhone 3G and if were a bit faster.

Bottom line?  If you have an iPod/iPhone and a digital camera, you should, must buy this dock.  Consider the two extra USB ports the cherry on top!

Get Zemified! with Zemanta

Image representing Zemanta as depicted in Crun...

Image by Zemanta via CrunchBase

I have written about the wonderful plugin Zemanta before on my blog.  It has become, by far, the most used and useful plugin when writing a post, period.

Just as I wrote the last time, Zemanta takes information from your posts and creates relevant links, tags and even embeds pertinent images.

With the newest release of Zemanta you can customize the sources of information by importing your Twitter stream, an OMPL file from your favorite RSS feed aggregator, MyBlogLog or a specific website.

So far, after setting up my Zemanta with these preferences, I haven’t noticed much of a change, however, I will keep a close eye to see how these changes affect my posts.

Some changes I would like to see would be multiple images, multiple image sizes, adding your own links as a suggestion (follow the Zemanta write up on self embedded links) and YouTube video/Google Maps embedding instead of just linking.

I would prefer to click a suggested link to select the source instead of hovering, on a laptop with a touch sensitive track pad, it can be a pain.  I have also noticed that I quite often the top two links are exactly the same and I miss the ability to add all the suggested links and tags.

Adding the social networking to Zemanta is a great idea and well implemented, so far as I can see.  I look forward to actually seeing my OMPL feeds show up as suggestions.

Overall Zemanta has increased my sites’ visibility and usability and I recommend it to everyone.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

iPhone 2.0.1 on 1G iPhone

Tried to update my first generation iPhone to the new firmware 2.0.1. Didn’t work out so well…

Anyone know what an error (-19) is? Frustrating indeed.

UPDATE:
Seems to be that restoring the iPhone to 2.0 and then doing the 2.0.1 update works.  A step you should not have to take but a solution none-the-less.  Now to make this one a pay-as-you-go phone…  Should I pwnage jailbreak it and put it on t-mobile?  Do they have better no-contract plans?

UPDATE:
Can’t seem to get it to jailbreak.  Ideas?  I was using PwnageTool 2.0.2, said it failed.  I guess I need to know where the iPhone 2.0.1 firmware is on my computer and I need the bootloader files… which I don’t have and can’t find.  Hmmm, is T-Mobile’s network even worth the work or should I just GoPhone it?

Zemanta Pixie

Front Row to Play Second Fiddle

Apple’s answer to Microsoft’s Media Center came with the release of OSX Tiger in 2004.  Using your Apple Remote, users could control anything in their iTunes Music Library.  The core animations built into OSX created a beautiful, smooth and friendly interface.  Unlike Media Center, Front Row would only show media it could play.  The caveat being it could only play a small number of media formats and no web media.

Front Row 2.0 added some GUI improvements and YouTube integration but little else, though it was already a polished product no one really knew something was missing.

Now we have example of what Front Row show be and they come in the form of Center State and Boxee.  These programs run on Apple computers running Leopard and Boxee also runs on Linux, sorry Microsoft.  You have plenty of other viable options however.

Both of these programs take over for front row and both have incredible features that neither Front Row nor Media Center can claim.

Center Stage is available for download on their site.  It sports a slick interface with stunning transitions as you move through the levels of your media.


CenterStage UI Demo from Gizmodo on Vimeo.

You really must go to their main page and watch the demo videos to experience how beautiful the system is.

I’m a Boxee alpha user and got a chance to try out their software today. Installation was a breeze, took just a few minutes and 75mb of space.

Installed boxee

I logged in with my Boxee username and was in with no delay.  Typing was a little confusing, you had to select the box you wanted and then press enter, then type your username and then press enter again.  Seems like selecting the box would be enough.

BOXEE

Boxee didn’t pick up any videos it could read off my Macbook Pro.  Not surprised as it cannot read DRM’d media from iTunes.  Unfortunately for me, nearly all of my media, at least 90% of my video, comes from the iTunes Music Store so, unless it’s a DRM free video from ITMS, it doesn’t show up.  Damn the DRM.  Once Apple finally releases their ITMS of music/video DRM, I wonder if these old files will be unlocked as well.  Doubt it.

Anyways, my music did show up, and I got to playing around.  Logged into my Last.fm account and started scrobbling.  Great, seamless integration.  Unfortunately your password is not character protected.  As you type it in, the letters pop up on the screen.  So instead of ******** you see password.  This does not happen when you log into your Boxee account on the login screen.

BOXEE Running

There are lots of settings to play around with though most don’t make too much of a difference; it comes out quite nicely straight from the box.  Navigation with a keyboard is difficult and confusing.  It is often hard to tell where you are and how to get out.  I was playing a Will Young CD, recommended it to two people on Boxee and then tried to get back to the main menu.

It took probably ten tries on the keyboard.  Then, duh, pulled out the Apple Remote, worked like a charm.

As it stands right now, both of these programs whip Front Row’s ass.  They offer a unique set of features such as auto IMDB lookup, a social network where you can recommend media to friends and a wide array of supported media formats.

I love the social networking aspect of Boxee and the fun experience it has plus the slick interface but navigation and some security holes need to be checked out before it’s a solid product.  Of course, this is alpha, not even beta so I say, good job Boxee.

Center Stage wins with the interface, beautiful albeit, a little slow compared to Boxee and not as inviting; the Now Playing in Center Stage fabulous.  No social networking hurts it’s adoption.

Bottom line, check out both of these projects.  I look forward to seeing them come to fruition.  Competition builds improvement!

Zemanta Pixie

Tethering iPhone with Netshare

The App Store Icon

If you were one of the lucky ones, you picked up a copy of Netshare while it was in the iTunes store.  Its status with the iTunes App Store has been under scrutiny what with it coming and going willy nilly.  Thanks to Nick Starr I caught it on one of its short lived moments in the App Store.

But if you did get it going, I highly recommend you hit up Apple Insider for a step by step guide to setting up Netshare with your iPhone. This of course allows you to hop on the internet with your just you laptop (ideally) and your iPhone.  To my knowledge, no one knows what AT&T will do about this.  They claim you cannot tether the iPhone and use it’s unlimited data plan at a $30/m savings to their regular data plan.

It gets really complicated as each application has to be reviewed by Apple before they are put into the wild for users to download.  Secondly this app costs $9.99 which means if they disable it, customers would demand a refund… Thirdly, Apple will technically have benefited from this app which AT&T might claim to be illegal under their contract.  Apple just renewed their exclusivity contract with AT&T through 2010.

Basically I’m thinking, use are your own risk!

I was hanging out at Diedrich Coffee today and thought I’d give it a try.

It took quite a few tries to get it going using the Netshare’s built-in instructions but Apple Insider’s tips were great and I had it up and running in no time.  And it works.  The speeds aren’t what I get on my Verizon card but in a pinch, 900kbps isn’t so bad.

Yeah so Netshare works pretty darn good, only one thing.  When I did an IP trace on the address assigned by AT&T, I got some interesting results.

It says the IP is coming from AT&T but it’s coming from the United Kingdom.  Not sure what that’s about but I’d be interested to see what other people are getting for their IP address when tethered to their iPhone.

Zemanta Pixie

I Wanna Be Popular

I began blogging back in 2002 using the site Xanga.  I thought it was the coolest thing in the world and the community behind it was pretty great.  I even paid the $25/yr to get Xanga Premium, and paid for a few friends just to keep them blogging.  It was a pretty sad state, in high school and into college and stuck on Xanga.

It wasn’t long into my college career that I decided to make the move to something a little more powerful.  MoveableType was the answer to my prayers.  For the first time, I was in control of what I wrote, how it was presented and I didn’t even have to pay for it.  I had tried LiveJournal (yuck) and Blogger (not bad but kinda boring) but there was something about another company potentially owning my material, or being able to shut me down, that bothered me.

As I began to grow my blog and needed more flexibility, and when TypePad started to want to charge me for features I used to get for free, I began another search for a great blogging platform.  That is when I was introduced to WordPress, which had only recently changed from b2.

Moving my site over from MoveableType was supposed to be really easy but I was new to the whole MySQL thing and, well I deleted most of my posts, possibly all of them.

Back when my blog first started, I was afraid of people reading it.  Now, my friends and dorm mates all knew the address and read the blog, but anyone outside of that; well that made me quite nervous.  My father had recently gotten a new job in a high position with a boss would was very much against homosexuality and if they found my blog, he could lose his job.  Or so my brother convinced me.

Heck, my family didn’t know I was gay, I wasn’t really out to them; and that’s even a little iffy these days.  But I was terrified that a professor or a family member would find the site and I’d be done with.  So I kept the blog as a subdomain of my main site, Soundwise.  I haven’t updated Soundwise since, oops.

It wasn’t until I moved to California that I felt comfortable with a blog that had its very own domain, and it even had my name in it.  But that was the trick, if someone asked me, “I hear you have a site/blog, what’s the address?”

I would simply respond, “Oh, yes!  The address is really simple, it’s just justin dot com.”

They would go, “awesome, I’ll have to check that out”

Clickity clackity, www.justin.com

Booyah, tricked.  Now, if I wanted them to make it to my site I’d just say, “Oh yeah! just go to www.itsjustjustin.com

Now-a-days I don’t worry so much.  I am more or less completely out to my family and no longer have skeletons in my closet to worry about.  I have made myself public and in many ways that is incredibly freeing.

Not only have I found a way to release stress and tell a story; I’ve found a new way to making friends.  In the past two months I have made so many incredible friends through blogging and through one guy in particular, Jester from Jestertunes.com.

Here’s a quick list of bloggers I have recently befriended or have been inspired by their site…

Winterheart/Sunlight Sucks
ToriBlaine
Jestertunes
UncleMonkeyBoy
Blogography
Down With Pants!
Socially Dead
Snackie’s World
SecondHand Tryptophan
Brainporn

I read these blogs regularly and so do a lot of other people it seems.  Snackiepoo seems to average 20-50+ comments on each of her blog posts, and that’s really nothing compared to some other bloggers who are getting hundreds of comments.

So what I’m here to find out is, how do they do this?  I don’t care about monetizing my blog, that would be awesome but I just like blogging.  I love to write and to post my photography out there and my thoughts on whatever comes to mind.  But it seems that my hiatus a while back where I stopped posting really hurt me, I’m down to 50-300 hits a day.  That’s too big of a range and only a comment or three per post?  How disappointing.

I get the most hits on nerd posts.  If I write about Apple or something totally nerdy, especially if I complain about something nerdy, hits galore.

Something personal, not terrible.

Photography… people love it but rarely comment (sad face)

Political (nothing, zero, zilch)

John Mayer Kissing Adam Levine CRAZINESS!  Tons of hits and comments

So what is the key?  What is it that makes people keep coming back and gets them to post comments?  I’d love some input, especially from the guys on my blogroll.

To me, blogging is like High School all over again, we are all battling to make it to the top and we don’t mind shitting on anyone in order to get there.  Well, I don’t care to be on the top, I just want to maybe make it up the bank of the mountain a bit; and I could use your help!

Much love,

Justin

« Older Entries