Category: Site News

Site news: ‘Readers, we had a problem’

My apologies for the site outage over the last couple of days, especially to those who were looking for the slides from my Macworld/iWorld session. (They’re here by the way.) We moved to a new server and due to an unfortunate typo (damn you, Mountain Lion autocorrect!) the site was unreachable and it took a little while to track down the problem.

If you’re reading this, all should be well in the domain name server department, and I’m happy to report that the new site seems “wicked fast” so far. I’m using a very minimalistic theme at the moment, although you expect some modifications over the next several weeks.

Please let me know if you have any issues navigating the site, and thanks for your patience.

Where to find me at Macworld/iWorld 2013

I’ll be making a few appearances at this year’s Macworld/iWorld Conference in San Francisco next week. I always love meeting readers/listeners, so if you spot me, please take a minute to say hi.

Here’s where I’ll be:

  • Thursday, Jan. 31st, 1-1:45: TT803: Tech vs. Wild: Surviving Your Next Campout (and Other Natural Disasters) with High Tech Gear
  • Friday, February 1st, 3-3:45: TT843: iTravel Well: Troubleshooting Your Tech Travel
  • Friday, February 1st, 9PM-?: Cirque du Mac featuring the Macworld All-Star Band (If you see me on the show floor, ask — I may have a ticket or two.)

Psst — want a free ‘golden ticket’ to Macworld?

Going to Macworld/iWorld? I’ve got one Free iFan Pass to give away (a $100 value), courtesy of the kind folks at IDG. First reader to claim it, gets it. Send a DM to me on Twitter: @ChuckLaTournous.

[Update: The pass has been claimed; thanks to all for your interest. For those who didn’t get the free iFan pass, I’ll have a link for 1/2 price iFan passes and free Expo Only passes soon. Stay tuned.]

[Update 2: Use the link below a free Expo Only Pass or a $50.00 iFan pass (that’s 1/2 off):]

Please stand by…

Back when this was a full-fledged journalistic endeavor — a real news site, if you will — things like re-designs and the development of additional features took place on a development server — behind the curtain, if you will.

Now that we’re “just” a blog, though, I have no hesitation to do these things right out in the open. It’s easier for me and hopefully won’t trouble you too much.

So, dear readers, please bear with us as layouts change, blank boxes appear and disappear and my photo gets smaller (or goes away completely), and enjoy this look at how Internet sausage is made.

Comment spammers find me ‘insightful’

I get quite a bit of comment spam on the postings here. Because of the way the site is set up, not much of it gets through. I’m frequently amused, though, at some of the tactics the spammers use to try to get their posts on the site. A lot have taken to pulling words or phrases from either the headline or article itself and complimenting it. I got a kick of how that formula worked for a posting about an Apple store opening in NJ — aka, “The Garden State.”

Hello webmaster Wow what a fantastic article about Garden State Parkway! Your keen insight into Garden State Parkway is informative and creative. I look forward to reading other articles you have. Thanks.

Nice try.

What’s your verdict on the MacJury?

Back in the late-nineties, I produced what would now be called a podcast on the long-defunct “GiveMeTalk” Internet Radio Network. They were mostly 10-15 minute scripted shows, wherein I offered some analysis and commentary on the day’s news. Topics back then ranged from the introduction of candy-colored iMacs to the passing of legendary Mac journalist (when such a phrase could be used without irony) Don Crabbe.

I haven’t spent much time on-mic since then, although I’ve threatened to start up “RandomMaccess Radio” again every once in a while. This week, though, I finally return to the Internet “airwaves” as a member of the “MacJury,” Mac User Group guru and podcaster Chuck Joiner’s latest venture. The show joins his already excellent lineup of MacNotables and MacVoices. MacJury distinguishes itself by convening a panel (the jury) to talk in relative depth about two or three issues of interest to the Mac community, not to re-hash the week’s tech news.

I think this is a great strategy and fills a real void in the Mac podcast space. I like Chuck’s idea of rotating jury members, too–mixing up the panel should keep the discussion and interactions fresh. For episode two, Chuck’s panel included Steve Sande of Movable Beast, Red Sweater Software’s Daniel Jalcut, Rogue Amoeba’s Paul Kafasis and yours truly. We covered the future (and merits) of the Mac Mini, some of the possible consequences of Microsoft’s buyout of Yahoo!, and the iPhone’s dominance among mobile browsers. It was, I think, a good discussion and a fun listen (for geeks, anyway). I liked the way we interacted and had a few laughs along the way.

Panelist or not, I think it’s a good listen and a show with a lot of potential. Give it a try and let me know what you think. The show is now up and available for subscription on the iTunes Store. (Link via Chuck Joiner.)

Fall down, go boom

Following an apparently successful upgrade of WordPress (the Content Management System that replaced the homegrown version previously used on the site), our servers got in a virtual snit and started refusing to serve up webpages. We apologize to all who were unable to reach the site over the past 22 hours or so, and we send a big thanks to our server gnomes who tracked down the problem and got it fixed within minutes after “management” threw in the towel and sent out for help.

Macworld WiFi session presentation now available

The slides from my Macworld San Francisco 2008 session on setting up a WiFi network are now available as a PDF file. Thanks to all of you who attended and responded so enthusiastically. I was lucky enough to have great crowds for all four sessions — they were attentive, asked great questions and were very kind with their feedback. Thanks, too, to all of you who have been inquiring about the slides — I’m sorry it took me so long to get them posted.

Click here for the PDF.

RandomMaccess: Now with genuine custom iPhone web clipping icon

RandomMaccess iPhone iconThanks to instructions provided by The Joy of Tech’s Snaggy, RandomMaccess now has a custom icon for those who add it as a web clipping to their 1.1.3 iPhone. The technique is very straightforward. Simply create a 57×57 pixel icon, save it as a PNG with the name “apple-touch-icon.png” and drop it in the root level of your web server. Don’t worry about that glassie effect other iPhone icons have–it will be added automatically (to ensure consistency across all iPhone icons, obviously.) Since the glassie effect makes things at the edges of the icon appear somewhat distorted (pulled in as if the top of the icon has rounded edges), it’s best to keep text or images toward the center.

The icon’s pretty basic right now, but as a “proof of concept,” it’s kind of cool.

‘Two Ems, two Cees two Esses’

I ran into a friend on the show floor who said he’d recently visited the site and was surprised my wife would let me “get away” with what he saw: bikini-clad (and barely at that) women. My first reaction was that the site had somehow been hacked and was now serving up some kind of untoward content. After a little diggig, though, it became clear he had simply mistyped the URL–leaving off an “m” in RandomMaccess. He wound up at a web design company called Random Access, and the swimwear-wearing models in question were on a site the firm had created for one of its clients.

Mystery solved.

Random Access, by the way, was the original name of the Macintosh User Group newsletter column that evolved into this site. I only added the extra “m” because the domain name was already taken.