I’m considering doing a re-design of the blog. And this time I want to try and do everything myself (from making the tiny bullet gifs to the header image) except, I’m shit at design. So, any one want to give me a leg up? Ideas, maybe even a complete mock up would be appreciated. Don’t worry about creating the CSS & HTML, I can do that myself. All I need is a image of what the design should be like. The banana bullets will probably stay. 🙂

Secondly, domains are so cheap now, I’m considering buying my own domain and pointing Google at it, so that I can then use all the new blogger features. The problem is is already taken. is available though. Should I buy that one? Anyone got better suggestions? I need to keep it relatively close to the blog name which I don’t want to change.

Warning Sign by Coldplay

A warning sign
I missed the good part then I realized
I started looking and the bubble burst
I started looking for excuses

Come on in
I’ve gotta tell you what a state I’m in
I’ve gotta tell you in my loudest tones
I started looking for a warning sign

When the truth is, I miss you
Yeah the truth is, that I miss you, so

A warning sign
You came back to haunt me and I realized
That you were an island and I passed you by
And you were an island to discover

All you need is love

I watched Across the Universe, a musical peppered with over 30 Beatles’ numbers, last night and I loved the movie!

It might just be because I can be a sappy romantic sometimes and this movie certainly appeals to that part of me, but I also thought the movie was very well directed (by Julie Taymore, who also directed Frida) and had some really awesomely picturised song sequences. (My favourite was “Revolution.”)

The movie is set in the 60s and uses the riots, Vietnam, Princeton, New York and Liverpool as its set.

The actors are surprisingly good singers, and my favourites would be T.V. Caprio singing “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” and any of Dana Fuchs’ performances.

Joe Cocker, Bono and Eddie Izzard make cameos in the movie too. Joe Cocker’s rendition of “Come Together” is pretty good but not much of a departure from the Beatles’ version. Bono singing “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” over the end credits as well as “I Am the Walrus” in the movie isn’t much to write about. I’m beginning to get tired of Bono’s cookie cutter vocals.

Most of the cast don’t have much acting background but do an pretty decent job with a couple of wooden performances here and there. Evan Rachel Wood (who was the lead in Thirteen) does a great job here and I quite liked her voice too.

So if you’re a Beatles’ fan, like musicals, and can stand a bit of mush, you will love this movie. Oh yes, if you’re a fan of the 60s, that’s a bonus!

Whew! All done!

I spent the better part of the day patiently going through every single post on the blog, trying to label them and also formatting them into paragraphs, lists, etc instead of ugly line breaks every where.

And finally, I’m all done. Time to republish it to my FTP site. (I was using to make my life a bit easier.)

Blog updates can be frustrating!

Thanks to Blogger deciding to add cute little icons next every commenter id, my blog layout was broken. Not terribly so, but enough to look ugly.

Since I had to edit the template anyway, I decided to make a few other changes too.

  • Moved the post time to below the title (and removed post author, since it’s only me.
  • Removed the bit of JavaScript that would hide comments on Item pages
  • Fixed the display of icons next to commenters.
  • Some sidebar cleanup
  • Added in some CSS to display labels like other post metadata
  • Pulled the CSS out of the blogger template and put it into a single .CSS file (This alone saved me about 2MB of server space!)
  • Lots of HTML cleanup. I can’t believe the number of places I’d left open elements!
  • Changed my DTD to XHTML 1.0 Transitional (It still won’t validate though, there’s a lot of work to be done before that happens.)
  • Removed the display of backlinks

I also changed a couple of settings in Blogger before I was finally done.

Little did I know…

Since I publish my blog via FTP, Blogger had to republish the entire site, file by file. Hanging every now and then…

And then when I looked at my earlier posts, I found them all in single massive paragraphs. Back then, Blogger didn’t have a rich text editor (or maybe it did, I can’t remember) so I used to type my posts in with 2 hard returns to mark the end of a paragraph. Blogger, in all its wisdom, would preserve these hard returns as <br> tags, rather than enclosing each paragraph within <p> tags. (Oh glory days! When we didn’t care about semantically marking up content!) I have known for quite a while that Blogger doesn’t seem to want to create paragraphs for you. Not even the new version released just a year ago. Why? Google knows!

Anyway, I’ve been hand coding paragraphs as I type my posts in Blogger for the last year or so. So most of my new posts display and parse without any problem.

But today since I was making all these changes, I decided I should fix my older posts and even label them while I was at it.

And that’s where I hit a brick wall. Or should I say Blogger’s short-sightedness/cussedness.

  • Making a change to a post’s labels makes Blogger republish ALL the other labels. Everyone single one in your blog.
  • If you’re editing an older post, you have only two options. Either publish it or save it as a draft. No option to save and publish later.
  • Publishing each old post means you have to wait until it uploads all of the labels each time.
  • If you thought that you could mark a whole bunch of drafts as “publish” from the “Edit Posts” page, think again. All you can do is apply labels to multiple posts there.

So what’s the solution? I don’t want to host my blog on Google’s Blogspot, nor do I want to go purchase a new domain just to point it to Google’s servers. This means I have to sacrifice some new features of Blogger, so be it. But I really want to clean up my older posts. I guess the only solution is to temporarily switch to blogspot, so that republish older posts doesn’t involve a round of FTP each time and when I’m done with all my label and formatting changes, to switch back to my FTP site.

Too lazy to do that right now though, it will have to wait for another day! 🙂

Must read comics obsessively!

(post title style borrowed from a friend. You know who you are.)

A few days ago samudrika introduced me to Ctrl-Alt-Del, an online comic strip that’s mostly about games.

I took a look at it, liked it and added the RSS feed to my Netvibes comics tab and forgot about it for a few days.

This afternoon, I was a bit bored and visited the website to read a few strips. Within minutes I was giggling at the geeky jokes and decided I need to read it from the start. Except, the first comic was published in October 2002 and repeatedly clicking “Next” on the webpage got tiresome.

So I quickly viewed the source of the comic page to figure out which directory the images were saved in and the pattern of the file names. After that it was simple matter of writing a small script that generated all the file names for a given set of dates and add them to my download manager.

About an hour later thanks to broadband, I had every single Ctrl-Alt-Del strip…

And now I’ve already plowed through the first three years of the strip and I don’t plan on stopping soon… 🙂

Here comes another bubble

This hilarious video by an a capella group called The Richter Scales is about the current tech bubble (Facebook = $15 billion, really?) and sung to the tune of Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire.”

My favourite bits? “Blog, blog even if you’re wrong” plays over a clip of Robert Scoble whiteboarding away. And also “29, past my prime” shows a guy labeled as “Product Manager.” Ouch! (Guess what my age and designation is?)

Oh and there’s also a “blog this song,” so I’m just doing my part.