Delicious Bundles Bar – a Chrome Extension

Back when Firefox was my primary browser (before switching to Safari and Chrome), I loved the Tag Bundles View of the the Firefox Delicious extension.

Well, I’ve finally published a Chrome Extension that I have been playing with, which reproduces some of that functionality. The Delicious Bundles Bar extension for Chrome will synchronize your del.icio.us bundles as folders in the Chrome Bookmarks Bar.

The Delicious Bundles Bar is based on the version of the Delibookmarks Chrome Extension (a.k.a. Chromicious), which synchronizes your Delicious bookmarks with Google Chrome and keeps them in sync for easy access.

You can get the Delicious Bundles Bar extension for free in the Chrome Web Store or find the source on GitHub.

Update: I believe this is now fixed for Windows users!

Enable WordPress Automatic Update

Are you seeing that nasty FTP page when trying to do an Automatic Update from within WordPress? I create new blogs frequently enough that this is a constant pain, but rare enough that I never remember how to do it.

Updating WordPress tells you how to identify the correct user:

If you do not know which user runs the httpd the output of ps auxw | grep -E 'http|apache|www'

And thanks to Greg in the comments over at Linode’s Manage Web Content with WordPress page for the succinct description:

To make wordpress updates and plugin installs function properly, you need to set the entire public directory structure to www-data ownership, like so:

chown -R www-data:www-data ..../yoursite.com/wordpress

Hosting wordpress in a subdirectory of an existing Rails application

I have an existing rails application at mydomain.com and wanted to include a wordpress blog at mydomain.com/blog. I’m using Apache and Passenger.

My <VirutalHost> configuration has the DocumentRoot at /srv/www/mydomain.com/public (which is itself a symbolic link to /srv/www/mydomain.com/railsapp/public). For ease of maintenance, and to avoid any conflicts between rails and wordpress, I placed wordpress outside of the rails app at /srv/www/mydomain.com/wordpress.

However, I needed to tell Apache to redirect access to the wordpress resources which are not located in the DocumentRoot. The solution? Create an Apache Alias. There’s an excellent descrpition in the Linode Library about Managing Resources with Apache mod_alias.

This got me through the wordpress install with the wp-admin/install.php. Unfortunately, I still couldn’t access my blog. The default rails error page still kept rearing its ugly head. Turns out that’s due to Passenger, which kept directing my non-file-specific traffic to my rails application (e.g., when trying to access mydomain.com/blog or mydomain.com/blog/wp-admin without a specific php file in the URL).

I found the fix for this at WordPress Answers. My final working configuration is below, with the additional fix in bold:

<VirtualHost x.x.x.x:80>
    ...
    DocumentRoot /srv/www/mydomain.com/public
    Options FollowSymLinks

    # an Alias for the wordpress blog
    Alias /blog /srv/www/mydomain.com/wordpress
    <Directory /srv/www/mydomain.com/wordpress>
        PassengerEnabled off
        # make the WordPress .htaccess file work
        AllowOverride all
        Order allow,deny
        Allow from all
    </Directory>

    ...
</VirtualHost>

Making Time for Pet Projects

Lately I’ve been having a terrible time keeping any type of motivation or focus to work on my pet projects. It’s not a matter of being unable to come up with ideas (at least, not currently), but rather two problems:

  1. Finding the time
  2. Finishing

Ferdy Chistant tackles how to manage pet projects, which seems to really be about how to choose a good pet project in the first place. Essentially, pick something challenging and worth learning that doesn’t already have a solution.

While this isn’t exactly my problem area, it did lead me to another post that includes a section on Time management (scroll down…further). Unsurprisingly, it boils down to “make time,” but there is plenty of other good info in there, too.

The real answer for me came in yet another post by Ferdy titled Use mini tasks to keep your pet project moving. It might seem completely obvious, but reading it from someone else helps validate the idea. While time management is huge, you’ve got to be realistic in breaking off tasks that are both large and small.

Mini tasks that you can complete (one or more of) in an hour are essential. I find that I typically spend a lot of time digging through my TODO list getting reacquainted with the tasks/problems, then spend more time just getting “in the zone” before anything getting anywhere near productivity. I plan to separate my list into big tasks, mini tasks, and categorize as either research tasks, coding tasks, or bugs. Task management software isn’t necessary–an Excel or Google spreadsheet should do the trick.

One thing I would add to Ferdy’s notes is to have a solid description of the bug. Just like at work, the description of a bug or task needs to make as much sense two days later as it does two weeks or months later.

Having this list will (hopefully) also help me prioritize tasks to avoid losing time with “feature creep” that nobody else is there to keep in check. Now, back to the first problem: how to make the time for it?