Capn Design

Site News

New Year, New MT

Posted January 2, 2009

After an embarrassingly long period of time, I updated Capn Design to MT 4.23 tonight. It was tempting to jump straight to the latest Motion beta, but I decided one major change was enough for now. Of course, I did get Action Streams set up so I can start collecting data. This is step one and two in my plan for world domination.

Writing this notice reminds me that I never told you, dear readers, that I've been an employee of Six Apart since last April. I was with Apperceptive from November 2006 until 6A acquired us a year and a half later and we became Six Apart Services. I could wax poetic about how awesome it's been and how the 2002 version of me would be incredibly giddy, but this is a news post; I wouldn't want to sully it with any kind of emotion.

So what am I going to be up to this year? Last year was predefined by my wedding, but this year's completely open and I'm excited by that. I'm looking forward to tackling lots of small projects, with this site being one of them.

Lowering the Bar

Posted August 3, 2007

If you're a regular reader of Capn Design, you've noticed that I infrequently write full-length blog posts. Once upon a time I would post three to four times a day, but my blog was quite different back then. Still, it felt good to be writing consistently.

Thing slowed down when I start to feel internal pressure to only write posts when I felt the topic was "important". As a result, I would stop posting for long stretches and the site would lay dormant. I know lots of people follow this progression but I think I've had enough. As of August, I'm lowering the bar.

From now on, if I find something interesting, I'll get a post started right away and just see what comes out. If everyone has posted about a meme, maybe I'll have something interesting to say. If not, I'm leaving it up to you to tune it out. This is another way of saying that I'm passing more of the editorial reins to the reader. I'll do my best not to bore you, but I make no promises.

To kick things off, I'm going to post once every weekday for the month of August. This has confused and frightened some of my friends this week. "Where the hell did this bit of writing come from, you just posted yesterday!?!" Most of the discussion will lack any really theme, but for one week I will discuss the new components I added to my home theater this winter. I've been using them for a while and have a lot to say.

This is really part one of the redesign of this blog. Yes, I've been working on a new design for what feels like years, but the content is what really needed an overhaul. If this works out, I might actually finish coding the bastard.

By the Way, the Binge is Back

Posted August 2, 2007

With my lackadaisical approach to blogging, I neglected to tell you all that my other primary weblog is back, the Movie Binge. Last summer we set out to watch every major movie released from Memorial Day to Labor Day and succeeded. While it was a lot of work, it was also rewarding to get some attention and nice to have a new outlet for movie reviews.

We've been back at it all summer with a new cast of characters and some old faces. The new reviewers are Dan Beirne from Said the Gramophone, Erik Bryan from The Morning News, Kyria Abrahams, Bryan Charles, Meghan Deans and Todd Serencha. Returning for another year are Matthew Perpetua from Fluxblog and Karen Wilson of Cinecultist and Gothamist. You can read more about all of them on the Binge's about page. Everyone here is such an awesome writer and I'm proud to have birthed this baby.

We're already about halfway through the year, but it's not too late to catch up. If you missed last year as well, don't be afraid of the archives.

Happy 5th, Capn Design

Posted December 1, 2005

After posting about Russell's, I happened to notice that the very first post to this blog occurred on December 1st, 2000. Therefore, Capn Design is officially five years old.* Man, how things have changed. Just take a look at the December 2000 archive if you need any proof. It's entertaining for me, at least.

In honor of this birthday, I fixed the rotating images that had been broken for a month. Also, once I finish up a couple freelance projects, this whole site will get an overhaul. For at least the last three years, I 've just been putting code on top of code. It's time to start fresh. Hopefully all will be ready in time for January 1st, but 5 years of this has taught me that hitting design deadlines for a blog is less likely than being cast as Michael Jordan in the sequel to Space Jam.

* I've been journaling online in some form or another since September of 1999, but the word blog would have meant nothing to me then. Also, those archives are either lost or buried somewhere on an old machine in my storage locker.

I Gave Into the Siren Call of MT 3.2

Posted July 27, 2005

Yeah, you would have expected to see this post about a year ago when Movable Type 3.0 was announced, but I was hesitant about screwing with how my site works. To be honest, I was (am) still nervous about installing 3.17 tonight. But MT 3.2 was just too enticing, which is why I made my first step towards it. If everything went as planned, you'll see much less swearing and all of it will be jubilant. Wish me luck.

A Couple Site Changes

Posted December 3, 2004

First, the RSS files now point to the quick post URL instead of the archive URL so you won't have to click in your news reader. I used the MTCompare plugin to do that.

Also, in order to prevent comment spam, I am closing comments on entries older than a month old. Also, I'll only open comments on entries that warrant comments. For instance, this one won't have comments. You can always send me an email though.

That's it for now. I'm hoping to do some new stuff with this site in the next month or two. Don't worry, you'll be informed.

Ugh. Host Recommendations Please.

Posted November 12, 2004

So I just had my Movable Type software suspended by my host,, after I rebuilt the montly archives. This was baffling as they claim to be Movable Type compatible in their feature list. I was able to get it reinstated, but I obviously can't have it shut down everytime I make a change to one of my templates.

In the event that I can't come to some agreement with them, does anyone have any good hosting suggestions? I need MySQL and at least 500MB of space, but I'd like mailing lists, lotsa bandwidth, multiple domains and subdomains. Oh, and some decent stats. I'm willing to spend as much as 20 per month, but I'd like to spend 15 or under. Your thoughts?

Referrer Spam is Out of Control

Posted July 22, 2004

This week, I have been trying to tackle my referrer spam. It has gotten terrible. I have looked in a number of places (botwack and diveintomark), but I can't seem to figure it out. I'm guessing the main reason I couldn't figure this out is because I don't really understand it, but I'm wondering if something has gone wrong.

So, could someone help me out please? Here is the source for refer.php (with the server login bits removed) so you can see what I'm up to. If you can help me, I'd really appreciate it.

Honestly, Do You Like the New Design?

Posted June 9, 2004

I've had a couple of people (namely my sister and girlfriend) gripe about the new site design. Mostly, they don't like the stripes. I like them, but I'm definitely not in love.

So are you all staying silent because you like the design or because you don't want to upset me? You may also not care, and if that's the case that's fine, but if you have any input for me, I'd appreciate it. Thanks.

Capn Design version 1000000.0

Posted June 3, 2004

Okay, I'm not sure how many revisions I've had for my personal page, but it probably isn't a million. Here are some details for the newest one.

It's All About Me

In this revision, I've decided to make this site better suited to my needs. In the past year I've noticed that the posts and features have started to cater more to my audience than to my own needs, and that's no good. So, expect more posts about potentionally benign goings-on and a less features that will be intentionally helpful to you. Don't worry, I do have ideas for sites that could be very helpful to you that are lodged in my brain. One day.

Lots of new colors

More than anything else, I was a little sick of my color scheme. It was time for something fresher and brighter. It may not be all that masculine, but I'm comfortable with my pastel-y color palette.

Back to Two Columns

I've decided to move away from the three column layout. First, I really didn't need all three columns. It worked visually, but there was no functional purpose for it. Second, I wanted to have more room in my main entry side for graphics and photos. I've only added about 60 pixels, but that's helpeful.

The Photograph Style Header Remains

A couple people got to see my original redesign and a couple mentioned how they liked it, but they'll miss the header. After some thinking, I agreed. So, the photography header remains. It's also worth noting that the last word in the tagline rotates thanks to the Image Rotator from Automatic Labs. There are eight right now, and I'll add more as they come to mind. If you want to see all of them, you can keep refreshing or check the source code for their location.

Mini Reviews are Improved

If you head to the Mini Reviews page, you'll see that it exists. This has never been true before. It's a one stop shop for all my little reviews, which I hope to make more regular. The information design isn't totally perfect (archives aren't clear), but I'm working on that.

Photo is Redesigned

I have moved to a black background for the photo section. Personally, I think it looks a lot better. I'm most excited about this section. This is the section I hope to put the most energy into over the coming months. Summer is good for photography.


There is a new about page. The archives are now better organized. I have set up an automatic redirect in my .htaccess file so that no one will get lost, hopefully. There are no more comment pop-ups, except in photo (btw, I still need to redesign the comment template). The RSS feeds will soon be simplified, with the addition of an Atom feed, which hasn't been created yet. I'm also shifting the focus of the calendar, which should pop up next week, and I'm bringing in a new section called lists. More about that later.

That should cover just about everything. If you have any questions or notice any bugs on any platforms, please let me know.

New Design is Up

Posted June 3, 2004

As you see, the new design is up. Some stuff is missing (photo section is done, but not up yet and there are two features not done yet), but most everything should be working. If you see something is amiss, email me on the right.

There will be another post tomorrow (Thursday) with a lot more information.

Night night.

I Just Moved

Posted April 28, 2004

Well, I just changed web hosts. You'll only see this when the name servers change.

If you see anything that is amiss, please let me know.

Update: I seemed to have moved. Email is a little wonky right now, but I can still receive it. Just know that I might have trouble getting back to you today. Oh, and I know about that isse on the right side. Not sure what the problem is.

Hmm: Ok, it seems to be working now. Everything's a go on my end. Wheeeeeee.

Details: Matt requested to know who I'm hosting with, so here you go. I'm using Midphase Hosting, per the recommendation of Web Host Magazine. I'm getting 1.7GB of space (although cPanel claims my space is unlimited), 55 GB/month of bandwidth, two hosted domains and all the other goodies (PHP, MySQL, etc.) for $9.99/mo. So far so good as my account was set up in 20 minutes and everything is up and work less than 24 hours later.

A Small Update

Posted January 22, 2004

Two things of note have been happening at Capn Design lately:

1. Yesterday my Open Letter to Apple was linked by MacSurfer. It resulted in over 600 people looking at the page. That's pretty ridiculous. Well, it's either ridiculous or I am just used to my humble level of readership and I'm betting on the latter.

2. People keep coming to my post on Surprise by Design from November of 2002 and leaving comments. Great, right? Well, it seems most of these people are looking to get on the show. The first time this happened, long ago, I personally pointed the person to the application to apply. Now, eleven comments and a several emails later, I put the information in the post. Some of the replies are funny and some are moving. Here's an example:

I have written for my mother in law to have her yard done. She is sixty years old and just recently lost her husband of 30 years. This past year. She needs some excitement in her life.
Please help me.

In other news, I feel a redesign coming on in the next couple months. I still like this design, but I want something new. I'll keep you posted and may even let you watch as I design. We'll see.

Kottke-ization Complete (I Think)

Posted December 12, 2003

As you can see (if you're looking at this through a browser), I have Kottke-ized my site. Essentially, I brought the reviews into the main blog. I made a few small changes to the far right side as well. I'm hoping this will give a little more attention to the reviews and maybe make me write them a little more often.

Like Kottke, I used the SQL, Compare, and ExtraFields plugins to make this all happen. The ExtraFields plugin is just used to clean up the review ratings a bit.

I'm still fixing things up, but if you see anything that looks out of place, leave a comment. I haven't had a chance to look at the site on a PC so it would be much appreciated.

New Feature!

Posted August 13, 2003

As of today, you can now see everything I ever think about doing in New York. Well, at least in terms of artistic entertainment. The new Events Calendar is as much for me as it is for you though. I'm always forgetting about shows and either letting them get sold out or missing them all together. Hence this list. The area is pretty much finished but you can expect some RSS stuff to make browsing easy and whatever else seems interesting.

I teamed up with Emceebard to bring this new feature to life. This means double the events for you. You know you love it.

If you have any suggestions you can always email me* and tell me what to do. I like that.

*email is in the "essentials" section on the right side.

A Quick Note

Posted July 9, 2003

As I test out TypePad, I will also be posting at my TypePad weblog. I'm guessing it's going to be somewhat Livejournal-ish, but read this post and you'll understand a little better.

Visual/Photo is Live

Posted June 1, 2003

The Visual/Photo section is now up and ready to be loved. Please check it out and provide feedback here or in the individual photos (especially if something doesn't look right). As you've noticed it, it's the harrumph! style of photoblogging now. I'll post a photo or set of photos every couple days or more (ideally) and there may or may not be some text. We'll play it by ear.

Also, you'll notice that the link to the photos from the homepage has changed, as has the masthead. As a bonus I've decided to enable trackback for the blog.

That's about it. Enjoy kids.

Valid and Expanding

Posted May 22, 2003

Hello readers. I thought I'd take some time to let you know what's going on with this site. A while back I claimed that it would be redesigned by May 1st, and that has obviously come and passed. Instead, I am going to go a different route. The design will stay the same but I going to be completely reformatting the photo section and making it much more prominent. I'm thinking about a two to three week timeline. You'll know when it's all finished because the header image will be different. So things are changing, but also staying the same.

I also finally got a number of the pages to have valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional and CSS code. Most of the archive pages will not validate because I am not going to go back and fix every ampersand and image link. The validation also meant that my CSS now works properly on every page and I am completely free of any table design.

Finally, I am still working on giving the mini-reviews a better home. I have already given the individual archive pages a real design (example) and I'm working on the rest of the site. This is important for RSS users because if you'd rather read the review from within the site, now you don't have to look at a blob of plain text with no formatting.

That's about it in terms of new work. Let me know if you have anything you'd like to see more or less of. You can be blunt, I can take it.

Hello Again

Posted May 3, 2003

If you are seeing this message, I am at a new server now but using the same host. More space, same cost (yay for 50% off deals). If you notice anything missing, please let me know. Thanks.

Also, I made some minor tweaks to the site. The mini-reviews sidebar is now a total of 15 reviews and they're all lumped together, to aviod showing ones that have been around for 6 months. There will be some more changes to that part of the site fairly soon. Oh, all of the RSS feeds are now 2.0.

1000 + Apple Music

Posted April 28, 2003

1000 Posts, 400 Comments

This is the 1000th post to Capn Design. That's a crapload of posts. In honor of this I will do something, but I'm not sure what yet. In the meantime, I'm going to talk about Apple's announcements.

For the unaware, today Apple announced new iPods, iTunes 4 and the new Apple Music Service, which is built into iTunes. Before I make any observations, I would like to say two things. First, I am impressed. B, There is a chance I lost my iPod this weekend and that is horrible/interesting.

The new iPods - They are at the same prices as before but they are up to 10, 15 and 30 gigs with new enclosures and a docking station. Also, the Windows iPods now support USB2. Thirty gigs is a lot of room and it is very tempting. The buttons are now backlit, but I don't think that matters as it is easy to remember the location of 4 buttons. The screen is new, but no biggie. What's nice, is they are incredibly skinny which is great. Size and speed are two of my major buying factors. So I give these a thumbs up.

iTunes 4 - They turned aliasing off? All of the text looks really weird. This was the most noticeable thing, by far. After that, I realized that they added AAC encoding and converting (from MP3 or whatever else is supported by iTunes). I converted an MP3 and it took as long, if not longer, than it would take to rip it. So, I guess I may be ripping all of my albums again at some point. Good thing I stopped when I heard the rumors. One annoying thing is that when I search and I'm using the browser it doesn't narrow down the albums as I'm searching. Also, they've added the ability to have album art for your music. Unfortunately, you have to find all of the album art yourself. Boo. Finally, the look of the program is much flatter. There is little depth to the buttons and there is something of a cel-shaded feel (a la The Wind Waker). It looks a little weird but nothing I can't get over. Aside from the music service, which I'll talk about now, iTunes 4 seems to be a bit of a dud. Big features yes, but they skimped out on the little stuff. Very anti-Apple.

Apple Music Store - Alright, here we go. 200,000 songs at 99 cents a song. All of the songs are encoded at 128 kbps in AAC format. It is not my perfect set up, but it is an amazing start. You can buy a song with one click and an album only costs $9.99. There are a lot of albums I would buy at that price that I wouldn't even consider at $16-19. The navigation and searching seems good enough, but their servers have been hit hard to day so it's difficult to be sure. I'll try to buy some stuff tomorrow to check things out for real. My only real complaint is that lack of independent music. I want to be able to get my Les Savy Fav albums from this service. See, these are the things I can't find in the store and the convenience of this music service provides the perfect opportunity. Hopefully they'll open things up to indie labels soon.

To restate what I told you from the get go, I think this was a great day for Apple. They are once again leading the field and I am excited about everything that's happening. I'm also excited that I can actually start ripping my entire music collection now.

Note: I have spent a bunch more time with the Apple Music Store and I have noticed some inconsistencies and a number of confusing pricing schemes. I'll post more late tonight.

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