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Perishable Press

Another Boring Personal Update

[ Photo: Death Starr ] It’s been awhile since I have taken some time to just blog a little bit about what’s been happening in this crazy little world of mine. Normally, I like to keep my articles focused on web design, social media, and other online topics, but every now and then I like to take some time out and share some personal news. Needless to say, lots of awesome stuff has been happening both online and in my personal life, so here’s a brief summary for the sake of prosperity. I’ll start with the personal drama and then hit the online/design and project-related news.

I had my wisdom teeth removed!

After putting this off for literally decades, I finally decided to bite the bullet and get it done. For many years, my wisdom teeth were mesially impacted (i.e., growing sideways and pushing against my second molars), eventually causing some serious crowding of my lower-front teeth. Just about every dentist I saw over the years wanted to yank those things, but as I got older, the wisdom teeth grew larger and their roots began growing very close to the nerve in my lower jaw. After hearing that these two factors (size and location) might complicate the extraction process, I completely avoided the issue for many years. Eventually, by my early thirties, my wisdom teeth had managed to grow in straight, but they were still very large and crowding my lower teeth. Finally, several months ago, the dentist pointed out a few cavities and convinced me that it would be better to remove those bad boys now rather than fight with them for the rest of my life. So I broke down and had it done. And it wasn’t even close to being as horribly painful and nightmarish as I had imagined. Now that I can eat solid food again, I am absolutely convinced it was the right thing to do. The time off from work was nice, too ;)

Finally settled into our new home

Some of you may recall that, back in January of this year, my wife and I moved into our first home. Moving in the middle of Winter sucked, but now that we are settled and Summer is here, I have to admit that it was possibly the best move of my life. We had been renting for years, and it just kills me that we could have been building up equity this entire time instead of just throwing it away on rent. At first I was shocked at the amount of mundane housework, yardwork, and maintenance work that home ownership requires, but after working it all into the daily routine, it’s really not that bad. I still can’t stand mowing my yard every stinking week, but I suppose the exercise is a good thing.

Some meth addict broke into our new home

Just after getting moved into our new home back in January, several houses in our new neighborhood were burglarized, two in the middle of the day and another at night. After speaking with our neighbors, we had discovered that, over the course of the past couple of years, nearly every house in the neighborhood had been hit! The neighborhood is relatively new, as are most of the houses, so it never occurred to us that we might be moving into a “high-crime” area. In any case, after hearing news of the recent burglaries, I installed a cheap radio-shack alarm system that consisted of a single motion detector and a callout mechanism to alert my wife and I via mobile phone if the alarm was triggered. About a week after setting that up, I was at work in the lab when the call came through on my phone: “intruder alert, intruder alert!” Needless to say, I crapped my pants and raced home at nearly 110mph. Upon arrival I walked into what looked like a battle zone. A giant rock had been thrown through our kitchen window, leaving shattered glass all over our kitchen floor. I felt completely violated, then shocked, then confused, then angry. But thankfully, by the grace of God, that one-piece motion-detector alarm system did its job, sounding the siren and scaring the living crap out of the burglar, who bailed without stealing a single thing. So, although we didn’t lose any property (other than the broken window), the event pretty much changed everything, for better or worse.

Perishable Press doing well

On a lighter note, and moving into some online news, Perishable Press continues to do well, providing me with a place to share discoveries, help others, and bore you to tears with tedious personal updates. Some of you may have noticed that my posting frequency has been reduced recently to around once per week, but this is only temporary while I am working with Chris on our upcoming book, Digging into WordPress. Once that is complete, I intend to get back into some serious posting, not only here, but on all of my sites. In the meantime, I will try to cover all of the usual topics here at Perishable Press and keep the posts as informative and worthwhile as possible. Beyond that bit of news, everything else seems to be flowing along quite nicely. Google can’t seem to make up its mind about my PageRank (whether it’s a 4 or 5), but continues to send me increasing amounts of traffic, so it’s all good I suppose. Also in the news, the number of subscribers has steadily been growing and is now pushing the 2,500 mark. So a huge “Thank you” to all of my subscribers (you know who you are!). Lastly, I have been thinking about running a few advertisements here at Perishable Press. I have always been against doing so in the past, but if I can find some quality advertisers, I would most likely give it a shot. Your thoughts on this are appreciated.

Stupid htaccess Tricks featured in Joomla! Web Security book

I am thrilled to announce that my in-depth article on HTAccess, Stupid htaccess Tricks, has been published in Tom Canavan’s book, Joomla! Web Security. The book includes nearly the entire article in the chapter on “htaccess and php.ini”, and seems to serve the purpose of the book very well. Even though I primarily work with WordPress, the book is very informative and provides lots of excellent advice on how to secure your Joomla!-powered website. Seeing my work published in a actual book is pretty cool, and hopefully it will help some folks to boot.

Work on Digging into WordPress book continues

Hopefully everyone knows about the new WordPress book that Chris Coyier and I are working on, entitled Digging into WordPress. The book is planned for a Fall release in PDF format and will be packed with as much WordPress goodness as we can possibly squeeze in. Working with Chris is awesome, and we are both having a blast with the official website for the book, Digging into WordPress. Most of this Summer will be spent writing and designing the book, but so far everything is going very well. Our quest to find a publisher led us down several interesting roads, but in the end we decided that we could better produce a product that would achieve our goals by doing it ourselves. We are really putting a lot into this book and hope that it will benefit many WordPress users. And, for those of you who have yet to subscribe to DiW, here is a taste of what you’ve been missing:

And lots more on the way!

Progress on my other websites continues

Finally, allow me to summarize recent progress on some of my other websites:

Monzilla Media
Monzilla Media is my “official” website for my personal web and graphic design business. I recently updated the site with a couple of new projects, and have a growing number of portfolio items that need to be posted. I tend to procrastinate with this site because writing portfolio articles is rather tedious.
Perishable.biz
Still very much a work in progress, Perishable.biz is a site designed to showcase my expansive graphics collection. I have tons and tons of collected chunks, photos, images, artwork, and so on, and finally decided to share them online with a dedicated content management system. So far, I have only managed to post a few of my graphics online, but the site itself is pretty complete and built entirely with 100%-pure WordPress: no plugins, no hacks, no functions.php stuff — like a virgin.
Dead Letter Art
For those of you who continue to insist that “DLa is dead,” you may very well be correct. DLa is basically me and some old friends getting together once in awhile and sharing our artwork online and in printed format. Sadly, as we all continue along our own paths, there are increasingly fewer opportunities to collaborate and produce new material, but rumor has it that there may be something coming relatively soon. Shhh..
August Klotz
This site will someday help me to share and organize my biblical studies with other people on the Web. Right now it’s still in the Default-WordPress-Theme setup phase, but it is definitely on my list and should be in effect before the end of the year.

That’s all for now. Thanks again to all of my loyal subscribers and regular visitors for your continued and generous attention. Thanks for reading and may God bless each and every one of you.

Jeff Starr
About the Author Jeff Starr = Designer. Developer. Producer. Writer. Editor. Etc.
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40 responses
  1. I don’t agree with your point of view here Jeff. Of course a gun won’t kill anyone if let alone on a table, and neither will a chainsaw. The difference is that the chainsaw has been made to cut trees, whereas the gun’s sole purpose is to fire a bullet that will hit a living object with high velocity, thus causing serious injury, or death.

    You list list survival, and sport, as alternative uses for a gun. Well, hunting is killing animals. As for sport, I guess people who fire guns to entertain themselves could find something else to do.

    I still think that a gun can only bring suffering. It’s designed exclusively for it.

  2. Jeff Starr

    the gun’s sole purpose is to fire a bullet that will hit a living object with high velocity

    Again, a factually incorrect statement, Louis — I am a bit surprised at your clouded reasoning here. A gun may be designed to “fire bullets” at “high velocity,” but the target that is fired upon is not a manufactured component of any gun (or any weapon for that matter). Rather, it is entirely up to the individual as to how a gun is used and upon which sorts of targets it is fired. There is nothing in and of the gun itself that restricts its use only for purposes of hitting “a living object.”

    I know of many responsible individuals and groups of people who have never once fired their guns at any living creature. Such people use their guns for target practice, for sport, as a hobby, because they collect guns, or even for educational purposes such as studying the mathematics and physics behind high-velocity projectiles. Guns are also used in labs to determine the effects of high impact forces on various materials and in chemical reactions.

    Guns are also valuable in defense and survival. There are many who owe their lives and the lives of their families, cities, and/or countries to their ability to own and use guns. People protect their children with guns. People protect themselves with guns. Countries protect their borders with guns. And likewise for survival, guns are used to facilitate the acquisition of food by way of hunting animals for the many resources they provide.

    And this is just the tip of the iceberg. If you were to spend some time looking at the other side of the issue rather than simply making such statements as this:

    the gun’s sole purpose is to fire a bullet that will hit a living object with high velocity

    You may realize that, even though there are many people who misuse guns, there are many more who use them for many different types of activities, from personal enjoyment and sport to scientific study and manufacturing pursuits. Despite the ignorant majority, there are many who continue to use guns responsibly and intelligently.

  3. Guns are pretty scarce here in Australia. I’ve been to a firing range for the first time last year and fired a gun for the first time. It’s an experience.

    As for guns being safe, so long as the user uses it appropriately, I’m sort of on the fence. Whilst having a gun as a hobby is perfectly acceptable, and the physics behind one are interesting (and so are the modifications, like the physics behind a sawn off shot gun and hair trigger), it’s still a difficult topic whether or not everyone should own a gun for protection. On one hand, you may be able to protect yourself, but that could very well be from some idiot who owns a gun as easily as you acquired yours.

    I’m no expert on the matter… but all I am saying is it’s a difficult topic. I still think a Lego mindstorms system is the perfect excuse to spend the weekend programming a home security bot.

    Whilst I may be 23, I am considering purchasing one of these kits. To be able to program a robot of sorts would be an amazing experience :)

  4. @Jeff

    Naaah, I still don’t agree to that separation you make between the power to kill, and the will to kill. You’ve added one usage of a gun that goes along with sport : research. All right, but once again, I think it could be done differently if there were no guns.

    A gun may be designed to “fire bullets” at “high velocity,” but the target that is fired upon is not a manufactured component of any gun (or any weapon for that matter). Rather, it is entirely up to the individual as to how a gun is used and upon which sorts of targets it is fired. There is nothing in and of the gun itself that restricts its use only for purposes of hitting “a living object.”

    It’s like saying a cellphone is not meant to call people because it won’t call people on its own. Right, but it’s been built for it, damn it! A gun is built to kill. I don’t understand how you can see it differently. Of course it can be diverted from its primary usage to do some sport, or it can be used in physic labs.

    A gun is a weapon! How is that vision “factually incorrect” ? :o

  5. Jeff Starr

    I don’t understand how you can see it differently.

    Aww, come on Louis — don’t be so close-minded. ;)

  6. Oh, here comes the prickly topic of gun ownership. I’ll chime in and share my two cents, hope you don’t mine.

    My stand on gun ownership is still rather unclear. Perhaps I’ll find one when I’m done with my points. Every time a fatal gun shooting appears, and being a more emotional than logical person, I’d put the blame on gun ownership. After a day or two when I rationalize in my own thoughts, I recognize the fact that people invented tools, and are the ones who will eventually use (or misuse) them. So I came to the conclusion that it’s the person behind the gun that is responsible, not the gun itself.

    Yes, a gun is a weapon. A lethal one. That’s a given fact. Much like swords, machetes and etc, they are lethal when utilized in a manner by an irresponsible use.

    As long as the user stays sensible and reasonable, gun ownership isn’t a big problem to me.

  7. Well, I guess it’s a difficult issue to discuss. Anyway, if you’re going guerilla Jeff, may I suggest getting one of these? ;)

  8. I’d personally be happy if you actually run some ads, I often see great non-monetized (and sometimes inactive) blogs that could see more posts if only the author realized the value of it and allowed ads.

    And I hope you’ve done something to safeguard your home, the kitchen glass isn’t likely cheap ;) assuming the burglar does stop there.

    I’m subscribed to DiggingintoWP too, loved the latest “jQuery for expandable code boxes” post. I’d thought of looking at the source to figure out how it was, but was too lazy. Eager for the book, and for a topic like this, I think the PDF is good enough.

    Chris is an excellent designer (and has said he’s lazy to code), and you’re an excellent coder. I’m envious :) Maybe you could team up to build some interesting projects, a la’ Sidebar Creative.

  9. Jeff Starr

    Great to hear from you, Sumesh. I have a request in with The Deck, but will probably need to aim a little lower to find something suitable. About the lowest I would go in terms of advertising here on this site would be some of that BuySellAds stuff.

    Home is definitely more secure now. Lots of pit bulls, shotguns, and land mines just waiting for the next low-life crack-head who tries anything stupid. I hate to sound like such a redneck, but the criminals seem to be multiplying around here like locusts, so I must be prepared.

    Glad to hear you are subscribed to Digging into WordPress. Chris and I working diligently to produce the best book possible while also delivering some quality information at the book’s companion site. Definitely stay tuned!

  10. Mark Webb July 14, 2009 @ 5:46 pm

    Try textLinkAds – they work well for me and use up the smallest possible realestate/ In Blog terms, you get a few bucks a month for one word in your blog turned into a link.

    See if you can find the one on this page: http://www.scamdex.com/ScamBlog/2006/12/black-money-scam-as-seen-on-tv/

  11. Jeff Starr

    Hi Mark, thanks for the tip on textLinkAds — I am familiar with the name, but have heard rumors that Google does not look upon their service favorably. Is this the case, or should I go ahead and check them out?

  12. Mark Urquhart-Webb July 15, 2009 @ 11:58 am

    I’ve been running both since 2005 and not had the slightest problem (with Google/TLA ads). They have two modes of operation, the blog style where people pay to have a link embedded in one specific blog entry like my example, or in a user-defined space like on my home page (its; the yellow text just below the top nav bar).

    I’ve tried lots of other ad systems (CJ, Shareasale, ROIrocket etc etc) and never got more than a few dollars from them, plus there is the annoying aspect of having to find advertisers, signup for their program, find a suitable ad size/format and insert it somewhere.

    I trust Google Adsense – no sex, pharma, scam ads – and the link to Google Analytics lets you throw all your old stats programs away.

    :’) My referral link: http://www.text-link-ads.com/starter_kit.php?ref=25021 :’)

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