Skip to content

Tech Articles

Editing and Fixing WordPress Liveblog Entries

wplogo

UPDATE: January 24, 2013: Liveblog 1.3 does editing now! More here >> http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/liveblog/

 

If you are using the WordPress Liveblog plugin to liveblog events, you can screw up an entry. I did. But, because the entries are time-stamped, you really only have the option to delete them or leave them through the WordPress browser GUI. This is not optimal if you just want to fix the spelling error or something minor, but you want to leave the entry the same other than that. The other issue on this is that the whole liveblog plugin has really no documentation or even any visibility of the liveblog “containers” it puts into the blog post to mess with it and correct it.

So, after some investigation this morning, I have found a way to correct them. It seems that the liveblog plugin is using hidden WordPress comments functionality. But, you can’t edit them like other comments through the WordPress admin dashboard. They don’t show-up.

visiblecomments
No liveblog “comments” can be seen through the WordPress admin GUI

But, if you view the comments table via mysql through command-line or even through phpmysql you can correct the issues. The liveblog entries are there in the comments table for the blog. My blog is a multisite, so it is as the sub-blog table “tnm_7_comments” but find whatever your table prefix you used and the blog the liveblog is using to find your entries. In the table, you will see they will have a “comment type” of “liveblog” so they will be relatively easy to find. Here is a view from phpmysql

phpmysql-liveblogentries
viewing the wordpress liveblog type comments in phpmysql

 

You can edit the entries here inline or regular full edit to make the correction easily. I am sure eventually as this liveblog plugin for WordPress matures, they will pull in the ability to edit and correct entries through the GUI. But, until then, this is a great workaround to fix spelling or incorrect quotes.

Good times.

5 things Linux does better than OS X and a couple of things I miss

Things Linux Does Better…

Now a few months into the full transition on my main laptop to Linux, here are some observations on what I am very happy about and what I miss in leaving OS X. I am running XFCE as my desktop interface of choice, but all of these points are relevant no matter what UI I have run.

1. Performance

lshw20121217

Ditching OS X 10.8 and moving to Linux really unleashed the performance in my i7 MacBook Pro. It runs much faster that it did really since Snow Leopard. I haven’t done side by side testing, but compiles and ffmpeg work moves along much faster since my transition. At 8 gigs of RAM and a decent speed Intel i7, it was remarkably slower under OS X 10.8 and it was “beachballing” far more than it should have been even after clean installs.

2. Workspaces / Virtual Desktops

workspaces

Apple OS X never could do this correctly. “Spaces” and Expose never were great. I don’t miss them at all. I used to run Codetek Virtual Desktop and then Hyperspaces (http://thecocoabots.com/hyperspaces/) before various OS X version changes killed them off. The old-school workspaces way is the best way to deal with multiple desktops. OS X never got that right.

3. Package Management

synaptic

Crazy that OS X never had decent options on handling software installs and removes. Sure, you could buy 3rd-party software that could kind of manage things, but now that OS X software is really putting files around the drive like Windows does (in /Library  and in /User/Library, etc.) it is crazy not to have it. Heck, in Lion and Mountain Lion, Apple is even starting to actively hide the Library directories from users so they can’t get into purge preferences or fully uninstall apps that put garbage in there. Having many files from applications that came and went is not something I miss from OS X and I’m happy to be able to really manage it once again.

Also, in Ubuntu, the apt packaging system is great. The ability to add sources and keep updated far exceeds the limited Apple Software Update functions that have now been inserted into the Apple OS X App Store. Synaptic Package Manager is wonderful. The ability to install, remove and purge is just something OS X doesn’t do well.

4. Wireless Network Management

wifi-linux-crop

It sounds crazy, but I hop back and forth constantly over wlans that sit on top of vlans on my network for testing and troubleshooting. OS X never did that fast switching well. I jump back and forth between a handful of wireless networks on our campus to make sure services and performance are solid. With OS X, it was routine to go through a couple of wlans switches only to be timed-out because OS X couldn’t handle it. Daily, I would have to flip Airport (now “Wifi”) completely off to then be able to jump on additional networks. Under Ubuntu 12.10, I can hop back and forth between the 5 wireless networks with different encryption authentication settings all without a problem. This is a huge timesaver. I had always thought the problems were related to the wireless APs, but now I know better. The OS X client was to blame. The wireless Broadcom hardware on these MacBook Pros is somewhat buggy though no matter  what OS I try to run. It sure seems to perform much better under Linux.

5. Customization of the GUI

compbiz

The ability to tweak and set how you want your user interface to look is unmatched. There are a lot of things I can’t move around to my preferences on OS X. The Apple Menu is of little use since OS X and you can only hack the dock so much to make it work the way I wanted it to. I am much happier with XFCE, panels and Cairo Dock or Docky.

 

Things I Miss…

Linux is great. But, there are a couple of things I really do miss from OS X. I am sure they will eventually get worked-out, but tough to not have them.

1. VPN options are limited.

vpn

It’s really surprising to me that I am unable to get L2TP VPN running on Ubuntu 12.10. This should be automatic, but it is not happening. I have spent hours and still no dice. Some people have done guides on it, but still a huge issue for me. I have been able to get it to the point where it looks as though it should work, but it does.

2. SD Card Reader Not Usable (Yet!)

sd2

I didn’t think I used the MacBook Pro SD card slot reader much, but I do. Under Ubuntu 12.10, if I insert an SDHC card, I blackscreen. This stinks. It looks like it will be rectified in the 3.7 kernel, but come on! Standard SD seem to be okay, but SDHC cards (like the one I happen to use with our Canon camera) are not able to be accessed.

 

The “Page Per Change” Model For Change Transition Documents

It is not a secret that when you breakdown larger complex change into smaller components in a simple way, you can get deeper understanding of the whys and hows. The idea of using a “Page Per Change” document is basically that you, being the project manager, take the issues and make them as direct as possible and illustrate the before and after on the same page. If you are able to do this, you provide a few benefits for your audience;

  1. Brief explanations of each issue they can reference when talking with you. You will get more informed feedback.
  2. Give people the ability to see you have done your homework and have built an understanding of the changes involved.
  3. Allow people to be charitable. Odds are they will at least find a few pages they can empathize and agree with even if they are reluctant to swallow all the upcoming changes.
  4. Provide a document everyone can reference easily when discussing issues among their own groups or departments.
  5. Allows you to clarify and define “feedback” instead of getting unfiltered complaints.
  6. Remove excuses for people to not be fully aware of the changes. Images and single pages are not too much to have to take on as a user if there is real concern.

Attached is a document I used last year around this time to summarize a website transition. We were redesigning the site and making some changes that affected thousands of users. The project was titled “Website Fixes” because the project with WhippleHill was meant mostly to address and correct issues in our original design of the website after using it for a few years. Click the image below to get a copy of the document to give you some ideas if you think the “Page Per Change” might work for your constituency. This document is for a website redesign, but the idea might work with any type of transition.

In my experience, when you are able to generate a document like this, it helps you and the audience affected because it helps get people on the same page while allowing you and your team to get the word out to others in an easy to digest method.

Hope this idea might be of help to you.

Note: The final document had a few other pages before going to the “Page Per Change” model.But, I used the same “single page” mindset for: a cover, a timeline, a summary of the project, page with website links on how to provide constructive feedback and contact information. 

Key applications when transitioning off Mac OS X to Ubuntu

Since moving off OS X as my main OS on my daily computer (2011 MacBook Pro) last month, I have found these applications great to use. There are many “best apps” lists out there, but these applications are the ones I find I am using all the time to cover the various things I did when I used to rely just on OS X. This is geared more towards the system admin user.

Chromium

https://apps.ubuntu.com/cat/applications/chromium-browser/

This is huge. It is not installed by default on Ubuntu which is unfortunate because it is just a superior browser. Ubuntu bundles Firefox, but c’mon now.

 

FileZilla

https://apps.ubuntu.com/cat/applications/filezilla/

I ran this and Panic’s Transmit on OS X for sftp transfers. Runs well on Linux. Again, not bundled by default but should be.

 

VLC

https://apps.ubuntu.com/cat/applications/vlc/

The video toolbox is great on Linux.

 

FFMPEG

http://ffmpeg.org/

If you can, compile on your own to get the latest from the git repository. Must have if you are doing any video conversion. Runs better in Linux than in OS X in my tests. You can get the various GUI versions, etc. but you have to run command-line.

 

Openshot

https://apps.ubuntu.com/cat/applications/openshot/

Not quite as nice as iMovie for simple editing, but more robust with multiple timelines, etc.

 

VMWare Workstation

http://www.vmware.com/products/workstation/

It’s worth it. You can even get a OS X 10.6 guest VM working if you absolutely need something on OS X. It is also a security blanket to jump back into if you need to run documentation for users. VirtualBox and others are out there, and VMWare costs money, but it is better. It’s nice to have Windows and OSX as guest operating systems if needed.

 

Wireshark

https://apps.ubuntu.com/cat/applications/wireshark/

The best network packet analyzer. Years ago it was known as Ethereal.

 

Thunderbird with Sunbird

https://apps.ubuntu.com/cat/applications/thunderbird/

 

http://www.mozilla.org/projects/calendar/sunbird/

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with Thunderbird. But, recent versions are better. Connecting it to a groupware server and doing CardDav to get contacts and then installing the recent build of Sunbird to use CalDav to get calender events actually works for the first time in my memory. I thought I would be running Outlook in a VM or WINE or something but this is actually handling things well. I was as shocked as you. My iPhone is doing ActiveSync to my Kerio Connect server OTA and Thunderbird and Sunbird are dishing the data to my Ubuntu Linux laptop. It is reliable now. I still do have Outlook ready to go on the Windows and OS X guest VMs just in case, but I am not going to them at all.

 

Docky

https://apps.ubuntu.com/cat/applications/docky/

I used to be more of a Cairo-dock guy but no longer. Docky is stable and a pleasure to use to provide an OS X taskbar-like launcher for Unity or GNOME.

 

GNOME Shell

https://apps.ubuntu.com/cat/applications/gnome-shell/

Not shipped as the default GUI on Ubuntu for a few years now as they have moved to Unity. This is too bad. Unity is still a mess IMHO. Even with the various tweaks, etc. Unity is still not something I can work with and stand especially coming from OSX. GNOME Shell and desktop allow you much more flexibility on configuration of your desktop interface. I try to use Unity now and again, but always leave it. GNOME with Docky is pretty sweet. Also, you don’t have to deal with all the Amazon garbage Shuttleworth and Co. are cramming into Unity now.

 

Dia

https://apps.ubuntu.com/cat/applications/dia-gnome/

This is a program I have used off and on for years on Linux and Windows. I never got it to run reliably on OS X. It was actually a program I missed using when on Mac. Easier and faster than the OMNIGroup stuff.

 

Synaptic Package Manager

https://apps.ubuntu.com/cat/applications/synaptic/

Sadly, Ubuntu stopped including this by default. I suppose it is so they can bundle more Amazon ads garbage into the Ubuntu Software application. Synaptic is better. It gives you more details and more information on packages and more abilities to selectively install and remove via a GUI. Obviously, this kind of tool is MIA on Mac OS X except for the Apple App Store app which can only mange software you acquired through Apple’s walled-garden,

 

jEdit

I don’t intend to duel with people on text or code editors or choice, but on OS X I was a BBEdit or TextWrangler guy and not seeing much downside running with jEdit. I do mostly XML stuff and it has been wonderful to use. I do wish it had the open from sftp that I used to use all the time, but partnered with FileZilla, I’m good.

 

Screenshot

https://apps.ubuntu.com/cat/applications/gnome-screenshot/

I used the built-in Apple commands in the Finder all the time to generate screenshots under OSX. This is the built-in GNOME screenshot app and it is just fine for having around. Throw it into Docky for quick access.

 

Conclusion

I am not going to talk about GIMP and LibreOffice all that much. They work. People love GIMP, I think it is okay. GIMP is an additional install. LibreOffice is bundled with Ubuntu 12.10 and is more than adequate for general use. I use it for editing Excel and Word docs and send them back to people on Windows and OS X without problems. I hope this was a decent list for people to think about when they are looking at other options as OS X gets more limiting down the road for users that might no longer fit into Apple’s demographic. For the last 5 years or so, I have done this “move to Linux” experiment about every six months or so with an extra hard drive to see if I could do it. This is the first time it has actually stuck and I have a couple of weeks under my belt now and not looking back.

Playing around with App.net and AppApp

I’m not a fan of the advertising-based model for social media services. To use the web and social media effectively, you have to do what you can to widdle-down the feeds and noise so you can obtain and provide value. Advertising models used to support these sites and services really only hinder and distort these resources.

I was really interested in App.net because of a more focused and honest model where the user pays for something and gets something in return. As Facebook remains Facebook and Twitter descends into trying to insert more and more ads, I am hopeful for something like App.net to ascend. So, I bought in and was able to get into the alpha going on right now. After about a week of playing around, I am pleasantly surprised.

The service right now is pretty barebones but evolving nicely. After many days of posting and interacting with App.net via the web and mobile interface, I didn’t have any issues and enjoyed the clean minimal interface. But, when I was able to get involved with the iOS app AppApp beta testing, that is when I really started to incorporate it into daily life.

Here are some screenshots of what the UI looks like in AppApp (version 1.5)

 

App.net is still a really small community but it is growing and it is neat to see people feeling things out in the system and asking questions on why or why not. The same conventions Twitter users are familiar with hashtags and @ symbol call-outs are running in App.net so a transition has little to no learning curve.

Lots more to come with App.net but if you are looking to support a different kind of a service and are willing to invest in multiple ways to get that going, you should check App.net out.

Here is my feed over at the alpha at App.net

https://alpha.app.net/jmergy