10 April 2009

blocking the DiggBar in Habari

Challenged by RandyWalker and inspired by John Gruber's post about blocking the DiggBar, I whipped up a quick plugin to do just that for Habari.

After all, why should all the other blog engines have all the fun?

But I'm getting ahead of myself. The DiggBar is a new feature that adds lots of great features to pages and sites linked on Digg. And to do so, it shortens the URL (to one starting with http://digg.com/) and loads the target in a frame.

In a frame?! I thought we were done with frames half a decade ago.

There are myriad reasons why this is a bad thing, and not all of them involve Digg stealing revenue, and other sites have covered it better, but in short, it's a bad thing.

So, how can you avoid it framing your Habari site?

DiggBar Blocker

You can download* it here: Current Version.

Unzip that in your /user/plugins/ directory, and activate it in your admin plugins page.

By default, it will provide a brief message ("This site does not support use of the DiggBar.") and a link to the correct page with your URL on it. I also added an option to bypass the nice message, and just reload the target outside of the bar.

If you have questions, comments, suggestions, please leave them below or submit a ticket on the Habari-extras Trac.

* Or view the source here.

22 May 2008

stories that are short and tweet

Yesterday, on a tip from Scott, I checked out the first-ever Twitter-based fiction writing contest. Twitter, for the uninitiated, is a combination micro-blogging application and social-networking tool all rolled into one, but the significance is that all updates (dubbed 'tweets') are 140 characters or less. Thus the 140-character (no more, no less) story contest.

I'd written my entry fairly early, but having mulled the idea over some more, I wrote, well, some more*:

I found a time machine that only makes things younger. Spent the afternoon making burgers into veal. And then, well...now I need to grow up.

She was scared. Zombies attacking, and only with a lot of help were the houses made safe. But now mommy said that the neighbors were hungry.

She ran. He ran, pulled a gun, and sprayed bullets at her. She dove into the canal, and he swam after her. Was this a chase, or a triathlon?

Found a lamp in the antique store. Rubbed it, and a genie appeared. I wished I could understand what he was saying. It was "You get 1 wish".

I need to learn how to ride a motorcycle. I'd take lessons or talk to another owner, except the nearest one looks mad I'm stealing his bike.

* Only one entry per person, though. So the rest of these are just for fun. Then again, so's my "official" entry also, since I'm not going to win.

12 January 2008

more fun than it sounds

So ever since I read about them on Neatorama, I wanted to make some random CD covers. From what I read, the recipe was simple:

  1. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random The first article title on the page is the name of the band.
  2. www.quotationspage.com/random.php3 The last four words of the very last quote is the album title.
  3. www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days/ The third picture, license permitting, is the album cover.
  4. The finished product belongs in the CD cover meme pool.

I turned out a few in as many hours. I tried to stick to the rules, but couldn't bring myself to use the photos that were marked "© All rights reserved" when I knew there were ones licensed (via creativecommons) for derivative works, as this would likely be considered. Though I ended up reloading a few times more than I liked, I did come across enough to make these (and a few more that I'll eventually upload).

four fake covers

Making fake album covers is nothing new to me. Back when I was first learning Photoshop I'd made many a cover using stock photography for a fictional band called "Spontaneous Grape", going even as far as creating a fictional record label* to release them. But coming up with the titles was often the trouble, and moreover selecting photos that I thought would be interesting even more so. Without those aspects to worry about, I can crank these things out much faster.

Eventually I'll get them up on flickr, annotated and everything else. But I've got to take a break from making them first.

* The name of the label was Ludd Records, and it was rather a bit of a dumb in-joke. One of my many online identities was that of "Luddite Industries", which I thought to be a particularly sophisticated joke, in that the Luddites would not likely be operating a web site. Here's the logo, which I drew in AutoCad, knowing it better than Photoshop at the time.
Ludd Records logo
Someday I'm going to make a black t-shirt with this on it in white.

2 January 2008

sounds like the name of a novelty t-shirt

So with the holidays lately I've had a few weekdays away from my desk*. As is often the case when this happens, I had some errands to run, and interesting stores in which to stop nearby. At one point I found myself wandering through a MicroCenter (though I bought nothing), and near the video game section I saw something I wish I could've caught on video (and posted to youtube). But I didn't have a good camera handy, and my phone's movie mode would've been rather a bit lacking. So it's time to dust off your imagination (take that, you click-happy tweens).

In front of me, there was a kid playing Guitar Hero. For those not in the know, Guitar Hero is a console video game that comes with a plastic guitar-like controller, and players push fret-like buttons while doing a motion similar to strumming, in time with popular rock and metal songs (or cover versions thereof). The kid appeared to have average skills, hitting the correct buttons at the right time. This was not the remarkable part, of course. Much more interesting than the player, was the kid standing next to him, fingers in the air, miming the same notes.

He was playing air Guitar Hero. There was, of course, a second guitar controller on the demo kiosk, but I think he was probably having more fun playing his fantasy version of the song than actually hitting the buttons. Or he was trying to be supportive of his buddy. Or perhaps he was doing a very convoluted form of mockery.

Anyway, I thought it was pretty funny. Guitar Hero, from my feeble attempts to play it, is already once removed from the actual experience of playing the guitar. This kid found a way to do it one better, I guess. And about 50 to 80 bucks cheaper, too.

* I almost wrote "...weekdays I wasn't working" there, but with something of a slowdown at work I don't know if I can count all the hours I was there as hours I really worked. I was there, and available for work, there just wasn't any to do at the moment. Hence the deathmatch tournaments of Nexuiz, and before that, Marathon Infinity (through the magic of AlephOne).