Tag: blog

Vox Exports to Self-Hosted Blogs Now Even Easier

VoxPress?A couple months ago, I wrote about a new ability developed for WordPress.com that allows you to export your Vox blog to a WordPress blog. I was really excited about this at the time, because I’m always in favor of services allowing you to take your data with you when you want to leave – nothing is more frustrating than devoting time/energy to a project/blog/site and then finding yourself with the choice of either staying locked-in to your current situation or giving up all your work and starting over fresh.

At the time, I mentioned that the only way to port from Vox to a self-hosted WordPress blog (i.e. on your own domain, not a WordPress.com sub-domain) was to use WordPress.com as an intermediary – exporting from Vox to WordPress.com, and then exporting a WXR file and importing it into your other blog.  While this technically works (I tried it out), it’s a little messy and leaves all the pictures hosted on the WordPress.com domain site, instead of pulling them into your self-hosted site.

Brian Colinger, a developer of WordPress.com and WordPress plugins, contacted me a few weeks ago to let me know that he’s now developed a WordPress plugin that you can install on your self-hosted domain that will do the same export functionality as before, but this time directly to your self-hosted blog.  Yep, now there’s a Vox exporter to self-hosted blogs!

The process itself is pretty easy, and Brian’s post gives step-by-step instructions, so I won’t repeat them here.  You have to install the WP_Importer base class plugin first, and then Vox Importer plugin.  Pretty soon, you’ll be pulling all your posts over to your own self-hosted WordPress blog!

Just like the ability on WordPress.com, this importer should:

  • Imports posts AND comments.  Comments are captured exactly as left on Vox, and the link to the commenter goes back to their Vox blog URL.
  • Imports photos from Vox into WordPress.  Yes, photos will be native to WordPress, so they won’t just link back to a photo hosted by Vox.
  • Imports tags from your blog.  No option to turn this off, but all tags are carried over and used as tags on the WordPress blog.
  • Imports ALL posts, not just those made “public”.  Adjust privacy settings before or after you import to account for the fact that WordPress doesn’t have all the privacy modes that Vox does, but you get all your content carried over when you import!  NOTE: If you don’t want a post to be public on your WordPress blog, make it visible to “YOU (hidden)” only before you export/import.  Then it will show up as “Private” on your WordPress blog. All other privacy settings (neighborhood only, friends and family, etc.) will appear on your new WordPress blog as public, accessible-by-anyone entries until you change their privacy level from within WordPress.
  • Maintains formatting from your Vox blog – bullets, numbering, centering, font colors, etc all carry over 1:1.  This may cause some minor issues on your WordPress blog if the layout doesn’t support (e.g. white font on a white background), but you can edit this after the fact to suit.

Hat’s off to Brian for another job well done! Stop by his blog and leave a comment for him on the post if you end up using the plugin, and let him know how it went.  Also, if you have any further questions/bug reports, be sure to let Brian know so he can fine-tune this plugin for all the folks out there that had no choice but to remain with Vox, lose their work, or laboriously copy it by hand to another platform!


Innovative Approach to Spam?

Not only are the spammers coming after you in blog comments as well as through your email, but now they're telling jokes!

I was cleaning out the spam comments on my blog when I came across one that I actually enjoyed – unlike the linkfarm/gobbledygook/viagra ads of most blog comment spam, this one contained a joke that was not half bad:

Moishe had been single for a long time. One day, he excitedly tells his mother that he’s fallen in love at last and he is going to get married. She is obviously overjoyed.

Moishe then tells his mother, “Just for fun, Mum, I’m going to bring over 3 women and you try and guess which one I’m going to marry.”

His mother agrees.

The next day, Moishe brings 3 beautiful women into the house and sits them down on the couch and they all chat for a while. Then Moishe turns to his mother and says, “Okay, Mum. Guess which one I’m going to marry?”

She immediately replies, “The redhead in the middle.”

“That’s amazing, Mum. You’re right. How did you know?”

“I don’t like her.”

Obviously these kind of comments still aren't going to make it onto my blog, but if the spammers can keep me laughing while I delete their comments, so much the better!

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So Much for VoxPort – WordPress.Com Imports Vox Blogs Directly!

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A few folks have emailed me or left comments on various posts on my blogs letting me know that WordPress now supports Vox blog imports directly.  Seems the code wranglers over there were tired of waiting on my slack butt to get things ready and decided to go ahead and just do it on their own!  And you should probably be glad they did, because my work schedule ended up being something I wouldn't wish on anyone, and left little-to-no free time for me to do anything, let alone work out the kinks in the alpha/beta versions of the tool I was working on.  (Luckily that's pretty much past for now, so I'm returning to the keyboard and back to the blog starting with this post!)

So anyway, WordPress.com blogs can now import from a Vox blog.  Once you have a blog set up over on WordPress.com, you can go under the "Import" tab of the Tools menu and choose to import from a Vox blog.  You enter your blog hostname, your user ID and password, and they pull ALL of your posts and comments over into your WordPress blog.  Private posts are kept private, but I believe everything else becomes public (so you'd want to go through and change privacy notifications if, for example, you have everything on your Vox blog set as neighborhood-only).  The service will even email you when the import is complete, so you don't have to sit around and check the status of the import continuously.  Once it's done, you can go in and configure the settings how you'd like, modify entries, delete comments, etc – everything you could do when the content was on Vox, but now over on WordPress.com.

The importer has some great benefits, such as:

  • Imports posts AND comments.  Comments are captured exactly as left on Vox, and the link to the commenter goes back to their Vox blog URL.
  • Imports photos from Vox into WordPress.  Yes, photos will be native to WordPress, so they won't just link back to a photo hosted by Vox.
  • Imports tags from your blog.  No option to turn this off, but all tags are carried over and used as tags on the WordPress blog.
  • Imports ALL posts, not just those made "public".  Adjust privacy settings before or after you import to account for the fact that WordPress doesn't have all the privacy modes that Vox does, but you get all your content carried over when you import!
  • Maintains formatting from your Vox blog – bullets, numbering, centering, font colors, etc all carry over 1:1.  This may cause some minor issues on your WordPress blog if the layout doesn't support (e.g. white font on a white background), but you can edit this after the fact to suit.

There ARE some caveats to their importer, though:

  • Does not import media except for pictures (videos, audio, books, collections don't seem to carry over).  You'll notice in the WordPress blog that these simply link back to your Vox blog where they are still hosted.  If you want to do a true transfer over with any of these, you'll actually have to download all your files (or have saved the originals) and upload these into WordPress directly.  It's very nice that the pictures carry over, but you may need to adjust some formatting on posts where pictures are involved to get them to wrap and/or fit in the borders of your layout since the entries will still have the Vox picture formatting.
  • May screw up your formatting.  I have heard from some others that it worked fine, but at least in my case the formatting on the WordPress blog made it so there was a carriage return at the end of every line so that instead of wrapping naturally, it cut off each line and added some strange line breaks in the middle of the posts – something that I didn't purposefully put in my Vox blog when typing up the entries.  Not sure where this came from or whether it's a parsing issue, but means that I would have to manually hit up each entry in my history and correct to make it appear to be formatted correctly, which sort of defeats the point of an export.  I've followed up with a guy from Automattic who was in touch with me about Vox exports last fall to see if there's anything he can do about this, and he's looking into it.
  • Only works for WordPress.com blogs (for now).  The latest revision of self-hosted WordPress.org blogs still appears to not have an option to import from Vox (if it ever will).  This is probably not a deal-breaker though, as you can import into a temporary blog on WordPress.com, and then export from there to a WXR file and import into your personal WordPress installation.  The biggest issue here is that most self-hosted installs only accept .xml files up to 2MB in size, and your export may be much bigger, in which case you'll have to manually split it up into smaller files that can fit the import process.  Again, the guy from Automattic is looking to work this into self-hosted installs, but it may be later rather than sooner due to development cycles and trying to get stuff like this included in the base code.

Overall though, it looks like the folks over at WordPress/Automattic did a VERY nice job of creating a means for locked-in Vox users to export their blogs to another platform.  From WordPress.com you can go to self-hosted WordPress blogs, Blogger, and any other blogging platform that can process the seemingly ubiquitous WordPress WXR export file.  So whether you're looking to jump ship or just back up your blog somewhere a little more….reliable….I'd recommend you give this exporter a try. 

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Ikea + Hacks = Custom Furniture or Work of Art

I heard about Ikea Hacker from Leo Laporte's & Megan Morrone's podcast Jumping Monkeys.  Ikea Hacker is a blog full of posts of people who have modified stock Ikea products to create unique furniture, decorations, and/or works of art. 

The hacks range from the simple (using hooks and a cabinet handle to create a space for hanging kitchen utensils) to the complex (creating an entire play kitchen for kids using the ivar storage system) and everything in between.

This looks like a great site to check out if you've been looking to add some flair to your furniture or living space.  You may not find something that fits what you're looking to do, but I bet you'll get some ideas from these modifications.

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