The brilliance of a wife

As you might recall from a few days ago, my wife recently started blogging. We have set her up with a WordPress blog because honestly, it is the easiest software to set up and the easiest to use, in my opinion. Of course, I had no idea that I didn’t even know how to use it. FAIL!

While sitting on the couch with my wife the other night, she was looking for themes to add to her blog. From inside of her WordPress dashboard. Wait, what? How do you do that?

Learning a little bit from my wife
I have been using WordPress since before the 2.0 release. And as odd as it sounds, I have not really ever played around with the newest features of the software for each new release. Oh yeah, I have looked at the changes to the admin interface and thought “Ooo, shiny”, but really, I have not clicked around a whole lot, not played with the new stuff, not really ever gotten to know my WordPress. My wife, however, has been playing with hers. And she discovered something that has set me ablaze with awe and a renewed sense of exploration on my blogs.

My wife discovered that if you click on the Appearance tab you can add a new theme to your blog by clicking the Add New Themes link. But what I found to be very cool is that this feature actually hooks into the WordPress Themes base and lets you browse WordPress approved themes from their server then install them on your server through the same simple FTP interface used to update plugins (and the core WordPress installation as well). And wouldn’t you know it, this same thing works for plugins, too, just by clicking on the Plugins tab and selecting Add New.

If I have not mentioned it today, I love my wife’s brilliance. I would never have thought to click those links. I am a happy, old time user of the software and have really never thought to play around. My wife, being new to the software, has found something that I think I would never have found. Really, she is brilliant. And I so lover her.

Reconciling the past

You ever have a moment where something you did weeks, months or perhaps even years ago rears itself up and manifests itself in your life again? I had that experience this morning.

This morning I discovered that some of the things that I have written in this blog have offended some very specific, very special people in my life. I won’t go into detail on those people or the subject matter in question; however, I will say that I am truly sorry for the grief, anguish and betrayal I have caused you by writing about those specific experiences in my life.

While I don’t think it is ever the intent of anyone to purposefully cause pain to someone (unless that anyone is mean and truly wants to hurt the someone), nevertheless, people do get hurt. And while I will not take responsibility for anyone’s feelings, I will certainly take responsibility for my actions.

To that end, I apologize for the latitude I have taken in some of the writings I have posted here. And though I cannot promise to not post from my heart again, I can promise that I will be more cognizant of the potential harm it could cause to those that read this blog.

All three of you. 😉

Subscribing to my rants

Not sure if anyone would have any interest in keeping up with my ramblings as they are posted, but if you happen to exist and do want to stay as up to date with me as possible, I have implemented the FeedBurner Email Subscription service on my blog just for you.

You can subscribe to my blog entries by email to receive a daily email of anything new that I have written. I am testing this out to see if this is the best approach to take to this, so if you do subscribe but don’t like what you are getting, please let me know by sending me an email or commenting on my blog. Your feedback is always appreciated.

Hey, Robert, where you been?

I was looking back over my blog activity the other day and realized that I have not produced nearly as much content as I have in the past. For a while I was shooting for a post a day and I was pretty successful at it. But things happen, wake-up calls are answered, life beckons, yadda yadda… and the next thing you know it has been months since I have posted anything.

Generally this wouldn’t mean too much. But for me it is starting to get to me. I have used my blog as my soap box, my psychiatrist, my drinking buddy, my locker room. It has been a way for me to get things off my chest, shout to the world and broadcast my experience, my personality, my rants, my wisdom and sometimes my ignorance 🙂 . It has also been a way that some of my friends and family have used to keep up with me and my life. Which means that if I don’t talk to them on a regular basis then they might have no idea what is going on with me.

Given the nature of things in the Gonzalez atmosphere as of late, and specifically my world (because we all know how self-centered, egotistical and wrapped up in myself I am) I’ve decided to put more time and effort into my blog. I think I need the therapeutic value of it more than anything, but I also would love for my friends and family to be able to know what is happening with yours truly when they want to know.

So if I haven’t lost you as a reader because of my lack of involvement in this thing I am glad you stuck around. I hope with some upcoming changes I am making that keeping up with me will be even easier for you and will prompt even more output from me.

One man’s voice – now on iPhone

For a long time I have wanted to set my blog up in a way that allowed for an automatic transition when being viewed from an iPhone. I have always thought it was cool when a site knew that you were coming in from an iPhone and optimized the site for loading on that small resulotion. And it made sense to me that since I am a developer I should be probably develop something like that for my blog.

Well, since I am a developer, and the developer’s philosophy of “lazy developers are the best developers”, it was with insane gladness that I was pointed to the cool little WordPress plugin called wptouch. Now I don’t have to make this because it is already made. How awesome is that?

I really like this plugin. It has a very robust administrative panel so you can set things up pretty much however you want them to appear. The team that brought wptouch also included a photoshop template file for you to make your own iPhone style icons to add to the theme.

Now I just wish I had the 3G iPhone because my 2G loads slower than crap and makes for a very crappy user experience for me. Not that there are that many people reading my blog from an iPhone. But I do, and that means that I need to make sure I am happy. And right now the speed of my connection over EDGE just plain sucks, so I am not happy.

But I happy with the plugin because it loads a very clean, easy to use and very intuitive theme when you hit from a mobile device. So if you happen to have an iPhone/iPod touch, check out this blog with it and see for yourself how cool wptouch is.

Online friends can be real cool

I have a friend named Charles Thompson that I met through the PHP Developers Network forums. After some exchanges on the forums he and I struck up a more professional online buddyship, including friending each other on Facebook. We also chat. A lot.

So it goes without saying that Charles should be entitled to a little write up on my little corner of the intarwebs. Afterall, we have chatted about marriage, PHP, programming, c, c++, college, motorcycles… you name it. Chances are pretty good that whatever subject you can think of it has more than likely been brought up. We have sent each other comments on Facebook, have exchanged ideas on forums, have even reviewed each other’s designs and blogs trying to get opinions.

In short, Charles is an online friend that is real… cool. I have never met him, never spoken to him, never heard his voice. But we have communicated for quite some time now and have spent early mornings and late nights chatting about all sorts of stuff. He is a cool dude.

Of course I rarely make it a point to talk about anyone unless it is my wife, my kids or the president. Sometimes I talk about a group of people – like the police or congress or Christians or geeks – but it is the rare occasion in which I single one person out for discussion.

So why does he get his own write up on my blog when I have other, real life friends that have not gotten theirs? Well, the answer to that is simple.

He asked me. 🙂

Never try to change anything using WordPress.com

A few weeks ago I learned of a cool little statistics package that you can install on your WordPress blog that does a really good job of managing your stats. So I installed it here on this blog to see what people are searching for, reading and generally interested in and tied it an API key from WordPress.com account that I have used for my Akismet (anti-spam) plugin.

A few days later I realized that the WordPress.com account I have been using for Akismet was tied to my old business profile name, Everah, and not my newer, more open identity of RobertGonzalez. So I decided to change the API key I am using for Akismet and Stats to the API key for my personal account rather than my business account. And that, my friends, is wherein my biggest pain in the butt for the last two weeks has resided.

It started with the fact that there is really not a clear set of instructions for changing your Stats API key. Unlike Akismet, where you can go to Plugins -> Akistmet Configuration from inside your admin panel and change your API key, Stats requires that you deactivate it as a plugin first, then reactivate it then go through all the rigmarole of setting it all back up again. After finding the instructions to do that – thanks to Google and a lot of pissed of WordPress.com Stats users – I deactivated the plugin and reactivated it again, setting it up this time with my personal API key. Which, in my case didn’t, seem work.

So after playing around with this forever I decided that it was time to submit a help ticket to the WordPress crew. The context of the ticket was pretty simple, I wanted to swap API keys between my personal and business accounts on their end, which in my opinion, would have been the easiest thing to do. Their support response, looking back on it now, were actually pretty good, except they did not answer my questions and actually led to more questions on top of the ones I had. When you get to the end of it all you will see that their initial suggestion (or second one) is in fact what I ended up doing. But it was a nightmare going through all of this.

The following is the transcript of all of our conversations (skip this and continue on the other side of it):

from: Anthony – WordPress.com
to: robert@robert-gonzalez.com
date: Sat, Feb 7, 2009 at 7:15 AM
subject    [WordPress #252013]: General – That I really only need one. But I cannot merge th

Hi,
You cannot move API keys around. If you wish for us to transfer a blog to a different account, we can do that: http://support.wordpress.com/moving-a-blog/#transferring-your-blog-to-another-user-or-account

Best,
Anthony
Automattic | WordPress.com

from: Robert Gonzalez
to: support@wordpress.com
date: Sat, Feb 7, 2009 at 10:05 AM
subject Re: [WordPress #252013]: General – That I really only need one. But I cannot merge th

What I really want is to use the API key and history from the “everah” account only have it under the “robertgonzalez” account. My self hosted blog has a pretty decent Akismet history from the API key associated with the everah account and I just installed the stats plugin. I really want to not have my self hosted blog associated with the “everah” account at all and would prefer to have everything run from the “robertgonzalez” API key.

Should I just abandon the history I have with the everah account and start all over with the robertgonzalez account?

from: Anthony – WordPress.com
to: robert@robert-gonzalez.com
date: Sat, Feb 7, 2009 at 10:51 AM
subject [WordPress #252013]: General – That I really only need one. But I cannot merge th

Hi,
I can add the robertgonzalez account to the self-hosted blog’s access list from this end – so that it can access the blog stats. If this is what you would like, please verify the blog URL.

Best,
Anthony
Automattic | WordPress.com

from: Robert Gonzalez
to: support@wordpress.com
date: Sat, Feb 7, 2009 at 7:38 PM
subject Re: [WordPress #252013]: General – That I really only need one. But I cannot merge th

Does that mean if I switch the Akismet and WordPress.com Stats API key then the data that has been collected so far would transfer as well? What I really would like is to not lose the Akismet stats I have collected under the everah account. Both everah and robertgonzalez have the same email and same URL for the blog address (http://www.robert-gonzalez.com) which is my self-hosted blog.

from: Nick – WordPress.com
to: robert@robert-gonzalez.com
date: Wed, Feb 11, 2009 at 6:33 AM
subject [WordPress #252013]: General – That I really only need one. But I cannot merge th

Hi,
The stats aren’t stored with the account, they are stored with the blog. So giving another user access doesn’t do anything to the stats.

Nick
Automattic | WordPress.com

from: Robert Gonzalez
to: support@wordpress.com
date: Wed, Feb 11, 2009 at 7:20 AM
subject Re: [WordPress #252013]: General – That I really only need one. But I cannot merge th

I tried that, switching the API key from the everah API key to the robertgonzalez API key and my stat count dropped from thousands down to 8 for akismet. Both accounts have my self hosted blog url registered to it. That is why I thought that switching was going to cause stat trouble.

So if I change the API key then theoretically nothing should change as long as the blog is registered to the account?

Robert

from: Nick – WordPress.com
to: robert@robert-gonzalez.com
date: Wed, Feb 11, 2009 at 7:45 AM
subject [WordPress #252013]: General – That I really only need one. But I cannot merge th

Correct. You mention Akismet, but Akismet isn’t blog stats, it’s for blocking spam on your blog.


Nick
Automattic | WordPress.com

from: Robert Gonzalez
to: support@wordpress.com
date: Wed, Feb 11, 2009 at 8:56 AM
subject Re: [WordPress #252013]: General – That I really only need one. But I cannot merge th

Right, by my akismet numbers changed too when I changed the API key which led me to believe that the API key was holding the stats, not the blog URL. Also, when I switched the API keys my stats basically vanished and I was told that I didn’t have access to the stats. I am guessing that had something to do with me being logged in to WordPress.com under everah while trying to hook into the robertgonzalez api key.

Really I just want everything to roll into one account: robertgonzalez. But I have history with the everah account that I want to make sure I don’t lose. If I need to massage the stats and akismet stuff though I guess I can.

Also, when are the developers of the stats plugin going to offer the ability to change the API key like Akisment does? Right now you either have to change the API key in akismet or, short of that, edit the wordpress_api_key config value to change it for stats.

from: Sheri – WordPress.com
to: robert@robert-gonzalez.com
date: Wed, Feb 11, 2009 at 4:42 PM
subject [WordPress #252013]: General – That I really only need one. But I cannot merge th

Hi,
Akismet should work the same even if the numbers are different because it’s collective. Are you saying that spam is getting blocked differently if you switch the API key?

Also note that there is no way to look up Akismet stats on the wordpress.com system, so it really doesn’t matter which wordpress.com account you connect Akismet to from our point of view.

Sheri
Automattic | WordPress.com
http://support.wordpress.com/
http://en.forums.wordpress.com/

from: Robert Gonzalez
to: support@wordpress.com
date: Wed, Feb 11, 2009 at 5:03 PM
subject Re: [WordPress #252013]: General – That I really only need one. But I cannot merge th

What I am saying is right now, under Akismet stats, using the API key from the “everah” account, I see this:
4,396 spams caught, 228 legitimate comments, and an overall accuracy rate of 99.805%.

When I change my API key in the akismet admin screen to the API key for the “robertgonzalez” account, that line becomse something like:
8 spams caught, 0 legitimate comments, and an overall accuracy rate of 100.00%.

That is why I asked about the API keys. Also, when I switched the API key in akismet, the wordpress.com stats plugin seemed to go haywire. Like it didn’t know who I was or something.

I just want to make sure that the few days of stat harvesting and the last few months of akismet data harvesting doesn’t get whacked with a single change to the API key.

from: Sheri – WordPress.com
to: robert@robert-gonzalez.com
date: Wed, Feb 11, 2009 at 5:17 PM
subject [WordPress #252013]: General – That I really only need one. But I cannot merge th

The data cannot be transferred between wordpress.com accounts. If you want to keep the same Akismet numbers showing in your blog, then you must use the first API key. If you want to change it, then it should not effect the future accuracy of the spam blocking, you will just see different numbers. It’s up to you if you whether to switch it or not.

When you change your API key for Akismet, it should not affect the stats. However, if you switch the API key for stats, make sure to select the “replace an existing blog” option in step 2.

Sheri
Automattic | WordPress.com
http://support.wordpress.com/
http://en.forums.wordpress.com/

from: Robert Gonzalez
to: support@wordpress.com
date: Wed, Feb 11, 2009 at 9:39 PM
subject Re: [WordPress #252013]: General – That I really only need one. But I cannot merge th

How do you unregister a blog from wordpress.com? I just tried switching API keys and I think since http://www.robert-gonzalez.com is registered to my “everah” account I cannot associate it with my “robertgonzalez” account. I keep getting this error when I input my API key:

WordPress.com Stats
Error from last API Key attempt:

Missing API Key

The WordPress.com Stats Plugin is not working because it needs to be linked to a WordPress.com account.

Enter your WordPress.com API key to link this blog to your WordPress.com account. Be sure to use your own API key! Using any other key will lock you out of your stats. (Get your key here.)

This is after I enter the API key and hit the “Add new blog” button. What do I do now?

from: Nick – WordPress.com
to: robert@robert-gonzalez.com
date: Thu, Feb 12, 2009 at 6:14 PM
subject [WordPress #252013]: General – That I really only need one. But I cannot merge th

If you log into WordPress.com with the ‘everah’ account and then visit http://support.wordpress.com/contact/ to send us a request, we can change the owner of the WordPress.com stats for the domain. Make sure to let us know the domain name and the user you want to have access.


Nick
Automattic | WordPress.com

from: Robert Gonzalez
to: support@wordpress.com
date: Wed, Feb 18, 2009 at 10:53 AM
subject Re: [WordPress #252013]: General – That I really only need one. But I cannot merge th

I can’t submit a contact to you using the link below because the only blog attached to that account is my self hosted blog and your ticket system will not accept messages from blogs that are not hosted on your site.

This is a monumental pain in the ass. I really wish you would fix this. Seriously, it shouldn’t be this freaking hard to make a simple change.

from: Nick – WordPress.com
to: robert@robert-gonzalez.com
date: Thu, Feb 19, 2009 at 6:44 AM
subject [WordPress #252013]: General – That I really only need one. But I cannot merge th

There may be a bug in our system them. Because it should let you message us about a blog connected to our system through WordPress.com stats. Is the form giving you an error?


Nick
Automattic | WordPress.com

from: Robert Gonzalez
to: support@wordpress.com
date: Thu, Feb 19, 2009 at 9:40 AM
subject Re: [WordPress #252013]: General – That I really only need one. But I cannot merge th

Yes. Here are the steps I took:

1. Log in to WordPress.com using the account “everah”.
2. Go to http://support.wordpress.com/contact/
3. Fill out the form and leave the Blog URL field empty
4. Submit

Error: Let us know the URL of your blog.

I then select the only Blog URL that is on my account, http://www.robert-gonzalez.com and submit…

Error: We only provide support for WordPress.com blogs here. Please go to the WordPress.org Support Forum for further help.

from: Robert Gonzalez
to: support@wordpress.com
date: Thu, Feb 19, 2009 at 9:45 AM
subject Re: [WordPress #252013]: General – That I really only need one. But I cannot merge th

You know, I was just reading the tips above the form and #3 says:
We only support WordPress blogs hosted here on WordPress.com. If your blog is running the self-hosted version of WordPress, you should seek support elsewhere.

So dude, what the hell? Am I stuck in the position I am in?

Ultimately what I needed to do was remove this blog’s URL from my business account, where it was primary, and move it to my personal account as the primary blog. But I had to have some way of doing that so I could request it through their system. So I had to get crafty, tricksy if you will, so I could circumvent the stupid trouble ticket form on their web site. Wanna know how I did it?

What I finally ended up doing was creating a new WordPress.com blog under my “everah” username so I could submit a help ticket to the crew. I then logged into that account and sent them a trouble ticket in which I told them to reference this long string of emails that we vollied to one another and asked that they just move this blog’s url from one account to the other. Which is what they suggested in the first place.

They did it. And of course, now stats work properly, but Akismet is now down to nothing again, so I ended up going back to API key from my business for that. But at least stats are working. And at least I was able to get this situation mostly resolved. But if there is one thing I would suggest you never do, it is try to change anything on your own blog and then ask for help from the WordPress.com crew to make it happen smoother.

Undecided about WordPress 2.7

I upgraded my installation of WordPress to 2.7 today at the behest of WordPress 2.6 and I am enjoying all of the newest little features of the app. I am not sure if WordPress felt it was in need of a face lift or if it just needed to feel the excitement of youth again, but this is a mid-life crisis I can see having a lasting consequence.

When you log in to the new admin panel the first thing you notice is the change of color and scenery. Gone are the beautiful contrasting blues and oranges with big lettered phrases and invitations. Gone is the horizontal navigation bar with all the easy to reach features of the dashboard.

Now what used to be a pretty interface is a nice monochromatic splash of what TV used to look like in the 50’s. Of course, this gray on gray action does offer a lot of whiz-bang, but looks very gray. Did I mention it is gray?

It’s all good though, because now I can move a box here or there that I did not want there or here before. And I also have these outrageous gray outlined icons in my admin lists as well, which makes the already prominent gray just a little more gray.

I suppose I shouldn’t be too picky, seeing as I only paid $0.00 for the entire application. But it would seem to me that if you are going to improve something that you would shoot to improve it. Yes, WP2.7 works very well, is pretty compact in terms of squashing everything into a single page and uses some cool, three year old Javascripts to make things flashy. But I am not sure that makes WP2.7 that much better than WP2.6.

So I am undecided for the time being. I am sure that I will come around to the newest version of WordPress. I did when WP2.0 came out. It took a while, but I did come around. I am just hoping that at some point the WP development team will decide to make admin themes a part of WordPress. If I was able to make my own admin theme or find one on the internet, well, then I would be utterly happy about this update.

Until then, I think I will go practice my Eeyore voice and ponder when the sun will be coming out again.

Dude, where have I been?

For all five of you that follow this blog you would have noticed over the last month and a half that I have been completely absent from producing any new content. No rants, no politics, no marriage issues, no financial woes, no parenting challenges, no funny kid sayings, no code. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. I would love to say that there is good reason for this, but the reality of it is, there is no good reason.

Part of my being away as long as I have been has to do with burn out. I am tired. Really tired. I have been busier than crap over the last year and it has taken its toll on me. I am also burnt out on blogging. Yes, I did say that. I don’t produce that great a variety of content and frankly it has been a struggle trying to come up with anything to write for a given day. Well, it hasn’t been difficult to come up with stuff to write, but it has been difficult to find the time to put that stuff into writing.

Another reason that I have not blogged lately is that I was seeing a pretty nasty trend that saw the bulk of my topics centering around negative feelings I had been having over something. The sad fact is I was using my blog to vent about things that I was going through. Yes, that is a perfectly legitimate reason for even having a blog, but it is also a pretty stupid thing to offer anyone that might read your blog. Who in their right mind would want to hear about your struggles when they are in the throws of their own? I apologize for that. But taking time off has meant that I haven’t taken the opportunity to spew forth the negative dribble about what has been going on in my life so I have, in effect, spared you that negativity that is my life.

Lastly, I have had to take time away from many of my personal hobbies to focus on taking care of my family, taking care of work and taking care of my business. Anyone that has a child knows that families take time. While I love to do things that I really like to do sometimes I have to do things that I really have to do. Like feeding my family, cleaning my home, disciplining my children and taking care of my wife. Of course, my work life has its own challenges and all of those need to be addressed as a high priority. My business is no different.

So that is where I am. I had no intent to fall off the intarwebs completely without notice. No, indeed I’d rather be able to spend time here like I used to. But I also need time to come to grips with what is really happening in my life while at the same time trying to not continue to flood this place with negativity, complaints and a sense of general discontentment. I hope you understand.

I do plan to begin blogging again at the beginning of 2009. I might even write up a brief 2008 recap. We’ll see. I just didn’t want to leave all five of you hanging. 🙂 Seriously though, thanks for your patience and understanding. I am really looking forward to a 2009 that will be much better.

Moving my feeds to feedburner

For those that subscribe to my blog I wanted to let you know that I am moving my feed from WordPress to FeedBurner. I am doing this so I can allow for better subscription management and stat analytics. This should no have an effect on you at all but if you notice anything screwy please let me know and I will look into it right away.

For those that do not yet subscribe to this blog, would you consider it? You can do so by selecting the feed link at the top of the page or by clicking here (http://feeds.feedburner.com/robert-gonzalez).

Thanks to all that stay up to date with my life. All three of you. You know who you are. 😉