In any given week, nearly two thousand people wander onto this Web site, and it's a safe bet that not all of them find it comprehensible: there are best practices, or at least so say the experts, and then there are my practices, which may or may not coincide with anyone's "best" list. Part of this, of course, is my continuing advance toward the Cranky Old Bastard sector of the continuum; but one should not underestimate my tendency towards indolence, especially technical indolence, which all by itself answers our first question:

Why are you using an eight-year-old WordPress theme?
Well, it was only two years old when I installed it. More to the point, it still does the job: it has so few frills that advances in core WordPress code don't mess it up. I did go to the trouble of reworking the sidebar to accept standard WP widgets, only to discover that the workarounds I'd done in place of widgets work just as well as actual widgets. (The only true widget on the sidebar is the Twitter thing, which I didn't write.)

Why aren't the Vents part of WordPress?
Because I had twelve years' worth of them at the time I installed WordPress: 595 in all. I had enough trouble importing 4000 Movable Type posts from the 2006-08 database. (The 2002-06 database is lost forever, but all the posts remain in static form. This, incidentally, is how I can claim 23,000 posts, though WP knows about only 16,000 of them, and the current ID number is closing in on 19,000.)

If WordPress sees 16,000 posts, how come the ID number is pushing 19,000?
Because WordPress, by design, saves several versions of a post before it's published, just in case, and it will use up an ID number for each version. This is a decided convenience for most users of WP, and if they're using SEO-approved put-every-word-of-the-title-into-the URL permalinks instead of tedious and meaningless numbers, no one will ever know the difference. I'm not one of those, I found it inconvenient, and I dug around for a way to prevent it. It's not 100-percent reliable, but I'll accept the 98 that I'm getting.

So what's the matter with SEO-approved put-every-word-of-the-title-into-the URL permalinks?
Consistency. I didn't have them before 2006. The second-generation Movable Type posts did have them, but the WordPress install and subsequent import was daunting enough without trying to preserve them. And SEO, as I have said before, is the 21st-century version of phrenology; to the extent that I can give it and its practitioners the back of my hand instead of the side of my head, I will.

How come you don't offer email subscriptions, to inform your readers when you have new posts? It's easy in WordPress.
Do you want thirty-six emails from me in a single week? (That's the average post count: 36 per week.) I have spammers that don't send 36 emails a week. Of course, I also have spammers that send 36 emails a day, and what should happen to them shouldn't happen to a dog — unless, of course, the dog is rabid, ugly, and suspected of embezzling funds from the grocery account.

Why did you give up Movable Type, anyway?
Because for whatever reason — database size, server performance, phases of the moon — it was taking nearly five minutes to publish a new post, and four minutes to add a comment. This is, in my judgment, too long by a factor of ten. And support — I was a paying customer in those days — never seemed to have the answers I needed. I figure they were busy posting on their LiveJournals.

Doesn't WordPress have a lot of security vulnerabilities?
Short answer: yes. Long answer: yes, but what software doesn't? (Although I concede it's hard to inject a Commodore 64 cartridge with PHP-based malware.) After a couple of attacks, I hired some white-hat dudes to keep watch over the site, and they've done what I consider a fine job of keeping the pests away.

What would it take to get you to change themes?
A really strong and distinctive design, and a week off from work. If importing 4000 posts is a sucky task, importing 16,000 posts must rival the vacuum of space.

The Vent

  24 August 2014

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