Hipster PDA and other hi-tek stuff
Whilst tidying up some of my favorites/bookmarks, I re-found this one:
A celebration of the humble index card from awesome-as-ever 43 Folders.
Perhaps one of the most cost-effective and sensible ways of recording data.
Less is More
Our products do less, and that's why they're successful. People don't want bloated products, and constraints force us to keep our products small, and to keep them valuable.
–Jason Fried, of 37 Signals
I like that–keeping things valuable.
CNN site hijacked
I can't find any mention on line of this yet, but someone has hijacked the CNN.com site--it redirects to one of those phoney search sites that only pull up ads when you enter a search string. April Fools?
I'm testing some new stylesheets and designs. If this site looks strange, that's why.
(Well, it's possible it looks strange even when I'm not testing, but if the design you see is not the default sepia brown, then you'll know I'm testing...)
Domain mapping temporarily suspended
Well, through no fault of TypePad's, my domain mapping experiment didn't work well enough to satisfy me. Tip for personnel at Network Solutions: respond to requests for customer support.
Plan to try again after I've changed registrars.
In the meantime, I'm busy completing some long overdue harddrive and paper-file housekeeping. With Don still very easily tired since his stroke, I'm sticking close to him and working on what can be picked up and put down without huge mental effort.
How about now?
Still tweaking and waiting for tweaks to propagate...
Impatient me, I still don't see my weblog pointing where it ought.
domain being remapped...
later... still wonky...
Face of a course blog
Well, I have the interface for the Unbound course nearly finished:
The menu for navigation drops down from where it says "seminar links":
Now to get to work on populating pages and integrating with TypePad....
Coding like Oscar Wilde
Ever feel like Oscar Wilde, who said, of a day's work:
"In the morning I put a comma in and in the afternoon I took it out."
I've been busy prototyping the Unbound course. It began as a strict variation of other Hit Those Keys identities, changed color schemes several times, and has gone from having a utilitarian jump menu to a nice dhtml dropdown.
I am absurdly pleased with the logo:
By the way, if anyone has been dogging my pages for news of this course, yes, it is still a go for mid-October. Email me at unbound [at] hitthosekeys [dot] com to discuss if it's a good option for you.
snippets, modules & notes
More digital housekeeping...
After a bit of a hiatus from Tinderbox I've opened it up again and am using it to organize ALL the text from my various Hit Those Keys sites. Up until now, I haven't felt that strong a need to have a central container for this text, (which is a hefty amount, if you include my hidden sites that only clients see, I have over 300 pages out there...) but I am coming around to the view that to manage it all this is exactly what I need to do.
My first encounter with Tinderbox led to my starting Wild Keys: most blogging tools were too generic to be part of a site I had gone to a fair amount of trouble to design. Movable Type would have been an appealing option, but my current web host doesn't let us work under the hood as much as MT requires. So Tinderbox and the weblog templates let me figure out the anatomy of a blog and how the parts might fit together. So I cobbled together comments from one place and site stats from another and started manually maintaining my new, frequently changing, pages.
Enter TypePad. So cool, TypePad. Open up those Advanced Templates and go to town. The template codes turn out to be fairly easy to figure out (not so different from Tbox codes) and although it's still disconcerting not to have a view of my site structure and directories, I find I'm able to keep a fairly good mental map of it all.
All this makes my newsgroup languish--such old, dull, technology!--and, except for email, do I really need my virtual account? Mmm. Well, right now I can use it as a testing server for sites I design for other people. But that function might have a more economical alternative. Email I could get through my domain registrar....
I wonder, how much of Hit Those Keys could run through TypePad? Nearly all, I'm thinking.
But to do it and still retain my own "look", I have to start thinking in snippets, modules & notes... I have to start thinking of bits of text as discreet objects and store them for ideal retrieval.
It had been that I thought I did too much post-production tweaking to use Tinderbox as a site maintenance tool. (I've always loved it as a brainstorming tool.) Now, as I've gained more experience with templates and css, I think it is going to be the perfect site companion.
Gaslighting a blog
Well, I went back and put back all the formatting that some glitch or other had removed and everything TypePad worked perfectly. All to reinforce the notion that I'm a crazy neep who can't code her way out of a paper bag and make me look foolish in front of tech support.
Wild Keys was going to shift over today, but I lost time restoring this blog, so it will be a bit longer. I'm also keeping me ears open for news about how the domain mapping feature might work. I don't want to promote a new url if I can keep the old one.
Okay, I'm frustrated
Okay, the half-a-template disappears on save phenom struck again. I had just gotten my archive pages in line with the others stylewise, when this weird error took down the whole blog. Argh.
Today I tweaked some more and now have some pics embedded. It feels good to have some familiar furniture around the place.
I also prototyped a Wild Keys skin, as I think things are going well enough to slide that blog over here as well.
Ah, the question of permalinks. I could put a redirect on the old archive pages--there aren't that many.
"What, though, is the forward-compatible way to do this?"
She reaches for Zeldman....
Liz has posted her notes--and so much more--on how she used MT for her intro to multimedia course site. Templates, stylesheets, hacks--it's all there. Wow, Liz!
I'm loooking forward to taking apart Liz's structure and seeing how it works. As a complete newbie to MT (via TypePad) I think it will let me learn a lot of interesting stuff. Some I may adapt for Hit Those Keys. Certainly Dramatica Unbound, coming up in October, will benefit. The Dramatica Basics course is also due to be retrofitted. I have over a hundred pages built in the old format, plus 2-3 chapters yet to dust off and post to complete the course.
And NN4 is now treated kindly
My husband and I occasionally host events for the board of trustees. One member of the board is disabled. I can be sure that on the morning of our party, the grounds crew will have installed a ramp to make our front door accessible. The rest of the year the ramp is in storage because the people who make such decisions think it doesn't look pretty enough to be in place all the time. To the bemused observer, it looks like a lot of trouble to go through, for one party guest.
Don't get me wrong. It is absolutely right for the ramp to appear. Not only that: I would be content to have it remain year round, ugly as it is (and it really is butt-ugly) because accessibility should be there, always, all the time.
I like the fact that TypePad is standards compliant and accessible all the time. But I notice that the standard stylesheets look pretty bad in Netscape 4. I know Netscape 4 is an eccentric visitor, who only comes to dinner once a year, but I'd like that trip up my ramp to be smooth. Very smooth.
Which is to say, I have my Netscape 4 stylesheet working (I think). I haven't fully smerged all the styles, but the important things work. Rah.
After days upon days of physical housekeeping (largely consisting of turning my eleven-year-old's bedroom into a reasonable facsimile of a Paris cafe) I've been turning my attention to the untidy hard drives. The family's shared eMac is probably a hopeless case, but I should have some control over my own laptop. Should. Dreadful word.
It's a known feature of attention disorders that those suffering from the condition (I resent that word, too--suffering--I don't suffer, I just do differently) work best with their organizational cues visible. This shall be my excuse for the blizzard of files on my virtual desktop. How can I know what I have unless I can see it all at glance? The makers of OSX, with their tidy Unix brains, would be horrified.
I am willing to acknowledge, though, that there's such a thing as too many files (and too many applications). I actually enjoy practicing a kind of asceticism when it comes to how many apps I have kicking about. I still haven't reinstalled Word on this machine after upgrading it to OSX and since I'm also limping along with Safari and Mail instead of IE and Outlook Express I am enjoying an almost completely Microsquirt-free existence.
However, at the moment, there's a bit of a merry war going on between Tinderbox, Ulysses and good ole SimpleText. Each has its virtues: the sorting and sifting power of Tbox, the lovely elegant interface of Ulysses. Oddly, though, and despite the fact that it requires a boot of Classic, SimpleText is winning. I think only the fact that it has a limit on how large a file can be would keep me from using it for everything.
So now I have the chaos of not knowing whether the latest snippet has been lodged in a Ulysses project, a Tinderbox note, or is a SimpleText singleton floating around my desktop somewhere. I wish I could make my finder like a Tinderbox note--then I could map everything I'm working on and turn it all into a virtual desk blotter, with lovely colored regions for different projects. Are you listening, Apple? I need a finder like a desk blotter, with leather corners to tuck notes to myself in, and the option of shaking the whole thing like an Etch-a-Sketch and starting all over with a clean field.
Lulled into a false sense of security
"If it's not one thing, it's another."
Safari, you s---. Or, alternatively, IE5 Mac, you s---. Since I switched my laptop over to OSX, I've been using Safari more than IE5, so almost all my tweakage testing has been on Safari. So, things look good there, but wonky in IE. God knows what it all looks like on the PC. Fah.
I usually assume Mozilla gives me a a fairly close approximation of what things look like for the PC user, and I'm okay there, but there are still so many variations. More stylesheet tweaking.
Still tweaking behind the scenes. I somehow managed to delete half a stylesheet while making a small change. Managed to reproduce this mistake several times, in fact, so there's something a little tricky about the advanced template editing publish and save options...
(Or maybe a little coding knowledge is a dangerous thing...)
Right now I think it's safest to lift the entire stylesheet out of the editing field, plock it down in a text editor, input the changes, and then copy the whole chunk back into the text editing window. That way the styles below the insertion point don't go missing. (I figure I must have somehow highlighted below the insertion point by mistake, but the fact that I did this several times in an identical fashion makes me wonder if I'm the only one kludging up their stylesheets in this fashion...)
I've also been doing similar tweaking behind the scenes on my course sites. I'm becoming more confident that I can make an almost seamless meld between the static pages on my core site and the dynamic pages with TypePad. This pleases me.
And the tweak goes on...
Well, I've finally got the template around to an approximation of the Hit Those Keys standard. There are some things I still prefer in my original design (the #hrule div, which makes for a better transition between the header and the main container), the fact that a workable alternate for N4 is provided, and I haven't yet bothered to figure out how to add in more photos and things.
I tried linking the v4 styles and importing the TP ones, but it didn't work--the browsers weren't picking up the advanced stylesheet. I tried an absolute path and a snippet of MT code and neither worked. Mmm.
I like the sidebar styling a little better in the TypePad template. It's a little tighter. But I have to keep my css buttons....
I also created and did a little preliminary tweaking for Dramatica Basics and Dramatica Unbound sites. I haven't yet decided if the static pages will continue to live in my directories at sff.net and just the dynamic pages will live on the TypePad server.
Which reminds me--backups, archives. I'm used to having duplicate files on my desktop. It's a little scary, having files living out in the ether.
However, I won't miss cobbling together external comments, stats counters, and hand-coding the permalinks. (I know, I'm supposed to let Tinderbox do some of this for me, but I got tired of fussing with the html export. I do too much late-stage editing.)
If anyone besides me has latched onto this page since I went live last night, you may have noticed its expanding and contracting column widths, minor color changes and an occasional complete wonk-out.
I'm accustoming myself to the basic style sheets, getting a feel where they and my own design intersect and where my own flourishes might undercut the basic functionality built in here. I'm still trying to enable background images to show up, but so far, no luck. Since both designs use xhtml and many of the same css tricks, I'm sure I can eventually marry the two in a fashion I like.
In the meantime, I'm in tweak heaven.