Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Back to Adam

My wife and I played on the new family search website this evening and went all the way back to Adam. Pretty cool!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Blogger templates

Two months ago I finally made good on my intention to make a nice-looking blog. I like a lot of social media tech stuff and do not have much artistic sense, so my last blog looked cluttered and horrible. After seeing some relatively simple things that my father-in-law did to make a nice blog, I decided I could make a much better looking blog with a little elbow grease.

So found a way to add rounded corners and played around with them until they looked close to right. There are still a few places where the spacing is less than ideal, but I do not know CSS and adjustments were mostly trial and lots of error. I kept the black text on a white background, but then I framed everything in BYU-blue. I made a nice (and correctly sized) banner and drastically limited my clutter with widgets. I still hand-changed the template to have the sidebars on the right like I wanted them. You may not believe it, but I did exercise much restraint. In the end I had something that looked decent.

Apparently I did this two months too soon. On March 11, Blogger announced the Template Designer in Blogger draft. You can read about it in the Blogger in Draft blog or the Blogger Buzz blog. Basically, all the blind bumbling I did in CSS can be eliminated by using one of these templates.

My favorite right now is the Picture Window by Josh Peterson, although there are several templates available that look really sharp. I thought about and even tried moving my blog over to one of these templates, but there were some things that didn't look like I wanted and I liked being the master of my own template. If you are starting from scratch, I would completely recommend using one of the new templates.

Go check it out!

Monday, March 15, 2010

March Madness 2010

I'm a big fan of March Madness. It is the one "fantasy sport" I allow myself to still play (I found the others to be too addicting). I play in my family's group and my office's group. I set up groups for my wife's family, my old roommates, some of my friends, and my church congregation. I even set up my traditional "open" group as a social media experiment.

Please sign up! Go to the ESPN tournament challenge website, log in, create an entry, and join the Yankee Hacker group. I always think it is interesting to see who shows up. Feel free to advertise the group, invite whoever, and see what will happen!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Nomar Garciaparra signing a one-day deal with the Red Sox brought a smile to my face today. I remember watching him with his OCD batting glove antics and amazing skills. I also remember the crisis of faith we had when Theo Epstein traded him away during the 2004 season. Nomar and Red Sox were synonyms, but then he was a Red Sox no more. Of course, that year the Sox broke the curse, which helped erase the pain of losing Nomar. I thought it fitting that they included him as part of the team that got a ring. Then I watched him play on the Cubs, the Dodgers, and the As. Every time I waxed nostalgic about that amazing 2004 season.

Faithful: Two Diehard Boston Red Sox Fans Chronicle the Historic 2004 Season

However, there was a lingering fear. Nomar isn't the first player to be synonymous with the Red Sox. The Rocket (Roger Clemens) himself used to call Fenway home. Then he went to the Yankees and we disowned him. He finished with the Yankees, which is probably fitting. Don't even get me started about Johnny Damon. The Yankees were not going to get Nomar (Derek Jeter is pretty good), but the manner of his leaving made me wonder if he might have hard feelings and/or not relish in the association.

Today Nomar calls it a career in Red Sox style. It gave me warm fuzzies to hear about it. The urban dictionary entry for Nomah also gave me warm fuzzies.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Malware on a Blogger blog?

Any of you who followed my previous blog may have noticed that Google flagged it for a week or so as probably distributing malware. Blogger hosts my blog, I could not understand how it got uniquely infected somehow. I tried various things, that did not work until I discovered/remembered the problem: I had been trying to mess with the Yahoo Buzz icon javascript. I left it in a broken state and so Google saw misbehaving javascript and gave my site the axe.

Having gone through this experience, I can now offer some suggestions and tips to those in a similar situation. Google offers a number of tools to help. First, there is the site diagnostic. For my old blog, it is Simply replace with the site you want to check out. As of right now, you can still see the remnants of the error on the site's diagnostic page.

Google also directs webmasters to I found the site informative, but not helpful for my particular problem. I went on the forums and posted a couple of times, but I think my posts were too newbie-ish and/or hopeless. You can see one here and the other here. The one response I did get was right on, but it was still a little vague for me.

The most informative site was the Google Webmaster tools site. I went to the dashboard for my old blog and saw a warning which explained where Google was seeing the error. It did not completely narrow down the problem, but it provided more direction than any of the previous utilities.