Happiness is…

Making me happy this week:

  • St. Elsewhere reruns on Hulu.
  • OpenRefine and Oxygen.
  • This article that references some weirdo who’s obsessed with supermarket history.
  • Apple fritters from Aldi.
  • The potential for three consecutive days of sleep (or at least a reasonable proportion of those three days).
  • Cleveland and Detroit in April, with maybe a side detour through Southern Ontario.

And you?

What was I thinking?

Why do I start doing things that will make me crazy at 9:00 on a Friday night? In preparation for getting this site SSL compliant (which actually was easier than I expected, despite some weirdness stemming from two very old WordPress plugins I should have gotten rid of a long time ago) I ended up doing a global find and replace. There were problems, and to oversimplify, when I finished the process, my site reverted to a state from sometime in 2009. I’m not entirely sure how that happened; it seems a bit random.

And then I tried to restore from my nice, fresh backup…which was apparently corrupted.

Anyway, after lots of SQL and FTP and SSH and all those other acronyms I’m glad I still remember how to use, I’m back up now for the enjoyment of all three of my fans! And everything should be pretty SSL compliant by later tonight, so you will stop seeing those “not secure” warnings that really don’t matter because you’re not submitting data anyway.

And I have a good, clean backup again. I know because I just restored from it.

Yes, I could leave the server stuff to someone else, but I don’t want to.

Anyway, I’m glad I did this site before the other one, at least.

True north and all that

So this conference that is keeping me from being in Canada for Thanksgiving and also making me miss The Bandicoots is now redeemed by the fact that I will actually be there for this (which I’ve missed for the past year or two) and for a friend’s graduation from library school in London (the one in Ontario that actually has its own Thames). Pretty good tradeoff all in all.

Also on the agenda:

  • Groceteria research in Detroit, maybe Toledo, and Niagara Falls
  • Quality time in the Toronto Reference Library
  • Falafel Queen (just discovered it’s now closed and I’m depressed) and all my other favorites
  • London and Windsor for the first time in twelve years
  • Seeing friends (I hope) in Toronto, Detroit, and Buffalo
  • Maybe another side trip yet to be determined

More later…

Cross-promotion

In case you haven’t visited the other site — you know, the one that actually still gets lots of traffic and attention — you might be surprised to see how much its geographic reach has expanded in the past two years or so that I’ve been really actively updating again. There are now entries for forty of the fifty United States and eight of the ten Canadian provinces (none of the territories, alas). My goal is to get something up for all them within the next year.

Here’s a handy map:

Everybody needs a hobby…

New year, new databases

I’ve spent New Year’s Day migrating about 50,000 images into Adobe Lightroom CC, after many years of using an assortment of Apple’s photo management tools. I’d hit the point where I realized I would soon have to give up iPhoto, and had in fact already migrated several sets into Photos.

But I really fucking hate Photos. While it’s great for the average user who just wants to look at pictures from his phone, it has several glaring weaknesses for anyone who applies any serious degree of metadata to, say, a research photo collection. Its file system is an inscrutable train wreck. It does not actually write certain of its metadata into the image files. The goddamn face recognition that you can’t turn off drives me to distraction. Then, when I realized today what a hassle it would be simply to download a video from my phone with the file format and creation date intact, it was the last straw for Photos.

Add to all this the fact that it’s actually easier to migrate an iPhoto library than a Photos library into Lightroom (and the fact that I have free access to the whole Creative Cloud platform through work) and you arrive next to me on the couch as I was having my Spam, rice, and eggs this morning. That was when I decided that today was the day to make the jump (though I’d test-migrated one library several weeks ago). The old iMac has been plugging away for almost five hours now and I’m at 47%.

I’m doing all this, of course, so I can be involved in a major migration of digital content both at home and at work. As of last month, I chaired a committee that recommended moving from CONTENTdm, the incredibly expensive digital asset management my digital collections unit currently uses, to Islandora, an open-source platform. This migration (which will involve about 750,000 items) will pretty much define my next year at work. We’re one of the bigger installations to make this move. It should be fun.

I guess I didn’t want to be bored at home at the end of the day…

Random thoughts (mostly) unrelated to April Fool’s Day

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Yesterday had more texture. Today is a bright, sunny spring day in North Carolina, which means, of course, that I do not particularly wish to leave the house because of the bright (and the pollen). So I’m taking care of things at home. And creating bullet points:

  • A month or so in, I ask again why I never used Plex before. It’s pretty wonderful, especially with my new router. Having everything I own from porn to film noir to home video on every device in the house rocks.
  • Credit Karma Tax. Love it. It was quick and painless, helped along by the fact that I no longer have itemized deductions since I no longer have a mortgage. If I hadn’t had a few thousand dollars in one-time freelance income for a consulting project I did, my taxes would have taken all of five minutes. And no fucking TurboTax fees and add-ons.
  • Anyone have a good commercial VPN provider recommendation? I’d been thinking of going with one for quite a while and in light of recent events I’m pretty sure I will.
  • For the record, it’s kind of discouraging realizing that your home state is more concerned with college basketball than with your basic civil rights.
  • Lovely. North by Northwest is having one of those TCM limited screening things, and i’ll be crammed into an airplane for both dates.
  • Best April Fool gag this year from NPR.
  • I’ll be in Albuquerque next week. That’s just not something one gets to say all that often.

South by southwest?

This makes me a little sad. Winston-Salem seems finally to be abandoning its never-much-used quadrant system. As street signs age, they are being replaced with new ones that lack the “NW/SW/NE/SE” indicators.

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The quadrant system for identifying streets seems to have been introduced in the 1950s. Several North Carolina cities (Hickory and Concord for starters) implemented some version of the system over the years, and it was not a big success in most of them. In fact, it seems to have been largely ignored in Winston-Salem by the 1980s, no longer being used in published addresses even though the designations continued to be included on the street signs.

When the ex and I moved to Winston in 2006, we added the “SW” to the end of our address from day one, just because that’s the sort of geeks we were. I liked the the whole anachronistic nature of using this convention most people no longer observed, even though the city apparently still did. I believe the quadrants may even have still been part of the tax map database as recently as a few years ago.

I haven’t seen any official notice of the change anywhere (though I haven’t looked very much) but it’s pretty obvious that the signs they are a-changin’.