• Category Archives Tales from a Tech
  • I am a Computer Tech by trade, and sometimes have some great stories to tell.

    Tales from a Tech Archive

  • Town Criers Update

    The Town Crier Website

    I finally took some time today and overhauled the Town Crier page on the Milo Historical Society website.

    It is MUCH easier to navigate now, and doesn’t scroll down for eons.

    I have also added Volume 17 (1978)!  This week I will begin scanning 1979.

    I also looked into the broken search engine.  Turns out the code is ancient, and uses an out-dated version of PHP. She’s dead, Jim.  I did find a modern fork of the same software that IS up to date, but it costs 25 Euros.  I may end up getting it, as being able to search the papers is awesome.

  • The Printening

    I spent this evening printing a ton of propaganda for TRC.  I actually ran out of the three color inks!  Luckily, the HP Instant Ink thing had already sent me more ink.

    Now that I’ve seen how it works, I’m not too impressed by it.  First off, it said I was going to get 8 free months.  Well that was a lie, the website says I got one free month.

    On top of that, the plan I chose (the smallest they offered) is like $2 a month for up to 50 pages.  Apparently if you go over 50 pages, it costs you $1 for every 10 pages. WTF.  On the upside, it gives you up to 100 pages that will rollover if you don’t use them.

    I’m still not sure I want to keep this plan.  We’ll have to see how it goes….

  • Town Crier: Help me!

    I’m working on overhauling the Town Crier page on the Milo Historical Society website.

    Its pretty horrible right now. I’m playing with a new plugin to display the files, but I’m not sure I like it.

    This is where you come in!  Take a look at the new page and let me know what you think.  It’s a little different, as when you click on a file you get a menu with the option to download it, or preview it.

    And nevermind, I was going to copy the link, I found that every paper I added was being displayed as post, that wasn’t a post when you clicked it.

    Back to the drawing board. Sigh.

  • Drupal Sucks

    I am so fed up with Drupal right now.  I’m honestly GLAD I’m abandoning it for TRC.

    I only have one other website that runs Drupal: the Town of Bradford.  I’m trying to work on converting them to Drupal 8, like I was going to do with TRC.

    As much as I don’t want to, this has become a necessity.  Drupal 7 AND 8 are both coming to end of life in November this year.  Drupal 9 will be released in June, and from what I read, the upgrade from 8 to 9 is pretty seamless.  The hurdle is getting to Drupal 8 first, as the 7 to 8 upgrade is a bit of a nightmare.

    Over a year ago, I setup a test website to work on just that nightmare. The site has been running for some time, sort of abandoned.  This weekend, I attempted to get it up to date again.  That was my big mistake.  I broke the entire thing!  I have no friggen idea what I did, or why it broke, but everything I’ve tried so far has just made it worse.  I even tried rolling back to a backup and it died too.

    I guess this means I need to start over completely with Drupal 8.  Sigh.

    At this point I’m honestly considering converting it to WordPress like everything else…

  • Scanning Again…

    After a 4-5 year hiatus, I’m back to scanning Town Criers!

    The Town Crier was Milo’s weekly newspaper from the 60’s to the 90’s, and I started scanning it into PDF form for the Milo Historical Society way back in 2010.

    I was inspired to pick it up again back around Thanksgiving, and have been slow on getting started.  So far, it was a good idea to wait. I got a shiny new printer/scanner for Christmas, and it has been amazing for this project!!

    I don’t know if its all the new scanner, or if the scanning technology has come this far in 5 years, but the new scans are going to be of much higher quality, and a much smaller file-size!  In the past, I was scanning at 150 dpi just to make the files not huge.  With the new setup, I’m scanning at 300 dpi, the quality is coming out MUCH better, and the file sizes are tiny in comparison.  This is great!

    Just for a teaser, here’s the first issue from the next batch, 1978. I won’t be uploading them to the website until I’m done with the year. I also need to do some major updates to the interface online.


  • TRC Propaganda

    Tonight I began working on something I’ve managed to put off for quite some time.  Propaganda for TRC.  Its been quite some time since I put anything out in town to try to drum up interest in the website, and I think its time. I also have a shiny new printer and all kinds of free ink to play with!

    I started with updating our business card, and I’m hoping to get some friends to help me spread them around the local area.

    I’m now working on updating my tri-fold brochure.  Its a bit more intense, as it was last updated in 2009.  Like I said, its been some time.

  • TRC 9 Progress

    I spent some time this evening running another battery of tests for my WordPress Alternative idea for the new version of TRC.

    The tests went successfully!  It actually looks I’ll be able to do just about everything I need to to make TRC work similar to how it does now. In some ways, better!

    I think I’m confident that this method will work, and I’m going to start moving ahead with it.  The next step is a bit of a daunting one though, as I need to find the PERFECT theme.  I’ve already accepted that I’m going to have get a paid one and stop getting by with free ones.  TRC deserves the best after all!

    If anyone would like to help me out, I’m looking for suggestions for WordPress themes. Send ’em my way!  I do have a few requirements though:

    • Page Templates: Full Page-Width, 1 & 2 Columns
    • Color Customization – we gotta use the TRC blue!

    I feel its gonna take some time to find just the right theme, so watch for future updates!

  • TRC 9: Possible Breakthrough

    The last week, I’ve been on a roller-coaster with trying to plan out my upgrade for TRC.  I sat down to look at going from Drupal 7 to 8 yet again, and pretty much drove off a cliff.  Drupal 9 is due out in 2020.  And support for both 7 & 8 will be ending in 2021.  To get to 9, I’ll have to go through 8 to get there.  This gave me a splitting headache, so I decided to grudgingly look into WordPress again.

    And I think it MIGHT actually work out in the long run.  I’ve got a laundry list of testing to do before I can be certain, but the first important test actually worked!  I found a way that I can insert my custom PHP code and it WORKS!  I mean, its going to need a mountain of tweaking to get it to look right, but the actual code actually flipping works!

    This discovery was brought to me by my time spent fixing some broken parts of TRC the other day.  The Town Crier and Three Rivers News section on the historical society page had broken due to PHP upgrades.  I found a method to fix those, and it will miraculously work for TRC’s nefarious purposes as well.

    This really is just the first glimmer of a light at the end of the dark tunnel, but I’ll take it. Let’s just hope it isn’t another oncoming train.