Roses, too

For those worried whether I am given completely over to technology and politics (you mean, there’s something else?), I am on a real kick this week to do floral photography. And butterflies, as the fall Monarch migration is about to start. And hot air balloons, as the festival is coming up in a few weeks.

Color. I want color. I think that’s why I switched my default stylesheet to Lemon Shake-Ups. As my roommate said when I showed it to him, “It’s certainly yellow, isn’t it?”

Color. I am desperate for color.

My need for color is inspired, in part, by my plans to start a balcony garden next year. I plan on growing vegetables and flowers, though I have to be careful of my use of space (making sure to leave room for the air conditioning unit and my roommate to lay out in the sun and develop skin cancer) but there should be enough room for me to grow cherry tomatoes, green beans, carrots, and mixed greens. Perhaps some herbs.

(The leafy greens are as much for my cat as they are for us.)

There will be some small room for flowers. In particular, I want to put in one antique rose. I didn’t think an antique rose would work in a balcony garden, but found out they can do nicely–depending on the plant. Lucikly we have several hours of sunshine a day, which gives us options.

Container gardening has become quite popular now. It’s a great way of having gardens in limited spaces, as well as controlling bugs and other pests (think rabbits). It doesn’t have to be that much work, not with the self-watering containers. And many plants have been especially bred for container gardens; I’ve even heard of a form of corn that can be grown on a balcony–but that would mean my roommate would have to sun standing up.

There is nothing better than carrots or cherry tomatoes fresh from the garden.


But you’re a hater, too

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Last of the posts related to Malkin, I promise, but I did want to address one more comment from the “In Defense of Malkin” post. And then I’ll bid this particular topic of discussion good-bye. (I have a bet with someone that Malkin will be in the Technorati Top 20 by the time the election occurs–helped more by those who disagree with her, than those who agree–and wouldn’t want him to think I’m loading the boards.)

Jeneane left the following comment:

I think, quite frankly, she is a perfect example of not being able to take what she dishes out.

She writes – “What I take away from all this is that the Democrat Party waterboys in the media are in full desperation mode.”

What I take away from it is that the Republican Party sorority girls are in the “oops–I got caught chewing gum and twirling my hair” mode.

What continues to blow my mind is HOW any individual of any ethnicity other than REALLY WHITE can support the current administration, which has such a vehmently fundamental misunderstanding of the Bible that they really, honestly don’t believe some of us belong here.

How you can be anything other than REALLY WHITE FUNDAMENTALIST CHRISTIAN and still support Bush–I don’t understand. How do you parse Ashcroft, Rummy, Cheney, and George with who you are? I’m interested in hearing how.

Michelle Malkin isn’t white (her parents are immigrants from the Philippines), and is a vehement supporter of George Bush. Jeneane doesn’t understand this, or how anyone who isn’t white or fundamentalist Christian could vote for Bush. (Malkin is a religious conservative.)

I expect there to be any number of non-white, non-Christian supporters of Bush, for whatever reason. In nine weeks, I believe we’ll have one of the closest Presidential races we’ve had in history. Which means that unless we want to accuse half the country of being evil, stupid, or morally bankrupt, we’ll just have to assume that those who choose not to vote ‘our way’, whatever ‘our way’ is, will have good reasons for their vote.

My father is a Republican. He’ll be voting for George Bush. Though he is white, he’s not a fundamentalist Christian. He’s not evil, either, but he’ll still vote for Bush.

My mother is also a Republican, but this year I helped convince her to vote for John Kerry. Go me. Now, to Republicans, they shouldn’t assume that because my mother is voting for Kerry that she’s evil.

Now, me? I am evil. Bwahahahahaha!

Sorry. This isn’t to belittle Jeneane’s question because her comment is critical to our discussions now. I hope those who are not Christian and/or white and who are voting for Bush, in fact all people voting for Bush, will take a moment and respond–thoughtfully– to Jeneane in the comments or their own weblogs. To be honest, I wouldn’t mind hearing from folks why they’re voting for Bush myself. Those voting for Kerry are invited to do the same.

Among all the screamers on both sides of this fence, the intolerant and the angry and the unforgiving and those filled with absolute surety of rightness, there must be reasonable people who understand that those who choose differently are not evil or stupid. If not, I worry about what will happen in nine weeks when almost 50% of the country is disappointed when their man is not picked. We can’t continue to maintain this level of animosity.

The world will be watching this election, and many will be reading what we say. Those outside our borders should also be able to read why we’re making the decisions we are in nine weeks – but without the accompaniment of invective, and accusations of ‘traitor’ and ‘hater’.

In another comment about Malkin, I read, …Malkin is a hater. No different than any KKKer–that’s truly what makes her most unattractive.

So spoke someone who would be shocked if you quietly said to him, “But you’re a hater, too.”

Technology Weblogging

MT and WP: There and back again

Both Movable Type and WordPress should be having new releases in the upcoming weeks. Movable Type is scheduled to release August 31 (I can’t find this in writing–can someone point this out?); No announced date for WP 1.3, but forum talk has it that the current nightly builds are getting progressively stable.

With both releases, there is bound to be a movement between these two products. I imagine since MT has a larger installed base, there will be more movement from MT to WordPress. However,announcements about stronger comment spam prevention and dynamic PHP pages in MT 3.1 could be luring some old MT users back to MT from WordPress.

Currently I’m working on a WP to MT export script that will export WordPress entries into Movable Type format for import into MT. WP supports an RSS/Atom export, but that won’t work with MT 3.1 (or will it?) Before I can release it, though, I need to test it with MT 3.1. If anyone has a working beta of this product, and wouldn’t mind letting me create a weblog for testing, I’d be appreciative.

When 3.1 releases, I’ll port one of my WordPress weblogs to MT 3.1 and then write up the process as a tutorial here in Burningbird. I’ll cover how to export the data, import it into MT, and how to move the weblog’s distinctive look by converting between tool template elements. This will include merging stylesheets; taking WordPress’ single template and porting it into MT’s multi-template environment; how the commenting structure differs; and covering differences between the tools for functions to list categories, recent comments, and so on.

To do this, I again need access to a working version of 3.1 and someone willing to let me create a weblog in their environment, for demonstration purposes (we can get rid of it when I’m done with writeup, and taking screenshots.) I could download 3.1 myself, but I don’t have – and won’t have– a TypeKey.

When 1.3 releases, my hope is to port 2-4 current Movable Type weblogs into WordPress 1.3, writing up the process just as with the WP to MT 3.1 port: how to move the distinctive look, covering functional differences, what functions to use for sidebar information, and so on. By covering multiple weblogs, I should hit most of the major challenges people would face. I’ll also add any of my customizations that the individual want, such as per-comment moderation or fullpage preview, comment editing, and so on.

(I’ll first be upgrading Burningbird from 1.2 to 1.3, which means upgrading my modifications and plugins. When finished, I’ll do another code documentation generation and post links.)

For this, I need volunteers from among Movable Type users who are interested either in moving to WordPress completely, or seeing what their weblog will look like in WordPress. They’ll need to have both the space and extra MySQL database for me to create the new WP weblog, and to provide me access to their system. They’re welcome to follow along with the effort, but they can’t hover. Hovering people make me twitchy.

Finally, I need non-techs to read the tutorials as I write them and let me know when the writing leaves them lost, or my instructions aren’t clear. I know that techs will let me know when I’ve done something wrong, technically.

Hopefully, when I’m done, people–whether technical or not–can use these tutorials to move from WordPress to Movable Type, and from Movable Type to WordPress–not just moving the data, but all covering all aspects of the move, including look and feel. This will be the last time I cover moving between tools, and I won’t be following Movable Type after 3.1.

Disclosure: I don’t work for Six Apart, I’m not part of the WordPress team, and have closed my ‘port-a-bloggy’ business. I won’t be getting either a Six Apart t-shirt, or a WordPress thong (I have been offered a JournURL t-shirt). I am not writing this up for a major publication. No one will be sending me flowers or chocolates, and telling me they love me for this. I may or may not get extra links for this for a time, but it won’t make an overall difference in my popularity. I would need to talk about sex, become a man or Dooce, or switch to being a warblogger to do this.

All of which means that I’m not financially or emotionally dependent on either product, which one you use, or whether you move or not.

I am doing this because it should be fun, and probably more helpful than talking about politics (though I will continue talking about politics, sex discrimination, hikes, photography, and whatever else it is I talk about here). Also because my version of ‘open source’ support is to use and/or tweak software and then write about it so others can do the same. I also believe people should be able to move freely between tools, even if they aren’t technically inclined.

(My final reason is that if people continue to have problems with comment spam in MT 3.1 I don’t want to hear them bitching about it!)

(Just joking on that latter.)



Blacklists are evil

I have said it before and will say it again – blacklists are evil.

In an effort to reduce the serious spammer problems we’ve been having (specifically my domain and some others are being targetted), Hosting Matters is now blocking SMTP access based on IP addresses from some kind of ‘list’. Well, Charter cable is on that list, which means I can’t send email. HM put back the block of IP addresses I was in when I couldn’t send before–but my cable company just now changed my IP address, and I am, again, blocked from responding to an email.

(Update: and HM is again whitelisting the block holding my IP address – Annette and the gang respond faster than any other ISP I’ve ever had.)

I wish people would remember that the bad guys can route around blocks and blacklists faster than the rest of us can.

In the meantime, please direct all email to me – and I mean all – to my gmail account (in the sidebar). I’m a bit worried about the reliability of gmail, too, but at least I can respond back in this system.

I think Hosting Matters is the best ISP there is, and appreciate their interest in keeping us up and running, and bug and collapse free (they’re obsessed with this–I like this in an ISP).

But blacklists are evil.