April 2014 Archives


Slight Site Change

Slight change in the site yesterday. I still have the 3 blogs (words, photos, and videos), but I now have the primary site showing the 3 blogs merged. Still tweaking…

Like I previously mentioned, I have so far refused to leave MovableType (MT) behind for another CMS. MT was the first blogging software I used, and once I became familiar with it, I jumped into customizing many of the templates for my very simplistic needs. I could very easily move over to the one that won the war, WordPress (WP), but I don’t see that happening any time soon. If I were to switch, it would probably be to something other than WP. I like throwing support to the underdogs, especially when they are actually superior to number one.

Since my decision to stick with MT had already been made, I needed to figure out a way to connect IFTTT to my sites, but IFTTT only offered a channel for WP. That’s when my search led me to Richard Benson’s Posting to MovableType from ifttt, and his use of a modified xmlrpc.php (the piece that enables API use for third party apps and blogging software). IFTTT uses WP’s variation of the xmlrpc, and Richard wrote this to take in IFTTT’s data to be used with MT’s xmlrpc API. In his words:

So today I made a bridge that will allow anything that insists on WP implementation of xmlrpc to talk to MovableType. It’s a fairly simple solution, merely inserting the blogid and passing everything else on as is. It works for posting to MovableType, I have yet to test reading posts, but it should be easy enough to tweak if needed. Code after the jump….

Bear in mind that this will need to be in the root of your domain and called “xmlrpc.php” as ifttt will only look there, if you can, use a subdomain or a rewrite if putting it at the domain root is not desirable. It doesn’t need to be on the same site as your MT install, however.

Using this, combined with 3 IFTTT accounts and the three locations for my blogs, I was able to automate photo, video, and word posts through Flickr, Vimeo, and email. Ideally I would like to be able to use a single IFTTT account and a single xmlrpc.php file, but that is just not possible just yet.

I know I will need to move on from MT at some point, but until something becomes so broken that a solution like this can’t be found, MT will remain my CMS of choice.

They say that once you put something on the internet, it will forever be on the internet. Well, I recently found that to mostly be true.

This site has been in existence in some form for over 10 years now (not always under metts.me). I’ve never really put much into it and tend to neglect it for years at a time, but when I decided to give it a bit of a revival, I realized that all of my past content had been lost to host provider changes and failing to backup properly. I initially figured all of my content dating back to 2004 would be lost forever, but then I remembered a little something called The Wayback Machine. So I hit up the internet archive site to see what had been cached. Sure enough, I was able to pull back a lot of my old stuff (minus pics, media, and attachments). It involved a lot of copying and pasting into an XML document to import into the site, but now I have it back (well, most of it).

Reading through some of my past posts show that this site has never served a purpose, but I always come back to it if for nothing more than treating it as a hobby or project. This time is no different from a hobby perspective, but I’ve been able to automate some items in a way that wasn’t possible in the past. Using IFTTT, I’ve set up three recipes for my three “blogs”.

  • Email to Words is a recipe I set up to make writing my posts for metts.words easier. This recipe looks for emails with the label words, then posts the subject as my title and body as my entry. The emails are written in plain text using Markdown.
  • Flickr to Photos is a recipe I set up to automate posts to metts.photos. Any pic I upload to a certain album on Flickr gets posted on my site, simple as that. I tried using Picasa Web Albums since I upped my storage with Google and wanted to store everything there, but that became a hassle, so I also created a recipe that sends those same photos to Picasa.
  • Vimeo to Videos is a recipe for metts.videos, and is very similar to my photo recipe. This one simply embeds each video I upload to Vimeo into a new post. Once I get my YouTube channel sorted out, I’ll probably toss it into the mix as well.

All of the automation took a bit of time figuring out since I refuse to give up my blogging platform of choice, MovableType (still on a free 5.2.9 pro version). The problem was that IFTTT doesn’t support it as a channel. I’ll share the workaround in a later post.

That is the state of my site regarding content for now. More to post about at a later time. In the meantime, for my super old posts, I tagged them all as old icedtrip.net.


The Email Conundrum

About a month ago I decided it was time to retire my old Gmail account. The one I obtained during the invite only phase of Gmail Beta. Back then, I felt that jmetts would be a perfect email address to have, and I was able to get it before any other J Metts could claim it. Over the past year or two, a problem has developed. Gmail has become a default for most people to use, say, and write down when it comes to email addresses. Sadly, this means that many people don’t know the actual email addresses of their friends, significant others, and sometimes their own. Because of this, I started receiving emails for Jeremy, Janice, Julie, and every other J Metts in existence. So, long story short, it had to go.

A few years back, I picked up the domain metts.me while it was available, but have never really used it. I signed the domain up for Google Apps for Your Domain at the time when it was free for personal use, and it was still attached to Google Apps going unused. Perfect opportunity to change up my email to a nice personal email address, while still maintaining access to Google Apps such as Google Drive, Google Chat, etc. It was during this process I discovered how big of a pain it is to change and email address after 10 years of using the same one. Here is what I learned.

  • You may think you are signed up for a lot of sites and email lists, but you are truly underestimating the actual number. A month into the change and I am still discovering ones that still need to be changed.
  • Sending out a blast email to all of the people you care to have the updated email address doesn’t mean they will actually start using it. This will be a lengthy process of having my old account forward to the new, but only respond with the new until it catches on.
  • The Google services you use are NOT easily transferred to a new account, and some can’t be at all.

To name a few.

  • Google Drive, not too hard. Set up new desktop client, copy all old items into new folder.
  • Gmail, not too hard. Set up new account to check old account as a POP account to transfer everything over.
  • YouTube, a real pain! The only way this can be done is to associate the account to a Google+ Page, add your new account as a manager, wait 2 weeks, then transfer ownership of the page to the new account (still waiting the 2 weeks).
  • Google+ has a transfer process, but it failed for me and shut me out of Google+ and Google Contacts for over a week.
  • Google Wallet, forget about it!

It has been a process for sure, but it also made me think about giving my website another go. I’ll outline a few of the items in later posts, but for a quick look, I have divided the site into 3 primary sections.

  • metts.words - The section you’re in right now, a place for my words
  • metts.photos - My own personal photo curating site
  • metts.videos - My Vimeo videos will post here, in a blog format