blog cleaning progresses


I’ve been avoiding doing the cleaning of several years of posts, but somehow fell into it a couple of days ago, trying a few different approaches to get through the task until I found one that’s methodical, quick, and requires very little brain use. The problem is supernaut existed in a couple of different platforms before WordPress, and there remains (currently from August 2005 to December 2010) a lot of mess and pretty much all the images not properly linked. So I’m working through that, one month at a time, and while it’s certainly not exciting, I am getting to read back over ten years of blogging and my life.


Last week I set another website loose (Voices of Transition, for the documentary filmmaker, Nils Aguilar), which in part was being shunted off another domain, with some very messed up urls requiring quite a stack of redirection. I started using a plugin to deal with this, which  then made me think about supernaut, and all its incarnations and thousands of posts, tags, hundreds of categories, tens of thousands of images, and what kind of mess almost ten years of blogging would leave.

Out of curiosity then, I installed the same plugin (in-between watching Person of Interest – which is another story) and turns out there are over 1000 404 Page not Found per day. A lot of these (around 3/4) are from Google’s Image Search trying to go directly from their site to the full-size image itself, bypassing the post the image lives in, which the server treats as hotlinking (due to the absence of a referrer) because of my anti-leeching rules. I’d love to be able to simply redirect those attempts to view the image to the actual post, but … prior to 2011 supernaut is a mess. Most of the remaining quarter are either weird errors trying to access images for the image viewer I need to deal with or spam searches looking for things that don’t exist (on the basis of “If image ‘n’ exists at path ‘p’, then ‘y’ is installed (plugin, theme, software, etc) that allows for hack ‘x’ to be tried). Which leaves real errors.

Which comprise wreckage from the days long ago when I used Movable Type instead of WordPress. Back in those days, all my images were in a folder called /images/ with subdirectories like 09dec for December, 2009. WordPress on the other hand has everything in /uploads/ with a year/month/ sub-directory structure, which I long ago imported all the images into (and which I am still very slowly dealing with). It also had a different url structure for posts, like post_name_truncated_somethi.html. Both of these are buried in search engine results, the former to quite a huge degree (about 5% of traffic is looking for those old images).

So I wrote (and am writing) a bunch of redirects – and a lot of regex. I could do this directly in .htaccess, but not knowing which urls are the problem, and having all of this logged by the plugin are both good reasons to do it directly in WordPress. It’s a bit messy and sometimes redirects for spam conflicted with genuine pages (like sub-pages of monthly archives), but probably useful for a while if people looking for something actually stand a good chance of finding it instead of “absence…”

Categories & Tags Mayhem (∴ SQL)


I was just about to write on a few things I’m reading – Michel Serres, Black Metal Theory mostly – and suddenly felt an urge to clean up, merge, rename, delete some of the 1300 tags on supernaut, when I noticed something dead weird: some of the tags were simultaneously categories. Much messing around and the inability to edit or change taxonomies caused me to have a look at the database, where I found, horribly, they indeed existed as both. I guess this is either a hangover from the Movable Type port some years ago, or a plugin that didn’t do its job properly around the same time. So I manually deleting 50 or so of these and their relationships. And then did some more merging and renaming. And now I must eat.

supernaut addendum


Oh grep! I spent some of my spare time the last days grepping the crud out of supernaut’s database. Much excitement, of course. The result is that now all the image file paths point to the default WordPress uploads folder, organized by year and month, and also all images are in the Media Library. So my slow task of disentangling supernaut from its previous years in Ecto and Movable Type, and hooking it properly into WordPress (which should mean if I ever decide to swap to another platform will mean less pain) proceeds slowly.

I decided for the manual path for coping with all the rubbish html surrounding the images as the thought of properly grepping all that caused my eyes to water, so currently I’m working my way through June, 2004. Shall take months, I’m sure.

supernaut wordpress

Six months ago, deliriously annoyed with Movable Type, and deeply envious of all those people using WordPress. I install WP, throw a theme framework on top and promptly run away, terrified of what harrowing coding ordeals would ensue when I tried to make new look like old.

I have an end of year list of things to do. Coding for some, editing for others, rsync, asr, and other delights of command line backups for still another. For me, one was to use the brilliant, entirely CSS 100% background image for That took all of 40 minutes or so, mostly in cleaning out my old junk from when I decided to code that version in an afternoon.

The other, of course, forced me to look at supernaut once more.

I’ve been using WordPress for all my projects lately, and the more I fall into it, the more I love it. A while ago, after much looking around, thinking, reading, and even a couple of trials, I decided on Blueprint CSS as the typographic CSS framework to build sites upon. Rather than lose time that could be spent sleeping…

Blueprint is a CSS framework, which aims to cut down on your development time. It gives you a solid foundation to build your project on top of, with an easy-to-use grid, sensible typography, useful plugins, and even a stylesheet for printing.

— Blueprint

… and a Photoshop layout to build designs upon that then can be transferred ridiculously quickly into a real site.

Of course the limitations are firstly of setting up a WordPress theme with all the necessary IDs and classes. Lucky someone else did that for me. Combining the Sandbox theme framework with the WSB Child Theme

WSB is a Sandbox child theme that provides tight integration with the Blueprint CSS. This is the conclusion of the method of integration discussed here. Using WordPress functions file, Sandbox template files, and Blueprint CSS files creates a excellent minimalist theme that is a very strong starting point for further theme development and customization


… I began this afternoon and lazily poked at some CSS, a little hackery in one or two of the functions.php, some shuffling of the Sandbox templates php (which I could have done in css and left all this untouched but I was feeling lazy – much cheese and chocolate). To be pedantic, I began around 18h and it’s now 2315-ish, and with a good hour or more break in that time, so perhaps 4 hours of actual conscious attention, supernaut went from before to after.



I have spent a lazy Saturday transferring supernaut over to WordPress (more on that there). The result of that for the moment is the old Movable Type site exists at and in the static archives while the new at the usual address.

This means also the RSS feed has changed, so for those of you who like feeds, I am now at:

I won’t be deleting the old version yet, as the new one needs a lot of construction I shall only have scant time for, but distinctly odd weirdness (like this feed showing garbled rubbish for instance) would make a good moment to email me with the offending instance.

Movable Type was good four years ago, but in the intervening time much has changed and it is too much of a hassle to work with any longer. I hope I spend the next few years enjoying WordPress as much as I have over the last while, and find maybe some new ways to blog.

from ecto 3 to wordpress 2.8


When I started finding odd stuff in my Movable Type install for supernaut I knew the end was near. I’ve been putting this off for a long time, especially doing projects for others using WordPress and thinking, “uuhhh… this is so much better…”.

Something made me decide to do it today… teaching myself about .htpasswd and so on, and crappy MT plaugins, I wondered… “If I install WordPress in its own directory then link it to supernaut’s SQL database, will that work?” Immediately before trying I realised it would/wouldn’t, so set up a new database (the bit that wouldn’t) installed WordPress (would) messed around for a bit…

… dumped a file called index.php in the root directory pointing to the WordPress install…

Hell-0 )))!!!

Funnily enough, that was all. Everything seems to be here, much is broken, obviously the old theme has yet to make the jump (shall wait on that…), but words and pictures!

So then I decided to get ecto, my looooong time trusty blog client to work. Messed around, lost 1400 entries. oops…, I thought, hope they come back… Found them again. More messing around, wondered if ecto 3 would be worth a try. More of the same…

Hello blogging from ecto 3 to supernaut on WordPress 2.8. Total time it took was about an hour.

I have no idea what might not be working, but shall continue like this.

Oh! RSS feed! supernaut RSS feed.

In the meantime, I shall mangle this theme a little to see if I can at least have the existing content… umm… re-exist.

Keywords? ecto doesn’t seem to support keywords with WordPress, instead using Tags, which still work, but not as fast for me as entering a string of words. But, contra that, the 1500 tags I have I can search and so perhaps shall be a bit more economic in inventing.

Aaaaanyway, I am rather impressed how simple it was to get this far with so little work, and shall thank Berlin for that.

oops teach me to be stupid…

That will teach me to brazenly copy-paste with no thought to the consequences. Wondering why new posts weren’t showing up, I discovered I’d replaced the index page template with the entire contents of my darling blog’s statically-generated page through some rather careless editing. Oops. Lucky I backed-up the templates, no?

It all looks… err… normal now, none-the-less, I stil get the delightful XHTML 1.0 Strict (oh yes it is), error that “there is no attribute ‘name’”. Well either I live with being invalid, or you live with no search function. Perhaps to entertain yourself by reading the stuff at the top of the right column? Yes, it’s coming along nicely.

(Meanwhile, thoroughly enjoying the feeling of being whipped from behind as I run for candy which is Things. I do love Merlin, but it’s a bit clobbering-ish for simple tasks like, ‘wax your legs’, and ‘fix the damage you did to your blog’.)