Performancing Weblog Editor for Firefox

The “Performancing” folks just released a plugin for Firefox that provides a fully featured weblog editor, ala Flock. I’m trying it out now – it appears to talk to WordPress OK (well, if this made it to the blog, that is).

It appears to have a decent WYSIWYG editor, but the image embedding doodad doesn’t seem to have an upload utility – so I think you have to manually upload an image and then paste the URL into the image widget. Not fatal, but an “easy” improvement to the plugin. (I know, “easy” is oversimplifying it, since the plugin is aimed at being platform agnostic, so you’d have to have special cases for WP, MT, Blogger, etc…)

Update: Well, let’s see… the HTML it produces sucks badly. Editing a post appears to create a duplicate post (leaving the unedited original, and creating a new one with the edited version). Don’t think I’ll be using this one much…

Update 2: I was a little hard on the Performancing Firefox extension out of the gate. I wasn’t happy with the WYSIWYG HTML, but switching to “raw code” mode gives me essentially the stock WordPress text editor, which is what I’m used to. Also, I must have missed the “Publish as Edit” button – which is displayed right next to the “Publish to:” button – I don’t see how I could have missed that big button. Anyway, if this post was edited, then it works fine 🙂

Yup. that worked. OK, so now I see it as one step more advanced than the stock WP bookmarklets – since it gives you access to the post history so you can easily edit older posts. But, in WordPress, once you’ve been logged on, all posts anywhere you see them on your blog have an “edit” link, so it’s so easy to edit older posts anyway…

Reorganized Subscription Options

Thanks to a tip/nudge from Cole, I’ve added a way to subscribe to just the podcasts from this blog, with a super happy fun link that triggers iTunes directly (and a less super happy fun one that just gives the URL so you can copy/paste to other podcatchers).

Links are in the sidebar of the blog, or through the wondrous powers of command+C command+V, right in this post.

MediaWiki Spam_blacklist Extension

I’d installed Spam_blacklist back in October, but we’d been getting the occasional spam attack since then, lately every single weekend. So I just dug into the Mediawiki config, and realized that Spam_blacklist never got properly configured on my server, meaning it was essentially running wide open. Crap. What a waste of time that was. Paul and I have removed dozens/hundreds of spams over the last few weeks, and I was assuming Spam_blacklist was enabled properly. Oops.

So, if you’re running Mediawiki, be sure to carefully (re)follow the instructions, especially Morbus Iff’s patch for 1.5 compatibility (I had to manually patch the file, since patch was barfing on an unmatched }).

The wiki is now configured to pull the blacklist from every hour, and will check edits against both that blacklist and the one we’re growing ourselves.

Things to watch out for:

  • If you’re running the latest MediaWiki (1.5.x), be sure you’ve applied Morbus Iff’s patch.
  • Also, be sure you’ve moved your local Spam_blacklist page to Mediawiki:Spam_blacklist so the plugin can see it. It apparently must be in the Mediawiki: namespace.
  • Fix your copy of to use the proper URL for updating the blacklist – bots have to use
  • If you want, add the file to your crontab so it runs automatically. I think the plugin tries to do that, but better safe than sorry 😉
  • Test your wiki’s now-hopefully-working antispam measures. Try to edit a page with a URL from the shared blacklist, then one from your own. Hopefully both attempts fail.
  • (hopefully) relax a bit, and with luck the spammers will move on to greener pastures…

Why on earth isn’t this plugin included with the core Mediawiki distro? And why hasn’t the download been updated for 1.5 compatibility yet? It would be great to keep it up to date, and to make it easier to get it running properly. There are likely a LOT of Mediawiki instances that aren’t configured properly, making all Mediawiki instances nice, juicy targets.

Most Beautiful Edublog 2005

I won! Most Beautiful!? Never thought I’d be saying I won a beauty contest…

Thanks to everyone who voted at this year’s Edublog Awards – this blog was voted the “Most beautiful/best designed edublog.” I was pretty surprised – there were some great nominees, and I’ve found lots of (new to me) blogs to follow.

That’s pretty cool. However, I can’t take the credit – I’m really just assembling various off-the-shelf pieces. Massive kudos have to be sent to Michael Heilemann from Binary Bonsai for designing the totally kick-ass K2 theme for WordPress.

This is the first award I’ve ever won for blogging – I can now say (with a relatively straight face) that I have an award winning blog. That’s kinda scary, but it’s something my parents will appreciate (even if they don’t read the blog itself).

My acceptance speech was bit lame – I didn’t prepare anything because I didn’t think I’d win. So, I just babbled about the pretty banner images for a minute…

The real story of the awards was the total global domination by Canadian bloggers. Something like 7 of the awards went to Canucks.. is em.pty?

This has me a little nervous. I sure hope Joshua/Yahoo! have decent backups… is empty

There were over 700 bookmarks in there this morning. Now it’s saying my account is empty. Man, that would suck. Definitely the major downside of using an offsite bookmark manager…

It seems like was more stable before Yahoo! got involved. Maybe this is just a big Moving Of Servers from Joshua’s basement to the Yahoo datacentre?

It looks like it might be just my account. I’ve checked several others, and they all appear to be behaving normally. Crap.

Update: Whew. It’s back. Running delicious2Safari now…

Update 2: OK. Got my stuff backed up just before stuff started hitting the fan… All pages are now responding with this:

Due to the power outage earlier in the week, we appear a number of continued hiccups. We’ve taken everything offline to properly rebuild and restore everything. I apologize and hope to have this resolved as soon as possible. Thank you for your continued patience.
Updates will be posted on our blog as we have them.

Subscribe like it’s 1999!

I realized that there are a few folks that read this blog without the benefit of an RSS aggregator. To each their own, I figure. So, I just installed a handy plugin to let people subscribe to the output of this blog via email.

If that kind of thing turns your crank, head on over to the Subscribe page, where you’ll be provided with links to the RSS and Atom feeds, as well as a handy dandy email subscription form.

I’ve got no idea what this might do to my blog host, so I’ll run the service as an experiment for awhile. Hopefully it won’t smoke any servers. Enjoy!

Update: Hey! It works! Actually, the email that gets sent out contains the full HTML of the post, so it’s a pretty decent way to subscribe.

The Story of the Banner Images

In the last post, I mentioned how the banner images I have on this site are photos I’ve taken at various stages and places of my life. Yes, I took each and every one of them myself.

Then, I realized that all documentation about these photos remains in my head. Which isn’t exactly a permanent or reliable memory store. So, I went and created a first draft of a page describing the images. I’ll update it as I remember more – I’ll have to pull exact dates from iPhoto’s library…

So, while they are technically covered by the letter of the CC license I’ve selected for this blog (and are therefore freely reusable by anyone who follows the terms of the license), they really are personal images that represent bits of my past. If you want to do something similar on your own blog, please grab a camera, and start documenting stuff that’s relevant or important to you. You’ll get much more mileage enjoyment out of creating your own images, and it really doesn’t take much. I mean, I’m a total amateur photographer with low-end equipment, and came up with some halfway-decent images here. Sure, some are likely only interesting to myself, but it’s my blog… 🙂

Banner Images

This page lists all of the images that are being used in the banner area of this weblog. I’m using a script to automatically and randomly select one of the images each time a page is loaded (but that may behave differently, depending on browser or caching). They are listed in chronological order, in the order they were added to the rotation pool – not the order they were taken.

I’ll be updating this page as I have time, to provide more information about each image – when/where/why was it taken? Why did I add it to the rotation pool?

Alcatraz and San Francisco Sunset

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Took this during WWDC 2003, when I was doing some tourist stuff with Trevor. This was taken from the end of Pier 39, and shows Alcatraz and the north end of The Bay.

Backyard Panorama

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This was taken from the back door of my house. It’s an Autostitch panorama of 5 other images. It shows the portion of 12 Mile Coulee that runs behind my house, as well as Evan’s stuff in the yard. Taken in the summer of 2005.

Kananaskis – Banff Gate

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Taken on my Dad’s 70th birthday, from their timeshare just outside of Canmore/Banff.

Kananaskis – Banff Gate 2

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Taken on my Dad’s 70th birthday, from their timeshare just outside of Canmore/Banff.

Kananaskis – Banff Gate 3

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Taken on my Dad’s 70th birthday, from their timeshare just outside of Canmore/Banff.

Mountains over Bearspaw

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Taken from 12 Mile Coulee Road (about half a kilometer from my house), looking west to the Rocky Mountains.

Bearspaw Pano Oct 2005

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Taken from 12 Mile Coulee Road (about half a kilometer from my house), looking west to the Rocky Mountains. An autostitch pano of several shots.

Bow Valley

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Taken at Banff Gate, near Canmore.

Downtown Calgary Pano

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An autostitch pano of several shots taken from the observation deck of the Calgary Tower.

Circus Bigtops

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Taken before entering the 2005 Al Azhar Shrine Circus, held at Canada Olympic Park, in actual circus tents. My dad’s a shriner, and is a clown, so he was working the circus.

Cochrane Hill Fence

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Taken the day I got my Fujifilm camera, and I wanted to test it out a bit by taking a bunch of sunset shots from the top of the big hill in Cochrane. There’s a bit transmission tower on top of the hill, and this was just beside that, looking north along the barbed wire fence. The sunset cast everything in this funky red/orange glow…

SF Coit Transamerica

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Taken from the 36th floor lounge of the Grand Hyatt. The sun was reflecting perfectly off of the windows of the TA tower.

DeYoung New Guinea Masks

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Taken at the DeYoung Museum’s New Guinea collection, during the Pachyderm Year 2 Wrapup meetings in San Francisco, November 2005.

San Francisco De Young pano

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Autostitch pano of photos taken from the observation deck of the DeYoung Museum’s education tower. Looking north, over Golden Gate park toward the Golden Gate Bridge and the Marin Headlands. Taken during the first day of the Pachyderm Year 2 Wrapup meetings in November 2005.

Diamondhead Waikiki Pano

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After NMC2005, we hiked to the top of Diamondhead. I was carrying a 35 pound boy on my shoulders most of the way up (and down) so got an awesome workout. The view was totally worth it. This is another Autostitch pano of half a dozen other images. We were staying in a condo at the Ilikai – the blotch of blue building at the far west end of Waikiki.

Diamondhead from Waikiki

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Taken from the lagoon at the Hilton, next to the Ilikai – looking over Waikiki toward Diamondhead.

Downtown Calgary – 2002

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This was taken just hours before Evan was born, from the room he was born in. I wanted to capture what downtown Calgary looked like on that day, so he could look back in a decade or three and see what’s changed…

Elbow Falls Pano

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Another Autostitch pano, taken in the summer of 2005 at Elbow Falls, just west of Calgary, near Kananaskis Country. This is where we took Evan camping for the first time.

Exploratorium Foyer

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Took this shot during a Pachyderm developer’s weeklong meeting at Sonoma State University. We had an evening excursion to the Exploratorium in SF. This piece is in the main entrance foyer – a series of pillars carved to form an optical illusion. Not the best photo of it, but I thought it was pretty cool.

Grampa & Grandson

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Taken in Oct 2005, at the Al Azhar Shrine Centre in Calgary.

Hanauma Bay

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Taken after the NMC 2005 Summer Conference in Honolulu. We hopped on The Bus to go snorkling at Hanauma Bay. Pretty amazing place.

San Francisco Sutro Sunset

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Taken on the last day of the Pachyderm year 2 wrapup meetings in San Francisco, November 2005. From the restaurant on the 36th floor of the Grand Hyatt San Francisco. Looking west, toward Sutro Tower, sunset and the Golden Gate Bridge. I liked how the lights of the city were just becoming visible, and the details of the buildings were still there. And the apocalypse in the west…

iPod Doom

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My iPod, playing the iPodLinux port of Doom!

Magen’s Bay – 1997

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We got married on this spot on Magen’s Bay, St. Thomas USVI in 1997. Must. Go back. Now…

U of C Prairie Chicken

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This is a landmark on the U of C campus. I’ve been seeing this damned thing since 1987, so added it as a banner image as a token Image From Calgary 🙂

SF Hyatt Fountain map

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Just outside the Grand Hyatt entrance, there is a cool fountain with an amazing relief map of the city. Don’t know how old it is, but the details were pretty interesting.

SF Downtown Pano

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Autostitch pano, again from the lounge on the 36th floor of the Grand Hyatt, during a Pachyderm meeting.

SFMOMA from Metreon

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Taken during WWDC2005, from the patio of the Metreon. I loved how the reflecting pool caught bits of the Yerba Buena Center, and SFMOMA.

SFMOMA Second Floor Foyer

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Taken outside the Koret Visitor Education Center at SFMOMA, during the second day of the Pachyderm Year 2 Wrapup meetings in November 2005. The museum was closed to the public, and this shot just jumped out at me as I was stretching my legs during a break in the meetings.

Solar Challenge 2005

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The 2005 Solar Challenge finish line was at the University of Calgary. This photo is a close shot of the solar panels on top of one of the cars.

Stanley Park Pano

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Taken from Stanley Park, Vancouver, during the NMC 2004 Summer Conference. We all had a blast hanging around in Vancouver (even if the boy didn’t like the drive over the mountains very much)

Sulphur Mountain Pano 2

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Another shot taken during the hike at the top of the gondola, overlooking Banff. This one is an Autostitch pano, showing the visitor centre on top of the mountain. I think one of the Bond villains actually lives here in the off season.

Sulphur Mountain Pano

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Another Autostitch pano, taken from the top of the Sulpur Mountain gondola, looking down over Banff. Another hike where I had a large boy strapped to my shoulders 🙂

San Francisco Sunset

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Taken from the restaurant on the 36th floor of the Grand Hyatt, overlooking Sutro Tower, towards the Golden Gate Bridge.

U of C Olympic Oval Torch Statue

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Taken at the finish line for the Solar Challenge 2005. Shows the Olympic Torch and statue outside the main entrance to the Olympic Oval skating venue on campus.

Sunset over Utah

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Taken from the Bombardier CRJ-700 on a flight back home from San Francisco.

Waikiki from Diamondhead

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View of Waikiki Beach from the top of Diamondhead.

Waikiki Sunset

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Yet another shot from Hawaii. The family was walking along Waikiki on a Saturday afternoon/eveneing, and near the east end (closest to the zoo), they have this food festival and movie right on the beach at sunset. We hung around for that, and I got this great shot of the sunset from the beach end of the pier.

Latitude XML Menu

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Taken at Latitude’s, in Rohnert Park, during a week long Pachyderm development meeting at Sonoma State University. The menu wasn’t actually in XML, but Larry Johnson was using it as a prop to demonstrate some of the principles of XML parsing. He’s a geek at heart 🙂

Yerba Buena Gardens Pano

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Taken during WWDC2005, from the patio of the Metreon. I loved how the reflecting pool caught bits of the Yerba Buena Center, and SFMOMA. Autostitch pano of 4 other images.

Zoo Lights 2005

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Some of the christmas light display at the Calgary Zoo.

Waikiki from Chuck’s Grill

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An awesome view from the patio of this restaurant. Best view in Waikiki.

Galleria Aquarium

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In Honolulu, the Galleria Mall has a giant aquarium on one side of the building. Pretty impressive – especially for a mall.