That New Blog Smell

I have completed the upgrade to Movable Type 3.32. Please ping me if you find anything broken.

posted on 09 September 2006 at 23151 commentstrackback


I apologise for the lack of activity of late. I'm swamped at work, between three students who aren't even officially on my schedule and Cirrus standards (we're in the midst of transitioning to an all-Cirrus primary/instrument training fleet). Things may lighten up in another week or so, although I'm working the 2006 Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival next week, so don't expect much until around the 8th or so.

posted on 27 June 2006 at 23110 commentstrackback

A Metaphorical Cup of Hemlock

As most of my readers know, I'm using SpamLookup as my primary means of fighting blog spam these days. As I've written before, I luuuuurrrve it.

It's a darn good thing Brad thought to add regular expression matching as a minor feature, though. There's a lot of crap that would otherwise get through as the spammers get more sophisticated. That regex matching has one key feature that Jay Allen's MT-Blacklist sorely lacked: it checks the e-mail address, too.

See, I have this guy who thinks he's Socrates., in fact.

He has lots of drugs to sell.

He loves to post about it here.

"Euthyphroed" is now in the SpamLookup "block" wordlist. He's tried over 300 times since I added it, but he hasn't succeeded yet.

Go ponder that for a while, Socrates.

posted on 24 July 2005 at 22230 commentstrackback

Attention, Readers!

As many of you know, I've switched to SpamLookup for my blog spam control needs. The initial teething period had some minor issues, but those should all be behind me now.

I'm posting this to remind you of one thing: if you find yourself unable to comment for seemingly no reason, it's quite likely that you've been assigned an IP address that, until recently, was being used in an inordinate number of attempts to post spam here. I'm banning all IPs that attempt more than five spams, and SpamLookup is helping me keep track. This probably won't affect anyone in the U.S., but I'm posting this as a reminder just in case.

As always, you can mail the text of a rejected comment to (comment-rejected) at this domain name, and I can approve it manually.

posted on 28 April 2005 at 12400 commentstrackback

I Have a New Hero

His name is Brad Choate. (Sorry, Jay. I still love you and all, but...well, read on.)

SpamLookup has blocked or moderated every single attempted spam on this blog since I installed it two days ago. MT-Blacklist, as good as it was, was allowing one out of every couple hundred comment spams through, and it had no means of moderating trackbacks at all.

What can I say? Even Jay loves it to death.

Thanks a bunch, guys. I really appreciate both the great utilities.

posted on 11 April 2005 at 14021 commentstrackback

Housekeeping Notes

I've cleaned up a few more template issues so that just about everything should be consistent in appearance now. The search template is the most noticeable change, and I think you'll be happy with its new look.

I've also dropped MT-Blacklist entirely in favour of Brad Choate's new SpamLookup plugin, which combines many of MT-Blacklist's features with Brad's older DSBL plugin. If you've had any problems commenting in the last week, please re-try your comment if you wish. I've been doing a lot of behind-the-scenes work with anti-spam plugins in that time and some things may have been somewhat broken. Everything should be back to normal now, and we'll see how SpamLookup does on blocking the thousands of spams per month this blog is getting.

posted on 09 April 2005 at 16300 commentstrackback

Job Hunt Updates and Miscellany

Apologies for the unannounced absence earlier this week. I had some family business to attend to (namely, getting out of town for a few days).

Without being too specific, the Ann Arbor job is out, I'm waiting to hear from Texas, and posting will be irregular at best around here at least through the weekend as I'm headed to Wisconsin for an interview on Friday and have a local lead to follow up on tomorrow.

On top of that, I have one...two...three...four...five...six pending reviews with one more supposedly somewhere in the morass of FedEx-ia. For those of you keeping score, that list includes the Altec Lansing FX6021 and XT1 speaker systems, Kensington's Expert Mouse 7.0, Keynamics' amazing Laptop Stand on Wheels, the AlBook I'm typing on -- now dubbed "Al Kaline", Better Energy Systems' Solio iPod charger, and MaxUpgrades' MaxSleeve. Look for those seven reviews in upcoming issues of ATPM which, by the way, just celebrated its 10th anniversary!

So yeah, I'll be a bit busy. Expect news as I get it.

posted on 07 April 2005 at 02500 commentstrackback

Pardon the Interruption, Again

Things may be spotty this week as I have a lot on my plate. I have a telephone interview for a flight instructor position in Dallas tomorrow, and I expect to hear about the Ann Arbor position within the next day or two. There are four reviews in the queue right now (three for ATPM and one for TAB), with at least one more on its way, and this month's ATPM needs to be copy-edited by tomorrow or Tuesday. Dad's heading to DC for a conference, and Mom's out of town soon too, and I may be going with her. Finally, I need to finish cleaning up my room, as it's getting to the point where I anticipate a move pretty soon.

So yeah. Lots to do.

posted on 27 March 2005 at 22260 commentstrackback

Service May Be Interrupted

Excuse the temporary hiatus. CLN staff are investigating job opportunities in various locations that are not, well, here. Things will probably be back to normal (or, at least, a status update will be posted) by the middle to end of next week.

posted on 19 March 2005 at 03430 commentstrackback

CLN Garage Sale

Time to dispose of a few things on eBay. The link should be a bookmarkable URL for whatever I'm currently auctioning off, if you're the type to be interested in that sort of thing. CLN appreciates your support.

posted on 07 March 2005 at 02400 commentstrackback

Bug? Or Intended Behaviour?

Perhaps someone more knowledgeable about Movable Type can answer this one.

I've used MT's MTCalendarIfToday tag to make the entry for the current day on the calendar over there in the sidebar highlighted with a light red background. Unfortunately, it appears as though MT doesn't actually automatically rebuild the index at midnight each day. Thus, 07 January (in that case, since I added the code on the 7th) stays highlighted as "today" until I either add an entry or rebuild the index.

Anyone know of a way around this problem?

posted on 08 February 2005 at 01053 commentstrackback

New Archives Page

Inspired by Lee's great archives page, I've finished up the one I've been meaning to work on for a long time. If you're looking for something I said more than a week or two ago, you'll find it at the new Master Archives Index.

For those of you wondering what Movable Type template tags I used, just shoot me an e-mail and I'll toss you the relevant template. It's amazing how little it takes to generate that enormous page.

posted on 06 February 2005 at 02420 commentstrackback

Now With 70% More Blockquote Legibility

This entry has been re-written at the last moment in a completely different style and at great expense, thanks to Raena, who not only has a cool name, but knows far too much about CSS and HTML for her own good. She set me straight on uses of the BLOCKQUOTE tag, enlightened me to the glory that is Movable Type's Search and Replace feature (hint: your blog menu, then the first link under Utilities in the sidebar), and helped with a solution for the problem of "how do I put quotes in both corners using only CSS?"

And, uh, anyone reading this blog with Internet Exploder (you know who you are), I just have this to say:

Get Firefox.

We now return to your regularly scheduled blogging.

posted on 31 January 2005 at 00580 commentstrackback

I Wanna Go Back (Go Back) / And Do It All Over

Every time Ti Cobb has to go back for another repair, I'm going to dig up another song lyric to use as a blog entry title. My challenge to you, dear readers, is to figure out what song lent its voice to this one.

Meanwhile, Ti Cobb will be getting a fourth hard drive. It seems Hitachi's skill with the Travelstar line leaves something to be desired, as the current drive has lasted the least of any of the three thus far. The first drive lasted 26 months. The second drive lasted five. The third drive lasted less than one. At this rate, either they'll fix the problem completely, or Ti Cobb is going to get stuck in an infinite loop of ever-more-quickly failing drives in Houston, and I won't get it back until Apple finally gives in and gives me a PowerBook G5.

Which should be any day now.

See you all on Wednesday or Thursday, hopefully. While Ti Cobb is off to Texas, I'm off to Mankato for a job interview. *fingers crossed*

posted on 16 January 2005 at 03390 commentstrackback

TypeKey Authentication Fixed

My apologies to those of you who have tried to sign in and comment with your TypeKey ID. I had unknowingly set it up without ever entering the blog URL in my TypeKey account, so it wasn't working. This is fixed now.

posted on 08 January 2005 at 16210 commentstrackback


The entire site has a new colour scheme, in case you didn't notice, and I've finally fixed the Movable Type bug that was causing XHTML validation to fail. For you other MT-3.x users, it's a problem in the following four files (paths and BBEdit line numbers quoted from the MT-3.14 Upgrade package):

/lib/MT/App/; Line 4699
/lib/MT/; Line 367
/lib/MT/; Line 1182
/tmpl/cms/reload_opener.tmpl; Line 3

Each SCRIPT tag should have language="javascript" replaced by type="text/javascript". If you're feeling particularly ambitious, and since the LANGUAGE attribute has been deprecated, you can go through the entire MT Upgrade package and remove the rest of the language="javascript" attributes as well.

I have contacted Six Apart with this information, and hopefully the next release of Movable Type will fix the problem.

I've also upgraded the sidebar boxes to an Aqua window look instead of the ill-fitting dotted-border theme. Enjoy!

posted on 05 January 2005 at 01420 commentstrackback

Attention MT3 Users

Anyone know how to edit the search results HTML template in Movable Type 3? I can't find it anywhere...

posted on 28 November 2004 at 14060 commentstrackback

Pardon the Mess

I'm in the midst of upgrading to Movable Type 3.x. Please excuse the mess. Things should be reasonably back to normal by tomorrow.

posted on 27 November 2004 at 17130 commentstrackback

Holy Crap! Consistency!

I have now blogged four straight days.

The real reason for this post, however, is to say that I think the evil comment-spamming scum who hit the blog 350 times in the wee hours of this morning have met their match. It should be the first and only time that ever happens, since I did some upgrading of MT-Blacklist and have some really serious regular expressions in place now.

Eat that, spamming scum.

posted on 27 July 2004 at 20180 commentstrackback

We're Back...For Now

Due to the combined effects of a semi-dead hard drive and a three-week vacation, coverage here has been rather spotty lately. After a marathon session yesterday, the hard drive problem is temporarily fixed, and our yard is no longer a wooded lot...but it still needs another mowing, probably tomorrow afternoon if the weather holds up.

Expect continued spotty coverage for at least the next two to three weeks. I'll be moving to Jacksonville (FL) in a week and I anticipate being very very busy with the move.

posted on 27 May 2004 at 13470 commentstrackback

Gee, I Hope I Didn't Break Anything

Apologies if you tried to visit sometime in the last hour and a half and got some strange PHP parsing error or other oddity. See, Eric suggested I randomise the faces used for Red Forman's Dumbass Rating in the previous two entries and this week's Darwin Award Nominee.

At first, I sort of dismissed it out-of-hand as too complicated, because at the time I was thinking of how horrible it would be to implement in JavaScript.

Then I remembered I ought to be able to use PHP for this fairly easily. Well, I wouldn't say "fairly easily" is a proper description, but coding the PHP took about 15 minutes. Getting it properly integrated into Movable Type is what took so long. I had to switch over to all-PHP output, since I can't seem to get this Web host to parse .html files as PHP no matter what voodoo I perform on the .htaccess file.

But yeah, the end result is that each time this page loads, the floating heads representing Red Forman's Dumbass Rating are randomly picked from images of Eric, Kelso, Hyde, and Bob Pinciotti.

Man, I really need to be sleeping right now instead of doing this!

posted on 12 March 2004 at 04500 commentstrackback

CSS Finished

I've finalised (I think) the CSS-based layout and tossed the tables entirely. This also seems to have had the side effect of finally squashing the one-pixel-offset bug in the archives once and for all. A big thanks to Raena Armitage for a cogent explanation of how the CSS worked and for some example CSS to work with.

If anyone finds any bugs, please post a comment and I'll see what I can do.

posted on 27 February 2004 at 18310 commentstrackback

On the Home Stretch

A little thing called Real Life(tm) got in the way of finishing the archiving, mostly because I was working on my writing archives for the past few days. I also had to edit this month's ATPM and a little surprise that will be showing up over at the Colour Classic FAQ later this week.

Sorry about the delay. The sci-tech category should be finished by tonight.

posted on 04 February 2004 at 16150 commentstrackback

The Sporting News

Sports is done. Now only sci-tech and war remain. Progress is a Good Thing(tm).

posted on 25 January 2004 at 18580 commentstrackback

School? Yeah, School.

Got the school category (all five entries!) done tonight. Might have more time to do, say, sci-tech tomorrow. We'll see.

posted on 24 January 2004 at 00420 commentstrackback

Temporary Hiatus

Been working (!) this week, very odd hours. Haven't had time to do any more archive updating to speak of. It's all I can do to keep up with the news. So yeah, again, hoping to be done by the end of the month. Also, the current employment will likely be ending on Sunday, so things might be more back to "normal" by then...

posted on 23 January 2004 at 01360 commentstrackback

Progress is the Opposite of Congress

Language and politix (minus the "war" subcategory, which will probably end up as its own category since MT doesn't seem to do subcategories) are now done.

If anyone knows how to do subcategories in Movable Type or knows how to batch-add TrackBack to all the old entries, I'd like to know...

posted on 18 January 2004 at 11180 commentstrackback

Templatey Goodness

The archive templates all appear to be in order now, and the category links have been added to the meta tags in the footer of each entry. Enjoy.

posted on 17 January 2004 at 22300 comments

I'm an Archivin' Fool

I dunno, it just sounded like a good title. Everything up through the "humour" category has been archived. I'm just a bit less than halfway done, with the language, politix, school, sci-tech, and sports categories left to archive. Hey, once I get that finished, I might even have time for new content!

posted on 17 January 2004 at 17560 comments

Look, Mom! Archives!

They're coming along. I'm forcing myself to do two or three entries every time I sit down at the computer, so I might actually have this done by the end of the month. (Yes, the deadline just slipped 10 days. Deal with it. I have over 200 entries to convert here.)

posted on 14 January 2004 at 23380 comments

Where's All the Old Stuff?

Yeah, yeah, it's on the to-do list. I'm going to have to manually import everything and then go through and fix dates, because MT doesn't have a nice PHPosxom import, mostly due to the vastly different ways MT and PHPosxom store their file metadata. So yeah. Expect that by the end of the week, probably, but converting that many entries is going to take a while.

posted on 13 January 2004 at 01420 comments

Tables, Tables Everywhere!

OK, the main table to create the sidebar is in place. If anyone knows a way to do it with pure CSS instead, I'd love to hear it, because tables annoy me. Yes, after something like 10 years of writing HTML, I've finally gotten completely tired of table-based layouts. After seeing what could be done without ever resorting to a single table tag, I've sworn off tables forever unless there's just no other way.

And right now, I don't know of any other way. There's a tiny alignment problem with the blog body "windows," but I'm too tired to chase it down tonight. Maybe tomorrow or something.

EDIT: I apparently overestimated my somnolence. The weird alignment problem is fixed now.

posted on 13 January 2004 at 01380 comments

The Joys of CSS and XML

It's a damn good thing I have an appreciation for the power of XML and CSS, because without it, I would surely have given up by now. Slogging around in this morass of code isn't exactly fun, but it's better than a kick in the head. I think I have the blog entry appearance the way I want it; now I just have to fix the calendar and all the other sidebar goodies. And the title. That title looks stupid sitting up there like that. I go to bed, or no...?

Heh...there are a couple more mistakes. I knew posting a second entry would reveal stuff I missed. :)

posted on 13 January 2004 at 01070 comments


Well. That was an interesting experience. The migration from phposxom to Movable Type certainly isn't complete -- or even really begun -- but at least MT is up and running.

More later...

posted on 12 January 2004 at 21090 comments

Naming Your Children

I should probably explain the name, too, whilst I'm at it. That's pronounced like "blizzard," not "pizza." Those of you who know the "lingo," so to speak, will recognise the so-called "z insertion," first popularised (I think) on a long-forgotten episode of Seinfeld and then adopted in a somewhat modified form by various gansta rappers in such songs as Jay-Z's HOVA. For the uninitiated, allow me to provide an example.

The following sentence, written normally, reads:

I am a thuggish gangsta rapper.

In the "z-insertion" style, that would read:

I am a thizzuggish gizzangsta rizzapper.

In the "modified z-insertion" style, it would probably read:

I am a thizzie gizzangsty rizzie.

The latter style is also the least clearly defined, perhaps because it has emerged in only the last couple of years. My theory, completely unsupported by evidence, is that rappers started to get lazy, and saying the entire word after inserting an extra syllable was too much work, so they started dropping everything after the Zs.

I find this somewhat amusing, along the lines of the common Australian usage of dropping all but the first syllable of a word and appending the "ie" sound to the end (unless the first syllable already ends in such a sound, in which case the "o" sound is added), so that "football" becomes "footy," Fremantle becomes "Freo," a can ("tin") of beer becomes a "tinny," any Eskimo(tm)-like portable icebox/cooler becomes an "Esky," etc. But at least you can understand what the Australians are saying. Someone trying to figure out what the heck "fo sheezy" means is going to have a bloody difficult time about it.

posted on 08 March 2003 at 20410 comments

Blog blog blog blog blog

You know, like "blah blah blah blah blah." Yeah, bad pun. Deal with it.

Why a blog? I dunno. The "because everyone else has one" is probably more honest than you might think, especially if you know me pretty well. It's some combination of that, my repeated boredom on weekends, my avoidance of homework/studying, and the idea that blogging is probably much more likely to give me a useful outlet than, say, putting up random pages about shit would, primarily because this lets me opine, rant, and whatever without spending so much damn time on it.

Or something. Like I said. I dunno ;)

posted on 08 March 2003 at 20250 comments