Club Admiralty

v7.0 - moving along, a point increase at a time

Club Admiralty Blog

A blog about life in general, in as many languages as I can manage. Ενα ιστολόγιο περι ζωής, πολυγλωσσο - σε όσες γλωσσες εχω μεράκι να γράψω.

New year, new plug-ins....

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Happy New Year...even though it's close to the end of January 😀.

It's been a busy month, but things are coming down to "normal" levels of activity.  After the crazy rush to finish my completed dissertation draft during the winter break, get caught up with the day job after the winter break, and get everything prepped for my teaching side-gig this spring, I had some time to update my website (club-admiralty.com).

For the longest period of time, I brought my old Mac Mini (2007) out of storage, plugged it in, and updated my site (that thing still runs MacOS 10.6 I think).  I had RapidWeaver 6 on it, along with all the relevant plug-ins.  It wasn't even the most up-to-date version of RW6 because some plugins were breaking left and right.  Since I didn't have time to really troubleshoot I just left it as is.  Most website updates were minor anyway.

Fast forward to more recently.  I got RW8 on sale, so it was a good opportunity to get something that worked on my newer Mac (now I can probably install Linux on that old one), update the website, and try out some new things.  Unfortunately, as technology progresses some things are left behind.  Such is the case with one of my most used plugins: RapidBlog, which takes my blogger content and mirrors it on my domain.  It seems like Loghound hung up his hat and exited the RapidWeaver scene.  The person who maintained the plug-in has not updated it for newer versions of PHP, and with PHP5 being deprecated, RapidBlog has been retired.   Luckily others use Blogger and want to integrate it into RapidWeaver sites, so a Stacks plug-in exists which offers something similar.  What I liked about RapidBlog was that it downloaded an archive of your blog, so there was an offline version of it, and that I could use the iconic theme icons in my blog posts (whereas now I can't). Oh well, site is up and running so that's what matters. On the plus side, it seems like RW development has become very stacks-oriented while I was stuck on RW6, so there is new stuff to explore!

What I've been pondering lately is this: With all the distributed presence that we have on the web these days (facebook, youtube, twitter, etc.), how important is a distinct domain of one's own?  And, how do I go about archiving my stuff from other sites in a way that's not just a portal view from my website?  Something to ponder after I graduate and I can return to this hobby.


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Huzzah! New software!

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I don't often get excited about new software (or now hardware for that matter). Back in the day when I had more time I was more of a tinkerer, so new hardware, and new software, meant more exciting playtime.  These days I am much more pragmatic about my tools, which means I don't often get excited about new things.  There are some tools though that I do get excited about, especially when I get them at a discount 😜.  This is one of those occasions.

StackSocial had a special the other day.  Every so often they have Mac app bundles.  I don't often bite, but this particular bundle appealed to me.  Part of the bundle was Rapidweaver 8, as well as text-expander (a tool that is often touted by Bonnie Stachowiak on her Teaching in Higher Ed podcast.  I've been using Rapidweaver for a long time now.  I think I started using the software when I got Rapidweaver 3 in 2006 as part of another bundle. I upgraded to RW5 which was the last RW version to support my old MacMini Core 2 Duo (Late 2006), but I had to keep a very specific version of RW5, with very specific versions of plugins running on it since different combinations of these two things started breaking after 2016.  I had only updated my website once in a while before because updating it meant that I needed to bring the MacMini out of retirement, plug it in, and work in a tentative environment.  Well...no longer!  😁.  I installed RW8 on my newer MacMini in the common room and took it for a spin.  As with any upgrade I expected that I will need to change some things.... so here is what works and what doesn't it:


  • Plug-ins - they are all 6 years out of date (at least).  The architecture changed, and the old plug-ins do not work with the new RW.  So, my current files don't covert properly. I've gotten demo versions of the plug-ins, so at least I can open my files, but it seems like I'll need some plug-ins.  Which is fine, I see that new features have been added to the things I used.
  • Main website:  I was surprised that this was mostly OK.  I could just tweak a few things (once I get the updated plug-ins) and with minor changes get up and running on RW8
  • Resume site file: Again mostly OK
  • Experimental CV site: no text or content at all.  Agh! This is my "everything and the kitchen sink" site. It's and offline site, and for my own accounting.  There really is not need for it to be a website, but I like the usability of a website over a long word document.  I guess I'll need to rethink this one.
I guess I'll be taking a little time off dissertating this winter to play with RW8 :-) 
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Screen Cleaner by Google Files

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This April Fool's joke is from Google proper.  While it's intended as humor...I could see self-cleaning glass in our future!


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Adieu Storify

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Seems like today's news comes in the form of the demise of Storify - a tool that I don't often use, but many in my academic circle tend to love.  The tool allows you to aggregate content from other social media sites, like facebook, twitter, instagram, the web (and more) and put those in collections called...Stories!  I've used it a few times for conferences, but the last time I really used it - according to my most decent stories, was six years ago. I guess the tool wasn't as useful for my own day-to-day work as it is for others.

I've downloaded my stories for posterity (the HTML5 export was so-so).


Here's the announcement(ish):
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Storify End-of-Life

What changes are being made to Storify.com?

Unfortunately, Storify will no longer be available after May 16, 2018.

Can I still create a new account?

As of December 12, 2017, no new Storify.com accounts can be created.

What should customers using Storify.com expect?

Existing Storify customers can continue to use all capabilities of the service until May 16, 2018, except for the ability to create new stories which will end on May 1, 2018. Be sure to export any content you would like to keep by May 16, 2018, using the export functionality in Storify.

How do I export content from Storify?

Exporting content from Storify can be done in a few simple steps:
  1. Log in to Storify at www.storify.com.
  2. Mouse over the story that contains content you would like to export and select "View."
  3. Click on the ellipses icon and select "Export."
  4. Choose your preferred format for download.
  5. To save your content and linked assets in HTML, select - File > Save as > Web Page, Complete.
  6. Repeat the process for each story whose content you would like to preserve.

When will my content on Storify be removed?

After May 16, 2018, Storify.com accounts and their content will no longer be accessible

What are my options if I want to continue to use Storify?

Storify.com will no longer be available after May 16, 2018. If you are interested in gaining access to Storify 2, a feature of Livefyre, you will be required to purchase a Livefyre license.

Who should I contact to get more information?

For more information about Livefyre, Storify or for help with downloading content please contact support@storify.com.

Developers

As a Storify developer, how will I be impacted by this change?

You can continue to develop any existing stories built with the Storify API until 5pm PST May 16, 2018. You will not be able to create new stories after May 1, 2018. Be sure to export your content by May 16, 2018, according to the instructions above. Please contact support@storify.com with questions.

Can I continue to submit requests for bug fixes?

Beginning December 12, 2017, you will no longer be able to submit requests for bug fixes to Zendesk or Storify.

What should I expect if I currently have an open ticket for a bug?

Beginning December 12, 2017, no new or existing bug fixes will be addressed.







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What will you use instead?
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Old school troubleshooting!

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It's been a long time coming, but RapidWeaver 6.0 is out!  I have to say, I haven't kept up with RapidWeaver as much as I have in previous years because I had gotten my website (club-admiralty) to the point where it was OK. Not too bad, not good enough, but then again not enough time to really mess around with it, so I stuck with RapidWeaver 5.  I've been using the product since version 2.0, and each new release was something that I purchased. Sadly, the Mac Mini that I use is a 2009 model and it won't be upgraded to Yosemite, which RW6 requires.  Too bad.

However, I did think that it was now a good time to go out and snag a few plug-ins for version 5 before those were retired and hard to find.  Specifically I've been looking for some better way to display my social media activities on the site, and a better way to integrate my Tumblr photoblog. I ended up getting Stacks (something that I've been eyeballing for a year or so now), and a few stacks to go along with it.  All in all I am quite happy with Stacks, it's actually what I wanted Blocks to do all this time, so I've been busy re-designing some pages that I made with Blocks a few years ago by using stacks.  Of course any upgrade is probably not going to go smoothly.  I didn't realize that I had installed an older demo of stacks on my mac, so my newer stacks-plug-ins weren't showing... It took me a while to determine what the heck was wrong.  I ended up upgrading all of my plugins, and rapidweaver to the latest versions.  Quite a few updates pile up when you're not paying attention.

Then, my blocks pages weren't working...what the heck?!  Generally speaking, since I am changing all Blocks pages to Stacks pages, long term this isn't an issue.  However I still needed the old blocks to harvest the content.  Luckily the old plug-in was in the trash can and I was able to retrieve it for some quick maintenance work.  OK.  Crisis averted...until I realized that the files weren't saving...

After emptying out all plug-ins and testing each version successively I discovered that the latest version or rapidweaver, version 5.4, one one right before 6.0 which brings in final functionality (and export ability to 6.0) has some bugs and just doesn't save any files (unless you export to a 6.0 file format, which is useless to me. Arg...  Luckily version 5.3.13 of rapiweaver was in my trash so I salvaged that as well.

After that little detour I am now slowly working on a minor upgrade to the website, probably out in the new year since I am working on it part time.  This experience brought me back to the days of computer troubleshooting when I was a computer tech person.  Fun stuff, albeit a bit aggravating when you want to get work done.
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Adieu MessageMe, we hardly knew ya!

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Well, another one bites the dust, or as would be more apt to say: another one gets bought out!  This weekend I got a note that Yahoo has acquired the SMS replacement called MessageMe and the service will be shutting down to focus on some yahoo specific projects (are they going to reinvigorate Yahoo Messenger?)

This closure brings back to the forefront something I've said in the past (maybe here, or maybe in person):  In order for these services (SMS replacement) to be of any wide use they need to either have the giant network of users, and they need to be interoperable with SMS which just works, regardless of the phone you have!  One of the failures of instant messaging platforms, at least on the mobile web, is that not everyone has an account on all platforms, and platforms are incompatible if people do have accounts on one or two services.  Thus, I couldn't really message my Yahoo contacts from my ICQ account.  While on the desktop there really isn't much competition, given that the segment of internet users who use IM are self-selected, the competition is quite fierce in the mobile space from the default method of non-voice communication: SMS.

I think Apple's iMessage has come as close as any other competitor, but even then they have some kinks to workout, such as the time it takes to call a message a failure and send via SMS.  It's not acceptable to have messages take up to 20 minutes to get to you if you are sending an SMS or SMS equivalent like iMessage.  This is one of the reasons I use disreet applications on my android phone for SMS and Google Chat.  Google Chat, for whatever reason, is not responsive enough.  It's perfectly fine to use on vacation when SMS are charged by the message, but in the US where I have an unlimited SMS package, why bother?

The other issue with these services, as you will see in the message, is that your messages are locked into a proprietary platform.  The service didn't offer me any way to download any messages that I may have had on it before they disappear.  This isn't cool!

I wish I could say I was going to miss MessageMe, but I never really used it. I only had one contact on it ;-)  So, Adieu and fare thee  well MessageMe :)



Full message from email:
 
Hey Everyone,

Today, we are announcing that the MessageMe team will be joining Yahoo.

We built MessageMe to explore our vision of how expressive and fun online communication should be. It’s been an incredible journey and we really appreciate all the support we’ve received from all of you over the last two years. The team at Yahoo shares our passion for connecting people in inspiring ways and we’re thrilled about the impact we can make with them.

The MessageMe application will be shutting down, allowing us to focus on helping build the best mobile communications products for Yahoo users.

What this means for you: If you have a MessageMe account, you will be able to login and access your messages until November 7, 2014. On November 7, your messages, account, and all personal information will be erased and you will no longer have access to MessageMe.

Once again, we thank you for all the time you’ve put into MessageMe, and we hope to continue to build more exciting products for you in the future!

Best wishes,

– The MessageMe Team
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Adieu, SpringPad

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SpringPad logo

Well, another nice online, and free, service is biting the dust. In about 20 days the online notepad, SpringPad, is closing its doors. I was introduced to the services three years ago through a work colleague and I have to say that I've used SpringPad exclusively for all work related note taking. While I do use Evernote for all of my personal notes (teaching, class work, homework, professional reminders, and so on), I really did like SpringPad's workflow for creating new notes, for accessing notebooks, the editing functions and so on. The UI design on the ipad app for SpringPad also made it quite use when attending those work meetings (director's meetings and faculty meetings) where some note taking is always a good idea.

I am wondering if some entrepreneurial individual can take the visual, and UI, language of the ipad app for SpringPad, tie that into Dropbox storage/backup capabilities and bring back SpringPad 2.0 :)

 

 

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Discovered a bug in Mozilla's Open Backpack!

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I've been using many beta software titles for a while, and I've also been a volunteer beta tester for software that I like in the past, but I've never actually come across an actual bug!  Well, this is all about to change this morning!  In the past couple of days I've been messing around with Open Backpack. Sure, I had an account before, and I received a badge for completing the #BonkOpen MOOC, but I didn't think I would need to use the backpack this soon.

I am currently in the BlendKit 2012 MOOC, at much to my surprise, and delight, I was awarded 2 badges a couple days ago.

Email notification of badge. Notice my email in the URL (click to enlarge)


In any case, happy to see that I got a badge, I clicked on the link to claim it. I logged into my open backpack account and I clicked on the "Cool, Let's go" button to add it into my account (confirming, of course, that it was indeed my backpack account I was in...)

OK, Cool! Let's go! Add that badge!



Then...Oh oh (queue in ICQ sound clip)! Error! Open Backpack claims that my email isn't my email! Now, it could be the capitalization that's an issue (it shouldn't), but I have found no way to change my email on OpenBackpack to change the capitalization.

That said, I tried changing the URL (and changing the capitalization of my email)...and...crazy thing is that it worked! wow! It actually worked! I know that the URL is just passing some arguments to open backpack...but this, in a sense, seems like a security flaw.

Your thoughts?
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Adieu GoWalla!

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Last week, before thanksgiving, I was out an about doing some last minute holiday (food) shopping and I thought it would be worthwhile checking in.  Since the API changes over at Foursquare, Gowalla has been unable to auto post from GoWalla, so I've been posting twice, once from each app.

Pulled out FourSquare and checked in to venues without much trouble.  Pulled out GoWalla and I was scratching my head with the most recent update - WTF?  Why is it so hard to check in using this app?  The old interface (the one on the right) was so much easier to navigate and use compared to this new one. There were other things that had drawn me to GoWalla, including the passport metaphor and the scavenger hunt type of surprises that you got every now and again for checking into places, but those have slowly been going away.

So yesterday, after much frustration with the app, and the service  not compelling enough, I deleted the app from my iPhone and iPad.  Appwise, it keeps crashing on iOS 5... and it's only usable on my iPhone 3GS because I don't have iOS5 on it yet, I am still on iOS4. Anyhow...Adieu GoWalla... you were good while you lasted...will be using FourSquare from now on...
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One week jailbroken.

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So, it's been one week since I jailbroke my iPhone. I decided to jailbreak it since I am already out of warranty (so if it broke I'd have to pay for a replacement anyway), and jailbreaking as made easy by going to jailbreakme.com, sliding the slider over and a few minutes later I was done.


Did I jailbreak because of some sort of moral or philosophical reason? No, not really. I just wanted to try it out and see what all the fuss is about. There are a few things that I enjoy about having a jailbroken phone - most notably the fact that I can throw any (activated) SIM into my phone and have it work. I haven't tested this theory since I don't know anyone who uses T-Mobile in my immediate circle (it's kind of off to ask someone you barely know for their SIM).


One hack that I have enjoyed using this past week is LockInfo. In all of my previous smartphones (Windows Mobile, Symbian S60 and Symbian UIQ) I've always had some sort of Heads-up display that gave me pertinent info that was useful to me without unlocking the screen and going hunting for it. For me this info is mainly upcoming appointments, upcoming deadlines on my to-do list, the weather, and any missed phonecalls or SMS messages.


Sure you can get most of these if you unlock the screen on your iPhone and have these apps on the main screen but you can forgo all of these individual steps and not even unlock your screen. The info is just there! The application is $5 and I am currently in my 14 day trial, so I think that once the trial is over I am definitely purchasing this app!
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