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evariste
Web Hosting For Your Movable Type Blog
I participated in a survey at Elise's excellent Learning Movable Type blog, and the results are in. We host with Hostmatters and I gave them lots of kudos in answering the extensive survey. It was really cool to find out she quoted my survey response! I feel famous. Anonymously famous! The me quote:
"They are just amazing at Hostmatters. Often my support tickets are answered in less than five minutes."
It's true, too. One of my tickets, I filed it, hit send and receive on my email, and the reply from Annette came in saying "fixed"! I don't think it's possible to get any closer to telepathy than that. It was really stunning. If you're looking for a good host, apparently Hostmatters aren't the only good host, there's several, if the survey respondents are to be believed. For us, the amazing level of highly professional support we've received from Annette (including hours spent by her figuring out a bonehead beginner php mistake I made. That's well above and beyond the normal call of duty, for a customer that's paying 11 bucks a month to host two measly websites!) makes it extremely unlikely I'll consider moving. Hostmatters is home. Thank you, Hostmatters.
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evariste
Bugfix: You Are Currently Performing A Search
Have you gotten this message when doing a search here on LGF Watch Watch?
Got an error: You are currently performing a search. Please wait until your search is completed.
That must have been irritating. I've encountered it a couple of times myself.

Well guess what? It's a known bug with a known fix! Over at Learning Movable Type, Elise has the fix for the Search Throttle Bug, as well as a link to an informative read about it in the MT forums.

It's the result of a well-intended but poorly implemented MT feature, the idea being that a malicious user could flood the system with search requests and cripple your server, so MT introduces a throttle to force users to wait in between conducting searches. Kinda like those annoying speedbumps in the mall parking lot. Follow the link to Elise's wonderful MT tips and tricks compendium for more, and for the fix. You'll have to edit one of the core MT perl files in a text editor, but it's a very minor edit to fix a truly aggravating problem. You can't mess it up. You're just changing one number to be a different, smaller number.
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evariste
Less Is More-Your Blogroll Is Too Long
Mommy, why is that man's blogroll so long?
Bloggers, we need to talk. I see this everywhere when I'm roaming around, reading all the blogs in my weblog diet: very long blogrolls and link lists. It's kind of annoying because the longer a list gets, two things happen:
  • the less likely I am to ever click on any of the links, because there's too many of them
  • the uglier and more cluttered it makes your otherwise-pretty weblog's design
Mindles H Dreck complained about this in passing in 2003-today, their blogroll is still monstrously long. Joe Katzman's blogroll over at Winds of Change.NET is already fairly long, and it's about to get a lot longer. Rusty Shackleford at My Pet Jawa has a breathtakingly long blogroll-and he wants to know if you want to be added to it! I could keep on listing unwieldy monster blogrolls that I encounter, but I think you get the idea...These are all blogs that I enjoy, too. I'd enjoy them even better if they gave their blogroll a haircut and quit looking like such a dirty hippie! That's all I'm saying, people.

I'm going to show you a way to have a much less onerous blogroll. One that still showcases all your favorite links, without becoming a burden on your design-or an absolute bear to maintain. In my copious Googling I've found that people complain about their blogrolls in the Movable Type world, but they either use blogrolling.com (hacked in the previous year, your data lives on their server, etc) or don't do anything about it. Now you can do something about it.

The King of Fools has an alternative method to mine that you might also like to consider, I link it at the end of this post, after the jump. I believe mine has the advantage of relative simplicity (I don't want want to have to deal with a whole extra blog in MT just to maintain a simple links list)-as well as more capability. In King of Fools' approach, you deal with your links as individual entries and gain the full flexibility of Movable Type's template tags and categories to manipulate them. Both approaches have their merits, you may find that his is more suited to what you have in mind.

What I'm suggesting is that you use this code and technique to replace the "one long sidebar link dump" format with a tidy, short list, any number of links that you want, chosen at random from your entire list, with a link to your unabbreviated, complete list. I'll take you through it step by step, after the jump...
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evariste
The Terrorist Plugin
Both Charles at LGF, and we here at LGF Watch Watch have been wondering how long Reuters can continue to insult our intelligence with their Orwellian newspeak. In Reuters-land, there are no terrorists, only innocuous-sounding militants, activists and the noble "resistance".
Well, thanks to Live from Brussels, we don't have to wait around for Reuters to catch up to reality! In Blog It Like It Is!, he introduces us to his new Movable Type text-formatting plugin, "CanWest", which emulates the Canadian newspaper chain's practice of automatically changing the sickening euphemisms that come across the wire from Reuters, AP and AFP to the plain English "terrorist". Isn't that delightful? So naturally we immediately installed it. Let's pull the top down and drive this thing around the block!

How Reuters Tells It:
Three Palestinians, including a militant and a teenager, died in Jabalya on Friday from tankfire. Military sources said troops targeted gunmen launching anti-tank rockets at forces.
What the truth is, as Live From Brussels' plugin reveals:
Three Palestinians, including a militant and a teenager, died in Jabalya on Friday from tankfire. Military sources said troops targeted gunmen launching anti-tank rockets at forces.

Hey! I like the truth!
I don't feel dirty reading a bunch of disgusting lies!
A tip for Movable Type users who are new to this: you install it by uploading the file Live From Brussels provides, terrorfilter.pl, to your plugins directory. Now, when you compose a post that includes Reuters/AP/AFP doublespeak, notice that in the entry composition page, you now have a new option in the Text Formatting dropdown called "CanWest". Choose it and save your entry.
By the way, you may be wondering how we got the words militants, activists and resistance to appear, unmunged by the CanWest filter. The trick is that the CanWest filter uses a regular expression that searches for the strings militant, activist, resistance, gunman, gunmen, and fighter. So you can bypass it when you don't want the conversion to happen by inserting meaningless html in the middle of the word so that the regular expression doesn't recognize it. To get
militant, activist, resistance, gunman, gunmen, and fighter
to appear, what I actually entered was
mili<i></i>tant, acti<i></i>vist, resis<i></i>tance, gun<i></i>man, gun<i></i>men, and figh<i></i>ter
Easy as pie! If you're worried about having to manually enter p and br tags since "convert line breaks" is no longer the selected text formatting filter, don't. CanWest includes the Movable Type command that creates break and paragraph tags from your line breaks.
Confidential to Live From Brussels: you've got it changing "gunmen" (plural) to "terrorist" (singular). I fixed it in my copy of terrorfilter.pl but you might like to fix it in the one you're distributing!
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