WPtouch for Wiki

I was able to have a new theme for the blog activate for people using mobile devices like iPhones or Android devices. It gives a simpler layout that is easier to read on a small screen. I thought it would be nice to find something like that for the Flashlight Wiki as well. Again, the built-in browser for my iPod tends to show a page as if the screen is normal size, shrinking everything down. Then you have to zoom in to read things and pan around to read lines of text. So a simple interface would be nice.

Wikipedia has a special version of its site available that starts http://en.m.wikipedia.org that is meant for mobile users. MediaWiki calls themes “skins” but Wikipedia’s mobile site is something more complicated. A lot of the features of Wikipedia are very complicated, starting with the front page and all of their infoboxes and automatic conversions from or to metric and english units. It looks great on Wikipedia, but it is hard to implement on a personal wiki. So I know it is possible to get good results on a shrunken screen because when I visit Wikipedia on the iPod, I see the mobile version.

But when I visit my site, I get this:

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301 Redirect

Now that the new blog is in place, it needs people to be able to find it. I looked in the logs and nobody is getting to it via search engines. Jeb was going to set up some redirects at some point to automatically forward people from the old pages to the new ones. Sometimes you will run across a web page that tells you the original page has moved and will transfer you to the new page in a couple of seconds. You can do this with meta tags or with some javascript. But the best way to do this is through a 301 redirect which users won’t even notice and Google and other search engines accept as an official move of your site. The “301” number means the page has moved permanently. If Google was sending people to your old page, when they see the 301 redirect they should keep sending them to the new site. With websites, it is all about keeping your page rank with Google. For instance, on the Flashlight Wiki this month, 3,553 visitors were referred by search engines. 3,296 of those were referred by Google (93%). Second place is Yahoo with 93 referrals (2.6%). Not that the blog is a money making site, but it’s nice to be noticed. Continue reading

Wiki Customizations v1.18.0

Recently I upgraded the MediaWiki software for the Flashlight Wiki I made in 2010. I had a list of customizations I made for version 1.16.0, but the upgrade is version 1.18.0. So based on the old customizations, here are the slightly different ones I needed for 1.18.0 and its new skin, Vector (old skin was Monobook). Rather than make a new list every time I upgrade the software, I am just updating this post, so really these customizations are for the current version which is v1.20.4.

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Did You Mean

Today I was on Wikipedia and wanted to look up some information on a movie I watched last night called Crazy Heart. But when I was typing “Crazy Heart” in the search box, my hands were moved over to the right by one key of the keyboard. So instead it came out: vtsxu jrsty. Wikipedia asked me “Did you mean vsxu jesty?” There was a link for this and I was thinking that Wikipedia now has so many articles that you can type in jibberish and there will be an article about it on Wikipedia. But I clicked the link and, sadly, it said no article existed. I’m really not sure how they thought it would be helpful to suggest a slightly different piece of jibberish that also did not give any search results.


Jeb has moved the family blogs from Movable Type to WordPress. He did a great job of moving over my hundreds of blog posts which includes tons of pictures that also needed to come over. I hate to think what all it took to bring everything over. I found a couple of problems where pictures didn’t show up, but for the most part everything looks intact.

The appearance of the blog is pretty similar except that the picture at the top of the screen is huge, wider and much taller than the pictures I had on the old blog. I was able to fix that eventually (towards the end of this entry).
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Wiki Image Maps

Image maps are pretty cool. You can turn any image into a link on a web page, but an image map allows you to have different links depending on what part of the picture someone clicks on. On the covered bridge web page, I had an image map of the United States with links to each state that had a covered bridge web page. I found the picture and code on another site and then modified it for my use. That way I didn’t have to program in the shape of each state since they were there already.

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Domain Expiration

This week I got an email notice that the domain flashlightwiki.com (I originally misspelled it in case this post affected the renewal process) would be expiring soon. The sender noticed that I had a similar domain, flashlight-wiki.com, and thought I would be interested in entering an auction for the hyphenless domain name. It was written as if it came from a person, but it had to be automated. My wiki has done pretty well since I started it almost a year ago, just a couple of months after the flashlightwiki.com domain had been registered by someone else but never used (honestly, how many people are interested in a flashlight wiki?). I put some minimal ads on my wiki, but despite 12,000 page views a month, I get maybe $1 a month from the ads.

Right now I pay about $8 per year to register the domain name. Other than that cost, WikiMedia’s software is free and I am hosting the domain on my igirder account that I was already paying for. I don’t really want to pay much more and I am wary of changing the domain after the debacle of changing my ipod battery site from its original home on speedfactory’s personal web pages to my own igirder domain and losing my page rank and essentially all the money I had been making at Amazon and AdSense. However, it might be worth an extra $8 a year to keep this new domain registered and make the switch someday.

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Wiki Upgrade

After getting the Flashlight Wiki secured, I wanted to upgrade the MediaWiki software to the latest version. I am running v1.16 from when I installed it last year, but since then they have come out with v.1.17. I’m not sure that 1.17 offers a whole lot, but I thought I would try the upgrade. I have been doing backups of the wiki almost weekly. I export the MySQL database that the wiki is based on, compressing it to a zip file first. This is about 1.5MB. Periodically I will also create a zip archive of the entire wiki folder and all the files it contains. This archive is about 20MB. It has all the images, all the installation files, the settings, and pretty much everything that makes it work except the content which is all in the database. Actually it has the content as well since the pages are actually generated and cached in folders.

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