Gallery Updated

Just a quick heads up to those who don’t check often: Critical Gallery has been updated. I’m not done uploading images, but there is a PILE there that weren’t there before for those interested. Mickey’s gallery is still up and functional (and will remain so as long as she wants it), but the wedding gallery is no longer live. My battery is dead, so that’s all for now!

Grr, Argh

I’ve become increasingly unhappy with my Gallery solution. Gallery 2 is feature-rich, yes, but at the cost of being a pain in the ass to use in terms of administrative interface, and customizing it is… well, painful to say the least. All those promises of making it easier to customize than Gallery 1 haven’t really panned out, in my humble opinion. In short, I’m not happy.

So, I’ve spent snippets of free time over the past few months looking at alternatives… most of which suck just as much or more. I found one that I really liked (ZenPhoto), but discovered to my chagrin that it has absolutely NO support for multiple users, which is unfortunately a dealbreaker right now. Reading through their forums, it’s on their possible to-do, but isn’t a high priority (argh!). Razzifrazzin’ sonuva…

So the search continues. I found another lovely app (Tableau) that looks PERFECTLY suited to my needs (including multi user support, huzzah!), but it requires Ruby on Rails, which my current web host doesn’t support. I’m otherwise very happy with FutureQuest, so I’m reluctant to leave them over this, especially since there really aren’t better options right now… if or when I finally do leave FutureQuest, it’ll be because I’m co-locating my own server (probably running OS X 10.x Server, replete with my own jabber and calendar servers), which is currently decidedly outside the realm of cost feasibility.

So, I’m putting the call out: anyone know any nifty gallery solutions? I’m looking for something that is lightweight and easily customizable, but also has the features I need like multi-user support, and will run in a LAMP environment? I’m aware of the ones currently up on OpenSourceCMS already, and am unhappy with the offerings, to be honest. Frankly, it’s this frustration that I think has caused more people to move to collective gallery solutions like Flickr. I really don’t want to go that direction, though, unless there’s no other choice. Damnit, I LIKE being able to host my own stuff.

Announcements and General Updates

First off: i’d like to announce my new “learning programming” blog, Critical Code. I’d also like to announce that I’ve migrated to a shared user table across my three blogs (Critical Games, Critical Code, and this blog), so if you have an account on one blog, you have an account on them all (there might be a temporary delay while user privileges transfer, but they’re all there). So please, by all means, comment! Kibbutz! Let me know my meager site traffic isn’t just bots! (For those playing the RSS game, I also have tentative plans to make a unified RSS feed that combines posts and comments for those that want such a thing, like me. I wish there was a way to send comments left on the Livejournal feed to the actual blog, but there doesn’t appear to be a way. I will reiterate, though: it’s best to leave a comment on the blog, not the LJ feed — the feed was created by a friend of mine, not me, and as such I don’t get notified of comments on there… also, they disappear as the posts drop off the feed.)

That’s it for announcements for now. As far as general updates, I’m doing alright. I’m skirting the very hairy edge of being broke, but I’m trying to stay optimistic that I’ll find some sort of employment before I hit that line. It’s stressing me the hell out, though, in a way that being broke in the past did not: previously when I was in these sorts of situations, I either had work lined up for the near future, or a new semester (and subsequent education stipend) coming up. Right now I have neither, and it’s nervous-making. I’ll simply need to continue to send out resumes and hope for the best (any suggested leads would be appreciated, and YES, I’m willing to relocate damn near anywhere including out of the country).

I have a lot of things to say, but I don’t really know where to begin. I’ve been incredibly frustrated nearly the entire time I’ve been living in Montpelier, and am frankly looking forward to moving out of here, even if it means temporarily moving back in with my parents. It has been extremely hard to spark any sort of motivation to DO anything, let alone retain that motivation. (To make something perfectly clear, I don’t blame my roommates for that. For lack of a better way to describe it, the vibe of the house and I simply don’t seem to get along — I’ve felt like an interloper from day one.) I’ve been really distracted, tired, and in a brain fog for most of my time here, and have consistently had to LEAVE the premises to get any work done (like my schoolwork during the semester). This is arguably the least productive or capable of being productive that I’ve felt, ever, and that’s a really disheartening feeling to have when I more than anything need to start DOING.

So, little steps. Here is my goal, please poke me to stick to it: at least one new post in each blog each week. That’s three posts a week: one personal/creative, one professional/design/gaming related, one programming. It’s worth noting that at least two of those need at least a little forethought or additional work, so just whipping something up half-assedly 15 minutes before the end of the week really is out of the question. Here’s to resolutions and goals: may these last and blossom!

Upgraded WordPress

I’m not yet sure how much I like the new admin interface, but sometimes that’s the price we pay for progress. I’m also not entirely sure what features were added to justify a major point release ( to 2.0). In either case, let me know if anything goes wonky.

New Site Features

There have been a few updates to the site that I would like to point out. First, I’ve updated my Gallery installation to the newly released Gallery 2. I’m really liking the new interface and features, and have migrated all users and images from the old installation into the new one. One of the nifty new features is arguably the most obscenely easy to use “image block” feature I’ve seen to date (they’ve had this feature for a while… it’s new to me, however). I’ve implemented it here on Wandering Ways, so those of you who are Feeders, swing by the main page to see what I’m talking about (it’s the nifty random image in the sidebar). The next step I plan to take is to set up a sub domain of, simply because I think that’s a cleaner address than I do need to do a little digging to see how gallery-created links will handle that, though I don’t expect there will be a problem.

I haven’t forgotten about the site. I’ve just been a little scattered. I promise, a real post soon.

Fresh Start

I was trying to think about how I would go about reorganizing my previous blog entries, and decided there wasn’t really a good answer. So much of the information there is outdated (dead links, outdated technical status, et cetera) that I chose to move it all to a category called “Site Archives”, and start fresh. I’ve migrated the past half dozen posts into the new categories, and the rest have gone into Site Archives (for posterity).

I’m a big fan of not getting RID of information, but sometimes it is necessary to move it around a little.

TypeKey is Now Required

Because I moderate comments, you haven’t been seeing the half dozen a day bits of comment spam I’ve been receiving and having to clear out. I’m tired of it, so I’ve turned off unregistered comments. If you want to comment, get a TypeKey account. It takes two minutes and doesn’t require any hoop jumping to get it to work.

You just click the “Sign In” link in the comments section, log in, and it’ll automatically redirect you back to that page so you can comment. Furthermore, you’ll remain logged in as long as that window is open, so if you go to other sites that use Typekey, you won’t even have to log in again. Considering Typekey is developed by Six Apart (makers of Movable Type), who also just bought LiveJournal, chances are good that LJ will start supporting Typekey (and possibly vice versa), so just do it now and get it over with.

Content Managers

I’m still not happy with my website. I feel half-assed with my Nucleus/MT setup, and continue to feel that there’s got to be a better (for me) solution, one that actually makes me happy.

Apple is adding a slightly tweaked version of Blojsom to Mac OS X 10.4 Server, so I took a look at that. It’s very pretty, and feature rich. It also requires programs my current web hosting provider doesn’t carry (namely, Tomcat). Additionally, some of the syntax is counter-intuitive, and I’m unhappy with the documentation.

Then, while looking into ecto, I noticed their current poll listed a slew of blogging solutions and communities that I’d never heard of. At last, hope for a system I like! I clicked through several, and came across Drupal, a content manager that I REALLY like the look of. The built in featureset is robust, it is under active development, it has an extensive and feature rich plugin library, and (important), it will run handily on my current web host. Worth noting in particular is the plugin that allows LiveJournal users to participate/comment without having to re-register. There is also basic migration support for importing MT entries into their system.
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Design Revision

For those of you not reading this on a feed, you’ve probably noticed a significant site revision. The design I created for Critical Games has been growing on me, so I decided to implement it on my main blog. One nice aspect of this is if I ever do switch to an entirely Nucleus setup (or other), the transition will be essentially seamless for the viewer. That’s not any time soon, though, if ever (probably never).

In either case, I like having the uniform design between sites under the Critical Games aegis. Once Gallery 2 hits a stable beta (or better, stable final), I’ll probably look into effective ways to integrate the gallery into the rest of the site (a random image block, for instance, which is a built in module in Gallery 2). There is still some work that needs to be done before the transition is complete, however. (The main page is done, and so is the Credits page, but the rest of the site still needs to be transitioned.) This will be happening over the next several days; I could have plowed through and done it all at once, but I DO have other things I need to be working on.
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