Blog housekeeping

Blogging about blogging is generally pretty dull, so I’ll try to be brief. There are two sort of new things about the blog that you may be interested in.

The first has to do with commenting. You’ll see at the bottom of every post a link entitled “Comment via Twitter.” If you’re a Twitter user and have recently logged in, clicking that link will take you to your Twitter home page and prepopulate the update field with “@drdrang” and a hashtag with the id number of the blog post. If you’re not a Twitter user, or if your comment is longer than 140 characters, email me at the GMail address in the sidebar.

When I moved the blog from MovableType to WordPress I had every intention of turning conventional comments on. But as the months went by, every time I thought about adding comments to my customized theme I would remember how much trouble I’d had with comment spam under MovableType and say “Maybe later.” Later got further and further away and eventually I dropped the idea.

It was Dan Sandler’s post on using Twitter for comments that got me thinking about comments again. Twitter is pretty hard—albeit not impossible—to spam, so I decided to give Twitter comments a try. The implementation is lifted more from Faruk Ateş’ implementation than from Sandler’s. The HTML/PHP for the comment link looks like this:

<a href="<?php the_ID(); ?>∀%20&in_reply_to=drdrang" title="Twitter @drdrang #<?php the_ID();?>">Comment via Twitter</a>

The the_ID() function is part of the WordPress API; as you might guess, it returns the ID number of the post. The hashtag will therefore identify the post being commented on. The ∀ at the end of the hashtag is the mathematical symbol meaning “for all,” which is reasonably close to the name of this blog and should distinguish its comments from other numeric hashtags.

[Aside: Although many WordPress sites (like this one) use more descriptive permalinks, a post can always be accessed by adding ?p=nnn to the end of the blog’s base URL. This post, for example, can be accessed via

in addition to its usual permalink.]

The second item on my agenda is also Twitter-related. Several months ago Patrick Mosby used Yahoo! Pipes to create an RSS feed for this blog that excludes the automatic posts with my tweets from the previous day. In his email telling me of the filtered feed, he described the tweet posts as “really annoying.” At the time, I took this to be a compliment that came out a little funny because English is not Patrick’s native tongue. But after looking at yesterday’s #beatlesfacts posts, I decided that maybe others might want to take advantage of his work.

Here’s the Yahoo! Pipes page for the filtered feed. Use it wisely.

Update 5/15/09
I added the ∀ symbol to the end of the hashtag today.