Black And White Talk Shows

April 27, 2012

My Father's Flag

Coincidence, or some indication of talk show good and evil?

Return of the Site - Hello, jekyll

April 23, 2012


Prior to this post, the last one I made was on May 30, 2011. Today is April 23, 2012. Almost a year of downtime. I blame Facebook. Also, Twitter and the day job. But mostly Facebook. That vast time sink that's trying to eat the internet. Of course, this hiatus was shorter than the last one which lasted from Sept. 1, 2009 to March 5, 2011. You figure I would have made at least one post about Arthur C. Clarke's "2010" during 2010. But no. I missed the entire year.

Neither break was really Facebook's fault. I was using WordPress to power the site and had grown tired of it. I was constantly struggling to get it do what I wanted. It was slow and required frequent security updates. The site even got hacked when I didn't get one of those security updates done fast enough. A pain to deal with. I'll do everything I can to avoid in the future. That means dropping WordPress.

So, the quest for a new blog package began. Each period of downtime was spent looking for something to replace WordPress. In theory, this shouldn't have stopped me from continuing to post inside WordPress. In practice, I didn't want to put more into a system I knew I was leaving. I was also reluctant to keep WordPress running for fear of another security breakdown. The brief set of posts in 2011 was when I realized it was going to be a long time before I could spend enough time to figure out a good solution. Might as well be posting while doing the search. Then the aggravation with WordPress hit again. I decided I wouldn't post again until I figure out where I was going.

I want my site to be fast, flexible and easy to maintain. After experimenting with other blogging software and even taking another short run at building my own, I've settled on using jekyll. If you are a tech geek and willing to mess around with it a bit (which is almost the definition of tech geek), it's great. It generates static/flat HTML pages. No performance or security problems associated with dynamic content. There's also no database to deal with. Posts are stored as easily managed, individual Markdown files.

Every piece of usability research I've heard suggests the easier something is to use, the more likely it is to actually be used. After getting over the small initial learning curve, using jekyll is proving to be very easy. I spent a lot of time futzing around with the layout and trying to figure out what I was going to do with comments. Short of that, I could have relaunched months ago. (Not that I spent all that time working on it. Work/life just kept me from getting to it.)

There's still work to do. RSS feeds, maybe some Responsive Design and the tweaks that always come post-launch are on the list. Comments are gone for now. I'm not sure if I'm brining them back. I'll be figuring all this out as I go. For now, at least I can post stuff again.

I've got a bunch of notes/thoughts on things to post. I'm excited to have a place to get this stuff out of my head again. Hope you enjoy.

My father's flag

May 30, 2011

My Father's Flag

On Memorial Day, remembering those who served in the past and celebrating those who serve today.

Photo Mechanic Bonus Points - President of the company responding on a support forum

May 26, 2011

I've been using Photo Mechanic 1 as part of my photo workflow for a while now. The workflow itself is still evolving, but Photo Mechanic is definitely going to be a major part of it.

Most journalistic shooters I know swear by it. I've been very impressed but kept running into an issue where I couldn't get Photo Mechanic to play nice with Lightroom.

I started a thread 2 on their support forum trying to figure out what was going on while I continued testing myself. My testing eventually showed that Photo Mechanic was modifying RAW files even when its preference were set to prevent that. That's what we call a bug. After some investigation on their side, the Photo Mechanic folks got back to me in the forum letting me know they had found the problem and have a fix slated for the next release. That's great in and of itself. Even more impressive is the fact that the person who responded was the president of the company who also thanked me for helping troubleshoot. The fact that the guy in charge is not only an active user but also works developing Photo Mechanic is a huge plus. It might be possible to build a great application without that. If it is, it must be a lot harder.

get your very own copy of Photo Mechanic.

  1. - Where you can 

  2. My forum post about the bug - If you want to see my side of the process for identifying the issue all the way down to the president's response. 

Fun while it lasted

May 03, 2011

I was expecting to spend a little time on the Four Links and Daily Video projects. Ended up taking way longer than I expected. Even when I was batching them and trying to do several posts at a time to have in the can. If that was personal stuff, I wouldn't mind, but it's too much time away form stuff I'm making. So, an interesting experiment comes to an end quickly. I may still do them from time to time, but for now, I'm putting those on hold.

Machete Slingshot Crossbow - Video for May 1, 2011

May 01, 2011

This guy is thinking ahead for how to survive after the Zombie Apocalypse.

Four Links for May 1, 2011

May 01, 2011

The theme for today’s collection of interesting/useful links is: Questions and Answers

  1. RFC 1855 - Netiquette Guidelines - *This document provides a minimum set of guidelines for Network Etiquette (Netiquette) which organizations may take and adapt for their own use.* That's right, there is a full blown RFC for Netiquette. Last updated in 1995. Some of it feels like it too. (Hat tip to Tom at WhoIsHostingThis for pointing out the original version of this link was broken. Here's their take on how 1855 holds up.)

  2. How To Ask Questions The Smart Way - A guide to asking questions on technical forums, but probably applies most places.

  3. Google Search Tips - Increase your GoogleFu.

  4. Google Advanced Search - Multiple boxes and selections to make it easier to find what you're looking for.

Facial Flex - Filed Under Bizarre - Video for April 30, 2011

April 30, 2011

Starts off a little slow. Make sure to stick around till at least 1:15. You'll probably be too weirded out to turn it off after that. Facial Flex! Get yours today!

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