Movable Type

This past weekend I finally made the switch over to Movable Type. I’ve been meaning to do it for a while, influenced by John B, Russell, Andrea, Brendan, and Adam. I recognized the superior blogging technology and wanted to use it, but I was just lazy.

I didn’t completely relinquish my lazy ways, though. The switchover is not yet total. Although the installation was utterly painless, I haven’t done the archive pages and some other fine tuning. There’s no good way to import the Haloscan comments. (This one looks good, but apparently the plugin is not online!) There are lots of little problems.

Why does my <p> text formatting go awry any time I post a picture, use a blockquote, or use a list? (It’s especially obvious on my Chinese blog; I’ve made some cosmetic alterations on this one.)

Why doesn’t the Textile plugin work even though I followed the installation instructions exactly?

OK, sorry this post is incredibly boring. Everything should be squared away soon. In the meantime, the old Blogger archives are still there.


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. one of these days I’m making the switch, too. It all depends on how long I’ll be stuck in the DC.

  2. I can come look at your Textile installation some time soon if you want. It may be something with permissions. You have changed your weblog config to use Textile instead of Convert Line Breaks as the default text filter, right?

  3. Welcome. I’m still trying to figure out how to import all of my old comments into MovableType, since when I was using Blogger, I wrote my own weird, leaky-and-patched-with-duct-tape-style comments system. Once I do that, there’ll be another 2 years’ worth of posts on – though I’ll probably delete a lot of them, since they were mostly crap.

    Re: bugs – check your CSS; MT’s default CSS behaved strangely when I used it, and even now, due to CSS issues, looks weird in 1/3 of the browsers I’ve tested it in.

  4. Hello John,

    This isn’t meant to offend you, but the design of your site looked very crowded before you switched over to “Movable Type”.

    The previous design had everything green on your main page and was extremely hard to read on my computer [most powerful machine, XP, Netscape and IE as well – high screen resolution and 32 bit true colors].

    Now the improvement is that your articles have a white background and therefore are easy and great to read.

    However, the date on top of the article is too close to the title of the article. E.g. the bottom of “November 28,2003” is almost touching “Thanksgiving and Melancholy” under it.

    The right side bar with green background and black is still a bit difficult to read.

    Thought you might want to know from different people visiting your site.


  5. Welcome to the party John.

    If I remember correctly, the last time you did a redesign I helped out with the CSS. So I’ll help you out this time too. (via email)


  6. Ron,

    Thanks for the comments. I think I must like the “cluttered look.” I purposely put the date close to the title. I like it that way.

    As for the “black on green” problem, I’ve been aware of it for some time. It’s been my contention that people don’t have their monitors set right, because most people I ask have no problem reading the black on green. I’m not calling the rest of you liars, though. This is my compromise. In addition, I have developed a special “high contrast” feature. Single-click on any text you find hard to read, then hit Ctrl-A. Ah, magic!

  7. Adam,

    Thanks a lot! I’ll implement your suggestion soon.

  8. Is making the switch over the MT worth the hassle? I’m content with my site as it is now, but I wouldn’t mind getting on the Living in China aggregator.

  9. Da Xiangchang Says: December 1, 2003 at 5:26 pm

    I normally don’t rail against Eurocentrism, but here, I want to ask a question: why the hell does everyone think Gutenberg invented both 1) printing and 2) movable type?! This is BULLSHIT. The Chinese invented both centuries before Gutenberg, yet every single schmuck would automatically answer, “Gutenberg!” when asked the inventor of printing. WHY WHY WHY? Granted, Gutenberg’s printing revolutionized how Europe gathered information–in a way that printing did not in China–but still! Think of the logic for a moment: Guy A invents X, 400 years GUY B invents X also, Guy B tells other guys about X, therefore Guy B becomes a lot more famous. Now, who invented X? Guy A or B? Of course, it’s still Guy A. And Guy A ain’t Gutenberg.

  10. Da Xiangchang Says: December 1, 2003 at 5:28 pm

    Guy A, by the way, is Pi Sheng.

  11. The link for the import haloscan comments plugin now works.

  12. hey john,
    🙁 i liked the green background better. i didn’t find it hard to read and thought it gave a more consitent look to the page. the white seems so harsh.

  13. agreeing with heather, i liked the green look too. i hate white, it’s too bright and burns my eyes!!

  14. i todally agree with Da Xiangchang, that dude did not invent the movable print, and by the way Da Xiangchang, its Bi Sheng.

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