I’ve been reading more and more about the concept, and have tried using some Photoshop tools for helping with the concept when doing up a layout mock, but watching and listening to Khoi Vinh and Mark Boulton talk about it from their session at the SXSW Interactive helped immensely. You can read more about Khoi’s presentation, as well as download the slides in .pdf format on his blog, Subtraction, and download the podcast from the official SXSW site.scroll down about 2/3 of the way for the link. Certainly a lot of good information in the comments on the blog as well, particularly links to books about the subject.
OK. I’m officially going to start blogging here at bloggingmeta, to what ever degree that means. It may just be a few things web related, and setting up a lifestream, but I will relegate my personal domain for just that, personal blogging, be it political or what not, but all things internet/blogging/web related will go here. I’m really excited about using Habari, and have wanted to start using this domain for some time. Now that the DB is somewhat stable, and not as many chances of having to dump the db, I think I’ll be fine. Here’s to the rest of my life while I’m at it.
Hacking John McCain on MySpace – Brilliant!
LifeHacker has a great tip I wasn’t aware of regarding adding a “path” button to the finder window.
OMFG! The über classic Ultima III for the Mac (universal binary no less). Thank god it’s $15, or I’d be sure to waste days playing it. (which I did quite a bit of when I used to play this on my C-64)
I had heard that Gravatar 2.0 had been released, but hadn’t really paid much attention. Today, while doing a little housekeeping around the site, I noticed that none of my gravatars were showing up. After doing a little investigating, I realized it had to do with caching, among other things. First thing I did was dump the cache on my gravatars folder in wp-content. Second, I logged into the gravatar site, and re-associated my gravatar with my email that I use for that account. Still no gravatars, mine, or anyone else’s.
So I looked at the settings on Skippy’s gravatar plugin (which I like as I can set a local gravatar, vs using a default one from the original site), it was set to use caching. I turned that setting off, and voilá, gravatars are showing back up. Hopefully that could help someone else (though, from reading a few blogs, and the comments on the main site, there’s no guarantees the main site will be with fail).
It was nice to see MacUpdate has updated their RSS feeds. I first noticed it last week, when more updates were coming through in Google Reader. Then yesterday, I really noticed full feeds with images for the software and better descriptions.
[tags]Mac, software, RSS[/tags]
Perhaps a bit late, but just about 2 years ago, I started this domain, which has led me down a life path I can honestly say I didn’t expect. I no longer am cooking for a living, not going to school, and trying to make a go of it doing web design/consulting. Thinking back on it all, I’ve come a long way, and look forward to where things go. To any and all who’ve visited and commented, thanks. I’ve recently tried to blog more in general, and also realized that the site is in need of some overhauling, as I’ve not really done much with the design/updating in almost a year. So as soon as I crank out a new design for Tiny Little Dots, I’ll focus some spare time on the site.
Testing out Ecto, a desktop blogging client. I had only tried MarsEdit, and at the time there was no option for tagging. Now that UTW supports inline tags, this should be a better option.
[tags]ecto, WordPress, UTW[/tags]
Well, two months into the year, and I’m still struggling with a good GTD system. I am using Actiontastic still, but for work, I’m using Fresh Books to time track and invoice clients. (For those that care, I’ve gone full time into web work. Mostly WordPress, but I’ve done a fair amount of non-WP work. My working site is Bishop Blog Works. Please understand the design is in flux).
Fresh Books is great, but I can’t get my clients to use the ticket system. Email is still their method of choice for notifying me of needed changes, for both active projects, and site tweaks. Fresh Books says they will have an email to ticket system, but if that doesn’t materialize sooner than later, I may have to look at another option. In the meantime, I try to take the email, add it to iCal as a todo using Mailtags, then sync iCal with Actiontastic, and THEN add those as tickets/tasks in Fresh Books.
Not working out so well.
On a positive note, I’ve streamlined the home office, clearing out a lot of clutter, which I believe makes it easier to get started in the morning and stay focused.
If anyone has a suggestion for converting emails to a time tracking system, I’d love to hear about it. I have started looking at Alex King’s Tracks , as it has an email to task ability, but the demo doesn’t seem to allow for that. It requires running a cron job on your server, and since Alex is setting the demo up on his, I don’t see a way to test that feature. If it works, I could have clients send an email that is picked up by Tasks, and then time track straight from that. But then I’m back to either having two “apps” for time tracking/invoicing. Hopefully Fresh Books will roll out that feature soon, and I’ll be good to go. I then simply forward a copy of the ticket to Mail.app, add it to Actiontastic, and it’s automatically added to a ticket. Or at least that’s how I’d draw it up on paper.
I’ve long been a customer and ardent “word-of-mouth” supporter of Metro PCS. Heck, they even added web browsing (albeit a handcuffed version). However, after my experience with their customer support today, I can not advocate the company, or will no longer be a customer. I’ve always wondered if their business model was really aimed at low-income people looking for a quick and easy cell phone option, and now I think that’s the case. A genuine desire to hang onto long time customers certainly wasn’t in my experience today.
Long story short, I’m a procrastinator. I simply wait until the last minute to pay bills. Certainly I’m working on fixing that defect, see my post about GTD and a desire to at least know that a bill is due. So last night I tried paying my bill, the last day. Nothing uncommon on my end, I’ve done it routinely since I got the service. However, last night, I couldn’t process the online payment gateway. Tried again today, still no luck, so I called their payment service customer support. First agent said turn off pop-up blockers. I explained I’ve never had that issue before, but humored them and tried. No luck. I call back, this time I’m asked, “are you using FireFox Mozilla?” “Yes”, I replied. Nut shell- they stopped supporting Mozilla. No explanation, just, “use IE.”
I started this some time ago, and it’s been sitting as a draft, so I figured I’d wrap it up as I just mentioned Flickr and mobblogging
After I let the account lapse, I procrastinated some more, not signing up with another service, to the point I figured I’d go ahead and keep Metro PCS for a little longer. I paid my bill, (approx a month later) and service was back on. The next morning, I get a text message saying I need to pay another $60. So I try calling them to find out what was going on. I probably spent an hour just finding a phone number where I could speak with a human being. I finally had to call an authorized reseller in St. Petersburg (I live in Tampa) to get a number. They informed me that though I don’t have a contract, their policy is that you pay for the month of service, even if the phone wasn’t in use. I said that was unacceptable, and wanted a refund. That I did get. But never in the whole process did anyone acknowledge that the whole issue arose from their poor web interface, and offer to simply waive a month, or any reconnect fees to keep me as a customer.
Some irony to that is that when ever I would end a conversation with a rep, they would say “we value your business here at Metro PCS”. Did they really? I think not. I highly suggest looking at other alternatives to their service, as I do not think they care about long term customers, and are more in the business of short term, “turn and burn” clientele.
So if anyone has an “old school” flickr account, they too received an email a while back saying that as of March 15th, they needed to merge with a yahoo id. I had a yahoo id, which I never really use. And like most people, they are probably a bit attached to their online identities. Obviously, I use miklb where ever I can. I was a bit upset at the prospect of losing my flickr account of /miklb. Granted, the yahoo account I have is miklb.online, but somehow that just isn’t what I wanted. So I procrastinated in making the switch. Finally, today, I went about looking into it, as I didn’t want to get locked out of my moblog images. (Currently, I do not have a cell service with a camera phone, but not all of those images are still on my old phone, anyway…) I went to the flickr account, and saw the “merge” accounts option. I went to merge miklb with yahoo id miklb.online. No go. miklb.online was already associated with flickr. Ugh. When did I do that?
So looking at that account, I hadn’t actually uploaded any images, so I saw I could delete the flickr account for that ID. I didn’t know if I could then re-associate it, but what the heck, I figured I’d give it a shot. I deleted the yahoo id from flickr, and tried again to merge, still thinking I’d become miklb.online. In the meantime, I found a flickr export app for the Mac, Flickrbackup, grabbed my images just in case, and then made the association between the old school account and the yahoo id. All went smooth, and to my surprise, I get to keep the miklb account, I simply now log in with the yahoo id. Excellent. Perhaps this will move me to use flickr a bit more, I know I’d love to get a friend of mine to use it, but he’s a myspacer, and I don’t even know what he’s using to host his images. (Goody Goody, I’ll even set you up with a blog if you make the switch from myspace).
So, long story short, it was far less painful to make the switch, and if you haven’t done so, fret not, if you have to be pumpkinpatch6969 instead of your favorite handle, you’ll not loose your flickr name.
Lately I’ve spent a fair amount of time on Habari’s IRC channel, mostly because some really smart people are there, and because Dr Bacchus has a bot on the channel that if you type “yow”, will randomly quote Zippy the Pinhead. I first discovered Zippy while living in Denver in the early 90’s. it was a daily comic in the (I think)Rocky Mountain News. Not long after, being a casual fan of alt-comics, I discovered Fantagraphics, and then soon after they published several collections of Zippy comics. I still own the first 3 issues of the collection somehow (the time soon after moving back from Colorado can be a bit hazy, to say the least).
I don’t even begin to consider myself a Zippy fanatic, and have barely kept up with the comic since those days, but I can’t help but laugh out loud when ever I type those three letters on IRC. No matter how bored, frustrated, or confused I might be with my situation at hand, good ol’ mzuri and his Zippy quotes pick me up, and break the ice just enough to keep going. So the next time you are having a rough time just think of your Zippy, and quotes like:
“Wouldn’t it be great, Zip, if th’ spirit of Halloween could last all year long?”
“Yow! A never ending orgy of apple-bobbing and miniature mars bars!”
While I’m in a blogging flurry, I figured I’d go ahead and share my newest “blank theme”. I do quite a bit of WP work, either converting open source designs, modifying existing site’s design to a WP theme, or custom work, and often have the use for a framework to start. For the past couple of years, I’ve been using my popular Blank Theme, but more and more, I’ve found the markup not to my liking, and as it’s based on Kubrick, a bit outdated code wise. So I’ve cooked up a blank theme from scratch, using much more (hopefully) semantic markup, and a much more streamlined framework. This version currently only has an index, header, footer, sidebar (as an unordered list, which should be widget ready, though I would need to add a function.php file. It also includes a bit of code handy for recent posts), single post, and page template. I also am using Christian Montoya’s comment template instead of Kubricks. I hopefully covered all the elements in the templates in the style sheet, as well as have a few basic global elements set.
Remember, this is a blank theme. It is completely unstyled, and is meant as a framework in which to customize a theme. Also, this is meant for WP >= 2.1.x, as it uses several new template tags.
Update: Download link fixed. (damn typos)
You can download the Blank Theme v2 beta.
I would appreciate any and all feed back, both for missing elements, and suggestions for additions.
Nothing like a new blog engine to get the blood pumping. Not that I’m jumping ship, just looking to broaden horizons, and see what new and exciting might be around the corner. I’m a big fan of a couple of people involved, not such a fan of a few others. But that’s part of community. But really I’m just testing out the trackback feature on the most recent build. So really, just ignore this post…
This is the first of probably several posts for, primarily my own benefit, documenting my implementation of the GTD system
Well, a bit late in getting a “New Years” post up, but I’m fighting a heavy does of procrastination and a head cold, so I thought “no time better than the present”. Several months ago, I discovered Merlin Mann’s 43 Folders, probably via a link from a Mac site. There I found my first introduction to the concept of “Getting Things Done”, which is a book and much more from David Allen. Like most people, I find myself constantly feeling unorganized, confused, and wrought with anxiety as I’m not “getting shit done.” So I began reading some posts, exploring the multitude of applications discussed, and “lurking”.
The first application that I explored, which isn’t directly a GTD app, but one meant to provide more productivity in using your Mac was Quicksilver. This free application really is something that should be built into the OS, but that’s for another discussion. Suffice to say, once you get a hang of the app, you may never really touch your mouse or use the dock again. (Well, not really, but it is safe to say you will use the mouse much less, and the dock, well, that can be eliminated.)
From there, I began reading more and more about the GTD concept, and decided it was time to get the book. My frugal nature led me to my local library, however, the waiting list for the book was 57 people (I’ve yet to be notified by the library that a copy was available for me). So procrastination took over, I blew off several trips to the book store, and I continued my struggle with knowing what I needed to be doing.
Finally, on New Years Eve, my muse purchased the book for me, and I immediately began reading. It was as if the book had been written for me (I’m sure most people feel that way upon first reading). I’m not going to try and explain the concept, I don’t think I could do it justice, but a brief overview is that it’s intended to get ALL the things that people generally keep in their head, be it work, home, or personal, and put them into a system that allows to track them. It also introduces the idea of breaking “projects”, that is, anything that has more than one step, into “next actions”. So instead of having a to do list with “landscape yard” item, you have a project, and then steps to accomplishing the task. The goal is to remove those from your head, those nagging, “I know I should be doing…” type things, and allow you to concentrate on the “doing”. This should alleviate the stress and anxiety from the daily routine. Sounds perfect.
The next step is to find a system that works for you. David Allen doesn’t necessarily have a specific system, just a concept. Many, many systems exist, some paper based, some electronic, some a mix. As I work completely on the computer now (crossing fingers that sticks), a computer based system seems most logical. So off I went looking for a system.
My first stop was a FireFox extension GTDGmail, which hacks into your gmail account, and provides for project creation, contexts (that is, “where” or “how” you do the task, @phone, @errands, etc). It was a good primer on the concept, and has helped in managing my many emails from clients. However, soon it became clear that wasn’t sufficient enough for me for the entirety of the GTD system.
I’ve looked at ideas for using BackPack, which I like, but ultimately, didn’t seem like the best solution for me. I’ve also looked at several of the wiki hacks, as well as the Kinkless system. Which, seems well done, but as it requires Omni Outliner Pro, I wasn’t ready to invest in more software. Apparently Omni Group is working on OmniFocus, a full fledged app implementing what Kinkless does with Omni Outliner, and worth keeping an eye on.
Which leads me to my final decision. Currently, I’m using Actiontastic, which is still in beta, and will be an app that will have to be purchased at some point. It integrates with quicksilver, so I can easily add items to my inbox without actually moving to the app (for instance, while typing this, if I remember I need to buy TP, I can easily send that to the app with a few keystrokes). I’ve also looked at Tracks, a Ruby on Rails application that can either be installed locally on my Mac, or hosted on my server. Hosting it on my server would give me the ability to access it from any computer, and though I haven’t explored it completely, I’m guessing now that I have internet access on my phone, I could add items from the phone’s browser (or at least via email/SMS). If you are interested in testing Tracks, you can visit a free hosted version at Tracks Train.
No matter which I choose, the bottom line is I need to now actually implement the system, so I can actually start “doing”, which is a caveat of sorts. It really is a matter of dedicating time to do it. It’s really not something that can be done in spurts, or half way. I think that is the real reason for blogging it, a challenge to myself to really get it in gear. I intend on blogging more about the process, as both a way to share, and a means of archiving the process for my own benefit, especially if a new, or better “system” comes along. I’ve all but decided to go with Actiontastic, so the next step will be to nail down the contexts for my system.
Usually, I just wait for my buddy over at Tiny Little Dots to post stuff like this, but since he’s still rehabbing a broken collar bone, remodeling a kitchen, and working on redoing his blog, I figured I’d take the lead and do a little art gallery show and tell. This pic in particular gave me a great big chuckle, especially after the day I had dealing with a down server. Gallery Home Page
Remember way back when I was first starting out cooking, and I asked you for a copy of Harold McGee’s On Food and Cooking. I was just a hack kid in the kitchen, desperate to learn more about the science behind the art that had all but consumed me. You quickly obliged, and I took that knowledge on a journey that I wouldn’t trade for anything.
Now, that I’ve grown, my interests and profession are taking another turn, and again I turn to you to bring me a book that will do for me what Harold’s did for me back then. Andy Budd wrote CSS Mastery, yet another brilliant insight into the “science” behind the “art” that has taken me onto my most current journey. I’ve muddled my way through so far, but I trust that with the guidance this book offers, I can excel in this medium in a similar manner that I did with my last discipline.
P.S. If you happen to find room in your bag to add a new Mac Book Pro and a 20” cinema display, I promise to be a really, really, good boy.
Daily Kos: Last to Die for Bush’s and His Pals Lies
Brings it all home
I’ve used the “Press It” bookmarklet about as long as I’ve used WordPress. When the feature was originally used in 1.5.x, a new window would open up, and you could reference the original site for what you wanted to use for content. In 2.0.x, it takes you from the site to your write post panel, which means I either have to go back and re-open the site, or remember what it was I wanted to use from the site. That is until today. I accidently had some text highlighted on a page when I used the bookmarklet, and when taken to the write post page, the highlighted text was pasted into post panel. Cool! Now I can highlight a blurb for a blockquote, then “Press It”, and simply add the blockquote html tags and finish the post.
“We’re not at war. War ended a long time ago,” another recruiter says.
Wow. Simply fucking wow…
If you’ve ever set up a wireless network, especially one with Airport Express stations, you’ll get a chuckle of this tale from Dave Winer.
I’ve blogged about my browser issues before, but I just have to share how cool I think FireFox 2 is. Now with built in spell checker (just right click a word, and suggestions are at the top of the menu, perfect for blogging and email), it’s quick, totally extensible , and just makes working on line so much more productive. A few extensions are a must for me, so I had to wait a few weeks for them to be released before I could start testing it, but the wait was well worth it.
First was the GrApple theme. I loathe the candy-ish default theme, and was quite pleased when theme makers started adding Mac Os-esque brushed metal themes. I haven’t taken to the newer Apple look, ie, iTunes 7, so the more subtle brushed metal look of GrApple suites me fine, especially the small buttons in the nav bar.
Then are the extensions.
Some plugins were FF 2.0 ready, such as the indispensable Web Developer. I’m a big fan of using tabs, and one extension was borking my tabs. Uninstalling the Tabbed Browser Preferences solved the issues. A better tab manager, Tab Mix Plus, fixes issues with windows opening up instead of tabs (note, I downloaded a RC from the developer site, the new release should up on mozilla in the next day or so).
Another great developer tool is MeasureIt, which allows you drag across the screen a box that measures in pixels. When working out kinks in spacing, this is invaluable. Also helpful is ViewSourceWith, which lets you choose an application (like a text editor) to open a page source with. Makes finding which line number an error is a snap. Finally, Colorzilla allows you to grab hex colors from a site, nice to have if you are trying to recreate an existing site, or simply like a color scheme of a site.
A few other extensions that I recently discovered are CSSViewer, which once turned on, allows you scroll around a page, and it shows the CSS for that element, and OPML Support, which allows you to import/export your FF bookmarks in an OPML format, which for WordPress users, is nice, as you can import those files into your Blogroll/Links Manager, not to mention RSS reader.
In addition to those, Google’s Browser sync and toolbar, CoComment’s extension and AdBlock Plus, make general browsing a snap.
There are literally thousands of extensions out there, with new ones being added all the time. If you’ve discovered any other can’t-live-without extensions, I’d love to hear about them.
As I’ve had this site for a while, I’ve become less and less of a stats whore, but at least a few times a month I check my referrer logs. The past month or so, I’ve been linked to by two separate design showcase sites. The first, Liquid Designs, showcases sites that use liquid width design. A lot of this site is based on that concept, and it’s something I’m learning more about. The second, and more recent is from Design Melt Down, part of their “Beautiful Blogs” section.
I did put a lot of time into this past springs CSSReboot for the site, and have tried to maintain the site despite the lapses in content. However I would have never expected ANY type of recognition for the work. So to the operators of the site, and those that have clicked over, thanks.
Andrew Sullivan, conservative blogger, sums it up quite well, “The intervention is next Tuesday. Do them a favor, will you?”.
Test your web design in different browsers – Browsershots Bloody well cool. Doesn’t test IE 6 however.
The San Francisco engineering company’s last government contract to rebuild power, water and sewage plants across Iraq expired on Tuesday. Some employees remain to finish the paperwork, but essentially, the company’s job is done.
So, we drop 2.3 billion to do nothing, they see it, and cash in their chips. BrilliantDaily Kos