Kicked out some CLIQers

As the CLIQ leader for the Portland Web/Tech group, it appears that it is my responsibility to keep the CLIQ relevant. So, I have booted a couple of blogs that were definitely not Portland Web/Tech focused. I will restrain myself from abusing my power by booting those with more views than me ;-).

With CLIQ now in public beta, anybody can join, so get over there and sign up if you’re looking for a little bling for your blog and want to connect with other Portland bloggers.

Discovering top blogs on a specific topic (and Top .NET and PHP Blogs)

How do you discover new blogs/feeds? The question becomes especially interesting when you want to start studying a new subject area. I checked out Share Your OPML, which certainly seems useful, but that only seems to be helpful for finding the most popular blogs overall or new blogs related to things you already have in your subscription list, not really helpful for finding the top blogs in a new subject area. I suppose Top 10 sources could be helpful too, but I didn’t see anything that helped me. I need to look at it a little further though.

I’m trying to track down a good list of top PHP bloggers in order to keep up with the latest in the PHP world, something I haven’t been doing over the last year. It was a lot harder than I anticipated. But, I got lucky and found an article that listed several, then searched through (I dig tag combinations).

I’d love something like Share your OPML where you could upload multiple subscription lists and tag the list. Anything in the tagged list then inherits the tag and you could find the top blogs for the tag. Or if the OPML has parent outline elements (folders), the name could be used as the tag (therefore you’d have less work to do to break out your subscriptions). Google Reader has some potential here to, seeing its use of tags and the feed bundles. I wonder if they’ll expose the most popular subscriptions by tag? Anybody do anything like that already?

Any other tips for finding the top blogs on a specific topic?

I’ve gone ahead and published my .NET and PHP subscription lists (you don’t see those technologies combined together too often, now do ya?), but I’d love to see other good lists (on both technologies):

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Blog updates

Last night, I wrapped up a series of blog updates that have been a long time coming. As always, things are never as easy as they appear to be, but everything appears to be working fine now. Here’s a rundown:

  • Moved web hosting to Dreamhost. I got a screaming deal, like $20 for 12 months of hosting. I’ve got a number of domain names I can play around with, so the unlimited domain capability is great. There was a bit of trouble with the permalinks, but managed to get it fixed pretty quickly. I had been running on a Windows/IIS host. But running PHP apps on a Windows host always seems to be a pain. For my experiments, I’ll just use our Fourio account.
  • Upgraded to WordPress 2.0.2. After Josh mentioned how easy it was, I figured I shouldn’t wait any longer. I had to wait until after moving hosts, as trying to move hosts and upgrade all in one would have been a recipe for frustration. One great thing now is that apparently WordPress 2 now handles /index.php/ style permalinks and the non /index.php/ style at the same time. This is great since I can use the latter going forward, but still have my old links work (and I don’t have to fight with mod_rewrite).
  • Redirected local feed to FeedBurner. For some reason, Bloglines is convinced my feed lives on the site, even though the alternate url and feed links both point to the feedburner feed. Plus, even if you manually enter the feedburner feed in bloglines, it changes it to the local feed here, which just seemed downright odd. I submitted a ticket, but they never fixed this. So, it was time to force the issue by just re-directing the feed. I used Steve Smith’s WordPress plugin, and eventually got it working. There was confusion around how to get WordPress to automatically update the .htaccess file, and it took an hour or so of messing around with it to get it working.  Chris Pederick’s User Agent Switcher firefox extension was a big help in testing this, since the rewrite rule serves the feed to FeedBurner and re-directs everyone else to the FeedFurner feed.  (this is why I’m a big FireFox fan, there are so many useful extensions)
  • Added the recent entries listing in the sidebar. Fortunately, this one was easy. I think it’s nice when you can get a quick look at what an author writes about. I’m surprised this isn’t included by default in most wordpress themes/templates.

Hopefully, that’s enough blog work for now. Time to get back to work on more important things.

Getting re-acquainted with WordPress

I’ve pretty much wrapped up the move over to WordPress here from my old home. I think I’ll leave the Blogger posts over there for now, as WordPress’s blogger-import process is less than ideal. Isn’t there a Blogger API? Why do I need to publish all of the Blogger articles to my WordPress server and give up my blogpot address that gets some decent search engine traffic? Maybe there is a better import script out there? Of course that’s as much of a problem with Blogger’s either/or publishing process (once you switch to ftp publishing, you lose the address) as with the import script.

I used WordPress for a project over a year ago, and had no complaints about it. But, that was before I started blogging publicly, so it’s interesting to see it again. Blogger has a better entry interface and better template editing (one file, as opposed to a number of files in WordPress), but WordPress still feels like a much more robust blog system with comment feeds, trackbacks, categories and plugins.

The final task will be to select a different theme.

I’m using the Almost Spring theme now. It’s very clean, and has the sidebar on the post page, which was missing from the default. I know it’s still a pretty common one, but it’s a step up from the default one, uniqueness-wise.