Now in rich, glorious HTTP over SSL!

3W forever!

You don’t have to check the date on the last post to know I haven’t been spending a lot of time writing for this site. It’s an off and on hobby that’s mostly been off, so I decided to cut back on my expenses and migrate to a cheaper host. Yes, I know what you’re thinking. You’re asking yourself, “Wait? LESS EXPENSIVE? You mean to tell me you’ve been paying good money to maintain this site? You’re STILL paying good money to maintain this site?!?

I’m nothing, if not dedicated.

… well, sometimes anyway.

Now picture me: sitting on a beach with a MacBook in my lap, happily clicking and typing away for hours on end, working on migrating this site to a new host. Now eliminate the beach and replace it with a cool, dark, and quiet upstairs bedroom. Now you know I how spent free time last week.

A few days ago, I got to thinking. I was waiting for some bargain-barrel, over-burdened, shared-hosting servers to upload another batch of files, and it hit me. “If I’m already migrating to slower servers, why not tax ’em a smidge more with some security?!?”

Check your browsers, friends! Look for that glorious lock that tells you you’re browsing a secure site! Ask yourself if you’ve EVER known me to use so many exclamation points! Know that whenever you want to do a deep dive into all things John, no middle-man will be snooping on you, revealing just how banal you tastes in reading can be!

Our twentieth year online!




Let’s try this again. I hope this will be everything it would have been yesterday.

I’ve got some big, site related news! As of December 1st, 2016, our site has been in it’s twentieth year of operation! No, we’re not twenty yet. That doesn’t happen until December of this year, but by then I’d only get one magical month were the copyright notice said: 1997 – 2017… AND I got to hang that big 20 up for everyone to see on the homepage.

Don’t get me started on counting. I’m a self-starter, I can do it myself. NOTE: if you’re not up for a digression/rant on how we count years, skip to the end of the rant. You’ll know it when you see it.

Why does “I’m twenty” have to mean I’ve finished 20 years? Why do we have a quick shorthand for every age EXCEPT the year between the day we were born and the first anniversary of our birth?

“Weren’t you two back when that happened?”

Oh no. I was… let me see. What’s the best mathematical equation to represent my age? X < 1, where X = my age in completed years? I have no idea how many months it was. I think mom said I was crawling around that time, so maybe somewhere between 7 and 11 months? Infant doesn’t seem right, but toddler seems too old. Eff me! I give up.

“Umm, ok. Let me see if Cheryl needs any help in the kitchen.”

But we’re at a bar. What would Cheryl be doing in the kitchen here? She’s at home.

“Yeah, I know.”

See! You don’t need that kind of awkwardness in your life. I know I sure don’t. Why isn’t the day of your birth the first birthday? It’s only the reason you’re here, so I guess it’s ok not to count that one… AT ALL! Further, I think it’s high time we changed the language of age. Talking about how many years old you are stopped being cool at twenty-five. I don’t know about you, but I’d be willing to give up a year if I could say: “it’s my 46th year,” rather than saying “I’m 45 years old.” Is it any wonder so many folks don’t want to talk about their age, when most of the time they’re asked the word “old” comes up, either in the question or in the answer?


So, twenty. Right?!? It’s been cool, even if I haven’t done much posting on the blog the last few years. If I ever find my old back-ups (I have three spindles of CDs – somewhere) I may share the original site I created with Adobe PageMill, BBEdit, and Graphic Converter (on one of the original Bondi-Blue iMacs no less), which appeared on AOL’s servers for a time. The absolute best was when I hosted it from a server running at home, geeking out on home networks/security, Movable Type, and managing a few different flavors of databases. Running much of my current site from a hosting service with WordPress almost feels like cheating.

Before Facebook there was blogging, and many (if not most) of my Facebook/Twitter friends are holdovers from blogging, or folks I met through blogging. This site gave me an outlet, introduced me to people with backgrounds I never would have crossed paths without it, broadened my world-view, and made me a better person.

Because of this site, and one post in particular, I often win google. I’m purposely not naming it again – I already get too many hits from those search terms, but if you drop the “beware of” and do a search for the remaining words in that title, I’m almost always top five in a google search. I joke with friends that I’m the world’s fourth-foremost expert on the subject. Though, results of your searches may vary, due to location. Further, I don’t expect most of you to be impressed. Even with this lofty achievement (for a guy like me), I bet most of you would blow me away.

Anyhoo, I’d like to thank both of you for sticking around through the lean times.


Sorry for the potty mouth, but I just realized my last few updates from yesterday somehow didn’t make it online. I didn’t mean to leave you hanging – like it seems I did – and I feel bad. I did most of this from my MacBook (trusty MarsEdit), but I switched to the WordPress app on my phone after I left the lobby/waiting room.

Everything I did on my phone somehow didn’t make it. Worse, the changes I made from my phone this morning (adding a link to a new post this morning) seems to have erased these updates. Well, here’s what I wrote… for what it’s worth (now), as best as I can recall.

I’ve also updated the post from yesterday here – so you can see the updates in their context.


2:06 p.m.

It’s been a long day yet it seems it’s only a little more than half finished. Cheryl’s sleeping for the moment and I’d really like to do the same.

I’m ready to call it a day. I’ll post something brief tomorrow to let you know how she’s doing.


1:45 p.m. (recovery)

The bandages are striking. I’d like to post pictures but Cheryl’s likely reply (if I could ask) would go something like this:

Divor… no… death… would be too good for you, and not nearly good enough for me.

If I DID post a picture without asking would likely involve something I can’t discuss on a family website.

Alas, I give in to temptation.


1:15 p.m. (recreated from memory and post fragments I could pull from my phone)

I finally got the call. She’s in recovery and awake enough for me to see her. I’m on my way up.


In comes the new, kills off the old

More of substance to follow shortly, but I thought I’d note the new look.

Although the old page setup took a bit longer to load than I would have liked, I didn’t have any intention of making changes… until an upgrade of the blog software (WordPress 2.8) killed it.

So for now, I give you “elegant grunge.”

It may not look right, but it feels right.


Failing to prove a point

I’d planned this post as a bit of self-parody, after my “two thousand and something” entry last night. I was going to do one of those “a year ago on this date” posts, then admit I hadn’t posted anything a year ago.

Trouble is, I did. Damn. So I checked two years ago. Double damn. Not only did I find a post, I found a pretty significant one… the kind of thing you’d actually use in a “two years ago on this date” kind of post.

I can’t even pick on myself and get it right.

Another big number goes unnoticed

A blogging friend (who posts a lot more often) noted the passing of a blogging milestone a few days ago, but it didn’t occur to me to look at my own blog (I swear). I didn’t notice the number until I imported all of my stuff from the WordPress database into MacJournal this afternoon: 2023 posts. About twenty of those posts are hidden from view – saved drafts never finished, or events recounted awaiting the passing of applicable statutes of limitations. That brings the number of “published” posts down to about 2003 (this one being 2004).

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not bragging. If anything, it’s a small number, considering how long the site has been up. But still, it seemed worth mentioning. The geek in me feels compelled to share a few stats, so those of you following from the beginning (hi Christy) know what you’ve put up with (quantified anyway).

(numbers include those hidden posts)

  • 441,571 words
  • 218.28 words per post
  • 20,826 occurrences of the word “the”
  • 5,784 thats (to my eternal shame)
  • A whole slew of words appearing only once (mispelled)
  • Only two occurrences of the word “dire,” which seems inconceivable, considering my appetite for exaggeration.

That’s what I have to show for running my site a little more than ten years. It may not be much, but it’s been fun… sometimes. I wonder how long it will take to get to four thousand?

1 Comment

A place for all my stuff

There’s something you should know. You are part of an experiment. Some of you may feel like I’ve violated your trust, using you without your permission. If it makes you feel any better, you’re not an important part. If you like feeling important, I’m really sorry.

Just being here, reading this post, is all it took.

In a few seconds you’re going to start getting tired of this post, and that’s o.k. It’s expected. Just seeing this post made my test a success.

The truth is I’ve been playing around with new software again. You have no idea how relieved I am to finally admit it. I don’t feel dirty any more. I don’t have to sneak around behind my old program’s back, worried we’ll be caught in the act. You see, I’ve been cheating on my blogging software. I’ve had a little badge for it down in the corner for a while now: MarsEdit. We’ve had some really good times together… and kept each other going during some rough ones too. How do I reward it? I start seeing a sweet little number named MacJournal.

Oh, I’ve done my share of rationalization. I’m a pro (if I may be allowed this small pinch of egomania). The new software can serve as a depository for all of my writing, not just the stuff that ends up on the blog. It can also serve as a backup for my blog. It’ll keep a copy of all my posts on my hard drive, as well as automatically synchronize it’s database with a remote server AND my other computers.

MarsEdit was never intended for those things, so I can’t blame it. It does what it’s supposed to do really well – simply and efficiently.

We’ll see if MacJournal can do a whole bunch of stuff as well.

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New look

*UPDATE: it looks like Mobile Safari doesn’t deal with static background images very well.

Maybe you noticed the new blog theme. If not, take a closer look. It’s hard to miss. I showed it to my editor (Cheryl) and her response was: “It looks kind of cool, but I like colors. This looks kind of depressing.”

It’s good advice, but I’m keeping it for now anyway. I’m not sure I’m cool with the degree of transparency in the posts – in Safari and Firefox for Mac anyway. I’m not sure I have the patience right now to fire up Windows on the iMac to see how the poor, unfortunate souls trapped in Windows will fare. Blogs with text that’s hard to read is a peeve of mine… and now I fear I’m sinking to their level. What good is a blog if you can’t read it? Though, in this case maybe it’s a blessing ;-)

We’ll see how it goes. I’ve been testing various backgrounds on my test blog. And yes, I have such a thing. I had been working on converting a three column theme I saw a while back to two columns. What the heck, just for kicks (mine, not yours) you can see it here (a rough version anyway).

This background picture seemed to fit both my mood, and was something that wasn’t too busy (not a lot of sharp and changing contrasts that would interfere with the foreground). I’m fond of this particular picture for a couple reasons. One, I took it on an awesome hike with Adam along the beach on a rare foggy day. Second, it reminds me of my mother, during her saner days. She used to like to drive out to the Dunedin causeway and watch the pelicans fish. I used this image for the cover of a picture book I had made for her for her birthday last year.

Maybe you wouldn’t believe it from the tone I often take, but I’m my own biggest fan… with more returning hits than any other source. I’m weird that way. Although the colors are dark, the picture itself reminds me of my mother’s better days.

So for now it stays. I hope it won’t turn you away.

WordPress 2.3.2


WordPress 2.3.2 is an urgent security release that fixes a bug that can be used to expose your draft posts. 2.3.2 also suppresses some error messages that can give away information about your database table structure and limits and stops some information leaks in the XML-RPC and APP implementations. Get 2.3.2 now to protect your blog from these disclosures.

Yikes! The words “urgent security release” served their purpose, I took them seriously and updated my software. Now that I’ve lost two hours of precious free-time at home, I just hope the good folks at WordPress aren’t prone to fits of exaggeration.

My blogging past

What’s more exciting that a new software release? Well… o.k., lots of things are. Still, a good time can be had on a Sunday morning, cradling a cup of coffee, with a software install running on your favorite Mac. Imagine the Sunday news shows on in the background, the kids playing in the family room with the makeshift tent you helped them build out of linens, pillows and seat cushions; and all the while looking forward to seeing what new features are waiting to be unpacked from their cocoon of zeros and ones.

Today (darn near tomorrow already) I saw that Movable Type v4 was released. For about 15 minutes… right up to when I typed that third period a few keystrokes back, I felt a twinge of regret for shutting down the home web server. Yeah, those were the days. I can still hear the old iBook churning away under the desk in the family room (hiding it’s broken hinge in shame). I spent a fair chunk of my discretionary time on server stuff.

I guess I’m not immune to the lure of romanticizing the past. I’m using WordPress now precisely because of all that time I spent trying to get MySQL configured for a previous Movable Type upgrade.

Yep, I’m over it now.