Category / Web Admin

Twitter Integrated August 25, 2009 at 6:40 am

I’ve added a Twitter widget on the sidebar. So now my tweets are published on Random Brain Dump as well. Next up, is to integrate a Facebook plugin.

And More Tweaks February 9, 2008 at 11:12 pm

After putting it off long enough, I spent some time this weekend tweaking my blog.

First, I hacked some plug-in code to get the random posts in the format I needed. I had to go all the way to making changes in some SQL queries. While WordPress’ APIs are getting better, I still find myself going all the way and hit MySQL to get the necessary data. It’s not ideal because this type of code changes will break with schema changes. Oh well, it is a hack I guess… Finally, I tweaked the CSS to fix issues that had been bugging me. Some were minor issues like color and font inconsistencies; some were layout issues.

Some of results are:

  • The sidebar is re-arranged around a bit. More useful data is pushed up and space efficiency was taken into account.
  • The new list of random posts, with excerpts, appears at the bottom of the sidebar.
  • The footer is now rendered a lot cleaner than before.
  • The new list of most commented posts appears in one of the footer columns.
  • More consistent link hover styles for both black and blue backgrounds.
  • Time/Date is now displayed with no wrapping.

Next thing I want to tackle is to build a better Flikr widget than the one I’m currently using…

Database Breakage November 27, 2007 at 2:31 pm

Recent upgrade to a new version of WordPress involves database schema changes. This causes some of my plugins to break, particularly you’d see database error when leaving a comment! Good thing comments were saved okay though. I finally got around to fix it, so commenting now works perfectly.

Apologies from yours truly…

Another Skin at 1:09 pm

I got tired of the old skin, so I configured a new one. I am always partial to black background, but just haven’t found many skins I like. But I generally like this one with its blue dominated bold design. Don’t have time now, so more customization have to come later.

Pardon The Dust, Again… June 10, 2007 at 10:47 pm

It took me long enough, but I had decided to take the plunge and upgraded my blogging software. I wanted new functionalities and a new look to the site. Change is good…

I migrated my blog to WordPress 2 years ago. It’s the best blogging software I’ve used to date. It serves me well, but recently my blog was deluged with spam bots. While WordPress doesn’t make spam comments public, I got tired of having to delete hundreds of them daily. The newer version contains a plugin that fight spam very effectively so far (none has made it through!). In addition, some of the new extensions seem really cool.

So I upgraded the blog system and will be experimenting with various things. I’ve de-installed Gallery which I used to run my photo galleries. The photo galleries don’t render and some links are broken for the time being. In its place, I plan to install a flash-based system. I’ve taken a look at a few of the free ones out there, but haven’t seen anything I like just yet. I may just have to write one myself…

For the next few weeks, I’ll be hacking the site a bit. So put on the hard hats and please pardon me until the dust settles!

30 Day Web Stats August 1, 2006 at 1:14 am

Some interesting (to me anyway) 30 day stats (6/28 – 7/28) on rexlam.com:

Hits
Total : 13066
Unique: 956 (unique)

Platforms
Indeterminable 57%
Windows XP 41%
Windows 2000 2%

Browser
Bots 40%
Firefox 1.5.0.4 20%
IE 6.0 12%
Firefox 1.5.0.5 2%
IE 5.5 1%

Search Referrers
blo.gs 77
google.com 69
search.yahoo.com 34
pslranugget.blogspot.com 17
my.yahoo.com 9

Search Strings
audrey woulard 39
rex lam 7
futurama 6
Audrey Woulard 4
herzbolla 4

Countries
UNITED STATES (US) 9282
Indeterminable 2456
JAPAN (JP) 390
FRANCE (FR) 194
TURKEY (TR) 142
MALTA (MT) 118
GERMANY (DE) 113
MALAYSIA (MY) 110
THAILAND (TH) 62
KOREA, REPUBLIC OF (KR) 39
HONG KONG (HK) 38
MOLDOVA, REPUBLIC OF (MD) 27
CHILE (CL) 18
AUSTRALIA (AU) 17
CHINA (CN) 14
CANADA (CA) 10
BRAZIL (BR) 10
UNITED KINGDOM (UK) 5
SPAIN (ES) 4
EUROPEAN UNION (EU) 3
NETHERLANDS (NL) 2
SINGAPORE (SG) 2
INDONESIA (ID) 2
INDIA (IN) 2

Header Redesign July 15, 2006 at 5:41 am

You’ll notice that the header above got a long-deserved redesign, finally. The banner image is updated with pictures of the kids from this year. It’s about time. If I don’t do this 4AM Saturday morning, I’ll probably will never get around to it…

Related Posts June 27, 2006 at 10:30 pm

It’s been months since I add any new functionality to my site. The last thing I did was adding a rich WYSIWYG editor (only to deactivate it later since it doesn’t work across all OS’es & browsers).

Anyhow, I configured my blog to display related posts when displaying an individual entry. It’s pretty cool. If you’re using WordPress and interested in getting this piece of functionality, check out Alexander Malov’s plugin.

Gmail For Other Domains March 22, 2006 at 10:33 pm

When Google announced earlier this year that they’ll be offering GMail service for other domains, I jumped and registered for the service. Bluehost is a great web hosting company but their web mail interface just sucks. I reverted to using a POP client and in the end, stuck with my GMail account mainly because google’s nice web interface. So with this service, I get to use my own domain with the GMail’s web user interface. In addition, GMail supports POP3 too. All it took was a simple change in my MX record on Bluehost and GMail was up in no time and serving emails for my domain. It’s awesome.

Oh yeah, the service is free…

Rich WYSIWYG Editor November 21, 2005 at 12:02 pm

I’ve installed a rich WYSIWYG HTML editor on the system this morning. No more entering HTML tags when posting comments. The editor is an open source implementation called TinyMCE and it’s 100% Javascript. It enables you to visually format text, specify colors, create lists, insert images/flash and creating tables. It even includes a dialog for inserting emoticons!

I did some quick testing on IE & Firefox and everything seems to check out ok. I expect Opera and event Safari on Mac OS to work okay as well.Your browser needs to enable Javascript to get the rich editor. If disabled, you just get the normal simple text editor.

Please let me know if you’re running into problems posting comments (let me know the OS & browser you’re running too).

Blog System Smackdown at 11:07 am

If you’re like several people I know who are currently considering running your own blog, check out this smackdown of 3 blogging systems: WordPress, MovableType & TextPattern.

I’ve only use 2 of the three. After a few years running rexlam.com on MovableType I stopped using it for two reasons. First, I don’t like the new complex licensing. The free version is restrictive. Second, I was inundated with comment spams which requires hours of maintenance a month, despite various anti-spam plugins I tried. I switched over to WordPress this summer and so far am happy with it. WordPress is easier to use but is also easy to hack around. One thing I also like is WordPress generates its pages dynamically, as opposed to MovableType which I was required to rebuild the site from time to time.

User & Password November 8, 2005 at 8:30 pm

I used some bad tags in one blog entry that causes the site to prompt for user id & password. It didn’t mean that the site requires login, just bad coding on my part. I started to see it last week but I had dismissed as a bug on Firefox 1.5 beta. Whew, glad that was fixed 🙂

Thanks Truc for dropping me an email about it…

Denial of Service Attack November 3, 2005 at 10:12 pm

My server has been a target of a DOS attack as of this morning. My hosting provider is working on fighting it at the moment. Access to the site will be unreliable until the attack is averted.

UPDATE (11/4/05):
Looks like the attacks subsided somewhat, while everything isn’t yet back to normal now, web access seems okay. There’s still some weird behavior with the databases…

Firefox Tops 10% Market Share November 2, 2005 at 4:31 am

ZDNet reports that Firefox topped 10% of the browser market, though I’ve read reports that growth is slowing. It gives you an idea how hard it is to topple IE dominance.

This got me curious in terms of the distribution of browsers visitors to my blog use. Here’s some interesting stats. Firefox is #1 here… While I realize the stats are some what skewed since the large percentage of visitors are friends/family, it’s still good to see more firefox users out there!

Firefox 64.3 %
MS Internet Explorer 25.4 %
Netscape 3.8 %
Mozilla 3.5 %
? Unknown 3 %

On a related note, Firefox 1.5 release candidate is out… Navigation seems a bit quicker in the new version.

Photo Galleries Redesign October 12, 2005 at 9:47 pm

I have been using Coppermine to manage my photos last few months. While powerful, its cool features are eclipsed by the overly complex interface. In addition, I had a hard time trying to integrate it with my blog. I ended up with two completely different skins for the blog & the gallery.

I stayed up late last 2 nites redoing my photo gallery. I dumped Coppermine and switched over to Gallery mainly because a plugin called WPG2 that enables photos from Gallery to be embedded within my blog. Finally, I used Peter Near’s theme for get the same look of my blog for gallery.

I had to spent a few hours hacking things a bit to get everything working together. So now, what do I get for 2 sleepless nites?

  • Uniform look for both the photo galleries & blog
  • Random image in the sidebar
  • Albums can be embedded in the blog
  • Individual photos can be embbedded in the blog

A few broken links here & there but I’ll get to fixing those later. I’ll take me a while to migrate all the photos. For now, things should be more seamless now. I’m quite satisfied with the result! 🙂

Blog Revived Finally… August 11, 2005 at 3:35 pm

So, after a 3 month-long downtime, I finally spent the time bringing my blog back online. I was forced to shut it down mainly because we moved in June and was without net access for some time as a result. Between the move & new job, reviving the blog was buried deep in my long to-do list.

Finally, it’s time to get to it and this time, I decided to stop running my own server– these pages now are being pushed to you by bluehost.com. First thing I will try to do is to post pictures from our Hawaii trip last week. It will take a few weeks before I manage to migrate my old blog content over and finish the design of the site. So in the meantime pardon the dust…