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So the question is, what is a suitable bribe?

May 5, 2012, 10:14 PM

So I’m currently working on restoring Journal entries from August 2011 for Falcon. The end of the main conversion is near, though there’s other work to be done before any launch happens. The plan from here to launch is to finish the main conversion, fix all of the flagged content issues (connections that I couldn’t make right away for whatever reason), do a whole bunch of scanning and restoring for a few Odds and Ends areas, do all new photos for the Fire Alarm Collection pages, and then work on a number of new photo sets.

Once I get to that last part, where I’m working on new material, I will begin doing beta testing on Falcon. That’s where I get other people to go in and start using the site like normal users would. The idea is to get other sets of eyes on things, in order to hopefully identify and correct any issues or errors that I may have missed. I fixed a lot of weirdness and old errors with the conversion, but as always, I am not above inadvertently introducing brand new flies into the ointment. And with nearly 1,500 Journal entries and a bunch of photo sets and other pages, mistakes are inevitable. I was showing Falcon on my cell phone to a coworker on Friday, and discovered a mistake in the theme, getting Falcon’s 404 error message instead of the page that I was expecting on a certain link (that issue is now fixed).

My current plan is to get a few folks to come over to my house with their laptops and take the site for a spin. It is my intention to fix any problems that get identified on the spot. Why my house rather than a coffee shop or something, you may ask? Because if we’re looking for bugs, I want to be at my real computer where the site is made just in case I need to fix problems on the theme or dig through an archive to find an image or something.

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Categories: Friends, Schumin Web meta

Walking down Georgia Avenue and talking to the camera…

April 26, 2012, 7:46 PM

So this evening while I was walking home from the Metro, I decided to turn the camera on myself and do a Video Journal:

So there you go, I suppose. I am walking home along the northbound side of Georgia Avenue from Glenmont Metro to approximately Rippling Brook Drive.

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Sixteenth anniversary!

March 22, 2012, 11:49 PM

So the Video Journal that I did for Schumin Web’s sixteenth anniversary was a bit more challenging than most that I’ve done. First of all, though, here’s the video:

In this video, I discuss the site’s anniversary, how things are changing on the site, and how I’ve changed in the last year as well with my weight loss and all. Check it out. I’m sure that you will find it quite interesting.

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Falcon update…

February 18, 2012, 12:10 PM

So it’s been about two months since I discussed Falcon, which is the name I’ve been using for the new version of Schumin Web that I’m building off to the side of things. The current production site (i.e. what you’re reading this on at the time of this writing) is kind of a mashup of whatever I could come up with to do what I wanted to do, and mostly built in-house. Falcon, meanwhile, runs WordPress.

This represents a major shift in how I do things. When I started doing this site in 1996, if I wanted something, I had to build it myself, and that’s how all the major site functionality still works for the most part. The Journal, for instance, is my own design. That’s why there’s no place for commenting. I could never figure out how to do it. Now with free software and such, the community builds the engine, and so Falcon is built with off-the-shelf parts and a custom skin.

As far as where the progress is, I am currently working on porting and restoring content from 2007. That’s stuff like J27 and October Rebellion, plus lots and lots of Journal entries. It feels really strange to be working on these pages, because this is the time period when I got fired from Walmart and moved to Maryland.

And here’s what Falcon currently looks like. Remember that the basic design is the same for now, and so the changes are going to be in the details.

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Categories: Schumin Web meta

Discovering a significant bug in Falcon…

December 10, 2011, 1:11 PM

This is where things get frustrating! I discovered a significant glitch in my “Falcon” development site.

But first, for those not familiar: Falcon is my development site, where I’m currently working to convert Schumin Web to the WordPress platform. It’s running WordPress 3.2.1 right now (but will probably jump a version or so before I’m done). I’m running it all in a test location while I build it and then port and restore content. Then when it’s finished, I’m going to move it onto the main URL, and then it will cease to be “Falcon” anymore, since it will become the production site. Then I’ll probably set up a new development site as “Falcon” for future development and experimentation, such as a full redesign (the site under WordPress will look mostly the same as it has for a number of years).

To run certain parts of the site, I set up custom post types. I have custom post types for the Fire Alarm Collection, Quote Articles, Photo Features, Site Updates, and Splash Photos. What this will look like when finished is nothing new, as those of you who have been with me for a while, when you see the way these things look, will see something very familiar, even if it’s totally different under the hood. The problem is that when you page through the pages of these custom post type archives, the site will act as though it’s displaying the next page, but the content will not change. Let me show you what I mean:

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So I believe that the spirit of Patrick’s Christmas lights have attacked my camera…

December 4, 2011, 10:39 PM

Yeah, it’s only been a week since my Thanksgiving trip to Stuarts Draft ended, but better late than never, I suppose. I’ve kicked production work on Falcon into high gear, and just about everything on my Internet life has taken a back seat to that, including Wikipedia (I’m taking a Wikibreak!). I have a feeling that if you look into my eyes, you’ll see that blue squares-in-squares pattern that I use burned onto my retina.

But this is a Video Journal. So that means one of these, which I shot on the drive home from Stuarts Draft along Route 29:

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Again it makes me think about the whole idea of historical accuracy vs. great presentation…

October 16, 2011, 4:32 PM

So this Sunday afternoon, I’m at my desk at the house, hard at work restoring photo sets from 2003 for Schumin Web. And as I do this, I’m constantly thinking about the work that I’m doing, and how I should be doing it.

I made the decision early on when planning this restoration and conversion to be amazingly thorough. In a few of the quote articles that I’ve restored, I replaced the images with different but similar ones. These were cases where the source of the original images was a little murky due to my not having tracked where these images (that weren’t mine to begin with) came from. It was unfortunate that the handling of that was sloppy, but I was much younger at the time, between 19 and 21, and didn’t know any better. Now I’m much better about image credits and such, and the only images these days that don’t get an image credit are the ones that I own myself. Two quote articles that are getting new images entirely that I can think of right offhand are the fireworks quote from 2001, and the relaxation quote from 2002. It’s nothing drastic, though. Just replacing the images with sloppy sourcing where the specific photo is not crucial to the discussion with similar free content from Wikimedia Commons.

Then the other part of this is the photo sets. The images there, like everywhere else, are being reprocessed from the original material to improve their appearance. Let me give you an example of what this entails, from the “Autumn Leaves” photo set:

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Categories: Schumin Web meta

Who would have ever thought that “A Protest Against the War” would be such a pain to prepare for restoration?

October 5, 2011, 12:16 AM

This falls under the category of things-you-did-back-in-the-day-that-you-didn’t-realize-would-be-such-a-pain-to-deal-with-today. I’m currently getting things together to restore all the photo sets from 2003 for the WordPress site, and right now I’m specifically working on A Protest Against the War.

First of all, you remember that set, right? That was the first time I had ever been to an anti-war demonstration, and thus the character of this set is different than most other photo sets for political demonstrations. After all, it is in the Photography section, and thus is formatted like Photography sets (“Photo Essays”, as they were called back then) were formatted at that time. Protests now normally go in Life and Times, and take the form of a heavily-illustrated narrative. Then the wording sounds a little too academic in places, which was unusual for a photo set then, and still is today. When I wrote the text for that set, I had just completed a course in western political theory, which explains where all the academic-sounding wording came from. In rereading it this evening, I really had to think about what I was talking about back then.

The quality of the photos is all right, but the post-production processing was poor, as the color is a little washed out and the images are too light. That’s what this whole restoration is about, though – redoing the post-production work on the photos and generally making it all look better, plus fixing any mistakes, writing in more context (for instance, a lot of older photo sets lack explanation for some things because I considered them a given at the time), adding more links, and updating the photo set to match any new conventions being introduced on the WordPress site.

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Categories: Myself, Schumin Web meta

Why on earth did I photograph…?

September 30, 2011, 10:35 PM

In my work in restoring the site content for the upcoming WordPress conversion, I’m currently working on Photography sets from 2002 – everything done after “The Schumin Web Photo Essay Blitz” that was done in March 2002. That means I’m working on Old Town Alexandria, Protesting the World Bank, Autumn Leaves, The Iwo Jima Memorial, and Botanic Garden. So this encompasses the last of the material from the original Mavica period, and the beginning of the Big Mavica period.

The last two photo sets that I mentioned – Iwo Jima and Botanic Garden – were both done a DC trip that Mom, Sis, and I took on November 29, 2002, while I was home from college for Thanksgiving. Big Mavica was still really new to me, so apparently I was taking more photos than usual just to get used to the equipment during the time home. I came back to the CD that these files were on when locating the source material for those two photo sets for purposes of restoration, and got lost in all of the other photos from my time in Stuarts Draft in late November 2002. I apparently really went to town on photos, and some of them, particularly at my parents’ house, were ones where I was looking at them and thinking, why in the hell did I take this photo? I just have to remember that this was the work of a much younger man, and with nine more years’ experience, well… there you go.

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This is the interesting part of all the photo work I’m doing on the site…

September 5, 2011, 1:28 AM

I made quite the interesting find while digging around for a few images. Take a look:

The locations of all the fire alarm notification appliances in Potomac Hall

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Nobody told me that converting the site to WordPress would be this painful…

September 4, 2011, 6:20 PM

So the conversion of Schumin Web to WordPress is going along quite well for the most part, aside from the odd having-trouble-locating-an-image kind of issue, where I really have to go hunting through the discs to find an image. That’s annoying, but not insurmountable, since I am a bit of a pack rat when it comes to these things, as I keep everything, whether it’s actually worth keeping or not.

First of all, my organization in the early days was less than efficient. While I arranged photos that were taken together into folders like I still do today, they were not content-neutral in relation to the site. For most of my photos, it’s arranged by date with a note as to the general topic of the day. For instance, if it was a protest, the folder would be called, for instance, “October Rebellion – 10-19-2007”. But with the really old material, stuff was arranged under “Miscellaneous”, “Photography”, “College Life”, and “Life and Times”, and then by date and topic. And since the time that I arranged the material on the disc, some material has changed locations on the site, and some things aren’t on the site anymore. It definitely makes researching photos a challenge, that’s for sure.

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Categories: Schumin Web meta

And the conversion is underway!

August 23, 2011, 12:38 AM

It is time.

The conversion of Schumin Web from an HTML site to WordPress is officially underway. The work of my two testing sites, Falcon and Raven, is complete. “Raven” was hosted locally on my computer, where I could test things close to home. Then “Falcon” was the live testing site to see how things would behave on the actual Internet. Now Raven is kind of being set aside, and Falcon is currently being used as a development location, where the site is getting put together under WordPress.

And look at this:

Schumin Web main page, empty

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Categories: Schumin Web meta

We’ve had a breakthrough!

June 25, 2011, 11:53 PM

Let me tell you… I had a BIG breakthrough in the whole idea of eventually converting Schumin Web to WordPress this weekend. Take a look at this:

Schumin Web "Raven" at a very early stage

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Categories: Schumin Web meta

When I eventually convert the site to a CMS platform…

June 21, 2011, 11:16 PM

This is one of those things that I’ve been thinking about, and am looking for some feedback on it. As you may know, I’ve been planning to eventually convert Schumin Web to run on WordPress. I’ve kind of scaled that back, however, because of the way things have been going with the redesign aspect of things. Basically, when I convert the site to WordPress, the site is probably going to look the same as it has for a while.

See, here’s the problem. The redesign end of things has really gone to crap. Recall that the first attempt, while bold, lacked personality:

Concept work in February 2011

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This is what vacations are good for…

May 18, 2011, 11:34 PM

Vacations are great for Schumin Web. Usually, every time I take a vacation, I manage to finish a photo set. This time, it’s Plungefest 2011. Normally this wouldn’t be notable, except that I ran out of time to finish this “in-studio”. See, I normally do all my photo sets at home, on my real computer. However, I ran out of time on Tuesday night, and I had planned a trip to Stuarts Draft from Wednesday to Friday. So first of all, hello from my parents’ house in Stuarts Draft. Thankfully, I was able to complete enough of the set on Tuesday night that I could do the rest of the work on the road from the netbook. So I did all the captions on my parents’ couch, and then pulled the covers off the menu entry, and then voila! Done.

On that last part, that was kind of interesting. Before I left the house, I put the menu entries in and then commented them out. Kind of reminds me of when banks change names, which, as you know, happens on a fairly regular basis anymore. They change the signs ahead of time, and then put a cover over the new sign with the old logo on it. I believe Wachovia is in this process right now, with their eventual change to the Wells Fargo nameplate. Then when the time comes, they just yank the cover off and the name is changed. Same here. I just removed the comment tags, and boom – the menu item is revealed.

Of course, this kind of stuff will all change when I eventually convert the site to WordPress. Then I’ll be able to do all of the site from anywhere, rather than the current situation of being restricted to my home computer for some parts and being partially mobile for others. I’m looking forward to that, but it’s going to be a long time still before that happens.

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