What do folks think of this new WordPress-based blog?

Gentle Readers:

Thanks to the efforts of Hal Roberts and a few other (nerd-)heroes at the Berkman Center, we have finally escaped the ghetto of Manila.  This Weblog is now running on WordPress and should be faster, more reliable, and a lot more spam-proof.  Please comment (note that comments are now going to be subject to pre-moderation).

35 thoughts on “What do folks think of this new WordPress-based blog?

  1. Actually, I like the way the previous Manila setup looked better, but I imagine I’ll get used to this one.

    Let’s see if this software recognizes carriage returns enough to add it’s own line breaks… ? 🙂

  2. Looks nice — nice job, heroes.

    You might consider adding comment previews (like the one available with this plugin) so that folks don’t embarrass themselves with mis-spelingz and incorrectly formatted tags.


  3. Philip,

    Much much nicer, cleaner looking, I like it. Just keep those ideas/thoughts coming :-).

  4. Well, as a frequent reader of your blog, the change to WordPress gets an immediate thumbs up. I don’t need to tell you that the performance of your previous blog software (and perhaps the server environment) was miserable. In addtion, when I wanted to locate a prior posting of yours, at one point I needed to contact you directly and then Google for it. So I appreciate the direct searchability of postings. Categories will be helpful, though I imagine you might struggle with categorizing your highly varied subject matter. Finally, having dabbled with the Web-based blog administration side of WordPress, I’m guessing that you will appreciate the state-of-the-art authoring interface and functionality for managing your posts. (I have no connection with the WordPress project — I am just a distant admirer.)

  5. I like that my old links (inbound to you) still work, and that you have managed to import your archive into the new system. How difficult was this for you to pull off?

  6. Nice Philip.

    I switched my blog over to WordPress at the start of the year and haven’t looked back — it is really quite an extensible platform that makes a lot of things very easy.

    Welcome to WordPress!

  7. Bravo. This is a much more attractive layout. Actually, it’s far nicer than most WordPress layouts I’ve seen. I really like the watermark-style numbering. Subtley speaks loudly.

  8. As one who is still stuck in the Manilla ghetto, kudos on migrating. Looks better, I’m sure it will work better for you as well.

    How did you migrate your content over? I’ve got 3+ years into my Radio blog and my biggest concern would be keeping all that stuff I’ve written (not worth much to others, but definitely worth it to me).

  9. Hi Philip,
    In case you have interest, there’s a WP plugin which allows post creation and editing via files (use your normal editor rather than the web interface). I so greatly dislike web interfaces for writing long passages of prose, so created the plugin:


    About the comment spam, a very fantastic way of stopping 100% of the web bots (so far) is to add a field to the comment form asking a simple question, e.g. “What’s Philip’s first name?” or giving simple instructions “Type ‘I’m real’ into the input box”. If they don’t get it right, the comment is rejected. I was getting dozens of comment spams a day before I implemented this — none since.

    I have a plugin which implements this, but it doesn’t have the smooth finish of a publishable product, and as such currently requires that you edit it by hand to change the magic phrase (unless, of course, you want the magic phrase to be “Jeffrey” :-). If you’d like to have it, let me know.

    By the way, Philip, I did a pre-publication tech review of DBWS #2 for you (back when I was at Yahoo!). Any chance that the free copy I’m supposed to be getting for it will arrive soon? 🙂


  10. Hi All,

    I’m the geek responsible for the good and the bad of the migration of our blogs server to wordpress. A few folks have asked how we managed the migration of the old content. The short answer is that we wrote a custom wordpress import module that manages not only a lot of difficult data integration issues but more importantly manages the fact that our manila server is so slow and unstable that we can’t reliably pull large amounts of data through the xmlrpc interface. So some simple data we pull through the xmlrpc interface, but for the bulk of the content we use the xml backup files that manila generates for all messages (news items, comments, stories).

    I plan on releasing the import module eventually, but it’s going to require a significant amount of work to package it into a usable release, since it relies right now on a lot of our local setup quirks and also on a collection of background processes that prefetch much of the data. I’ve also ended up having to do a fair amount of manual tweaking to help folks migrate their data, so it’s not an out of the box solution that will just work. Anywho, look for a publication of the import package within a few months that will include a full writeup of how everything works.

    Someone asked if it was hard to maintain the old urls. That was actually one of the easiest things to accomplish, mainly through the magic of apache rewrite.


  11. David, Jason of Q Daily News helped me migrate to MT from Manila many moons ago. He’s a very busy MD but he might have that script handy…

  12. missing the look of the old site – I think it had much cozier feel, current color scheme looks a bit plain, cold, and uninviting (or just not as appealing as before :). Performance difference is incredible, though. And the header looks nice 🙂

  13. Perhaps I should say the obvious first: I don like this formatt better: the design seems to be more organized, beautiful in the layout, and easy to navigate. Only one small drawback: Why is the fond SO SMALL and I need an electornic microscope to read it? How do I make the fond bigger? what a visionally challenged person to do? And what is a wordpress anyway?

  14. Very nice look but the loading speed improvement is the best- I no longer wait 20 seconds for the page or comment window to appear and then another 30 for the content to materialize. At home I am on a commercial satellite link that has scores of issues around asynchronicity. Until now, this site was one of the most problematic…nice to have it fixed.

  15. Your default font size is too small. Be considerate of those of us whose eyesight ain’t what it used to be. This is the only blog page I’ve read recently that is a problem for me.

  16. Blog changes will attract thoughtful visitors reading and writing words that impress with WordPress!

    As yet an unproven hypothesis and a challenge for new comment moderator.

  17. I like the look of the new site. I am alas an infrequent reader, but today added you to my bloglines account so I should be able to keep up from now on.

    I made my interest in computers pay the bills, and have taken up photography as a way to explore the world. Still trying to find the ideal setup for my wordpress site that will showcase my photos.

    Always been a big fan of photo.net.

  18. Looks good, with two usability problems: no clearly-marked permalinks, and no clearly-marked link to comments. Yeah, I know where they are, but WordPress is a little too cute about hiding them. Users shouldn’t have to drink the WordPress Kool-Aid to know the secret.

  19. Various folks: This server delivers blogs for many people. I don’t have anything to do with the sysadmin or the migration from Manila. http://ccdl.dyndns.biz/werehosed/?p=1735 is a guy who will, for a fee, free blogs from their Manila hell.

    Rob: I have no official association with Berkman or Harvard. I play poker sometimes with Jonathan Zittrain, one of the Berkman founders. I help out the Berkman folks with software design questions when they ask, which is very seldom (the phenomenon of a young programmer asking an old programmer for advice is almost impossible to observe in Nature).

  20. It’s prettier and faster. Way to go!
    I ask old people for advice all the time on a variety of topics, including programming.
    “In a multitude of counselors, plans succeed” (paraphrase…)
    And you’re not old, Philip, so there.

  21. I just made the shift to WordPress myself. It was a bit of a pain, in some ways, but it is an undeniably superior content management system. I hope you like it.

  22. This is one of the cleanest looking blogs I’ve seen. I like the fact that it is not confusing to use. I think I might switch my blog over as well. Is there a cost involved?


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