What’s the deal

March 9, 2010

At about 10 p.m. Monday evening, I logged on to my WordPress admin to set up a new post. That’s when the trouble started.

The site started acting funny, with the homepage (newtonpoetry.com) showing up fine, but all of the links sporking into some database error.

Since then, I’ve re-installed a backup copy of the site, tried messing around with the database and wp-config files, all to no avail. Today, the site has popped back online – only to disappear in a cloud of MySQL smoke.

Tomorrow I’ll call my hosting company and see if there’s anything they can help with. Until then, hang tight, and hope for the best. We’ll hang out here at the old home base (which I’m thankful I held on to) here at WordPress.com.

And if you have any experience with WordPress.org installs and database errors like this, please drop me a line (newtonpoetry at gmail). At this point, I’d love any help.

UPDATE: Turns out the servers over at 1and1.com are down. Well, maybe not servers – just the server I’m sitting on. Lucky me!

[Thanks to Ken for the pep talk, and to David and Thomas for the offers.]

What’s on the menu?

January 14, 2009

From Thomas Brand:

Consistency is the recipe for good blogging. Interesting thought provoking topics are the ingredients. A unique writing style develops the flavor, a diversified niche determines the cuisine.

Blogging is about giving your readers a lot of what they expect, and a little of what they don’t. They return for more because your content is familiar, but also because it is unique. They know what kind of posts will be on your daily menu just as any diner know what kind of entrees to expect from an Italian restaurant.

Mind your head.

January 10, 2009

Newton Poetry will be under construction for the next few days, so mind your head, wear your hard hat, and hang on.

Sorry for the interruption – I’ll be back with you soon!

National Bring Your Mac To Work Day

January 9, 2009


Happy National Bring Your Mac To Work Day, everyone.

Wait, what? You’ve never heard of NBYMTWD?

Here’s how it started. I have some video projects to do at work, and Microsoft Movie Maker just isn’t cutting it. First, I’m new to video editing and codecs and file types. Second, Movie Maker will only let you edit movies in a certain format.

My solution? Bring my iBook to work. The MPEG files I have will work fine with iMovie (I think), and I can do some translating with VLC.

Plus, I can set aside the Dell and work with a real computer.

I almost brought my PowerMac G4, just so I could use my work LCD and keyboard, but the G4’s video card isn’t up to snuff – I got a warning that said transitions and the Ken Burns Effect might not work without a Quartz Extreme-compatible video card. Oh well.

January 9. Let this be a day we can revisit every year: bring your Mac to work to get things done. Make it a good one!

Apple history for the rest of us

January 8, 2009


For history buffs, Apple is a natural attraction for how modern technology companies evolve, behave, and operate. Since its founding, Apple has attracted pirate programmers and designers, a dedicated fan following, and tons of media attention. In just 30 years, the company has ridden a roller coaster of success and near-death – multiple times – has today lives on as a super-successful electronics company.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Mac, and as Wired’s Steven Levy puts it, Apple will look forward instead of back.

Which is just as well. While doing research on some design work for my day job, in the design archives of AIGA, I stumbled upon Jeff Goodell’s Rolling Stone article, “The Rise and Fall of Apple, Inc” (part two is here). Goodell writes in 1996:

The story of Apple’s decline is a morality tale for the Information Age. It is not, as one might expect, a story about how quickly the technology moves, or about how unforgiving and brutal business has become in Silicon Valley. In fact, Apple had many, many chances to save itself. But it didn’t. It was the company of the future that failed to see what was right in front of its nose. And while Apple will no doubt reinvent itself in the years to come, the central idea that animated the company for so long – that Apple is a revolutionary force, that it could change the world – is dead.

Not any more, it’s not. But there is a weird feeling of dread and uncertainty, not unlike what a lot of people are feeling about the economy, or about Steve Jobs’s succession plan, and a lot of it stems from what we don’t know about Apple. What’s the “next big thing?” What effect will the economy have on Mac, iPod, and iPhone sales?

“There is no happy ending here,” Goodell writes. At the time, it must have seen certain. But soon after Rolling Stone published that article, Steve Jobs returned, and things turned around. Taking the long view, Apple has been in far worse situations (coincidentally, mostly when Jobs was absent).

One thing hasn’t changed, with or without Jobs. The theme struck me, after I watched an interview with Bill Atkinson during the launch of Apple’s HyperCard “erector set” programming application, was that Apple truly puts the power to create in peoples’ hands. As in “for the rest of us.”

Think about it. HyperCard was designed as a application builder for non-hackers. As Atkinson put it in the interview:

A whole new body of people who have creative ideas, but aren’t programmers, will be able to express their ideas – or their expertise in a certain subject.

The original Macintosh was designed to be intuitive. Its design and interface has functioned as the standard since 1984. VisiCalc, on the Apple II, gave people the power to create spreadsheets. Apps like Garage Band and iMovie and iWeb give users a simple way to be creative (actual talent helps, of course). PageMaker was the app that launched an industry, and my very profession. iTunes and iPods give us the ability to manage and enjoy our music library like never before. It’s music, or design, or information, or programming “for the rest of us.”

Even the Newton was a product ahead of its time, giving business professionals and regular folks the ability to manage their day-to-day data in a simple and intuitive way.

As a history buff, I like reading about Apple’s early successes and tribulations. It shows a company constantly growing, constantly in flux, and – for the most part – learning from its mistakes. The common thread that runs through Apple’s story is a company setting out to make machines and applications that make our lives easier.

I almost typed “better” there, but I don’t think that’s true: if we didn’t have the iPod, we may not miss it.

But simple. Easy. More intuitive. Even fun. That’s what Apple has given us the past 30 years. The success of the Mac is a testament to that ideal.

So while Steve Jobs and Apple in general may not celebrate the Macintosh’s birthday this month, us Mac fans can in our own way. We do, everyday, when we wake our iMac up from sleep, or scroll through our music library on our iPhone, and live our lives a little easier.

My dream office, starring an iMac G4

January 6, 2009

Tons of books and all. I wish my own office were that clean and tidy.

Happy Macworld Keynote Day. I’ll probably be catching the live blog feed somewhere (Gizmodo usually does a nice job) and hoping for some kind of cool announcement. I actually thought about going to Macworld this year, and just as I was about to hit the “purchase tickets” button, the news hit that Steve Jobs wasn’t going to be there.

Much like Apple, my decision was financially-based: can I really afford a trip out to California?

So I may have missed my chance to see Steve Jobs deliver a “one more thing” announcement forever. But hey, there’s always WWNC.

[Courtesy Remodelista.]

Connection Tool syncs Windows to Newton

January 5, 2009

Connection Tools Newton Outlook sync

I’ll admit: I don’t give Newton-to-Windows syncing its proper attention because I don’t have a XP/Vista PC to try it out.

But there is an NCX/NewtSync-like program out there called Newton Connection Tools that will help Windows users connect their MessagePad with a modern version of Microsoft’s OS. NCT helps with all the usual sync needs, like package installation, data backup, and Microsoft Outlook syncing, plus Newton Protocol tools that allow for further Newton software development. Pretty cool stuff for the Windows crowd.

You need to send $45 to Andrés Galluzzi to get the full NCT license code.

Any Windows users out there: I’d love to hear from you about how this works.

[Thanks to the My Apple Newton blog.]


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