May 25, 2012
New Site Feature! Disqus Comments

In the time it takes you to read this post, you could easily integrate comments into a site generated by Jekyll. Disqus makes it that easy. Is it the best solution? I can’t answer that. There might even be an easier solution, though my initial research, and my experience thus far, makes that hard for me to believe. All that matters is it took me no more than ten minutes to get setup, and brought a ton of value to my site. The comment related functionality that it provides – commenting, like / dislike, subscribing via email and RSS – is way beyond anything that I would be willing to integrate myself. It’s a really nice utility, and they did a great job making it easy for sites to adopt it, which should always be priority number one if you’re trying to grow a community.

With that, here’s all you have to do to get your site setup… Actually, just read this blog post from Eric Tang. There’s better uses for my time than covering something that someone else has already documented so well.

May 22, 2012
Note on Highslide - Override hs.graphicsDir

After posting that I had a cool new thumbnail viewer, that was super easy to use, I ran into an issue. The viewer wasn’t working within sub-directories, which is a big deal considering that every post generated by Jekyll gets dumped into a sub-directory.

The issue turned out to be that, by default, the Highslide API assumes to be in the same directory as the HTML file attempting to use it. When this is not the case, it breaks. Though the solution took some digging, and isn’t obvious at all, it is pretty easy to fix. You just need to override hs.graphicsDir to point to the actual location of the API. Here’s a snippet:

<script type="text/javascript" src="/highslide/highslide.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript">
    hs.graphicsDir = '/highslide/graphics/';
</script>

So much for being plug-and-play easy. I still think it was a relatively painless setup and will be a nice addition to the site. I look forward to utilizing it.

 
New Site Feature! Thumbnail Viewer

Over at highslide.com they have this really nice Javascript API for viewing thumbnails and other media content. It’s super easy to integrate with your site and is even easier to start using, at least from this fairly seasoned software developer’s perspective.

If you click on the thumbnail of Rebel Blood #2, you’ll get an idea of how slick this viewer is, and it might even give a hint to how I plan to use it in the future.

Best of all, Highslide makes the API open and free to us nobodies, only charging those that are out to make a buck. Doens’t get much better than that now, does it?

March 04, 2012
When We Left the Dropbox Directory

This is not ready. Not in the least. Nor will it be ready any time soon, possibly ever. But with this post, I pull it from the safety of my Dropbox directory, and thrust it into the harsh elements of its reality.

This is not a blog. Maybe that’s just me being a little pretentious, thinking this site is more than what it is. Especially if you were to read this site with your eyes. It kind of looks like a blog, doesn’t it? Nothing more. But, the original definition of a blog was a personal journal that just happened to be publicly hosted on the internet for everyone to see. The meaning of the term has taken on much more than that since it became part of the mainstream vernacular. It’s probably more accurately defined now as any provider of written content in the form of discrete posts. Either way, the long term intent of this site is to be neither.

Sure, there will be many elements that fit within the blog mold. This introductory post, for one. But the sequential structure a blog provides does not properly fit the content I hope to share in many cases. If I had to tie a description to it, I think container is vague enough to make me comfortable. It’s a container of my content that I’ve deem fit to share with the masses.

Beyond distancing the site from the term “blog”, I have no plans for this space. Nor will I ever. I have ideas, and some of those may materialize within the sites confines. But that’s as far as I go on being committal to any kind of structure for this site’s content. Structure comes laced with destructive powers. It can quickly build into an impossible force on the side of Resistance, creating a thick haze of disinterest in the task at hand. There are many times when structure is needed, of course. Competition. Industry. These things work well with structure by nature, often because they contain a force of equal or far superior strength. Crushing your opponent’s will to live in competition, or the all important dollar bill to be earned by industrious ventures. These forces can easily defeat what structure is packing. But creativity on the other hand, especially being done in your spare time just for the sake of the process itself? It has no defenses against structure’s powers. If we were to have creativity and structure enter an arena to fight to their deaths, creativity would enter with its trusty Red Rider BB Gun. Perfectly capable of taking down Black Bart, but not ideal for a death match. Structure on the other hand, would come barreling in, running at full speed, chainsaw already revved. There’s just no contest.

So, no. There will be no structure for the content. At least nothing planned. No mandates on what I must do within this space. Just ideas. Ideas and hope. But today is the success. The site is up. Anything I produce for this space from here forward is gravy. And hopefully I’ll be pouring a nice helping of it straight into your optic nerve.