Monthly Archives for March 2008
This video is strangely mesmerizing and terrifying at the same time. These robot arms make our human limbs seem so clumsy and inadequate…
A long time ago, I had this showcase site that hosted my music.
Then I started this blog, and got into the habit of posting my new songs and news about my music chronologically on sknoblog instead.
But my music is all over the place. There’s mini Radio Vince at the top of every page, there’s the Songs category, and there are links to other sites that host my music, in the “elsewhere” sidebar over there to the right.
Well, one of the reasons I recently upgraded to WordPress 2.x, is so I could use the improved Page feature, which allows you to define “static” pages that integrate nicely within the blogging environment.
And so, today, I’m unveiling the My Music page, for easy access to most of my music. Easy, because every page on sknoblog now has a link to the My Music page, up there, in the header, next to the sknoblog logo and the About page. See it?
Go and have a look/listen. You’ll see that I’ve organised the songs by album and/or genre, and designed and programmed a new bunch of little Flash music players for each one. (While I pretty much despise Flash, it is convenient that way. At some point, I hope to set-up an iPhone-friendly solution).
So there you have it. I hope you’ll enjoy (re)discovering my music, and the silly music players that I put together these last few days, to make things a little more convenient and entertaining.Tweet
One of the reasons I recently upgraded sknoblog to WordPress 2.3, is that I intend to introduce a rather major “new feature” of sorts…
Well, I’m working hard on it, which (partially) explains the relative silence here these days.
Hopefully, I’ll be introducing it next week, if time permits.
A couple of months back, I updated the design of sknoblog to what you see now.
Then a few weeks back, my site was suspended by my ISP when a major spam attack caused my comments database table to grow too big, too fast. The table was simply destroyed by the ISP.
Part of the problem is that I started sknoblog a long time ago, and that I was still running WordPress 1.5.
WordPress 2.x has much better, ISP-friendly, spam prevention, via Akismet.
Furthermore, in WP 2.x, the visible part of the site, i.e. the design (or Theme), has a radically different architecture.
My new design used the old 1.5 architecture (1 .php file and 1 .css file!). While it probably would have mostly worked under 2.3, I thought if I were going to update WP, I should update my theme to the new architecture.
So the first thing I did was search for a theme that had the same overall structure as my existing design, and that was well coded (i.e. whose code I could decipher). I decided to use Silhouette, by Brian Gardner, whom I thank.
Using another test account with a version of WP 2.something installed, I then proceded to restyle/recode the entire Theme, in order to reproduce my WP 1.5 sknoblog design.
I then updated my WordPress to the latest version (2.3.3 as of this writing), updated the database, got a couple of nasty error messages, and discovered that all my categories had vanished, and that all my posts were therefore uncategorized.
A search on the WP forums showed I wasn’t alone. So if this happened to you, check out this thread, which points to this trick that makes it possible to run the upgrade routine again, which fixed the problem for me.
So now I’m fixing and adjusting things here and there, but I’m more or less where I wanted to be: I’ve updated sknoblog to the 2.x WordPress platform, which will allow me to do some things that I couldn’t do before.
Until then, here it is: The all new sknoblog, hopefully mostly indistinguishable from the old sknoblog!Tweet
I occasionally post (or rant) about my experiences with software or hardware.
While there are many dedicated sites out there that do a commendable job of describing new features, I often discover things that I like or hate that were never mentioned anywhere.
Which is why I thought I’d mention my recent upgrades to Mac OS X 10.5.2 (Leopard) and to Parallels Desktop 3.0 (Parallels is the software that lets me run Windows XP on my Intel MacBook, which I sadly have to do for my day job).
As I’ve grown older, I’ve tired of jumping on the latest and greatest releases of the latest and greatest software. I tend to value stability over living on the edge (at least in the computing realm).
So I waited for two incremental updates of Leopard, and what seems like a dozen incremental updates of Parallels Desktop 3 before taking the plunge.
Despite much valid criticism about Leopard’s UI makeover, I have to say I like it quite a bit. It feels cleaner, crisper, more compact, less bright (and therefore easier on the eyes). Even the kitschy and misguided new Dock design has its crazy charm. And I like the new folder design and the Stacks feature that everyone else seems to hate.
I haven’t yet tried/activated Time Machine, universally touted as this release’s killer feature.
But for me, there are 2 other killer features, one of which I had never read about:
QuickLook which allows you to view and navigate the content of pretty much any file without opening said file. A HUGE timesaver for me since I handle dozens of new and strange and foreign files every day.
And the way the OS gracefully handles shared network volumes. My 2 Macs are always mounted on each other (so to speak). I used to have to remember to unmount my MacBook from the iMac before closing the MacBook. Failing to do so would freeze the Finder on the iMac for several minutes as it desperately tried to find the missing shared volume. Under Leopard, I can slam the MacBook shut without unmounting it first from the iMac, and the iMac doesn’t miss a beat. (OK, so technically, this could fall under bug-fixing, but let’s not split hairs…)
These two features alone are reasons enough to upgrade in my opinion, even though I oohed and aahed about a lot of other things as I discovered and explored my new cyberdigs.
As an aside to the dark side, I wasn’t worried about performance. Unlike other companies who shall remain nameless, Apple has consistently improved performance over time, while adding boatloads of spiffy new features to its OS. My iMac is 3 years old and is snappier under Leopard than it was under 10.4 Tiger. How stupid is that? Doesn’t Apple want to sell computers?!
As for Parallels Desktop 3.0, I couldn’t care less about its “experimental support” of accelerated graphics and PC-only 3D games.
Its main appeal to me is the SmartSelect feature. This allows you to define which applications open which file types, across operating systems. I can now open my Windows files (like my dreaded Trados ttx files) by double-clicking on them in the Mac Finder.
In previous versions of Parallels, I had already discovered that bypassing Windows Explorer eliminated systematic and repeatable (Windows) bugs and crashes. So as a multi-step workaround, I would first open an application in Windows, go back to the Finder and drag a file into the Windows window from there.
With SmartSelect, I don’t even need to display the Windows task bar anymore. The Finder is my fully functioning and integrated cross-platform file manager. My Windows apps and files launch like any other Mac app or file, and open in windows that behave like any other Mac window (even though they still host ugly and boneheaded Windows content). It just feels like Mac OS is running Windows apps on demand.
So I’m a much happier camper all around.
If you were hesitating as I was, I say go for it.Tweet
The title should be enough to whet your apetite: Put your lips together – and blow it out your ass.Tweet
No, I don’t mean to talk to you about yet another strange musical endorsement (some geeks who used The Playground of the Baby Giants and Dinosaur as backdrops to software tutorials, and who massacred the songs through seemingly random editing).
I’m talking about something else.
It’s all part of some chain-letter type thing where you pick five blogs that you like and link to them and comment on them and on and on. Frogblog has the details.
I tend to break chain letters, hence the special award that I received, that lets me off the hook.
I know. I’m such a poo!
I also don’t read many personal blogs. I slurp up tons of stuff into my Google Reader, stuff which falls into three broad categories: the arts (fine arts, music, design), news (French & US), and techy-geeky stuff (Mac sites, iPhone sites, general tech & science sites etc…)
In fact, I’ve just looked through my Google Reader subscriptions and wouldn’t you know it, nary a blog. But if I had to pick a couple, I’d choose Smashing Magazine, which straddles the design and the tech categories and regularly blows my mind with the quantity of quality links that I don’t have the time to visit, Daring Fireball, Mac+tech pundidtry at its finest, and of course, frogblog which is delightful in so many ways: beautifully written, witty, funny, touching, smart, thought provoking and activist.Tweet