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Profile of the launch -- Joomla reborn

I've been helping out Scott McGinnis with a revamp of his web-videos-for-kids and tweens site, Global Broadcast 4 Kids, aka

Scott was a pretty successful actor in the 1980's, who transitioned to directing in the 90's, and like a lot of directors in Hollywood, got his first chance behind the camera courtesy of Roger Corman. After a stint making low budget features, he went on to direct episodes of "Angel" and the TV series "Honey I Shrunk the Kids", and for the last few years, has been producing educational webisodes using Prosumer video equipment, and editing the episodes on a Mac with Final Cut Pro.

The subject matter and production values aren't that much different from what you might expect to find on basic cable networks like The History Channel or Disney Channel. The GB4K "twist" is that all the segments feature kids and teens as the newscasters, reporters and narrators. GB4K has already proven to be a great training ground for a number of its young "stars", as GB4K alumni have gone on to success at the Disney Channel, and in feature films. There's lots of material in the archive, and he creates a number of new episodes each week, from sports and entertainment news, movie premier "red carpet" interviews, how-to videos on dancing and skateboarding, history channel-esq features on subjects like Guitars and Merry-go-rounds, and environmental science and the latest in Green living practices and Green news. The site also includes music videos he directed and produced for Amber Lily and Jadagrace Berry. A great example of what Scott is able to accomplish as a one-man directing, production and post production crew, is the Jadagrace "Express Yourself" video, which in my opinion compares favorably with music videos costing 10-20x as much.

Despite having a substantial library of video content, frequent updates, and a clear cut audience, problems with the website had put GB4K into a holding pattern.

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The 6 Million dollar site!

We can rebuild him. We have the technology.
We have the capability to make the world's first Bionic man.
Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before.
Better . . . stronger . . . faster.

After several web years having earned some sort of living from the development of interactive systems, I felt it was finally time to sit down and get started on a project that has been in the back of my mind for much of 2004. Namely, to relaunch, using database driven technology (in this case the popular LAMP combination [Gentoo Linux running as a UML instance on a coop server coowned and operated by myself and a bunch of people I met virtually through the Linux Users of Los Angeles, the Apache Web server, Mysql database server and PHP scripting language] as the platform for a php based "blogging" server called Serendipity. I realized some time ago that the original (which was always plain old html, created primarily in Dreamweaver) had always been designed to be a "Blog" of sorts, only I began it long before anyone had actually coined the term. Back in those days you just called it a homepage or personal home page. What I always wanted was a site that I could use as a repository for notes about my various projects, diary entries and musings about the places I've been, music I listen to, books I've read, movies I've seen, people I know, products I like and dislike, and things that I find interesting.

For quite some time the task of sitting down and manually updating things in the static html pages that comprised GizmoLA have made it an onerous task. The site has also moved a number of times and in the process things that were originally on the site broke or became obsolete.

I have a variety of goals for this new system, and I'm betting that Serendipity, which is still very much in Beta, will be the platform upon which I can build the type of site I have always wanted. As I work on converting the original Gizmola over, I'll try and elaborate on my goals, and provide an occasional update in the process.

My first order of business will be to convert some of the old articles over (or not, I haven't 100% decided how to proceed), and create a template that reflects as much of the original design as makes sense. This will certainly be an adventure in wrangling html and .css.

Another important aspect of what I want from my blog is the ability to include code and diagrams in certain blog entries. From what I can see this will probably be the first thing I'll need to create a module to do, unless I can find one that already exists. I did look hard at using the popular PHP blog package WordPress, even to the degree of installing it and adding in a few modules. I can't say for certain that my experience with Serendipity will be better, but the module architecture for Wordpress required me to do a lot of manual editing of existing scripts which didn't strike me as particularly modular.
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Server move

I moved onto a new server last night. There will no doubt be some things broken, as I begin the long overdue process of completely revamping the site. If you see anything odd drop me a note over at the forum.
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Code Red

As CodeRed mania sweeps the Internet, I thought it might be interesting to determine how many times this site has been probed/attacked. As you might know, CodeRed is a virus that infects Microsoft IIS webservers which have a certain ISAPI filter for indexing turned on. Linux servers aren't at risk. I found a simple script that awks the log files looking for the CodeRed signature.

This page shows how many times has been probed recently.
I was surprised to see the results.
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It's been a while since I updated. I have plans to move the site to a new server I bought and have been configuring. Part of the process involved getting my new ISP in place (thankfully, and after numerous false starts) I now have DSL again, courtesy of Megapath Networks. The new server is setup with RedHat 7, and is hosting several small gaming sites: Cali Tribes Players and LaLa-Lan. Eventually I plan to move onto it. So obviously, I've been working on a few side ventures.

I'm also playing a lot of Ice Hockey at Culver city and Burbank, and learning PHP and MySQL in the process. I think I can now be considered officially nocturnal, as I find myself up most nights. Lately I've been playing a fair amount of Tribes2, and my Tribes2 team has climbed into the top 10 of the teamwarfare ladder. This is somewhat contributory to the nocturnal lifestyle, although I think the primary reason is that I'm just basically a night person, and without the constraints of a regular job to attend, my free running cycle allows for me to sleep when I'm tired. As I write this, it's 5:40am and I'm still awake.
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Deadly Embrace is just about done, so I've been working a lot on the ZForums to support it. I wanted to have some fun with the embedding capabilities. Let me introduce you to the Gizbot, the stupid dancing flash robot. I extracted him from an animated gif and added music by Prodigy. You never know where he might pop up.

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