b2evolution story on Digg

My fellow Digg.com users. Digg this, if you would:

Phoenix Alpha released

I want the word to get out about this software. I was going to post about it there at some point, but someone beat me to it.

Build your own

Last night while I was posting obituaries on AdrianJournal.com I started thinking about how expensive a funeral is. I think the casket itself can get into the thousands pretty easily. All that for a box you see for a few hours then bury in the ground. I would rather be put in a simple, cheap pine box. (Even that could cost almost a grand.) Then my family can spend that money on something better. Then, as I typed along, my thoughts turned to the funeral home people. They probably make it very hard to get anything but an expensive coffin. I'm sure they would give a guilt trip on anyone who didn't lay down cash for the best stuff. Then, for some reason, I wondered if people ever make their own casket. Sort of a morbid project, yes, but no one could deny burying you in the one you custom made for that special day. I did a quick search to see if there would be help for such a project. Internet, you didn't let me down.

About.com has some info and links
Some kits and plans
Even BobVila.com has some help
DIY funeral tips from the BBC

I don't think I'll be undertaking a project like this, but it's good to know that the internet has this information.

Gizmo updated

Gizmo, the open source Skype replacement has been upgraded recently. I last tried it at 0.8 and I wasn't overly impressed. I remember some stability problems, especially. I just download the new version (1.2), so if anyone wants to try it out with me, let me know. Maybe we can use the built in recorder to do a short podcast or something.

Firefox 1.5

Firefox version 1.5 was released this afternoon. They have a new website: Mozilla.com, but all the old urls still get you there. New features include automatic update, faster browsing navigation and drag and drop tag reordering. I've wanted that last one for a long time. there are some extensions that do it, but having it built in is nicer. The best thing for me is that the Mac OS X version is going to work a lot better. Up until now it's been kind of a second-rate port.

How to buy a computer

I'm giving a presentation at the Cass County Public Library in Archie this Thursday about buying a computer. It will be for the non-technical crowd, buying a computer for a kid or getting into computers for the first time. I'm hoping to help them sort through everything you need to think about when picking out a computer. My iMac G5 will be making an appearance, but I'll have a PC there, too. I'll be extolling the virtues of Mac OS X (the librarian recently switched to Mac on my advice). If the attendees don't take my advice, then we may have to do a seminar called How to secure Windows XP in 9 easy steps. If they skip that, too, then maybe they would come back for How to remove spyware and viruses from Windows in 47 easy steps.

If you're in the area you can catch the How to buy a computer presentation at 6:30 pm, Thursday, December 1 at the Archie branch of the CCPL.

Emma's games

Emma has been learning more about computers lately. She can handle a mouse and navigate through several different kids' websites, playing flash games and watching cartoons. She can also use bookmarks and the back button in the browser, which puts her ahead of some adults I know. To help her get to her favorite sites I made a little page with images that link to the sites. I add this to the bookmark toolbar and she can do the rest on her own. Here's the site:

personman.com/emma

Feel free to use it if you have a little one who might enjoy these games.

Earthcore, the podcast novel

Earthcore coverEarthcore by Scott Sigler is a novel that was originally published via podcast. I subscribed to it in iTunes and I've been listening to it. It's not a great novel, but it's pretty fun. For me it's been worth the free download. The author reads it and releases a new chapter (or group of chapters) every week. Actually he finished podcasting Earthcore and ended up getting a publishing deal. So now there's a print version and another podcast novel on the way. If you have some time to kill in a commute or something, subscribe, download the episodes and give it a listen. Find out more at scottsigler.net/earthcore.

b2evolution release nears completion

I haven't posted here recently because I've been trying to do my small part for the b2evolution project. I don't want to say too much, but the new release is getting very close. I've been running a test installation and working on getting some skins ready for the new version. I even wrote a plugin only to find out that someone had already done something very similar. In testing this new release, my opinion is that it will be worth the wait. The best thing will probably be the new plugin system. We should see a lot of extra functionality built in to easy to install plugins. But there's some eye candy, too. Here's a screen grab of the new back office stats page, complete with a chart rendered in Flash:
Stats chart

That's with only four days of data. It will usually have 30. Recently we've been pulling all display of public stats from evoskins, just so spammers won't be able to see if they get through. But something like this, which doesn't include any links or even url titles, might be suitable for public display. It just gives an overall impression of the stats.

The charts are built on PHP/SWF Charts, a shareware lib that looks pretty fun and useful in itself. But having it built in to every install of b2evolution means that we may see plugins that use it for other things, too. How cool would it be to see a sidebar poll that renders results as a Flash pie chart?

Keep watching for the public releases of the new version of b2evolution. If any brendoman.com authors want to take a look at it, email me and I'll create a login for you on our test install.

New skin: HappyBlog

I have a new skin published at skins.b2evolution.net: HappyBlog As with the other skins I've done, there's very little original work. OSWD.org member LanVacation designed the original template and graciously gave permission for any use of the template. As I was working on porting it to a b2evolution skin ¥åßßå helped me fix some layout problems. I also found help for an image-wrap issue from Roger Johansson. Brendoman.com users already have the skin installed. Anyone else who's interested can grab the zip file from skins.b2evolution.net.

Highlight video of the semifinal game

I just posted the highlight video for the semifinal game. Adrian lost to West Platte, 32-23. One of the slow motion replays in the film does show that West Platte fumbled when they were ruled down. I actually thought the ground caused it, but the video shows the ball coming out before he hit the ground. Anyway, both teams played very well and Marionville will have their hands full in the dome next weekend. Congratulations on a great season, Blackhawks.

Update: I was watching the play again, frame by frame to see if I could capture an image to post. Now I'm not so sure. Maybe his knee does hit the ground before the ball comes out.

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