Jennifer and I went on our anniversary trip to Six Flags yesterday. We had a great deal of fun, though we hurt like hell now. I would estimate we walked about twelve miles yesterday, and those coasters hurt a lot more than they used to when we were younger. It was worth it, though, just to spend a day with my wife.

Today we are moving. It is going to suck since we have a lot of stuff that is heavy and our muscles are sore, but we gotta do what we gotta do.

TextPattern vs. WordPress


Note: I am no longer using either platform and would recommend Jekyll.

I have been using WordPress for two weeks now, which (I feel) is long enough to make a basic comparison with my old software (TextPattern) for anyone who is trying to find a good platform to blog from.


The first difference you notice is the style of the admin interface. TextPattern (TxP) seems sparse, simple, yet a little cobbled together. It loads quickly, though. TxP feels like it expects you to know more about web programming before you can use it, but both should be fairly simple for a new user.

Writing and editing

While I realize that interface aesthetics are a matter of personal opinion, most writers seem to be of two camps, content folks and design folks. People who focus on content, and don’t want anything getting in the way of their writing, will appreciate Textile. This is available as a WordPress plug-in, but is built in to TextPattern. Textile is small, unobtrusive, and makes writing easy. People who are more focused on how their words look will defiantly prefer the rich text editor built in to WP. It slows stuff down on my archaic (1999) iMac, but makes text formatting a point-and-click affair, and should be speedy enough on a newer computer to not matter. Which one would you be more comfortable in? If you prefer writing in a word processor (MS Word,, etc) you would probably prefer WP, but anyone who does their writing in a text editor (VIM, emacs, Notepad, etc) would be happier with TxP.


This is the main thing that has held me to TxP for so long. WP’s template system is PHP based, with a large assortment of functions that output content. TxP uses a XML syntax, embedded in an (imaginary) txp: namespace. I am fairly comfortable with PHP, but the XML format of TxP just makes much more sense when editing a (X)HTML template. TxP is much better, and even allows a tag for basic PHP. However, if you plan on doing heavy-duty PHP inclusion in your templates, stick with WP.

Static pages

WP makes creating static pages a breeze, but in TxP you have to jump through your own eardrum to do so. WP wins this hands down.

File format

TxP doesn’t clutter your server up. A default install places two files (.htaccess, index.php) and three folders (textpattern, images, files) in your home directory, and stores nearly everything in the database. In theory a set up like this should be the Wrong Thing, but TxP is remarkably fast, and this makes a backup as simple as a mysqldump command. The biggest problem with this approach is editing template and plug-in files must be done either with a browser interface, or through copy and paste. (I cheat — I load the page into lynx in a terminal window, then press ^E-^E to open the file in my $EDITOR.) WordPress litters nearly thirty items in the base directory, and has its plug-ins and themes within the wp-content directory. This makes editing easier, but means an extra step to backups.


Despite the fact that everything is stored in the database in TxP, my (very unscientific) testing (meaning, which feels slower) seems to show that TxP is faster at almost everything.


There is more stuff available for WP (due to its larger install base) but TxP seems to have better quality (and better organized) information.

WP is also updated much more often — TxP got its first update in nearly a year just last week.


TxP has a few extra features that have no comparison in WP. TxP offers file upload and download (and keeps track of download stats) so if you have lots of files to share, this is nice. It requires browser upload, though, so FTP junkies won’t really use this.

WP has its own feature set, though. One nice thing for newbies is the hosted service over at This keeps you from having to worry about finding hosting and creating database tables. The hosted service is much more limited, however (for example, you get a shit-load of themes to choose from, but you can’t edit them or create your own, nor can you use plugins)

WP is also integrated with Askimet for comment spam protection, but TxP’s forced comment preview defeats nearly every comment spambot on earth (I got two comment spams the entire time I was using TxP)

Bottom line

I am using WordPress, but used TextPattern for over five years and have no regrets. If you really know nothing about web programming, and just want a simple blog, I would recommend WordPress, but for most blogs I see nowadays, TextPattern is probably the best option available.



I use Google products religiously. There. I said it.

Any mail I am receive is procmail-ed to GMail. I read everyone’s blog through Google Reader. I manage my bookmarks through Google Bookmarks. I even have a recipe or two saved on Google Base (RIP).

Why do I use Google? Simplicity. With a broadband connection, even with my slow computer, Google’s apps are faster than something running locally more often than not. And since my information is saved to Google’s computers, I don’t have anything to back up other than my music.

I do have a couple of issues with these products. Reader (RIP) needs a “Mark all read” button, though this can be hacked around with Greasemonkey. Calendar seems to have problems keeping the event bars lined up with the times in the grid, which I can forgive for now since it is three days old. Edit: I was using a Camino nightly build. I am now using the stable and this problem went away. Bookmarks should be exportable.

But other than these couple of issues, I love Google’s services. I could use another reader, but then I would have another site to remember to visit, another password to remember, my personal information on some other company’s computers. It just isn’t worth it for small quibbles.

As for privacy, I am not worried. Google refused a government order to turn over search results that didn’t even ask for user names. They use my search history to give me ads I will want to click. So? I found ThinkGeek from a banner ad and it is now my favorite shopping site online. Privacy nuts should be more worried about their ISPs who have ALL your information pass through their pipes.

Lay off Google.

Side effects of marriage


I am quite happily married. I love my wife more than anything. The one and only problem I have with marriage is my mother-in-law.

Yes, that mother-in-law.

About a week after our wedding she came to stay with us overnight, so she could go to a shelter the next morning. That was early November and she is still here.

We got a notice from the apartment manager on our door that she needed to leave or we would get in serious trouble a couple of weeks ago. We told her she needed to find somewhere else, and every day she tells us she needs “one more day”.

She doesn’t contribute (well, she has bought us fast food a couple of times with the welfare money she gets to buy diapers with for the baby she hasn’t seen in three weeks). She doesn’t work (and hasn’t held a job for over a week in two years). She doesn’t respect our house rules. And she won’t leave.



The wedding had quite a few little kinks in it, but all in all everything went alright.

On the way there to set up my car died, but my sister gave us a ride over there so that wasn’t that big of a deal (though I sure wish that it still worked). We had quite a few problems getting ready, mostly due to the hard soil that we couldn’t stick anything in.

My best man showed up a little late, because he had to pick his wife up at the airport. Most of the people who RSVPed didn’t show. The wedding started forty-five minutes late.

But when I saw my beautiful bride walking down the isle none of that mattered to me. It may not have been exactly the wedding I have been expecting, or the one Jennifer was planning, but it was without a doubt the most wonderful moment of my life.

(I will post pictures as soon as the people with cameras email them to me, I promise.)