Excluding Categories from The Loop with WordPress Template Tags

When I redesigned this site's WordPress theme, I decided I wanted to show the most two recent posts at the top followed by the next 8 posts with just the title and a link to the post, so that the front page does not scroll forever.  That's simple enough to do with the template tag query_posts(), but I ran into an unexpected problem with my initial approach and the Twitter Tools plugin.

Using Sync in a Blink with Google Contact Groups

The latest version of the Sync in a Blink iPhone app supports Google Contact Groups.  This is a wonderful feature addition, as Google adds all correspondents to its "Suggested Contacts" group which then sync down to the iPhone which probably isn't desirable.  I don't really want all the mailing lists and support email addresses I correspond with to show up as contacts on my iPhone.  By creating an "iPhone Contacts" group, I can avoid that problem.

Unfortunately, the way contact groups are supported on the iPhone and their interaction with Sync in a Blink is not entirely intuitive.  After configuring Sync in a Blink to only sync the "iPhone Contacts" group, I found that newly created contacts on the iPhone were not syncing back to Google.  I initially thought this may be a limitation of the iPhone, but it's not.  There is a way to make this work.

Monitoring Wordpress with Nagios



I recently set up Nagois to monitor our Dreamhost sites in support of Communications Tool & Die.  I ran into a mysterious problem, however.  When I would set the nagios check_http to point to the blog URL it would always return a status of 301 (permanent redirect) and say everything was OK.  When I updated the check options to include -f follow it would complain about reaching the maximum number of redirects and bailing out.

After looking into the problem I realized that the issue is that the Apache server is listing the port in the virtual host address in the HTTP header.  For whatever reason, the version of check_http that is bundled in the nagios plugins 1.4.12 release can't handle that and bombs out.  A bug has already been filed and the version in the subversion repository trunk/ has the patch to fix it.  So the solution was to check out the subversion copy and build my own version of check_http.  This should be fixed in the next bundled release of the nagios plugins package, but if you can't wait that long all you have to do is recompile from source.

Fix for wp-amazon in WordPress 2.3.1

I use the excellent wp-amazon WordPress plugin to insert Amazon associate links into this site. Unfortunately the version from the web site hasn't been updated in a long time and it doesn't work in the newer releases of WordPress. In looking at the support form I found a link to this patch.

I followed these instructions and lo and behold it worked. Posted as a public service to other WordPress users.