Archive for the 'weblogs' Category

wp-Hyphenate by KINGdesk

Wp-Hyphenate is a very promising plugin for WordPress, because it enables some typographical control not previously available for the web:

With it your left aligned text will be less ragged, and your jus­ti­fied text will avoid the ghastly word spac­ing that has pre­vented seri­ous web design­ers from using it.

It’s still in its early stages, but I’m experimenting with it here – using justified paragraphs and blockquotes. Let me know what you think.

Out of the box, the plugin broke my linked flickr image codes, so I had to put <a> tags on the whitelist, so the plugin ignores any linked text. Hopefully that issue will be addressed in the future.

UPDATE: Nov 16, 2008 – Jeff King has updated his plugin to address the issue described above.

How Hackers Show it’s Not All Bad News at the New York Times

Apologies that this blog looks a little New York Times-y lately, but I had to share this – O’Reilly’s Andrew Savikas wrote a very interesting post on some of the interesting stuff we’re doing:

…there‘s something going on at the Times that probably won‘t make it to Silicon Alley Insider, much less the mainstream business press, and it‘s something that‘s starting to make me think the Times just might succeed in adapting to the changing rules of the media and publishing game…

So what’s the Times doing that’s so important? They’re hacking.

Savikas goes on to list a lot of examples, but the best one that I can provide is the coming release of our APIs, which will enable people on the outside to play, tinker, and mashup NY Times content. There are only a few APIs currently public, but there will be a flood of releases in the coming months.

[via Jeremy]

UPDATE: Oh man, a bit after I published this today, we launched our Visualization Lab – a partnership that uses IBM’s Many Eyes technology. More Info Here »

No More Pink Grid Bars

Quick admin note: I removed the javascript from this site, so you should not see the pink bars appearing when you’re typing a comment or searching for something.

The Javascript was only supposed to toggle the pink grid bars when the user hits ctrl+shift+G – but it must have interfered with some other ajaxy stuff, because it was toggling with only the G key. So, it’s been removed – and I added a screenshot of what it looked like to my original post about the redesign.

That is all.

Vivian Girls @ Death By Audio

Vivian Girls

Cassie Ramone and Vivian Girls perform.

Last week I saw Vivian Girls play at Death By Audio in Williamsburg. It was my second time seeing them, and certainly won’t be the last. The Times printed a rave review:

Even though this band’s music tends toward the discordant, Vivian Girls … are romantics at heart. Their taut, no-nonsense songs brim over with noise and touches of shoegaze reverb, but at the center are glorious, gentle harmonies.

They open for Sonic Youth tomorrow, August 30th, at the McCarren Park Pool, or you can catch them again at Death By Audio on September 2nd.

I’m writing this from the new WordPress iPhone app. It’s a pretty light, straight-forward interface. It allows saving posts locally on the iPhone before publishing or saving drafts to the server, enabling offline drafting.

There is even rudimentary photo support – but you can’t really control the placement or sizing of the image – it is merely appended to the end of the message. You don’t even see the image markup until it is published or saved as a draft on the server.

But even then, the limitations of the iPhone become clear – there is no copy/paste, and the classes that determine how WordPress displays uploaded images is unneccessarily complicated. (They should simplify that.)

So, though this is a pretty nice app, I’m not sure how useful it will be without more formatting options and copy/paste. For instance, I can’t even provide a link to it’s app store page. Also, why doesn’t the iPhone have characters luke curly quotes and em/en dashes?

UPDATE (from my Mac): Here is the link to the app.

Adding Flickr to WordPress 2.5’s Media Bar

I’m a big fan of the new WordPress admin interface, especially the new media buttons that lets you quickly add photos, videos, and audio to your posts.

wp-media-flickr 1But what if you use Flickr for your photos? Well, there is a great plugin called WordPress Media Flickr, written by yu-ji. It adds a little Flickr media button, and makes adding a photo from your Flickr photostream a piece of cake.

His site is in Japanese, but he has a great screencast showing the plugin at work.

Continue reading ‘Adding Flickr to WordPress 2.5’s Media Bar’

WordPress 2.5

A bit of administrivia to pass along…

WP 2.5I spent some time this weekend updating this weblog to WordPress 2.5 RC1.1. The 2.5 public release should be available soon, but you can grab nightlies that are pretty solid.

There are many new features, but the one I was most looking forward to was the redesign of the admin screens, by Jeffrey Zeldman, Jason Santa Maria, and Liz Danzico of Happy Cog. The design is simpler and fresh, and I like how they separated the pure administrative options from those that deal with posting and managing content. Also, the posting screen is greatly simplified and elegant.

Of course, in order to upgrade WP, I had to first upgrade the k2 theme, which my design is built upon. This involves reconciling my old CSS with any changes made since to K2, lest I break my site. After a few hours of work, everything was in order and I’m happy to report that the RC5 nightlies of K2 worked perfectly for me in WordPress 2.5.

If you’re curious about WP 2.5, but not ready to upgrade – Chris Johnston has put up a public demo of 2.5, (login with admin/demo).

And if you’re considering taking the plunge, I recommend first making a backup and verifying that your theme is compatible. is 10

Three cities, two serious relationships, one child, 200,000 frequent flier miles, at least seven jobs, 14,500 posts, six designs, and ten years ago, I started “writing things down” and never stopped. That makes one of a handful of the longest continually updated weblogs on the web. is 10 years old today. Jason’s weblog has been a big inspiration for me as a weblogger; his enthusiasm for design, media, science, and all things web, has launched a thousand memes, and made him an indispensable voice in digital culture.

Subway Love

Lisa’s photo on Gothamist!Another Valentine’s Day related post – Lisa’s snapshot of this note in the Carroll MTA station made it to a post on Gothamist!

The original is available in her Flickr photostream.

She is kind of a big deal, ’round these parts.

RSS Updates

I’m doing a little house cleaning of this site’s RSS feeds. For a while, I was experimenting with splicing in and flickr content along side the weblog posts. Kind of like my own tumblr hyperblogging experiment, via RSS.

However, after thinking about it, I’ve decided to limit the main RSS feed to only weblog entries. It just makes sense, since a lot of my and flickr content is channelled into expanded weblog posts anyway. And, Ricky makes a persuasive case against what he calls hyperblogging. So, the default feed is now just what I put through WordPress.

Continue reading ‘RSS Updates’


copy is using a slightly modified version of my K2 stylesheet, without atttribution.

The post layout is the same, and he’s using the same exact sidebar modules, in exactly the same arrangement. His CSS is full of my custom selectors/classes, and is still hot linking to images on my domain.

It’s one thing to take someone else’s work, pick it apart, and learn from it. It’s quite another to just take someone’s work, remove attribution, and tweak it just enough so that it has your name on it.

My site is built-off of the K2 framework, which is the work of a lot of excellent designers and developers. The difference is that I’m upfront about attribution, AND, I’ve taken the time and care to fashion something new.

So, Timothy, might I suggest reading Greg Story’s post on How to properly steal the design of a website?

I ran a diff on the two stylesheets, and took some screenshots:

no attributionbreaking IMG references instead of removing?hotlinking to IMG on my domaincopying IMGs over to your own servercustom selectors


It’s been nearly 24-hours since I relaunched this weblog, and the feedback has been encouraging. Thanks to everyone who emailed or left a comment.

I talked last night about my desire to use a typographical grid for this design, but I also knew that this had the potential to look quite antiseptic and sterile. I thought of the comment that David Carson makes in the Helvetica film, as he points to the word “caffeinated” that has been printed out in Helvetica Black and hung on the wall next to other identical looking words: “This doesn’t say ‘caffeinated’!” To avoid the trap, I needed to work in a design element that would make things a little more interesting.

Continue reading ‘Splat!’

A New

Today, I’m launching version 6 of, a typographical grid-based layout, with heavy use of Helvetica Neue. This site has always used a similar shade of green, so I wanted to maintain that bit of consistency with the past, while introducing something very different. I also wanted to bring together my content from twitter, flickr,, and, while keeping it distinct from the weblog content – yea, I’ve gone back on my post is a post comments.

The last major revision of this site was launched on May 1 2005, but even that was somewhat of a realignment of the previous design, which dated back to 2001. I’m a big proponent of Cameron Moll’s realign not redesign rule – so I spent the past few years tinkering away, refining the same basic layout.

Continue reading ‘A New’

Blogging for 7 years?

I’m totally getting old! I just realized that I missed my “blogging” anniversary… On this past July 11, this site hit the 7 year mark.


FIrst Post? It was about that brick of a digital camera (point-n-shoot) that I bought that summer.

My original weblog was on blogger, and then was migrated to a, when we set up the suckahs domain in July 2001. (More on that here.) In February 2005, I decided to split it out into the domain I use today.

Windows Live Writer (Beta)

I’m posting this from inside Windows Live Writer, a newly released “weblogging” application by Microsoft. It’s a slick little windows app, with support for publishing to Movable Type, WordPress, as well as Live Spaces, by default.

Paul Stamatiou has an extended review, but here are some of the features:

  • WYSIWYG Authoring
  • Spell Check
  • Photo Publishing
  • Map Publishing, (via Live Local)
  • Compatibility with Blogger, LiveJournal, TypePad, WordPress (and many others)

Also, like most good WYSIWYG editors, it allows you to toggle over to HTML code view – (taking a quick look at this post, I see that it writes pretty clean code).

Note: There is no support yet for Tags, a new feature in MT 3.3. (Categories & Keywords are supported.)

More Information & Download

UPDATE: Om has a nice review:

It is not often, I say good things about Microsoft products, but with this free-blogging tool, I have to say: write on! …the software actually lets you use your blog styles for editing, has ability to add plugins, and has an SDK to extend the functionality of the program. You can also swap out  Microsoft Maps for say Google Maps.

Vox Upgrade

voxWell, I finally have access to a blog on Vox… (the starter account is little more than an online profile). Seems like other people also complained:

With this release, we are also responding to your feedback that the whole starter account thing wasn’t working and have decided to shelve that feature for now. Last week, we upgraded all starter accounts to standard accounts (yay!) and have turned that account level off.

It seems pretty cool, but I don’t have any invites! So, I have no friends. If you’re on Vox, add me to your neighborhood.

(Re) Launches

It’s the end of a week, so I thought that I’d note a few new things that I’ve seen this week.

First, Anna just launched Door Sixteen, which will document the renovation and restoration of the late-1800’s brick rowhouse just bought in Newburgh, NY. I used to read her old blog, Absolutely Vile, every day, so I’m glad to see that she’s back.

Veerle launched her redesigned blog this week, using Expression Engine and a whole lot of magic. A complete, beautiful piece of work, which makes my blog feel completely inadequate and irrelevant.

Last and certainly not least, Todd, (of the local food blog Eat and Destroy,) moved his old domain to the new, (and aptly named), (Nevermind that he previously moved to, from – make your freaking mind up, Todd…). He’s got some great scooting videos, the famous Peeps video, and a new feature – silk-screened T-shirts!

Beer Logos in Vector Format

Boddingtons BitterI love this site, which offers tons of beer logos for download, in EPS format [via]. For some reason, this amuses me.

What didn’t amuse me, was the 20 minutes of frustration last night, trying to get a freakin’ Boddingtons at The Burren in Davis Square. I had to order twice, from the same woman, (as she must’ve forgot the first one)… and finally I grabbed a second bartender to go check on things. And, HE was the one who brought me my freakin’ beer. I realize that a lot of bartenders double-pour Boddy’s, (much like Guinness), but you’re not supposed to forget me!

24 Ways

“24 Ways”: is a kind of _advent calendar_ for markup geeks. I’m now in the process of redesigning (as oposed to “realigning”: my portfolio site, and it’s been fun tuning in to these little tutorials.

My favorites include:

* “An Explanation of Ems”: – I love using _ems_

* “Introduction to Scriptaculous Effects”: – for a little javascript splash

* “Putting the World into “World Wide Web””: – I _work_ in localization, so I enjoy this kind of thing.

PageRank and Me

When I switched this weblog’s domain from to a while back, I wanted to maintain both URLs for a transition period, so as not to lose readers.

Sounds innocent enough, but since then, Google has stopped deep-indexing this site. On the advice of Casey, I tried re-directing with 301s, providing a sitemap with every entry on this site, and a whole lot of other trickery… all without luck. To this day, searching the old domain is more fruitful than searching the new one.

Since I’ve tried everything I can think of, I think the fact remains that has a higher PageRank than… There are still many people who link to the old domain.

I’ve started sending out emails to the people I know about. But, won’t you help me out, and update your URL?

Thanks in advance.

Mapped FTP drive

mapped ftpThere was a great “how-to” article on Engadget yesterday: Map a drive to your FTP server.

Now, tweaking that CSS file is as easy as right-click, and Edit.

Mint: Languages

Since installing Mint, I’ve enjoyed pouring over all kinds of referrer data, without having to sort through spam bots.

One of my favorite bits of visitor information, (seeing as how I work in the Localization industry), is the language of my readers. Using Marc Garrett’s Parsel Pepper (plug-in), I see that my visitors are overwhelmingly English-speaking.

No real surprise there, but guess what the #2 language is? Believe it or not, it’s Chinese. I have twice as many visitors from China and Taiwan than from either France, Germany, Spain or Japan… (where are my Nordic readers?)

Even more surprising, when I separate out PRC vs. Taiwan, 75% of my Chinese visits are from the mainland. I know there is a huge population advantage there, but I still find that fascinating.

Yahoo! Site Search

Well, I’ve had enough with Google SiteSearch… I’ve switched this site’s search functionality over to Yahoo! Site Search.

I tried, I tried, I failed, so I switched.

“Underground Man” update

Thanks to Mint, I noticed that a few visitors were referred here looking for the text of a New Yorker article writted in February 2004 titled, Underground Man: Can the former C.I.A. agent who saved New York’s subway get the Tube back on track?. I had scanned the text a while back, but my directory security settings on my server were tightened, and the scans were no longer available.

So, if you’re looking for the article, it’s is now properly linked in the orginal post.

I still wish I had a way of extracting the text via OCR…

301 (Permanent redirect)

I’ve taken a second step toward fixing my Google indexing problem. On the advice of Casey, I modified my .htaccess file to rewrite all URLs to and send out 301s (Permanent redirects).

Now, when a user arrives here via a URL, they’ll be transparently redirected to and Google will see the 301 message. Hopefully then, Google will get with the program.

Thanks Casey!