New Comment System

After some research I have decided to upgrade the WordPress built in comment system with an outside option called Disqus that seems to have quite a bit more functionality as well as options for me and the commenter.

For the commenter, you can:
– track and edit all your comments across all sites using Disqus (are you listening South Dakota blogosphere?)
– Reply to comments via email and cell phone
– Earn reputation with built in reputation system that stays with you on every site using Disqus (30,000 sites and growing)
– Start your own comment blog that collects and shows off your commenting prowess

For me Disqus promises:
– Threaded comments
– Comment ratings
– Strong comment spam and troll filters
– Email and phone moderation

Installation on WordPress was a breeze requiring only the installation of a standard plugin and they also have support for most other blogging platforms including Blogger and Typepad. Finally you can easily import all your old comments so upgrading didn’t result in losing anything.

I’m going to put it through it’s paces for awhile so feel free to let me know what you think.

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Big Bucking Deer

Not being a hunter myself, seeing a big buck within Sioux Falls city limits just congers up thoughts of huge bodywork bills but hunters throughout eastern South Dakota are probably salivating thinking about getting their chance at this fellow.

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Sitemeter Warning

Received a note this morning that this site wasn’t loading and was causing their browser to crash. Upon further investigation I discovered that the issue doesn’t seem to be localized to my site but in fact is affecting sites throughout the web. According to Wired, Sitemeter, the popular and free visitor counter used by webmasters everywhere appears to be the culprit and seems to be isolated to those using Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.

A number of web sites that use SiteMeter tracking code to monitor the number of visitors to their site are reporting that the code is causing Internet Explorer browsers to crash when users visit their sites.

I haven’t spent time testing a lot of sites, but the Gawker Media sites all seem to be affected. These include Gawker, Valleywag, Gizmodo and Lifehacker, among others.

The problem appears to be affecting IE 5.5, 6.0 and 7.0. Internet surfers using IE to access a site that has SiteMeter tracking it receive a message saying the site cannot be loaded and “operation aborted.” The issue seems to have begun late afternoon Friday.

If you happen to be using Sitemeter on your site, you might want to consider pulling their code off until this issue is resolved.

UPDATE: Sitemeter is now reporting that the issues have been resolved. I have put their code back up so if anyone is still having issues please let me know.

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The Reason We Can Celebrate

arizona memorial

The picture above is of the USS Arizona Memorial taken from the flight deck of the USS Kitty Hawk in 1985. Let it serve as a reminder as to why most of us are enjoying the first major holiday weekend of the summer.

While you are out and about spending the day with friends and family, please take a moment to remember and thank those that made days like today possible.

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Sorry Mr Gates, I've Had Enough

You may or may not have noticed that things here were awful quiet yesterday. For months I have been fighting a very temperamental Microsoft Vista PC that often would not shut down, wouldn’t let me install programs or drivers, and just was a general pain in the a**. All during those months I had been burning up Google looking for fixes for my troubles only to find out that my problems were minor compared to many.

To make a long story shorter. I had held out hope that SP1 for Vista would fix the long list of issues with this operating system and yesterday after attempting to update Quicken only to have it corrupted to the point where it would no longer load, I decided to set aside some time to get and install SP1 after reading awhile back that it had finally been released. 4 hours later (only a 65mb file) I finally got SP1 installed and after a number of reboots I was finally ready to put it through it’s paces.

To my utter disgust, none of the issues I had originally were fixed, it still wouldn’t shut down, I still couldn’t load software, and new to the list, all my user settings including my iTunes library had disappeared. To put the icing on the cake, the PC now ran so slow that it was pretty much useless.

Ok, so what was plan B? I figured I should go back to the point before installing SP1, at least the PC was usable. So I went to Windows restore to go back to the restore point that I had set before the upgrade and of course I discovered that not only had that restore point disappeared, every one that I once had was now gone! Thank you Bill Gates, may I have another?

I had hoped that Microsoft had learned from Windows ME that rushing a product to market and then expecting it’s users to wait patiently for them to fix it once it was released would not fly. Obviously I was wrong so Mr Gates, my latest hair pulling experience with one of your products will be my last. I did something yesterday evening that at one time I said I would never do, I bought a Mac

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Has Hell Frozen Over?

I normally don’t blow my own horn, probably because I never have a horn to blow when compared with the other fine South Dakota Blogs but this caught me a bit off guard last night.

BlogNetNews is a feed aggregator on steroids that also uses some kind of super secret algorithm to rank the “influence” of the various blogs in their respective categories. The rankings are released weekly and you can pretty much count on either the War College, SD Watch, or Madville Times finishing on top for the week in the South Dakota Blog category with me somewhere at the bottom.

Well something must have gone wrong with BlogNetNews’ algorithm this week (man hackers are expensive, thank goodness for that rebate check) as the screenshot below shows.

hell frozen over

I have no delusions of grandeur nor does this mean anything in the overall scheme of things but what the heck, it is nice to know that there is a change of seasons in hell from time to time…

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Hows This For Priorities?

If you’ve watched any TV the past few months, you have undoubtedly seen the commercials prodding the last few remaining Americans that don’t have cable or satellite TV that they will need to get a digital converter box prior to the changeover to all digital broadcasts in February of 2009. Our government leaders are even willing to send you a $40 coupon to make sure that your TV viewing doesn’t get interrupted.

While I knew this was coming and can’t wait for as much high def content as possible, what I was amazed to discover is exactly what we are paying to make sure no one misses new episodes of “CSI”.

the government has allocated $1.5 billion to inform 17 million citizens about the digital TV transition

A little perspective:

the total proposed budged for literacy education in 2009 stands at a paltry $574.6 million

Amazing.

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Kent State 38 Years Later

It has been 38 years and counting since a family acquaintance, Bill Shroeder, and 3 others were killed at Kent State University just down the road from where I was growing up. Up until then I had been effectively shielded from the Vietnam War but Schroeder’s death from shots fired by the Ohio National Guard while he was walking to class forever changed that.

Over 5 years into our latest unpopular war, the protests haven’t reached the point they did in 1970, probably due to the lack of a draft, but as Bush’s approval ratings show, we aren’t too thrilled with the current conflict either. To commemorate the incident also know as the “Kent State Massacre”, Neil Young wrote Ohio.

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Messy Weekend Ahead

I am in the process of upgrading the site to the latest and greatest version of WordPress so things around here could get a little messy. I hope to have everything done this evening or tomorrow morning but that all depends on how compatible everything ends up being with version 2.5. Cross your fingers and I will update this post once the dust has settled.

UPDATE: Everything is updated to 2.5 and surprisingly the upgrade seemed to go quite smoothly. If anyone comes across any issues please let me know. I still have some tweaking to do but most of the heavy lifting is done.

UPDATE 2 (4/13/2008): I believe I am completely done with the upgrade and as you may or may not have noticed I have added a couple of RSS feeds to the sidebar. The first is a combined feed from the Washington Post that documents the votes by our representatives in Congress John Thune, Tim Johnson, and Stephanie Herseth Sandlin. The second is a combined feed made up of the latest posts from several of our finer South Dakota political blogs.

As always please let me know if you run into any issues.

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