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Jeremy Dost's SharpBlog

Just another Sharpdot weblog

Archive for February, 2009

Atlantic Avenue ArtWalk09 update!

- Thursday, February 26th, 2009 -

Atlantic Avenue Artwalk

Atlantic Avenue Artwalk 2009

We just posted updates for the 2009 Atlantic Avenue ArtWalk to their website: http://atlanticavenueartwalk.com/. The ArtWalk is put together by COlab Projects and is in it’s sixth year now. Of note – the 2007 PSA video won an emmy award last year. The PSA for 2008 was nominated again this year! Both were directed by Mac Premo.

Here is a little more about Artwalk from their site:

Join us the weekend of June 6th and 7th for the sixth annual Atlantic Avenue ArtWalk. ArtWalk is a self-guided tour of open artist studios and area exhibitions, a range of public art projects, special events, with local merchants hosting a range of artwork and events. ArtWalk provides a relaxed setting for dialogue, collecting, and for artists to discuss current bodies of work, while offering viewers a glimpse into the creation process.

ArtWalk includes artists across all media, participatory events, film, public art, live music, and activities for families and children of all ages. Visitors can enjoy exhibits, view and buy work, meet the artists and sample the Avenue’s restaurants, shops and bars at their own pace. To add to the weekend festivities, local businesses host receptions while area restaurants and bars offer special rates to ArtWalkers throughout the weekend.

ARTWALK EVENTS ARE FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

So, if you’re in the New York city area (or even if you’re not) take a look, mark it on your calendar, and get involved. We’ll be posting artist images, events listings and news closer to the event. To be updated when there is more information you can join their email list here.

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Portfolio Atlas update – now running WordPress

- Sunday, February 22nd, 2009 -

Portfolio Altas logo

Portfolio Altas logo

We’ve completed a significant beginning step in our plan to redesign and expand Portfolio Atlas. For those who don’t know, Portfolio Atlas is an online service for artists to create and manage their own online porfolio website. We started it back in 2002 and are now beginning a new push to spread the news and get more people to sign up.

Part of that push is redesigning the portal site to better explain what the service is and also how it works. The portal site itself has never had a CMS so our first step was to put the existing site and content into a tool and WordPress fit the bill because we can use it to create and maintain lots of content and we can just leave the registration/checkout and artist directory sections as is and WordPress won’t get in the way.

The setup was of course very easy – just creating a new theme, moving over the body content and then changing some element ids and classes in the stylesheet to match the WordPress syntax. Even better, now we have some good SEO elements wired in via plugins. Also, now we’re ready to start adding in lots more content: help content, pages about the benefits and features of the service and pretty soon a blog to keep people up to date on the site and all the artists.

Next up is an actual redeisgn. It should be something pretty simple that looks a lot like a gallery website – i.e. like the site you can create for your artwork, but still something with a little more oomph!

So stay tuned in for updates by subscribing to the Portfolio Atlas RSS feed – oh and you can also follow us on our facebook group.

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Will IE 8 rescue the tech sector?

- Thursday, February 19th, 2009 -

Internet Explorer 8 is out there and aparently going to be relased next month and it looks like it is so standards compliant that all of our hard CSS development work is going to come back to haunt us. It’s so different from IE7 that they needed to create a special button to change the rendering engine so that it shows sites using the old IE 7 flaws.¬† It sounds different from Quirksmode too – sounds more like the firefox plugin that changes to render sites with IE. What’s more there is a list of sites 2,400 long and growing where it will automatically use this incompatibility rending mode.
I’m not complaining though. In fact, I’m happy about it! I think that maybe it’s microsoft’s version of a stimulus package for the tech sector. What better way to pump some money into the web economy than to break everyone’s website! I got started in programming back with the Y2K bug – maybe now we have a little mini version of that – the IE8 bug that can keep swarms of developers busy and fed for at least a few more months.

Internet Explorer 8 is on the way

Internet Explorer 8 is on the way

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Intro to WordPress MU vs WordPress

- Monday, February 9th, 2009 -

We’re proud to say that we’ve built our new site using WordPress MU. WordPress MU, which stands for multi-user, is a version of WordPress built to host multiple blogs within one site. It’s actually what is used to run WordPress.comthat plus a few server farms. It’s built around the core of WordPress but has a few differences. We chose to use it so that we at Sharpdot could all maintain our own blogs and also to get in a little practice because we’re working to implement a version of WP-MU on Portfolio Atlas sometime in the near future.

Now about those few differences… a couple of them have been troublesome. First off, plugins aren’t always the same. Plugins are the real power of WordPress and many of the ones that we’re used to using have to be implemented in slightly different in WP-MU. For example, MU implements extra security for posting non-basic HTML tags. This caused a problem when creating our services section because we have some DHTML in the bottom of the page and are using a definition list. I found a plugin called TINYMCE Valid Elements which worked great for regular WP but not with MU. So after a little work under the hood, I was able to modify it to work for MU but suffice it to say, this is one of the things to keep in mind.

There are a lot of other slight but troublesome differences when it comes to configuration. I posted earlier about changing to include the www in our domain name, and Mike  posted about changing the default permalinks to not include a root /blog/ directory.

One last thing to mention is that we had a tough time with actually logging in as our sub users. That issue turned out to be pretty common and had to do with the requirement for having at least 2 nodes in the tld so that you can run your install using subdomains – like username1.sitename.com and username2.sitename.com . It’s one of those simple RTFM things you might go prematurely bald over! Just remember – you can’t run it at localhost.

All in all though it’s still been a very good decision and a good way to get familiarized before going live on Portfolio Atlas. And of course – it’s all still way simpler than Drupal!

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Can Microsoft just ‘Fix it’?

- Friday, February 6th, 2009 -

I read this post earlier on about Microsoft’s new “Fix It” button that is being integrated into help screens. It does sound like a really helpful and forward thinking step to help people fix problems with their PC’s. Macros have been around forever in windows and office and it makes perfect sense to pair them into help and how-to things – especially for simpler problems.

The Fix It Button?

What are you doing to my computer with that wrench?

On the downside, I hope it doesn’t set off a load of UAC prompts and then there’s the malware… I can already picture that…

Here’s the full article: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-10157210-56.html

And a list of things they can fix! http://support.microsoft.com/fixit

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