Category Archives: Technical Nonsense

A Brief Boring Technical Note

Hey, remember when I moved my site to a new host? That’s going just fine, no problems there. One tiny issue, though.

See, back when I converted my site from Movable Type to WordPress, I had to do so in a weird way so I didn’t wipe out all my old stuff. This necessitated writing a bazillion redirects so that any old links would point to the new pages, not the old ones.

Well, it seems that I totally forgot about this when I moved to a new host. The new host is not yet set up with all these redirects. Every post since 2006 is in the “system,” so to speak, but if you have an old URL for anything on this site (pre February 2011 or so), it will probably give you a “Can’t find that page, yo” message.

The good news is, my new host can do redirects a lot easier than my old one, where I literally had to go into the htaccess file, type out the redirect, and hope I didn’t destroy my site by accident. The bad news is, there are still four-plus years of posts that I need to do this for.

I’ve already done this for all of the 1999 Project posts, plus a few others that I know get consistent traffic. I will work my way back and eventually get through all of them. Again, everything that ever appeared on Scratchbomb (the post-2006 blog version, anyway) is here, up and available for your bemusement. Just a heads up that if you have an old link, it may not work for the next couple of weeks or so.

Of course, if you have one of those old links, you won’t be able to read this note. In which case, thank you for allowing me to waste everyone’s time.

Making the Move

You may have noticed I haven’t been posting much on this site of late. Or maybe you haven’t. Well, look, it’s been happening and we’re all just going to have to deal with it, okay?

The biggest reason is due to me writing a bunch of stuff for other places–be it at Amazin’ Avenue or the kinds of links you can see to your right (under MC Elsewhere). But there was another reason.

See, this site had been hosted by Go Daddy for a while. I can’t tell you why I chose them to begin with; perhaps I was swayed for their TOO SHOCKING FOR TV! ads. In any case, once you sign up with a host, it’s very, very easy to just stick with them until kingdom come. I even renewed my hosting account with them late-ish last year.

Then the safari kerfuffle happened, which caused many people to jump ship. I thought the whole thing was despicable, too, but I also thought I simply didn’t have the time to make a move. I felt stretched thin with my work, non-work, and family obligations, and adding a project like this to the pile seemed like pure insanity to me. I went through such an enormous hassle moving this site from Movable Type to WordPress in early 2011 that I didn’t have the stomach or the will to go through (what I assumed would be) a similar ordeal again. I felt crappy about my lack of action, but not so crappy that I did anything about it.

Then, SOPA. I’m sure you know what that is by now, and if you don’t, frankly, you don’t deserve to be on the internet. Suffice to say, Go Daddy was one of many high profile corporations who voiced support of SOPA, which I am one billion times against. I’m aware that A) SOPA is now dead, and B) Go Daddy eventually stepped back from their stance. However, they did so in such a tepid way you can easily see them changing their mind about this issue yet again when it’s convenient.

Because of SOPA and Go Daddy’s stance thereon, many people took their sites to greener pastures. And now, I was even busier than I was when Go Daddy did their last reprehensible thing. The pressure to make the move had never been greater, and the time available in which to do it had never been shorter.

One thing I keep harping on in my online writing (particularly at AA) is the media; specifically, their perceptions, their narratives, and the way they deal with the news. One thing that drives me nuts is how often members of the media take a certain tack because it’s the path of least resistance. Rather than investigate what is actually going on or the historical roots of whatever might be happening, they simply tap into what they think is going on, or what they think people will want to hear, because they’re lazy.

I realized that the longer I continued to host my site with Go Daddy, the closer I became to being one of Those People. I don’t have a right to criticize cheap expediency in others if I continue to support a company I disagree with immensely simply because I fear the hassle involved with leaving. Plus, there’s every reason to think I will be exponentially more time-crunched in the future. If I didn’t make a move now for schedule reasons, things are unlikely to improve on that front any time soon.

So I deliberately scaled back on the writing I did here at Scratchbomb, because I didn’t know how long the move would take and I didn’t want to add more stuff to the pile of things I needed to transfer. And because the less I wrote here, the less traffic I drove Go Daddy’s way.

Then I researched what it would take to get the transfer done, and it turned out it wasn’t that huge of a deal after all. So I got a new web host, moved my site over, and voila. There were a few hiccups along the way, but all were resolved in fairly short order. Now, the site you’re looking at is no longer hosted by Go Daddy. It all took way quicker than I thought, which makes me angry with myself for not doing it sooner.

I have to send enormous thank yous to Jeff Lyons, who walked me through the finer points of moving a WordPress site and answered way more questions than he really had to. He helped a lot back when I transferred my site from Movable Type to this environment, and he helped just as much now. I continue to be grateful.

It’s a small thing, really, which I should have taken care of much sooner than I did. But now it’s done, and I can write about the laziness and hypocrisy of others with a clean conscience. It’s a nice feeling.

A New Way to Like Me!

Once again, Scratchbomb has tinkered with that which was not broken. I’ve streamlined the sharing functions at the bottom of each post. You can still tweet all about it to your friends. THAT HAS NOT CHANGED! You can still like a post on Facebook. THAT HAS ALSO NOT CHANGED. But you can also now click the little Facebook icon to add a post to your wall along with a pithy comment.

You can also give Scratchbomb posts a Google +1. What’s that, you ask? I barely know! I do know that it may or may not have something to do with Google+, which I am signed up with even though I barely understand it any better than the aforementioned button. But everyone’s all excited about Google+, and let it never be said I can’t jump on a bandwagon with the best of ’em. In addition, there’s a brand new button to add this to Google Reader, if you’re into that sorta thing.

Finally, I’ve added a new dropdown menu that allows you to share a post on whatever weird other social media things you use, you weirdos. The most important thing is, this gives you a brand new way to tell the world how awesome I am. So please, use it early and often!

Your Scratchbomb Analytics Update

Here are a few items of note about traffic to Scratchbomb.com in the last month. Absolutely none of this is made up or exaggerated in any way. I’m presenting it because I constantly get SEO-related spam, and I’m hoping this will prove once and for all that this site has zero interest in improving the size and quality of its audience.

  • Despite a late surge from my Extreme Couponing post, the Scratchbomb piece with the most page hits is once again my recap of game 6 of the 1999 NLCS. This is bad in the sense that nothing I wrote recently tops something I penned almost two years ago, but good in the sense that I am hard at work at something closely related to that post (/vague)
  • Top five countries visiting Scratchbomb: USA, Canada, UK, Philippines, India. That last one I kind of understand–considering there’s a billion people in India, from a purely statistically standpoint, any site should get a significant number of visitors from there. The Philippines has me stumped, but I’ll take it, and will also learn how to speak Tagalog.
  • On the low end of the scale: Two visits from Vietnam, and one each from Tanzania and Nigeria. Still looking for those first elusive page hits from China and North Korea.
  • Number one search term inexplicably remains “rip taylor,” with most of those hits generated by this almost-two-year old post (number three on the page hits charts). Your guess is as good as mine, folks.
  • Number two search term is now “studio 60 on roosevelt avenue,” which means I will NEVER stop writing these things.
  • Rounding out the top five search terms: “rapture”, “scratchbomb”, and “jeff kent.”
  • “steve phillips” has plunged all the way to #9, below “jersey city crank crew” and “jim dolan”.
  • Best search terms of the month (sic all spelling mistakes):
    • “does anyone know the song with the tune coco coco”
    • “extrene couponers eat shit”
    • “gary carter racist”
    • “how to write story about vanilla ice whose song ice ice baby into cape town in gravedigger theory”
    • “jamie farr shirtless”
    • “what else looks like a swastika”
  • Worst search term of the month: “chipper jones y’all”
  • Number 10 traffic source leading to Scratchbomb: google.ca. Thanks, Canada!
  • Number seven search engine directing traffic to Scratchbomb: Yandex, the top search engine in Russia. Cπacибo, Poccия!
  • The fifth most popular browser used to view Scratchbomb is something called Mozilla Compatible Agent, which I’m pretty sure is a SkyNet product. Thanks, Terminators!

Scratchbomb Bats a Thousand

My Spy Tech post from earlier today was, it turns out, the 1000th post ever at Scratchbomb. Let’s celebrate!

Technically, this site has existed in some form since 2001 (!). So there have actually been significantly more posts than 1000. Back in them days, I basically posted when I felt like it, and some of the posts tried to be quite artier and involved. I didn’t quite know what I was doing (even more so than now). The 1000 mark signifies how many posts I’ve done since switching to a bloggier format circa 2006.

Maybe if you guys are good, I’ll try and dig up some “gems” from the site’s Precambrian period, like an interview I did with Guy Picciotto many many moons ago (if I can find it). Until then, many thanks to all those who have read. To the rest of you, the back of my hand.

Scratchbomb Status Update: Bent But Not Broken

So late last week, this site started performing erratically, when it performed at all. Faced with this crisis, I summoned all my strength and resolve and used it to completely freak out. I’d just spent an enormous amount of time migrating my site from one CMS to another, and the thought of having to do it all over was too gruesome for me to contemplate.

When I was done screaming and crying, I prevailed upon my webhost to move the site to a better server, which has now been completed. I’m able to use this site’s dashboard without trouble once again, and have added a few optimization plugins that should increase overall site performance.

The site appears to be functioning again for the reader, but if you find pages loading slowly or anything else similarly weird, please let me know. Here’s hoping this is the last such post for quite a while, and thank you for continuing to read despite the technical hiccups.

Scratchbomb Update: One More Snag

So it has just come to my attention that embedded video is conspicuously missing from posts which previously had them. This is due to a difference between the way Movable Type and WordPress handle such stuff, apparently. In the course of spiffing up the other posts on the new interface, I will remedy this as well. Please bear with me during this process, and I’ll take you all out for ice cream later, okay?

Scratchbomb: IT’S ALIVE!

So after many, many days of hair pulling, wall punching, and extremely intense sitting, Scratchbomb has been migrated to a new blog environment. I believe this will be better for both you the reader and me the post-talkin guy in the long run. The details are way too nerd-tactular to go over, and I’m already too traumatized to want to. Suffice to say, I wouldn’t have done all this labor if I didn’t think this would make the site stronger and taller.

I’d like to say I did it all by myself, but that would be a dirty lie. Major, major kudos to Eric Simon of Amazin’ Avenue and Jeff Lyons of Used Wigs, both of whom lent their expertise to the process. Without them, I am sure that I would be dead by now, or at least very annoyed.

99.99% of everything that was on Ye Olde Site is now here. However, there are a few items of note that will be corrected in the coming weeks:

  1. Redirects from the old post permalinks to the new ones have not yet been completed. My attempts to automate this process failed, meaning I have to do it manually for virtually all of my posts, all 900+ of them. This will be done but, as you may suspect, will take a while. In the meantime, all old links still work, but I have already completed redirects for a number of posts that are near and dear to my heart, such as all the entries in the 1999 Project series.
  2. Comments on the old site were done by Disqus, as are comments on the New Site. Right now, old comments are in limbo, but they still exist, and I am working on trying to get them integrated in the proper places in this new environment.
  3. Posts with audio do not have embedded flash players right now. I should be able to remedy this very soon.
  4. Thanks to differences in coding/image embedding between Movable Type and WordPress, posts with “dialogue” are all jacked up. This too will be remedied as soon as possible.
  5. Most but not all of the internal links for The Best Show Logs should work. I will probably be revising the layouts for these pages very soon, so I’m not super concerned about this, but I wanted you to be aware of it.

One more thing to note: During site migration, I noticed that the new blog environment had two fewer posts than the old one. I have no idea which ones they are, and if I compare the two sites to one another one more time, I will lose my mind. So if you’re an eagle-eyed reader and you happen to notice something missing from the new site, drop me a line. And do the same if you spot anything else that looks weird or out of place.

Thank you for your continued support. Excelsior!

The Sites They Are A-Changin’

truckin.jpgSo here’s the deal: After months of bitching about the performance of my blog’s CMS, I have decided to do something about it. I am currently in the process of migrating all my content over to WordPress, which I’ve found does not crash and burn at random the way Movable Type does.

I won’t bore you with the details, but the upshot is, you probably won’t see a huge amount of content here–if any–for the next few days, since it doesn’t make much sense to keep adding posts in the current system while trying to implement a new one. It’s like hanging pictures on the wall while a fresh coat of paint is still drying.

My goal is to have this all wrapped up by Monday, at least from a content migration standpoint. It’s going to take me a bit longer than that to get the blog spiffed up design wise, but first thing’s first.

Thank you for your patience and your support during this difficult time. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the PHP include of your choice.

Scratchbomb Status: Keep Calm and Carry On

golf-fan-stretcher.jpgSo things appear to be back to normal-ish here on Scratchbomb. My crack team of troubleshooters and IT experts (i.e., me) managed to restore the site after destroying it, making Scratchbomb stronger and taller in the process.

You sharp-eyed folks out there might notice a few small changes from the way the site used to look and perform. If you do, give yourself a gold star. If not, just know that there are forces out there you cannot possibly comprehend.

Happy reading!