The Great Charlotte Gas Shortage of 2008

It’s times like this that I wished that I had some better way of displaying headlines. I don’t know what, exactly. Maybe a big flashing sign. Or perhaps a rotating banner. Just something, because a story like this just begs for something more than text. I could always go retro and bring in the good old blink element, but that would just be annoying. So I suppose that means I’ll just tell the story.

For those of you who don’t live in Charlotte, or in the general area, we’re low on gas. Really low. It’s not because of the weather – at least not the weather that we have here. When Hurricane Ike hit what seems like months ago, apparently they shut off our gas pipelines or something. Because for the last week or so, stations all around town have gradually been shuttering their pumps, and now we’re down to almost nothing. Gas-wise, I mean. Lots of lines, and plenty of horns. Even one arrest (maybe more, that’s just all I’ve heard about).

Continue reading “The Great Charlotte Gas Shortage of 2008”

Installing PerlMagick in Windows IIS

You would think that when an application installation offers to install a component for you, it would do what it is suggesting. Unfortunately, if the application in question is ImageMagick – and more specifically if we are talking about the PerlMagick component of ImageMagick for Windows, then the answer is absolutely not.

At first I thought perhaps the problem is that the files were in use, as we all know that if Windows has files in use, the won’t be updated. So I rebooted. No luck. Then I uninstalled the prior version and tried again. Nothing. I rebooted, to make sure the prior version was gone. I removed the old files manually. I rebooted. I deleted registry entries. I got rid of every scrap I could find from the old version. I rebooted. Still nothing. The fact is that it just wasn’t installing.

Continue reading “Installing PerlMagick in Windows IIS”

Old-time Gas Pumps Close to the End of Their Lives

Those of us who live in the big city (as if Charlotte is a big city) may not be aware of this problem, but it seems that there is a problem with some gas pumps in the world. Not the ones with electronic digital displays, but those that have the old dial-type digital displays. As an aside, does anyone remember the original digital clocks? I had one of those that had the old-style digital numbers, like the ones in Back to the Future (I think it was Back to the Future). I guess you would call them mechanical digital or something. But I digress.

It seems that these dial-style pumps are running into a problem. They can only handle gas that costs $3.99 per gallon or less. It’s a limitation of the dials. Sure, it’s possible to replace the dials, but it’s a pretty expensive proposition. At the same time, the pumps can only count up to $99.99 per sale.

Continue reading “Old-time Gas Pumps Close to the End of Their Lives”

Populate Slimbox with a List of Photos

Now that you have Slimbox up and running, you don’t really want to manually create a bunch of links to it, do you? I mean you can, simply by adding the standard rel=”lightbox” tag to your photos. But what if you have a bunch of photos? Or more specifically, what if you have a bunch of photos?

At that point, you have a couple of options. You can list them individually, which is certainly an option, but it gets messy very quickly, or you can use MT-SmugMug to fill in the blanks for you. That makes it a whole lot nicer.

Continue reading “Populate Slimbox with a List of Photos”

DaVinci Last Supper Music Sample

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard about the possibility that Leondardo DaVinci may have hidden notes in The Last Supper.

Whether this is true or not will certainly be a matter of debate – or something you dismiss. But it’s certainly an interesting theory. I think that most people will admit that Leonardo was a genius, or has certainly had enough work attributed to him to be considered a genius at any rate!

Continue reading “DaVinci Last Supper Music Sample”

Installing Image::Magick on a Media Temple (dv)

I recently ran into an issue where a (dv) server hosted on Media Temple didn’t seem to have Image::Magick installed. That makes some tasks in Movable Type more difficult (or downright impossible), so that in turn means that it’s time to figure out how to make it happen!

Luckily, Anu has put together a great set of instructions. The only downside is that they don’t work quite right for Media Temple. There are just a few changes that need to be made so that we can get everything working. But still, they get us awfully close.

Continue reading “Installing Image::Magick on a Media Temple (dv)”

Make the Most of Your Email at Pair Networks

I have used Pair Networks as a host for my sites for some time. It’s been so long that I actually had to look it up to see how long. It turns out that it’s been more than two years already. In all that time, I have had hardly a hiccup. I like that. It means that I don’t have to worry about much when it comes to the sites I run on their servers.

When it comes to email, however, it takes a bit more work. It isn’t that it’s difficult, it just isn’t as simple a process. This is because email can quickly become a burden. However, there are some really simple processes you can put in place to deal with it and make it much simpler to handle.

Continue reading “Make the Most of Your Email at Pair Networks”

Bury My Memory at the Mall (Please Spare Me)

It seems like every day I pass by some new sign – I mean an actual sign – that tells me about something that happened somewhere. The memorial bridge to Bob, a t-shirt that extolls the virtue of the thug who died in a hail of bullets, someone’s name on the back of a mini truck or even the clean stretch of city street that is done in honor of what’s-her-face. Are you kidding me?

While I might be able to get behind a fallen soldier who gets their name slapped on a freeway or bridge overpass (and that’s a bit of a stretch), there has to be a point when it’s just a bit too much, right? When does it all end? I get that you want to express your grief, and I am probably the least likely to care. It’s not that I don’t care about you, it’s just that I think these things should be shared among those who knew the person the best, not necessarily shared with the world.

Continue reading “Bury My Memory at the Mall (Please Spare Me)”

How Much Pre-empting is Too Much?

While we sit through shows with commercials advertising hundreds of stations (or those of us without DVRs do, at any rate), and even basic cable has dozens of channels, and as broadband and cell phone penetration reaches something of a saturation point, when is pre-empting going to be retired?

I get that there can be a radio emergency of some kind. For the first time ever, I heard the emergency broadcasting service used recently. That was one radio station, and it lasted for perhaps 30 seconds to announce weather activity. I can live with that. But television? Not so much.

Continue reading “How Much Pre-empting is Too Much?”

Improve Performance with Dynamic and Static Pages

The debate between dynamic and static pages is probably one that will go on for all time. If you are a fan of Douglas Adams, and believe that his work represents a possible outcome to the universe, perhaps it will even go on beyond time. If so, order me something if you happen to be dining at the end of the universe.

Nonetheless, it is quite possible that the best possible performance for Movable Type users is actually not dynamic or static, but a combination of the two. The reason being is, quite simply, because there are places that you can make use of both to maximize the benefits that both technologies offer.

Continue reading “Improve Performance with Dynamic and Static Pages”