Add Your Own RSS Feeds

Okay then... As promised, you should now be able to add your own RSS feeds for syndication on theSmarts.ca. Why would you want to? Well for one if you have a number of favorite news sites (for example), you can now get their headlines and a summary of each new article without ever leaving this site (see the News Feeds block to the right). Other uses include getting a list of new jobs as they're posted on your favorite career site (a-la workopolis.com, for example), to keep an eye on sales events (redflagdeals.ca) or keep up with a friends photo album (theSmarts.ca Photo Gallery). To add your own RSS feeds, go to the Contribute link up above and click on the personal_rss link from that page.

Personal RSS Feeds

I've created a customized module for Drupal that allows users to create personalized RSS feeds on this site... I'm sure most of our regular visitors don't have a clue what that means, but it let's me get around a minor limitation with the Aggregator module that collects those news feeds on the right hand side of your window. For now, the functionality is extremely limited, but my eventual goal is to tidy it up a bit so that it performs a little faster and doesn't create a potential load on the rss server.

In any case, should anyone actually be interested in what I've built, you can download the code here. Many thanks to the folks who put together Magpie RSS for giving me a simple starting place for the RSS reader!

As Seen On TV

Well if you didn't catch it yourself, the big news is that McMurray finally appears to have caught some good news coverage... Rick Mercer was here last week to film a spot for his show, Rick Mercer Report. Haven't made it all the way through the show yet, but it looks like he actually managed to put a positive spin on McMurray. Stark contrast as this may be to recent news coverage from certain other news media reports lately, I think it's about time. As much as I'd like to find a good job elsewhere, the truth is that this is actually a pretty good place to live and work... Way to go, Rick! Unlike some folks, you're welcome back any time.

Fix ups

There have been a number of error messages showing up in the logs lately. It appears that most of these are related to having migrated the photo albums. If you are having trouble getting to the photos, please check that you are using http://www.thesmarts.ca/gallery as the URL address. I have attempted to redirect the old "/albums" address, but can only redirect it for selected albums (hopefully most of them now) due to the way that apache and drupal handle url-rewrites. Finally, I've also re-set the permissions on the feedback page to allow anonymous users to send feedback. If you're still having troubles, you can contact me through the "Contact Us" link above... Hope this solves most of the problems! Sorry for the inconveniences.

Multimedia Support on Suse Linux

Just in case you're like me and you need to configure (or re-configure) DVD and multimedia support under SuSe 9.3, here's an excerpt from ibiblio.org on how to do just that:


The YaST package program included with SuSE works only with official packages, and there are no official packages that support DVD. Therefore you will have to install the packages for all of the DVD software manually.

Soundboard

Looking for some sound bytes? Check out this site: ebaumsworld.com.

All New!

After some considerable pain and frustration, theSmarts.ca is now powered by Drupal instead of geeklog. The new engine under the hood should be fairly transparent to most people, but provides for somewhat simpler customization and modifications. I haven't yet migrated the Gallery Pages, but plan on doing so in the near future... I seem to have run into some glitches in the import process, so please bear with me until this gets fixed. SOON! I promise!

Let me know what you think of the new digs!

Katherine and Cory's Wedding Photos

Well, I've finally gotten off my arse and posted some pictures from Katherine and Cory's wedding. The pictures are in the gallery section. Anyone who knows me will never believe it, but I didn't actually take any of these photos. Pretty much all of these photos are courtesy of Shehla (and Dad's camera). I think there may be a few more lurking around my hard drive somewhere, so if I come across any good ones I'll slap them up later.

New Hosting Provider

Goodbye dotCanada.com! Hello ShieldHost.com!

Not having received the level of service I was expecting from our former hosting provider (as disucssed below), I have now migrated theSmarts.ca to a new hosting provider. Unfortunately the site has been down for a few hours as a result of the change while the new nameservers got configured. However, you should now be seeing significantly improved load times... As clocked from my own computer, the load time has improved from 21+ seconds to less than 0.2 seconds... Better than a 100-fold improvement!!! I will be migrating the photo albums as well over the next day or so, and may have to fiddle with the configuration for a little, but hope to have them online soon.

The other consequence of this move is that the email accounts will need to be migrated manually. Sadly there is no way to do this simply and (because I did not keep a written record of passwords) some of you may experience problems with your email accounts. Should this happen, please drop me a line on email or give me a call and I'll get it corrected.

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HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

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