Fixed Search in Hexo

I have been struggling to get search to work on my hexo-generated blog.

I initially thought it was due to a poorly implemented theme, but as jamiehumphries correctly suggests, Hexo’s core required a fix.

This very simple fix was discussed here, and the following diff illustrates the change needed:

The diff can be applied to form.js at (on FreeBSD global installation) /usr/local/lib/node_modules/hexo/lib/plugins/helper

Also, see here for further necessary patches.

Add Reddit Share button to Hexo's Landscape theme

I have added a Reddit button to Hexo’s Landscape theme by re-using existing code for Pinterest’s share button (found by searching Landscape’s Github repo for references to Pinterest), with minor modifications specific to Reddit.

Additionally, I had to update font-awesome to its latest git version as version 4.2 does not provide a reddit icon.

The changes I made can be found in this Git commit

Automatically tweet new Hexo entry via IFTTT

In the absence of Wordpress’ Publicize, I have decided to use IFTTT in conjunction with Hexo Feed Generator, to automatically publicize my Hexo entries.

IFTTT, which stands for If This Then That , is a tool that automates tasks using triggers and actions. IFTTT connects two services, and then triggers an action on one service when you perform an action on the other service. It works with all of the major social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and YouTube.

After connecting my twitter account, I chose to use a new rss feed entry as the ‘trigger’, and a new tweet as the ‘action’. My recipe can be found here.

Instructions for applications can be found by traversing the links provided.

ootput Burst on Github via Hexo

Thanks to Hexo, I am slowly migrating my wordpress.com site towards Github. Github Pages reminds me of Nanoblogger in many ways - sans the excruciating pace of deployment. I love Github’s free-of-ads hosting, and the fact that I can tinker with the content framework in the comfort of my beloved Emacs editor. I also don’t mind the fact that I work with a local repository of text-based version-controlled blog entries.

Check out my work-in-progress at http://ootput.github.io

Changes to vanilla Hexo are courtesy of fine Hexo documentation at http://jr0cket.co.uk/hexo/

Embedding IFrames in Wordpress.com

I recently came across a workaround for embedding iframes in Wordpress.com blogs:

Flash and all other embeds are not allowed in WordPress.com posts, pages, or text widgets. For security reasons, we remove the tags needed for these to work. Your intentions may be innocent, but someone somewhere might try to use such embeds to damage the site, affecting all of our users.

As this guide suggests, the workaround made use of a perfectly legitimate and supported shortcode API. In essence, the workaround involved converting an iframe to Flash, which in turn was sourced by [gigya].

I was able to illustrate the concept below:

For my dearest nephew, and any other chess enthusiasts that are perusing this blog, I have embedded a chess game that I recently played. Click the link below, and try to figure out the positional/tactical errors that my opponent (and close friend) committed, and any variations that may have redeemed his play.

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<table style="border:none;height:32px;width:32px;">
[gigya src="http://cdn.tagul.com/cloud.swf" flashvars="autoplay=1" allowfullscreen="true" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" width="542" height="300" flashvars="id=180853@2"]
</table>

If, for some reason, the embed doesn’t show, here’s a link to how it should look.

Code and Gists in Wordpress

While WordPress.com doesn’t allow you to use potentially harmful code on your blog, it does allow you to post source code for general viewing. Provided that you enclose the source code within a [sourcecode] [/sourcecode] shortcode wrapper, you will be able to preserve the code’s formatting; enable syntax highlighting for the programming language used; and highlight specific lines in the code. For example, for a CSS snippet, do:

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[sourcecode language="css" highlight="3,4,5,6,7"]
/* HTML5 display-role reset for older browsers */
article, aside, details, figcaption, figure,
footer, header, hgroup, menu, nav, section {
display: block;
}
body {
line-height: 1;
}
ol, ul {
list-style: none;
}
blockquote, q {
quotes: none;
}
blockquote:before, blockquote:after,
q:before, q:after {
content: '';
content: none;
}
table {
border-collapse: collapse;
border-spacing: 0;
}
[/sourcecode]

Alternatively, wordpress.com permits embedding github.com gists by using the [gist] shortcode. With [gist]2927943[/gist], you’ll achieve:

… which certainly isn’t as pretty as wordpress.com‘s solution. You can make a gist more presentable by way of CSS customizations, but this isn’t possible on wordpress.com. It is also impossible to tell gists to highlight specific lines of code.

New Blog Host Adopted

As the future of ootput.bur.st remains bleak, I have been forced to seek alternative hosting locations. wordpress.com provides free hosting for blogs powered by WordPress, and I have chosen to use it as a temporary host while I wait for the outcome of bur.st‘s acquisition.

wordpress.com provides a decent service to the occasional blogger who has no intention of hosting their own site. I personally felt very much at home after successfully importing posts from the Habari-based ootput.bur.st. Of course, as wordpress.com wasn’t a self-hosted solution to the bur.st issue, I was limited to whatever functionality the blog was permitted to exhibit by the WordPress team. (read: no additional plugins allowed)

The transition from Habari to WordPress was not a straightforward process, however. In order to export all of Habari’s posts to a format recognised by wordpress.com, I had to host a WordPress blog on bur.st where I could create the appropriate MySQL tables for WordPress. wordpress.com does not provide direct MySQL access for its members, and this effectively prevents the Habari->Wordpress script from working.

Regardless, once I had exported data to the bur.st-hosted WordPress, I was then able to produce a WordPress->WordPress export file to be imported into wordpress.com

It was a tedious process, but it saved me a lot of time in transferring content onto the new blog.

In order to redirect users to my new wordpress.com blog, and to properly block search bots from accessing the domain (e.g. Google), I created the following two files in ootput.bur.st‘s root directory:
.htaccess:

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Options +FollowSymLinks
RewriteEngine on
RewriteRule (.*) http://ootput.github.io/$1 [R=301,L]

robots.txt:

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User-agent: *
Disallow: /

Of course, these two files will be obliterated once the bur.st merger is officially complete.

NB: Interestingly, my final login to shell.bur.st showed new mail in my mailbox - where I had never received e-mail in the past. There was a total of 10 e-mails, and all of them were spam. I suppose it was someone’s last ditched effort to generate some income from bur.st members - which was kind of lame. As the account effectively expires on the 1st July, this desperate attempt seemed rather stupid.

Future of ootput.bur.st In Doubt

BUR.ST UPDATE

As you may recall from previous news emails, Bur.st Networking Inc. no longer receives sufficient donations to offer its services. Members of the committee have spent over $3000 of their own money since August 2011 to keep the service running, which is not sustainable. As a direct result of this, the West Australian Internet Association (WAIA) kindly offered to take over providing Bur.st’s services, and is already hosting our servers at no cost while we work to make this happen. WAIA was founded in 1995, operates the West Australian Internet Exchange and has full-time technical staff. Some existing Bur.st volunteers are also going to stick around and give WAIA a hand keeping things running.
After a transition period which will end on 30th June, WAIA will be requiring users to become members of WAIA in order to continue to use the Bur.st services. WAIA is committed to educating the public on the Internet and offers many services to the Internet community. Your membership means WAIA initiatives such as free member public meetings, conferences, arbitration, and increased member services can continue (such as the new offering of Bur.st-like services to members, but it needs your support if the services are to be viable!)

Individual people may obtain WAIA Professional membership, which costs $50 per year. For further details on how to sign up to WAIA please visit
https://www.waia.asn.au/membership

A big advantage of WAIA’s taking over is continuity - you won’t need to set up your website or email address anywhere else, @bur.st email addresses will continue to work, etc. If there is sufficient demand for Bur.st / WAIA hosting in the future, WAIA expects to overhaul the service a bit, particularly to make it easier to manage. However, we expect the functionality that most Bur.st users are using to remain intact. (One significant exception: we do not expect WAIA to continue to provide shell access.)

NOTICE OF SPECIAL GENERAL MEETING

A Special General Meeting of Bur.st Networking Inc. will be held on 5:30pm Wednesday 6 June 2012 at 43 Below Restaurant Lounge Bar, 43 Barrack St (cnr Hay St), Perth, WA

The following special resolution will be proposed: That Bur.st Networking Inc be voluntarily wound up as an incorporated association (under the Associations Incorporation Act 1987).

Voting is open to members of the voting membership class of Bur.st Networking Inc. Voting members who are unable to attend may nominate the secretary to cast a proxy vote on their behalf.

Emails have been sent to all registered voting members - if you believe you should have received one, and have not, please contact secretary@bur.st as soon as possible.

FINAL SIGN OFF

Further updates will be communicated from WAIA in the future. As always, we thank you for your support, albeit small or large, over the many years of Bur.st’s existence. And to all those people who have assisted in some way (you know who you are!) – our hats off to you for your dedication to a great not-for-profit organisation.

Bur.st Executive Committee & Staff
Stay tuned for more developments.

On Chyrp's Revival

I completely missed the boat on this one, but apparently, ten months ago, Chyrp came back.

Provided the project persists and progresses, I might consider taking another look at the platform that I had once loved. In the meantime, I’ll stick with Habari - which I have grown accustomed to. I know that Chyrp is a very young product, but it’s sudden termination was simply too much to bear - I honestly can’t get my hopes up again.

Truth be told, I’m actually very pleased to hear that the product was restarted - it would have been a shame to have let such a promising piece of software go to waste. Even Chyrps website’s design was delicious:
7180191615_fd16650d0b

I wish the team the best of luck with all of their endeavours.