WordPress Plugin: Disqus Comment System

Light Bulb on Chalkboard with Idea Bubbles

One of the biggest challenges with blogging is the management of comments. The readers may show appreciation, or challenge your post. In both cases, you want to be able to publish the comments with as little moderation as possible. The problem we face in the Internet Society are trolls. Yes, you have all seen them, they post anonymously, post vulgar remarks, or try to bait you into a public discussion of their negative commentary. So how do you manage it?

The Disqus Comment System plugin allows you to use the Disqus system to manage your comments. This should help you get rid of the trolls and allow wholesome commentary discuss to flourish.

Let good good commentary rise to the top!

WordPress Plugin: AdSense Integration WP QUADS

Open Hand at the Beach

I was looking for an easy to implement plugin for management of Google Adsense. The AdSense Integration WP QUADS plugin is free and has some pay options, but for me at the moment, the free part works just fine.

It gives you the ability to assign multiple ad units that can be used to rotate through the main posts, and also allows you to set up ad units for use on the side bars. It was very easy to install and configure. I would highly recommend it to new users of WordPress when setting up their blog with Adsense.

WordPress Plugin: Blogger Importer

Mirror Light Black Glass

I can’t say enough about how impressed I am with the Blogger Importer plugin from WordPress. If you are trying to convince someone to move from one blogging platform to another, you need to provide awesome migration tools. This tool worked amazingly. I didn’t have one glitch. It worked on the first try, and it worked multiple times on the first try (I tried a number of cloud platforms, and deployments).

This tool convinced me that migrating from Blogger to WordPress was not only possible, but could be made very simply. This is a great example of making a great first impression on a would-be customer. I was sold.

WordPress Plugin: Better Search and Replace by Delicious Brains

Missing Puzzle Piece

I want to take some time to point out some of the plugins that I have installed on my blog and used as part of migration from Blogger to WordPress. In my post Online Broken Link Checker Tool for SEO article, I mentioned how to track down broken links. Well once you have them, you can go to the pages and manually change them, or if possible you can change them en masse. This is particularly true if a site changes from something like example.com/abc/test to example.com/test. The links will work if you just remove the abc part of the URI. I encountered a lot of these for changes done at Informationweek and some of the other news media outlets. This is one of those cases where they didn’t follow good practices with regards to permalinks.

The Better Search and Replace plugin met my needs by allowing me to make changes to the saved posts by changing the URIs to match the new path to the resources. There is a pay version of the tool, but I didn’t require it.

A Word of Caution: Before you take any action to alter your database, remember to back it up. This tool is directly manipulating data in your database. Also, make sure you perform a dry-run and examine the results.

GMO Golden Rice 3 and Solving Worldwide Malnutrition

Rice Grain

I just finished reading an article called New ‘golden rice’ offers 3 micronutrients1 which would go a long way to solving malnutrition in a significant portion of the world. The article mentions that about 50% of the world uses rice as their primary means of nutrition.

The natural varieties of rice don’t provide Iron, Zinc, or Vitamin A which are sources of various diseases that are not normally encountered in western countries. The new GMO rice has Iron, Zinc, and Beta-Carotene ( Vitamin A precursor). This is a fantastic accomplishment. I can see this helping to solve world hunger and malnutrition needs. However, it is GMO, and releasing GMO foods into nature are presenting issues in the developed world.

One needs only to look at farmers in the US who are having their crops destroyed by weed-killer that does not affect GMO modified varieties that are modified to be tolerant. A recent example is soybeans in the Southern US2. There are also the question of whether GMO crops can resist some diseases that the natural varieties can, as well as,  survive in their native climates (don’t plant a palm tree in the desert and cacti in a rain forest)3.

Balance, I know that we must find a balance between third-world issues like malnutrition, and first world issues like GMO crops. However, I think we as responsible citizens need to pay more attention and oversight into the release of these modified species into the wild. We can’t put the djinni back in the bottle once it has been released. I want to solve the malnutrition, and hunger issues, but not at the future peril of all food crops.

Links:

[1] New ‘golden rice’ offers 3 micronutrients.
[2]Farmers Say This Weedkiller Is Also Killing Their Soybean Plants
[3]Farmers Say GMO Corn No Longer Resistant to Pests

Online Broken Link Checker Tool for SEO

Broken Anchor Chain Links

The process of migrating my personal blog from Blogger to a WordPress platform using OpenShift 2 to power it has been an amazing learning process. One of the biggest SEO issues facing any blogger is broken links. The greater the number of posts, the greater the chances.

I have found that broken links fall into a couple of categories for me:

  • Site no longer exists.
  • Site was upgraded with no effort to protect permlinks.
  • Articles, images, etc have been removed over time (archived)

This requires a blogger to update his posts to make sure that they are relevant in the future. I found an online tool called Free Broken Link Checker1 that was instrumental in me updating this blog and my other Java Evangelist John Yeary2 to keep my visitors happy.

I am happy to say that as of today that I have no broken links. This does not mean that it won’t happen in the future for the reasons noted above, but it is a good start.

Links:

[1] Free Broken Link Checker
[2] Java Evangelist John Yeary

Free LED Bulbs from Duke Energy

Free LED Bulbs
Free LED Bulbs

I received an 8-pack of Simply Conserve 9W / 60W LED Warm White (2700K) Light Bulbs yesterday from Duke Energy. Today, I installed all of them, and moved some CFL bulbs around to less used lights in the house. The goal will be to use all LED lights in the house. This is a good start.

I had an opportunity to send remarks to Duke Energy and take a survey on their program. I am very pleased to see that Duke Energy is trying to help customers become more energy efficient. It helps lower their costs, our costs, and more importantly drives us towards a greener future.

WordPress on OpenShift 2

This is my attempt to get WordPress running on OpenShift 2 using 2 gears. I would like to migrate my personal blog for John Yeary from Blogger to another blogging platform so that I have more control of the layout, and appearance. So I backed up the data from Blogger and used the import tool and it seems to have worked more amazingly than I could have imagined.

Connecting to the MySQL database on the gear requires a little more finesse since it is not exposed publicly. Great for security, but not so great for getting remote access. I used the rhc port-forward command to accomplish the task.

rhc port-forward -a <application-name>

Here are the items that I see remaining:

  • Perform the same operations on a test blog, and see if blogger will forward requests correctly.
  • Check permlinks to ensure that they still work.
  • Setup SSL.
  • Move media from the gear to cloud storage.
  • Backup and restore database.
  • Install WordPress on another platform and use a newer version of MySQL to see if there are any issues.
  • Add Google Adsense to see if they work.
  • Test Amazon Associate links.
  • Update Amazon Associates links.
  • Add SSO Login API for Disqus
  • Fix broken links on posts.

So far it has worked. The blog is running on a 2 gears with a load balancer. I have migrated the blog. I still need to Adsense, and update Amazon Associates links.

Shipbreaking Accelerating

Photograph by Mike Hettwer

The Wall Street Journal article: Economic Slump Sends Big Ships to Scrap Heap details the downward spiral of the world economy, over capacity in the Merchant Marine fleets, and depressed shipping costs.

As a marine surveyor working for ABS many years ago, I remember inspecting vessels which in some cases were well beyond their projected service life of 30 years. Ships on the Great Lakes have a longevity that we all wish we could have. Today a number of these vessels are not even 15 years old.

The effect of depressed rates to $575 per container from Asia to Europe has resulted in a sudden glut of ships being sent to the ship breakers. The glut has depressed the ship breaking rates to $250 a ton from $300 last year.  Once the rates drop too low, even the ship breakers can’t break even.

At the current rate, the ships will end up being beached until they can be broken, or perhaps a worse fate; they will be scuttled at sea.

World Vision and Hamas

World VIsion
World Vision

I am following the legal proceedings against Mohammad El-Halabi. Over the years, my family has contributed to World Vision. Discovering that there is a possibility that the money was funnelled to a terrorist organization bent on the destruction of Israel, and violation of my Christian principles is troubling to say the least.

Israeli prosecutors allege $7.2 million a year was being transferred for over 5 years.  If this is true, then I feel betrayed by World Vision and its accounting failures. It would also mean that we have been fueling the ongoing crisis in Israel, Gaza Strip, Lebanon, and Syria. It also means that those funds which were slated to do “good works” have been siphoned off to do evil in the world.

World Vision, and other Christian NGOs should heed this siren call, and keep a better eye on their books. Otherwise funding from Christians like myself will dry up and disappear.