Blog

  • Propagating the faith

    The term propaganda originally comes from The Congregatio de propaganda fide or “Congregation for propagating the faith” created by Pope Gregory XV in 1622. The group’s aim was to increase Catholic missionary activity. Propaganda today is associated more with political activity and often has a negative connotation: “Don’t believe the propaganda.” But like all speech, how you judge it it...

  • Copywriting tips for your Shopify store

    I recently began the process of refreshing the copywriting on my Shopify-hosted business to boost traffic and improve conversions. The project includes updating product descriptions, product category pages and creating new landing pages for search engines.

  • How to read 100 books a year

    We’re still early in the New Year when people are actively pursuing resolutions. “Reading more” often shows up on lists and I thought I’d share a proven method for reading 100 books a year. There are just three steps, and if you follow them you’ll be well on your way:

  • Best nonfiction books of 2021

    I like to dive into nonfiction the way I dive into TV series. That is, I let others test the water first and look for recommendations from a number of sources. I went through several nonfiction best-of-the-year lists for 2021 and came up with the following books I plan to read at the beginning of this year. I have finished...

  • Review of The Hollow Places

    After recently divorced Kara moves into her uncle’s home she discovers through a hole in a wall a portal to an alternate and mysterious reality. This is the beginning to T. Kingfisher’s horror novel The Hollow Places, a story that moves at a quick pace but offers too few spine-tingling scares.

  • Here comes the sun

    On a more pleasant note, the hospital where my daughter works in Florida plays “Here Comes the Sun” when a Covid patient is extubated and the theme from Rocky when one is discharged. It’s a nice thought.

  • The melancholia is palpable

    When I go to the store the melancholia is palpable. People seem sad and the social distancing and social awkwardness is exhausting.

  • Once again I can't get Jekyll to work on a Mac

    I’ve tried a couple of different times over the years to install Jekyll on Macs, but I can never get it to run. The various online support cures are not effective and, honestly, it’s not worth the effort if I can’t get it to work correctly on install. I’m not confident I won’t run into future problems. But, I’ve...

  • My reading habits have completely changed

    It has been hard to concentrate on reading books during the COVID-19 crisis. I’m finding I can read more escapist books, so I’m turning to science fiction and mysteries to get by. It’s the reading equivalent of passing on the broccoli and grabbing a bowl of ice cream.

  • Off to a start

    This is the first post of this blog running Jekyll on GitHub. Here we go.

  • How to find your 2019 Shopify Payments 1099-K

    If you use Shopify Payments, you may wonder where to find the 1099-K you need for your business taxes. Shopify does not make it easy to find, but with the help of Shopify’s chat support I was able to navigate to the form. I’ve outlined the steps below to find your Shopify 1099-K.

  • Review: The Deserter

    Nelson DeMille is back with another thriller, sharing writing duties with his son, Alex DeMille. In The Deserter, Army criminal investigators Scott Brodie and Maggie Taylor are trying to track down elite Delta Force officer Captain Kyle Mercer, who walked way from his post in Afghanistan.

  • Coffee notes for July 30, 2019

    What I’ve learned in 20 years of blogging, by Anil Dash: Most people in tech want to do good, but tech history is poorly understood. As a result, many in tech don’t understand how tech can have negative impacts when they think of themselves as good people.”

  • Coffee notes for July 18, 2019

    Self-driving cars are way in the future: “Several carmakers and technology companies have concluded that making autonomous vehicles is going to be harder, slower and costlier than they thought.”

  • Too many people want to travel. Massive crowds are causing environmental degradation, dangerous conditions, and the immiseration and pricing-out of locals.

    The Atlantic

  • I continued to wonder what exactly I had done to deserve a woman like Valerie. Nothing, probably. I observe the world as it unfurls, I thought. Proceeding empirically, in good faith, I observe it. I can do no more than observe.

    Platform by Michel Houllebecq

  • RapidWeaver + plugins = blog

    I’ve put together a development blog using RapidWeaver plus the Stacks, Foundry and Alloy plugins. The development blog is just a test, but the design will be used as the framework for other projects. With RapidWeaver and its plugins it’s pretty easy to quickly create fresh designs. I basically started with a blank slate and...

  • A list of Amazon RSS feeds for 2019

    Unfortunately Amazon no longer provides RSS feeds. This seems to be a new trend and a number of sites, including news organizations, are discontinuing RSS feeds and making it more difficult to track information and get updates across the Internet.

  • Printable Bonnaroo schedules for 2019

    For some reason festivals don’t provide schedules formatted for printing and I usually make my own printable Bonnaroo schedules. This year a couple of other people have done the heavy lifting already, so I’m sharing links here to the ones I’ve found. All of these were originally shared through the Reddit Bonnaroo group.

  • While Google and Facebook have siphoned ad dollars away from all publishers, local news publishers have been the hardest hit. The tech giants suck up 77% of the digital advertising revenue in local markets, compared to 58% on a national level, according to estimates from Borrell Associates and eMarketer.

    The Wall Street Journal

  • Very short reviews of books

    A roundup of books I read in November. Haruki Murakami’s Killing Commendatore and Stephen Markley’s Ohio were the two best books of the month. In fact, those are the only two books I would definitely recommend. Unless you’re an aspiring diarist, in which case you should read Writing Down the Bones.

  • Review: When the Pipirite Sings

    When the Pipirite Sings presents the collected poems of Haitian poet and doctor Jean Métellus, who wrote primarily in French. The collection most notably includes the first English translation of his signature work by the same title. 

  • Very short reviews of books

    A roundup of brief reviews of books I read in October. Virgil Wander will probably make it to best books of 2018 list.

  • Very short review of books

    A roundup of brief reviews of books I read in September. There were a number of good books from the month and it was heavy on sci-fi. Cherry is among the best books I’ve read this year and one to get you thinking. Fans of funny science fiction should start reading the Murderbot Diaries immediately. 

  • Very short reviews of books

    A roundup of brief reviews of books I read in August. Looking back it was a good month. Depending on where your tastes lie, I’d recommend everything but The Butcher’s Boy. But if I had to pick one, it would be The Line Becomes a River, which is a good look at what happens along our southern border and would be...

  • Very short reviews of books

    A roundup of brief reviews of books I read in July. An American Marriage is worthy of the praise it’s received this year and A Terrible Country is an interesting take on live in Putin’s Russia.

  • Review: A Terrible Country

    Andrei Kaplan is coming off of a failed relationship, low on cash and struggling to find an academic job when his brother asks him to do a favor. Kaplan accepts and heads to Russia where he will take care of his ailing grandmother in her Stalin-era, Moscow apartment.

  • Watch your step

    [caption id=”attachment_2009” align=”aligncenter” width=”1200”] Lisbon, Portugal. May 2017.[/caption]

  • Very short reviews of books

    A round up of brief reviews of books I read in June. David Lynch’s biography Room to Dream and Stephen King’s The Outsider are new to bookstores and worth reading.

  • Review: Room to Dream

    The inscrutable auteur David Lynch has delivered a number of memorable films that enthrall and confuse viewers. In Room to Dream we get to peek behind the camera to see what drives the visionary director and artist.

  • Matt Shultz

    [caption id=”attachment_1958” align=”aligncenter” width=”1200”] Matt Shultz of Cage the Elephant performs during the Tom Petty SuperJam tribute at Bonnaroo. June 2018.[/caption]

  • Very short reviews of books

    David Itzkoff’s compassionate biography of Robin Williams stands out among the books I read in May. David Sedaris’ wickedly humorous collection of essays is also worth picking up.

  • Friday morning coffee reads

    A regular roundup of interesting stories from the week to enjoy wit your morning coffee.

  • St. Maarten

    [caption id=”attachment_1887” align=”aligncenter” width=”1500”]Baie Rouge in St. Maarten, 2017. Baie Rouge in St. Maarten, 2017.[/caption]

  • Friday morning coffee reads

    A regular roundup of interesting stories from the week to enjoy wit your morning coffee.

  • Review: The Shepherd's Hut

    Jaxie Claxton lives a miserable life in rural Australia, stuck with a savage father he hates. Then one day a violent accident leaves him with no choice but to pack what he can carry and strike out on foot as a fugitive.

  • Centre Pompidou

    [caption id=”attachment_1856” align=”aligncenter” width=”1500”]Centre Pompidou, Paris. Centre Pompidou, Paris. March 2012.[/caption]

  • Review: Calypso

    David Sedaris has mastered the ability to be dark, charming and funny at the same time. His latest collection of essays, Calypso, revolves around gatherings at his North Carolina beach house, the Sea Section. Sedaris deftly handles a variety of topics including  middle age, shopping, gay marriage, language and family tragedy.

  • Friday morning coffee reads

    A regular roundup of interesting stories from the week to enjoy with your morning coffee.

  • Review: Robin

    An intimate new biography of Robin Williams tells the story of the meteoric rise, frenetic life and the sad final days of the comedian. In Robin, New York Times writer David Itzkoff gives us a look at the creativity that fueled Williams’ seemingly spontaneous and endless comedic riffs. But he also tells of Williams’ substance abuse,...

  • Friday morning coffee reads

    A regular roundup of interesting stories from the week to enjoy with your morning coffee.

  • Kauai

    [caption id=”attachment_1741” align=”aligncenter” width=”1500”]Kauai. May 2014. Kauai. May 2014.[/caption]

  • Review: Warlight

    In the aftermath of WWII 14-year-old Nathaniel and his sister are left in the care of a mysterious man they nickname The Moth and his possibly criminal cohorts. Warlight follows Nathaniel’s adventures with this eccentric lot and his efforts to discover why his mother seemingly abandoned him.

  • Very short reviews of books

    The original, and surreal, Spaceman of Bohemia is highly recommended. The Mars Room and I am, I am, I am area also among my favorites from April.

  • Review: The Mars Room

    Rachel Kushner’s new novel The Mars Room is a heartbreaking and unsparing look at a life gone sideways. From a young age Romy Hall became acclimatized to life on the street in San Francisco and seemed like someone who could navigate the fine line between survival and self-destruction. But a bad history with an obsessive strip club...

  • Little River Canyon

    [caption id=”attachment_1663” align=”aligncenter” width=”2500”]Little River Canyon National Preserve, Alabama. April 2018. Little River Canyon National Preserve, Alabama. April 2018.[/caption]

  • Review: Gateway to the Moon

    Mary Morris’ latest novel, Gateway to the Moon, combines a coming of age story with historical fiction to explore ideas of identity and how history echoes across time.  The remote New Mexico community of Entrada de la Luna is rooted in the history of the Spanish inquisition and converesos, or crypto-Jews, who fled from persecution. But the...

  • Admiring the Louvre

    [caption id=”attachment_1602” align=”aligncenter” width=”1500”]At the Louvre Museum in Paris. March 2012. At the Louvre Museum in Paris. March 2012.[/caption]

  • Monterey jellyfish

    [caption id=”attachment_1534” align=”aligncenter” width=”1500”] Jellyfish at Monterey Bay Aquarium. March 2018.[/caption]

  • Review: The Sun Does Shine

    In 1985 Anthony Ray Hinton was arrested and charged with the death of two men in Birmingham, Alabama. Hinton was certain that because of his rock-solid alibi, everything would be cleared up and he would soon be released. But due to an ineffective and unmotivated defense attorney and a criminal justice system indifferent to the plight of a poor,...

  • Comércio Plaza, Lisbon

    [caption id=”attachment_1508” align=”aligncenter” width=”1500”] Pedestrians on Comércio Plaza in Lisbon, Portugal. May 2017.[/caption]

  • Very short reviews of books

    A roundup of very short reviews of books I read in March. The Sun Does Shine is one of the books you must read this year. Everything else I read in March was also solid and worth your attention.

  • U2 performs at Bonnaroo

    [caption id=”attachment_1480” align=”aligncenter” width=”1500”] The crowd records the moment as U2 performs at Bonnaroo. June 9, 2017.[/caption]

  • Review: Feast Days

    Written in a brutally honest tone, Feast Days recounts the story of Emma, a young woman who moves with her husband from New York to Brazil, where he works as a financial analyst. While protests rattle the country, Emma tries to find where she fits in, immersing herself in the arts scene, lunching with other expat wives...

  • Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur

    [caption id=”attachment_1423” align=”aligncenter” width=”2500”] Pfeiffer Beach. Big Sur, California. March 2018.[/caption]

  • Review: Sometimes I Lie

    Amber Reynolds lies in a hospital bed, unresponsive and seemingly in a coma. But Amber can hear everything that is said around her.  She remembers an accident but has trouble unraveling the exact circumstances that put her in the hospital. As she listens to conversations and slowly begins to remember events, Amber becomes suspicious of her...

  • Pacific Grove sunset

    [caption id=”attachment_1399” align=”aligncenter” width=”1500”] Sunset in Pacific Grove, California. March 2018.[/caption]

  • Friday morning coffee reads

    It’s time to settle down with a steaming mug of coffee, some interesting stories and begin putting off getting any meaningful work done today.

  • Very short reviews of books

    A roundup of very short reviews of books I recently read. Lincoln in the Bardo and Panorama are worth your attention.

  • Review: The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore

    Kim Fu’s novel The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, digital galley) alternates between the stories of five young women who experienced a traumatic event at camp while girls. Unfortunately it reads as a disparate collection of unrelated stories, with the camp experience being the only thing connecting the women.

  • Review: Panorama

    Television news pundit Richard MacMurray is in the middle of examining his life in Washington, D.C., when he finds out his estranged sister was aboard Panorama Airlines Flight 503, which crashed in Dallas with no survivors. Her death leaves MacMurray as the only living relative of her young son, Gabriel, and just another of the characters in...

  • Friday afternoon coffee reads

    Here is a roundup of the best reads from the week. These may not be new to the internet or you, but they were of fresh interest to me.

  • Bonnaroo 2018 lineup spreadsheet

    [caption id=”attachment_1002” align=”aligncenter” width=”1500”]Bonnaroo 2018 lineup spreadsheet Cage the Elephant at 2017 Bonnaroo.[/caption]

  • Review: The Which Way Tree

    Rarely does a book so quickly grip me in its first pages, but The Which Way Tree has done it with a harrowing story of survivalon the Texas frontier during the Civil War. Bringing to mind the tight narratives of Charles Portis, the novel weaves a story of violence, survival and frontier justice.

  • Review: Eternal Life

    Dara Horn’s Eternal Life (W.W. Norton & Company, digital galley) is a touching story of faith, loss and family. The story’s heroine, Rachel, made a deal with God in Roman-occupied Jerusalem to trade her death for the life of her first-born son. Now, 2000 years later, Rachel struggles to find continued meaning in her never ending life.

    ...
  • Books for the drinking hour

    Below is a roundup of books that will get you in the mood for happy hour. The two best, Trappist Beer Travels and Rum Curious, offer a mixture of history and reviews that will leave you feeling smarter about your drink choices.

  • UNSUB review: A fast-paced thrill

    Meg Gardiner’s psychological thriller UNSUB moves at a fast pace as the heroine, Detective Caitlin Hendrix, becomes obsessed with the Prophet, a killer who reappears after a 20 year hiatus. Inspired by the Zodiac Killer, UNSUB (Dutton, digital galley) pits Hendrix against a serial killer who enjoys taunting police.

  • Manhattan Beach: A sweeping look at war time New York

    During the Great Depression, young Anna Kerrigan regularly accompanies her father on his work as a union courier. But one morning he walks out the door and disappears, leaving Anna and her mother to take care of Anna’s disabled sister.

  • DeMille introduces a new character in 'The Cuban Affair'

    Key West charter boat captain Daniel “Mac” MacCormick is made an offer he has every intention of refusing: Sail his boat to Cuba under the guise of a fishing tournament and recover cash and documents hidden during the revolution. But the lure of a $2 million payday is more than he can resist, and he takes the bait.

  • A hike to the Walls of Jericho

    On Sept. 2, 2017, I hiked the Walls of Jericho from the Alabama trial head in Jackson County, Alabama, with my brother in law and my dog. The hike is a strenuous 6 miles round trip and leads to the headwaters of the Paint Rock River. At the end of the hike is a large natural stone amphitheater which usually...

  • Poodle

    [caption id=”attachment_868” align=”aligncenter” width=”660”]Poodle. August 2017. Poodle on sofa. August 2017.[/caption]

  • Steampunkalypse: A review of 'The Clockwork Dynasty'

    While doing field research and trying to unlock a mystery from her childhood, anthropologist June Stefanov makes a startling discovery: For millennia automatons have lived among us, hiding their presence while trying to understand the nature of their own existence. But their time is drawing to an end and Stefanov may be a key, if unlikely, ally in their survival.

    ...
  • Review: 'The Late Show' introduces a fierce detective

    the Late Show book reviewMichael Connelly introduces a new detective in The Late Show (Little, Brown and Company, digital galley), a fast moving police procedural that is hard to put down. Renée Ballard works the LAPD overnight shift, responding to everything from burglaries to homicides. Because she has to hand off all of her cases at...

  • An assortment of links for Sunday

    1. Zume pizzas are made by robots, and they’re cooked in ovens inside delivery trucks on their way to delivery.
    2. While dental X-rays account for less than 3 percent of all the radiation that Americans get through medical imaging, every effort should be made to minimize their use.
    3. Let’s clear up some of the most common myths and misunderstandings...
  • Bonnaroo lineup 2017

    The official Bonnaroo lineup 2017 was announced January 11. The June 8-11 festival is headlined by U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Weeknd and Chance the Rapper. This list was updated April 5, 2017 to include new additions to the music lineup and to the Comedy Theatre.

  • The Princess Diarist only partly delivers on the title

    I was warned right in the title that Carrie Fisher would share her diary. On that she doesn’t disappoint. But the title kind of promises details about life on the set of the first Star Wars movie. On this The Princess Diarist falls short.

  • Carrie Fisher: I had to comport myself with something approaching dignity

    Had I known it was going to make that loud of a noise, I would’ve dressed better for those talk shows and definitely would have argued against that insane hair (although the hair was, in its own modest way, a big part of that noise). And I certainly wouldn’t have ever just blithely signed away any and all merchandising...

  • Banyan Tree

    [caption id=”attachment_416” align=”aligncenter” width=”1200”]A banyan tree in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. A banyan tree in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.[/caption]

  • Old San Juan journal

    • The harbor at San Juan Bay is a hive of activity. There are cruise ships, sailboats, commercial ships, ferries, seaplanes and regular planes all moving about. If you have the opportunity, grab a coffee or cocktail and sit and watch.
    • The cruise terminal docks are also a hive of activity of a different kind as vendors pitch services and wares.
    • The oldest building...
  • Chef’s love it when customers are willing to pay to eat their garbage.

  • Bad behavior can be necessary for politicians

    The Dictator’s Handbook by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith sheds light on how politicians get and keep power. In a nutshell, the most important thing to a politician is not the welfare of the citizenry, but the welfare of the politician’s winning coalition. Keep the coalition happy by lavishing rewards on them and the politician will stay...

  • It's easy to make homemade yogurt

    It’s relatively easy to make yogurt at home without any special tools. After getting a brief demonstration from my uncle, I decided to give it a shot. Although my uncle uses an Instant Pot to incubate the yogurt, I had success with a 1 gallon insulated Coleman jug. The insulated jug is definitely the cheapest way to proceed and for...

  • The new January 2017 cover image

    The new header image was shot at the Belle Chevre Cheese Shop and Tasting Room in Elkmont, Alabama. The shop was dog friendly and offered sandwiches, goat cheese and hand made fig ice cream.

  • Some quotes on the 2017 Bonnaroo lineup

    … this year’s lineup resembles that of pop-and-rock-oriented competitors such as Lollapalooza and Coachella. But Bonnaroo’s organizers say they don’t view the festival as tethered to Jerry Garcia guitar solos, and haven’t for many years. ‘We certainly have jam-band roots from the first year, but our goal wasn’t to create a jam-band festival. The goal was always to create...

  • Books I read in 2016

    This is a complete list of the book I finished in 2016 and my Goodreads rating. I read exactly 100 books this year, which was my goal. All of the 4 and 5 star books are highly recommended.

  • The new October cover image

    The new cover image for the home page is a tour helicopter flying down the coast at Panama City Beach, Florida. August, 2016.

  • Does Uber make cities safer?

    Allowing ride sharing in a city likely reduces the number of DUIs, fatal accidents and arrests for assault. But automobile thefts go up, presumably of cars left at bars overnight by Uber customers.

  • So he switched to whisky

    The day before he was due to go home Roger and I decided to have a word with Eric [Clapton]’s doctor about his drinking. We pleaded with him to tell Eric he mustn’t drink, explained the situation, told him how much he habitually drank, and how worried we were. The doctor told Eric it was fine to have the...

  • Bonnaroo journal 2016

    • Crowds at Bonnaroo 2016 were lighter than past years. Some estimates put it close to 50,000, which is significantly less than recent years when nearly 90,000 attended. At $325 a ticket, that’s about $13,000,000 in revenue.
    • Traffic into Bonnaroo is usually backed up for hours on I-24 and we have a back way of getting in that lets us...
  • The Bank of Starbucks

    Starbucks Corp. [has] $1.2 billion loaded onto Starbucks cards and the Starbucks mobile app as of the first quarter of 2016, according to the data. This money can be used to purchase items including drinks, food and other merchandise.

  • Bavaria journal

    • Although reserved, people in the street were friendly and willing to meet our gaze and return a smile.
    • Traditional German food in Huntsville seems just as good as in Bavaria. Perhaps traditional German food travels better than other ethnic dishes. Or maybe Huntsville restaurants do a better than average job of presenting it (Huntsville has a lot of traditional...
  • Salzburg journal

    • Salzburg is a surprisingly small city. It has a population of less than 150,000 and is smaller than Huntsville, Alabama, which has a population closer to 190,000.
    • It always amazes me in European cities how tourists cluster around just a couple of sites. Mozart’s birthplace, for instance. Yet go just two or three blocks and it feels like you...
  • This is Marlboro country

    I created this piece of pop art circa 1979 for a school assignment. In the 1970s featuring cigarettes in a middle school assignment was completely acceptable.

  • What does it take to make us safe?

    During the Olympics in Atlanta, and following the bombing in Centennial Olympic Park, my wife and I were among spectators made to stand in huge crowds outside of venues while the buildings were swept for explosives. While this exercise may have guaranteed the safety of the facilities it did nothing to protect those of us huddle in large, vulnerable crowds...

  • Books I read in 2015

    This is a complete list of the book I finished in 2015 and my Goodreads rating. I read 102 books this year. My goal was 80, but once I was underway I picked up some steam and got to more than 100. All of the 4 and 5 star books are highly recommended.

  • What I'm watching: More Than the Rainbow

    Street photographer Matt Weber spent three decades documenting life in New York City. He started by pointing his lens out of his cab window and in the years since he walked the streets catching poignant images of the city’s inhabitants.

  • Using discovery sites to navigate Netflix

    Despite containing many excellent films, it is often difficult to find anything to watch on Netflix. The tools available on the site don’t make it easy to discover the many wonderful movies hidden within its catalog.

  • My new cover photo is Waikiki Beach

    My new cover photo is of the 1975 Wide World of Sports Superteams tug-of-war competition. The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Minnesota Vikings met on Waikiki Beach for the showdown. Keith Jackson and O.J. Simpson hosted the show and are talking in the center of the image. My father took the photo.

  • Film types for VueScan film scanners

    If you use VueScan as your negative scanning software – and you should – you will have seen an option on the Color tab to select a negative vendor, brand and type. It’s almost always easy to figure out the vendor (Fuji, for instance). But the brand and type are not always obvious (something like Super G second generation...

  • Alternative blog platforms based on Dropbox

    There are a number of new blogging platforms that make it easy to publish content stored in a online file service, such as Dropbox, as a blog or web site. For the most part editing is done using Mark Down, so no HTML knowledge is necessary. One of the advantages of this method of publishing is you control all...

  • Buying a used FujiFilm X100

    The cost of a new FujiFilm X100 last year was $1299, but now they’re available for less than $700 on the used market. With the release of the updated X100s a couple of months ago the X100 became yesterday’s technology and used prices dropped accordingly.

  • 35mm film scanner reviews

    The topic of 35mm film scanners comes up occasionally around the office and in correspondence with Shorpy and Vintagraph readers. The email I receive generally comes from individuals looking for a recommendation of a scanner to archive family photos. Because everyone’s needs and budget are different it’s not easy to make a general recommendation.

  • A trip to Bald Point Florida

    Where Ochlockonee Bay meets Apalachee Bay in the Florida panhandle sits the secluded Bald Point peninsula, an area of scrub oak, pine trees, marshes and white sand beaches. Most of the peninsula is occupied by Bald Point State Park, with a few beachside homes and rental properties scattered along the shore. We made a Spring Break trip there because...

  • Moving past Google Reader

    Google announced yesterday that it will shut down Reader on July 1. It’s hard to believe it only launched in 2005. It feels like I’ve been dependent on it for much longer. The majority of my browsing begins either directly in Reader or on services supported by Reader. Google created the best RSS reader available and topped all competitors....

  • Durango & Silverton Railroad

    My wife and I were skiing at Purgatory in 1994 and rode the Durango & Silverton Railroad as a side trip. It’s well worth doing if you’re in that part of the country, particularly during the winter. The views of snow-covered mountains can’t be beat.This image is from a new scan from a 35mm photo taken during...

  • Upgrading backend for Vintagraph

    I moved Vintagraph to a new backend over the weekend. It’s a big change for us as it takes us from a blogging platform to one designed specifically for storefronts.

  • 1984 Disney Gradnite pamphlet

    [caption id=”attachment_1919” align=”aligncenter” width=”1200”]Disney Gradnite 1984 pamphlet. Disney Gradnite 1984 pamphlet.[/caption]

  • Madison Pike upgrade

    I’ve made a few design changes to Madison Pike to give it a cleaner Dave Winer-like “River of News” appearance. The site is a news aggregator for Madison, Alabama and the new design cuts out extraneous design elements and does away with the larger blog-style headlines in favor of headlines nested within the paragraphs. I...

  • Feeling the Magic

    I traveled to Orlando this past weekend as chaperon with my daughter’s high school choir. I took this photo of a tired man at dusk at the Magic Kingdom. By this point in the day I felt like he looks.

  • Hanging on a prayer

    Painters on the steeple at First United Methodist Church in Huntsville, Alabama.

  • Snow day

    On Monday, while it was still snowing in Madison, we decided to walk from our neighborhood down to a nearby shopping center. For part of the walk we were shadowed by another adventurous soul. There were not many people out that day and we saw very few drivers on the road. The snowfall of about 8″ was enough to shut...

  • River of News view

    I have just published my effort at designing a unique view for Dave Winer’s River of News. Dave published his news river as JSONP, making it available via Javascript for modification. I know just enough about Javascript to modify a script someone else has written, so I have to thank Martin Duffy for graciously letting me grab his...

  • Shoe ball

    I ran across this guy trying to climb a palm tree on the University of Florida campus last Saturday. He was actually making a good go of it, but finally had to give up and drop to the ground. It turns out he was trying to retrieve a football and shoe from the branches. His buddy started hurling his remaining...

  • WordCamp to go: Improving site performance

    While things are fresh in my mind, and because I told a few people I would, I have jotted down some notes I took away from WordCamp Birmingham last weekend. I had intended to make one post, but after getting into it I saw it would be more useful if broken up into several posts. First...

  • VAIO con Dios

    I think I may have killed my beloved VAIO laptop. Yesterday afternoon I tried adding a external monitor to extend my desktop, but after rebooting neither the laptop monitor nor the external monitor would work. After spending a good part of the day futzing with it, I have come to the conclusion that I somehow damaged the graphics card.

  • Hyper-local news blog is up and running

    I got back from 4-day trip to Ohio this week and immediately started work on a hyper-local news blog, Madison Pike. Setting up aggregation of local news sources was easy. I also located a WordPress plugin that lets me easily turn any post into a calendar event. So by pulling in a feed of city hall news items, for...

  • Sending the order form to the design spa

    I spent a lot of time yesterday and today upgrading the look of the print order forms and shopping carts on Vintagraph and Shorpy. The old design looked clunky and had a very 1999 feel to it. It was basic html and lacked the appeal of most modern web stores.

  • Colorized photos, we got 'em

    What started out as a novelty from a couple of visitors to Shorpy has grown into a rather large collection of colorized photos. We now have 96 photos in the gallery and a few more in the wings waiting to be posted. It’s interesting that the first few colorized photos that were shared on the site inspired a...

  • Camp Vulcan Flag

    KenBooth: I was honored that our office was presented today with a flag that flew over Camp Vulcan, Afghanistan. Thanks Mike