Microformats a Go-Go

One day last week while the boys were watching TV, I decided to finally get this here blog up-to-date with microformats, especially since I’m all for them and keep telling people to use them. Might as well take my own medicine, right?\
As of sometime last week, the front page has three separate hAtom feeds and each entry has an hCard on it. I’ve been trying to find time to redo my resume (no, I’m not looking, this is just an excuse to use hResume), but haven’t had time (working nights and weekends will do that to you, along with the fact that I really need a haircut).\
I didn’t have time to remove the classes I had on there before and change the CSS, so the source looks a little cluttered, and nothing’s been done to the archives. I just didn’t have time (running theme, I know).\
If you see anything wrong, please let me know so I can fix it.

Sweet Talk

Remember when I said UPN could kiss my ass? Well apparently that is just the kind of sweet talk they like (I should have known they liked it dirty and rough, they are UPN after all), as I was invited to be on the cool kids list too! YAY! Who knew complaining could be so effective?\
Here is the latest press release:\
VERONICA MARS Viewing Party\
UPN is offering its dedicated Veronica Mars bloggers a great opportunity to have your 15-seconds of fame! Every week, get a group of friends together for a Veronica Mars viewing party and shoot some video of your event. The tape can include anything you want: sound bites of your friends talking about their favorite characters, you saying why you love Veronica Mars, or a group shout-out to your friends and family in your hometown. But keep it clean, because your tape could end up airing on UPN during an episode of Veronica Mars!
\
If anyone out there is interested, leave me a comment and I can get you the details and UPN’s contact info!\
And guess what? Veronica Mars is on tonight at 9pm EST on UPN! YAY!

Blogging While Black Revisited

Like last year’s Blogging While Black, this year’s did not disappoint. It is my favorite panel so far, and I left with a lot of interesting thoughts in my head and a lump in my throat. It expressed, through the lens of what it’s like to express your cultural identity as a black person online, my absolute favorite thing about blogging: that blogging allows me to get a glimpse into lives, cultures, situations and events that I would never have to opportunity to otherwise. The panel is that same experience as an “out of browser experience.” I don’t know what it’s like to be black, or the challenges faced by minorities in coping with what feels like being stuck in two worlds: the black community and a society dominated by white culture. It was just fascinating to me, and I thought the panelists did a fantastic job of expressing their individual issues, their internal struggles, and the larger questions raised.\
I especially love George Kelly. George and I don’t get to spend enough time together, but from the moment I met him, I loved him. George is one of the most beautiful people you will ever meet. He is kind and deliberate in everything he says. He glows with kindness in a way I’ve never seen before, and love being around. He is whip-smart, eloquent and inspirational (the “out of browser experience” line is his, as were several other winners in today’s panel). I think he takes great pains to make sure that the people around him feel included and a part of his space (which I don’t think makes sense, but I don’t know how else to express it). George, you are a prince among men, and I hope you know it.\
I wish I could express how great the panel was today. It was more than the sum of the words spoken or the people in the panel. Last year, I felt a little uncomfortable, sitting there feeling like an intruder in what looked like a private discussion among a community I didn’t belong to. Today, I felt like I was being drawn into a discussion, an open expression of what it means to be black. I wasn’t being talked to, I was being talked with, and the difference was subtle, but everyone in that room was involved. About halfway through, almost all the laptops were closed and everyone was jazzed. We were all awake (even though it was the last panel of the day), and participating. There was laughter and some challenge, and some pain. But it was all done together, as a single group. I don’t think anyone left that room feeling left out or alone. We left having experience something together.\
I’m really really tired now, and that probably made no sense, but Blogging While Black encapsulates what makes SxSW so special. Even though it’s huge this year, and I’m hobbled and stressed out about my panel, I felt that attraction, that feeling of belonging, that recharges me and keeps me going for another year. Thank you, George. Thank you, Lynne. Thank you, Jason. Thank you, Tiffany. Thank you, Tony.

I Love Information

So I needed a break from thinking about markup and decided to go check out the stats for lawver.net generated by my friendly web server. I stumbled on something interesting (to me):

  • pages served in 2003: 67,492
  • pages served in 2004: 581,041
  • pages served in 2005: 1,003,530\
    I think I joined Dreamhost in about the middle of 2003, so that’s understandable. But, still, that’s almost doubling the amount of traffic every year. I think that’s pretty cool.\
    Some more stuff that’s probably only cool to me:
  • About 25% of the visitors to this site are Mac users.
  • NetNewsWire is the most popular news reader among the RSS consumers of this site.
  • Bloglines is number two.
  • Search engine bots index this site more often than they probably should.
  • The most popular search terms that get people here are:
    1. sick movies
    2. beautiful font
    3. maddenisms
    4. green snot
    5. chicken noises (holy crap, I’m number one!)
    6. nerd jokes
  • Over 25% of my traffic comes from Google if you include all the localized versions.
  • About 1% of my traffic comes from inside the AOL campus local network (which oddly enough, doesn’t worry me at all).
  • According to Sitemeter, I went from about 2,200 “visits” a month in October of last year to over 9,000 last month (which was an aberration, but July was still almost 7,500).\
    Told you I love information.

Look Around, See Anything Different?

I switched some things around this evening (because there was nothing on TV). I’ve split the main page into two columns so Jen and I can post without feeling guilty for pushing each others’ posts off the front page. We also have his and her’s RSS feeds in case some of you don’t like me and only want to see Jen’s stuff. I haven’t removed any feeds, so there are still the unified feeds.\
I never cease to be amazed at how comfortable Movable Type is to work with. The templating system is natural and it’s easy to customize how your blog looks, what it does and how it outputs and formats data. I love the developer community that’s come up around it that creates really cool plugins before I know I need them. I know I flirted with switching, but I don’t think I will. MT is just too comfortable.\
Now it’s back to my new microformat and writing more XSL (for a project you’ll all be hearing way too much about in the very near future). Thank you, internet, for everything. Good night!

Whoops

I need to write myself a to-do list when I do an upgrade of Movable Type. Since MT 3.2’s been in beta, I think this is the second time I’ve forgotten to rename the comments script. If you’ve tried to post comments the past couple days, I’m sorry!! It should be fixed now…\
In other news, pain killers are good.

This One’s For Heather: Podcasts and Mashups

This one’s for Heather. Max and I went to dinner with my mom, brother and sister last night and we ended up talking about mashups and podcasts. Heather wanted me to send her some links, but I’d hate to go through all that effort only to repeat it when someone else asks me. So, this post will get e-mailed around to folks (hi, folks) when they ask me what a mashup or a podcast is or how they can get some.\

<dl>
<dt>mashup</dt>
<dd>Taking any musical work or works and turning them into something else. This isn’t a cover, which is someone performing a song. It’s usually taking the recorded version of the song and combining it with other recorded elements (usually other songs… you know, mashing them up!).</dd>
<dt>podcast</dt>
<dd>Recording an audio file and posting it to a website. I know, it’s more than that, but that’s it, really. The real hook to podcasting is syndicating those audio files and producing them on a semi-regular basis so people can use their feed reader of choice to download them automatically to their iPod (hence “pod”casting) or to their music player of choice.</dd>
</dl>
\
I’ve only recently gotten into listening to podcasts, and have just a couple favorites:

# Radio Clash: This is first for good reason. Tim puts together a fun show, with just the right balance of talk and music. He picks the best mashups out there and throws them together with interesting conversation about what’s going on in his world. Good stuff. Show 38 (the most recent) isn’t a good representation of a “normal” show, so you might want to start with Show 37

# Coverville: Not mashups, but this guy is funny, and he picks some hilarious covers to play. Covers are another secret passion of mine. It all started in Tucson listening to KXCI (the best radio station ever) and hearing Social Distortion‘s cover of Ring of Fire followed by an accordian-laden cover of the same. I was hooked.

# Odeo: They don’t make ’em, but they’re the easiest way I’ve found so far to find ’em and download ’em.\
As for mashups, there are a few folks who produce world-class stuff (at least that I’ve found). Here are my faves:

  • The KleptonesA Night At The Hip-Hopera is probably my all-time favorite mashup. I can listen to it for hours and hours.
  • Pheugoo: Some really good techno mashups, my favorites being La Naughty Femme, Dip It Joe and Roses for Lindy.
  • DJ BC (link not working at the moment): dj BC and The Beastles is priceless. He mashed Meet The Beatles with The Beastie Boys and it’s magical.
  • Pop Razors: They’ve got some stinkers, but Climbin’ Deeper is unbelievable. You will shake much booty.\
    Of course, the music industry hates mashups and it’s not quite sure what to do with podcasts. But, they hated the CD at first too, and same folks thought that the VCR would kill them. They don’t have a very good track record with being right, do they?\
    Enjoy ’em while you can!

The New My AOL: Feeds Are Cool

I don’t normally talk about work, but I’m making an exception because this one was a lot of fun. It’s officially in beta now, and I can talk about it. Yay!! The new My AOL launched its first beta today, and I worked on it! I got to play with everyone’s favorite new javascript toy: XMLHTTPRequest, and did most of the CSS and a good deal of the markup. It was a fun project to spend a couple weeks on, and there’s a lot of potential for cool stuff with it.\
It is still very beta (in the traditional sense of the word). It’s a little slow in Safari for some reason that we haven’t been able to track down, and there’s a really funny jumping icon thing in Firefox that, again, we haven’t been able to figure out (it jumps the exact width of a scrollbar, but no scrollbar shows up, so it’s double-weird).\
Play around with it, try adding your own feed, and see how it goes. There are a couple odd things about how it chooses which feeds to grab, and which RSS fields to display (for example, if you have both summary and content:encoded, it will only use summary), and if you have multiple feeds in your HTML, it will choose the first if they all have the same link. Hey, it’s a beta.\
There’s lots of cool stuff coming in subsequent releases, so stay tuned!

Upgrading to Betaness

I’ve upgraded almost all the blogs in the Lawver Blogging Network (didn’t know I had one of those, did you) to the new beta version of Movable Type. So far, it’s awesome. New interface, especially for plugins. The new icons are much nicer than the old ones, and the interface seems a lot snappier. I like that you can do almost anything to one of your blogs from the main screen, and well, it’s just better, OK?\
The only problem so far is that MarsEdit is saying I have a bad password, when I know it isn’t. Not sure what that’s about, but I’m sure it will get fixed shortly. Ok, there’s another problem too: The FlickrPhotoset plugin no longer works, which is sad, because I love that plugin. Now, I’ll have to start using GetXML to get my list of photosets too (that’s how I get the recent photos).\
I’d been flirting with WordPress for a project at work, and I just hit a brick wall. It’s not that WordPress is bad. It’s not. It’s very good, but you have to know too much PHP in order to tweak it. So, it’s back to MT, and talking folks into buying a license for it.\
The power of MT comes not from its technology, but from the template system. I love the fact that I’m not locked into a programming language to use it. I can have my templates spit out PHP, Tcl, or anything else. With most of the other blogging gigs out there, you’re stuck with PHP whether you like it or not (and I’m ambivalent at the moment… I never have enough time to spend getting to know it).\
If you see anything funky, please let me know.\
Update – A Couple Tips:

  • If you created a new user for yourself and deleted Melody when you installed, you’ll need to go into the database and tweak your record in mt_author. Set the author_is_superuser field to 1 and update that row.
  • If you use something like MarsEdit to post to your blog, you’ll need to edit your user and add the xml-rpc password. You can do this by clicking your user name at the top right corner of the regular Movable Type admin screen.