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Adkins Family Blog Created

29 Nov

I’ve been meaning to split my blog into two separate blogs for quite a while. I finally found the time to setup a new web site and install another copy of wordpress to run our family (although for the time being it’s just me) blog. I know at least one friend who has been waiting for this since May – yeah, I’m talkin’ to you Curt A. 🙂

If you’re a friend or family member and aren’t interested in technical articles, then I hope you’ll find this blog more interesting. At some point I expect the other Adkins will be writing some posts, so even if I bore you, there’s still hope.

For the last year and a half I’ve been posting everything to my company blog site which is less than ideal for two reasons:

  1. Technical readers suffer through silly posts.
  2. Non-technical readers suffer through techno-babble

So now you can take your pick, or choose both (or neither 😦 ):

Lojic Technologies Blog – technical articles
Family Blog – everything else

The pre-existing posts in this blog have been moved over from Lojic Technologies, so if you’ve been reading that blog, there’s nothing new here yet except for this post.

If you don’t currently use RSS, you may want to review “Why You Should Be Using RSS” – it’s a great way to keep up with web sites & blogs without having to continually check the web site to see if anything new has been posted. If the article doesn’t make sense, feel free to contact me, and I’d be glad to help you get rss setup. facelift

6 Aug

I created Lojic Technologies in 1998. Over the years I have occasionally worked full time at the company while consulting, and at other times I just kept it active to be available in the future. Since I’ve never needed to market myself, I simply threw a web site together as a placeholder.

Now that I’ve been full time with Lojic Technologies since October ’06 working on several web applications, I’m getting to the point of needing a better web presence, so last Saturday, with some help from my right brained wife, I gave the old site a face lift. It’s still small, and simple, but I think it looks a bit better now.

Besides the cosmetic changes, I also moved from a static site to Ruby on Rails and switched to XHTML 1.0 Strict.

Old Version

New Version

I’ve also added a link in the sidebar now that the site isn’t an embarrassment. I’m quite pleased with how easy it was to get a Rails app running on Bluehost. I already host this wordpress blog there, so I thought it might be difficult adding a Rails app into the mix without clobbering each other, but it was quite simple (after spending hours researching it 🙂 )

The site is almost entirely static except for the contact form. I finally arrived at a nice way to host a (mostly) static site with Rails, but I’ll have to blog about that in a later entry.

Google Reader

30 Jul

I hate to promote Google given their trajectory to take over the world, but I just switched over to Google Reader for reading RSS feeds. I had accumulated over 60 RSS feeds, and it was becoming difficult for me to determine which feeds I should keep and which I should delete.

I was hoping for an automated tool that would keep track of which feeds are beneficial and Google Reader has exactly what I was looking for!

The trends feature will keep track of which articles I read from each feed and report on the total number and the percent. So, over time, I’ll be able to easily delete the feeds that have a low number and/or low percentage of read articles. If you decide to use Google Reader, you should be aware of some idiosyncrasies. When viewing in “Expanded view”, the default is to mark articles as read when you scroll past them which totally defeats the trends feature. You can turn that off in the settings.

settings | preferences | scroll tracking

I like using the “list view” instead which allows me to quickly view the titles. After I’ve read the articles I want to from a feed, I click “mark all as read” and Google Reader is smart enough to not count those in the “read” statistics.

If you’re already using a different RSS reader, you can easily import all your feeds via an opml file. I was using Liferea and had folders of feeds, and I had also renamed the feeds – the import to Google Reader kept track of all of that – nice.

Google Reader has a lot of other nice features such as keyboard shortcuts, tags, folders, etc., but once I discovered the trends feature, that was all I needed to see 🙂

I suppose the trends feature can be “unfair” though. Consider the following scenario:

  1. You have two feeds A and B
  2. Each day each feed publishes 10 articles
  3. The feeds overlap on 5 articles that are worth reading
  4. Feed A has 1 unique article that you read
  5. Feed B has 3 unique articles that you read

If the feeds are read in alphabetical order, then you’ll read the 5 overlapped articles from Feed A along with the 1 unique article -> total = 6, or 60%. Then you’ll read the 3 unique articles from Feed B -> total = 3, or 30%. The stats will show Feed A as being twice as valuable when clearly Feed B is more valuable. I suppose to get good stats, I should read the feeds in random order, but that seems difficult to manage.

UPDATE: ah, never mind. Simply view the folder that contains A & B and you’ll see the union of their articles in chronological order – whoever gets the overlapped story first wins 🙂

Truncated RSS Feeds

28 Jul

I just read an article discussing whether truncated RSS feeds are good or bad. I’m currently using truncated feeds (of course this post may be short enough to not get truncated), but if any of you have an opinion on the matter, I’d love to hear it.

Bermuda Triangle

28 May

I just discovered that if you take the average of the following locations:

Grand Rapids, MI (my mom & step-dad)
Columbus, OH (Andrea’s parents)
Orlando, FL (my dad & step-mom)

it results in a point roughly 15 miles from my house – cool huh? 🙂

Well, I had to cheat a little to get it that close. I used Grand Rapids instead of Rockford, Columbus instead of Centerburg, and Orlando instead of Altamonte Springs; otherwise the point would be a little north of Wake Forest, but that’s still pretty darn close. So, if we end up visiting our parents and Bermuda equally, then we live in a mathematically optimal location. I guess I should check on travel arrangements to Bermuda…

I Can Has Cheezburger?

11 May


I read on Scoble’s blog that this site (I can has cheezburger?) is the #1 WordPress site with 500,000 visitors per day! I don’t get it, but I did think the bunnies were cute 🙂


Why you should be using RSS

9 Apr

Since I’m about to let a bunch of people know about my blog, I thought I’d help out anyone who might not be using RSS. You really should be using RSS. If you don’t believe me, check out the video below; I have no idea who that guy is, but he’s right (well, at least about RSS). Here it is in a nutshell. Instead of going out to a bunch of web sites for news, information, etc., let your RSS reader do that for you and compile a list of new articles in one place that you can scan through and read only the articles that interest you. It will save you a lot of time – even if you only read one news or blog site.

Take this blog for instance. You’d be crazy to keep coming back here to see if there’s new content that interests you. Just add the RSS feed (it’s at the bottom of the page and says Entries (RSS) ) to your RSS reader and it will let you know when a new article is posted, and if the title interests you, check it out, otherwise, ignore it.

I have a favor to ask of those who are reading this and are already using RSS. Post a comment with the name of the RSS reader you’re using, and if you have any links to helpful RSS tutorials, post them too. If you’re not using RSS, you may want to check back in a few days and read the comments. You could add the comments for this article to your RSS reader so you’ll be automatically notified when a new comment is posted, but that’s a bit of a catch-22 🙂

UPDATE: definitely check out Eric Holter’s article on RSS in the comments below.

UPDATE 2: since this article was posted (and for quite some time now), I’ve been using Google Reader. It’s easy to use – all you need is a web browser.

Let the blogging begin

7 Apr

I’ve had ‘create a blog’ on my todo list for quite a while. Well, I just signed up for a hosting account with Lojic Technologies, installed WordPress, and here’s the blog.