Category: Geekery

New theme = Blog excitement

January 25, 2015

My old theme (Mainstream by Woo Themes) was fun, but it’s so antique that Woo doesn’t even list it anymore and seems to have sold or released the design to another outfit who call it Citizen Journal with minimal changes, as far as I can tell with a cursory look. So I was searching around for something new and still free and found this fun theme, Noteskine, which has a fresh streamlined look and all the up to date features all the kids want. So I’m playing around with it, to see how it displays different kinds of content.

So, basically, my obsession with display instead of content hasn’t changed a bit. :-)

Welcome Malee

May 12, 2011

The Oklahoma City Zoo’s new baby elephant, born on April 15, now has a name, Malee. I visited on Tuesday, my first trip to the OKC zoo believe it or not. I know I’ve been here a few years, but I really haven’t gone anywhere or done anything until this year.

This also serves as a test of a new (to me) WordPress plugin, Blip Slideshow. I like it because it can pull the feed from Picasa, Flickr, and lPhotobucket, and lets you configure a lot of settings.

Album view of my photos.

Peace Arena sells out!

January 31, 2011

I’ve succumbed to placing a web ad on the site. Oh, well, so much for my integrity, right?

Ah, I hope not. But, yeah, I’ve become an affiliate of a domain registrar called Namecheap, which I’ve been using for about a year now. Based on that, I’m pretty sure they don’t suck, at least not relative to certain well known registrars I won’t name but whose initials are GoDaddy. So, what the heck, I thought I would tacitly recommend them and maybe make a few pennies should anyone follow that recommendation.

The problem with the ginormous suckitude of GoDaddy, from political to technical to (non)support, is that there are a number of other registrars you might use to avoid GoDaddy, only to find that they really are GoDaddy, in disguise. If this happens to you, believe me, you have lots of company, including me. I am still getting domains transferred off Wild West Domains after making this sad discovery last year.

Yes, GoDaddy is probably the cheapest registrar going, it is the Walmart of registrars, but c’mon, are you willing to sell your soul AND risk a future technical black hole for $1 – $2 a year per domain? (I know people who would not set foot in a big box store on principle who just don’t get why GoDaddy is evil). Domain registration is fricking cheap, regardless, so use a registrar that is not the shame of the business, okay?

Anyway, should you want to buy a domain, NameCheap’s prices are pretty damn cheap and there is usually a coupon code available if you use The Google like you should with every online purchase (or go to which is my fave source for discounts). There is a special discount code just for transfers (there’s no point giving you a code here, since they change regularly). All their domains (at least all the ones I’ve purchased)) come with free privacy, should you want that. Personally I don’t think you should cloak ownership of a domain except for really good cause, but that’s me; doing so is perfectly legal.

Now, in the interest of honesty, Namecheap also sells hosting. But you should not get your hosting from them, you should get it from me unless you really want to get into the weeds of running a website. I do site admin so cheaply, considering the time and learning curve involved, you would be crazy to go that route. But I won’t stop you if you want to use the link at the top of the page for that either.

If there is great public outcry at this violation of my DFH oath of purity and poverty I may reconsider. ;-) Likewise, if I find that the company is not Rena-rated after all, I will pull the ad and post a retraction.

The end of life as we know it

December 2, 2010

… and the beginning of a new era in biology and astronomy.

Wow! Wow, wow WOW!

NASA scientists have found a microorganism that is based not on carbon, as is the case with all previously known life forms, but arsenic.

The implications of this discovery are enormous to our understanding of life itself and the possibility of finding beings in other planets that don’t have to be like planet Earth. Like NASA’s Ed Weiler says: "The definition of life has just expanded. As we pursue our efforts to seek signs of life in the solar system, we have to think more broadly, more diversely and consider life as we do not know it."

Talking at the NASA conference, Wolfe Simon said that the important thing here is that this breaks our ideas on how life can be created and grow, pointing out that scientists will now be looking for new types of beings and metabolism that not only uses arsenic, but other element substitutions.

via NASA Finds New Life (Updating live).

Peace Arena to become two-ring circus, soon with acrobats AND elephants

October 31, 2010

Crossed off my to-do list: WP upgrade to multiblog. Finally. Yay!

Yes, that upgrade I threatened back in June has finally been accomplished. A couple of life changes later.

Close followers of this blog (all two of you) might remember that I installed WPmu a couple of years ago, but had some technical issues with it and abandoned the idea. Well, now, WP and WPmu are merged, supposedly said issues are past (and I surrendered to using WP in the site root) and so I can gather up a number of blogs I’ve been hosting with their own separate installs and have them managed, and best of all updated, all at once. Hallelujah!

I’m also looking at installing BuddyPress alongside WP 3.0. I had set up (but never promoted or used) a bbPress forum with a shared user table with WP, but apparently the future is BuddyPress so I’m going with it. It includes a Groups feature along with the bbpress forums as a wP plugin, altogether making it much like Drupal with Organic Groups module, which I’ve used on other sites. There are some cases where a more sophisticated CMS like Drupal are still called for, but they are becoming less and less necessary (for my needs at least) as WP evolves. And you just can’t beat WP for its easy interface and active community, not to mention the eleventy million themes.

Anyway, the afore-mentioned life changes included the death of my mother, for whom I cared for for the past several years, leaving little time or need for additional income. But now, sadly but also with some enthusiasm for new adventures and opportunities, I’m back to full-time freelance self-employment.

Thus, I hereby announce upcoming content changes coming to this space: the splitting of Peace Arena into .org and .com branches. The former will be pretty much the politically oriented blog you see here, and .com will feature some for-pay services I am offering (web development and IT consulting, etc.) and tech tips and such.

I will be offering web hosting, domain registration, web development, training in the use of technology in activism, and other services to the progressive community in Oklahoma. Obviously I will take business from non-progressives, baring ethical issues, but my heart will be in using my skills to help advance my progressive values and the common good for my Oklahoma friends and neighbors, and that’s what will be dedicated to, from a business angle, while keeps plugging a radical (“from the root”) change in our civic and political lives, and just serving as a site where I (and maybe others) share opinions and activist activities, with hopes of expanding the dialog through forums, chats and other means.

Finally, I’m working on a more fun and colorful theme for this .org branch, and will use the current one (or something similarly frill-less) for the .com services branch.

If you have any questions or (constructive) suggestions, please feel free, comments are open for a month.

Rena’s got 3 things to watch on TV this week

October 25, 2010

  1. Rachel Maddow’s documentary The Assassination of Dr. Tiller, who performed abortions in Kansas (mostly) for women who were were late in their pregnancy when they discovered severe abnormalities with the fetus. Airs tonight, 8pm Central time, in the slot usually occupied by Rachel’s excellent news and commentary program. Preview available at the link above; program will be available shortly after broadcast (I presume) somewhere on the MSNBC site and through iTunes, which is how I get The Rachel Maddow Show every night.
  2. First Life With David Attenborough – the kind of show that I almost get cable for, and certainly buy the DVD (as soon as it goes on sale).

    David Attenborough is synonymous with the Natural World. From bacterium to blue whale, he has seen it all for himself. But now he embarks on the journey he always wanted to make but never thought possible — a voyage back in time to see how the first animals evolved and how they lived. Recent discoveries at fossil sites around the world over the last twenty years have propelled our understanding of the first life forms to new heights and with the emergence of ground breaking ways of visualizing them, including state of the art CGI, Attenborough will finally realize his dream and see for himself the animals that laid the foundations for all life on Earth.

    Again, preview available online at the link.

  3. That was fast! PBS’s NOVA series is presenting Emergency Mine Rescue about the recent, um, emergency mine rescue in Chile. Specially produced for those of us who like careful, time-tested analysis of thrilling life and death events. Or not. Seriously, if this didn’t have the NOVA brand on it, I would be quite skeptical, but this will detail the long process (the the Oklahoman said was purely the result of unrestricted capitalism) that proceeded the dramatic scenes we stayed up all night watching last week. Premieres Tuesday, the 26th, but check schedule for other showing. Preview at link, and NOVA’s past programs get hosted at the PBS site once they are off the air.

WordPress 3.0 upgrade, tweaks and prepping for blog future

June 21, 2010

I’ve upgraded to WordPress 3.0 (“Thelonious”) and plan to use its multisite feature. But first I want to do some housecleaning here and at the blogs I plan to merge from hither and yon into this single install (hallelujah!).

I’ve also got some changes planned for Peace Arena’s front page and menus. I’m going to focus less on the day to day blog (Ha! who am I kidding, I mean the month to month sporadic blog) and more on providing some resources and tools for my Oklahoma (and beyond) progressive community.

So, at the point when I can get some time to do this, Peace Arena will go down for maintenance until it’s done. This may be tonight, it may be two weeks from now — just giving a heads up now.