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More delays August 28, 2007

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We’re almost ready. Got a few more tweaks… I sound like a broken record on that… and we have to get the classifieds figured out so that it’s more user friendly.  Other than that we’re ready.

The hold up is policy and procedures for updates. What is going when and by whom. That’s what is drawing us into the cement sludge pile that is progress.

Granted, this gives us time to sell some ads, get some paying customers on the site for the official launch, but until then, enjoy all that is nwtntoday.com

We had planned on launching this weekend, but decided that we’re waiting one more week. So we can get things “right.”

I hope we have it right. I’ve worked my tukas off getting the design elements in place like we want them, learning where everything is in the admin and getting things “pretty” for the public. I think we have done a great thing and it is pretty to look at. So check it out and join up so you can see all the stories and stuff.  We don’t want everything all willy nilly out there. And we have to track demographics don’t we?  It’s free to sign up and you get forum access (Tech Forum is there, with more to come) and read all the stories and see the videos and look at pretty pictures.

Please sign up, cause you know, You love us!

FT

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It’s been a while… August 10, 2007

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We’ve been herding chickens lately and have been working hard to get this site up and going and still maintain our other responsibilities.  But…  I found something interesting.

http://searchengineoptimisation.yourspaced.com/2007/03/26/101-tips-to-improve-your-web-presence/ 

Read and enjoy..

New site… New knowledge… New Everything July 13, 2007

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We’ve been watching for two days as the Bondware Artists hammer away at implementing our new website design.  Watching this thing progress has shown that as much as I know about website design, and the web, I have become aware that there is still much that I have to learn. There is much PHP and Javascript and Flash that is involved as there is HTML and CSS.

Getting everything to work together is a challenge that I’m willing to take on, but that means I have to learn more to keep things new and fresh on the site. I’m ready, but have to prioritize things so that I can take the time to learn. My goal is to pick up something new and try my best to become moderately efficient each month. I have the entire internet worth of resources to teach me what I need to know. Google is the greatest learning tool that is out there. You can run a search on “Photoshop Tutorials” and you can see those results for yourself.

This is fun and scary at the same time. But it’s a good scary.

I’m even more eager to get this thing going and I’m ready to motivate as well as educate all of the staff as to what is necessary to get this thing going and keep things going. Keeping the level of excitement up is probably going to be the biggest obstacle in a world full of old school newspaper people. This is going to be great if we can all put in the effort to make this the best news site in the area.  Take a look at these links and marvel at what we’ve done. Send us comments on what you like, what you don’t like and what we can do to improve.

A blog about a pitfall we’re trying desperately to avoid… July 5, 2007

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In this blog, there are some strong opinion about the ineffectiveness of “epapers” on the web.

We’re trying really hard to avoid having to have this option. I’m sure we can offer digital copies of the printed product to users if they want it, but we’re going to have to make sure that this is NOT the standard offering of our website. It’s definitely easy to make happen, but I think going this route is a disservice to the readers.

Tech tips for you Mac users June 27, 2007

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A coworker had her mini do some crazy things on her this past few days. Still don’t know what was really happening, but we got her back up and running after some priority shifts and a few tense days.

She’s an artist by nature, and quite good at cartooning I might add, and she posted a little piece that I thought should be shared with every mac user out there. you can see it here.

The image not only shows the frustration of computer problems, but also a few simple steps a user can take to help the IT guys sort out some problems without a trip to the desk… didn’t work out that way in this case, but DiskWarrior did the trick.

Zapping PRAM. I don’t know exactly what it does, but sometimes will fix ghosts in the machine. Things acting buggy? Sluggish? Odd things in general? Zap the Pram by holding Option Command (apple to us 2e users) P and R at the same time, wait for the “bongs” and see if that helps.

Command+V: Verbose Mode: Verbose mode is great. Verbose mode will look alien to a mac user growing up with OS 7 to 9. Windows and Unix/Linux users will feel right at home. Basically, verbose mode is a text record of what the machine is doing during that pretty gray and lovely blue screen as the OS loads.  Lots of times if the machine is hanging up before the log in screen, you can see where it’s doing this in Verbose mode and see if there are any hard disk errors as well. Not the end all trouble shooting tool, but definitely helpful.

Command+S: Single User Mode: Now we’re getting into the meat of things. This is the cool one, and also where you can really make a mess of things, so BE CAREFUL! Single user mode mounts the disk in read-only mode and gives you root access to the hierarchy of the disk. Root access means you have complete  read/write/execute access to pretty much everything on the disk. If you delete or change something important, you could render that shiny box a 20 pound boat anchor. The first thing you’ll notice is a few statements about needing to change files etc. and a few lines of commands to start with. For whatever reason, Apple thought it would be a good idea to tell you how to repair the disk first. This is almost a waste of time, because if it finds something you have to run the second command, which may or may not stay on the screen depending on the disk check, in order to make changes to the disk. Read-Only remember? That means you can’t do any repairs.  I almost always mount the disk using that lovely second line of code prior to running the fsck -fy line. That way if it finds something, it can go ahead and fix it. This is also useful if the machine won’t boot because if you know what you’re looking for, you can actually delete preference files that might be corrupt before the next boot. You can clear cache files, look at logs, and all kinds of stuff without even getting the pretty of OSX on the screen.

The last bit of code is important as well. Boot the system but stay in single user mode: This one is helpful because there are things that do load after the machine goes back to the GUI when booting in Verbose mode. If the box is hanging before the log in screen or before the finder actually gets completely loaded, this method usually shows where it’s hanging exactly. A knowledge of the Terminal and Unix/Linux commands is necessary for single user mode. There are loads of pages on the web for it.

Last but not least, if you’re still having trouble after all of this, you have a few options in your arsenal. First, an app like DiskWarrior can save your life and the life of your coworkers. It’s easy to use, boot from the cd and follow the directions.  If that doesn’t fix the problem, you will most likely have to pull a windows last ditch resolution. Reload the OS. Cool thing about OSX, Archive and Install. You won’t lose any critical data, unless you store it in the system folders of the operating system. Some apps might not work and need to be reinstalled, but the majority work just fine afterwards.

That’s it for the midnight tech blogger. Why am I still awake? Oh that’s right, I set up all my macs to never sleep…

Got a few things… June 21, 2007

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We have some things up. The developers are working on super spec designs for us and in the meantime I’ve been fiddling with this code and stuff so that there is something worth looking at for the bosses.

Here’s the temp site. Bookmark it. Read it. Love it. Be one with the site.

Feel free to leave us a comment or two here. Because we love some feedback.

First steps June 20, 2007

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One of the Menagerie of Guarddogs

This is the first thing we had to deal with today. The menagerie of guard dogs were not happy that I arrived before Newscoma. heh

The first step to a brave new website has been taken. We have sent our advisor a list of the colors we like and where we want to use them, and an idea of a basic look of the front page. We also sent along an outline list of what we want our navigation bar to look like and what it should contain.

Newscoma Doing her thing

This is Newscoma, doing her thing. Right now she’s laughing. But we worked together to get all of the initial info to Bondware.

Now we wait to see what they can do with what we’ve sent. Hopefully, in a day or so, we shall have something to look at and make a decision on what we like best from the spec pages they send to us.

This is more exciting now as we seem to be moving forward rather than stuck in the mud spinning wheels. Once we get something that we like, we can go through the process of tweaking and fine tuning the layout and bringing the best of West Tennessee to the people so they can praise us for all of our hard work and take us out to dinner or buy us drinks or create statues in our honor.

Yay for progress.

Deadlines… Who needs ’em June 19, 2007

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I have an issue with deadlines. I’ve never liked them. No one sticks to them. Not in this industry anyway. So here I am, with more on my plate than three people can handle at once, much less one. We have a deadline of Friday/Monday to have something in place for the bosses to look at. At this point, we still haven’t gotten details on what exactly we have to provide in order to get this crazy little ball of sunshine and fun rolling. I know that Newscoma is compiling links, but other than that, I’m at a loss as to what exactly is necessary to get everything we need to have a suitable page for private viewing to extend the deadline on when it must be completed and the training phase can start.

I really, really don’t know if we can get to that point by Friday, with everything else that is going on here. Hopefully, the next three days will bear much fruit and the lives of the children that are counting on this to be a success will be spared.

It’s been a really bad, really stressful day for me… I need a small nuclear device..

YAY! Websites June 15, 2007

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Got the card to go through today. So we are starting today getting into the meat of the upgrade. We have the site, we have all the modules added, 10GBs of bandwidth a month.  I think it is a great start.

Now we get to talk with the design team about colors, sections etc…

After several minutes meeting with the owners we believe that they have a better idea about how important clear direction and responsibilities are. We will provide an outline of what needs to be done and they will assign these tasks to the folks that will get them done. constant updates and studying so that we are prepared when this goes live.

The coolest thing about all of this is Scott made a great point. The newsroom needs to have the knowledge at their disposal to talk to everyone they meet about this new site and be able to answer questions and get the word out. This word of mouth excitement and promotion in conjunction with print and online advertising is necessary for our site to be THE source of news and community information for our target area.

I’m even more excited about working the next week and getting this thing up and going!

Next steps.. June 11, 2007

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It’s been a while… since anything has been discussed or even contemplated on my part. It’s not that I’ve forgotten, it’s just hard to keep everything on the forefront of my mind without going insane. I’m still excited about this new site, and ready to get it up and running, but we’ve got to get things rolling over in the Martin area before we can set full throttle on the web tasks.  It’s becoming another thorn, because time is short for everyone. I know that I have a few projects on my desk that need desperate attention, but just haven’t gotten them started.

I need more days in the week and more hours in the day. And I’ll take that with a side of motivation and some compensation and appreciation for dessert please. And could you supersize that?