Becoming an RP with the Pamela Project (pt. 1)

Boy, I must REALLY be insane. Below is picture of this BEAUTIFUL spring day here in NYC, my wife and baby are in the park playing, and I’m sitting on my balcony trying to install the Pamela Project on my blog. The odds are stacked against a glowing review, as iCards are still an emerging technology, the Pamela Project is in v0.9, and I really shouldn’t be doing this. Of course, knowing the little I do of Pamela, it will probably work out A-OK.


Just to give some background, I’m attempting to install the Pamela Project WordPress plugin v0.9 on my blog that is hosted at Bluehost. The first step is to find the WordPress plugin page on the Pamela Project site. Normally I’d go to the WordPress plugin directory, but I believe Pamela doesn’t want to post it there until v1.0. The first thing I notice when coming to this page (because it is so well laid out) are the requirements:


This already puts me in a bit of bad mood because I don’t know if I have ANY of these things besides a “WordPress blogging environment” and it pretty much looks like I’m here for the afternoon. The next thing I do is go to the link that provides installation instructions. The first thing they ask me to do is to get the plugin (seems like a good idea).

At first I panic because the instructions tell me to go to some directory on my server and then checkout the code from Subversion followed by some Unix commands. This sounds like something my development team asks me to do while looking at me as if they just asked me to grab a quart of milk from the fridge. As a non-Unix person, I can attest that it is more akin to doing some quick calculus to figure out how to put someone on the moon.

Fortunately, my panic subsides as I realize they have dumb-dumb instructions below this with a link to download the plugin. I can then just use Cyberduck to upload it to my plugins directory (yes, I like my technology masked by familiar childhood playthings). Wow… I actually have it on my server already, maybe today isn’t going to be so bad after all! Now I just go to my WordPress admin page and go to the Plugins tab, and cool… there is the Pamela Project!


After I click the “activate” link on the plugin, I go to my “Options” tab to see if I can actually get this thing to work. As I look at the page, I’m both happy and sad:


I’m THRILLED that it looks like I have PHP 5 and these mysterious “Crypto Libraries” already installed (I probably would have had to quit otherwise!). I’m mildly sad to see that I need to get an SSL cert. Now, given that I understand iCards at a low enough level to know they use SSL, and given the fact that Pamela warned me on the instructions page that I would need this, I shouldn’t be disappointed, but I was REALLY hoping I could get away without it.

After sulking a bit, I give Bluehost a call. They make me feel better by making it seem like it’s not going to be such a big deal. At first I hope I’m going to be able to use the “shared” certificate that Bluehost let’s anyone use, but once I explain that I need the “Private Key” they tell me I’ve got to get my own. This also requires that I get a static IP (I KNOW, I was already warned in the requirements!)–total price: $90. Pamela will owe me a drink at IIW! Since it’s going to take a few hours to get my SSL cert issued and installed, I think I’ll post this and go outside for a break!

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