Quick Hits - January 27

Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed that the column of your favourite posts has been emptied. The good news is, this website now supports an Atom webfeed.

Is that sufficiently random for you?

Let me explain. For a while, now, glitches have been appearing on my Movable Type installation, generating a 500 Internal Service Error whenever I did things like, oh, post. Fortunately, comments were not affected, so far as I know. Still, I found this very frustrating, as you can well imagine. And then I discovered that the load that I placed on my system was a factor. If I disconnected the automatic generation of the Atom feed, the system worked better, although not perfectly.

But I couldn’t help but notice that Erin and the websites of Clarksbury were having no trouble, so the problem had to be with my installation. The solution, obviously, was to create a new database and reinstall my system from scratch. I’m pleased to say that Movable Type has significantly improved its ability to import posts from other installations, but I still incurred some hair-pulling time when I accidentally deleted about 100 posts between October 2004 and March 2005. Fortunately, I had backed up the old database, and was able to restore those posts after some tricky time restoring the old database, and thus completed the import.

I’m on the new system now and it’s working great (although I can’t do a full rebuild of my Category Archives without it timing out on me; what’s up with that?), and it has the full complement of RSS, RSD and Atom Feeds. So, Feed Away!

Disaster Detectives Encounter Disaster

Anybody watch the Discovery Channel? Anybody know what the heck happened with the television show Disaster Detectives? Look at that title for a second and tell me what that name implies. The first word is Disaster, so the show must be about disasters: crashes, weather phenomenon, earthquakes, etc. And the second word is Detectives. So this must be a show that talks about how people figure out how a disaster happened, like policemen at a crime scene. And, true to form, most of the promotional spots showed such disasters as mysterious air crashes, building collapses, train wrecks, and so on.

…Until now. Now, for about three weeks running, Disaster Detectives has been about a young family moving into a mysterious home and discovering that they’re not alone! Wooooooooooo! (clank chains).

So I have a few questions:

  1. Did Disaster Detectives run out of real disasters to detect?
  2. Since when is paranormal phenomena a disaster that needs to be detected?
  3. Psi-Factor called. They want their plots back.

I strongly suspect that Disaster Detectives may have jumped the shark.

And while I’m on the subject, at least the Discovery Channel still has cool science-related shows like Mythbusters or Daily Planet. What the heck happened to The Learning Channel when I wasn’t looking? Now it’s all Trading Spaces and surgery. And as for A&E, what was once supposed to be a commercial high-brow equivalent to PBS has gone for the lowest common denominator with Growing Up Gotti and Rollergirls. It’s as if Spike has bled across the channel divide and taken A&E over. At least Spike is honest about who it is and how it relates to its audience (testosterone city). A&E should perhaps rename themselves T&A.

Five hundred channels and there still isn’t much to watch. Oh, well. At least Battlestar Galactica is on tomorrow.

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