Monthly Archives: October 2009

Tan Lin at PennSound

There are several Tan Lin videos now being hosted on PennSound.

Pretty fascinating kinetic texts here.  I was particularly interested in Disco Eats Itself, which combines typed-out text animated and obscured / obstructed through Flash with a corresponding visual track of YouTube videos tagged with “Disco”.  I could not tell for sure, but I think these videos are recorded and presented through a SWF file, since they seem to output the same every time. This made me wonder what would happen using an API or suchlike, through which you could maybe loop YouTube videos with certain tags in relation to a realtime reflection of the current status / content of videos with such tags, and producing a piece which is always transforming in accordance with the YouTube content. I’m sure there’s a project in this (and I guess I should try this out soon) but the Tan Lin work offers a pretty fascinating snapshot of a database’s moment in time directly relating to an unfolding text through meta association.

Link to Tan Lin works on PennSound >>

WordPress, Godaddy, Windows Hosting and Contact Forms

I have recently been working with a client on Godaddy’s Windows hosting, who wanted a WordPress blog transferred over to this hosting.  These days, with IIS 7.0 and PHP 5, hosting a WordPress blog on Windows is not a huge problem.  Using a standard PHP-based contact form plugin, however, is not so straghtforward.

What’s the problem?

WordPress and (as far as I can tell) all contact form plugins seem to use PHP’s mail() function to send mail through the web.  By and large, this is a convenient and configurable solution. However, it seems that on Windows hosting, this function will not work.  The only alternative is to use SMTP to send emails.

Thankfully there are two useful plugins and a decent tutorial out there, if you are using Contact Form 7. This tutorial is also useful for those using other contact form plugins who may be running into the same problem.


Cimy Swift SMTP

Contact Form 7

Tutorial by Mario Vargas

However, following these tutorials led to a further frustration. Though the test emails from each SMTP plugin’s setup pages sent perfectly, the forms still failed to work. It couldn’t be a hosting setup issue, but had to be a plugin issue.

The person who had worked on the blog originally had installed the wp-contact-form plugin. Having updated this, I was receiving errors relating to sending issues every time I tested the form live. Then I had a thought: the plugins that fix the mail() issue and convert to SMTP do so by telling WordPress how to send the emails.  Since WordPress has its own email sending function, it then made sense that forcing the mailing plugins to use this function might make things work again. Furthermore, delving into the SMTP plugins and looking at how they sent their test emails (which by this time I knew were working correctly) showed that they were using WordPress’s send function. This makes sense; the test send has to use the same method or it’s not much of a test!

And that’s where I finally had success. I was working with the wp-contact-form, and I opened up the plugin file (wp-contactform.php) in an editor (you can go to Plugins, find the plugin and click “Edit” too, if you do not have FTP access) and found the line of code that actually sends the email.  On, this is line 143. The code should read as follows:

mail($recipient, $subject, $fullmsg, $headers);

Ready for some extensive editing? Here goes. Modify this line to use the WordPress mail function instead:

wp_mail($recipient, $subject, $fullmsg, $headers);

That’s it! Hopefully everything should finally be working as expected.

I have not tested this out with Contact Form 7 yet, but if, after using Mario’s tutorials above, you still have no luck, try modifying the plugin in the same way…

Blackbox Manifold, Issue 3 (July 2009)

There is a new(ish) issue of Blackbox Manifold out, which managed to pass me by completely at the time. Perhaps I was too busy living my new married life.

This issue contains poems by all of these people, with a review essay by Adam Piette on Geoffrey Hill:

Dorothy Alexander

Simon Armitage

Jim Benz

Caroline Bergvall

Rachel Blau DuPlessis

Iain Britton

Glenn R. Frantz

Giles Goodland

Robert Hampson

Kate Lilley

James McLaughlin

Bill Manhire

D.S. Marriott

Peter Middleton

Helen Mort

Burgess Needle

Ian Patterson

Robert Rehder

Steven Waling

John Welch

John Whale