Replacement Bimmer

76_bmw_2002_wgvr_03_01

While my 325is is at the shop being worked on (heater core, tires and more..) I get to drive my dads 1976 BMW 2002!

76_bmw_2002_wgvr_03_01
(Not actual picture, but darn close. ;) )

It’s in pretty decent shape and runs strong…and with no power steering it’s a fun car to take into the curves.

Trashing Computers..and Junk

I didn’t realize how much computer hardware I had acquired over the years until I came home to a very messy room this summer.

I’m typically a fairly organized individual with a clear desk and clear floor, but that sure wasn’t the case this summer.

I started sorting the “junk” in my room into different piles, one of them being an electronics pile (motherboards, wireless cards, video cards, ram, floppy drives, cd/dvd-roms, zip drives, power supplies, hard drives, tons of cables, etc).

I also didn’t realize how much I enjoied holding on to junk, but I think I reached a new level now that I can easily trash a floppy drive that’s in near “mint” condition, haha. :P Or the 10-20 phone cables I came across that I had saved for dial-up.

Now that I’ve collected a large garbage bag of electronics to drop off at the nearest thrift store, I can actually work efficiently once again in my room.

Hopefully I will be able to get back to blogging frequently. ;)

I’ve also been spending a lot of time lately doing some DIY repairs and detailing to several cars lately, so I might just be able to broaden the range of content on here a little more with some DIY guides. ;)

BimmerMania.com – Some minor updates

Since I had a slow day with nothing to do I set out to do some work and repairs to BimmerMania.com and today turned out to be rather successful!

Redirecting incorrect traffic

For a while now I have been tracking incoming links to kyleabaker.com and I have noticed for a long time that several of the incoming links are originating from BMW enthusiast web sites and forums across the Internet.

The reason for so many incoming links from various BMW related web sites is due to the previous content and purpose that I used kyleabaker.com for. In the past I had a small, but very popular, BMW enthusiast web site with rare resources such as car manuals and video clips.

Since those days, I have moved that part of the site to a new domain and did so way back in October 2006. The new domain name of course became BimmerMania.com and all of the content was moved over and preserved.

The traffic is great since it brings new and fairly random users to my blog, however, it isn’t very practical to continue to let these visitors roam around kyleabaker.com randomly looking for BMW content that is no longer here.

Honestly, from the logs it appears that many of them were unable to read and failed to notice the “BimmerMania.com” link at the top of every page on kyleabaker.com, haha. :P

What I did instead of letting them roam around (on an unsuccessful search for BMW content that they were never going to find) was to redirect any incoming traffic to kyleabaker.com to BimmerMania.com if and only if the referring address matched any one from a list that I compiled.

The list simply contains the domains of various BMW related websites that link to the old BMW content that I hosted. This effectively filters the incoming traffic to kyleabaker.com and points BMW enthusiasts where they are looking for while at the same time helping BimmerMania.com continue to take advantage of these referring addresses that are continually sending me traffic.

If anyone is interested in how exactly I did this then you can find the code samples here for an Apache .htaccess file. I will continue to update the linked forum post as I find more incoming links that need to be redirected and learn new ways to optimize the code for faster parsing. :D

Cleaning the MySQL database

I took up the task of cleaning the BimmerMania.com database today which basically meant that I had to go through and remove unused tables that had previously been used when I had the phpBB 2.x forum installed.

I actually don’t know of an easy way to do this. Fortunately for me, I have always used a non-default extension for the phpBB tables (default extension is “phpbb_”) so I was able to tell when tables were old and which were new. Cleaning the database should increase performance a little, however, I don’t think it will be noticable for this clean up since it really wasn’t loaded down enough to slow it yet anyways.

BimmerMania.com RSS Feed back online

I spent some time today working to get the RSS feed link back and it is now working again. It still needs just a few tweaks to perfect it and validate it, but it is very close so far.

I would like to get different versions of feeds available and this shouldn’t be too difficult, but no one has written a good modification for the phpBB 3.x forums yet so I will be writing it from scratch or modifying the Simple RSS mod that I used.

I think I should be able to quickly modify that script to produce output for:

RSS Feeds

  • RSS 2.0
  • RSS 1.0
  • RSS 0.92
  • RSS 0.91 (UserLand)
  • RSS 0.91 (Netscape)
  • RSS 0.90

Atom Feeds

  • Atom 1.0
  • Atom 0.3

Hopefully I can manage to get all of these formats into one file that accepts a parameter to specify the type and version so it can be a very simple installation and a very simple file to update. :D

Attention to detail

I spend some time working through some flaws in the site like placement and erroneous or poor choice of words for various links and descriptions. I also plan to go through and clean up the home page so it updates more often as a Feed subscription would and just show a list of the latest posts and some BMW news that I post.

Feedback

Please let me know if you have any suggestions or comments!

More progress on BimmerMania.com phpBB3 conversion!

While sitting on my butt at home (after another surgery) I’ve been converting my BimmerMania.com website from phpBB 2.0.23 to phpBB 3.x. The actual forum was fairly straight forward and simple to convert! That took about 15-20 minutes before that part was complete. That is counting the time that I wasted searching for guides, tips and tricks on the conversion so I wouldn’t piss off any members of the site by messing up anything. :D

Well, I made the new design live and the board is enabled! I’m still tweaking several pages, but I decided to make go a head and make it live simply because the boards are pretty active and I didn’t want to manually copy new posts from the old forum which was live (phpBB2) to the new one (phpBB3). That would have been too much work! Oh and copying over new members and matching their posts.

The conversion is simple, but it’s a one time deal, you can’t sync several times to update posts and members as far as I know. If I could have just synchronized all of the posts and members later then I would have completed the entire conversion behind the scenes and released it all at once. Oh well.

Anyhoo, the fun and long part of the conversion if two fold:

  1. Recreating all of the custom pages, such as the downloads section, takes some time to perfect. I have a good habit of trying to validate all of my pages (the entire site), so it takes a bit longer per page than just making the content show up. ;) (Btw: WordPress has a nasty habit of mixing lists and <p>’s like crazy. I’m still trying to work out some of those validation errors. :( Can’t blame anyone but myself..and the javascript back-end to the visual editor, lol.)
  2. Tweaking the theme to look awesome, clean, slick, relevant -> Zen. This is one of the most important aspects of web design in order to get a crowd to use the site. I mean, who wants to use a website that looks like it was designed back in the text only days of the world wide web? Even if it worked perfect and never made or caused any mistakes..the interface has to be appealing!

Well, I’m now about half way done recreating the downloads section of the site. The only remaining portions after this are the contact page (it’s there, but none functional at the moment) and a garage. There are apparently no garages made as of yet for phpBB 3.x, so it looks like I may need to port the car garage that I used in phpBB 2.x over. This could take some time. :(

Oh well, back to work!

UPDATE (2008-05-23):
Well, BimmerMania.com is pretty much completely converted to phpBB 3.0.1! I’ve held off on a couple of items in my to-do list until I have time to get around to them. They aren’t show-stoppers, so the site is fine without them (just two fairly small tweaks).

The phpBB Garage for phpBB 3.x is coming kind of slow. I’d prefer to use a Garage that’s already been developed, but hey..what are you gonna do when there’s nothing out there already!? If anyone comes across a garage mod then please let me know!

New wheels for my ride..

So I bought some new wheels for my 1995 BMW 325is. I found them on eBay for a really good price. They’ll be changing my ride from 15″ wheels to 17″ wheel and should look much better!

I went with the M-split wheels, which cost ~$1,999.99 from BavAuto.com. Here are some pictures of the wheels that I bought..

bmw m-split wheels
bmw m-split wheels
bmw m-split wheels
bmw m-split wheels

They should be here in another week or so. Can’t wait!

I finally fixed my car door..

So I finally got around to fixing my door lock on my 1995 BMW 325is. It was showing signs of wear and just basically quit locking all the way around. So I would have to manually go and lock each door. It took about an hour to replace to broken part. Not too long, but it was a pretty tight fit inside the door panel.

Other than finally fixing the lock..I’ve been up to pretty much nothing. Been getting back into guitar a little more. This mood seems to come and go, lol, but the good thing is that each time I “start” back..I don’t have to start all over..that sucks, lol.

I haven’t posted any of my favorite tunes in a while..so here is one of my favorites.

Pink Floyd The Wall – Pink Floyd – Comfortably Numb

..stay tuned.