From my pal, Susan at Collage Creative — What You Can’t Do on (a cautionary tale)

WordPress Official LogoRecently, I did some web development work in WordPress for a friend’s business and brought in the help & expertise of my pal, WordPress & CSS goddess, Graphic Artist, as well as flute & saxophone musician extraordinaire, Susan Langenes of Collage Creative.

Here’s the rub — both Susan and I had done design on lots of self-hosted web sites using the downloaded WordPress Open Source software, but our client was already on, and liked that UI and wanted to stay there. And the reasons for doing so were understandable — your WordPress site is always backed up for you, Automattic, the parent company running, handles most of the security against malware and attacks, they do all the updates, etc. Sounds like a sweet deal, right?

And knowing we couldn’t do any back-end PHP or JavaScript fiddling with code at, everything just had to be in customizable CSS, we figured we’d limit our changes to just that and party! Right?

Well… not exactly.

Turns out there were many more pitfalls that make a much different animal than a self-hosted site. Susan has done an excellent job of detailing what we both went through in getting the web site to where the client wanted it, after much g-nashing of teeth, in this pithy post over on her site, You Can’t Do That On Much good info for anyone who wants to take a customization job over on Enjoy. And thank you, Susan, for the great write-up and mentioning me & this blog.

Backfence, #nerd & a Very Loud Macaw Parrot.

20120924-112454.jpgSo last Saturday night I attended another quarterly event of the Backfence PDX Storytelling series, at McMennamin’s Mission Theatre. The show was it’s usual delightful mix and a whole lot of fun — if you’ve never been to a Backfence show before, I highly recommend you try and get to one of their next shows or try their Backfence podcast.

Each Backfence show has a theme, and this one was for the geek in all of us, HASHTAG NERD (or as I prefer it — “#nerd”). And this show had one unexpected addition to it — me!

Before the end of intermission, you can sign up and offer to tell a ONE-MINTUE ONLY story on the subject of the evening, drop it into a pitcher and they choose five storytellers, with one minute each, on stage. Being I have a big background being a geek-nerd, and had some hilarious experiences in that field, I threw my name in.

And… I got chosen, which was very exciting!

And… I choked.

Well, not so much “choked,” but I got cut off. Though I thought it a short, simple, funny story, I had the time keeper call a very loud, “TIME!” on me. In my defenese, she did not call the 15-seconds warning to me, as she did with others, in which case I would have gracefully wrapped up. But who ever said life, or story telling, was fair?

However, it appears that a number of people wanted to hear the end of my story. Well, o.k. — one guy on Google+. But in the interest of not leaving anyone hanging, ever, herein lies my story and its completion. The parts I told at Backfence are in regular type, parts that i’ve added, including embellishments and that fateful ending that never got heard, are in italics.

Continue reading “Backfence, #nerd & a Very Loud Macaw Parrot.” »

how i did it: getting your Time Machine back-up to restore on a non-Apple NAS (Drobo).

– Or – how I pulled baby back from the dead.

[Note: for the funny video of me pining for my iMac, “Baby,” go here.]

20120810-115239.jpg“Baby” is my iMac, a big ol’ 27-inch behemoth from mid-2010 with an Intel Core i7 processor, 12 GB of RAM, and a Terabyte hard drive.

Or it had a Terabyte hard drive, until things went horribly, horribly wrong and way far south.

Now I’m gonna warn you, this post is going to eventually get a little tetchy and command-line geeky, which is part of what I’m about, and therefore part of what this blog is about. So if that’s not your cup of tea, you might skip on to another post.

That said, my cautionary tale of woe begins with my decision to upgrade form Mac OS X 10.7.4 Lion to the 10.8 Mountain Lion (or Mounty Lion, as I like to refer to it; or in this case, no-longer-will-Mounty-Lion). Yes, I am well aware that early adopters pay a price, and living on the bleeding edge means, well, sometimes you bleed. Sometimes, a lot.

Basically, after starting the upgrade after purchase (which i felt smugly satisfied with myself for getting it downloaded and started over a VNC screen sharing connection from my iPad — ah, how pride goes before the fall). I got the install and restart of Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion started and went off for a few hours while it did its thing, figuring I’d come back to a pristine new system with oodles of new features.

Big Mistake.

When i got back home to Baby, the screen displayed was not what any user ever wants to see: big white dialogue, with a big yellow warning triangle with a white exclamation point was in the top center of it, the universal symbol for something just done shit the bed.

The verbiage on the screen basically said the hard drive failed (!) during the upgrade/install and to hit restart and try again.

Which I tried to do.

A couple of times.

Same ugly result with the “hard drive failed” message and that yellow warning triangle with the white exclamation point, taunting me. Taunting, I say.

A phone call to AppleCare tech support and tossing it up the chain a couple times landed me with a senior AppleCare support tech… who also determined there was nothing else to be done, call code blue.
Continue reading “how i did it: getting your Time Machine back-up to restore on a non-Apple NAS (Drobo).” »

Baby Done Left Me — The Video

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T he Story of a Man, his sick iMac (“Baby”), and the Apple Store Genius Bar that stands between them. Shot & Edited on Apple iMovie for a 2012 iPad. Thanks to random teenage girl at mall food court who photographed me next to my empty iMac box, and to friend Gretchen Mollers, who not only ferried me several times to the Apple Store Pioneer Place several times, but also did principal photography outside and in the Apple Store. Shot in & around Portland, Oregon, August 2012.

Psssst! — If you want the more technical, less funny-ha-ha info on what it took to recover my iMac from a networked Time Machine Back-up, go to this post, here.

More Portland Stage Reviews…

I have two new reviews up at Portland Stage Reviews

Check it.