l l i i a a dot com

Last week was the tenth birthday of Movable Type, the content management system that powers this blog. I'm currently on version 5, and have used every single available version over the last nine years—my license key is so old that it predates Six Apart's hiring of Employee #1, a.k.a. Anil.

All this time later, Movable Type is still solid in many ways [1], but looking back at its history is basically one object lesson after another in what not to do [2] when creating something you actually want people to use. For instance, it's both tragic and hilarious that years after both Blogger and Wordpress started paying professionals to design gorgeous themes, Movable Type was and is still stuck with hideous default themes. It's celebrating its diamond anniversary and the goddamn thing still doesn't have pagination built in—a feature people now expect as standard behavior, that Wordpress & Blogger made default years ago, and that Tumblr has had since launch. I wonder how many people switched away from or never chose it because of the lack of pagination, which is killer for upping page views. Oh, and it still doesn't have a native mobile version of either frontend or backend. What?

It's weird that I feel weird about the fact that I still really like using Movable Type to build client sites, right? But it still works really well, and still meets my needs more often than any of its competitors. I wonder if anyone's as sad as I am that when I publish this post, I'm going to get an error back that says

Ping 'http://www.movabletype.org/update/' failed: HTTP error: 302 Found

[1] Seriously, I can't think of a high traffic site running MT that's ever gone down because of it. Can you? Daring Fireball routinely kills other people's servers—usually running Wordpress—with a single link, but has never crashed that I can remember.

[2] Written by Movable Type's former Project Manager, this had me wincing multiple times.

October 16, 2011 11:09 PM comments (2)

I can't believe it's been over two years. I miss Jarvis. I'm still upset he had the nerve to up and die on me; in my heart, I really expected the two of us to grow old together. Sounds silly, but it's true.

lia&jarvis.jpg

I don't think I've said this in public before but I'm beyond grateful for all of Jarv's friends, who followed his adventures over the years on Flickr, and I'm so glad so many of them got to meet him in real life—I wish they'd all had the chance to. When my heart was breaking, it helped immensely to get all your notes and know that he'd made other people's days cheerier too, that I wasn't the only one missing him terribly; it still does. Thank you all so much for letting a small fat dog into your lives, and for sharing your love for him with me.

October 7, 2011 11:33 PM comments (0)

Batman's always been my favorite superhero, which is a little weird if you think about it. Batman's not a superhero in the way we generally understand superheroes to be—he doesn't have any powers, he's just a dude with very obsessive tendencies who happens to also be incredibly smart, a terrifying fighter, and rich enough to make whatever he wants a reality. One of the most important things that makes Batman the most dangerous human in the DC Universe is that he constantly invests his money into R&D, making all kinds of devices, both big and small, to fit his needs: from the Batmobile, to armored suits fit for any environment, to his Batcave computer that does everything you can think of and then some. Growing up in the 80s and 90s, it was the latter I was always most jealous of, but computers then were large, expensive things, and there just wasn't software available to me at the time to do most of the things I really wanted to do, other than write papers for school. Only Batman really got to have one.

It was nearly unimaginable then but today, some sixteen years after buying my first just-for-me computer, I have a device in the palm of my hand that lets me read books on the subway, watch tv shows in bed under the sheets, insert kittens into photos to make my friends laugh, and most importantly to me, instantly communicate with people I care about all over the world. Every day, I am Batman, and so are you, and none of us will ever be able to count the thousands of ways in which Steve Jobs was responsible for making our lives so much richer. Thanks, Steve. I miss you so much already.

October 6, 2011 2:03 PM comments (0)

The Straight Man’s Guide to Getting Hit on by Gays: "1. This will probably never happen to you anyway, so stop being paranoid. Gays mostly stick to their own, and besides, you’re probably not attractive enough to get past our raptor-like imperfection detectors. The reason we’re looking at you like that is because we’re judging you, not lusting."

August 28, 2008 12:07 PM comments (1)

Josh Koenigsburg vets potential girlfriends by making them burritos:

"This is not really an elegant dish," he said of his burritos as he added jalapeños, with seeds, to the pan. "Some girls feel weird about getting sauce on their faces; it’s too intense for them. On the first few dates this is the test for me. If they like the dish, I’m smitten. If not, I know it’s not going to work. There’s no girl I could care for who would be immune to it."

Love that last part, it's sweet and probably a fairly accurate test. I like guys who are adventurous eaters with good appetites, but I think my dealbreaker is seeing how they treat my dog; they don't need to pick him up and fuss over him when they meet him, but if they can't at least say hi and pat his little head...

August 28, 2008 11:36 AM comments (0)

The amazing Brandon Bird, Painter of Might* finally has a blog, hurrah hurrah. And he's created yet another painting I love and require on my walls: Pax Cybertronia. Everything is better with Jack McCoy.

August 28, 2008 10:58 AM comments (0)

Most things online about the late 2'9" Filipino action star Weng Weng creep me out because they tend to smack just ever so faintly of racist exoticizing, but I have to admit I do really like this Weng Weng rap, by The CHUDs:

The lyrics are on their site if you'd like to sing along plus you can buy Weng Weng shirts—and if you still haven't had enough Weng Weng, the Australian guerilla filmmaker Andrew Leavold's currently working on a documentary called The Search For Weng Weng, billed as the "ultimate history of Filipino B-films, and chronicles Leavold's obsessive quest to find the truth behind the midget James Bond of the Philippines."

I know the New York Asian Film Festival doesn't screen documentaries but I'm hoping they make an exception for this one, I'd really love to see it!

[ via YesButNoButYes ]

August 27, 2008 5:00 PM comments (0)

Selections From H.P. Lovecraft's Brief Tenure as a Whitman's Sampler Copywriter, by Luke Burns: "Toffee Nugget: Few men dare ask the question "What is toffee, exactly?" All those who have investigated this substance are now either dead or insane." [ via onfocus ]

August 27, 2008 3:52 PM comments (0)

How much would you expect surcharges would be a for $23 concert ticket? $3? $5? Ticketmaster would like it very much if you'd bend over and take $17.05 worth of fees in the ass, making the real cost to you of one ticket come out to $40.05.

(Meanwhile Fandango is basically in the same business but only charges $1.50 or so. WTF! Oh Pearl Jam, why did you betray us way back when...)

August 27, 2008 3:29 PM comments (0)

35-year-old yoga teacher/performance artist/blogger spends a year living according to the dictum of Oprah Winfrey: "With some of the things, like the clothes, in the beginning I was like, 'How dare she tell me what to wear! I'm an individual!'" Ms. Okrant said. "But recently, when I went shopping with my mom, I was really excited to fulfill some of the rules. I felt kind of proud of myself. It takes a huge amount of pressure off to be handed a spiritual path."

And yes, you guys, this is somehow from the New York Times and not The Onion.

August 20, 2008 6:52 PM comments (2)