Tag Archives: blogspirit

WordPress’s import functionality is horrid

While I’m pretty sure that WordPress is a nifty place to start-off a blog, and considering all of our awful experiences with blogspirit certainly better than that, there is so much wrong with the way it imports content from existing blogs.  If the guys who make wordpress are as clever as they seem, it is unethical to release software with “features” that fail so often and so silently.  It would be better if the manual just said “Content can be imported directly into the database by advanced users using SQL,” rather than pretend there is a functioning point-and-click interface.  Current status:

  •  I wasted 6 hours today attempting to make the categories/tag thing work right. The transition is smoother for users who enter the blog (less supposedly valid URLs give  404s), but
  • I had to disable both the category list and tag cloud because they both generate links that 404.
  • Further, I discovered that many of the comments were imported correctly — to the wrong post!

At present, the transition to WordPress is exactly the nightmare I expected it to be.  I do not have time to waste babysitting PHP that, because it runs without generating errors, some halfwit associated with the WordPress project figures is error-free.

Now, the reason for my jump to WordPress remains; Blogspirit has been eating obviously valid comments for a year, and denying that fact.  WordPress is “free software,” so it’s reasonable to expect Microsoft-level lack-of-concern-for-users from them.  Additionally, because WordPress (unlike blogspirit) exposes its implmentation to administrators, I at least have a chance of figuring out what’s going on.  Blogspirit, meanwhile, charged for subpar service, denied problems existed, and prevented access to any method that would allow bloggers to fix those programs.

At least from the perspective of someone moving over to WordPress, it is not a good service.  WordPress has given me one of the worst user experiences imaginable.

Then again, so did blogspirit.

Leaving Blogspirit

It has now been about 48 hours since blogspirit stopped along comments that require user authentication through, and about six days since I last heard from customer support on any of my six outstanding tickets.

This is unacceptable.

I am currently in the process of migrating off of blogspirit. Blogspirit makes this as difficult as possible, but I believe I have managed to back up the current site, and I am currently writing the scripts that will be necessary to import all the posts, comments, and everything else from this site to a new home for tdaxp.com.

I ask for your patience in this transition.

Blogspirit is laughably incompetent

Not only does blogspirit eat comments, the laughably terrible blog service provider now won’t even let me access my own blog! I can log in, receive email, edit the administration panel, etc, but going to tdaxp.com or www.tdaxp.com must times out.

This is from my home. I can access it from my office just fine.

Whenever blogspirit acts up in this sort of way, I think how many other people it’s also effecting. It must be quite a number.

Blogspirit’s service is slow and often hostile. Their “premium” support is a joke: you find yourself running in circles again and again. With the eaten comments, for instance, blogspirit first claimed that it didn’t happen, then acknowledges that it happens, then asks for evidence that it happens: and then repeats. This has been going on for more than a year.

I started this site on blogspirit because at the time blogspirit had the easier administration I can’t imagine that this is the case anymore. Simple things require complicated hand-coding of HTML plus blogspirit’s unique “smarty” template technology. Other things are just impossible.

And then there’s all the things that don’t work.

Stay away from blogspirit!

Major Apologies to S.M. Stirling!

S.M. Stirling isn’t just the international best-selling author who has made a permanent mark on science-fiction and fantasy literature. He isn’t only a major influence on how I think about history, as a result of his Draka trilogy.

He also joins the ranks of those unlucky enough to have their comments eaten by blogspirit’s awful spam filtering system.

Fortunately, Mr. Stirling sent in his comment through email, so I could manually publish it. However, whenever people complain to me about blogspirit’s brain-dead anti-community “spam” filtering, I think of the dozens or hundreds who give up, and whose voices are never heard.

An excerpt:

First, it provided a self-regulating population-control mechanism because marriage (and birth) rates tracked the economy, with a lag. When times were hard by customary standards, people married later and more never married; for example, the population of England stopped growing in the 1640’s and didn’t start up again until the 1720’s, for exactly that reason — as many as a quarter of the women in late Stuart England never had children, and the average age of marriage was as high as 26….

Hence the Industrial Revolution in England didn’t have to pry people out of time-encrusted customary communities of peasants ‘rooted in the soil’, because if any such had ever existed they’d been dissolved a long, long time before.

Read the rest!

Trackback Spam

Probably a hundred false “track backs” — a type of spam that hurts blogs — have been getting through my blog service provider’s (blogspirit’s) filters a day. This has been going on for a week.

What’s most annoying is blogspirit’s terrible (read: nonexistent) communication with its clients. What’s going on? Technical incompetence? An attempt at installing a new system? A shakedown by the internet mafia? What?

Blogspirit: Bad service, worse communication.

Wired Minds is very slow

After being unable to access my blog for a few days, I checked it again today… and noticed that the page was taking a long time to load. This was strange, as I could go into HTML source view and see that everything appeared to be there. I quickly discovered the answer: wiredminds.com. The bottom of all blogs on the blogspirit network, including mine, now include code of the following sort:

<!– WiredMinds Web eMetrics V2.14 START –> <script type=”text/javascript”> <!– var pgname=”www.tdaxp.com”; var grname=”blogspirit_BLOGS”; var version=”2.14″; var resolution=””; var color_depth=””; var plugin_list=””; var jv=0; var ref=document.referrer; if(typeof(top.document)==”object”) ref=top.document.referrer; resolution=screen.width+”x”+screen.height; color_depth=navigator.appName!=’Netscape’? screen.colorDepth : screen.pixelDepth; for (var i=0; i<navigator.plugins.length; i++) { plugin_list += navigator.plugins[i].name + ‘;’; } if (navigator.javaEnabled()) { jv=1; } document.write(‘<div><a target=”_blank” href=”http://www.wiredminds.com”><img src=”http://demo.wiredminds.com/click_track/ctin.php?custnum=15&sname=www.tdaxp.com&pagename=’+escape(pgname)+’&group=’+escape(grname)+’&version=’+version+’&js=1&jv=’+jv+’&resolution=’+resolution+’&color_depth=’+ color_depth+’&plugins=’+escape(plugin_list)+’&referrer=’+escape(ref)+'” alt=”WiredMinds eMetrics tracking with Click Track” border=”0″></a></div>’); //–> </script> <noscript> <div><a target=”_blank” HREF=”http://www.wiredminds.com”><img src=”http://demo.wiredminds.com/click_track/ctin.php?custnum=15&sname=www.tdaxp.com&pagename=www.tdaxp.com&group=blogspirit_BLOGS&version=2.14″ alt=”WiredMinds eMetrics tracking with Click Track” border=”0″></a></div> </noscript> <!– WiredMinds Web eMetrics V2.14 END –>

Because the browser waits for this user-tracking javascript program to load before displaying the page, blogspirit‘s foolish use of wiredminds hurts bloggers and users. Wired Minds: a bad move.

An update is available below the fold

All emails used with permission: Reply from Phillippe PINAULT

As you can imagine, our customers are the most important consideration in our business and we take their concerns and issues very seriously. Therefore having read your recent blog we took the opportunity to investigate the impact of our solution specifically upon the performance of your website. Firstly, we’d like to mention that we have never experienced to this day any negative impacts or performance issues resulting from WiredMinds’ tracking code on the Websites our customers, either in tests or in our customers’ live production sites. Nevertheless we’re open to the possibility that there are situations we haven’t yet tested where the tracking code might produce conflicts. For this reason it is really important to us that we treat this issue as a very high priority and that we try to establish out the reasons behind the slow-down on your blog. Firstly we tested your blog in Mozilla and IE (6 and 7), and Opera without experiencing any speed problems or delays. 1. The first thing we checked was the position of the tracking code in the HTML source. The tracking code is located at the end of the document, right before the closing tag. This follows the WiredMinds technical guidelines of installing the code to the letter and is exactly the same as for our other customers. Why is this important? Because every browser loads the content of the Web page in a top-to-bottom sequential order, with the last thing displayed being the tracking code, since this is placed at the end of the document. Therefore, even if the tracking server is not available for any reason the content of the Web page is displayed without hindrance (in all known browsers). We would like to add, however, that our tracking servers are extremely high-performance machines, and that we guarantee an availability in excess of 99.95%. Just to make sure this wasn’t slowing things up we simulated a server response time delay (just for our IP Adresses) and then tried to access an example Weblog with the following browsers: IE6, IE7, Moz, Opera 9.10. The result of the simulation? All browsers loaded the Webpage without any delay, despite the fact that the tracking server didn’t send its reply for a further 15 seconds (this is the aforementioned simulated delay). This confirmed that the availability of the tracking server cannot influence the loading of the website, particulalry in the specific case of BlogSpirit Weblogs. 2. Secondly, we checked the JavaScript in the tracking code for errors. There was no error found in the JavaScript part of the document. Even if there were a JavaScript error, the content of the Web page would still be displayed by all browsers. The tracking code with the javascript is located at the end of the document, so again, the execution of this code is triggered after the page is displayed. A scenario where the browser waits for the javascript execution to complete before displaying the page is not known to us, if it does exist. 3. Other tracking code on your Webpage Having analysed your Blog page more carefully, we’ve discovered that there are a few additional tracking codes installed on the Webpage: Here are the ones I’ve found: a)Site Meter This code is located right at the beginning of the document body, so the browser first executes this code before displaying the rest of the content. This could lead to a delay in displaying the Website and therefore is more a likely cause of the problem then the WiredMinds tracking code. Here is the code (line 18):

Site Meter

b) Google Analytics This tracking code from Google is located at line 114, right before the WiredMinds tracking code It is possible we’ve missed some but we’ve found a total of 3 tracking codes on one single webpage. Now the question is, which one is more likely to cause a performance problem to the Webpage? We considered the following facts in our investigation: 1. The WiredMinds tracking code is executed last of all (after all the content has been displayed and all other scripts are executed) 2. The WiredMinds javascript is located within the content of the page, rather than the other 3 tracking codes which first must be downloaded from 3 different servers (causing a lot more traffic and delay) on every load of the Webpage. That means: – first, each javascript include (Site Meter, Google) download the tracking codes from a corresponding server (3 requests per page view in this case) – second, each of those tracking codes have to send the tracking information to it’s corresponding server (another 3 requests here) 3. In the case of WiredMinds, the tracking code is embedded directly in the html code of the Website, as you can see, so only one request is made to the server: sending the tracking information. This reduces traffic and speeds up the tracking procedure. As far as we know the WiredMinds tracking code cannot influence, under any circumstances (even if it contained scripting errors, or if the server were unavailable), the loading or displaying of a Website page in any modern browser. Nevertheless, we are most interested in assisting you in resolving this problem and in establishing the root cause of this problem. Therefore, we would like to ask you to provide us with further details about the problems you experienced (browser version, operating system, date and time of the incident, javascript version, etc.) and we shall endeavour to rectify any problems that may have resulted from the inclusion of WiredMinds in your blog.

My response:

Thank you for your concern. The slowness no longer occurs. The slowness was not the result of the HTML itself downloading slowly. A “view source” would show the entire page, down to the tag. However, Firefox’s status bar read “Waiting for WiredMinds,” or else a similar message. The google analytics tracking code also appears to come from blogspirit, as I do not have it in any of my templates but other blogspirit pages observe it. I have removed the sitemeter tracking code for its own slowness. Thank you again for your response,