Category Archives: Blog

Bringing Facebook comments back to WordPress

If you use WordPress, import your blog’s feed into Facebook Notes, and are a little annoyed that the Facebook comments aren’t reflected on your “real blog,” then you might want to install Facebook CommentsTNG:

Facebook CommentsTNG is a plugin for your WordPress blog that will spider your notes page and find imported WordPress blogs and bring the comments back into WordPress.

via The Kingdom of Philtopia » Plugins.

The Facebook comments show up with the comment writer’s name, a link to Facebook, and a Facebook logo as the avatar.

I suppose there are a couple small privacy concerns here.

First, you need to provide your Facebook credentials in order to crawl the notes and import the comments. I’m guessing Facebook Connect doesn’t provide an API for this. So it’s a question of whether you trust a guy named Phil to write a benevolent WP plugin. You might want to take a few seconds to view the plugin code.

Second, your “friends” who have commented on Facebook haven’t necessarily opted in to having their full name published on the Internet outside of a closed system like Facebook. But if this is something that actually concerns them, I’d advise that they not comment on anything on Facebook. Just visit the WordPress blog and make up an anonymous handle. Trusting a website to keep you safe/anonymous/private is stupid. You need to take responsibility for your own online presence.

Make your WordPress blog easy to read on an iPhone

I love the fact that the iPhone can show web pages as they were intended. I double-plus love sites that are iPhone-optimized (when it’s done right). So I highly encourage all you WordPress bloggers to get the WPtouch plugin.

What is WPtouch?

WPtouch automatically transforms your WordPress blog into an iPhone application-like experience when viewed from an iPhone or iPod touch. It comes complete with ajax & effects, and all the standard WordPress blog features: search, login, categories, tags, archives, photos & more. WPtouch also allows for near-complete customization through your WordPress admin.

Props to Rodrigo, whose obsessive link sharing led me to discover a WP blog that used the plug-in.

Revising the Past

I’ve been blogging on and off for about five and a half years on three different platforms. I started off on Blogger and used their FTP publishing service to push files to my domain, but after I had about a thousand posts, either the service or my domain host was not able to make this a reliable method of posting. Movable Type was great because it seemed to be a “serious” blogging platform, but after a while, it simply wasn’t able to keep up with the comment spam. Hundreds of bots flooded the blog with links for all sorts of porn, prescription pills, and … is there any other kind of spam? WordPress made me very happy despite the rough edges because of the third party plugins like Akismet, and now WP-SpamFree.

Unfortunately, all of this blogging history leaves a lot of loose ends. I have hundreds of posts that link to articles and sites that no longer exist. I also have links to blog posts of mine that refer to the old Blogger or Movable Type filename. And I’ve got tons of posts where I quoted some article or site using an em instead of a blockquote, simply because I was going for a particular presentation rather than trying to convey meaning. This last bit ought to get me at least a year in geek purgatory.

Now that I’ve switched my hosting provider to Dreamhost (they’re awesome), updated WordPress to the latest release, completed the NaBloPoMo thing, and gotten involved in this Blogging Challenge with CJ, I have a renewed interest in my blog. I’ve updated the robots.txt, published a new XML sitemap and told Google about it, installed All-In-One SEO, and have been going over some logs and other things to figure out what’s broken and how to fix it.

As you can imagine, it’s a big pain in the ass.

At what point do you just say “Fuck it” and leave the 404s, stop trying to figure out what to put in the .htaccess file to redirect MT URLs to their most likely WP counterpart, stop categorizing the uncategorized posts, stop fixing the errors in text encoding that happened from backing up and restoring MySQL files, leave the blockquotes as ems, and stop worrying about whether your reader will be able to follow a link to a news article in 2003 on the Boston Globe site that talks about a fireworks accident in Florida?

Now’s probably a good time.