Monthly Archives: March 2010

Ten years of blogging

The first day of posts at The Realm.  (World, I am so, so sorry.)

The first day of posts at The Realm, the predecessor to jaredwsmith.com. (World, I am so, so sorry.)

March 31, 2010 marks ten years more or less “blogging” (the term had not yet taken off in 2000). On March 31, 2000, I decided to restructure the front page of my high school personal site, The Realm (of Jared Smith), and start posting more or less daily updates on the things that really mattered. You know, such as the strange people I talked to in class, how NSync was a major threat to America and that my generation should be listening to Van Halen and Extreme instead, and little snippets about the doomed dot-com I wrote tech articles for (yes, at age 15). It was juvenile and definitely written from the perspective of an extremely socially maladjusted teenager. It was a series of good times that I maintained for about three years until I entered a hiatus from blogging as my college years really kicked in.

How’d I do it? Every day after school, I’d pop open Microsoft FrontPage 2000, open main/index.htm (the main homepage inside the frameset — yes, a frameset!), tack on the day’s updates to the top of the page, and FTP upload to Freeservers. Bam, update done! At the end of each month, I would manually create the month’s archive page, cut from the homepage, and paste into the archive page, leaving a blank slate for the next month’s worth of updates on the homepage. There were no permalinks, there were no trackbacks — just static pages with completely unnecessary, IE-only animations on load. I don’t know how I kept it up, but I did.

It’s amazing how things have changed in ten years — I’d like to think I write less cringe-worthy material, and I have vanquished lime green from my designs. That’s improvement, right?

What’s been the most fun, though, is that I still talk to a lot of the people who were there from the beginning — especially Patrick O’Keefe, Brad Kelly, and Ray Angel. It’s been fun trading laughs with them today and every day over the last 10 years. Here’s to ten more!

Pitfalls of location-based services as they hit the mainstream

My colleague at ReadWriteWeb, Sarah Perez, does a fantastic job articulating the trouble people may have with location-based services as they hit mainstream adoption in an article this morning. There are some great points in here, especially with regard with how people tend to want to have as many friends as possible on a social network and how that doesn’t translate well to what should be the much more private world of location-based networks. Don’t let me keep you, though, read it now.

I love Opera’s iPhone app countup

I love Opera’s running timer since Opera Mini for iPhone was submitted to the App Store. Opera does a lot of nifty and important things for the Web that we often miss out on. At SXSW, Chris Mills gave a fantastic talk about mobile accessibility and showed me some CSS stuff I hadn’t yet seen. It doesn’t get the fanfare on the desktop that it perhaps deserves (while most modern browsers borrow liberally from Opera’s UI), but Opera’s impact in the embedded market, despite the ascension of WebKit, cannot be ignored.

Smart blog test tool: Is My Blog Working?

If you’re looking to check the performance of your blog, check out Is My Blog Working?, a nifty site that examines your blog for functionality and performance troubles. I discovered it a year ago but I forgot the name of it until this evening, when I was testing a couple random optimizations I made to jaredwsmith.com (most notably WP-SuperCache). It gives you all sorts of interesting tidbits about your server and blog software which might help you find any issues with performance that might be keeping folks away.

Cool, Mac-compatible weather software: WeatherScope

The first rumbles of Spring are about in Charleston today, and I still find myself longing for software comparable to GR2Analyst, my go-to RADAR analysis software, on the Mac. However, WeatherScope, a project of the Oklahoma Climatological Survey at the University of Oklahoma, fills a need I had on Windows for a full-fledged weather map. In addition to overlaying Level III NEXRAD, it also lets you pull surface and upper-air data from a variety of sources, and plot it in a variety of ways. The interface is a bit cumbersome at first and the software takes some work to set up, but you can configure a pretty nice map in little time. Take a look at a map I created with a composite of the three state NEXRAD installations, a gradient and numerical display of air temperature, and a contour display of area dewpoints. While this software certainly will not replace GR2Analyst for RADAR functionality, it certainly holds its own, especially for free software!

Tweet for a cause: CHSTwestival is tonight

Be sure to check out Charleston Twestival tonight. It’s one of many Twestival events going on worldwide to benefit Concern, an organization working against the poverty problem in the most dire of situations. This is the first time Twestival’s happened in Charleston; kudos to Christina Lor and her band of volunteers for all their hard work to bring it to Charleston. While I’m not likely going to be able to make it, I’m still making a donation to Concern, which you can do from the Charleston Twestival website. With a silent auction and copious amounts of Firefly, it promises to be quite an event!

I’m off to SXSW

I’m off to my first South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, TX. I am not quite sure just how prepared I can be for this, the pinnacle of geek events. I can only hope to find enough bandwidth to pump out quick blog posts and tweets. This will be the first opportunity for me to meet my coworkers at ReadWriteWeb, and I’m really excited for that after many months of Skype-only contact. Keep an eye on what panels and parties I will be attending via Plancast, and if you’ll be there, shout out!

Tuesday coworking recap: HTML and CSS fundamentals

At Tuesday’s co-working session, I talked about a few of the basics of HTML and CSS (as best as I could within two hours, that is). One of the focal points of the session was the importance of laying a strong foundation for a well-built Web page via semantic HTML that strictly separates content from presentation. We also walked through building a quick-and-dirty page with HTML and CSS while keeping focused on the importance of semantics and standards.

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Notes from my real-time research session at College of Charleston

I was fortunate to give a session about research in the age of the real-time Web yesterday at the College of Charleston’s Addlestone Library as part of the library’s LITE series of technology seminars. Here are my notes from yesterday’s session, with links to other goodies as well.

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