Ch-ch-changes


To Those Who Have Already Subscribed

rssI'm a big fan of RSS feeds. Using the Firefox add-on Sage, a lightweight RSS and Atom feed aggregator, I stay up to date with my favourite blogs and news pages throughout the day.

I have a favour to ask those of you who have already subscribed to my RSS feed at https://www.torontomike.com/index.xml. Could you please unsubscribe to that feed and subscribe to http://feeds2.feedburner.com/TorontoMike instead? It's the same content, but it makes my life easier. I appreciate it.

For the rest of you, if you want to add my feed, it's easy to do at http://feeds2.feedburner.com/TorontoMike.

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A Comments RSS Feed

rssBefore I forget and while there's a pause in the overtime action, there is now an RSS feed for comments made on this site. A request was made and I thought it was a pretty good idea. This new comments feed is at https://www.torontomike.com/comments.xml.

The regular ol' entry feed remains at https://www.torontomike.com/index.xml. If you're wondering what the heck this RSS thing is, read this.

Back to overtime...

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Making Your Way In The World Today

binocularsI made a few modifications to this site to help people find what they're looking for.

Some people like to track recent comments to see who's discussing what and where it's all going down. I've added a new column to the archives page that lists the fifteen most recent comments, who made them and what entry they were made on. https://www.torontomike.com/archives.html is the page to go to quickly browse the 40 most recent entries, the 10 most recent comments, every category and monthly archive. A link to this page can be found on the right of every page, just above the link to my Flickr page.

I've also freshened up the sitemap so it's sorted by theme and all-inclusive. If it's a page I maintain, you can link to it from there. A link to this sitemap is on the bottom of every page in the copyright footer.

Finally, I've installed a sweet Movable Type plugin for faster search results. Results are now instant when you search via the search field you'll find on every page. Go ahead and try and break it. Remember though, it's only searching blog entries, not static pages.

That is all.

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A New Look

constructionLast night I got that itch again. You know that itch you get when your blog has had the same look for months and months? I got it last night and by the time I logged off at 10pm my site looked like this.

I'm still tweaking it, but so far I'm digging the change. For the first time in the history of this site, I fixed the width. 800 x 600ers be damned! If you're one of those that now has a dreaded horizontal scroll bar, let me know in the comments. While you're commenting, let me know what you like or dislike about the new look. The header banner is temporary.

"Things do not change; we change." ~ Henry David Thoreau

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Situation Stabilized, All Systems Go

constructionIt's been quite the week for this little site of mine. On Thursday, the company that was hosting this site suddenly realized I had blown past my bandwidth allotment for August. The thing is, I had exceeded my limit back on August 14. I just assumed it was a very soft cap and nobody was paying attention. On August 31, they locked down this site until I forked over more cash for a bigger plan. In my brilliance, I decided to leave the site down for the remainder of Thursday knowing that Friday wasn't just another day, but another month.

On Friday the site was back, but there was a sporadic outage. Something about the account being moved to a different server and DNS changes having to propagate. Of course, there was no warning.

On Saturday I awoke, had access to my site, and backed up the Movable Type database. I threw up Homer's Quote of the Week, as I do every Saturday morning, and noticed I was just about out of space on my hosting plan. I had a few MBs left. This was the weekend for Plan B. Then, I lost access to this site completely, as well as a few other sites I maintain on the same server. According to my real-time stats, people were visiting. A quick chat with my brother, my mom and a friend confirmed they could all see the site. For me, however, the connection timed out. I ran a tracert for the domain, saw it stall at the first stage and blamed my ISP for what I perceived to be a DNS or Routing issue. Three calls to Rogers later, a million trouble shooting checks and a reboot of the modem and I still couldn't access my own site. Everyone else could, only I was in the dark. Eventually I did something that would change my IP address and suddenly I was in like Flint. The company hosting my site blocked my IP address from accessing the server that was hosting sites I own and maintain. I immediately updated the DNS name servers for torontomike.com and kicked off plan B.

Plan B was essentially me moving this sucker over to my friend's server. The price was perfect. At my new home I installed and configured Movable Type, installed the database back up I had grabbed that morning and waited for DNS propagation. I went to bed Saturday night with the assumption all would be back to normal Sunday. I was wrong.

Sunday was pasta sauce canning day. We spent the entire day at my moms canning tomatoes. Check out the pics! Periodically, I'd check out the site to see if it was pointing at its new home. I was assured the transition would be seamless. Around 10am, torontomike.com began resolving at its new home, but the results weren't what I was expecting. The site couldn't be found. I threw my bud an email explaining what I had done and where we were at. I went to bed Sunday night still waiting for a reply.

Here we are on Labour Day Monday and all is well. My helpful friend missed a configuration step on his end, which explains yesterday's outage. I spent this morning getting the forms working again, installing the FlickrPhoto plugin, and rebuilding everything. All seems well.

If you're still with me, rest assured things have stabalized. Humble Howard fans will be happy to find https://www.torontomike.com/2006/07/humble_howard_are_you_okay.html back online, family will be happy to see I finally updated the pictures page, Simpsons fans can get their Homer quote fix and celebrity death watchers will be shocked to learn of The Crocodile Hunter's demise. Now I have an entry to write while the CNE is still open.

Six hours of uninterrupted up time. Sweet.

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509: Bandwidth Limit Exceeded

swearsAt some point early yesterday morning, the company that hosts this site realized I was way over my bandwidth limit. In a bold attempt to extract some more coin from me, they threw up a 509: Bandwidth Limit Exceeded error and took me down for the remainder of the month. Luckily, it was August 31st and I decided to ride it out for 20 or so hours.

Here's the problem. The traffic to this site is more than I anticipated, so something has to give or this sucker will be offline for the last half of September. Nobody wants that. So, I'm going to plan B, and I've got to get there fast.

Sorry for the outage. Welcome to September.

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The New Menu and My IE Shock

firefoxThe new look of this site is one week old tonight, but I hadn't given it a solid look in Internet Explorer until this morning. Sure, I gave it a cursury glance in IE to make sure the new code actually worked in the world's most popular browser, but my primary focus was how it looked in Firefox.

This morning I blew away the old main navigation menu at the top of this page in favour of a different look to complement the recent overhaul. It was quite easy to get things where I wanted it in Firefox, but IE didn't play nice with the new CSS. A tweak here and a hack here and I got her to an acceptable point for those viewing this site in Billy Gates' browser. While I was in IE, I decided to click around and I didn't like what I saw.

For starters, the background image in the top left hand corner of this site seems to reload with every page change. That causes an ugly flicker effect that you don't get in Firefox. What's the point of clearing the image only to bring in the same image in the same place? The CSS has it in the body tag and every page in this site is reading the same CSS file, so wtf? For those of you not yet using Firefox, you really should give it a whirl and see what you're missing. Furthmore, I hated how IE interpretted the line spacing I had in the CSS. Why didn't any of you tell me that there was all that space between lines of text? You don't see that in Firefox. As a result, I stopped controlling the line spacing in the CSS file which seems to have fixed things in IE.

I won't bore you with yet another list of reasons why you should switch browsers. I'm sure, like a chain smoker, you've heard all the reasons in the world to stop doing what you're doing but for one reason or another, you can't help yourself. If you need a refresher on why you should get Firefox, here are all my entries that reference the word "firefox".

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Done.... and Done!

ConstructionOn February 7th, I relaunched this site, powered by Movable Type. I went back and manually put all previous entries from 2006 into MT but I left entries from November 2002 through December 2005 in their original files. The plan, as I outlined it here, was to knock off one month's worth of entries every week. I guessed I'd be done by the fall.

A little piss and vinegar and a lot of tedious effort late and nights and here and there and I'm finished way ahead of schedule. It took almost three months of concentrated effort, but all 4355 entries are now here in Movable Type and therefore indexed for the search you now find on the right side of every page. Also, where appropriate, I've thrown these 4355 into relevant categories, which you'll find below.

Phew!

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Explain Yourself!

ConstructionIt started innocently enough. Last night, at about 10:00 pm with the kids asleep and a little time on my hands, I decided to muck around with the css for this site. By 11:00 pm I was modifying templates and completely redesigning the side bar options. This afternoon, I tweaked a little more here and there and threw an image in the top left corner. The results are before you, unless I've gone and messed things up a little more between the writing of this entry and the time you read it.

My objective was to create a little more white space and clean things up somewhat. I felt a colour change was in order, so I ran with TTC rocket red. In order to make things a little more user friendly, you can search the archives from every page and jump to any month since I started the blog back in November 2002. I'm still migrating old entries over to Movable Type, so you won't find November and December 2005 quite yet.

I've received a couple of notes from people who miss the old look. My mom, however, likes the new one. Of course, she's my mom and might be telling me what I want to hear, so I need you to give me honest feedback in the comments.

In the words of the immortal Dr. Johnny Fever, give it to me straight doctor I can take it.

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Web 1.0 Wins!

ConstructionRemember when I celebrated my new big ass web 2.0 font last month? Considering my Leaf recap will be detailing yet another loss, I'm thinking the smaller the font, the better.

I'm back to 10 pt Verdana. I always seem to come back to 10 pt Verdana. I'm clearly a 10 pt Verdana kind of guy.

If you're having trouble reading this, hold down the Ctrl button on your keyboard and roll your mouse wheel towards you. If that didn't do anything, get a real browser and try again.

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