Moving to Twenty Thirteen Theme

I was using Graphene theme of WordPress for quite some time. The biggest takeaways from the theme are extreme customization (font families, headers, footers, analytics), sliders, nice graphics and more. In the last few days, I started tilting more towards simple themes that would offer very simple layout and page views. So I started playing with multiple themes and finally zeroed in on Twenty Thirteen. Customized my header image and added a few widgets. Changed a few fonts and colors to make all the components gel well. Finally, added analytics code to the .php files. I am all set now to use the new theme for a few weeks.

Now that I am using a simplified layout, I am continuing my search for themes that offer simple sliders along with very simple main column. Suggestions are welcome.

1111 it is

My WordPress dashboard tells me that I have 1111 posts so far on my personal blog site. Blogging is a habit I picked up while working at Sun Microsystems. I used to blog on their employee blog roll on various technical and personal topics. Sometime in 2006, the need for blogging on personal topics increased and I felt that it is more ethical for me to start writing on my personal blog site. Tried various softwares and launched my blog site using WordPress and sticked to that since then.

In the last 6 years, the technology has evolved a lot but the simplicity and flexibility of WordPress remained intact. Tried various themes, plugins and widgets on my site and their usefulness increased over time. Interconnecting various social and viral tools like Facebook, Twitter, Google and Picasaweb helped transcend content from one tool to the other. In the midst of all these, my personal blog site evolved as my primary writing platform and rest of the tools became a way to spread the content that is on this site.

At this juncture, I must thank all the regular visitors of my site and readers who encourage me very often with their positive mails and comments. The last few years saw a dip on the number of posts I write, but recently I resolved to get back on track. You can see the trend changing in the last few months.

 

Looking Back – Email to Blog Transformation

Stumbled upon an old email to a group thread, that announced my personal blog and indicated a deviation from the habit of sending emails to relatives and friends groups. This email is sent sometime in Aug 2006 to a group mail of relatives, after I am confident that I am writing blogs regularly. Snipped out personal details of others from that email.

In my case, I started writing lengthy blogs rather than sending lengthy emails ;-).

Read my blog at
https://www.rajualluri.net/
and especially the personal blog content at
https://www.rajualluri.net/?cat=4
I may update this more often than the emails I have been sending. The only issue would be that blog content is generic and politically correct, for it to be sitting on a blog.

Good to know that kids are doing fine. And good to know that you are managing some time to go for movies.

[snip]
Me and latha have lot of backlog for movies. Only this week, we have seen Vikramarkudu. That will give you an idea of our backlog ;-).

We still need to see bommarillu, but don’t have a slot in calendar for next 2-3 weeks.

Didn’t dare to go near to a theater playing KANK. :-). Most of the web reviews in the first 1-2 days was that the movie is excellent. Anybody who watched the movie said that the movie is a bakwaas.

Spurthi and Surya are busy with some class tests this week. Implies that Latha is also busy.

Well, thats all for now. Celebrate Vinayaka Chavithi. Will send some photos soon.

I really love the opening statement – I started writing lengthy blogs :-). 5+ years down the lane, the habit continued.

Upgrade to WordPress 3.3

WordPress announced their new version,  WordPress 3.3 (codename Sonny), a few hours ago. I upgraded my blog software to WordPress 3.3. This version presents a good amount of niceties to the admin users of the blog software.

  • Pointer Tips
  • Media Drag/Drop Uploader
  • Better Navigation Menus
  • Revamped Help

The Dashboard of WordPress is improving with every release. I got so used to some of the recent convenience features that I feel handicapped if I am administering other blogs with earlier releases of the software.

I may take till the next weekend to explore all the new features fully. As of now, the upgrade looks rock solid and nice.

There is a recent update to the theme that I use, Graphene. I updated that software too (to 1.5.6) and am a bit surprised by the absence of articles in the frontpage. A quick browse of the new configurations suggested that there is a “Front Page Options” section that enables me to select the list of categories that should be presented on the front page. Disabled that list and I am back to my original layout of the theme.

 

 

Swithced to SEO Friendly Permalinks

Finally, I switched to SEO Friendly Permalinks (Pretty Permalinks) on my personal blog hosted using WordPress. For quite some time, I had this idea in mind but I usually preferred the short URLs (that come by default) with WordPress, so that I can share them with ease in multiple other forums. Now there are several URL shortening services around and the length of the URL is not a big inhibitor anymore while sharing the URLs. After I saw the way Google+ can enumerate a given link into the status post, I felt that using short permalinks is no longer a big requirement for social sharing. Once the content and the permalink are embedded into the status update in Google Plus (I am sure others will follow the suit very soon), the update’s readability is never impacted by long URLs. The switch happened last week and now I am giving permalinks only in the “long” SEO friendly format.

 

 

Upgraded to WordPress 3.2

Upgraded my personal blog software to WordPress 3.2. The upgrade process is fast and simple, few seconds using the upgrade from the dashboard. Once the upgrade is done, the dashboard looks stunning – compact and crisp. Also, it is easy to figure out the current location on the left-side column in the dashboard, making the navigation very intuitive. Once the menu is collapsed (to icons level)on the left-side, there is ample real estate to do things in the dashboard.

I haven’t used the new Twenty Eleven theme, but my current theme looks decent enough with the new release. Looks like the PHP4 support is removed. I am already on PHP5.

 

Akismet @ 100K

I started using Akismet as my spam filter a while ago, and it trounced more than 100K spam comments on my personal blog site so far. When I first started as a blogger, I haven’t realized the importance of a comment spam filter. When I started hitting spam to the tune of tens of comments per day, I realized how painful it is to isolate good comments from undesirable ones. That is when I installed the free version of Akismet, mine being a non-profit, personal blog site. Every time I login to my blog’s dashboard, my first few actions are trivial:  see the quarantine count, smile and delete them in one shot. I don’t even delete a handful of comments on my own review now-a-days. It is all left to the stringent evaluation of Akismet and the hit rate is amazing.

On the occasion of reaching the 100K spam comments mark, time to thank Akismet once again. Thank you! (Visit my blog site to see the actual spam count on the Akismet widget.)

BTW, Akismet is free for personal use and I strongly recommend this.

 

Debugging and Fixing WordPress 3.1 issues

As I indicated in one of the posts earlier this week, I had issues using the visual editor after upgrading to WordPress 3.1. I also noticed some other minor issues in the last few weeks, irrespective of the upgrade. All these problems are resolved once I forced my webserver (hosted on a known service provider) to use PHP5.

Here is the configuration I added to my .htaccess file at the root of the blog directory.

AddType x-mapp-php5 .php
AddHandler x-mapp-php5 .php

After upgrading to PHP5, here are the issues that are fixed.

  • Visual editor issues like icons not displaying are fixed now.
  • Now I am able to purge even 500 spam comments in one single shot. Earlier, this used to take 2-3 iterations.
  • Automated upgrade of plugins is lot smoother now. Earlier, plugin upgrades used to fail if they are long running.

Now the WordPress admin panel response is smooth and all the plugins/themes are up-to-date, with little or no effort.