Tag Archives: this site

Hard Out Here for a Blogger


This site can be a challenge to maintain.

WordPress, the software that powers this blog, is a web application written in PHP with a MySQL backend. The nice thing about it is that it’s free and enjoys popular development of a lot of themes and widgets. The bad thing about it is that it’s free and enjoys a lot of theme and widget development. Wait, what?

Yes, you read that right: the good is the same as the bad.

Here is what usually happens: You upgrade the site to the latest version of WordPress and then realize that half your widgets don’t work and now your theme looks funky. With a local installation of WordPress, you could try stuff out before you commit to the live site. The drawback for me is that I know very little about programming in general, much less PHP programming. Worse, I’m a Windows dweeb, so Apache and MySQL are scary to me.

Enter XAMPP.

XAMPP is free software that installs Apache and MySQL so you have the infrastructure to setup a local copy of WordPress, even if you use Vista or XP. Download the Windows version of XAMPP. The installer worked fine for me; the zip file has batch files to get you running. Once you get it installed, use a broswer to go to http://localhost.

The web client for MySQL is phpMyAdmin. God only knows why it’s called phpMyAdmin. Use this tool to create a new database with utf8_unicode_ci collation.

Download the latest WordPress files and add them to the xampp\htdocs folder, wherever you installed xampp. In the WordPress files, use a text editor, like notepad.exe, to edit the wp-config-sample.php file.

Fill in the variables for DB_NAME, DB_USER, and DB_PASSWORD.

  • DB_NAME is whatever you named the database in phpMyAdmin.
  • DB_USER use root.
  • DB_PASSWORD leave blank.

Save the file as wp-config.php.

In your browser, go to http://localhost/wordpress/wp-admin/install.php and follow the instructions.

You now have a locally copy of WordPress. Feel free to mess it up. If it all comes tumbling down (as we all know it must), you can just delete the WordPress files and start over again.

Next up we’ll figure out how to get the data from the live site onto the mirror site.

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We Have a Winner

Huge kudos to my good friend Sarah Morgan for coming up with an excellent tag line for this site, Past imperfect.

I love it. It’s a wonderful play on the verb tense theme in the title and an unabashed nod to past indiscretions. That’s exactly what I was looking for, but everything I came up with sounded like a requiem for a misspent youth. My life is much too good for anything that mournful, but this tag line is smart and funny. Sassy.

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Sarah Morgan has won my undying devotion!

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Tagline Writing Contest

My blog is having an identity crisis.

I was never happy with calling this site, Tim Elhajj. Although pragmatic, it seemed somewhat clumsy and unimaginative. I tried to spice it up with a silly tagline — “white boy with a funny last name” or “another happy parent blogging about his kids” — but ultimately these didn’t satisfy either.

My wife suggested the title, Present Tense, and I love it. Holly is great with titles. My big project for the past two years has been writing my memoir (which is in present tense), but the name goes further than that, capturing the satisfaction I feel writing about the kids, my favorite movies, or even technology and my own unfortunate decisions. So here’s to Holly Huckeba!

But now I need a tagline and I could use some help.

If you can think of a good tagline that goes with the title, First Person, Present Tense, pop it into a comment or send it to me. I’m all ears. I am game for almost anything, but the funny ones will get the most attention.

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