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Articles: site-business: 2007 December

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Page 1

Thursday, 2007 December 20 - 11:02 pm
Okay. I am a dumbass.

I've been changing people's access level as they register... and just now, I noticed my web site is saying "Password has been updated"... even when I didn't want to change the password. Oops oops oops. That would explain why a bunch of you can't log in: I've been wiping out your password.

For everyone who went through the trouble of registering, I'm gonna have to reset your passwords. I'll email you with a default password, and then you can change it using the user prefs page. Sorry for the inconvenience.
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Posted by Ken in: site-business

Blast From the Past
Thursday, 2007 December 20 - 2:21 pm
The process of going back and recategorizing old posts continues to make me well up with nostalgia. I looked at the first real blog post I wrote, and then I remembered: my online history goes back further than that post in 2003.

In fact, I had a web page all the way back in 1999. This was back when most of up were still on dial-up internet, when the term "Web 2.0" hadn't been invented, when the few people who had "home pages" on the Internet were posting garish flashing graphics and embedded music on GeoCities. (Whereas today, people post their garish flashing graphics and embedded music on MySpace. Progress!)

It took a lot of digging through old Zip disks and other archives, but I found that original web site, and I'm making it available in all its cringe-worthy glory for you to see... but only for registered users with level 2 access or higher. (Everyone registered as of the time I'm writing this is level 2 or higher; anyone who registers after this will be at level 1 unless I bump them up.)

Why am I doing this? It's not as if there's a lot of top-secret content on that old site (and in fact, it's possible to dig it up in the Internet archives, if you know where to look). No, there are two reasons for making it access-restricted: one, to encourage all my readers to go ahead and register, and two, to test the access control mechanisms that I'll use for private content in the future.

If you register and I know who you are, I'll bump your access up to level 2... and your reward will be, you'll get to see a truly ridiculous picture of me Photoshopped next to Stephanie Seymour.

If you've already got the access rights, click here.

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Posted by Ken in: site-business

Squashing Bugs
Wednesday, 2007 December 19 - 5:30 pm
So, I think I've hacked the timestamps to show in Eastern Time. Who knows what else I've broken, but damnit, at least things will be broken in the right time zone.

Eventually, you'll have a user preference to show timestamps in your own local time as well. And not only that, I'll make some aspects of the site layout user-customizable too (text size, background and text color, etc.). Amy complains that the black-on-white is difficult to read... and you know, I chose it because a long time ago, Jen had complained that black-on-grey was too hard to read. I guess there's no one-size-fits-all solution, so I'm gonna have to allow some manner of customization.

And finally, I guess no one has tried to change their passwords until now, because that was broken too.

Let me know if you see any other problems, or have any complaints.
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Posted by Ken in: site-business

Stupid Time Zones
Friday, 2007 December 7 - 10:21 pm
Well, two irritations.

1. Where the hell are GoDaddy's servers? All my timestamps are apparently in mountain time. Dang, I'm gonna have to go through and calculate time zone offsets everywhere.

2. I thought I was being clever by inserting "&#8203;" into text strings so that FireFox could word-wrap them. That's a pretty well-known hack for the fact that unlike IE, FireFox doesn't support the "word-wrap: break-word" CSS property. Well, today I discovered that "&#8203;" isn't rendered as an invisible break character in FireFox, at least in the Mac version. Grr!

No doubt, thousands of web designers have suffered from these kinds of things already. The question is, why doesn't someone fix it? There should be an HTML sequence where the server provides a GMT timestamp, and the browser formats it in local time. And, there should be a standard CSS property for word-wrapping. Geez!
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Posted by Ken in: site-business

Friday, 2007 December 7 - 4:54 pm
Whew. I'm going back and re-categorizing every post I've written, all 1250 or so, and my main thought is, BOY DO I WRITE ABOUT AMERICAN IDOL A LOT.

I haven't even gotten a quarter of the way through yet. The good news is, it's making me re-read my own blog, and it's fun going back down memory lane.

A few things I've thought of:
  • Remember all those password protected photo albums that I published over on dot.mac? Well, I can actually move them all here, and control access to them via user permissions. That means, I don't have to tell you to email me for the shared password; I can simply turn on access permissions for subsets of registered users.
  • Live-blogging is going to be much easier now. Look for more of that in the future.
  • I can create a specialized database for tracking American Idol results. Heh.

I tell ya, new features are going to start coming fast and furious. Polls! Quizzes! A "note to self" page for registered users!

On the RSS feed question... I'm hesitant to do "option 2" as Jen and Alan wanted. Here's the thing: if there are static URLs available that can be used to read restricted content, then it's more likely that unregistered users will see that content, especially if such URLs are used to generate LiveJournal feed pages. And that's exactly what I don't want. So, I think it'll be option 3, the dummy item in the feed that requires click-through. Don't worry, the number of access-restricted posts will be small, I promise.
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Posted by Ken in: site-business

More Site News
Wednesday, 2007 December 5 - 9:49 am
So the odd thing is, now that I can post from anywhere, at any time... I find I'm more interested in tweaking my site and less interested in posting new entries. I promise, I'll get back to posting real stuff soon.

One thing some of you may note is that the last post was contained in the RSS feed, and on the main page, in its entirety. I may keep doing that unless the posts are large. Right now there's no indication of whether the RSS feed is the complete post or just an abstract... I'll fix that soon. Just so you know: this post is broken into an abstract and a main section, so click through for more.

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Posted by Ken in: site-business

We Are Live!
Tuesday, 2007 December 4 - 8:54 am
The new site is live! Uh, as you can see. I've been fixing bugs like mad, and there are still bunches of them... hopefully none of which you'll notice.

And yes, Bake Town gets the prize for the banner idea. Alcohol was the only idea I'd come up with anyway, and her comment clinched it. Sorry, Brett... the baby/gun thing will have to come later.

Search is working, sort of. I'm running into the limit of how much I can have indexed for free by FreeFind. I might still install my own search engine... I have a basic search implementation ready, but the search wouldn't be quite as complete unless I put a lot of work into it.

Another thing I need to do is come up with new categories... and then re-categorize the 1250 posts I've written to date. Fun!

Let me know if you see any odd behaviors. And please register! It'll be worth it! You won't be spammed! Really!
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Posted by Ken in: site-business

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