Posts Tagged ‘WordPress’

I’ve become a content consumer, not a creator.  But I’m okay with that.

eat contentI’ve been blogging for a long time, but of late the need or urge to blog has waned, and I find myself reading more than I’m writing.  In fact I missed posting anything the entire month of August this year.  Maybe it’s because I am creating or at least designing all day long for a living that the pastime of writing a blog has begun to feel a little too much like work. When you write reports and emails all day the last thing you want to see on your off-time is a blank page staring back at you.

So the creative side of me has been on sabbatical, unless you count Instagram, but that is not creating so much as it is capturing. Sure it takes some creativity, but it is really just find beauty or interest in your surroundings.  At least for most people like me, it serves as a creative outlet or a way to chronicle your adventures in photos, but as usual, i digress.  My mom always said it was the Welsh in me, eventually i get back to the topic in hand, but it takes a while, days even. As a matter of fact, when I was young…. sorry, case in point there.  Anyway…

Thankfully I have met many people who can create enough for me to consume.  And I’m not talking about cat videos here, I mean real content.  interesting, informative, well written content. WordPress blogs alone account for over 1.2 million posts a day.  Sure, some of them may be just a retelling of their lunch order, but still, you have to figure a good portion of them are actually worth reading.  And that is just WordPress, not to mention all the other blogging platforms and self hosted blogs… the numbers are staggering really, we create so much content constantly you have to wonder if there is anything you can contribute to it that is worthwhile, or hasn’t been said before.  Thankfully, the answer to that question is yes there is, and a good chunk of that is created right here in little old London.  Check out my twitter feed if you don’t believe me and see the people I follow.  Many of them are home-grown bloggers and writers that keep me up to my ears in info and entertainment.

Also, thankfully, it is readily accessible, and getting easier to keep track of and save for later, or just clearer to read.  Sites with all the ads and moving videos and whatnot really distract me from what I am reading, which is why I was so happy to the see Evernote’s “Clearly” extension for Chrome.  The ability to take a visually busy site and hone in on the pertinent info is a godsend.  At least to me.  Whether you use Evernote, Circus Ponies Notebook, bookmarking, or adding to your reading list, even Dropbox and Box make it easy to hang into the important stuff, or just read them later at your leisure.

The world needs consumers. Much of our economy is based on that fact.  So take solace in the fact that you and I are doing our part, even when not actively creating.

Speaking of cat videos, if i ever post one, please take the great big book on engineering that sits beside my desk and beat me senseless with it.

write on,



movingblog-01I have mentioned before about moving my blog from a self-hosted one to this WordPress one, and I thought it had gone surprisingly smoothly, except for the loss of all my old followers which is slowly growing back, and also something else I didn’t notice until my old blog was officially taken down, was the links to certain images within blog posts. They are broken. Argh.

I’m reminded of a quote by Robert Bateman “Creation is long and difficult, destruction is quick.”

Yep, couldn’t have said it better myself. It was tough to see years of work destroyed, or at least all screwed up.  What was happening, as i found out, was that for some reason certain images did not get exported from the old site and imported into the new site.  Instead they were just pointed to the old website.  I hadn’t noticed because everything seemed fine while the old blog was still up and running.  I had used the WordPress export plugin, a number of times actually since the blog was basically a backup of my other one.  I would export the entries about once a month or so to keep this one updated.  I mention this because as it will become evident later, tracking down the issues turn out to be different depending upon the entry.

movingblog-02After signing into the dashboard of my new blog and checking the Visual preview of my published posts in edit mode, I could see the images were missing and i was getting that cute little question mark indicating a broken link.  Flipping over to “text” helped me identify the reason pretty quickly.  This is when I figured out my images where pointing to the now defunct website.

the highlighted words points out the problems.

the highlighted words points out the problems.

First off was the link to the image.  Even though the “href” (or hypertext reference) was correct, the “src” (or source), was pointing to the old website to grab the image from.  I wasn’t quite sure what the actual location should be so I just browsed to an image that was working and copy clipped its location from the inspector into the text editing screen.  It didn’t matter what image or where I dropped it, since it was just so I could see what it was supposed to be.  In the end, mostly it meant copy clipping “” and pasting it where “” was.  The dates afterward seemed to be the same for the most part, except for a couple of instances.  For some reason a number of images had been imported with a different month number.  Not sure why.

the address of the image

the address of the image

I wondered about using a search and replace editor to substitute the one for the other everywhere, but realized after doing a few that wasn’t the only problem and hand editing each blog seemed to be the only solution. Some images still were not loading.

When I had inserted the image into the original blog post, sometimes I would insert them at one specific size, and then later edit it manually to shrink it down a bit.  For instance, if an image had a suffix of -200×300 and then I manually edited the size, to say 160×240, those are the files it would have trouble with. For some reason, certain images stored the size with the image name as a suffix to it, as seen in the highlighted text in the image above. After the name “…netflix-001” was the suffix “-300×159”  This wasn’t part of the actual image name that was being pointed to in the link for it.  So by deleting that portion of the name, the image would then appear on the blog post as it should. You shouldn’t add an image and give it a size and then change the size manually it seems. Lesson learned.

yeah, thats not how it should look

yeah, that’s not how it should look

Another problem I found seemed to be the way the different image sizes were being handled.  Most of my images were medium or large or thumbnail, for example “…img class=”size-large wp-image-5088″ title=”dlna-mac-04“.  But when I checked the images that were displaying like the above with the image extending thru the text and not wrapping properly around it, I noticed the image was labeled as “full” and not large or medium as most were.

the culprit.  size=full

the culprit: “size-full”

By changing the word “full” to “large” the problem was fixed.  I’m not sure if one of the versions of WordPress I had used over the years had allowed “full” as a size but no longer did, or if it was a throwback to one of the other numerous blogging programs I’d used, but for some reason this version of WordPress didn’t like it.  Again, a simple fix, just had to look at the difference between images that were working and those that weren’t to find the commonality between them.  Another lesson learned.

300 posts (6-1/2 years worth of ramblings), about 8 hours of hand editing and I’m back to where I was prior to the move.  Well, plus one blog post that is.  This one explaining all the trials and tribulations of the move.  If one person reads this post and it stops them from tearing out their hair then its all worth it.

At least that’s what I’m telling myself.

barkerp (the blogger formerly known at tcg)

final-logo-tcg(from my other blog…)

A change is as good as a rest.  That’s an expression I heard often as a child and never really got it… until recently.  It kinda clicked for me when stress was getting to me and I would find myself spinning non-productively.  Sometimes, just doing something different can make you feel re-energized, revitalized, refreshed.    Sort of like sometimes you need to physically move to get a different view on things.  For me, this move was a while coming.  What move you say?

I’m on the move again… well, not really moving, just redirecting where my public thoughts reside. My blog has been a constantly evolving thing over the years and many times of late encompasses more than just all things computer/tech related. I’ve had a mirror blog for some time (as a backup more than anything) and have decided to just use that one from now on. I hope you will follow me in my new (er) location…

The “” blog has been a labour of love and most of what it was will continue on at the new location, just under a different name.  Still the same sometimes-warped-mind behind it. Besides, really, what is in a name?  As Juliet said “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”  In this case the rose is a blog by the name of “thatcomputerguy”.  A name that served its purpose, but it is time for that change.  Evolve.  Grow.  Refresh.

Please check it out and sign up to follow along so as to not miss any of my future posts,



the blogger formerly known as thatcomputerguy/tcg

I’ve tried over the years to start my blog drafts on my iPhone and then do the final tweaking on a PC simply because its hard to see what the finished result is going to be on the small screen. That and the fact the older version of the app was always a pain to get photos where I wanted them on the post I was working on. Well, i’ve got to say, with the latest updates to the iPhone WordPress app, that is no longer the case. I decided to try and do entire posts from my iPhone without ever even checking to see what they look like on the big screen, which thankfully seems to be working quite well (as you can see in the screen grab- the one with Preview at the top)




There are a few things you need to know when using the app, mainly what the little symbols across the bottom do, especially if you just want to save your post as a draft and not accidentally post it instead.

You can guess at the first one,the pencil, it is where you write, the second , the cog, is for settings. This is the one I screwed up on and didn’t change a post I was working on to draft so it published it when I hit update. Oops. (the third screengrab shows the setting I forgot to change. As you can see it clearly shows draft now) The third icon, the eye, is for previewing what your post will look like on your blog. After that is the paperclip, the movie symbol and the photo symbol. Each of which is pretty much self-explanatory as to their purpose.

The only thing that is a little goofy is the previewing of the saved post since it scales everything to fit your iPhone screen instead of my typical LCD laptop or desktop screen.

Another item of note, is the “update” in the top corner of the screen whenever you make a change, it doesn’t mean update the app, it means update the post – basically it saves it. You need to “update” your post to save it which allows it to be previewed properly, otherwise you get a message telling you “Sorry the post has changed, or its is not published. A simple preview is shown below.”

Aside from a few little glitches that were basically just me not knowing how things worked, the app is a great way to get your message out there as long as you don’t mind the occasional goofy-looking layout that may occur when viewed full screen on a larger display.


ps – this entire blog post including screen grabs was done using the WordPress app on my iPhone.

I was updating my blog and noticed that the comments on a particular post that was fairly current were closed. So I checked a few other posts and these were also closed. This confused me since I don’t close the comments on posts automatically. I know some people set time restrictions on older posts, but I never bother to do that so the note at the bottom saying “comments are closed” baffled me.


First thing I checked was the automatic settings in the comments area of my WordPress Dashboard. I checked in the WP area and the Disqus settings.

First and foremost were the “Discussion Settings” in WP.  Nope, nothing out of whack there. Sometimes updates can cause problems like this and I didn’t remember updating Disqus recently but that doesn’t mean the problem hadn’t been there for a while unnoticed.  As expected, nothing different in there either.

I got thinking about plugins.  They can cause all kinds of conflicts with each other and I had run into this kind of thing before with outdated ones.  The first step is always to ensure they are all updated, which they were.  The next step is to figure out which is causing the conflict, unfortunately the only way to determine which is the trouble-maker is to disable all your plugins and re-activate them one by one until you find the error again.  Being fairly confident of a few of them I disabled most, not all, and sure enough the comment problem disappeared.


Nice thing about WP plugins is the fact there is a “Recently Active” list for plugins as well as the Active and Inactive lists, especially if you are like me and have plugins that are installed but inactive that you are not currently using but may want to turn back on later as opposed to the ones you just turned off.  So I began turning the recently active ones back on a couple at a time for those I was fairly confident were not causing the issue which left me only a couple of potential candidates.  Sure enough it was a recently updated plugin, which meant thankfully I had only not noticed the error for a couple of days.  As it turned out, it was the “Social Plugin for WordPress” plugin that was causing the error.

The trouble is figuring out what in it is causing the conflict with which other plugin.  Since it was the commenting system getting screwed up, Its pretty safe to bet its a conflict with Disqus, but i’m not about to deactivate Disqus so I guess the Social Plugin will stay inactive until it’s next update.  Sometimes you just have to wait for the developers to tweak it again to get it playing nice with the other kids in the plugin yard.