Google Maps and How I Overestimate Society

So much of technology and the web in general I take for granted. Especially when something new comes out and it get blogged to death. Like Google’s new mapping and satellite imagery.

After a conversation the other night while eating dinner at The Bonefish Grill I realized that many people have not even tried out Google Maps. I was a little surprised to find this out. The people that I was talking to about this were what I would consider the average web users. They were savy about how to get around the web and seemed to have integrated it into their everyday lives and yet had no knowledge of Google Maps.

Anyway getting to my point… Google offers mapping and navigational services that rival everyone else out here on the net. And last week they began a satellite view option instead of the basic outline maps that we are all familiar with.

And you can see some interesting stuff like this.

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JamesZambon.com Now on WordPress!

Well I have been tinkering with it for some time and now I have finally switched my site over to WordPress from MovableType.

And I don’t need to hear how shitty my site looks right now, I know all about it (reference). I will be getting around to fixing that shortly.

Anyway, I decided on the big switch for several reasons.

  • Speed: I have been quite irritated about how slow MovableType has been on my server. I run my own dedicated server and I get about 300-500 hits a day. So that shoots the theory about server load problems.
  • Configuration: and by this I don’t mean setting up the templates (because MT kicks WP‘s ass at that). I am talking about installing and configuring the server and application. WP‘s 2 step install just plain rocks. I was amazed. That and the speed at which it imported all 150+ of my blog entries.
  • Free (as in beer & speech): Because I have been a member of MT‘s professional developer’s network I have been alloted an install of MT with 4 blogs and 3 authors. This allowed me to escape their licensing scheme. This was a great token from the SixApart peeps, but I still felt a little weird about using MT under these circumstances. Sure it was “given” to me, but kind of in a bribe type of way. Like a lawyer having a deal with a tow-truck driver for every referral that he send him from an accident he gets a cut of the action. I know, thats a little different, but it’ the best analogy that I could come up with.
  • PHP vs. CGI: Kind of related to the speed issue that I mentioned earlier, but a little different spin here. I know PHP very well and by proxy I know PERL and thusly the CGI module. But I do not know (nor do I want to spend time to learn right now) CGI or PERL very well. I feel that by using WP my knowledge and speed of development in PHP will increase immensly.

One of my major dilemmas was that I knew that some things on my site would break once I made the switch. The major loss right now is the Articles list that ran on the sidebar. That is driving me nuts right now. I have several options and I don’t really care for any of them. They are all kludges.

  • Write my own module to handle it.
  • Keep using MT for it.
  • Just let it go and forget about it.
  • Go back to MT all together.
  • Switch to a “blog-roll” type solution.
  • Post daily or weekly “around the net” posts. Looks like the best solution.
  • Wish in one hand and… well you know.

One of the other things that I had to compromise on was the permalink structure. I had MT set up to use underscores to replace the spaces in my entry titles. WP uses hyphens and offers no way that I have found to change that. I think there is a way using REGEX and Mod-Rewrite to redirect visitors but I have not messed around with that too much. It looks like it would take more time that I have available right now. My Interim solution is to copy the MT entries (https://blog.jameszambon.com/blog/ directory) into the new web directory. I do not like this solution. It leads to broken links on my site but it does maintain the integrity of the links that point to my site and that is very important.

So I will keep looking for a good solution for the Link-Blog (Article Links) and for the permalinks. However, I am enjoying the experience so far. WP is fast, OSS, PHP configurable and very easy to install. And.. It has inspired me to add some features to this site that I just didn’t have the energy to undertake before (more on this later). I am a fan so far, go WordPress!.

April Fools Humor

Every body has to get in a little on the April Fools humor stuff. Doug Bowman of Stopdesign has been kind of the front-runner in this little game as far as the web-design / blogging community goes, and this year is no exception.

Anyway, of course I had to get my little stick in here. Anyone who has visited my home page on April 1st (or 2nd… oops…) got to see my little (somewhat dry) bit of humor.

The page is imortalized here, or jpg’s – normal &the visual effect. And as usual all flavors of IE missed out on some cool features of the CSS that powered this.

Jason Kottke pointed out a similar prankster. Although they did a little more work on there’s.

And here is a little roundup of the better April Fool’s humor this year.