Tag Archive for 'weblogs'

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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 ned.suckahs.org URLs to nedward.org and send out 301s (Permanent redirects).

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

Thanks Casey!

Have a Mint

I just ordered and installed the new site stats package Mint, which was launched today by Shaun Inman.

It’s been eons since I had a reliable site stat tracker, and this package looks as good as the hype. RIP, Refer.

BU Today

My alma mater just launched a nicely-designed portal called BU Today, which publishes (official) daily news from the university. It’s as if this school finally “get’s it” — that Public Relations matter.

I’m disappointed to see that the code is full of Dreamweaver javascript, spacer GIFs, and <table>-based structure. And, the weather widget at the top is flash-based.

Oh well.

Broken

Ug… things are not too tidy around this site lately. My Site Header frustration continues, as it’s once again broken. And, my Google Site Search is still useless, despite my having created a Google Sitemap.

Ugg indeed.

MT Upgrade tomorrow?

UPDATE: Nope, it looks like we’ll get Beta 5 today

It looks like we’ll have a Moveable Type upgrade tomorrow.

I’ve been using the betas for a while now, and overall the experience has been positive. Though the release number only jumped to 3.2, this is a major upgrade. Those people who grumbled at the release of version 3.0, (myself included), will enjoy the new features in this release.

Google SiteSearch

Google is playing tricks on me, lately. When I use “SiteSearch”:http://www.google.com/services/free.html to search this site, I don’t get individual results– just recent results, from my home page and RSS feeds.

Case in point– “pixies”:http://www.google.com/search?ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&q=pixies&domains=http%3A%2F%2Fnedward.org&sitesearch=http%3A%2F%2Fnedward.org&btnG=Search

I’ve posted many times about this group: “1”:http://nedward.org/archives/002831.php “2”:http://nedward.org/archives/002606.php “3”:http://nedward.org/archives/002627.php “4”:http://nedward.org/archives/002456.php, etc. Yet only the home page result appears in my SiteSearch.

Is it that this site’s pagerank is so low, that Google isn’t bothering to index it anymore? If anybody has some ideas, or replacement suggestions, i’d love to hear from you.

Site Header Tweak, III

I just realized today that my site header photos were only visible if you’re visiting this site using the URL nedward.org… So, ned.suckahs.org, www.nedward.org, etc., wouldn’t load properly.

Since XMLHTTP (Ajax) only works locally, I had to use Nick’s PHP proxy, but I hard-coded the script URL. To fix it, all I had to do was switch to a relative URL (“/”).

Done. Thanks to Nobuko for pointing it out!

John Doe Mexican

I received a message from our friend Karla today, about what her boyfriend Steve is up to this summer. He’s a public-school teacher, and is currently working to produce a documentary titled John Doe: Mexican, on border crossers in the Southwest.

Sounds like an interesting project, which he will be blogging about:

John Doe Mexican is an hour-long documentary that captures the struggle to value human life, even in death.

The dead have no names here. For Mexican border crossers, Southern Arizona’s Sonoran desert is an unforgiving and, all too often, murderous landscape. John Doe Mexican follows a handful of people who have made it their business to end these desert deaths and to name John Doe.

Karla said that he is looking for feedback and questions, so feel free to leave a comment on his blog.

Site Header Tweak, II

I took a few minutes today, to try and sort out my Flickr-integrated site header issues… I found that by adding just two characters to Nick Chapman’s script, I can parse the original-sized images from Flickr.

However, given that I upload my photos at full-quality, it wouldn’t be too advisable having 2MB images embedded in my site. So, for now, I have to create these site-header images, and tag them as siteheader.

I also squashed a background CSS bug, which caused short pages to look a bit strange. Nice to have the time to finally sort these things out…

Nedward.typepad.com

I’m still paying for this Typepad site… why?

Originally, I wanted to test out the service, and thought it would primarily serve as a place for off-site photo galleries… Flickr killed that need.

I think it’s time to cancel.

Site Header updates

Down with Flash! Say goodbye to SlideShowPro… I’ve decided to use Nick Chapman’s Random Images javascript class to pull the most recent photos from my Flickr Photostream.

However, the Flickr RSS feed doesn’t provide the original-sized photos, so I’ve got some tiling action happening above… anyone got ideas how to make a Flickr RSS Feed, with the original-sized Photos?

MIT Weblog Survey

I just took Cameron’s MIT Weblog Survey, and you should too. It’s just a general social/demographic questionaire, which should only take 5-10 minutes to complete.

Redesign followup

Thanks again to everyone who has written me about the reboot. I’m still getting used to seeing my site looking like this.

And, yes, I’m still working out a few kinks. I did receive my Flickr API key, so hopefully I’ll find some time this weekend to get my site header photos plugged-in.

Nick Chapman posted his javascript solution that I mentioned in my previous post… and it looks very cool. I can’t wait to try it out.

Redesign… version 4

Somehow, some way, after more than eight months tooling around in Photoshop, I managed to give this site a major design refresh. The motivation was the May 1 Reboot, but I’ve been trying to get this done for quite some time.

First, my objective was not to totally re-brand myself and my site. I like how this site’s structure and style have evolved over the past 2+ years, and I love the green & orange. So, job #1 was continuity.

Keeping this in mind, there was a lot of room to improve…

Logo
I switched to a Macintosh almost 2 years ago, and it was one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. I wanted to keep the old Alison “N”, but figured it would be nice to aqua-fy it, in honor of OS X.

Navigation
The site header and navigation in the last design took up too much real estate. I always admired Jason Kottke’s decision to minimize his nav bar in his last redesign:

The yellow-green thing at the top is a tag. Like the red tag on Levi’s jeans or even the red stripe on Prada shoes. It’s small, out of the way, but when you see it on something, you know exactly what you’re holding in your hands.

I decided not to go too small, since I wanted to make it easy to click and navigate, but I combined the site header and navigation in one horizontal green block… the gradient was used, in order to break up the “block-iness”.

Photo Headers
I knew that this time around, I wanted to make the photo header a bit more dynamic, and easily updated. Flickr has become such an important and enjoyable part of my online life, that I decided it would be great to integrate my Flickr Photostream into the site header.

This however posed some difficulty… how to integrate? Sure, Flickr has a great API, but it would be quite daunting for this coding amateur to build the kind of photo header that I envisioned.

So, I looked around for some help. I remembered Bryan Bell mentioned that he was working with Nick Chapman on a kind of site header built using alpha-channel PNGs, and javascript. But, despite some show-and-tell, it seems that they don’t have it worked out yet. And, after spending about an hour trying to figure out how to get a 24-bit PNG to play nice in IE 6 WIN, I decided that I didn’t really need my logo to overlap my photo header…

Still, Bryan and Nick’s idea got me thinking — Todd Dominey’s SlideShowPro would be an excellent match for what I wanted — though, I’d have to deal with the trade-off of having Flash embedded in my site. Having spent the past 2 years learning about and embracing Web Standards and concern for accessibility, I’ve avoided using Flash… but, the more I read about SlideShowPro, the more I thought that it was the perfect fit for what I wanted. It has built-in support for the Flickr API, it’s easily customizable to any dimensions or color palette, and it’s built by a guy that I respect and enjoy reading.

I wasn’t able to get the Flickr functionality implemented yet, (waiting on my request for an API key), so I just threw a couple of photos together for this launch.

Feedback?
Please email me or leave a comment, let me know what you think. I did a bit of testing on IE6 WIN, so hopefully there won’t be many quirks to work out.

Reboot


Well, it’s been a _long_ time since I’ve done a major overhaul of this site’s design… Though this site has looked very much the same for more than 2 years now, a lot has changed “under the hood”. I’ve converted it from a tables-based layout, to a transitional CSS layout, keeping the design mostly intact. I even got close to validation.

But, Nedward.org is long overdue for a _visual_ update — so, I have taken a chance, and thrown my hat into both the May 1st Reboot and CSS Reboot. The design is ready to go, after almost a year of start-and-stop work… but, I have no idea if I can have it live by Friday morning. ::fingers crossed::

Are you redesigning?

*** May 1st Reboot suggests shutting down sites today, April 25th, to manufacture some dramatic effect… However, I’m not comfortable doing this, so I’ll keep this up, at least until I start uploading the new site.

Site Outage

Apologies for the site outage the past 12 hours… Here is the explanation provided by my hosting company, site5.com:

It appears that the permissions to your web directory were modified and no longer gave permission to apache to enter the directory. I’ve changed the permissions and your site is back up now.

I love how hosting companies insist that their servers have a 99.9999% uptime… but little f*ck-ups like this don’t count, since only my site was affected, and the server was “up”.

Time to email the billing department…

Flickr!

Well, it’s official — the worst kept secret around, Flickr was acquired by Yahoo!, and was announced on the Flickr Blog:

bq. Holy smokes, SOMEBODY out there is bad at keeping secrets!! Yes! We can finally confirm that Yahoo has made a definitive agreement to acquire Flickr and us, Ludicorp. Smack the tattlers and pop the champagne corks!

My initial reaction, as an avid Flickr user, is very wait-and-see. Despite the occasional downtimes, I’ve been impressed by how they’ve managed to scale up, as the site has grown exponentially. But obviously, there comes a point where a Yahoo! can really help.

What I’m worried about most, was only slightly deflected in Caterina’s post — it’s not that Yahoo! will get “flickrized”, but that Flickr would end up “Yahooed!”:

Yahoo Photos will get a lot of Flickr features, and there are alot of other areas around Yahoo that will also be Flickrized where Flickrization would be good.

That’s not reassuring… I guess we’ll wait-and-see.

I am a kottke.org micropatron

I am a kottke.org micropatronJust arrived back from Vegas, and still catching up on the web goings-ons, having been unplugged for nearly a week… that is a long time without a fix.

Mr. Kottke quit his job to blog full-time, so I sent a few bucks his way. You should, too.

This is where weblogging starts to get interesting — when you can make a living doing it, with your readers as your only shareholders…

dot org

If the site looks a little goofy right now, (ok, stop laughing if you think it always looks goofy), hit refresh.

I’ve made some changes to the mast/logo, widened the content area to hopefully make the content column more readable, and finally switched everything from a suckahs.org subdomain to the real deal: nedward.org.

I’ve been putting off moving the domain for some time now, but through the miracle of .htaccess files, I’ve hopefully managed to make the move as painless as possible — ned.suckahs.org (and the 500+ archive pages) should still function properly, though I recommend you update your bookmarks!

bostonist

bostonist

I just noticed that Boston now has it’s very own bostonist.com… looking forward to checking it out.

Though, I can’t imagine what could be posted about this town that would be worth reading.

New Feeds

Some new Atom & RSS feeds added today…

First up, by request, I’m offering feeds of my weblog, without the Del.icio.us links… (some people really could care less about my bookmarks):

Also, I added feeds by Category… so, for instance, you could subscribe to just entries that I tag as Boston/Cambridge:

  • Syndicate boston/cambridge: ATOM RSS

Validation

I decided today to see how well or poorly this site validates, as it’s been ages since I’ve even looked– XHTML CSS 508

Overall, not bad. However, my beloved method for posting “cropped” Flickr photos to my blog is not valid — placing an anchor tag around some divs disses the rule that says “you can’t put a block-level element inside an inline element”.

But I like it.

“Colophon” update

Yet another refresh, I’ve resurrected the colophon. Not much of interest here, but it does get its own place on the main menu…