Fun With Tech

Yesterday, fed up with spam, I turned comment moderation on. Then the inestimable Brad King made a suggestion -- why not use a third-party commenting system, like Disqus

Worth a shot, I thought. And certainly more fun than writing words! So I tried it, and it looked good -- except that all of my old comments vanished. Huh, I thought, that's no good. Better look into that later.

Later that evening, after performing a sub-adequate amount of actual real work, I found myself in full-on blog improvement mode. Inspired to find other ways to improve on Squarespace's defaults, I looked for a plugin to link to my most popular threads in my sidebar. I didn't find one, so I updated 'em manually. But I did find a recommendation engine called Outbrain, which now puts a few suggested links at the bottom of posts. Feedback on that is welcome; I tend to like that feature in a blog, but hey, you're the readers here, not me.

I fooled around with Disqus' sidebar plugin for highlighting active threads, but it didn't really work for me. It was creating links with the URL in the sidebar, not the post title, and I felt it was too ugly to permit it to stay there. Worse, the comment counts in my post footers don't work quite right with Disqus, so they're out. So for now, there's no way for you to know what threads on my blog have hoppin' conversations. Sorry about that.

I also made a sub-blog called Short Fiction, where Shiva's Mother now lives. I will eventually move some other content in there, like my Google Calendars time-travel story Circular Logic... and now if I write other small pieces of fiction that don't belong much of anywhere, I'll have a more fitting place to put them.

You may notice I changed my headers, too, and included a subtitle with my name in it. I'm assuming it's a good idea to do that for SEO reasons, sigh.

Oh, and those old comments? I got 'em to work after all -- they're slowly populating now, and I expect to have almost all of them in a day or two. (Actually, it looks like I've lose a couple dozen, but since the total number was just upwards of a thousand, I'm calling it a win.)

How did I do it? I exported all content from Squarespace, made a one-off temporary account at, imported my Squarespace content, exported it again in WRX format, altered the links in the new XML file to point to my real domain and path, trimmed the leading 0s from months and days in the URLs, and... hey presto! They've imported now, and should populate over the next... couple of... days.

Piece of cake, right? ...Right?

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