Thank You Qwest dot Org

Every other telecom sold out the privacy of its customers – literally so, taking money to turn over their phone records to the National Security Agency – but Qwest alone insisted on having a court order before complying with Bush’s unprecedented and “indefensible” (as Newt Gingrich put it) invasion of Americans’ personal lives and business affairs. ⇒ [via]

Holy Insufficient Postage, Batman!

In a stunning reminder of my own ineptness, I returned home today from an afternoon of museum-visiting and hair-cutting to find a veritable bomb in my mailbox: My application for a job with the Montana Office of the Public Defender was returned to me for insufficient postage—a day after it was “due.”

Let me put that another way: After finishing my last final just over a week ago, I had basically one big thing I had to accomplish last week and I failed to accomplish it. Pretty good start to my “professional” career, wouldn’t you say?

But ok, if we go a little lighter on the melodrama, it’s not that big a deal. As I explain here, the deadline wasn’t hard and fast so my application will definitely still be considered. It’s disappointing and doesn’t make exactly the first impression I was hoping to make, but I don’t think it will have serious impact in the long run. It’s not good, but not awful, either.

Still, I can’t get over the fact that mailing something like six sheets of regular copier paper requires more than two first-class stamps. Lesson for the future: When it’s really important, go to the post office and get it metered. Better yet, send it certified! Sure you pay more, but at least your mail will arrive at its destination and the recipient will know you mean business! [tags]montana, public defender, job search, mail, postage, deadlines[/tags]

We be buyers!

A bright shot of the comfy living room of our new home.The second house we bid on did not get away! As you can see from the picture at right (a view of the living room w/the seller’s furniture), it’s not as grand as the fixer-upper we decided not to bid on, but it’s in tip-top shape, has a huge fenced yard for our dog, includes a garage and a dishwasher, and has more room than we’ve ever lived in, so it has everything we were hoping for. We’ll have an inspection next week and have to get insurance and finalize the financing, but I’m pretty confident we’ll be moving in by mid-June.

It feels a little crazy to be buying a house we’ve never seen, but Mother Imbroglio looked and liked, so that’s reassuring. It’s probably even crazier to be buying a house before I even have a job, but there you go. Besides, L. has a job, so I’m sure we’ll be ok. She said she wanted me to sponge off of her for as long as I wanted. Really. She’s just that sweet. [tags]homebuying, montana, real estate, realtors, L.[/tags]

Testing Feedburner

I’m not very patient. I just did the whole Feedburner thing. This is a test for the new feed…

UPDATE: I can now successfully subscribe to both the main feed and the comments feed in both Bloglines and Yahoo. I hope you can, too! (Please let me know if you can’t so I can continue working on it.) For some reason Google still can’t find the feed.

The (apparently partial) solution for now was to create a Feedburner version of the feeds and just use htaccess to redirect from the WordPress base feeds to the feedburner versions. I still don’t understand at all why this should be necessary, but I have a sneaking suspicion it’s got something to do with one of the gazillion plugins I’ve installed in the last week while playing around. I’ve learned that a small number of other people have had similar problems but no one has found a Feedburner-less solution that would work for me, so Feedburner it is. Subscribe away!

I’m not sure things are as fixed as I thought. Although I doubt you, dear reader, are interested in this, I’m just going to document what I’ve done here so I can follow it later if necessary. It seems my htaccess magic created a recursive loop—you “burn” Feed A, then redirect Feed A. So back to the drawing board. The WP instructions for using Feedburner suggested I solve this problem by creating a new RSS feed template and sending that to Feedburner. Instead, I just tried “burning” one of the specific feed URLs (/wp-rss2.php) to see if that would solve the problem. For comments I tried /wp-rsscomments2.php. We’ll see if that works.

At some point I also tried revising the wp-feeds.php file, as instructed here. That’s supposed to redirect people from your default WP feeds to your feedburner feed, but it only seemed to create an empty feed w/no content.

Here’s hoping my slightly revised htaccess solution works.
[tags]feedburner, rss, syndication, bloglines[/tags]

Mysteriously missing WordPress RSS feeds: Help?

So much for the grand plan to create a snazzy new blog that is user-friendly and high-tech. Immediately upon welcoming visitors to the site, Jeremy notified me that my RSS feeds weren’t showing up in Bloglines. Ironically, I’ll bet he learned of the problem so quickly via the RSS feed of ambivalent imbroglio, which seemed to work just fine. Grrr.

After looking into the problem for a bit now, I have to admit I’m flummoxed. NewsFire, my RSS reader of choice, was able to find the feeds just fine. Firefox can also discover the feeds and turn them into “live bookmarks” w/out a problem. But no matter what I try, Bloglines insists there are no feeds at Yahoo and Google Reader say the same thing. Can anyone out there offer any advice for making WordPress feeds work in Bloglines, Yahoo, and other online feed readers?

So far I’ve found the Feeds docs on the WordPress Codex and everything appears as it should be there. I’m using custom permalinks so the feed protocol is:

That’s what works in NewsFire and Firefox. The Customizing Feeds doc explains how to modify the feeds, so I’m wondering if a small change there—possibly in the header—would make the feed more recognizable to more readers. Any ideas?

As you can see if you scroll down to the bottom of the sidebar, I installed the Subscribe Me plugin (see all those “subscribe” butttons?) in the hope that it would solve the problem. Sadly it only makes it easier to see that the feed isn’t working on the major online aggregators.

The Feed Validator can see my feed, although it does find a few errors (all generated by plugins, I think). Could any of those errors be the problem?

At least one other person has had the same problem, but her solution doesn’t seem to work here. I tried all variants in Bloglines; no go.

I have a feeling that if I just signed up w/Feedburner and let it handle my feeds the problem would be solved. Like NewsFire and Firefox, Feedburner can also find the feeds w/no problem. I’m not really wild about that idea, but maybe it’s worth a try…
[tags]aggregators, rss, syndication, wordpress, feedburner, bloglines[/tags]

Will another get away?

The living room of a big fixer-upper we did *not* bid on.So that house I mentioned the other day? It got away. The seller refused to drop below $100k so we let it pass. Good thing, too, because yesterday two more good options popped up on the market. The living room for one of them is pictured at right. Check out the huge size and that beautiful wood trim! And a fireplace! The house has over 2500 square feet! And a fenced yard for our dog and a 3-car garage! And it’s mere blocks from L’s job!

Now I know what you’re thinking: We could never afford a great place like that. But we’re talking Montana, here, where all that and more can be yours for little more than $100k! Now do you understand why we’re moving to Montana?

But, ok. Let me be honest. All of the above is true, but also true is that this house is a major “fixer-upper” that probably needs most of a new kitchen, a major rebuilding of the staircase leading to the second floor, and various other things too numerous to mention. And we don’t even know the condition of the plumbing, electrical system, furnace, roof, or foundation—you know, the important stuff. So that explains why it’s so cheap. But still, it’s pretty tempting. Just look at that living room! The dining room and one bedroom are in about that condition, too. The rest of the house? Another story altogether.

So we didn’t bid on that house. Instead, we bid on another which is almost in the same block. It’s much smaller but it has everything we’re looking for in terms of location, yard, dishwasher (very important!), garage, price, condition, etc. We’re currently waiting to hear if the buyer is going to respond to our offer. But while we were on the edge of our seats all of last weekend because of the anxiety of our first bid, now that we’ve been through it once we’re trying harder to stay relaxed. House hunting is just like going to the mall, only bigger, right?

As for the issue w/the statutory broker v. the buyer’s agent, we solved by simply asking our realtor about it. She explained that she can act in either capacity but had chosen to act as a statutory broker on the first deal b/c we were dealing at a distance and she thought we might prefer that b/c it meant we would not be obligated to use her as our agent if that particular deal fell through. However, for better or worse, we decided to contract w/her as a buyer’s agent (aka, a buyer’s broker) in order to make sure we’ll benefit from the additional obligations such a contract implies.

See all this stuff they don’t teach you in law school?
[tags]homebuying, real estate, montana, realtors[/tags]