Visit the new front page of the site here. Things may be a mess for a bit, but it will get better, I promise.
Amazingly, Adobe seems to have entirely missed the fact that the reason that the Flash video format has taken off is that it’s so fluid, versatile and remixable — not because they sucked up to some Hollysaurs and crippled their technology.
I know there are good uses for Flash (Homestarrunner, Google Analytics, YouTube). But for every good usage, there are probably 100 bad uses. If you’ve ever been to a site that takes forever to load, and then when it does, it’s impossible to navigate, it was probably made with Flash. It’s not that the technology itself is necessarily bad, it’s just that the potential for abuse is so great.
Now, with the introduction of DRM and the inevitable flood of DMCA takedown notices, perhaps we will see the end of Flash. Not that I think the absence of Flash will prevent bad websites, but maybe it will help.
Sometime last night, the DC area was hit by the lesser-known Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse, freezing rain. I imagine the city has shut down. I didn’t bother to go outside, although we’re supposed to celebrate my dad’s birthday tonight in Annapolis, so I might later.
Last time there was “inclement weather”, on Wednesday, I went to pick up the wife and visit my grandmother in Arlington. It was some of the worst traffic I’ve ever seen in the city. Things went okay down 14th Street until a block before the circle. Then we stopped. And waited. I forget which circle that is, but it’s just south of 14th and N NW. Traffic in the circle wasn’t moving. About half the cars waiting with me on that final block turned around before we started moving. I got most of the way through the circle before I decided to bail out onto Vermont, which I’ve never done before, but it goes in more or less the same direction.
That was a mistake. I ended up turning right on K instead of I St. If you live in the city, you’ve probably driven on K. It’s prety much a disaster all the time. I was almost killed there on the way to my rehearsal dinner, following the then-fiance and making a right off K without using the stupid access road (Who knew you couldn’t go right from the main road?).
The problem I ran into was that you can’t make a left from K during rush hour at all. And I needed to be on I St. I ended up going right on 18th, going around the block and coming back down Connecticut. I probably should have gone right on 20th and came down 19th, but I wasn’t sure I could do that, and I like to do my experimenting with new streets when it’s not 6pm and I’m already late. Looking at Google Maps now, it looks like it would have been fine.
Anyway, going left on 19th from I St was a mess, too. Luckily I told my grandmother we’d be later than I originally thought, so we were still on time.
All of this is basically to explain that I didn’t go into work today and am planning to do some work from here. I don’t expect anyone will even notice (Except one of our team leads, who reads the blog. Hi, Andy!).
I stopped in Whole Foods to pick up some dinner (Salmon and asparagus, at the wife’s request), and saw they had a Bell’s brand I’d never seen - the Consecrator Dopplebock. It’s still getting cold in the fridge, so I can’t give a review yet, but Bell’s crappy new website calls it “a well balanced, full bodied beer”. It turns out it’s only available in February, and not even the whole month.
I feel sorry for my West Coast brothers-in-law, both lovers of Bell’s, who can’t get it locally.
I have to say, it’s more fun to drink a beer with a cool name. I mean, Consecrator Dopplebock? That’s awesome. It’s up there with Rogue Dead Guy Ale (A great beer) and Dogfish Head Raison D’Etre (Another great beer).
You could remove many electronic boxes from our home and we would not miss them. But if you took our kitchen computer away, it would hurt. In fact two weeks ago the Mac had to go in for repairs, and we kept turing to its vacant spot for help, only to groan. It felt a little like some feel without their cell phone.
I’ve been wanting to do this for a while. I think a small form factor box (Like a Mac Mini, since you all know what that is, but not a Mac, because Macs and I have a mutually antagonistic relationship) with a small touchscreen would be perfect to mount underneath a cabinet in the kitchen. You could use it for recipes (We constantly bring a laptop into the kitchen for this, but I don’t like my laptop on the counter.). You could use it, as mentioned in the linked article, for watching movies and YouTube and whatnot while cooking.
The kitchen has always been the most sociable place in the house for me, and probably for lots of others. I would love someday to build a house centered on the kitchen, where the layout of the house encouraged everyone to congregate in a huge kitchen designed both for cooking and for relaxing.
Now I just have to convince the wife that this is a great idea.
I tweaked my strategy to import this blog into Drupal, and it’s working quite well on my local machine. I had wanted to go with the brand new Drupal 6.0, but it’s not quite finished, and many of the modules that I might want to use haven’t been updated yet. So I think I’ll go with 5.7, and then upgrade down the road a little when 6.0 is more mature.
My big problem is the permalinks. I don’t want to have to write individual .htaccess entries for 700-some posts - I can’t imagine that’s a good idea. So I need a redirect rule, and I don’t know much about writing them. I think I can figure it out, though. I think I’m going to have to map http://www.blog.complainthub.com/?p=123 to http://www.complainthub.com/node/123 or something like that. I don’t think that will be hard, but you never know. Luckily my webhost uses nice, sensible Apache servers, instead of some hideous abomination.
Anyway, my next challenge will be scraping together a new theme. I have some ideas, but I need to execute them. And I need to pick a color scheme. You can leave suggestions in the comments, which I’ll probably ignore. But you can leave them.
When I finally got fed up with hearing, “I’m sorry, sir, we don’t accept Discover”, and went looking for a new credit card, I started off at Fatwallet, looking for a good deal. I looked through their list of rewards cards for something with a 2% return on something that I would actually use. The one that jumped out at me was a Chase/Countrywide card (Even though I hate Chase). If you, like me, have a mortgage through Countrywide (Which I do, on our rental condo in Falls Church), this card will pay $50 towards that mortgage for every $2500 you spend on the card.
They just applied the first payment to my mortgage, and I was wondering what my long term savings were. I have 27 years, 8 months left on the loan. The wife and I intend to continue to rent out the condo as long as we can afford it (And that should get easier from year to year, as rents inevitably go up while the mortgage stays basically the same). Now, it’s likely that we’ll refinance at some point, although the rate is 5.375%, so it probably won’t be until we can get a 10 or 15 year fixed mortgage instead of the 30 year.
Anyway, I found a mortgage calculator that would tell me my savings based on a one-time extra payment. I don’t know how accurate it is, but it tells me that my one-time payment of $50 in the 27th month of the loan will save me $177 over the full remainder of the loan. So my 2% reward turns into a 9% reward (I know, adjust for inflation, present day value vs future value, blah blah blah I dropped my econ major, remember? It’s not a perfect calculation.).
So that’s pretty awesome. And it shows how much a small early prepayment can help in a long-term loan. So, while Chase’s customer service is, in my experience, unbelievably bad, this credit card is a great deal if you have a Countrywide mortgage. I have no idea whether Bank of America will mess with this or not, but I hope not.
The scrappy theater troupe has been hunting for months for a temporary home to finish out its 2008 season, after being bumped from its former spot at the Sanctuary Theater in Columbia Heights, a converted church space.
That sucks. I hadn’t been paying a ton of attention to what’s going on at our local theater because the last few times I looked at their website, they had no announced dates for new shows. And now I find out they’re no longer our local theater. We went to one show a while back and really enjoyed it, and just hadn’t gotten around to going again.
I hope this works out for them, but it sucks for Columbia Heights.
I had some frozen cherries in the freezer at work to eat with my oatmeal in the morning, and someone stole them. I was looking forward to oatmeal with cherries today. But they’re gone. Now I have to eat plain oatmeal.
A coworker tells me they sent out a notice a long time ago that they were going to clean the fridge, but I never saw it. So I suspect that those jerks threw out a half a package of organic frozen cherries just because there might have been a little bit of cherry juice on the bottom of the freezer. I hope they’re happy with themselves.
I did a test import of Complaint Hub into Drupal on my laptop. It worked nearly flawlessly. It’s going to be a little tough to keep up the permalinks so that any links to the current site redirect to the new site. I want to move everything back to complainthub.com (You’ll notice the URL here is blog.complainthub.com), which makes it harder. And then there are still the posts from my old From Harvard Street blog that are all forwarding from harvardstreet.complainthub.com to blog.complainthub.com. I suppose I could probably just fix that to go directly to complainthub.com.
The import module for Drupal also does not import multiple Wordpress categories for a single post. It only imports multiple tags. Unfortunately for me, I use categories almost exclusively. There is a way to convert categories to tags, but there’s a big disclaimer about backing up your database first. I guess I could just do that.
Otherwise, it was pretty awesome. I still need a nice new theme, but otherwise you may be seeing the changes sooner rather than later.