New Blog Theme

I’ve used the same hand-crafted style for my blog almost since the beginning. I was bored this weekend, so I went looking for Movable Type template sets. There are really not many at all! Especially not compared to the number of themes for WordPress.

I switched to the Mid-Century theme by Jim Ramsey. And now I may try to figure out how to exactly start tweaking it for my own needs.

As a side effect, comments are now enabled.

Opinion writers really make me feel good

Last week, the U.S. Solicitor General announced that it would request that the Supreme Court review a decision that blocked the federal government from compleeting background checks on JPL employees.

Today, both the L.A. Times and the Pasadens Star-News had opinion articles which supported the JPL employees’ case. I found the language and imaginative, flowery writing to be interesting.

The Pasadena Star-New wrote:

In a world wracked by recession, one in which it’s easy enough to be cynical about government, the work by the geniuses at NASA’s JPL is a bright beacon of hope showing what government can do at its best: explore the universe.

Tim Rutten, at the L.A. Times wrote:

Those great adventures are run from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge. And for that reason, when history comes to honor the starting points from which our greatest enterprises of discovery have set out, it will reckon JPL’s quiet, green campus on the edge of the Arroyo Seco alongside the courts of Castile and Henry the Navigator, the Dutch Republic and Elizabethan London.

Both of the articles read like that for their entire length! Very interesting, not like the dry stuff you normally see in scientific articles!

The best Linux collection managers compared | TuxRadar Linux

TuxRadar has an article comparing collection managers. Tellico comes out pretty good, with a grade of 8 out of 10, claiming second place to GCstar.

At first glance, Tellico seemed like the obvious winner of the bunch. It’s got built-in templates, it’s configurable and provides good documentation. The design is elegant, if not pretty, but it’s been superseded by a superior program, one that’s pushed the heights of what a collection manager can be.

Near as I can tell, Tellico loses out to GCstar’s shiny templates! Well, I can take that. It’s a pretty good article, though with not much in the way of substantial critiquing.

Even though you don’t have to fill in all, or even most, of the fields, the result is unappealing. The dialog boxes you use to fill in the information for an item are crowded, but there are also all the ugly empty spaces from fields you didn’t fill in.

I think the author is hitting two points there. I understand the crowded dialog complaint, though aside from doing in-place editing in the view, I can’t think of any other way to edit the data. The second point, about showing empty fields in the view, is easily fixed with some tweaks to the default. Maybe I should add a template for that as an option.

Tellico’s website provides a detailed illustrated guide in addition to the extensive documentation, but the drawback to having extensive built-in support is the in-your-face interface that comes with it, although this is more than offset by the program’s features. When filing our comic book collections, we honestly don’t want to enter the date we purchased the book, so we find it irritating that Tellico expects us to.

Definitely a valid point there at the end of that paragraph. That’s why Tellico 2.0 added a field for automatically storing the date that the comic book was first added to the collection as well as the date of the last modification of the comic book data. I decided not to remove the default field for year of purchase, though maybe I should have.

More Math Fun in Government

From an article about counting pay raises as saved jobs comes this quote:

At Southwest Georgia Community Action Council in Moultrie, Ga., director Myrtis Mulkey-Ndawula said she followed the guidelines the Obama administration provided. She said she multiplied the 508 employees by 1.84 — the percentage pay raise they received — and came up with 935 jobs saved.

Leaving aside the politics of counting pay raises as jobs, look closely at the math. It appears that she forgot that 1.84% equals 0.0184 when you multiple. In that case, she should have reported 9 jobs saved rather than 953.

Oops…another case of basic math illiteracy.