Lightbox JS

Here’s a useful little chunk of Javascript which can probably be put to good use on your website:

Lightbox JS is a simple, unobtrusive script used to to overlay images on the current page. It’s a snap to setup and works on all modern browsers.

It works quite well, and is also somewhat instructive. I may work on my own version of this script to use here on my website.

Lightbox JS

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Addendum: I’ve removed the AJAX tag, since this actually doesn’t do any asynchronous Javascript calls.

Upgraded to WordPress 2.0

Well, I’ve upgraded to WordPress 2.0. Like all previous upgrades that I’ve performed, this one seems to have gone without a hitch, and all things that I expected to work seems to work just fine.

The biggest change that is immediately visible is the new posting interface, which uses a WYSIWG type interface. It seems pretty nice, and has the added advantage that it should be difficult to actually create HTML which doesn’t validate.

There is a new anti-comment spam gadget called Akismet that unfortunately requires a API key to function (I really don’t mind signing up for a key, but it seems silly to create a blog for me just to get a plugin key). There are also some changes to the permissions system which seem to mean that I can’t create a link in this post. I’ll submit it anyway, and then come back and try to figure out what the deal is.

Still, seems pretty nice!

Addendum: Hmmm. I suppose that I could just enter a link by hand.  That seemed to work okay.  If you just type the html, it seems to actually do the right thing.

The Real Value of Podcasting

If you really are doing it for the love, why bother assigning a number to it?

Let’s put it another way: if my goal is to maximize the value that I create, I obviously can do that in a couple of different ways, I can either choose to concentrate and create things which are truly of large value to a smaller number of people, or I could settle for quantity over quality and pander to the lowest common denominator. There has to be more to how you choose to live your life than spamming lots of individuals with trivial thoughts.


I remember reading Russell Beattie’s blog, where he said that merely by posting something about the Apple or Macintosh, his traffic doubled or tripled or something. If I was using Adsense or something, then the recent back and forth I’ve been doing with Scoble might make me a few cents. As it is, I have to just settle for that smug sense of self satisfaction.

Boost in Web Traffic

Bracing for Rita

Josh mentioned this Houston blogger as one of those who is going to remain in his home and ride out the storm. I’ll be checking in from time to time to see how its going. Jkotr also mentioned Stormwatchers, a blog for Houston area bloggers who are similarly riding out the storm.

Good luck everyone. Stay safe.

Addendum: Traffic is apparently really bad leaving the Houston. You can click on the image at the right to get live traffic cam views. I45 North seems bad.

Finding Blogs in the Short Head

I’m always on the lookout for new blogs to read. Unfortunately, it is often hard to find blogs that are interesting. I suspect that is because most of the blogs that I find interesting are in the long tail, rather than the short head, and search engines rely on the short head.

For instance, witness the Top 100 Blogs as listed by Technorati. How many of these blogs are actually of interest to me?

  • BoingBoing: Okay, I read BoingBoing every day. But everyone does.
  • Engadget: Ditto. Got to keep up on the gadget news.
  • Wil Wheaton Dot Net: While Wil has been a bit less interesting of late, he’s still one of the more honest bloggers there is. I suspect too much of his real creative energy is going into his books as of late though.
  • Scobleizer: I’m fascinated by the idea of corporate blogging, and I read Scoble’s blog to see how the grand experiment works out.

And that’s it for the top 100.

I guess popular blogs aren’t all that popular with me.

Brainwagon Radio: Baseball, Atari 2600, FPGAs, you name it

Today’s podcast recaps a bunch of topics which have floated to the top of my conciousness: a recap of last night’s baseball game, my experience in programming the old Atari 2600 video console, what it might mean to have a video game console which promoted consumer experimentation and programming, some musings about Field Programmable Gate Arrays, and just a general recap.


Bye Bye, Freeloaders

Don't Bogart My Bandwidth!

I received an email a couple of days ago from someone who thoughtfully noted that someone was stealing bandwidth from my by hotlinking to images in my /images directory. Effectively these people use your webserver to serve images for their websites. It’s tacky: kind of like filling your pockets with napkins and packets of ketchup when you go to a fast food restaurant. Any individual act is admittedly pretty trivial, but as of noon today, 546 images had been served to these people. Sigh.

A bit of research yielded a recipe for preventing this. Since I installed it a half hour ago, 46 further accesses have been routed to a banner image that will hopefully be less attractive.

All of my images are just a click away, but if you are going to swipe them, at least use your own bandwidth to distribute them.

Update: Two people have noted this broke reading from bloglines. I’ll fix it shortly.

My Day

Lake at Jack London State Park, Sonoma

Most of the time when I bother to blog about things that are going on in my life, I tend to do it in the form of an impromptu podcast. Today my wife woke me up and said that we should go out to Infineon Raceway and catch the qualifying for tomorrow’s Indy Racing League event. We had these discount coupons, and it sounded like it might be fun. But it turns out that our coupons were only good if we bought a pass for the whole weekend, so we decided to avoid the huge crowds and expense, and instead just bummed around Sonoma (which I hadn’t really done before). We ended up sampling cheese at the Sonoma Cheese Factory, hiked a bit in Jack London State Park, finished the day with a diet friendly meal at Fresh Choice in Novato, and just generally relaxed.

Oh, and I took pictures too. Sonoma is nice, and a little less… serious than Napa.