New Feature: Twitter Tools!

As visitors to my blog may have noticed, my sidebar has an area that shows the last 5 tweets I’ve sent to twitter. Previously, this was handled using the RSS feed from Twitter, and was fairly ugly. For example, it kept the username, and the entire thing showed as a link rather than just the time it was posted.

I’ve just added the Twitter Tools plug-in, which has fixed that. Now, tweets show as regular text, with a link back to their original source on Twitter. Plus, I have a way to publish tweets directly from my blog’s home page, which means I may come here more and actually maintain my blog. Also, news of blog posts will be posted directly to Twitter as they happen, which of course has a ripple effect over to Facebook as well.

This is not the only improvement planned for my blog. In the upcoming weeks, I would expect to see more useful plugins and a new theme enabled, categories consolidated, and possibly more Cool Stuff added. The last time I seriously revisited the theme and plugins of this blog was in 2007, so hopefully something suitable can be found and tweaked to my liking.

Oh, and I plan to post more content as well. I’ve been using Microsoft’s Windows Live Writer for the past few months, and I must say this is actually a WordPress-posting client worth its salt. I do have the WordPress client for Android on my phone too, if I want to spend several minutes getting frustrated with the on-screen keyboard… it’s great for short messages, but longer ones just end up being frustrating.

Theme Restored

Alright, listen up…

If you’ve been to by blog since December 1st, you’ll have noticed it was a boring blue blob, pretty-looking but that is about it. It seems around that time, Michael Heilemann decided to remove the Vader theme from K2 since it was “old and rarely updated anyway”. Well it may have been that, but I know there are probably several blogs that were using that theme including this one. I do hope that it is officially added back in soon… otherwise I’ll just start repackaging it!

I’m Baaaccckkk!

Wow, it’s certainly been a crazy ride, right? Especially considering the last time I actually penned anything here was nearly 5 months ago. I’d be surprised if I had any readers anymore, other than spambots and stalkers… but I digress.

I have goals. Short-term, long-term, and in between – I have them all. One of the things I’ve realized, though, is that many of my goals are currently undefined. One of the reasons I haven’t even touched this site in months is because of a lack of stated goals concerning the site, which has lead to a lack of motivation. What this means for you is that you definitely have less motivation to read my writing, and in the world of Web 2.0, that’s commiting suicide.

So here’s the bottom line: I am stating a goal to write a blog post every week from here on out. Any more than that will be a bonus. I think the current state of the world brings me no shortage of things to write about. I also intend to finish the “quick” project I started over two years ago to bring my websites into the 21st century, by recoding into PHP and potentially linking content in from all of my online sources. Long-term, I will probably look into redesigning my website. The modular design of my PHP-driven code should help in that.

My writings will also probably become more personal, about things that affect me on a day to day basis. This means that occasionally, this blog might host stories about virtual chickens, the Geek Squad, and computing technologies in general. This blog will hopefully become more well-written. I reserve the right to kill off old, poorly-written entries, although things like the outing of Bill Smith Auto Parts (who it occurs to me now that I sent the CEO an email about the quality and quantity of posts by one if its employees here, and nothing appears to have come of it) will stay until the end of time so people can read about these types of business failures.

New Policies Regarding Comments

Due to repeated abuses from someone styling themselves as “George Obrien” (relating to my two previous posts about my bad experiences with Bill Smith Auto Parts, ebay ID billsmithautoparts), and my anti-spam defenses not being crafted to work against manual spam, I am now requiring that all comments are approved by me before they can appear on my blog. I am hoping that the WordPress setting isn’t overridden by Spam Karma 2. If it is, I’ll have to investigate moving to a different anti-spam solution on my blog.

If you are curious about the type of spam I have been receiving, it began with comparing me to devices used to introduce water to the human body, various comments of a sexual nature, a few racist and bigoted remarks, and of course the ever-popular name calling. In practice, these comments have only been degrading to the one posting them, as well as the company they work for. I realize anyone could type an arbitrary email address and name into a form on the internet and think they could get away with it, but with the multiple abuses including the particular email addresses used, the IP addresses used, the comments received, and other info, I feel confident in saying that these are mostly, if not all, from the same human being, presumably one who works for Bill Smith Auto Parts.

If you have anything constructive to say about this situation, I am open to hearing it. If not… your comment will hit the dung heap. I’m sorry that’s the way it has to be, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

Cleanup Done!

I have cleaned up the posts on my site – it has gone from 375 public posts to 29. There are a couple reasons for this cleanup – 1, I noted that there was some fairly strong language in most of my “angry teen years” posts from High School and shortly beyond, and I wanted this to become a more family-friendly blog. 2, it was a necessary step for me to realize my vision for this blog, which does not involve complaining about school or jobs which I do not have any more, or be riddled with lame memes.

I also plan to move the blog to a different address, and this will cut down the work – don’t worry, when I do change addresses, I’ll make sure the current blog.mattfast1.com address redirects to the new one.

New Features

In addition to this blog being automatically updated from the WordPress Subversion Repository on a nightly basis, installing new features almost as fast as the WordPress team adds them, I have changed the \’default\’ avatar that appears when a comment is made from someone who doesn\’t have their email address tied to a Gravatar account. It used to be the \’mystery man\’ default avatar, that everyone\’s probably used to seeing on blogs that have Gravatar enabled.

Now, I\’ve changed that \’mystery man\’ to Wavatar, which will automatically generate an avatar for you, based on your email address. As an added bonus, any other Wavatar-enabled sites will give you the same avatar!