November 2005 Archives

blogs.princeton.edu

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Users of the Princeton University MT blog server no longer have to type blogs.princeton.edu/exampleblogaddress to get to a blog. You can now just type blogs.princeton.edu/exampleblogaddress. If you are on campus, that address is just blogs/exampleblogaddress.

To get to the admin interface, one can instead type blogs.princeton.edu/mt. You may have to log-in an extra time until your browser cookie is set to the new address.

All of the old addresses still work (ex. communitas/blogs/, commons/blogs/, communitas/mt3, commons/mt3, etc. Old links and bookmarks should seamlessly redirect to the new addresses.

A site rebuild will change any addresses in your blog that are generated by the <$MTBlogURL$> tag. Any absolute URLs in any existing posts will continue to work. Manually changing them is not really necessary. Any new URLs generated by Movable Type will use the new address.

blogs.princeton.edu, by itself, just goes directly to this site.

www.princeton.edu/~blogs also goes to this site.

The communitas/blogs directory is no longer browsable. However, I plan to replace that functionality with a PHP-generated directory browser that will enable exclusion of certain files and directories.

Tip #01: Power-editing mode

An easily overlooked part of the Entries page of the Movable Type admin interface is the Open power editing mode link right below the “Search Entries” box. This screen allows the author to edit the Status, Title, Author, Category, and Date on multiple entries at once.

screenshot of open power editing mode link

More importantly, this is currently the only place within the MT interface where you can change an entry author (or even see the list of entry authors) unless you are a System Administrator.

Changing the “Authored On Date” on multiple entries can be useful if you are using your weblog as a simple content management system and are relying on the date for the entry sort order.

screenshot of power editing window

BTW, the “List Protected Entries” link at the bottom of the screenshot only works if you embed special tags in your blog template. More on that in a future tutorial.

Spam, spam, spam, spam

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Because the previous installation of Movable Type did not have adequate protection against comment and TrackBack spam, this server was hit hard the past month.

This extraordinary problem required extraordinary measures, so I went through all of the comments myself and junked anything that was obviously spam.

  • 310 legitimate comments, 1034 spam comments
  • 4 legitimate TrackBacks, 843 spam TrackBacks

Please check your Junk Comments and Junk TrackBacks folders to make sure that I did not accidentally junk any legitimate feedback.

Henceforth, individual weblog authors will be responsible for keeping their sites free of advertisements for online poker sites, incest sites, bestiality porn, scat porn, and whatnot that may slip through the spam filter.

The new anti-spam filters do one of four things to entry feedback based on a numerical score that it assigns to potential spam.

  1. It blocks the comment or TrackBack.
  2. It lets it through and publishes the feedback on the individual archive page.
  3. It moderates the feedback. That comment or TrackBack has a yellow warning symbol beside it in the Comments (or TrackBacks) list. The weblog author must then manually publish the comment or TrackBack before it appears.
  4. It junks the feedback. The Comments page and the TrackBacks page have a link to a Junk Folder. Items in the Junk folder can be published or deleted. Items left in the Junk folders are automatically deleted after a period of time set by the weblog author (under Settings—>Feedback—>Junk; the default setting is 60 days.)

Individual weblog authors can customize the SpamLookup plug-in’s settings under Settings—>Plugins—>SpamLookup - Lookups, SpamLookup - Link, and SpamLookup - Keyword Filter.

3.2 update successful

I successfully upgraded the installation of Movable Type to version 3.2 this morning. When you log-in, you will immediately see a slightly refined user interface with multi-colored icons. I also added and upgraded a few plug-ins such as MT-Enclosures, StyleCatcher, Notifier, and MT-Protect.

If you developed your templates under an earlier version of Movable Type, your weblog may not be able to take advantage of some of the new functionality without some manual editing.

You may notice a Refresh Template(s) menu option under the “More actions…” menu on the Template page. If you (or one of your preceptors, etc.) have customized the default templates in any way, performing this action may produce drastic, possibly unwanted, changes to the look of your site.

In the coming days, I will post tutorials on how to take advantage of the some of the new features.

Here’s the first one—if your weblog is set up to allow you to see and access the Settings menu on the left, under the General settings, you can set your main page to display the last n entries instead of the last n days. That way if you haven’t posted in awhile, your main page will not look like an empty wasteland.