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…