Saturday, February 16, 2019

Migrating from Blogger to WordPress ... again ...

I’ve been contemplating migration to WordPress for almost a decade, but Google kept Blogger good enough to keep that headache at bay.

Alas, the days of good enough are ending. Google is removing their photo management API without recourse. They do support posts with images, but only by using their web interface. It’s a concrete and undeniable sign that Blogger is either dead or going to a bad place.

I though I’d migrate first to then to my Dreamhost open source wp install, but via Twitter Daniel Jalkut tells me he got better results using the open source importer directly.

I’ll do a dry run on one of my big blogs first. The URL won’t change but I’m sure feed subscriptions will have to be redone (ugh).

Update 2019/04/06 - results of the pipdig import process

I tested the Dreamhost free version of the pipdig importer from a Dreamhost wordpress (open source) blog. The results can be seen here for the moment, I’ll eventually delete them. I found:

  • It doesn't remap internal links. This is a big disappointment. Links continue to direct to blogger, once that account is gone they will be invalid
  • There’s no option to migrate images that I can see.
  • It missed at least 4 posts from the source blog — specifically from early on. No idea why and it suggests more are missing.
  • It does copy drafts over.
  • It requires a LOT of access to your Google account! If you use this utility I suggest creating a new google account, give it access to your blog, then after the import destroy it. 
  • The paragraph breaks are missing - line feeds vs <p>. This is an ancient Blogger problem with MarsEdit; a legacy of the original sin of English language text formatting end-of-line standards. I think Blogger is mostly to blame.
  • Images were not relocated locally, they remain at their original locations.

Pipdig is better than nothing, but I’m going to try’s import tool next. I wonder if a better solution wouldn’t be a static site that I could archive on my personal web server, then do a web server redirect to handle the links. For now I’m still on Blogger. The porting experience reminds me of the impossibility of leaving Apple’s defunct Aperture photo management app.

(As I write this the wordpress import is processing - result should eventually show up at temporarily, but we’ll see if it works. It’s taking a long time.)

Update 2019/04/06b

Well, that wordpress migration didn’t go so well:

Your site has been suspended from for violating the Terms of Service. If you believe this was done in error, please contact us as soon as possible to have the suspension reviewed….

I sent a contact inquiry, nothing yet.

Saturday, February 09, 2019

Synology NAS and security risks of enabling notifications

I use a Synology NAS to backup our two MacBooks. I’ve been ignoring it for 4 years, but a recent hardware failure made me look into it.

I found a number of packages installed and/or running that I’d not updated and mostly didn’t need. So I removed all those and I created a reminder to check the NAS quarterly. I also realized I hadn’t gotten monthly status reports for a long time — for years really (if ever)

To enable Synology email status reports you have to configure Notifications. Old-school SMTP is rarely available now, so I experimented with the Gmail option. I got this:


Oookaaay … that’s an interesting range of permissions. Synology is a Chinese corporation, so this effectively gives Xi the ability to harvest my email. Instead I created a synology user on one of my domain based Google Suites and enabled access there then forwarded to my email.

Interestingly my old settings suggested I had gone down the Gmail road at one point. I wonder what I was thinking, in my 2015 post I commented “Synology is a very Chinese product — including off-key English syntax. I wouldn’t install it in a US government facility.” Maybe I started the setup and then stopped?

MacBook Air shutdowns - it was the battery

My 2015 Air shut down suddenly two weeks ago. The battery was at about 80%. When I got it home and plugged it in it showed classic bad SMC behavior — the power diode didn’t light. 

I did an SMC reset and it worked, but a week later it did the same thing. I did an SMC reset again, but without checking if it was necessary.

It happened yet again. This time it worked fine as a soon as I plugged it in. That gave me hope that it was a battery issue, even though system info showed only 80 or so cycles. It’s an old battery.

After doing the usual 3 backups-to-current-state-prior-to-repair (one update to my Carbon Copy non-bootable clone backup, one fresh full bootable clone, and one Time Machine backup) I brought it in. It failed the diagnostic test with a big red dead battery note.

So $140 when the part comes in, which is a nice relief. If it had been the motherboard that would be $340 and I’d have a machine with a 4yo battery and a 4yo SSD. Might be better to just buy new.