Steps to Migrate from dasBlog to WordPress

I just moved my blog from dasBlog to WordPress. I have been one of the first users of dasBlog. I started blogging in 2003 with BlogX by Chris Anderson. dasBlog is a spin off of BlogX and I moved to it soon. I have created many macros/plugins for dasBlog and was very happy with it.

But off late the development of dasBlog has some what stalled and no new features are being added. I also singed up for a PHP/Linux host for a different project. I though why not give WordPress a shot. So far it has been very interesting. There are a huge number of themes, plugins… I am sure I am going to waste a lot of time trying things out. I have also started learning PHP…

Anyway here is how I migrated from dasBlog to WordPress:

  1. Installed WordPress. My web host, Bluehost, provides a very simple way to install wordpress.
  2. Back up posts and comments from dasBlog. I used this tool to convert dasBlog posts to BlogML. This was straightforward.
  3. For importing the posts I used a plugin originally created by Aaron lerch and updated by Kavinda. This was a bit tricky. My WordPress install allowed uploads of only 2MB files. My BlogML file was about 3.8MB. Wow! I have about 1250 posts! So I had to split up my BlogML file into two. But there was more problems. I still could not import the file. Some memory errors. I do not know enough PHP to fix that. So I split up the BlogML file further and imported them one by one. I made sure I downloaded each of the permalinks.csv generated.
  4. Then I setup the redirects. This is why I saved the permalinks file before. The import plugin generated a CSV file with the old and new permalink. I made sure I set up the permalinks to my liking before the import. I converted this CSV to a .htaccess to do 301 redirects and added it to my site’s root folder.
  5. Now I just copied my contents folder from my dasBlog installations so that all the images and binary files still had the same URL.
  6. That’s it the migration was done. Well I did have to migrate some of my static pages manually and setup redirects…

I sure will post about my thoughts on WordPress as I use it more.

92% of all comments are spam

Akismet is a spam filtering service for blog comments and trackbacks. Here is that they say in their site:

We can’t stand spam.

Who can? You have better things to do with your life than deal with the underbelly of the Internet. Automattic Kismet (Akismet for short) is a collaborative effort to make comment and trackback spam a non-issue and restore innocence to blogging, so you never have to worry about spam again.

dasBlog recently added Akismet support for spam filtering. I previously had Captcha enabled. Apart from some weird comment spam, this blog was spam free.

I always hated Captcha. It makes the commenter work harder for your benefit. I have not bothered to comment in a few blogs which had difficult to read Captcha.

So I thought I should disable the weird twisted text users have to enter and use Akismet instead. First I wanted to see if the small traffic to my blog attracts spam. I disabled Captcha and had not spam protection. Within an hour I had about 50 comment spams. Looks like my blog is popular after all. ;-)

Then I setup Akismet with moderation. I found that there were no false positives. Nice. Now I have put it in automatic delete mode. Now with Captcha out of the way I hope to see more comments from my readers. :-)

PS. The title of this post is from the stats I found at Akismet.

Windows Live Writer

I have been a long time user of BlogJet, for publishing to this blog. But unfortunately could not use it behind my company’s proxy. I recently found a open source .Net based tool. It too did not work behind the proxy. I was a bit tied up recently and a bit lazy too to try and fix it.

So I was thrilled to see that Microsoft had released a beta of its standalone blogging tool Windows Live Writer.

I was quite confident that it will work with dasBlog because it is one of the better .Net based blogging platforms, used by Microsoft guys too. Well it does. That is if you guys see this post. The GUI is very nice just like BlogJet. The image insertion features is pretty cool.

I can not wait to check it out at work. Anyway one thing I would like to see is spell check as you type. Anyway it comes with a SDK and anyone can create plugins for it. There are already a couple here by Tim Heuer.

The web preview is amazing. Look at the screenshot above. It gives an accurate view of how the post will look like in my blog with the theme and all. Cool. I have never seen such a feature in a blog editor before.

Update: Windows Live Writer works like a charm behind my company proxy. Yay! Now this is the first blogging client that has worked behind this proxy for me. I have tried out many including my favorites BlogJet and Performacing for Firefox. I have of course let the developers know about the problem here and here. Well I guess it is not always the small guys who listen to you…

PostXING: A .Net Open Source Weblog Publishing Tool

I just found out about PostXING. It is a open source weblog
publishing tool written in C#. Looks pretty cool. It supports Metaweblog API.
Seems to work with dasBlog.

I hope this works well behind my office proxy. Will test it out
tomorrow. Others like BlogJet and Performancing does not work behind the proxy,
at least the FTP uplod does not work.

The best part though is that if it does not work, I got the code
to go and fix it. :-) Maybe I should add a spellchecker to
this.

Weird Comment Spam?

I have been getting some weird comment spam lately. Check out the above two comments for this post. It looks relevant plus got my name right. They are posted from different IP addresses and the site link points to different urls: http://www.treadmill-online.com/ and http://www.isitbirdflu.com/. Both of these actually point to the same blog like site with a lot of google ads! Obviously splogs.

I am thinking, I got captcha enabled in the comments section. But we know that this can be easily handled by a bot. But the related comments? Well initially these comments ended up in the wrong posts. I can not decide if this is a bot or a human making these comments. Could be a combination of these two?

Anyone else get these types of comment spam? What do you think of these?

Update: Comment spam puts comment spam on notice. Check this out, a comment spam for this post. Very funny. Of course it points to the same site.

AdSense Tweaks

I have been reading ProBlogger for a few weeks. Well I am not planning on becoming a ProBlogger. But I did add AdSense ads on this blog a year ago and wanted to see if I can improve the earnings from it.

The first thing I did was blend the AdSense links I had in the side bar to match the theme of the site. I could see a slight increase in click through rates but not much. Now I am not trying to cheat the visitor into thinking these are navigational links. I have tried to make it clear that these links are “Advertisement” and the links look a bit different than the regular links. See screenshot above.

The second tweak I did was to move the side bar from right to left. Now this increased the click through significantly.

Finally I added some ads below the post on individual blog entry pages as shown above. Most of the visitors who arrive from search engines land on these pages. They are the ones looking for something and are most likely to click on ads. These are by far the best performing ads on this blog.

Note: It is not possible to have ads shown only on pages with single blog entry in dasBlog. I created a custom macro to do this. Take a look at it here if you use dasBlog and what to do something similar.

Now are these tweaks going to make me rich? No, not with the current level of traffic. But this year I will probably get enough to cover the web hosting charges. :-)

dasBlog Extra Macros 1.2

I have added five more macros to dasBlog Extra. Here is a list of the new macros.

  1. FeedBlitz NEW

    Use: <FeedBlitz(“feedid”)|extra%>

    Description: This
    macro generates the FeedBlitz subscription form. The feed id is passed
    as a parameter.

    Template:
    Any template

  2. Link Permalink NEW

    Use: <LinkPermalink(“linkText”,
    “linkUrl”)|extra%>

    Description: This
    is a generic macro that lets you create ‘digg this’ like submission
    links. For example if you pass ‘digg this’ as linkText and
    ‘http://digg.com/submit?phase=2&url=’ as the linkUrl you can
    create
    a link to submit the post to Digg. The macro adds the permalink of the
    post after the linkUrl.

    Template: itemTemplate.blogtemplate

  3. Navigator
    Links List
    NEW

    Use: <NavigatorLinksList()|extra%>

    Description: The
    navigation links in dasBlog is rendered in a table. Too many tables is
    bad. This macro renders the same as HTML list. The advantage of a list
    is that using CSS this can be rendered horizontally as it appears in
    this blog’s top banner.

    Template:
    Any template

  4. Single Item
    Include
    NEW

    Use: <SingleItemInclude(“path
    to file”)|extra%>

    Description: This
    macro includes the contents of the file (passed as parameter) when only
    one item is displayed in a page. I have used this to include AdSence
    ads. These ads show up below the post in Permalink page and comments
    page. But in other aggregated pages like homepage and archive pages it
    does not show up.

    Template:
    Any template

  5. Recent
    Comments
    NEW

    Use: <RecentComments(“count”)|extra%>

    Description: A
    macro to show recent comments. The number of comments to be displayed
    is passed as parameter (count).

    Template:
    Any template

Check this page for the complete list and how to use them. Download it here.

Deepest Sender: Another Firefox blogging extension

I had blogged about Performacing For Firefox earlier. Today I found another blogging client that runs inside Firefox. Deepest Sender. It has got a WYSIWYG editor. It supports LiveJournal, Blogger, WordPress and metaWeblog blogs. I am able to post to dasBlog, my blogging software, using the metaWeblog API.

It does have a spell checker built in but I prefer PPF’s SpellBound integration. SpellBound gives spell check as you type. The Firefox integration is a bit buggy. I could not get it to open as a sidebar. It opens in a new window but I care much about it.

One major bug is in the ‘Send to Deepest Sender’ menu option. It eats up part of the post I have already typed in. :-( I am typing this post for the third time since I tried to post the features list from their website. So you have to go to their site to check out the features. :-) Plus the undo option seems to be screwed up.

Otherwise it looks like a nice competitor to PFF.

Update: Hmmm… Looks like it does not spell check the title. Fixed a typo there. :-)

Update 2: It also stripped out all the paragraph tags! I just put them back. Hey this is not ready for prime time I guess.