back in the saddle

Well, after a week of trying to find, Stephen and I figured out what was wrong with MT and got the right packages installed to get it working again. Bonus, he also installed Pg::DB, so I’ll switch from Berkeley to Postgres some time soon.

News with me is that I’m moving! Not houses this time, but offices. Jeff and I have leased a nice little office in Yaletown, above Rodney’s. Which makes this owning a company thing somehow so much more official and real, being both exciting and scary, of course. Although, as our rent isn’t really changing (the dollar value remains mostly the same, just now it’s in cash, rather than trade for services), it shouldn’t be too hard. But now there’s things like insurance, alarms, water, phones, etc that fall to us. Yikes! Yippee! And oh boy am I tired from taking apart those desks and moving them. Now I’ve got to put them together. I’ll upload a photo or two soonish. We’ve a view (barely!) of False Creek & David Lam Park!.


I’ve added DoxDesk’s Parasite, a little javascript doo-hickey that roots out spyware piggybacking on your browser. If you have any spyware that it detects, there will be a message atop this page. I’ve not customized the look of it yet, but it would appear above the header even.

This public service comes after visiting Mark Pilgrim’s site on a public computer, and his site alerting me to the fact that it had spyware installed on it, via the script I’ve just added here.


I’ve added Re_Invigorate as a means to track traffic here at this site. Not terribly exciting for you, you say? Well, I say phooey to that! It’s free, which is good, it has a nice clean interface (with pie charts! everyone loves pie charts!) and for those with nothing to do, there’s a FlashMX live data monitor that plays a sound whenever anyone pings your site.

I figure this will quickly become popular amongst us bloggers, or anyone wanting quick, free site stats. So check it out, and if you like it, pass it on!

An added bonus utility I see with this outfit? real-time data sampling of everyone on their system. Which could be a nice, quick way to find out most popular browsers/OS/Resolutions, etc.

Changes to the blog

So there’s been a couple of minor changes to the comments on this site. I’ve added in the new, cleaner comments template from Movable Type. I’ve also created a white-washed version of the ‘logo’ (the guy on the left on the homepage), which now floats in the background.

Finally, I’ve been thinking that maybe I should give this thing a name, different from my domain name, which, ego-stroking as it may be, is not terribly descriptive. When I was younger, I used to have a moniker that I used when creating things, Frustrated Guppy (which came from a very disturbing nightmare). Homework was often a ‘Frustrated Guppy Production’. Anything money-making was through ‘Frustrated Guppy Inc’. I went so far as to sketch out a title sequence if I ever had a film company (I was once a film student). So I was thinking, for old time’s sakes, something along those lines. But perhaps not.

But consider this an open call to name my blog. If any of y’all have any ideas, please feel free to let me know.


I’ve installed Gallery on the site (actually, truth be told, I did little more than unzip and configure it. Steve, my ever-so-gracious host, had to rebuild PHP for me, as apparently there’s something bungy with the Debian version to do with sessions. So we’re now running an apparently not-fully-tested build of PHP on here, which might destablize the server, but at least there’s working session variables!).

So from time to time, as I do stuff, photos may appear there. I may also at some point customize the layout somewhat more. But in the mean time, please check out my gallery page, which houses a few of my photos from my Australian trip last November. As a note, I make no claims for my skill as a photographer, nor any for the quality of my camera.

Update (5:22pm, January 31st): Finally, all 164 of the photos from my Australian trip have been uploaded. So have a look! Next up, photos from Orlando!

Creative Commons

So I’ve gone and added a Creative Commons sticker on the left-hand side of the site. Why? Well, I suppose this is (sometimes) a creative work that is mine. Why else? Because I like the idea of Creative Commons and spreading this meme seems like a good thing.

I’ve set the site as a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licensed, meaning you can do what you will with the content, but must give me credit. If you want to use the credit for commercial purposes, you must ask me first. Finally, if you want to alter the work, that’s fine, as long as the altered work is published under this same license.

As far as I know, the only time the content of this site has been used by someone else is a couple of reviews that have ended up in Discorder, so there’s not been a great demand. But you never know, and now I’m covered.

More fun with Regex!

Extending The Curly Quotes Module is fun! With a little understanding of how RegEx works, you can do all sorts of fun things. For instance, I added the following into my ‘Curly Quotes’ template:


Which does what you may ask? Well, it does the same thing as the Hivelogic URL Cleaner. It finds all instances of an & in the site, and converts it to the equivalent symbolic notation (&#038;), except when it is followed by a # (indicating it’s already a symbolic notation of something). As an added bonus, this version will clean up your &’s all over the place, so your page will validate. Well, except for that pesky RDF thing.

There is a downside, in that I’m now force to used numeric symbolic equivalents instead of the handy shortcuts (like &#060; instead of &lt;), but I’m sure I’ll figure out some workaround for that too. Perhaps if I simply replace all those with their numerical equivalents before replacing the ampersand? I’ll sleep on this one.

Curly Quotes, em & en dashes regex!

photomatt | Curly Quotes in Movable Type

I installed the Curly Quotes Regex Plugin, including the advanced em & en dash replacer thing as well. To test this, I’m copying out this spiel on em & en dashes by Marian:

There are 3 lengths of dashes: the shortest is the hypen (-), then the n-dash (–), and the longest is the m-dash (—).

The hyphen is used to join things together: so-called, buttermilk-fed, A-Team, 604-555-1323, #206 – 3245 W. 2nd.

The n-dash is used to indicate a range: 1–5, 3244–3245 W. 2nd, 1963–67, fifth–sixth.

The m-dash keeps things apart—like this.

“I told him it was pretty extreme—obscene acutally—these 5–6 buttermilk-fed poodle-huskies. He claims that in 2002–3 there will be a voracious craze for fat, curly-haired sled-dogs—but I think he’s nuts. He claims to own a townhouse that covers the fifth–sixth floors at 320 – 27th Street. I don’t believe him—but I gave him our phone number anyway (604-555-1323), because he might need a brochure or website someday.”


A dirty little secret of mine is that I’m a dictionary nerd. I love dictionaries. When I was younger, I used to read the dictionary. I don’t anymore, but that’s because I’ve also become a dictionary snob, and will not be satisfied until I own the two-volume OED set. Which costs an arm and a leg.

But in the interim I thought I’d make use of’ word of the day to educate the masses who visit my site. So, whenever fancy takes me, I’m going to use’s word of the day in some way during a post, and I’ll link the word back to them so you can look it up.

I once considered myself a card-carrying member of the clerisy. However, in recent years, the smug arrogance of my youth has worn off, as I realise more and more that while yes, I’m fairly well-read and well-thought, I don’t contribute anything. I don’t write publicly (well, apart from this now), I don’t go to conferences, I’ve all but stopped reading journals and books related to fields that interest me. I contine to read, but now it’s mostly novels. Admittedly, one can learn a great deal about society from novels, but I think to be considered an intellectual elite, a certain familiarity with contemporary theory, that I currently lack, is required. Also, I doubt that the literati comma-splice as much as I do.