Bravo Seven, Forty-One, Zero Echo (Writer’s Workshop)

WARNING: Tech talk ahead. Proceed at your own risk.

I’ve been writing this blog since January 2012, and sometime in the very near future I will arrive at post #1500. There won’t be a whole lot of hoopla; I made a big enough deal about #1000 and haven’t planned on doing a major celebration until #2000, which will happen sometime next year. I’m not going to try and figure out when; my head hurts enough.

Lately I’ve gotten it into my tiny little mind that I want to get an index of my posts, as a way to avoid repeating myself (which I do a lot of, you might have noticed). Trouble is, there’s no easy way of saying to WordPress.com “Hey, gimme a list of all my posts, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeze?” I could sit with the index screen, where the posts are listed in reverse order, twenty posts to a screen, meaning I’d be looking at 75 screens and writing down (okay, typing down) each entry on the screen. That can be a real drag, plus after a while Firefox (indeed, practically any browser) starts to slow down and eventually hits the brakes when you do stuff like that, and you end up having to kill Firefox (because things are so jugged up it won’t close when you hit Command-Q) and restart the computer

So I checked WordPress again, and lo and behold, they have a plugin that will do what I want it to do, but it’ll cost me to have it installed on WordPress.com, because then I’d have to pay for Pro support, and that’s more than I want to do (although then I’d be able to design my own style sheets and do other stuff you don’t get with the free version). I just want a list of the names of my blog posts.

Then, I have a brainstorm: If I could install WordPress.org on my Mac, I could export this site and import it into the one running locally. I would then have access to the WordPress database and be able to run a query against the tables. Voila! I’d have my list, which I could then update as I add more entries. Easy peasy, no?

Well, easier said than done.

In order to do this, I need what’s called a LAMP stack. LAMP is an acronym for “Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP.” I’ve installed LAMP stacks before, and in fact the Mac includes all the fixin’s for one. Mac OS is based on the UNIX operating system, as is Linux, so the L is taken care of, and they deliver the other three components along with cryptic instructions on how to install them and make them work. Once upon a time, when I was a lot closer to the technical world, I managed to get the delivered software working. Then, I installed a new release of Mac OS, and it tore the whole environment apart, much to my chagrin.

After that, a friend and I were talking, and she mentions something called XAMPP. XAMPP is, for lack of a better way to put it, “LAMP Stack in a Drum.” (There’s a cleaning product called Janitor in a Drum; it’s now available for commercial use, but they used to sell it retail. It was like Mr. Clean without the bald guy with an earring.) Thereafter, when I needed a LAMP stack (called a WAMP stack on Windows and a MAMP stack on Mac, by the way), I would just install XAMPP and voila! Everything would be there.

Now, remember, I’ve been involuntarily retired from the software world for going on three and a half years, and a lot of things change in that much time, plus I haven’t had to think about all this technical stuff in a while. So, I’m a little rusty (you knew I’d get around to the prompt for the day, didn’t you?), and I’m also nowhere near as patient as I was back in the day. But I thought this was the way to go, so I duly installed XAMPP and installed WordPress into it, along with a plugin needed to migrate the database. Exporting the database was easy; importing it, not so much.

Anyway, I get everything installed and working, and try to import the database from WordPress.com, and it didn’t work. Something to do with the database. I go to PHPMyAdmin, an online application that allows me to manipulate the databases, and it doesn’t work. Every time I try to do something, it throws an exception.

I look online, and I discover this was a problem with the way XAMPP was created in the release I had, and installing the most current release would resolve the problem. Thinking I had the latest release, I went looking and found that no, I didn’t have the current release. So I uninstall everything and reinstall the correct XAMPP and WordPress. Now the problems I’m having are related to the permissions I have on the files I’m trying to update.

I would have fixed the problems, but by that time Mary was hungry and wanted me to make pizza for dinner. After all the trouble I had, I thought that was a good idea.

As Murtaugh (played by Danny Glover in the Lethal Weapon movies) frequently said, I’m too old for this sh*t.

Just as an aside: the CSS color code for “rust” is #B7410E.

rust

That’s almost the same color as the badge.

Well, okay, not quite.

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Author: John Holton

I'm a writer and blogger who writes and blogs about things that interest me.

16 thoughts on “Bravo Seven, Forty-One, Zero Echo (Writer’s Workshop)”

  1. Since I don’t know what the hell you are talking about I am going back to what old people in the Chicago area do with their mornings; Read the Tribune obituaries. See you tomorrow.

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    1. Mom used to call the obituaries the Irish sports pages. I always love the story about when Dad’s aunt Genevieve (his father’s sister) died. Mom was at school on break reading the obits, came across it, and said “Well, I guess I can go home. Here’s my obituary.”

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  2. I love these kinds of stories, John. I am still working in the technical arena, so I can kinda-sort feel your pain. I have two thoughts. 1) Although I wouldn’t recommend this approach, I have a friend who I know would use it in a heartbeat. That is, write a program to read and process the website itself, rather than the back-end. 2) This is the way I would do it, and I actually have been thinking about this even though I have a paltry 500 posts and change. I receive all of my posts in GMail when they are published. I figure that if I ever want to analyze them, I’d look for a tool to work against my Gmail inbox, or my Gmail inbox after it has been exported to some type of combined file.

    Good luck with the project.

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    1. I keep the posts in a couple of different formats, both the raw HTML (I use IFTTT to add it to the end of a Dropbox member) and as individual posts (IFTTT also sends them to Evernote.) Of course, I’ve only been doing these for roughly two years, meaning a lot of posts aren’t there. Besides, they’re not in a format that lends itself to easily finding what I’ve already done. So, I’m going through this rather masochistic exercise.

      IFTTT works pretty well with GMail, so that might be a way to get your exporting done…

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I got it working yesterday, and it only took about a half an hour. Amazing what you can do when you find the answers online. Haven’t tried building the queries yet; I have to figure out how the tables in the database connect…

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Ha! That’s a lot of typing for rust! I never could get all that abbreviation mumbo jumbo. That’s why I use a MAC. But, since I have not been blogging as long as you have, perhaps you have given me the inspiration I need to start keeping track of my blog posts NOW rather than a few years from now! (I am assuming of course that I will keep doing this, but since I like to chat, I probably will). Have a marvelous day, John!

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    1. I think you blog pretty regularly (maybe not every day, but close) and knowing what you’ve already written about can be a lifesaver. I definitely recommend getting a list together and keeping it up to date.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You and I got started blogging about the same time. At first I was far more willing to dive in beyond the depths of my understanding. As time goes on I just want to tell a story and be done with it. Good luck with this undertaking. I know it will exact more time and suffering than anyone else will ever realize.

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