Metablog

Blog entries about blogging

How Frozen is the Frozen North?

I finally got around to putting the current weather back in the blog.  This was the one major cleanup from when I switched to Drupal almost two years ago.

It isn't especially elegant: at home I have a Mac Mini running Lightsoft Weather Center; this downloads the current weather from my Davis Vantage Pro weather station.  Every 15 minutes, it updates an HTML template and FTPs it as a static file to my web hosting provider.  This static HTML page is included on every page of the site through an iframe.

There are also some history graphs which can be accessed by clicking the "Weather in the Frozen North" link; those are also updated every 15 minutes.

I was forced to abandon the Davis WeatherLink software because the Mac version was simply pathetic--it has not been well maintained, and ran as a Java application which seemed to be very brittle.  Fortunately, there are now several superior alternatives for weather station software on the Mac which have more features, are easier to set up, and produce nicer-looking output.

Puppy Spam

Comment moderation has been turned on--it didn't take long for the spammers to flood one of my entries with a couple hundred spam comments advertising what appeared to be puppy spam.

At least the cleanup was quick, thanks to mass delete.

The moderation policy is that any reasonable and unspammy comment will be allowed through, but no promises on the time.  This blog is very much a part-time hobby, so I'll get to comments when I get to them.

Still Transitioning

I'm slowly getting the hang of this new blog software thing....This morning I finally discovered the comment moderation queue (so that's where all the comments went!).  I'm still fiddling with the site design, and plan to get a custom favicon up soon.

There was one complaint about the site design--I'm not sure if it's a browser issue, or someone complaining about my nonexistent graphic design skills.  I basically took the stock Drupal theme and added my "cosmic finger" banner and snow-covered font from the old site.  I tested it under Safari and Firefox, but I don't have easy access to a current version of IE (I have a ten-year-old copy, and this site sucks with that, but I'm not going to lose sleep over that).

The other thing I want to get working again is the live feed from my home weather station--which is only useful if you happen to live in my home, but cool nevertheless.  So expect to see some more tweaks of the site design: this is a work in progress, and I welcome all comments.  I'm even going to turn off moderation, at least for the time being.

This is only a test

If this had been a real emergency, I would have been running for the exit.

Welcome to the New Frozen North

Welcome to the new Dispatches from the Frozen North! I've migrated from iBlog to Drupal, an open-source content management system. iBlog was good for what it was, and a good choice back in 2003 when I first started writing this blog. Sadly, it has not been maintained in recent years and has become almost non-functional as the operating system has changed and iBlog has not kept up. That (and generalized life business) is a big reason why I haven't been writing much the past six months or so. iBlog was simply too painful. I'm hoping that Drupal will be useful for many years to come. It's far more powerful than iBlog ever was, and has a lot of features and extensions for all sorts of amazing new capabilities. For now, I'm still stretching my wings. Expect the layout and features of the site to change a lot over the next few months as I try things out. With luck I'll be able to avoid the temptation to overload the pages with gizmos and gadgets: one of my goals is to keep the site clean and usable. Comments, as always, are welcome. And now supported natively.

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