Tag Archives: blogging

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WordPress Keeps Switching Back to the Default Theme? Here’s a Fix.

I recently started updating my blog again, including a spiffy new theme.  Within a day, my blog had reverted back.  I double-checked my settings and switched the theme to the new one again, and the same thing happened.

If this is happening to you, it might be a file permissions issue on your server.  WordPress tries to be maybe a little too helpful in this case – it has a function called validate_current_theme() that tries to make sure required files for the theme exist and if not, reverts to the default theme that function uses the PHP function file_exists().

You may be able to fix the issue by using an FTP client or SSHing to your server and changing the file permissions of the theme’s style.css and index.php.

If that’s not helping, you can always change the name of the template dir to “default” – WordPress doesn’t do the switch if it thinks you are already using the default theme.

Blog Comment Spam is Not Solved

With all the comment spam, trackback spam, and pingback spam out there, developers have created some pretty powerful anti-spam tools. So why did I create a small, not-so-powerful anti-spam WordPress plugin like O RLY?

Here’s a screenshot of my pending comments a little while back. Notice the second comment, which slipped past Akismet:


Apparently some dude named Casey Fronczek wanted to let my readers know about his fishing trips. I clicked on the O RLY button, and here’s what Google had to show me:


This spam comment showed up about 17,000 times!

This is an interesting case because it shows that spammers aren’t always looking to place links or pass PageRank. They are always looking for some kind of payoff though, and you can see the roundabout technique here. Hopefully anyone interested in fishing trips in southern Florida will Google this guys relatively unique name and result in a sale. You may also see phone numbers, ICQ or other IM accounts, and similar contact information in some comment spam.

This is a little tougher to automatically delete because a spammy link is a really good signal for an automated filter. Hopefully if people have enough little tools, we bloggers can improve the state of the web as a whole. Get the plugin from WordPress.org, and please let me know of other good anti-spam plugins in the comments.

Recommendations for an easy, automatic blogging system?

DSC_0066 I’m looking for some help and suggestions, but first a little background on my latest project.

I’m a bit of a map geek – I’m fascinated by maps and how data can be illustrated with maps. I periodically post things on this blog but I actually run across a lot more cool map apps than I can share in mid- to long-form blog posts here.

I use a number of different social bookmarking and social news sites – it’s a research interest of mine, so I probably have accounts on far too many of them. When I come across a blog post on a cool old map or some interesting new real estate geodata site I’ll save/share it in a number of places, including StumbleUpon, Delicious, Reddit, and sometimes others. I also share things via Google Reader.

This is far to diffuse, so I thought I might make a separate mini-blog just for map geekery. But I already spend more than enough time with the blogs and services I’m using now – I’m only able to support another blog if I can automate some part of this giant messy workflow.

This would be pretty similar to how I manage my microblogging / status updates now. I have my Google Reader items posted to FriendFeed, which updates Twitter, which updates Facebook via the Facebook Twitter app. Convoluted, but now that it’s set up I can post something once and have it seen by friends on different services.

I’ve played around with a few different services:

Tumblr – Tumblr makes it very easy to import feeds, which is great for what I’m looking for. The only drawbacks are that so far I can’t narrow down some feeds to really target map bookmarks and I don’t see any easy way to add geodata.

Vox – I’ve only played around with it a bit, but I’m not sure what sets Vox apart from other blog hosts.

WordPress.com – Actually, I thought this would be perfect given the right plugins, but wordpress.com doesn’t have plugins. Setting up and managing yet another WordPress instance doesn’t sound too appealing.

Blogger – Blogger is great, and I should probably use it a bit more considering it’s a Google product. Unfortunately everything I saw in a quick search about posting to Blogger from RSS showed up on somewhat questionable SEO blogs, so I’m wary.

So I’m still looking. Any recommendations on what would be the easiest tiny-blog system to use?