With the incredible explosion of social media, there are social media sites everywhere. Any time you turn around, it seems there is another one. I'm not just talking about the big boys, like Facebook and Twitter, either. Mister Wong, anyone?

Cool name aside, there is only so much one person can do. So how do you decide which of these services to use? While I get that you might want to provide each and every one of them on your site so that you gain maximum exposure, there is a limit, right? How can you possibly expect to keep up? Enter even more services, which aim to help you do so. Now how do you decide among them?

You would think that when an application installation offers to install a component for you, it would do what it is suggesting. Unfortunately, if the application in question is ImageMagick - and more specifically if we are talking about the PerlMagick component of ImageMagick for Windows, then the answer is absolutely not.

At first I thought perhaps the problem is that the files were in use, as we all know that if Windows has files in use, the won't be updated. So I rebooted. No luck. Then I uninstalled the prior version and tried again. Nothing. I rebooted, to make sure the prior version was gone. I removed the old files manually. I rebooted. I deleted registry entries. I got rid of every scrap I could find from the old version. I rebooted. Still nothing. The fact is that it just wasn't installing.

Now that you have Slimbox up and running, you don't really want to manually create a bunch of links to it, do you? I mean you can, simply by adding the standard rel="lightbox" tag to your photos. But what if you have a bunch of photos? Or more specifically, what if you have a bunch of photos?

At that point, you have a couple of options. You can list them individually, which is certainly an option, but it gets messy very quickly, or you can use MT-SmugMug to fill in the blanks for you. That makes it a whole lot nicer.

I recently ran into an issue where a (dv) server hosted on Media Temple didn't seem to have Image::Magick installed. That makes some tasks in Movable Type more difficult (or downright impossible), so that in turn means that it's time to figure out how to make it happen!

Luckily, Anu has put together a great set of instructions. The only downside is that they don't work quite right for Media Temple. There are just a few changes that need to be made so that we can get everything working. But still, they get us awfully close.

I have used Pair Networks as a host for my sites for some time. It's been so long that I actually had to look it up to see how long. It turns out that it's been more than two years already. In all that time, I have had hardly a hiccup. I like that. It means that I don't have to worry about much when it comes to the sites I run on their servers.

When it comes to email, however, it takes a bit more work. It isn't that it's difficult, it just isn't as simple a process. This is because email can quickly become a burden. However, there are some really simple processes you can put in place to deal with it and make it much simpler to handle.

If you receive this message, it means that the feed headers are being sent as one encoding, but the feed itself is likely declaring another one. This can be problematic for the contents of the feed.

Generally within an XML document you will see the first line read something like this:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>

This means that the feed is being declared as UTF-8. But if the headers of your feed don't match, then the contents might be scrambled when received on the other end. Luckily, this can be a simple fix.

If you're like most people, your blog has an RSS feed. Chances are, you don't even know what RSS stands for, but you likely have one (if you're wondering, it most often stands for really simple syndication, but that isn't important).

Unfortunately, you may have more than one, which means if you want to know how many subscribers you have to your feed, you have a problem. At best, you have to add up each of the subscriber counts and get a total. At worst, you have potential eyeballs who want to see your latest and greatest, but they're looking at outdated content. Isn't it time you fixed this?

Thanks to Jesse, I decided to read up on Google's Ajax Libraries API, a "content distribution network and loading architecture for the most popular open source JavaScript libraries" (their words). In simpler terms, Google will host some of the most common JavaScript libraries for you, such as jQuery, prototype, script.aculo.us and MooTools (my words).

The immediate benefit is not having to host it myself. That's cool. I don't use a lot of JavaScript, but as you probably know, I'm a fan of offloading things to other people when it can save me the hassle of doing it myself - FeedBurner (now another Google property) is one of the most famous examples of this. But I'm not sure if JavaScript will work in this arena. First and foremost, because I use so little of it, I'm not sure if it really matters. Only 30K or so on my individual archives (such as this one). Even if every visitor I had to the site downloaded the pages fresh, instead of caching them, and every page that I had had those pages - a virtual impossibility, since they don't use themselves - we'd only be talking about 1GB per month or so. That's hardly worth the effort for me - though it may be for you. But what about the user experience? Maybe that is worth it.

With version 3.31 of Movable Type, the product began shipping with feeds.app lite, which allowed some simple abilities for republishing the content of other feeds on your site, through the use of Movable Type template tags. This plugin was a great step forward, and expanded on earlier plugins that did similar things, but in fact, it is the less-capable sibling of the (much) more powerful feeds.app from Appnel Solutions.

The primary difference between the two is that feeds.app lite allows you to pull some basic information out of the feed, while feeds.app allows you to get anything at all - it's much, much more powerful (and it also has a price tag associated). Unfortunately, feeds.app, while insanely powerful, also has caused some signficant hair-pulling to get things working from time to time. It's a shame, because it's a good plugin. Some of the problem is a conflict between the default feeds.app lite plugin and the full-featured feeds.app plugin. Some is that there are a lot of requirements (that ship with the plugin), and it appears that many systems just don't support everything that you need to get it working. Because of that, I have recently been looking for an easier solution, and I think I've found one in Feed Digest.

One of the more challenging pieces of the Movable Type administration interface in version 4 is the syntax highlighting when you are editing your templates. That's not to say that the highlighting is entirely bad, because it can be nice, and brighten your day. Rather than having a plain old black and white text box, you get colors, and line numbers, and it does make things work a bit better. In 4.0, however, you had problems with cutting and pasting. Though improved in 4.1, there are still some problems - notably slow load times.

While you can disable the syntax highlighting (known as CodePress) by clicking on a button, the problem is that the script still loads and processes the data on-screen before disabling the editor, meaning that load times can still be slow. What's worse is that the preference is stored in a cookie, so if you're on another computer, or if another user logs in, the highlighting comes right back. Because of this, I've seen repeated requests on disabling the highlighting permanently. Unfortunately, you can't just remove the codepress directory or you'll get an error and be unable to edit your templates at all. Luckily, there is a solution.

One of the problems that you may encounter when you add new features to your site is that you run the risk of slowing down the page load time. Before adding anything to your site, there are a couple of things you should check out. Even if you aren't considering adding anything, you may want to take a look, just to see what's what.

First, take a look at Web Site Optimization. In the interest of disclosure, this is a client of mine for Movable Type Consulting, so I'm not a completely unbiased observer. But the site is a good one. You can use their free web site analysis tool to see how long it takes your page to load. A quick look tells you how long it takes the items on your page to load - HTML, images, scripts, styles and the like. What's even better is that you get a good look at how long it will take not just on your high-speed connection, but how long it might take on a slower connection as well, and some basic tips to speed things up. I'll talk about that more in a minute.