The Doodle Pad

Digital Doodles - Now Powered by Drupal 6

Construction worker with jackhammerDigital Doodles, formally running Drupal 5, is now powered by Drupally 6 goodness. It must be goodness, because 6 is more than 5! Um, yah. Doing software upgrades is one of the more tedious tasks associated with running a content management system, particularly when there's no obvious improvement as reward for your troubles. The work would only warrant a footnote, except . . .

Since there were a lot of "under the hood" changes between Drupal 5 and Drupal 6 and I had to tinker anyways, I went on to make some site changes I've been wanting to do. Nothing earth shattering, but improvements, I think.

For the somewhat curious, here's what I've been up to:

  • Layout has changed. Content on the the left and all sidebars on the right. I'm trying out a fixed width layout. Haven't decided if I like it better.
  • Navigation links have moved into the header and are a bit prettier.
  • Site breadcrumbs were borked and I think they may have hurt more than helped. They're rock solid, now.
  • Doodle Pad blog archive page was functional, but not especially usable. There's a whole new blog archive system, now. Although I built exactly what I envisioned, it's not the usability improvement I'd hoped for. More work required there later, right now I'll settle for improved.
  • About page was re-added.

Continue reading Digital Doodles - Now Powered by Drupal 6

Sony Angel of Death

Angel of DeathZoë Bell first hit my radar in Tarantino's Grindhouse contribution, Death Proof. She's a stunt woman with acting chops. When Wil Wheaton posted about a new web series staring Ms. Bell, I had to check to check it out!

Andrew James at Row Three outlines Zoë Bell's coolness better than I could in his post: Zoë Bell in “Angel of Death”. And Wheaton's post, new webseries from ed brubaker debuts today. you don't want to miss this, gives a quick overview of the series and its creator.

More significant than the series itself, we have more evidence of the big Hollywood players are not just giving lip service to this web thing. Independent web series like The Guild lead the way proving original web content works. With Angel of Death we see one of the bigs following.

While Angel of Death is viewable, most of the other content at Sony's Crackle.com comes up unavailable, probably because I'm in Canada. Overall, I'd say Sony has moved from an "F" to a "D", with kudos for funding this particular piece of original web content!

Have You Read These?

Book Shelf
Photo by ellipse
Whenever I see a book list, I can't help but compare. This time I'll make it a blog post!

This list comes via Marina's post, How Do You Stack Up?, which came from the post, Have You Read These...?. Apparently the BBC believes most people have only read 6 of these 100 books. I've done better than that, and nearly as good a Marina. And if we're talking old, dusty books, why couldn't the Iliad be on there? I've read that Homer guy, unlike Thomas bloody Hardy.

Here's the list, feel free to play along, yourself!

Continue reading Have You Read These?

Stephen Fry on Language

(or, Embracing My Inner Language Geek)

Stephen Fry on LanguageCount me among the people who can't spell their way out of a high school English test. Who the hell thought it was a good idea having both "ible" and "able" as word endings, making both "ie" and "ei" valid letter combinations, or having so many different rules for adding "ing", not of which apply for "skiing"? And we haven't even begun talking grammar!

As an adult I've learned the rules of language are not only fluid and situational, they can often be completely ignored. But given the option of throwing them away I'm forced to admit I don't want to! To my chagrin, I care about language. How else can I explain my emotional investment in thinking the inventor of the dictionary is a skeevy literary fascist (I'm kidding, well, mostly kidding) and the spell checker is a modern marvel of the 20th Century (most emphatically not kidding), or that one of my favourite podcasts is Grammar Girl?

Then along comes Stephen Fry with an elegant, well thought-out position that brings together an unabashed love of language and pragmatic approach to (ignoring) rules. He clearly argues what I've felt: I can simultaneously care about language and tell the language police to take a valium!

I encourage you to check out his "podgram": Language by Stephen Fry

I couldn't find a media player on the page, but this link will load the audio file so you can listen in your web browser: http://fry.positive-dedicated.net/fry-podcast2-episodes-03.mp3

Tip of the hat to Tom Johnson and his post: The Pleasure of Language - Essential Listening for Hyper-corrective Grammarians.

Rebecca Bollwitt on Building Your Personal Brand

Those of you reading this blog who are also bloggers might be interested in a post I just made at Group 42:

Building Your Personal Brand - Rebecca Bollwitt

Rebecca Bollwitt, Vancouver's Miss 604 and star blogger spoke on personal branding at a recent meeting of Third Tuesday Vancouver and I caught it on video. Some great information on blogging in general and building a readership through branding. There's also links to notes if you want skim the information without taking in the video.

CBC Radio One Vancouver at FM 88.1

Zune on FM 88.1This is apparently old news: the CBC Vancouver Radio One is now broadcasting on FM 88.1.

It's hard to get a clear timeline, but it looks like the CRTC approved the new frequency in May 2008 and CBC Vancouver has been broadcasting experimentally since October 2008. The only article I could find on the CBC site was this undated entry: Celebrate CBC Radio One on 88.1 FM. It isn't clear if 88.1 is still considered "experimental" or has become "production".

This is great news for me. The CBC AM signal gets so much electrical interference in my apartment that I can't listen to it here (and my only radio capable of AM reception is ready for retirement). All of the CBC radio programs I listen to regularly are via podcast, with casual radio listening when I happen to be driving in my car. Now some casual home listening is an option.

I am left wondering at the communications fail. The information is on the CBC website if you look it up, but except for the low key contest page there doesn't seem to be much fanfare or even an official announcement. I found out about it because of a casual twitter from Boris. This isn't an earth shattering big deal but it deserves more attention than it seems to be getting!

13 Weeks of Battlestar Galactica

Val with BSG Poster
13th Colony Leader (and possible Cylon) Val
with "13 Weeks of BSG" Poster
The end is near for Battlestar Galactica fans! If you're in Vancouver, you don't have to experience it alone!

With rollicking good stories worthy of the Peabody award, a writer's strike, and the general insanity that is network television, it's been quite a ride for fans of the "re-imagined" Battlestar Galactica. And now we're at the beginning of the end. The start of 2009 brings the end of Season 4, and with it, the end of the series.

The local BSG fan club, The 13th Colony has arranged a special treat: 13 Weeks of BSG! It's 13 fan viewing parties, one a week, for the 2 Season 4.0 marathon refreshers and the 10 final episodes! And just for good measure, there's a final post-mortem get together to wrap everything up. I've even heard there will be prizes.

All of the viewings are at LaFontana Cafe, 3701 Hastings St, in Burnaby (Google Map). It’s just a couple of blocks from the Kootenay Bus Loop on Hastings Street, so easy to access even if you don’t have a car.

Continue reading 13 Weeks of Battlestar Galactica

kc dyer's Top 8 of '08 Series with Yours Truly

Author and force of nature kc dyer has been wrapping up 2008 with series of guest posts called Top 8 of '08 at her blog, leftwriter. You might wonder about why someone would take on a task like this along with all the other holiday craziness. kc is also the powerhouse coordinator for the Surrey International Writers' Conference, she's an expert cat herder and eats inbox emails for breakfast!

I was tickled to be among the bloggers asked, and a bit humbled to be in the company of so many published authors!

My contribution, Top 8 of '08, with Guest Blogger Dale McGladdery, is a selection of movies containing deeper meaning for writers. Little did kc know, I've always wanted to get this info out of my system!

If you're looking for some fun light reading, I encourage you to read the series. From dead falling hedgehogs to wine to books to treats to Northern Lights there's an eclectic mix of people's favourite things. Great idea, kc!

Dale's guest post graphic

Why a Vernon Christmas Rocks

Cappuccino by MaureenTraveling any distance in the winter, especially during the holidays, is seldom worry or hassle free. In spite of this, I become part of the thronging masses that join their family for Christmas. In no particular order, here are some of my reasons.

My sister makes a great cappuccino

There's a love of espresso in 2 of the 3 sibs, as well as my sister's husband (who also makes a good cappuccino). Getting a cappuccino in the morning might seem like a small thing, but it provides great pleasure.

Doing the bookstore crawl

I've talked about this before in my Easter 2008 post. Vernon has a couple of used book stores I enjoy visiting. My Dad usually joins me, or maybe I'm joining him. This year the power was out at the Book Nook because of some building power issue. The owner apologized and said he had a flashlight if we still wanted to look around. Indeed we did! My Dad scored a Louis L'Amour novel he hadn't read, a rare occurrence, and I found some interesting sci-fi.

Taking the dog for walk

I would love to have a dog. Since my apartment doesn't allow it and I'm not sure I could properly look after one on my own, I live vicariously through other dog owners. This is Nikita, my sister's dog. It took a long time for Nikita to warm up to me, she is generally skittish around men, but now we're walking buddies. It's too much fun watching her enthusiastically sniff out game. Too bad that bastard holding the lease won't let go.

Dale and Nikita Nikita spots a bird

Continue reading Why a Vernon Christmas Rocks

Best Snow Fort Ev'ah

Seen on a street in Vernon, my nomination for the best snow fort ev'ah!

Snow Fort front

Snow Fort back

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