Tuesday, November 30, 2004
I found this incredibly neat script which I’ve embedded into my site. I wrote up a blog entry saying what it was, and then thought, “Hey! Wouldn’t it be cool if I could explain how I implemented it, so that others could do the same thing?” So, I started writing up a tutorial. This tutorial is taking me a while to do, and I got bored with it. I thought, “now should I bother finishing the tutorial? It’s going to be of no use if noone reads it.” I decided to write up this blog entry instead of continuing.
I am going to finish it though. It’ll give me a chance to work on my tutorial writing skills, if those kinds of skills exist. I’ll return to it tomorrow.
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Update 04/17/05: Instructions are updated for Fotobuzz 0.2.
I wrote up a little tutorial on how to get it working with an EE photo gallery.
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
- Whenever I look up my website URL at Technorati, all the results are links from within my own site. That doesn’t seem too useful. But I’m probably the only person linking to myself right now.
- MusicBrainz is one incredibly useful piece of software. It’s an mp3/ogg tag editor. It’ll analyze your music files, and hook up to its music database to retrieve the metadata for the music tags. My mp3 list was a mess before I used this, but the MusicBrainz software sorted the files all out.
- Apple announced a short while ago that they would be opening up the iTunes store in Canada in November. I wonder if it’s going to be open by tomorrow.
- I give up trying to get GnuPG installed with Thunderbird. I don’t think it’s very useful for me anyway.
- I mentioned that Jude Law was named the sexiest man alive. Well I picked up the People magazine with Jude on the cover, and I don’t think that pic does him justice. However I could stare at this one all day.
Gwen Stefani - What You Waitin' For?
Saturday, November 27, 2004
I didn’t realize that today was Buy Nothing Day! My mom and I actually went to the One of a Kind Show at Exhibition Place. There were rows upon rows of booths with vendors selling stuff from all across Canada. It took us about 4 and a half hours to get from one end of the hall to the other, and then we had to leave because we didn’t want to get caught in the rush hour traffic. We purchased some stuff there. Like a handbag and a coaster and some hand-made moisturizer. I ate lots of samples of chocolate and dips and I really liked the Campbell’s Gardennay soup. So all in all I consumed a lot of things today.
Friday, November 26, 2004
I’ve been working these past few days on an entry to the pMachine template contest. It’s open to anyone and there are several neat prizes. Submissions are closed on November 30 so if you want to enter, you still have a few days.
My design looks pretty normal, and it’s 90% finished. I had a lot of fun designing it. I also went ahead and wrote up the template code. I’ll link to a sample soon. And I can’t wait to see what other designs are out there. We get to vote on them.
Oh, and I have to say that the global variables are really very useful.
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
I haven’t really been able to play the original Sims 2 game as much as I’d like, though. Here’s some of the things I have yet to see/do:
- Have the male get abducted and get pregnant
- Have twins
- Have one of the sims see a ghost
- Have a death by aging (I keep on using that elixir of life, because I don’t want my sims to die!!)
- Reach the top of all the different careers
Friday, November 19, 2004
I find the Popular Music search function over at amazon.com really hard to use. I’ve used their search before, but for some reason this time it took me some time to find what I wanted. I have this song called “Thief” on my computer, by the band Our Lady Peace. I wanted to find out which album that song was on. I thought that this would be easy.
Starting at the search box on the main page, I chose “Popular Music” in the drop-down box, typed in “Our Lady Peace”, and pressed the little “Go” button. The results were mostly the albums released by that band. There was a search box at the top of the results page, which I thought I could use to refine my search even further. I chose “Song Title” in the drop down box, and typed in “Thief”. I got 862 results, and nothing on the first page (showing the first 25 results) had anything to do with Our Lady Peace.
I scrolled down to the bottom of the page, to go to the next page of results. I guess I’m used to the Google search results page, where there are links to each page of the search results. With the Amazon search, there’s only an image saying “More Results”, so you can’t pick which page you want to browse to.
Now I really didn’t want to scroll through scroll through 862 results to see if I could find an album by Our Lady Peace. If it was listed on the last page of the results, and there are 25 results per page, that’d be ... a lot of clicking.
It then took me a long time to find the advanced search page and the search tips. If you’re in the Music section, it’s the first link (“Search Music”) on the red navigation bar at the top of the page. The thing is, it doesn’t say that it is an advanced search page. So from where I was, you can’t even tell that an advanced search page existed.
The advanced search page, however, was no help either. You can refine your search in the Popular Music section by specifying any of artist name, album name, and label. Or you could search by song title. I had just tried searching for the song title, and that didn’t work because there were too many results. What I wanted to do was get an album name given an artist name and a song name.
It makes a lot of sense for me to be able to do something like this. Say I heard a song on the radio, and the host told me the artist name and the song title, and I liked the song so much I wanted to buy the album. You don’t often hear radio hosts telling you the names of albums as well. If I went to Amazon and tried to search for it, I’d be lost. In fact I feel kind of stupid right now, because maybe it’s possible to do this, and I just can’t figure it out. :p
How did I solve this? I did another search for Our Lady Peace, went to each album, and then looked at the track listings to find the song name. (The song turned out to be in the album Happiness Is Not A Fish That You Can Catch.) Maybe I should have just done that in the first place, but I don’t think that is very efficient. What if I wanted to find a song by an artist that had 10 albums? Or 20 albums?
To end this post, I went to the iTunes Music Store, and did a search with the terms “Our Lady Peace Thief” and I got the album name on the first try. Ughhhh.
Edit: If I had gone to Google or A9.com and done the search “Our Lady Peace Thief site:amazon.com” I would have gotten the album name too.
Thursday, November 18, 2004
Hmmm, speaking of sexy men, I wonder what’s going on with Joshua Jackson.
Thursday, November 18, 2004
Having used ExpressionEngine for as my blog software for several months now, here’s what I think of it. (Updated to reflect the current release, 1.2)
What I do like
- Just look at the features! Multiple weblogs, custom fields, custom statuses, multiple categories, subcategories, pagination, custom member profiles, custom member groups, the ability to restrict access to certain pages based on member status, site stats, referrer logging, built in gallery module – and those are just some of the things I like.
- The flexibility. My site consists of several blogs, a gallery, bookmarks, and a couple of static pages. Except for the bookmarks everything is powered by EE. There are so many ways you can use EE to suit your needs. The templating engine is awesome and powerful – it is so easy to customize anything.
- The built in spam prevention measures work really well for me. I’ve gotten no comment spam or trackback spam. Any referrer spam I get I can block by the blacklist.
- There are plenty of people who help others out at the support forums.
- It seems reallly easy to develop plugins and modules. There is plenty of documentation available. I’ve written one or two plugins for myself, and those were very simple, but others have written some complex plugins and modules.
- I love the control panel interface. The colours are easily customizable using CSS. I like how you can specify the size for each field – so that there is less scrolling when you have a long long entry, or there is no extra space wasted if your custom field only contains a line of text. In the Publish screen, there is lots of control over what components you want, and the ordering of the custom fields. I like how the CP is full screen. I got around to installing MT 3.1x (I forget which version). Their CP was designed with a fixed width. The fixed width was to make sure it worked for people with lower resolutions, but for me, a person who uses a pretty high resolution, I got tired of typing an entry in what seemed like a really tiny textarea box (compared to the one in EE). The last feature I really like about the CP is the Quick Links that are at the top of each page in the CP. Each user can specify what links they want.
However, EE is not perfect.
What I don’t like
- Lack of export functionality (other than in SQL). However this export functionality is hard to implement because of the custom fields and all that.
- Import functionality – again, hard to implement for the reason listed above.
- The URL structure is quite rigid.
- EE is a CMS, and several modules are being developed by the pMachine team to turn it into an even better CMS. There are plans for a forum module, a community module, an eCommerce module, etc. That’s great, and I’m excited to see what the pMachine developers come up with, but as a user who’s using this software mainly for personal blogging, I know that I won’t be needing these modules. So for the developers there would be less attention focused on functionality that I want (mainly related to blogging). I know that this is selfish, and if I really wanted a certain feature, I’d try write it myself. But that’s what I think. It’s a bit harsh I suppose to say that this is something I don’t like about EE.
Monday, November 15, 2004
Read this metafilter post before you read my comments in the ‘more’ part. You’ll have to watch a video - and as a warning, that video took a while to load.