Gabes GP review

Head over to MotoringFile to read Gabes final GP review:
… The GP is fast. And the sensation is so exhilarating that, if you aren’t burying the tach needle, you feel you’re letting down the car. It’s almost as if it deserves to be driven like you stole it constantly. The sensation of speed, the sounds coming from the exhaust, there are very few cars that are as immediately fun as the GP … even more important in creating true downforce is the radical looking rear wing … Another GP specific item is the updated intercooler that helps bring the power output up to 218bhp from the standard 210bhp on the 2005 and 2006 JCW MINI Cooper S. And to be honest that even feels conservative. But it’s the way that power is delivered through the power-band that differs from the stock JCW. The GP pulls very strong all the way to and past it’s 7,000rpm redline …
After spending seven days with the GP I came away with three things that seemed to define it as special over the stock MCS: addicting power all the way to red-line, sublime sounds, and improved dynamics … the soul of the GP comes down to the aero work done throughout the car … The GP is the ultimate MINI.

Also, there’s some wonderful pictures – thanks Gabe 🙂

(also remember to listen to Gabes in-car reports)

GPMINI moves to WordPress

Slowly …
I’ve done the move to WordPress once before but that was from individual pages (not a blog); this time I’m moving from MoveableType, a move which began very smoothly:
Site5 provides Fantastico which installed WordPress into GPMINI in just a couple of seconds! Great 🙂
– I used the MoveableType export feature and then imported the 200+ posts and 400+ comments into WordPress
– I searched the WordPress themes to find one that was a bit like GPMINI (with a banner image and right hand sidebar), then started going through it to “tweak” the style closer to what I wanted

At this point things got rapidly messy & frustrating, primarily because of the loads of CSS styles in the theme I’d picked, and my laziness in never bothering to learn any more CSS, HTML or whatever than I absolutely have to … eventually I gave up and started again from the MINIsOnTop theme I’d created a few months back (which has loads less CSS so is much easier to modify!) … but first I had to move the “side bar” from the left to the right. Not too bad, so long as you really make sure you’ve done it everywhere!

Next I had a bit of a brainwave; instead of editing the theme CSS to match GPMINI, I replaced the CSS style with the current GPMINI one, then edited the theme layout files to use the new styles I already had – this way was much easier to get the layout looking like it should, and has the benefit of cutting down the number of different style features.

So far so good; I had the new WordPress weblog running and looking quite like the old – next I had to replace the old weblog and redirect all links to the new pages! For this, I had to search the mod for clues about redirection and Mod_Rewrite
To make this work, I had to get the WordPress links into a similar format; unfortunately I now discovered that “-” is used to represent spaces, instead of “_”! There’s a plugin to fix this but it meant that I had to dump all the posts I’d imported, and start again … no “delete all” function so I sat and deleted every post one by one 😦

But it worked, and now WordPress post links looked a lot like MoveableType ones:

I needed to set up a .htaccess file to manipulate the old incoming URL and redirect it to the new – easy when you read enough online examples 😉
RewriteEngine on
RewriteRule archives/([a-z0-9/_]+).shtml /wp/$1 [R,NC,L]
RewriteRule ^(index.shtml)?$ /wp/index.php [R,NC,L]
RewriteRule ^rss2.xml$ /wp/feed [R,NC,L]
Amazingly it seems to work 🙂

With the basic weblog taken care of, I’m still not done. More searching and experimenting finally allowed me to get the GPMINI homepage using the same style & sidebar info as the weblog, however I still have to solve the Gallery main page which, with the experimentation to date, has no sidebar but just an error message.
The reasons behind this are that MoveableType is designed around creating files on the server, which can then be included in other files; WordPress doesn’t do this – instead all the URLs it has are directed to a program which generates output on the fly! To a browser, there’s no real difference but on the server there’s no file containing the sidebar so I can’t include it into the Gallery main page. More work needed …

So why did I do it?
I was prompted by discussion on our USA GP owners mailing list, to investigate a way for other GP owners to post on GPMINI (for example writing about their cars mods) – WordPress supports multiple authors more easily (and cheaply) than MoveableType. We’ll see whether I can get it to work usefully! Of course there was the intellectual challenge too … and finally, online opinion is that spam comment filtering is better on WordPress now (and since I get up to hundreds of spam comments each day, any improvement I can get is worth persuing).