Upgrading to WordPress 2.6

WordPress caught me on the hope a little bit by releasing a new version of their WordPress blogging software, and I decided to upgrade tonight. I had a couple of issues with the upgrade this time that are worth pointing out. Firstly, if you can’t login in again after the upgrade, clear your cache and your cookies, then try again. Don’t do what I did and spend ages trying to change the password in a variety of ways.

Also, if like me you use the K2 theme, you may then find your sidebars have reverted to the WordPress default. If you go into the K2 options, don’t change anything, then click save, this restored them to how they were before for me.

WordPress 2.3 is out now – get it whilst it’s hot (maybe)

Time for a new release of WordPress. WordPress 2.3 brings a long awaited feature, actual tags instead of categories. Word so far is that they are quite basic, and that the underlying tables for WordPress are quite different to cater for them, so it is quite possible that it could break plugins you have in existing installations. This is the good thing about hosting WordPress on your own webspace though, you can test it out properly. I have a few blogs, including a test blog. On the test blog, I can run upgrades like this, having turned all the plugins off, then turn them back on one by one to see that they works. Saves a lot of time debugging. Since WordPress can be such an easy install, it’s really worth having such a testbed.

For more information about WordPress 2.3, I’d really reccommend listening to Lorelle Vanfossen on the latest episode (#29) of the WordPress Podcast. They really get into a good level of detail about what you can expect, and what issues you need to be aware of. I’ve installed a few .1 advances of WordPress before with various levels of success (usually good to be fair), but having listened to this in detail, I’m feeling more cautious, and will test properly first this time. I’m probably a couple of weeks away from having chance to do this, but when I do, I’ll review the process and show my workings.

New look for the site using the K2 theme – Stage 1

And there we go, a new look! I’ve been meaning to get into the nuts and bolts of the site a bit more, and have used the K2 theme for WordPress to give me a building block to work from. One of the nice features of K2 is that you can write your own styles for it, so you can keep the basics built by them, and then start to mould it how you like. What’s more, you can revert back to their style if you don’t like it.

What I’ve been using to assist me today is a fantastic article on Customising K2 by Paul Stamatiou (which was mentioned recently by the ever-inspiring Lorelle). I’ve had problems working with K2 in the past, but this really helped me get what I wanted working. I’ve now got a nice little set of images that rotate as the header, and a bit more idea of how it all fits together. There are 5 articles in Paul’s series on K2, so I will certainly be reading the rest of them.

My aim now for Stage 2 is to develop my own style a little more, make this blog look a bit more unique than just a different header. I haven’t got it quite clear in my mind yet, but I now think I’ve got the building blocks in place to work with what I’ve set up today.

Is comment spam on the rise?

On one of my blogs I’ve had a massive rise in comment spam that has got around my Akismet plugin in WordPress. They aren’t published, as I manually moderate all comments, but it is still a pain. Now my other blogs (on a different host) are fine, so it could be they’re stopping the spammers before they get to my blog. The other possibility is that this problem site has webstats installed in the same directory, and I was reading recently that this is a big lure for spammers (the hits get listed in publicly available webstats without being approved in the blog itself, and it helps their sites visibility).

So I have a couple of solutions available to me. I’m going to do this over a few days out of interest, so the first thing I’m going to do is remove the webstats package (I use analytics now anyway). Leave it a couple of days, see if it dies down. If it doesn’t, there are a couple of WordPress plugins that bounce spam traffic, so I’ll try one of those.

Has anyone else noticed this rise in comment spam?