WordPress 2.7 Navigation Survey

When Liz and I put together the navigation sections for Crazyhorse, we didn’t anticipate how strongly people would react to it (positively) or that it would be merged with the 2.7 development effort. We had been thinking of it as more of an experiment that would lead to change later on rather than a primetime-ready application, which is why some of the things we included were non-functional or required additional thought. As people who saw our WordCamp presentation know, many of the decisions we made in designing Crazyhorse were specifically chosen to elicit information during usabiliy testing rather than being intended as a final design.

WordPress 2.7 navigationSo now I work for Automattic, 2.7 is under development, and some of those things that “required additional thought” are on my list of to-dos. At the same time, the members of the development community who’ve downloaded the nightly builds have been commenting on various features and making suggestions. In order to collect as much feedback as possible, I’ve posted a survey with a few variations of the Crazyhorse navigation to see which groupings/labels people prefer. Who knows, maybe this will wind up being the first in a series of interface surveys. If you are a WordPress user and you care about that sort of thing and want to be a part of the 2.7 effort, take the survey.

Official Google Blog: Bringing history online, one newspaper at a time

This is awesome. Last year when I went back to school and took some advanced history classes, I found the process of accessing historical newspapers to be painful in the extreme. Holding libraries have to be careful of old newsprint, so if the paper is in a California library and you’e in NY, it used to mean having to go to California to see the article. Also, chances are you won’t be allowed to photograph, photocopy or scan such papers due to their fragility. Microfilm is available in more places, and the NYPL had a good collection, but microfilm is such a pain in the ass… nothing is indexed, and if you are looking for something specific, you find yourself wishing Google managed the microfilm so you could type in a few keywords and go straight to the relevant rolls of film. This is even better.

Having a text based index will make the search for contemporary news content sooo much nicer. I do wonder if Google will create a text index for images and advertisements as well… they make it clear that newspapers will be displayed as they were originally printed with these elements, but as someone who spent 6 months looking for bathing suit advertisements in newspapers from the 1920s, and political cartoons about the Oneida Community in the 1800s, I can attest to how impossible it is to track these kinds of things down. A text index of such images would be invaluable to historians, and to students.

Even without an image index, this is a huge accomplishment. Thanks, Google!

Official Google Blog: Bringing history online, one newspaper at a time.

Introducing: The Red Sled

The red sled!

Introducing the Red Sled

This is the car I bought in NYC, a ’95 Honda Civic hatchback. Just enough of a beater that I won’t worry if someone hits me or keys my car, but nice enough to be a pleasure to drive. Title recovered, insurance purchased, DMV documents signed and delivered and sealed with money, a new axle and timing belt installed and it was finally okay for me to take it away. Drive it up to Rome yesterday in a massive storm and the car handled fine. The only problem is a busted stereo, which will need replacing. In its absence, I sang to myself or played music off my iPhone (not optimal, since not loud enough). Wait, the other problem: it’s an automatic, a 4-speed. After a lifetime of driving standard transmission 5-speeds, I am missing the control and the extra gear. Still, this will be the car that takes me across the country and back again.

Exit: NYC

Leaving New York proved to be more complicated than anticipated, largely because of misinformation from the California DMV. Before going to San Francisco for WordCamp, I arranged to buy a car from a woman who lived one neighborhood over in Brooklyn. She was in the process of getting a replacement title from the California DMV, and we agreed that I would take possession of the car after I got back, which would give me a week or so to run errands and donate the things I wanted to get rid of before it was time to actually leave town. However, when the title had not arrived as expected, the seller called the California DMV and was told the forms should have been sent to an address other than the one she had been given when last she called them. It would be another three weeks.

Have you ever had to move without a car? What a pain. Without being able to make regular trips to Goodwill, the used book store, etc., everything I wanted to donate piled up in the center of my room, leaving no space for actual packing (my roommate had filled the rest of the apartment with her boxes). She severed the internet connection 2 days before I moved out, which made putting things on craigslist problematic. Also? No google maps, no u-haul confirmation. Then, the morning of the actual move, I locked myself out of the apartment. I eventually was able to break in (to a previously considered not-break-in-able apartment, go me!), eventually got everything boxed up, eventually got the truck packed and furniture sold, and eventually drove off into the New Jersey sunset as I left New York City behind.

Things I will miss from NYC: raspberry blintzes from Veselka, balsamic strawberries from Bar Veloce, Penne Rosate from Piola, Park Slope Co-op and other mostly-food things.

Things I will not miss from NYC: trash day is every day, sad toxic brownfields, how long it takes to get anywhere.

I finally heard from the seller of my car; the title arrived at last. I’m heading back down to NYC tomorrow to deal with title transfer, registration, inspection, repairs, etc. This will mark the beginning of the Year on the Move, which will kick off with a couple of weeks in my hometown hanging out with my family. I haven’t lived here since I was nineteen (17 years ago), for which there are many reasons; I expect it to be a challenge.


I sat on the front steps waiting for my friend Jane to pick me up for dinner. I was reading The Yage Letters by William Burroughs, and didn’t notice when the upstairs neighbor opened the front door and started descending the steps. We had not yet met, what with me being a hermit and him being a biker. We introduced ourselves. He asked if I lived on the ground floor. I said yes, but only for another week, as I was moving out. He said he was also moving out. “This is just too much to pay for rent, you know, even now that I have a job that pays actual money.” As he rode his bicycle out of the courtyard, I noticed the elaborate tattoos that circled his left leg, and wondered how much they cost in comparison. When it comes down to a decision between art and an apartment, I suppose there is no contest.