9rules Network Adds More Blogs

9rules Network has announced 111 new sites for the network. 111!? Before I go any further, let me say, that I’m not some bitter blogger that was part of the 589 bloggers that were rejected. I would never consider this blog something for a network. I don’t have a niche, I don’t post enough, I simply rant out loud, and a few people actually read it. Period.
But as someone who reads a lot of sites, I once took a site’s acceptance into 9rules as some sort of validation, that perhaps before reading a post, there was a strong chance that the author was going to know what they were talking about, or that the information would indeed be valid. But to water down the network, IMO, with that many blogs in one fell swoop, I can’t help but believe it was a publicity stunt for a group that had recently fallen off the radar, so to speak.
I mean, what better way to get the blogosphere to chatter about you than to “accept” 111 sites into the network. How much traffic directly from those sites is generated alone? Plus those, (I guess I’m buying into the hype by posting this) who comment on the recent events. I must say, I really have a hard time buying any of this, and will now take the 9rules logo on a site with a grain of salt, and that is an injustice to those who have been longer termed members of the network.
I’d like to say I haven’t looked at all 111 sites, and I’m sure they are all fine bloggers in their own right. I simply have a hard time understanding how that many are brought in at once.
I think I might create a snazzy little logo and start my own network. I’m sure at least 100 of those 589 that were not admitted are as good in their own right as the 111 picked. It could be called the Odd Man Out Network. Wonder how much ad revenue that would generate? Anyone interested in joining?

Firefox Updated – Didn’t Ask

So I downloaded the bleeding edge version of Firefox, code name bon echo, to poke around a bit. Seemed a little snappier, but could have been because 98% of the plugins were disabled. Turn it off, open my regular firefox, and without asking me, it upgraded to 1.5.0.3. Bullshit, I say. I don’t want the latest version, if simply for the fact that the reason I use FireFox is the extensions. And this version, the extensions I rely on, are now disabled. So I might as well use Safari. I like to wait until the extensions catch up with the release. And I’m not at all happy with the new RSS icon in the address bar. This really was a bad move, and I’m not sure how it happened. A really bad taste, that’s for sure.

Update So I’m guessing they realized that 1.5.0.3 was borked, because 1.5.0.4 is now out, and my extensions work now. In the meantime, I checked out Camino, a Mac mozilla based browser, and may just well use that for everyday browsing. I don’t like the idea of using more than one, but now that I have Scuttle set up on my site, (I used delicious, but don’t like the idea of Yahoo controlling my bookmarks), bookmarking isn’t as big an issue with the 2 browser set up. Camino is faster, FF offers extensions that make working on web sites invaluable. So I may just become a 2 broswer guy.

When Did This Happen?

So I’ve got an old truck. And it was bloody hot out today. Running errands, I see the temperature gauge creeping up. Ok, needs water. Not a big deal. Yeah, right. Sometime along the way, gas stations simply stopped offering water. I can shampoo the hell out of my rug, but I can’t put the third most important thing in the thing to keep it running. Not just one I tell you, ALL of them.
I take that back, Shell had some water. $.75 to use, and it came out by the thimble full. At $2.80+ a gallon for gas, and record profits for these companies, you’d think that when they sell you water, you’d get enough to keep the vehicle running long enough to fill the tank back up.
Self preservation, or something. Then again, I doubt they really care about those who aren’t driving around a brand new Escalade…

jesseslife.com

jesseslife.comA guy dropping out of the hustle and bustle, visiting all of the national parks our great country (yes, despite wiretapping, FBI raids on congressman’s offices, and the like, I still think it’s a great country) has to offer. Beautiful pictures, and great insight. He seems to be about half way through the parks, so I’m looking forward to the rest of his journey. I’ve not been to quite as many parks as he, but reading his ventures through Rocky Mountain National Park and Badlands stirred memories of a younger, more bright-eyed miklb driving cross the the plains of North Dakota and Wyoming, down into Denver. Having grown up with the natural beauty of Florida, the northern plains and the Rocky Mountains were another world.
I’m looking forward to the rest of Jesse’s adventure, and wish him the best in his sojourn.

Pelosi Asks Jefferson to Resign from Committee

Washington Post
I’m not the biggest fan of Pelosi, but I applaud the token letter she sent out. So often one side criticizes another, yet fails to follow their own marching orders. She’s putting the Democratic Party’s money where their mouth is. While well heeled Republicans like the likes of Ney and DeLay held their posts well after annouced charges, with a ground swell of support from the White House down, the Dem’s are doing what is right. Step aside, and let the courts sort it out. Do the right thing.
Problem is, he won’t.

On Spam

There has been much buzz the past week regarding comment/trackback spam around the net. Discussions regarding a cyber spam war, threads all over the WP support forums, and blog post after blog post regarding spam. Meanwhile, I sit wondering am I missing out on something? Do the spammers simply not like me? I’ve gotten one or two Spam Karma digests, with a few caught spams over the past week, but nothing like the “100s” of spams I’ve seen people mention. I didn’t think I was doing anything exceptional to protect against spam. I’m running Bad Behavior and Spam Karma 2. No Akismet, the golden child of WP lead developer Matt Mullenweg, no captchas, nothing else.
Then I wonder, is it because I’ve donated to both plugin developers, that I really do have Spam Karma on my side? Either way, know if and when I get an adsense deposit, that a portion of it will go again to both plugin developers, just in case 😉

Saudi Men Board High School Bus

TBO.com
I’m not quite sure what to make of this, but I have to agree, the substitute driver should have had better training in how to handle riders that seem not to be students. However, I can also understand the level of concern, and truthfully feel the authorities are handling this in the proper manner. I don’t care if they are Saudi or not, two adults boarding a high school bus, and not showing complete remorse when told of what they’ve done requires further investigation. I’m not a fan of racial profiling to say the least , however, in today’s climate, all precaution should be taken. And as I said, any adult not showing remorse sends a signal to me. You have to think the driver and students were on the edge of their seat the whole ride, and were happy to see swarm of police when they arrived at school. What I hope not to see is a rash of law suits from well to do parents claiming negligence on the drivers part. That will accomplish nothing, but strap an already over burden school system with legal fees and potentially worse.

Clearly something needs to be clarified about how to handle similar situations, and at least in this area, better training and incentives for drivers need to be in place, as anytime something “scary” or worse happens, its a substitute driver at the wheel.

Moved Again :(

ASOAlas, I’ve moved servers again, and it’s not been fun. Not only am I moving this site and the subdomains, I’m moving two other domains to the new server. I’ve ventured into the realm of managing multiple domains. Yay! (not). Anyway, it’s a headache but at least once it’s done, it’s done. A Small Orange looks like great hosting so I shouldn’t have to worry about this again for a LONG time.

“We Know Who You’ve Been Talking To…”

The Blotter

“It’s time for you to get some new cell phones, quick,” the source told us in an in-person conversation…Other sources have told us that phone calls and contacts by reporters for ABC News, along with the New York Times and the Washington Post, are being examined as part of a widespread CIA leak investigation.

When will it stop? What has to happen for the voices of the sanity and democracy to rise above this administration and reign it back in?
I’ve not posted about this really, as it seems everyone else has said it more eloquently than I, but at this point, I think people simply need to continue to put it out there, don’t let it go away with another news cycle about another cute blonde disappearing in the tropics (as sad as the story is, it shouldn’t be prime time news, every night).
And instead of coming clean tonight, he’s going to talk about sending soldiers to the southern border.
Hat tip to Bob Harris for the link

Super Cool Mac App

If all the other nifty things your mac does isn’t enough to impress your friends, then the next time you have a party and the music is pumping out of your computer to the stereo wirelessly via the airport express, have this little app running on the desk top, and tell your friends to go pick out an album.
Cover Flow takes your album art from itunes, and makes a virtual CD rack, where you can move from one album to the next looking at the cover, just like the old days :D. You can click on the album directly in the app, it launches in itunes, and you can can continue to scroll through the collection.

Hat tip to Macnewbie for the link

Switching to Feedburner

I’ve switched my feeds to feedburner, for a variety of reasons. I’m hoping whom ever has already subscribed (one or two of you at least 🙂 ) will get the new feed with no problems, and I’m testing it out myself. I’ve only ever used feedburner for new sites, so let’s hope this goes off without a hitch.
Speaking of feeds, I recently mentioned Share your OPML, well, I signed up, and it’s kinda interesting. I like the similar feeds feature. It compares your file to others, and then returns a list of people’s feeds. So you can read through other’s list, and find feeds you might interested in. (As if I didn’t have enough to read now!)

Bane of My Existence

I’ve been a home owner for a little over 5 years, and for the most part, haven’t thought twice about the decision. That is, until the toilet acts up. That damn thing has been nothing short of the proverbial thorn in my side from day one. Leaking, not flushing, overfilling, you name it, I’ve dealt with it. And being the “manly man” that I am, I’ve done all the repairs myself, even when I’ve made huge mistakes like chipping the tank where the fill valve seats, and having to hunt down some kind of epoxy/resin to fill in the chips so the tank would fill and not leak.
No matter how many times I’ve replaced the ballcock, refill valve, handle, lever, 3 months later this thing stops working properly. I feel like I’m a Marine with an M16 when it comes to the thing. I could take it apart and put it back together blindfolded. Today wasn’t too bad, I had to take the ballcock apart, and clean a little gasket inside, reseat it, and adjust the lever to allow the float to rise.
So set the timer, by August, something will have to be replace.

Blogging Identity Crisis

I’m sure I’ve touched on this topic before, but after the reboot, I’ve found myself wanting to simply “blog” more. I still have my cooking site, and mentally beat myself up for not using it more, and wonder if simply marrying it with this site is the best idea. I wouldn’t feel so compelled to produce content for two different sites, as well as keep up with WordPress Station. I could simply write about food, and food topics interspersed with my political rants, web finds, and occasional fishing stories. (Those have been few and far between for sure).
I read more and more blogs these days, and that’s exactly what I’m finding, that the sites are not just specific to one topic, that they truly are extensions of the author. So in a given week, a story about a loved one, web standards, a sporting event, and dinner out can all be intertwined into one site. As I type this, I feel that is where my direction will go, it just seems to make “sense”. Less focus on having to blog about a certain topic, and more on wanting to. Because, in the end, isn’t that what it’s all about?

Gregarius Update – RSS

I’ve updated my RSS reader, Gregarius, to the latest SVN. Which means the latest code. Not always a great idea, but this version has been in development for some time, and about to be released as .5.4. I’d like to thank Adam Kalsey for his help via IRC, and for his theme. I really want to look closer at the the theme system, I really think it’s similar to WordPress’s system. Adam’s theme is definitely an improvement in a lot of ways over the default theme, but I’d like to maybe soften it up a bit. For some reason, my eyes just don’t work with the grays. Especially the header image.
While I’m on the subject, I was checking out Dave Winer’s Share your OPML. I haven’t added my OPML yet, but I did discover Mark Cuban’s Blog Maverick. I’m not a big basketball fan, but of all the interviews I’ve seen/read, I’ve found him interesting. Reading his posts left me with a similar feeling. I’ve always secretly wished he would buy the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from the Glazers. Who knows. Anyway, I’m off to the OPML site to find more feeds for my reading pleasure.

More Reasons to Halt the Death Penalty

I’ve not blogged about this topic before, but I came across 2 newspaper articles this morning outlining major deficiencies in the system. While in college, I wrote an argumentative paper against capital punishment, and I still stand by that stance. I don’t believe those convicted of murder should live in the lap of luxury, however I don’t believe we’ve perfected a system to take another’s life in response to murder. This article from the Columbus Dispatch details failure in the actual lethal injection process, in which failure to establish an IV led to a prolonged process, that had to be done behind closed doors.
In this NY Times article, short comings in the state of Texas’s method of reviewing deaths by arson. Currently in Texas, the reviews are made by people who’ve never attended any formal training in the area. The article outlines the execution of an innocent man due to the process.
So mistakes a plenty, no empirical evidence that the death penalty prevents murders, and mountains of tax dollars spent to litigate death penalty cases, can we end this archaic practice now?

Thumbnails on Home Page

This little tutorial is intended as a means of providing WordPress users the means of posting a thumbnail image on their home page, and having a full size image on the single page view. This is accomplished using the image uploader built into WordPress, and CSS. If you are intending on using excerpts on the home page, then the addition of Kaf’s Excerpt Reloaded plugin. His plugin allows for the inclusion of tags within the excerpt, something the built in function the_excerpt does not.
The first step is to make sure you have the_content or the_excerpt wrapped in a unique div class. I’m not sure of the exact correct semantics, but I simply call my home page excerpt “home”, and single page div “single”. (Note, depending on your theme, you may or may not need to create a separate class for the single page view. I actually wound up not using single in my theme, as I was able to use the class “primary” from the original code. The objective is to have a parent div to call with the specific class we assign the thumbnail).
Next, when you upload your images via the WP upload, be sure to note the path. Generally speaking, both the created thumbnail and full size image are placed in the same directory. the difference being the thumbnail file is yourimage.thumbnail.jpg. So now that you have uploaded the image, and the thumbnail has been created, it’s time to place both the thumbnail and full size image in your post. We are going to code the image directly, and not use the WYSIWYG or quick tag buttons, as we need to add a class directly to the image. Again, not sure about proper semantics, but I used “big” and small, obviously for the full size and thumbnail, respectively. Note, if you want to also float the image, you can use two classes, simply leave a space between each class. An example would look something like this :
image
Now to create the CSS to hide images on the different pages.
First, to hide the full size image on the main page, we need to add to our style sheet .home .big {display: none}.
Then to hide the thumbnail on the single page view, we add .single .small {display: none}.
That’s it. A couple of simple CSS classes and the built in image upload. A note about the code. Depending on your theme, you may or may not need to create a few more templates. If your theme only has an index.php file, then you’ll need to save a copy of that as single.php then make the changes to that, as outlined.
I’d love some feedback on the semantics of the classes, as that’s still an area I’m learning about, as well as any general feedback about the concept. It works fine for the theme structure I’m using, but if you run into any problems with your theme, please leave a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you make it work.

CSS Spring Reboot ’06

rebootrebootI’m in the process of installing my new look for the CSS Reboot, so if things look a little wonky, bear with me. Also, if you notice something awry, please leave a comment.

EditLooks like CSS Reboot is back online, so a little while from now, hundreds, if not a 1000 or more sites will be officially launching new designs. A great way to see the freshest designs and ideas out there.
Edit 2Oh, yeah, I also gave a little face lift to the rarely used Miklb.com