After staying up too late playing Savage Worlds (and then, admittedly, a little Grand Theft Auto) I managed to haul my ass out of bed and hit the roud, finally arriving at Balticon around 10:30. Now I'm hanging out in the lobby with Doug Rapsome, Mur Lafferty, Jared Axelrod, and a bunch of other folks sucking down the free wirelness as they work on their scripts for the Live! Takeover! zombie business workers event at 1 p.m.
It's a good day to be a geek.
I'm going to my first-ever science fiction convention this weekend as a travel south to Baltimore for Balticon 42. It seems strange that I could be as into scifi as I am, particularly books and novels, and never gone to a convention, but its never really been my scene. Generally speaking, if I'm going to spend $50 to go to a con, I'd rather spend that time playing games than wandering from seminar to semainar.
So what's different about Balticon? Friends. A hell of a lot of my online friends are going to be at the convention, and I'm hoping to hang out with them and engage in actual, real time conversations with people I've known for years.
Crazy, isn't it?
Of course, it won't be all jabbering, all the time, so I've browsed the Balticon schedule [PDF] and noted the stuff I'm particularly interested in. I can't say I'll definitely be at all these things, but there's a pretty good chance I will be. The only one I'm hellbent on attending is Mur Lafferty and Jason Adam's live recording of the Geek Fu Morning Show - After Dark. I've been listening to Mur since the beginning of the podcast era, and I can't miss a chance to see Geek Fu live.
Jordan and I went canoeing on the Bushkill River on Mother's Day as part of an effort to get Jordan, Luke and our friends Jess and Dylan's two-year-old twins used to the idea of being in a boat. We started off putting all four kids in the boat, and then Sue and Jess dragged them up and down the brook for a while (exceedingly cold work, given that it was only about 70 degrees out, the water was far colder, and they were standing in it). Once the little kids had had their full of the water, I took Jordie out in the (slightly) deeper water. The water was about two feet deep in this picture, giving us just enough clearance to go paddling.
The dent you see in the side of the canoe is not from me; rather it's a legacy of a disastrous family canoing trip on the Delaware River when I was a kid that ended with said canoe colliding with a rather rock after our first encounter with rapids. The canoe is in good shape in spite of its Titanic moment, and Sue and I have had it out on the Delaware a bunch of times, though not much since the kids were born.
I've made a few tweaks to Nuketown's information gathering capabilities, updating a newer verison of the Google Analytics module for Drupal that includes the ability to track downloads and monitor Drupal search terms. I've also added the FeedBurner module and redirected the primary feed and the podcast feed to FeedBurner.
I spent a couple of days messing around with Darwin Streaming Server, the open source port of Apple's Quicktime Streaming Server. Here's what I learned from my poking and prodding of Darwin installed on a Redhat Linux box:
- Darwin streams over port 7070 by default. There's an option to have it stream over :80, but since Apache also uses :80 to serve web pages the two servers will conflict if you're planning on running them on the same box.
- Darwin will stream .mov and .mp4 files, but the movies must be hinted. I'm not sure how one goes about hinting an .mp4 file; I assume you can add such hints via Final Cut Pro.
- Darwin will not stream individual MP3s, but it will stream MP3s as part of a playlist. The Quicktime Streaming Server under Mac OS Server may appear to stream individual files, but in reality it just pretends to do that by by creating playlists for each individual file. You could do the same with DSS, but it's cumbersome via the web interface; it's likely something you'd want to script. On a related note, there is "muse" add-on for Icecast (another open source streaming server) but it has the same playlist limitation; there's no streaming of individual files outside of a play list.
It's Primary Day in Pennsylvania, that long anticipated Democratic political apocalypse. Obama's got chalk slogans at the college, while Ron Paul activists have papered College Hill with signs. We got three phone calls from the Democrats yesterday reminding us to vote, and our house has been hit by both Obama and Clinton volunteers, neither of whom stayed to talk, instead choosing to slip fliers into our door. I blame the dogs, though they never scared off the Mormon missionaries...
I got to spend too much time the last two days fighting the good fight while trying to update and redeploy a Firefox extension that creates a toolbar of popular links for the college where I work. Firefox toolbar are nifty creatures, but they can be finicky.
I'm giving a brownbag presentation on what's new on the Web at work tomorrow, looking at the best of what's come out since this time last year. What follows are the rough draft of my notes. I've persnally used about half of these sites; the rest were suggested by the Tribe on Twitter. I'm still looking for suggestions, so if you have any, please feel free to post a comment.
I've been spending a little too much time lately deleting spam user accounts from Nuketown. These are accounts that you, gentle reader, never see; they're created by spambots hellbent on promoting all manner of products, and I kill them before they can stick their spammy little necks out into the sunlight.