WordPress 2.0 (It Works!)

Have you read my blog yet?

Yes, folks, if you’re reading this then I was able to upgrade to WordPress 2.0. Although it looks exactly the same on the outside (what you’re seeing now), the management interface is completely overhauled. It is much more like a WordPress.com account, for those of you who that means anything to.1

The new release of WordPress also comes with a fancy WYSIWIG html editor installed. I’m going to have to make some modifications to this (or wait until people update their plug-ins) before I can really make use of it, though. However, a lot of it is mostly eye candy; such as AJAX menu options and update notifications. All-in-all, worth the 30 minutes of upgrade work and it should make the work of writing, well, a little less work.

Just testing some other functions. No need to pay attention to the man behind the man behind the green curtain..

  1. It appears that footnotes are working, too! []

Happy Birthday Super-Structure

Super-structure turns one year old, today.

Super-structure turns one year old, today.

Okay, so I’ve had a web site for sometime longer than that, but it’s never been so much fun as now. Having people to be able to communicate back to me has really made this very rewarding for me. I feel like I’ve been in much better contact with family and friends over the past year than before, even when I lived much closer to some folks. This site, and also Flickr, have really made that communication possible.

I’ve averaged one post every 2.66 days during the past year, which is actually a little less than what I had intended. Some have certainly been better than others, and I still have some thoughts on how I could better organize things here. Still, I’ve been fairly happy for the amount of work I’ve put into it. I still have a life in the real world, and that requires attention, too. Else, what would I have to blog about?

Many thanks to Jason J. for all his help, as well as all the programmers and web people I don’t know who have all made this so much easier than it used to be.

What’s In A Name

I couldn’t ever use super_structure.com (or .org, .net, etc) because it wasn’t an allowed name.

About a year ago, I decided I’d put a new face on my crusty old web site and start blogging. You’ve heard the story about how I started on Blogger.com and then moved to hosting my own WordPress blog (okay, so Jason Johnson & Dreamhost do most of the heavy lifting as far as that goes). Well, back when I was signing up at Blogger, I needed a name for the site. It felt an awful lot like naming a band, for some strange reason. Some people just use their own name, others come up with stuff that I have no idea what it means. Other’s use some combination or play on their names, which I really like.

However, I wanted something that sort expressed my engineering side as well as the idea that this would still be a personal site. Somewhere, I decided on the term superstructure, which of course is the part of a building or bridge above the foundations. However, just the word seemed boring and not quite tech/geek enough. Somehow, in my mind, adding a bit of random punctuation was just enough of a twist to make it different. So the word super_structure was born. Lot’s of web pages, image files, and e-mail address have underscores instead of spaces to prevent that whole   or %20 thing. I thought that by separating the words, the word just had a different emphasis.

Later, I realized that while you can have an underscore character in the directory or file name, you can’t have one in the domain name. I couldn’t ever use super_structure.com (or .org, .net, etc) because it wasn’t an allowed name. So, I just stuck with jasoncoleman.net while continuing to use super_structure as the title.

There was critiquing, to put it nicely.

I finally decided to try and make a change today. You’ll notice that the underscore has been replaced by an en dash character (fully sanctioned for domain usage). I have also registered super-structure.org Yeah, I know, wouldn’t it be nice if they were both .net or .org, but just like dates to prom, the good ones are always taken when you get around to asking.

So, you’ll notice the universe, at least as in regard to this Jason Coleman, has now moved from super_structure to super-structure, and what’s more, you can now just type super-structure.org into your web browser to get here. The re-direct is on me.

Note: Unfortunately, as of writing this in the wee hours of Sunday morning, super-structure.org was still just being parked by GoDaddy. Hopefully, that will be corrected soon. It’s all good.

Blogging Hack

I have a Microsoft Office Keyboard and Wireless Explorer Mouse on my home desktop(s). I love the extra functionality of these devices due to the forward/back browser buttons (among other buttons). I’ve even bought a second Office keyboard for my office desktop because I found the copy/cut/paste and the application switch buttons to be so handy in data post-processing (I’ll spare you the gory details on that one…).

However, one of the really frustrating things about web-form blogging (as in my WordPress blog you’re reading now) is that I occasionally hit the back button on one of these devices by accident. This sends me back to the previous admin page, of course, and completely empties the web form in which I was typing my post. Hopefully, I’ve saved often, but usually even losing a paragraph is very annoying. Since I really don’t want to give up my fancy-pants keyboard and mouse, I’ve had to come up with a way to prevent this from happening.

Essentially, I open the Write Post link in a new FireFox browser tab, which then doesn’t have any page history of its own. I can then accidentally hit those back buttons to my heart’s content, knowing that I won’t loose anything. You can accomplish the same thing by making use of the Press It bookmarklet feature in WordPress, which essentially just opens up a Write dialog in a new browser window, but that’s not how I generally work while blogging. The new tab seems to be the most straightforward method for me.

Hope this helps some other fat-fingered blogger.

Comment Spam Haiku

Thank you, Auto Loan and Texas Hold ’em for your lovely comment spam poetry, which you bombard me with on a daily basis.

Thank you, Auto Loan and Texas Hold ’em for your lovely comment spam poetry, which you bombard me with on a daily basis. Example:

Name: auto loan | E-mail: main@texas-holdem.us | URI: http://college-loan-424.blogspot.com/ | IP: 139.130.62.132

justice, disdain of frail-fleshed
hill-constructions lasted house-passage on the marsh-plants and race-courses.
I oversea you fear for me, but may you not sui (sic) secreted the cause of alarm to yourself
auto loan

Fantastic stuff.

Here are some more, from some old spam messages:

poker games Know thyself.

Kind of a spam Greek philosopher, that poker.

There is always something wrong, if one is straining to make the commonplace incomprehensible.

Wasn’t that on deep thoughts with Jack Handy?

The blind willingness to sacrifice people to truth, however, has always been the danger of an ethics abstracted from life.

A quote on ethics, from a spammer hocking cheap phentermine. Oh the irony of the autonomous script quote-generator.

Here’s a great one that just came in Friday afternoon:

Among them was a half-starve nurse-maid moss-oak and his sun-glow, who had often scooped the abolitionists might as well tesselated to his persequar and stigmatize his horse or wheat as to keep slave-holders out of their semi-publicity property.

Isn’t that Harriet Tubman?

Pardon Our Dust

I’m back to working on the site again, rather than just posting at random.

[NOTE: You may need to hit refresh, even after you’ve loaded the page in your browser, to get the most recent style sheet. Don’t worry if that doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t make sense to me why you need to do it.]

Providing you can read this post at all, you can likely see I’m back to working on the site again, rather than just posting at random. On the back end, I’ve upgraded to the most recent version of WordPress (v1.5.2, if you counting). I’m attempting to clean up some of the site as well. I’d like to go for a slightly less "bloggy" feel. I’m insanely jealous of Trey’s site. He can feel safe in knowing that it simply isn’t possible for me to muster up enough layout and coding ability over the course of a weekend to actually copy him. I’ll have to settle for inspiration and envy.

Also, I’m going to keep all this live the entire time, no matter how terrible it looks. I know that must make my design friends just shiver, but I’m in the construction business. You don’t shut down a building just because you’re renovating it. You simply put up plastic and plywood to protect people from falling debris. I treat this no differently. Watch out for falling analogies. Someone could get seriously hurt if they stray too far.

Well, if you’re reading this in Internet Explorer… well, then you aren’t reading anything at al you can thank Jason J. for helping me clear things up. For some reason, IE decides to only display the header and navigation bar. Very odd, indeed. I have no idea at what point it decided to do this, so I really don’t know what is causing it. I’ll have to come up with a stop-gap measure until then. More to come.

Not that I really expect anyone who comes to this site to do so, but if you were to click on that little button on the left that reads " Valid XTHML", you’d learn that that was, in fact, a lie. However, in my defense, it’s the Flickr Badge script that is in error! Bad Flickr! I’ll have to see what I can do about that, but since my knowledge of Java Script is only a little bit more than my Schnauzer’s, it might take a while. Until, I’ll have to continue to live a lie.

29 Years and 100 Posts

A post about my recent birthday, which happens to also be the 100th post on this blog!

Happy Birthday

Well, it’s a couple of days since my birthday, so I thought I might create a special post to reflect upon it. Sure it’s a little late, but since plenty of people I know have been kind of shotgunning birthday well-wishes around the date for the past month, I’m really don’t feel bad about it. Not that I’ve minded. Having cards, calls, and e-mails sent for the past month has been kind of nice.

As the twenties slowly eek out of me, I find it interesting that I simply do not feel old. I hear so many people around my age complaining about how they are starting to get old now and how their lives have changed. Well, of course my life has changed, but none of that makes me feel any older.

Whenever I listen to a story from a friend or co-worker about their children (possibly some wacky situation the child got into just something they said), I almost always empathize with the kid rather than the parent. I always find myself saying something like "wow, I can remember doing or saying the same thing when I was that age!" Further, while the guy in the mirror looks a bit older than some of the pictures on my desk, he hardly looks like a different person. Maybe it’s because I routinely am looking for new things; new challenges or things to learn that make me feel, if not young, at least inexperienced (which is like being young, only dumber). Perhaps it is because I’m just now reaching the point in my life where I really feel like I’m doing thing I want to do. The path isn’t being laid out before me by others anymore (except the to-do lists Angela leaves for me, which are okay).

Whatever the reason, I’ve yet to have many moments which have struck me that perhaps I am getting older, at least faster than I had thought I would. The most recent that may fall into this category happened one night last week. Angela had asked me to come down to her pharmacy after work to help with some stocking and to stop at the grocery store on the way for some soda. I went to the Kroger at about 10:00 only to learn they closed at 9:00. In over two years of living in this house, neither of us had attempted to go to the grocery store past 9:00 pm. This from the guy who in college always shopped past midnight to avoid the crowds! That did sort of make me realize I’m at least not trying to act like a college student anymore. If not old, maybe just more sensible.

super_structure: mile_stone

Stats from the WordPress dashboard

This is, by the way, the 100th post to this site since it has become a blog. Yes, it’s been a quick 9-1/2 months (no, seriously, that’s how long it’s been) since my very first post, and lot’s has happened to talk about. There’s also been a lot of chaff, but hey, it’s a blog. It can’t all be Don Quixote all the time. There’s also been some changes in the blog software: I started over with a Blogger account until Jason J. convinced me to try WordPress. I’ve learned some about CSS and PHP (okay, no jokes, I said some), with still much thanks to Mr. J. Further, I’ve gotten more into digital photography and also acquired a somewhat unhealthy obsession with Flickr, which has hopefully helped to influence some of my friends.

Anyway, as this is kind of the record of my life and the world through my lens, I’m looking forward to much more content on here in the future. To all my friends, family, and complete internet strangers who have found anything on here worth reading, thanks for stopping by. I truly enjoy this method of communicating with the world and have love having people talk back to me here: friends and strangers alike. It helps me think about who I am and who I want to be and possibly who you see me as.

Why Blogs Suck

I know it may come across as, at best, clueless, and at worst, elitist, to state on my blog that weblogs suck.

I know it may come across as, at best, clueless, and at worst, elitist, to state on my blog that weblogs suck. However, they do. It’s not the blogs’ fault, or usually even the writers’. It’s the readers. More accurately, it’s the readers who feel so moved to post every little idiotic and annoying thing they can think of. These trolls are, if not ruining, at least hindering the progress toward really expressive and useful communication tools online.

Now, I’m honestly not referring to anyone who has ever posted at my site. Sure, I get some troll-ish comment spam which is pseudo-social-engineered to provoke a response. They usually consist of some shallow psycho-babble about "the meaningless existential existence of feminine culture has imbued a sense of degradation in the modern hedonistic social collective," or something like that. However, that just gets deleted within a few hours and you never have to suffer it here at super_structure. My friends, family, and strangers, all with something interesting to post, are the only people who have cast a true-type shadow upon the familiar comment form below. That comes from only those rare people who have ever heard of super_structure, which is okay by me.

No, I’m referring to the larger sites that I read throughout my digital workday: Slashdot, Engadget, TUAW, and to some extent kottke and many others. Many of these posts are of news or rumors which the writer asks open questions such as "How could this have been better?" and "If this involved X instead of Y, how would have people reacted?" The very nature of having open comment forms allows for a large conversation, in which we could share ideas and critiques to produce something great. Trey recently posted a blurb from a much larger article which I’m only addressing one small aspect of (that article was concerning the open source movement). These posts would be a great way to learn what great ideas are floating around out there and just what people really want to read, see, and use. Sadly, as Jason Kottke pointed out, this often doesn’t result in a conversation at all. Most times, it isn’t even amusing or informative. It’s just one stupid comment after another.

I suppose I had been getting exposed to this behavior reading blogs increasingly over the past year or more. However, with the recent news to which I had first hand exposure, it all became glaringly obvious. The massive amount of online exposure and news stories brought floods of comments. I read in horror as the discussion just degraded into how everyone involved was scum, and only the person writing a scathing comment about them had any insight or sensibility.

Take an example of a post made earlier this evening on Engadget. This is a site that posts about, of all things, gadgets. They often, after a product has been on the market for a while and many readers have a had the opportunity to use it, ask "what would you do to make it better?" This would be one of my favorite kinds of posts, except for comments like this, by macsucks:

first change, i’d dump this crappy mouse along with its crappy system…

…and they get worse from there. For every single useful comment, there are about five completely useless statements (I’m not counting the most inane of all, the "first post"). If Engadget and TUAW are bad, Slashdot has become utterly pathetic. The once uber-geek site is now host to online wannabe geeks with nothing better to do than bash Microsoft first and Apple second. I’m not saying there are legitimate complaints about both companies, but there’s room for that online, and making harsh comments about Gates and Jobs ad nausium is hardly the way to go.

I am hardly above making crude jokes or rash judgments about people in the news, but I at least try and make some attempt to frame them as such. Further, I usually try and maintain enough of the human virtue of empathy to at least understand that I do not know all of the story and therefore can’t serve as a faultless judge. That being said, maybe some of these trolls are just having a bad day and need to vent… or maybe Jason Johnson’s right: they’re just 12 year old jerks with too much free time.

Either way, until there is a Greasemonkey script which allows for a stupidity threshold, I’m going to curtail my reading of comments and stop posting comments myself. Unless I can find some decent conversations online underway,as I seem to have little luck in starting them myself.

[I continue to make a liar out of myself by posting to these and other blogs. Why to I hate myself so?]

The Dark Side of Internet Fame

I had 122 comment spam messages since Friday evening, so I’ve turned comments off for a while, until I can figure out a way to weed them out a little better. After looking at some of the blogs I frequent, it seems that the activity everywhere has increased in the past few days. I hope it’s not affected any of my friends, as I really enjoy getting to converse through posts and comments. At least it’s not affected Flickr in anyway.

Anyway, when I find a suitable solution (read WordPress hack), I’ll have them back here again. In the meantime, just e-mail jason at this domain.

Comment Spam

I had no less than 20 comment spam waiting for me this morning.

I had no less than 20 comment spam waiting for me this morning. These were all since around 12:30 am. Looks like someone got a new spam generator in their Easter basket! Anyway, the spam blocking in WordPress caught them all, since they were all obviously spam. I’ve not come across too many of the really tricky ones as of yet. Anything that WordPress has missed in the past, I’ve been able to pick up on some keyword to add to the flag-list.

Oh, I suggest you not try and leave any comments that might include mention of any pharmaceuticals related to Men’s performance enhancement. They’ll be deleted before I can even do anything about it. Just being fair here. Not that I really wanted to talk about that with you anyway.