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Trackbacks are a really cool way to link blog posts from one site to another but it never caught on anywhere near as much as it could have (and the spammers kind of ruined it for everyone).

Written By: Gary on December 17, 2008 No Comment

It seems to be going very well so far. I think I’ve got everything imported. Feel free to try a test comment (please).

Most entries and categories and dates should be redirecting. Date based pages are not redirecting (need a .htaccess rule or need to rewrite all those pages in MT with a redirect), but that’s okay, you’re only going to find that from a search and if you clock to comment it takes you to the correct page, just a weird interface change.

Categories still need to have hierarchies and descriptions.

All RSS feeds are redirected, so you’ll probably get a full reader by the time you get this post. And as of right now, they’re all redirected to an Atom feed. Does anyone really care/have a preference?

Not thrilled with this blog template but that’s easily changeable later. I’ll break down the steps of the whole migration later for anyone wanting to go from MT to WP.

Any .htaccess people who can help me with a rewrite rule?
I need date formats like /chapters/2008_12.php -> /2008/12/ and the same for /chapters/2008_12_16.php -> /2008/12/16/ . Actually the latter is really the only one that matters since the first was prevented by robots.txt and I don’t think I did any posts linking to a month (maybe a date).

Honestly, I’ve had harder version upgrades with Movable Type, but we’ll see once I start modifying templates for myself.

Disappointments: I wish the categories could have been in the root directory without having to be in another directory (my /topics/ directory). I wish I could have more easily moved the old files in with their old filenames so things didn’t have to be redirected.

I’ve still got to fix “About”, “FAQ”, etc. and I need the date archives to redirect.

Spam filter is working great! I really like the way the tags work, but they need some cleaning up. Ecto really helped me to turn my technorati tags into WP tags.

Fixed the search engine with a smart redirect. Needed that since I do searches in the middle of my posts (I should be tagging but I’ve have 3 years to go back and tag).

Updated the sitemap.xml files too.

These last few things should really help with the search engines reindexing me (I hope!)

Google has already been cruising through indexing pages….

It imported my pings/trackbacks as comments :( But at least they are still linked.

Some drafts became posts. This may have not been an import/export issue, this may have been something I did after the fact when I reposted posts to get my blogging client, Ecto, to convert my Technorati Tags to WordPress tags.

Written By: Gary on July 7, 2008 One Comment

So the idea of putting your life on the internet came up at work today. It was really more about people putting inappropriate things on-line. But the question was asked and I couldn’t come up with a good answer. I had some answers but I didn’t think I could make someone understand if they didn’t get it just a little bit.

I remembered back into the days when Heather was trying to get me to understand blogging and I just didn’t get it. Partially because I always put my life out there so it wasn’t something new, but the (semi)regular posting and using special software to do it I just didn’t understand. Let alone when she tried to explain trackbacks and pings. And if a geek like me didn’t get it, how can I get other people to?

Now here I am 1800+ posts later (and a million spam comments) and I still don’t have a good answer.It’s a lot of little things, it’s fun, it’s great to get feedback from others, sometimes it’s therapy to vent (and it’s free!) and sometimes it’s the thinking it out & making it coherent for others makes you think about it & understand it more.. It depends on the topic. I certainly get different things out of it when I type about a movie review than when I discuss a funeral I just went to. I generally try to avoid certain things: (complaining about) work, dating people (but I will complain about not dating), anything that would turn off a current or future employer, sex and a few other topics.

Back to the original question, why? I guess it’s what some people do these days. Some people keep quiet, some people talk, some hate using the phone, some people you can’t get off the phone, some people blog publicly, and some blog in secret.

I did mention that I blog all my vacations, which they understood as sharing. But they just see it as sharing with friends and not with the whole world. But it’s out there for the whole world too. “If you build it” and all that…

Yeah, I guess that’s what I should have said as an answer, that whole previous paragraph (not just the first sentence of it).

Written By: Gary on October 26, 2007 3 Comments

In the last 60 days I’ve been averaging about 1,000 spam comments a day, that’s significantly higher than normal. Actually the last few weeks it’s been more like 1,500 a day, the number has just been climbing. Unfortunately, I don’t have a way to check daily stats. A year ago I was only averaging about 300 a day. Hopefully, I haven’t been deleting any real comments….

Update: In the last 23 hours I’ve received/blocked another 4,200 spam comments/trackbacks (and moderated a few hundred)..

Written By: Gary on February 14, 2007 One Comment

I’m always disappointed that I used some other web addresses for my blog (GaryLaPointe.com/blog, GaryLaPointe.com/nice, GaryLaPointe.com/mypointe) before I settled on http://GarySaid.com/. The problem is I’ve been linked by all sorts of sites to the old address and it’s impossible to change them*. Many place on your blogs, search engings, listings in Blogrolls, BlogShares, Techortati, etc. You can’t just delete them since they do point towards you but they’re not correct (and some you can’t even delete if you want). I’ve got good redirects so I’m probably okay with links, but it really bothers the obsessive compulsive part of my brain.

One of my biggest sets of incorrect links are on other sites where I’ve left comments or trackbacks** to my old URL, well it wasn’t old then, but it doesn’t link back to here (but most times will redirect you to the correct page). I know some of you have changed your address by switching from Blogger to Typepad to your own website, etc. and the old links just go to a redirect, a note that says you moved or sometimes (the worst) an error page. I also know some of you have deleted them on purpose and started over but maybe you’d like that insightful comment you left here 3 years ago to link to your new site…

Here’s my offer for you: I’ll replace your old comment links on my site with your new site. This will help with people reading the archives and who click on your link so you may get a few new readers since your old dead links will now work (and it’ll probably help with some search engine stats as I get reindexed). Leave me a comment and list some old blog addresses you have posted comments here with (make clear which is the new one) and I’ll see if I can do a search and replace to fix the links. It probably won’t help with any specific page links or trackbacks but at least they’ll point to the correct site (if I see broken ones as such I can redirect to the front page). I’ll fix your blogroll link if I’ve got one too (be sure to point that out). I’ll even fix things like remove/add the WWW if you’ve since settled on one or the other.Obviously, I may have to ask you a few questions if it seems like someone is trying to get me to move your URL to theirs. But it should be straightforward. I’m really hoping it won’t be too chaotic.

* From a technical standpoint, if you redirect your whole site sometimes you get indexed for each URL. If you set up an error page some people don’t find the site. Different sites treat it different ways. I’ve been playing with Technorati and it’s seems like they index the old sites (if redirected) and the new. Blogrolls that just redirect you never get fixed and other odd issues appear.

**I’m extra lucky in that while I’ve moved my site around it’s always been my site. So all my posts have the same numbering so most links probably still link back to a specific spot and it’s likely so do the trackbacks.

Written By: Gary on December 16, 2006 No Comment

So as I mentioned a few days ago it’s been 3 years I’ve been blogging. But here and the last few days I’ve been jotting down some odd stats:

  • 1379 posts so far (counting this one).
  • 1.25 posts a day is my average. Although, lately I certainly haven’t been keeping up with that. But usually it’s more like 2 or 3 a day and then I skip a day or two…
  • 1563 comments! I love comments!!! I’m averaging a little more than one per each post (but most posts get none). I should see which ones get the most, I haven’t noticed a pattern/trend but there may be.
  • 101 trackbacks. Actually, I accidentally deleted all the trackbacks a while back (which was 23) so I currently only have 78. This is unfortunate since trackbacks are so incredibly useful (although spammers have pretty much ruined them for everyone). A chunk of those are probably me making trackbacks to my previous posts, but that’s sort of what they’re there for…
  • 8,800 spam messages per month is what I’ve averaged per month lately. That’s almost 300 a day! The last time I reset my spam filter was May 21, 2005 and since then I’ve have 169,500 comment / trackback spams blocked. I still use MT-Blacklist in addition to to SpamLookup (included with Movable Type). More on this at the end of this post.

    These numbers are huge at least to me), I can’t believe I’ve been doing it this long. It’s a joy to blog, but I do always feel that if I let it go for a while it’ll just kinda die. I hate to blog just for the sake of blogging but I do always try to keep it up-to-date with a few details of life (or tech or TV or something) even if I’m not in an extra blogging mode. I’ve got some other points that make the blogging extra geeky/interesting for me but the list started to get too long, so I’ll finish and post that at a later day. I’m starving right now and need to get something to eat!


    OPTIONAL GEEKY SPAM STUFF: The reason I use both (MT-Blackslist and SpamLookup) is because the stuff MT-Blacklist knows is spam gets deleted without me having to look at it. If I just use SpamLookup, I’d still need to look at those 300 messages a day to make sure it doesn’t have any real messages caught up in it. As it is, I still need to look at the 50 that MT-BLacklist didn’t delete to see if SpamLookup grabbed something important. And sometimes SpamLookup does grab a few (a few a week). And once in a very long while a real spam gets through both and makes it on the web site, but that’s only about once a month (maybe longer).

  • Written By: Gary on May 15, 2006 4 Comments

    So the spam comments and pings/trackbacks have gone cRaZy again, they aren’t getting posted but they get shunted over for approval (in case they are real) so you haven’t seen them but I sure have. I had to make a few changes, I’m not sure if it’ll really help. If you have any problems leaving a comment please let me know via e-mail. The thing is it’s not really spam, it points to other sites (not generally spam sites) like they are just trying to annoy me or wear me down (or poison my filters)…

    You know, I haven’t gotten many “real” comments at all lately so feel free to leave a comment on a recent post.

    LATER: So I’ve changed the MovableType filenames for the CommentScript and TrackbackScript in mt.cfg and it didn’t see to put a dent in it at all. They’re still flooding me with comment spam (yesterday it was trackback spam). Any suggestions on some other file I should change the name of? I’m wondering if they’re routing it through some other procedure or are they just scraping it from my pages…?

    Tags: [, ]
    Written By: Gary on May 10, 2006 2 Comments

    I’m glad I don’t feel the need to talk about sex or drugs much because I get so much spam (comments/pings/trackbacks) related to it I’ve had to block any words related to such topics and no one would be able to comment on such things. It’s gotten worse lately (the last 4 weeks) and I’m not sure why…

    Written By: Gary on December 12, 2005 8 Comments

    So it’s been two years that I’ve been blogging!!! I’m still short three posts from 1,000 but maybe I’ll have something more introspective to post in a few days. I just couldn’t let the day go without a post. Besides, I have a few questions for you…

    Blogging facts from Gary Said…

  • This is really my third permutation of my web site title and my fourth URL, but it’s the only dedicated one so I’m thinking I’ll be sticking to it for good (I hope). I got the distinct address to separate it from (more professional?) non-blogging activities. I’ll probably only switch if I got something better, like gary.com.
  • I get block about 500 comment/trackbacks spam hits a day which is about 15,000 hits a month! Thank you MT-Blacklist and SpamLookUp! Blogging would be no fun without both of these tools (details on these tools below).
  • I’m still averaging about 3 posts every two days. And a few memes that I never got to finishing each week.

    My questions to you:

  • How often do you read my blog?
  • Why don’t you comment more?

  • Where are you from?
  • Have you seen The Daily Meme, my index of memes? (These aren’t my memes, just my index. Just a little self/cross-promotion…)


    Geeky spam details (optional reading): This is about MT-Blacklist and SpamLookUp which are spam prevention tools for Movable Type 3.2. MTB kills most spam (the most obvious spam) and marks some for moderation. SLU checks out what MTB passes in and either posts it, labels it as stuff you should look at (moderation: waiting for approval to post or delete) or as junk (waiting for approval, deletion or automatic deletion in 60 days). This means spam (almost) never gets posted and a small percentage of the real stuff gets delayed but makes me confident real stuff doesn’t get deleted.

  • Written By: Gary on August 26, 2005 3 Comments

    So the new version of Movable Type is out. And they’ve got a great promotion price for the personal editions only $39.95! Don’t forget, they always have a free version for personal use which also has unlimited weblogs (the free version of the software is not disabled at all) but no support other than the forums.

    Powered ByIf you have donated before, they let you apply a $20 credit from earlier versions and it makes it $19.95! It’s “just” five authors (that’s four more than I have), it’s $30 more for unlimited authors. This is an awesome deal! Nothing like when they did the 3.x release upgrade that made everyone (not me) crazy about prices and limitations.

    I’l probably be upgrading next week, once everyone else has worked out all the bugs ;)


    I think it’s got moderation for trackbacks and some new styles “stuff” to make it easy to manage the look of your site. Also an unlimited number of blogs! Here’s a list of their “32 Favorite Features”.

    It’s also got some 3.2 specific plug-ins: one that’s supposed to be super for enclosures (like for feeds and podcasting!), some notifier stuff, something for stats and I guess the new styles thingy is a plug-in (or maybe this is something extra).

    Written By: Gary on May 28, 2005 2 Comments

    MygravatarSo I’ve Implemented Gravatars on my commenting. This means if you have one when you leave a comment it puts your gravatar (avavtar/icon) next to your comment. The best part is if you go get one it’ll appear on all the posts you’ve already made. And of course it’s FREE!

    UPDATE (10pm): My head just got approved and I probably just popped up on hundreds of Gravatar enabled blogs around the world!!!


    For an example check out this recent post to see how they look. I just registered my Gravatar but as soon as they approve it my head should appear next to my comment!

    For those of you that are adventurous — I’m only posting “G” and “PG” gravatars (they have an MPAA-like rating system).

    PS – I also changed my commenting so that the comments and pings/trackbacks all appear togetner. Please let me know it you have any problems commenting (leave a comment or an e-mail).

    Tags: [, ]
    Written By: Gary on April 23, 2005 6 Comments

    Warning! Extra-Geeky post:
    I’m using MovableType 2.661 I’m missing having sub-categories and I was hoping some of the dynamic features might help speed up my rebuilds. I’ve also been getting really slow responses when posting comments. I do a lot of odd dynamic stuff already (the body of my messages only get built once (processed once) and they just get included everywhere else (although this isn’t really helping me on rebuilds since it’s probably rebuilding the pages anyways, it may actually be smarter than that). I use Mt-Blacklist and some other plug-ins. Some of my category archive rebuilds are really getting slow (I’m sure my date archives are slow two, but the categories just keep growing).


    I thought with TypeKey and comment moderation at a minimum I could turn off MT-blacklist on comments and just use it for trackbacks (assuming that’s one of the things slowing it down) and Lisa recommended MT-Keystrokes for this too (but I think that’s just for MT 3.x). I’m also still reading some confusing stuff on if MT-Blacklist is fully-functional for MT 3.x (does it have all the same features, I don’t care if some of the new features aren’t perfected yet).

    What’d I’d like to see is some rebuild stuff that is were a little smarter when I did reposts. Something like “your message is posted, please verify it and if it is a-okay then press OK to rebuild your indexes, archives and categories”. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t do this.

    So I’m really looking for your two cents on if I should upgrade or what else I should consider. Anyone have any feedback on this or any of the above?

    Written By: Gary on March 13, 2005 One Comment

    I was cleaning up one of my other web sites that I work on and I just accidently deleted all my pings/trackbacks back to this site. Fortunately there were only 23. The important this is that I noticed it just as I was about to delete all the comments for this site!!!!! That would have been hundreds of comments…

    Tags: [, ]
    Written By: Gary on December 26, 2004 One Comment

    Mell (of Divergent Poles) was trying to understand what a trackback is, so I’m making this post as an illustration.

    While creating this message there was an empty spot (just like there is a place for the title) to add trackbacks, since I’m referencing this post (i.e. I’m talking about Mell) I’m adding his trackback information to that spot. When I post this message it’ll send a tiny message (called a trackback or sometimes referred to as a ping) to Mell’s message and now he’ll know I was talking about his post and get a better understanding of this (I hope). There is no indication on my site that I trackbacked him (other than me telling you), the main reason is to let him (and his readers) know I are talking about him and when others read his site they’ll know I’m talking about Mell so they might follow the link to see what I say (in this case, if they want to know what I think a trackback is).


    Trackbacks are generally for when you are specifically referencing someone’s specific message. Sometimes if you’re making a similar post or have more information. But I think internet etiquette is it’s if you’re referencing their specific post. Since I am talking about his post, this is a valid example… I can’t even tell you how long it took me to understand this, hopefully my example will make some sense.

    The trackback is not just the address for the site or the message, sometimes it’s something odd (for this example it’s http://haloscan.com/tb/mditangco/110399998884597771) but you don’t care ’cause you’re just going to cut and paste this part. If you look at his message you’ll see it now says “Trackback (1)” (or more, it was 0 before I posted) if you click there it will reveal the first few sentences of this message and the title is clickable and takes you back to this message (which is much more helpful as a link if you started at Mell’s and not here), it’ll also list any other trackbacks that may have occurred since then.

    I use Movable Type and it supports Trackbacks, some software does not, so your mileage may vary.

    This is where it gets confusing (the differences/similarities between trackbacks and pings) – Every time I post a post my blog automatically pings a few different addresses so other pages know I updated my page. Why? (I’m glad you asked) Here’s three examples. 1) This is so that things like the MovableType home page knows I recently updated and lists me as a recently updated page. 2) And so Blogrolling (see the list of blogs I read on the lower right) know I was updated. On my page if a page has been updated in the last 48 hours and blogrolling knows about it (from a direct ping at http://rpc.blogrolling.com/pinger/ or from looking at some other pingable places) it marks those pages in bold/italics for me and I don’t have to do a thing. 3) This same auto-ping alerts Yahoo! so that when (if?) people have me show up on their MyYahoo! start page it knows to update the content for them. This is probably technically called pinging a site but it’s probably not that much different than the trackback concept (if not identical). Bottom line, if I changed all the spots on my site to say “pings” instead of “trackbacks” it’d be the same thing.

    Written By: Gary on September 23, 2004 One Comment

    Just saw the preview for Bridget Jones II – The Edge of Reason. It gave me the feeling it’s not going to be mediocre and while I’m hoping it’s be really good, it does have some potential for disaster. But previews can always be misleading…


    Comments and Trackbacks closed due to too much spam. Probably my fault with the title….

    Written By: Gary on August 1, 2004 No Comment

    Found new blogging service that I like. It’s called IlohaBlog and it’s at http://ilohablog.com/ (no longer in service). It’s got comments, links and trackbacks, categories*, archives, RSS, links (with different categories), extended entries and support the MT posting API (so if you use a client like Ecto, it works). Includes a “recently updated blogs” list on the front page. Oh and did I say it’s free!

    Why was I looking for this? Because I was poking around looking at Expression Engine (because I like the way they do categories) and wanted to see if Ecto supported posting to it and found a list of items it did support and started geeking around with it.

    Back to IlohaBlog — It’s easy to use, free, and it seemed nice enough for me to post about it. I think it might get my next few recommendations that I give to people for a place to start… It’s really got everything you need to get going. The web interface might even be basic enough to use from a cell phone.


    * I am slightly confused if a post can go into two categories or not. The web doesn’t support it, but it sure seems like my Ecto click wants to (sorta).

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