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"Goodbye, Jean-Luc, I'm gonna miss you. You had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end."
- Q, Star Trek: TNG

Tech Tips

I, Watch

by Ken Newquist / September 1, 2015

I bought an Apple Watch. It's pretty cool.

I'm not one for buying expensive new gadgets. Like most geeks, I buy my share of technology, but my upgrade cycles tend to be long, and if I do get something bright and shiny, it's because it satisfies a specific need. My original iPod, for example, let me stop renting audio books from, replacing a $45 monthly fee and snail mailed boxes of audio tapes with one small device and an $15 Audible subscription.

Debugging the Xbox One Spontaneous Shutoff

by Ken Newquist / January 3, 2015

My family's big Christmas present this year was an Xbox One. The kids and I are loving it -- I'm battling my way through the Halo: Master Chief edition, and the kids are questing for the Lonely Mountain in LEGO: The Hobbit.

Unfortunately while Halo looks great and the voice controls are very 21st century, the damn thing unexpectedly turns itself off for no apparent reason. No overheating warnings, no next generation Red Ring of Death, no debug on restart telling me something bad happened.

Geeky Lorem Ipsum Text

by Ken Newquist / December 12, 2014

After 11 days of writing, and a ridiculously long and difficulty week, I was sorely tempted to make a blog post that was nothing but lorem ipsum text.

And then I thought ... hey, I could do a blog post about lorem ipsum text. For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, lorem ipsum is Latin text used by designers, web developers, and others when they want people to focus on the layout of a page rather than on the contents of the page.

Kindle Touch: Embracing e-Reading

by Ken Newquist / November 29, 2012

I bought a Kindle Touch over the summer for two reasons: 1) I wanted to take a bunch of books with me on vacation, and didn't want to pack four hardcover novels and 2) I was jealous of my daughter's Kindle.

StarGirl, age 9, got the Kindle Touch from her grandparents for Christmas and spent the next six months devouring books on it. Early in the summer the family went to Sandy Hook, N.J. for the day, and I decided to give it a try. I was curious about how well it held up in direct sunglight, which is something my iPad has a notoriously difficult time with.

Random Mac OS X Lion Fixes: Mac Mail, GPG, Finder Sidebars

by Ken Newquist / October 2, 2012

When it comes to operating systems, I'm not an early adopter. Part of this is work -- our support for the most recent Mac operating system tends to lag a few months behind the official release as we wait for software and network partners to replace upgrades that run with the OS. I'm also gun shy when it comes to upgrading my core operating system; when I have things working the last thing I want to do is break it.

Integrating Twitter into Drupal 7 ... without RSS

by Ken Newquist / September 25, 2012

One of my goals for the Nuketown 7 redesign project was to tightly integrate social media options into it. In particular I wanted to be able to capture all of that microcontent -- the quick movie and book reviews, the game news, the retweets -- that the site currently misses and incorporate it into the design. The key here isn't that I'm simply trying to post tweets about new articles; I want to make microcontent an integral part of the site.

To do that the tweets needed to be captured as nodes, which would then allow me to manipulate and display them however I see fit. I accomplished this by creating a "microcontent" content type and then setting up the Feeds module to import tweets from my NuketownSF account via RSS.

Naturally once I got this working Twitter deprecated RSS feeds. As of March 2013, you'll no longer be able to use them ... and Nuketown's microcontent import would cease to function.

Fortunately I have a Plan B: the Twitter module. When I started building out Nuketown7 I'd considered using this module, but it had two drawbacks:

    Tablets at the Table, 2011 Edition

    by Ken Newquist / May 31, 2011

    When the iPad hit a little over a year ago, there was a flurry of posts in RPG circles about tablet gaming. Since then we haven’t seen a lot of talk about them – I’m not sure if folks grew bored with the topic, or if they’ve now become so common place that they’re not worth commenting on any more.