Webhost Review

If you visited my site within the last few weeks you may have noticed it was down. I recently switched hosts. I took advantage of several hosts’ money-back guarantees to take them for a test-drive. I assumed that most of them would be good, and better than my old host. What’s interesting is that I ran into a lot of problems – even with the big-name hosts.

I took a few days to run some performance tests, and I uploaded all my content so that I could thoroughly evaluate all of them. I decided to publish my results because I had a hard time finding quality webhost reviews out there that compared hosts head-to-head.

I ended up being a little wordy (for the sake of complete disclosure). So if you just want to skip to the end – there’s some great performance graphs and comparison charts down there.

WordPress 2.5

Once again, another post about video in WordPress.  “Why so much attention on the subject, BigBri?”, you ask

I’ll tell you… I’ve spent hours upon hours testing and migrating between different plugins for embedding video.  I guess I’m a hard customer, because I want flash videos, quicktime, and WMV to work flawlessly across all browsers.  

I was excited to see that WordPress includes some hot new ways for handling and embedding your media.  Unfortunately, my excitement turned to dismay as soon as I tried to actually use it.  

First, let me say that I had a blog that I hand coded in HTML before I ever started using WordPress.  Back then, I used a folder on the server called /media that housed all my images and such.  When I migrated over, I just continued the tradition of FTPing my files up to the media folder and hard coding the links.  Eventually, I grew fond of the idea of doing everything with WordPress, so I let it handle all my junk in the wp-content/uploads/ folders.  This is awesome for images when you want a thumbnail, or if you want to just put an image straight into your post.   Continue reading “WordPress 2.5”

Video and WordPress

You may have noticed some videos in my posts lately.  Video has become so ubiquitous on the web lately, I had to keep up.  One of the problems I had was that our camcorder has a great widescreen format, but a lot of the flash video services like YouTube don’t display widescreen formats very smoothly.

I tried a WordPress plugin called Viper’s Video Quicktags for a while, but I had a lot of problems.  While it displays things great in IE, WMV videos were broken in Firefox!  I looked at the problem on the developer’s website, and he/she had this attitude like: “Some video formats might not work well across platforms, but it’s really hard to make things compliant everywhere and I really don’t care so I’m not going to try.”  Great attitude!

Finally I found another WordPress plugin that does what I need: Coolplayer.  It works great and does everything I need.  Hopefully I’ll have some videos of Devin in the snow soon!

WP => UTF-8 [and table name change]

During some down-time I was doing some minor website maintainance lately.  One of my big changes was to upgrade WordPress to the 2.2 version, which has a lot of core changes in it.  After upgrading, I noticed some problems immediately.  Suddenly, there were all these funky characters interspersed throughout my blog posts like “•”.  At first I thought maybe wordpress was misinterpreting something, but a look at an .sql backup confirmed that these characters were hardcoded in the database.  Some extensive searching on the wordpress forums was fruitless.  There was a lot of talk about the changes to UTF-8 in WordPress 2.2, and some other people had been having similar problems, but I didn’t see any clear-cut solutions.

Continue reading “WP => UTF-8 [and table name change]”

Site Changes / Under Construction

I am in the process of migrating to a MySQL database backend for a lot of my content.  The root directory of my website had become congested with so many files that keeping them all straight was becoming a problem, and most of the time when I felt like posting something, I was just too lazy to do it because I didn’t want to bother with all the markup.  I am using wordpress for the blog, and zenphoto for the photo gallery.  I hope that all of my zero site visitors enjoy all the hard work I am putting into this….