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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Adieu! Yahoo! Pipes!

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Well, another useful piece of the internet is pulling the curtains as its show is complete.  Yahoo Pipes was an interesting "Web 2.0" service that came out when we were all hot and heavy on RSS-goodness, and had open ways to get content from one site, remix it with another, and create our own new thing. At the time of its announcement I was listening to a Greek Podcast by vrypan, and other Greek Geeks, who introduced me to this service.

What made Yahoo Pipes really great was the quick and easy way that a user could splice together feeds from a variety of sites, blogs, and anything that really gave you an RSS feed.  I was able to pull together feeds from my blogs, from my twitter, from the-now-defunct Google Reader and create a new feed that I could use with a widget on my sites as a consolidated activity flow.    I actually used Pipes a lot during the early days when I was setting up various community sites.  One of the sites that I still maintain, UMassID.com - a current student and alumni site for a program I am an alumnus of, has a job-board. Of course one of the big issues with job boards is the inertia and overcoming it - people need to post jobs.  Well.  Yahoo Pipes, along with Monster, HotJobs, HigherEdJobs, and a few other places allowed me to create an RSS feed for any job postings that contained the terms "instructional designer". This way, instead of seeking out job postings on 10 sites, all you needed was one feed.

Just drag and drop...


It seems, however, that the days of Openness (unfettered openness anyway) on the web are now gone and we've gone back to walled gardens - because that's a service's competitive advantage.  Bull.  There are benefits to open, but whatever.

Yahoo Pipes was a great resource.  Even though I didn't use it as often these days for new feed creation, I do have a variety of old feeds that will stop working soon.  I guess it's time to go into my various sites and do site maintenance.

Adieu Yahoo Pipes, it was great knowing you
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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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Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag | Done!

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Just in time to end my holiday break and get back work, I completed Assassin's Creed 4!  I ended up getting AC4, like my previous 2 AC games, on Amazon.com's Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals for a reduced price.  I could have waited a few more months to get the game at less than half the price (factoring in a used cost), but I got it new for $30. Not too bad!

I liked this game quite a lot both for what happens in the game, as well as what happens outside of the game!  In the game you play as a nameless beta tester testing out Subject 17's genetic memories. Subject 17, as you will find out, is Desmond Miles.  I was looking forward to playing, again, as Desmond, until I was reminded that he died, or sacrificed himself, to save humanity.  In any case, in the Animus you play Edward Kenway, Haytham's father from AC: III, and you go through life initially stumbling on the whole assassin/templar thing, but in the end after having been on both sides of the war, he decides to stick to the assassin side of things.  In the animus you spend a lot of time getting from place to place on a ship you own, and as a pirate you get to be in naval battles and loot the cargo of ships you have destroyed.  The naval battles are actually pretty nice, and you can build up your ship as you get more money and loot.  By the end of the game I didn't have my ship fully upgraded (didn't do enough looting), thus I couldn't take on the four "legendary" ships that are really hard to beat, even with a ship more than 70% upgraded.  One thing I wish I knew, before I got to far into the game, was not to sell the raw materials I gathered from hunting.  I got very little money for it, and I missed out on crafting some special items.  I suppose I can go back and play some more, but I don't feel like it at the moment.

In the "real world" in AC:IV you get to play as an employee of Abstergo Entertainment. There are some familiar assassins who have infiltrated the game developer's headquarters and they are gathering information on what is found there.  What's funny here is that if you go an do all the computer hacking side missions you get a lot of inside jokes, such as Abstergo Employees discussing over email philosophical questions like "if we have an animus, and we can go anywhere in time, how about we use for educational purposes?"  Of course, anyone who has played any of the Assassin's Creed games, and has bothered to read the bios of the various characters, knows that there is a lot of historical reality inside this historical fiction game.

Another interesting thing, if you do the side missions, is that you get to learn more about the historical development of the animus, as well as a competing project within Abstergo, and you get to learn more about Subjects 0 and 1, who were, I guess, templars.  You also get to hear some of Desmond's last words before his doom in AC:III.  This ties in nicely with the iPad companion app that Ubisoft created for this game.  The companion app lets you view all of the media that you've accumulated in your game, including sticky notes (which I have collected but not read yet), manuscripts, listen to sea shanties and view or listen to all Abstergo artifacts, like the Subject 0 and 1 information which is all re-recorded from reel-to-reel tape.  The companion app also can act as a real-time map, so as you progress in the game you can have a second screen experience of setting waypoints and seeing the map without having to pause.  Pretty nifty, even though it sucked my battery try :)

Another interesting side of AC:IV is a companion AC website called AC: Initiates (ACInitiates.com) which allows you to explore the AC Universe outside of the game. There are some challenges in AC Initiates that you can start online (accept a challenge) and complete them in-game.  As you complete challenges you can earn XP toward your online character's experience, and (I think) you can unlock content.  As you complete AC games (all except for the original) you get credit for having played those as well toward your XP.  This is an interesting idea, and something that may entice me to go back and play AC:III again.  I've been holding off on getting DLC for my previous games since I don't know how much they will add to the story, but maybe if there is a DLC sale, I might take advantage of it and explore some of the side stories in previous games and earn some XP for initiates.

At the end, I got 32/60 achievements for this game, with a completion of more than 70% (which apparently is more than I had in previous AC games).  Nice game!  I really enjoyed it!  I am looking for ward to AC: III Liberation HD which is coming out in January, although I probably won't get it until next fall since I have a big backlog of games now.
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Rapidweaver 4, τώρα διαθέσιμο!

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Το πρόγραμμα δημιουργία ιστοσελίδων Rapidweaver μόλις αναβαθμίστηκε σε έκδοση 4.0 και είναι δωρεάν αναβάθμιση για τους κάτοχους της έκδοσης 3.6.

Κατέβασα την έκδοση 4.0 σήμερα το πρωί και άρχισα να την δοκιμάζω. Όλα μου τα αρχεία είναι σε άλλον σκληρό που δεν έχω μαζί μου, οπότε δεν μπορώ να δοκιμάσω την κανονική μου ιστοσελίδα, αλλά απ’ότι βλέπω, η δημιουργία νέων ιστοσελίδων είναι αρκετά εύκολη (όπως και με τις παλιότερες εκδόσεις).

Υπάρχουν μερικά νέα θέματα ενσωματωμένα με το πρόγραμμα, τα plug-in έχουν αναβαθμιστεί, και το η έκδοση 4.0 είναι μόνο συμβατή με το leopard.

Το πρόγραμμα μου αρέσει αρκετά ώστε να δοκιμάσω να αναβαθμίσω τον μισοχαλασμένο μου PowerBook G4 για να έχω την νεότερη έκδοση στο σπίτι (σε υπολογιστή που έχω άνετα πρόσβαση)!

Ρίξτε μια ματιά όσοι ενδιαφέρεστε: ΚΛΙΚ ΕΔΩ
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