Category Archives: Review

Tips for Using WordPress Automatic Upgrade Plugin

Keith Dsouza has made a superb WordPress plugin that ‘automatically’ upgrades your WordPress blog software when they’ve released an update. WordPress is constantly enhancing their product, and due to it’s global popularity they are forced to constantly enhance the security of the code base, both of which mean they update the code base 4-8 times a year.

I’ve been trying to use Keith’s WordPress Automatic Upgrade (WPAU) plugin and had some deployment issues I had to work out I thought I’d share.

  1. If you download the .zips of your backup to your home computer, both Apple and Win, very reasonably, do not display files that begin with a period. While I’m normally cognizant of this, for a couple tests I thought the backup downloads were empty because Dreamhosts, my web host, uses a common file structure that has a .name pattern for the root. And you gotta make sure your backups are what you expect them to be so make sure you view those files before proceeding with the upgrade.

    I’ve now added the following two aliases to my .bash_profile so I can easily toggle between the display of .files and hiding them so I can quickly and confidently save off these backups.

    alias showdot=’ defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE; killall Finder’

    alias nodot=’ defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles FALSE; killall Finder’

  2. WPAU does not (I believe) include your webroot’s .htaccess file in it’s backup. If you’ve never touched or edited a .htaccess file then you don’t need to worry about it. But I found plenty of reasons tweak them for my wordpress blogs and each WordPress update always overwrites them. *Very annoying* and to my chagrin WPAU does not include the .htaccess in the backup. So for now I back it off manually before I begin the backup process.
  3. Don’t forget to go back and complete the last WPAU update steps even after you’ve been directed to open a new window and confirm the blog has been updated. If you don’t finish the steps, you’ll need to manually re-activate your plugins as they will still be deactivated.

Not So Impressed with My Eye-Fi

Eye-FiI‘ll admit it, I was thrilled when I heard about the Eye-Fi, a wifi-enable SD memory card that can upload photo files straight to many photo websites. I’ve been frustrated recently that though my camera phone can upload photos to the web, my good camera still need a computer and internet connection to do so. I wanted a camera-to-cell bridge so I could upload photos from my good camera without needing a computer and internet connection. I thought the Eye-Fi would at least be that but over the net, not cellular.

Sadly, not really. The Eye-Fi has to be configured with each local network you use and you it can only be configured via the Eye-FI USB dongle. Worse the Eye-Fi software can’t play with most hotspots, free and hotel wifi points. So much for photos on-the-go without the laptop which was my primary desire.

The real let-down to me, however, is that the upload from camera to photo sharing site (in my case Flickr) will upload every picture on the card. You cannot limit it to just some. I’m too bad a photographers for that. Also the Eye-Fi currently does not support any of the config settings I use with Flickr, so all titles, descriptions, tags, and groupings have to be done manually at Flickr.com which i find to be time consuming.

At this point the only thing I can use the Eye-Fi for is to wirelessly transfer photos to my laptop, which it can do but only if I have unhooked my router from the internet or explicitly block the MAC address of the Eye-Fi. (I’ll be doing the latter.) A configured router is required at the moment to wirelessly transfer to a computer, so I’ll still be bringing my USB cable with me as it’s lighter and doesn’t require a power source.

I do not mean to downplay the technical wizardy of the wifi-enabled SD card, and there are some pretty neat uses if you are ready for all photos to be uploaded – imagine using camera in range of an accepted wifi point and live stream of photo uploads from say a party straight to web viewers – but I’ll be patiently hoping that more functionality gets rolled out soon, because as is, I can’t see how I can use the most of the functionality.

If anyone understands how to use it better, please let me know.

Miro Rocks for Watching Internet TV and Videos

video playerI‘m really enjoying the new launch of the Miro internet TV player. You can use Miro to find, organize and watch both syndicated and one-off internet-based videos and video programs.Their guide features 2,500 “channels” of internet video series, most being 1-5 minute episodic offerings, some of which are quite good. Miro also has a built in search engine and viewer for YouTube (and GoogVid, Blip.tv, etc.) so you can watch most all the video the internet has to offer from one piece of well made software.

I’ve been wanting software like Miro for a couple years now. Fire Ant was the first one I used and I look forward to their forthcoming beta. Joost is a new player with 250 channels of contracted “channels,” but is a closed content system that is just getting going and already has interstitial and overlay advertising.

Miro, however, works really well for me right now. Miro automatically downloads new episodes of video programs you subscribe to, yet is careful to not max out harddrive space and auto deletes old episodes (like a tivo). Miro supports HD quality videos, BitTorrent capabilities, ratings, reviews, editorialized content, multiple language directories and a series of other social and editorial features to make it easy to find what interest you. Finally, all content is DRM-free and the software is entirely open source, built by the Participatory Culture Foundation with PC, Mac and Linux versions. You can also make play lists or import and export syndicated feeds. You can copy my program feed and import it into your Miro.

Finally I have to point out the irony that the Screen Writers Guild strike over payment for reuse of their shows online is what left me with the gap in nightly entertainment that drove me to the internet for non-Hollywood created video entertainment. Yep, there it is. I understand the writers’ need to not get cut out of the action, but I’ve also heard their strike akin to Titanic deck hands striking over where the placement of deck chairs. The writers (and the producers) should see their supreme media dominance is over and the whole model is falling apart not just what they are striking over.

Here are some Screen Shots of the Miro desktop software:

Viewing the show “Ask a Ninja”:

Miro Programming Guide:

Full-Screen Mode:

Not Impressed with Amazon Unbox / Tivo Download

Amazon Unbox + Tivo = Lame

Last week Molly and I “rented” our first movie from Amazon’s Unbox that connects to most networked Tivo.

We gave it an overall review of lame.

Yes we were able to “rent” a movie from our couch and have it get pushed to our TV, but it took 6 hours to download before it could even start, and if you don’t finish it within 24 of starting it, it’s deleted from your Tivo.

I could have walked to the video store and back in 1/6 of the time it took to get the movie and hung on to it for 3x the time for the same $3.99 fee

The 24hr limit is insulting. If I’m the kind of superdork that hacks Tivos, burns copies and post to torrents, do I need 48 hours to do? No. maybe 48 minutes. So why cramp my customer experience if i want to watch a movie over a couple days, when you’re not protecting yourself any better???

Rather than Unbox, Amazon should have called this service HalfBaked Your first mover position here is going to be fast forgotten.

Daft Punk was *Fierce*

Daft Punk photo by André Felipe.
I went to the Daft Punk show last Friday at The Greek thanks to Fauxnique and Silence Fiction.

It was off the fracking chizzain!

Daft Punk’s live show is *fierce* and well worth the wait. This guy Max said it was mind blowing

The videos on YouTube are low-res and aurally demanding, but give it a second and you’ll get it. That the two of them performing in the middle.

[if you don't see videos below click thru the my blog]

Daft Punk photo by André Felipe

Last Saturday a Robot Saved My Life

Eddie saved me from a needless night on the couch, a couple week ago.

Instead I got to see the animatronic melodic absurdness of Captured By Robots just roll-down-the-hill block at Bottom of my the Hill

What the “band” lacks in music writing genius, they make up for with mad, mad genius. (I’m not repeating the word ‘mad’ there I mean it in a couple ways ;)

Geek Entertainment TV covered the last stop of Captured By Robots 10-year anniversary tour. See it, live it, rock it!

[If you don’t see a movie hear watch it on their blog]

Video thumbnail. Click to play

Every single note and drum beat played by each mechanical band member was sequenced and animatronically performed in real time. Brizzziliant!