Looking into podcasting

A friend of mine asked me to look into podcasting and what would be involved in getting that to work.  This will be a quick post, which is part of testing things out.  As I currently understand you can pretty much run a podcast with WordPress without any extra plugins or anything.  This post will test this out.  Steps to get this post out are (not all done yet):

  1. Create start of post
    1. Place in Podcast, and Episode categories
  2. Record episode
  3. Save episode in supported format (looking at posting to iTunes)
  4. Upload episode to here
  5. Link media as both media, and as a link to the file
  6. Test to see if we can get an accepted RSS feed with the file included
  7. Test importing to iTunes

If all of that works out, that would be “most basic setup” but I also want to test how things work “better” with the recommended Podcast plugin, and see if that ends up being worth it.  I think maybe it does for some features, but if this works it may not be really that worthwhile for the existing setup.

That should be a playable link…  And:

Intro Podcast 01 is a link to the download.

Intro Podcast 01 a link to the attachment page.

OK, I have done steps 1-5.  I am OK with how that’s working so far.  Now to test 6 and 7…


Autism Jobs Site Creation

Yesterday I quickly read through a post on Hacker News about creating a site for jobs for older people in the tech industry.  I thought a little bit about it, and thought that maybe someone could do the same for Autistics (and other neurodivergent people possibly) so I put it on the back burner because well heck, I didn’t really want to go through the process of creating such a site at this time.

Where are we now?

I really didn’t want to spend the time doing this at the time I was reading the original post, I ended up going to bed.  In the middle of the night I ended up waking up and getting really oddly inspired to just go ahead and do what I was going to do for it.

Getting Domain Names

I decided that I was going to register a domain name (possibly more than one) so went to Web Names and decided to look around on there. I saw a couple of names that I was interested in that were available, and one which I was interested in which was not.  There was a 4th one where it was clear that someone actually was doing something with it, so I just ignored those.

Web Names offers the ability to “make an offer” on a domain name, so I selected these three options.  The pricing which I was seeing was more or less in line with what the “cheaper” sites were listing so I figured go with the Canadian Registrar.

When I clicked “send” the prices that they were presenting were almost 3 times what it looked like they should have been costing.  I wasn’t looking for anything other than purchasing the domain names (and making the offer on the other domain) so I decided to not go there (but I did ask why the discrepancy, will report back later when/if I get a response).

I have been working with two different companies which offer domain names, as well as other services, and have been happier recently with one of them, so decided to purchase the domain names from them.

But, that ended up being “not possible” for one of the domain names, so looked at the other registrar which I believe I could get that domain name through.  I found that I could, so tried to get that, but it ended up falling through.  So, that will have to wait for a week or so.  Or maybe not.

Setting up hosting

Again, I wanted to try something new with my hosting, so I wanted to look at what would happen with the company “Digital Ocean” so I setup to be able to host there.  The big advantage I see to them is that they seem to have the ability to host in Canada, and living, and being based in Canada, I thought this was a good idea.

I had not setup an account with them, and their pricing is a good bit more than what I am currently paying for hosting at Linode, but I am willing to pay a little more for hosting in Canada (well twice as much for roughly the equivalent to the smallest server I can get from Linode).  When I registered they asked me to confirm that I am who I am, but heck why do I have to do that (they have received a payment actually at this point) and since I’m not really sure how long (or if) it will happen I went over to Linode and set things up there.

The site so far

The site is incredibly basic at this point.  The idea which I got from the post I read was that of a minimum viable product (MVP) which is the “least you can do which actually can be considered an actual product”.  With that in mind (and details from the post) I created a Typeform form for people to submit job listings.

That form I tested for the “Autism Jobs Quality Assurance” job (we’re accepting applications) and then worked on getting a static HTML version of the site up.

As it currently stands, there is that job listing there (that I hand coded) as well as the form itself.

Mentions of the site

I have mentioned the site on Hacker News, as well as on Reddit.  I likely will mention this on my more “normal” social network sites such as Plurk, Twitter, and LinkedIn.  I also consider the combination of this post, the site itself to be a Patreon Supported Thing, and I will see how all of this goes.  I intend to write another post about it on the Open Psychology Project website within the next week.

With luck we actually will be having something more to say before too long.

Gofundme campaign setup

Earlier this week (Yesterday, or was it Thursday) I setup a Gofundme campaign to get some funds (maybe) for upgrading our equipment to better produce videos.

Guess what?  It came with a video…

This video has the basic setup for the Gofundme campaign.  The information which shows up in the video has been greatly updated from the time that video was created.

I really do recommend when if you are going to setup anything like this, try to set it up without putting a lot of information into it, rather than setting up everything from the beginning.

I had tried to set this up right from the beginning just exactly how I wanted it, but due to a number of problems, I ended up just tossing it.

After having tossed it, I decided to look for some stuff that would help me figure out what might be better for me.  It really seems like with a lot of things, you either need to be technically inclined, in that specific field, with that specialized language, or you just accept stuff which really people don’t much need to know anything to figure out (ie. lay people who really only peripherally know stuff).

I am looking at possibly setting up a separate campaign to get some other things together.  Right now this is looking good.

This post (though the post itself is short, and even the video is) is supported by Patreon.  Thank you all you Patreon supporters.

New Topics?

Thinking of some new topics.  I will post a new “new topics” page each time I come up with some new ideas of what to write about:

  • Previously considered topics:
    • Adobe CS4 on El Capitan (still need to figure this out)
    • Technical perspective on Activism stuff
    • Sound working on new computer (got it working rather nicely finally)
  • New topics:
    • Web Site Security
      • Cross Site Scripting (XSS)
      • SQL Injection
    • Matrix Chat Protocol
    • LedgerSMB
    • Gentoo
    • Server Security
    • Local network security

That’s it for now.  That really is plenty of topics to really consider.    Really would like to have a few more topics to post about, but for now, I think this is probably enough.

Please consider supporting us either here, or on Patreon.

Research and Open Psychology

Today we started to look at the Research which we are considering doing over the next little while. We created a couple of pages about that, they are the Research and the Open Psychology Project pages.


All the research we do will be linked off of this.  I think that each individual research project will end up being a post, with direct links to the post from this page.  At least that is what I am planning now.  On this page we have the pending projects, which now fall under two categories.  Open Psychology Project, and Technical Support Questions.

Open Psychology Project

This is the official launch of the Open Psychology Project.  We have an “about” page about it, but this is the actual project itself.

We have put two different types of content here.  We will have stuff which is Research, and we will have Tools.  The research will be handled as all research is.  It will be on the Research page.  I will try to keep the Research and the Open Psychology Project page updated in parallel for each change that gets made.

The second type of content will be tools.  These are things which a person would use for various purposes.


The tools section is a little different.  We are going to create what will be called “static” tools, that is the tools will be listed as a “page” rather than as a “post” like the research is likely to be.

Changes to the Tools will be talked about in a post.  But the tool itself will be a page.  The reason that I am doing it this way is that while each time I look at a research topic, even if it is re-looking at something “new” I am trying to look with fresh eyes.  As for the tools, they are things which when I look at a particular tool I want to be “changing” the tool, not creating a new one.

Current and Future Status

Right now, all of this only has “pending” content to put up.  Nothing has been created for this now, but I am hoping that over the next few days I will have at least some content that will be “done” type content.

Site Moved

We have moved this site (Datse Multimedia Productions) to a new server.  From what we can tell, things are working correctly.  There was one plugin which we were having issues with because we decided that we really do not want to disable the redirect from the “insecure” http: site, to the “secure” https: site.  And because of this redirect that we’d setup, it seems that the plugin became unusable.

From what I have read about plugin development doing that is a violation of the rules for plugins on the WordPress Plugin Repository (I think that’s the term).  This plugin has gone through a several upgrades since I last looked at the Codex about this stuff, so I could well be mistaken.

With the moving of this site off the old server, we are now hopefully going to be able to have this site (and soon all sites) performing “well enough”.  That is, they should not be ending up going down multiple times a day, and at least as long as I am not getting denial of service attacks, I should not be seeing the performance hitting really poor levels.

On the other hand.  Pretty much any site will get denial of service attacks.  For the most part, unless you are high-profile, these attacks are not persistent.

The moving of this site has been more problematic than I would have hoped for.  Now, there is an issue of course that even though all requests get “redirected” to the secure version, if a request containing “vulnerable information” ends up getting sent to the site, I will “handle” it securely, but the data will be passed almost certainly as plain text across the internet.

I am hoping I can mitigate this, once I see where such requests are coming in, by redirecting those requests to a “your request was not secure” page.

One of the big problems I am having with this, is I am currently paying about $8.00/day for the server space I am using.  This includes this site, which is costing about $1.00/day now.  Which is probably reasonable, but I expect that to go up, as this site starts doing things more “as expected”.  I hope it does not go beyond about $2.50/day for each of  the sites that I am currently hosting.

Moving sites to new servers

We are in the process of moving the sites to new servers.  We have done so far:

  1. Tested a web accelerator
    1. It did not improve things with uptime.
    2. Uptime actually dropped.
    3. The server was not seeing an increase in activity.
    4. The server was not seeing a significant decrease in activity.
    5. Web accelerator may be an improvement when the server is not over loaded.
    6. Server at best is currently very overloaded.
    7. Web accelerator seems to make things worse in this situation.
    8. Removed web accelerator for now, will consider again later.
    9. Decided easiest move would be to move existing sites to new servers.
  2. Removed web accelerator
    1. Found this broke things for a number of sites.
    2. Sites were setup to connect through accelerator, but accelerator not configured to connect through to sites.
    3. DNS needed to be updated.
  3. Updated DNS
    1. Waited until DNS appeared to be propagated globally (~95% responding correctly in this case).
  4. Created 1 new server instance for the existing domains.

We are now to the point that we can look at what to do from here:

  1. Move each domain to a new server:
    1. Move the “HTML” files.
    2. Move any databases.
    3. Point DNS to new server.
  2. Start decommissioning process for old server.
    1. Point DNS away form the current server.
      1. By doing this in steps it means that I am aware that for up to about 6 hours (possibly longer if I’m having issues with the propagation, or finding when it has succeeded, or simply just getting to it at the right time) I will be running two sites with potentially different information.
    2. Synchronise the two servers where there could be issues with which is doing which.
  3. Figure out the size for the new servers which is appropriate for each one.
  4. Reinstate Web Accelerators for the servers as they start getting loads which seem appropriate.
  5. Work on developing services to see what may be causing issues with the servers being hit harder than it seems like they should be.
    1. It seems likely there are a number of requests being sent which are in some sense “malicious”.
    2. If I can find a decent pattern for malicious activity (be able to see things that can mark it) move to next step.
  6. Start working on procedures to mitigate malicious activity.
    1. This well could be a long process, and until things get figured out to a reasonable level, it may well be an ongoing process.
  7. Hopefully concurrent…  Find ways to get income which makes doing all this work, and running this kind of server power a reasonable thing to do.

So there is a bit of a to do list which I think could well be a good long process.  Steps 1-4 of this should be completed by the end of this week.  We are working on doing those for this site (domain) first.


Minor changes to parent theme

The parent theme of this site (Datse Multimedia Base) has had some minor updates made to it.  I was just really wanting to do some work on the site, and that was somewhere that I felt that I was able to move forward with site development.

Changes to the footer

I noticed at one point that the footer for this theme (both the parent and the child) were set so that they displayed that they are “Thematic Theme Framework” and I wanted to change that.  There were basically two ways I could change it:

  1. Change the settings which are available through the Theme Options
  2. Change the way that the theme handled those settings which were currently set in the Theme Options

Looking at what was currently set in the Theme Options, I decided that even though it may be quite a bit more difficult to figure out how to fix those than it is to simply change them in the Theme Options I would actually look at seeing how to change the theme itself, so that the shortcode which was being used, actually was displaying the correct information.

Finding where things are set

I knew that this was being set somewhere in the theme itself.  I am not quite sure what the exact procedure I went through was but between looking at the Theme Options, and looking for the actual information that ended up being displayed I went through the following steps:

  • Look at how things are in the Theme Options
    • Find out that there is a shortcode being used
  • Look in the source code for the term Thematic and find where the shortcodes are being set
    • Find the code with grep
    • dig deeper into the theme hierarchy to find where the shortcodes are being set

I ended up finding that the code I wanted to work on was in the theme directory library/extensions/shortcodes.php.

Fixing the issues with how it was being done

I really had no idea how to do this.  I looked to see if there might be some way which works to get the theme information from WordPress itself.  That was if WordPress would give me an existing function which would allow that information to be gathered and then presented.

I found the function wp_get_theme() would return the theme information in an object that I could then get the each bit of information from.

This ended up being pretty simple in logic, but after having made a number of mistakes related to not paying attention closely enough to things.  I ended up creating 8 versions of the theme prior to the current theme release.

These were being released somewhat live.  Well, very live.  I was ending up with some of the variations creating bugs which made major changes to the way that things would get displayed, and even totally breaking the way that things got displayed.

* Display link to Thematic.
function thematic_shortcode_framework_link( $atts ) {

    $a = shortcode_atts ( array(
        'parent' => 'true'
    ), $atts);

    $my_theme = wp_get_theme();
    $theme_name = $my_theme->get("Name");
    $theme_uri = $my_theme->get("ThemeURI");
    $themelink = '<a class="theme-link" title="'.$theme_name.'" href="'.$theme_uri.'" rel="home">'.$theme_name.'</a> theme';
    if (isset($a['parent']) && $a['parent']=='true' && $theme_parent = $my_theme->parent()) {
        $parent_name = $theme_parent->get("Name");
        $parent_uri = $theme_parent->get("ThemeURI");
        $themelink .= ' a child theme of <a class="theme-link" title="'.$parent_name.'" href="'.$parent_uri.'" rel="home">'.$parent_name.'</a>';
    return apply_filters('thematic_theme_link',$themelink);
add_shortcode('theme-link', 'thematic_shortcode_framework_link');

This is what the current code for this one shortcode is looking like. Initially it was:

 * Display link to Thematic.
function thematic_shortcode_framework_link() {
    $themelink = '<a class="theme-link" title="Thematic Theme Framework" href="http://thematictheme.com" rel="home">Thematic Theme Framework</a>';
    return apply_filters('thematic_theme_link',$themelink);
add_shortcode('theme-link', 'thematic_shortcode_framework_link');

As you can see, while the code is much simpler and almost certainly executes way faster with the version which existed before, the new version actually gives a great deal of other functionality which the old version didn’t.

In fact, the old version, probably has issues with “performance” with it. This was a bit of static code which would be inserted with the simple shortcode theme-link. The problem with that, is if we are simply inserting static text, it probably should not be getting called by the shortcode interface, but rather it should be set as simple static text in some location.

There is a footer text setting which would be a great place for that static text to be placed in a nice fashion. Put it right in there. While my code takes longer to run, there is a reason it is a shortcode, rather than simply as static text. It is using functions which are provided by WordPress to get the Theme Name, and the Theme URI for the current theme.

This means that if anyone changes these values in the theme’s style.css, they automatically get changed with the calling of this shortcode.

Another feature that this gives you, is that a child theme can set the Theme Name and Theme URI in the child theme style.css and with that it automatically gets updated.

A feature that I wasn’t really thinking about too much when I wanted to update this, was that I am actually able to get both information about a child theme (if it is a child theme) and the parent theme.  When I found that out, I thought that with that possibility, I will work on making sure that I display both bits of information, especially since the parent theme can be as, if not more important than the child theme.

Of course when I thought of that, I started to think about how to make this little “link” better display, or more carefully displayed.  I have only done one of the few things which I want to do with this.  Currently I am only looking at turning on and off the display of the parent theme information.  I would like to have people who would want the parent, but not the child theme information displayed.  And I also want to have it set so that I can add, or remove the word theme in the display.

That is all down the road.

More Working on Stuff Here

I am working on a lot of things here.  Right now I am not really sure where things are going.

I have moved a couple of other sites to this server.  Both of them went fairly smoothly, but the first one for some reason took much longer to do the transfer on it.

With those sites moved, I am paying a little more attention to them.  They are working better than they were before (which was the reason I wanted to move them here).

Those two sites are my personal site Jigme Datse Yli-Rasku and the MindFreedom Nelson site.

I have also started the process (which will take longer) of looking at what is needed to be able to move a site from WordPress.com to here.  That site has been moved around a few times.  That site is TR By Hand.  The reason which that will be moved here is not so much that we are unhappy with what we have working with it on WordPress.com, but that because we looked at the options which were available for WordPress.com for setting up a site for eCommerce, didn’t really fit the needs of the client, we are looking at moving it here.

In looking at moving it here, I first setup this site.  It had been “dormant” for some time.  This is something which I intend to make sure will not happen again, as long as I am able to host this site here.

Another thing which I have decided is that Datse Multimedia Productions, really do not care if we are “making a profit” or even breaking even.  What we most care about, is providing a forum where I can work on stuff which is meaningful for me.

That doesn’t mean we want to work for free, or even simply at a loss.  But what we want to remember is that the reason we are doing this work is first to find something that means something to me.  And if it happens to be making money that is of enough to continue to support further development and all of that, then that is fantastic.  If it doesn’t then as long as what I am doing here is meaningful to me, that probably is more important than anything else about it.

There is another site which I have created, which I am working on actively as a new content management system.  I am starting things pretty much from scratch with it.  That isn’t so much that I don’t want to use other content management systems, or that I feel that there are problems with them.

I really do like what I am able to do with a WordPress site, and how easily it is to set it up.  I also like how user-friendly the WordPress interface is.  Sure it might not be as “user-friendly” as something like Facebook.  But Facebook is not a website development tool.  I do know some people seem to think that Facebook really is a website for their business.

It is way better to have a Facebook Page (or whatever they are calling it these days) than a website which is not getting updated.  And it does seem that one of the things with how the world works these days, having a “web page” is often not enough for someone.  You need to also have a social media presence.

I really do agree that social media is *very* important for making sure that you can be seen, and are where you are actually getting to your customers.  The thing that I think is more important.  Find a solution that works for you.  If you have not found a social media platform that works for you, but feel that you are able to do stuff with just a website (and keep it up to date and all that) or want to work with someone who can do that stuff for you.  Go for it.

If you want to work with someone who is going to do that stuff for you, you are either going to have to provide the content for that person, and let them figure out how they are going to work with that, or you are going to have to get someone who works closely on a day-to-day basis with your company, and let them generate the content that works.

Maybe you will want to have final sign off before someone posts something which will be representing your company, but if you are finding you are not letting your content manager have some degree of free rein, you are really not using their resources well.

I think that I will create “drafts” for a couple more posts that I will work on when I next check things out.  I really just wanted to get things posted here.

I’m not really sure that I have things setup here how I want them.  But I would say they mostly are.

Updates today

There are a number of things which I have done today:

  1. Looked at the issue with how the Shop Page from WooCommerce was displaying.
    1. I had seen that the code which seemed to be causing the problem for that page, was in my Child Theme, and was the code which was used to enable WooCommerce support.
    2. As a quick answer, I simply commented out that code.
    3. From what I could see, doing so was sufficient to fix the issue for now.
    4. Would like to see if I can get the WooCommerce pages to have a separate theming, that will be a future item.
  2. After getting an update about what the issue with SproutInvoices was, and that a fix would be on the way, as apparently the issue had something to do with WooCommerce using an “out of date” version of select2.  Will see if I can figure out what that might be related to, but re-installing SproutInvoices and seing how that all works.
    1. Have installed.  Testing now…
    2. Appears that this has been fixed…
  3. Looked at a whole bunch of information about themes.  But none of it has been put into place here yet.

There are a few things which I want to get done soon:

  1. Update official Datse Multimedia Theme (the child theme) to reflect the changes that I made manually to the site.
  2. Fix the comment section issue in Datse Multimedia Base
  3. Create pages:
    1. Themes
      1. Datse Multimedia Theme
      2. Datse Multimedia Base Theme
  4. Create products:
    1. Support Datse Multimedia Theme
    2. Support Datse Multimedia Base Theme
  5. Look to see if I can have Sprout Invoices present an estimate request
    1. It looks like this is not a feature of the free version.  I may have to find some way to handle this another way.