SigSpace - Drupal The drupal CMS en Archived. <p>Assuming I can figure this out properly, I am archiving this site in preparation to start over from scratch.</p> <p>I initially set this site up under Drupal 4.6 back in March of 2005. After not quite 5 years of experimentation, guesswork, not reading the instructions, and not staying current on updates (I'm not even certain which version is running at the moment, 6.something), I figure it's time to start clean, either with the current version of Drupal (likely) or WordPress or something (also possible).</p> <p>The content here will (if this works right) end up on, and the new site will appear at this URL.</p> <p>Sig</p> Drupal Site Notes Mon, 22 Feb 2010 20:35:00 +0000 sig 674 at User account fail <p>I had someone e-mail me recently asking how they would go about creating an account to allow them to comment. I had forgotten until I looked into it that I'd turned off do-it-yourself account creation. The spambots seemed to be abusing it, I recalled, but I couldn't remember the details. So I re-enabled it and went about my business.</p> <p>I looked into it some more and then I disabled it again. Spam accounts outnumber real user accounts by about 400 to 1. I need to look into the current Drupal software tools and modules and see what I can do about that.</p> <p>In the meantime, if you truly want a user account, shoot me an e-mail. If you just forgot your password, there's a link on the login box/page.</p> <p>I will try to write more soon, but my monitor is on a different floor from my computer right now, where it's fulfilling its actual primary duty as a television. Specifically, it is allowing my wife and I to watch <em>Supernatural</em> season 3 together from the couch--an option not available in front of my computer.</p> <p>Sig</p> Drupal Site Notes Thu, 20 Nov 2008 23:22:26 +0000 sig 610 at Leaving well enough alone <p>Since <a href="" rel="nofollow">my favorite content management system</a> is getting ready to release version 6, I thought I might as well get my own site updated to the latest in the 5.x branch so I'll be able to upgrade when it's time. While I was at it, I added some themes and selected a new default. There were a few that had great potential but then some massive fatal flaw; this is not my favorite, but it looks sharp and will do until my whimsy directs me elsewhere.</p> <p>However, since most of you read this via RSS, it probably doesn't matter that much.</p> <p>Sig</p> <p>PS- Why aren't the rest of you reading via RSS? I mean, seriously.</p> Drupal Site Notes Wed, 13 Feb 2008 05:11:35 +0000 sig 549 at Even my domain name is a killing word. <p>A persistently annoying problem I have been having with the site is solved--maybe.</p> <p>I like to rummage through the log files and see what's what. Aside from making sure nothing's about to explode, I like to see how people are finding my site. This is, for example, how I learn about the <a href="" rel="nofollow">teeming masses</a> needing to know why being on time is so important.</p> <p>However, since the dawn of time, the logs have been... confused. Hosting on <a href="" rel="nofollow">NearlyFreeSpeech</a>, my site has a public name that I have registered ( and a true, (not so) secret name ('s kind of a Muad'dib-Usul sort of thing. Until very recently, would load the index page like normal, though if you clicked on links, it would load the equivalent.</p> <p>Unfortunately, both were independently indexed by GoogleBot--they're considered separate sites. Worse (from my perspective), since Drupal "knows" that the site is truly called "," it considers any links on to be external referrers. From there, it degenerates to chaos and suffering. The details are not important.</p> <p>The sum of the mess is that it was playing havoc with my logs and confusing Google.</p> <p>Now, I had already used .htaccess to configure an automagic redirect from to It had not occurred to me until this afternoon that I could mess with .htaccess further and make it redirect to</p> <p>Anyway, I have made changes and while it seems to work for me, other people might run into issues. So far, the only thing I've noticed is that any URL from the domain will resolve to the main page of; if someone knows a way to resolve to, I'd love to know it.</p> <p>Sig</p> Drupal Site Notes Fri, 15 Jun 2007 21:27:59 +0000 sig 509 at Some minor adjustments <p>I have finally broken down and fixed a few things that were bugging me. It's not ideal yet, but it's better.</p> <p>First, I have downloaded and installed the current CAPTCHA module for v5.1 of Drupal. This will allow me to re-enable anonymous comments without approval; you just have to do simple math. Sorry, kind of a pain, but better than me checking the queue every few hours to see if anyone had written anything. Users with accounts, as always, can make fun of my grammar and spelling to their heart's content without any to-do.</p> <p>[As a side note, if you have an account but don't remember the password, that's what <a href="" rel="nofollow">the Request New Password page</a> is for. If that doesn't work for you, shoot me an e-mail (sig at sigspace dot net) and I'll make it right.]</p> <p>Second, and perhaps more importantly, I have found a fix for the image module so that when you click on "original" to see the full-size picture, it opens in a new window rather than doing that severely messed up thing it used to do where it would display underneath the sidebar and whatnot. That was totally unsat, and I'm not the only one who thinks so, but the module writer (bless his heart) considers it a minor feature request. I resorted to using a contributed patch that someone else had come up with, and it seems to work. If it does not, someone please let me know.</p> <p>In my ideal world, you could click on the preview version of the picture when it shows up on the front page, and that would bring up the image page with the explanatory text that no one but me reads; clicking on the photo on <em>that</em> page would then show you the full-sized picture in a new window/pane. I mean, really, who wants to look for an "original" link. Click on the picture. Pictures are pretty. If we're going to <em>insist</em> on using a graphical intarweb, we might as well make the pretty pictures into links.</p> <p>That's all I've got. My back is feeling somewhat better, and I have a lot more mobility. Putting my boots on is still quite difficult, but I can stand and walk around unaided, if slowly.</p> <p>Sig</p> Drupal Site Notes Wed, 13 Jun 2007 15:27:35 +0000 sig 508 at On colors and words and the thoughts behind them <p>It has come to my attention that the new theme does wretched things to certain PDA browsers, rendering my wisdom difficult to enjoy on the go. Can't have that, obviously. Several possibilities exist for a workaround: <ul> <li>Try a different web browser. I have no idea what is available for the PDA market, but it couldn't hurt to look. <li>Use an RSS reader. Now that SigSpace employs full-text RSS feeds, you can get all of the content with none of the formatting. has <a href="" rel="nofollow">a survey of some of the PDA options</a>. <li>Try a different theme. I have enabled half a dozen or so themes for the site just for my one PDA-based reader, though of course anyone logged in can change their preferred theme by clicking on <em>My Account</em> and then the <em>Edit</em> tab.</ul> <p>It's not often that I make changes based on the needs of one reader, but it's not often that my readers leave threatening voice mails on my home phone, either.</p> <p>The second major note is that after pondering and searching and upgrading and pondering some more, I've decided that there really isn't a good solution to my <a href="node/417" rel="nofollow">problems of classification</a>. I have several years worth of entries which are inconsistently and arbitrarily labeled, several different terms which are spelled exactly the same but which point to different things (e.g. an 'Afghanistan' for blog entries and an 'Afghanistan' for images), and assorted other confusion.</p> <p>Contrary to popular opinion and the results of even summary observation of my person, I highly value order and clarity. There being no <em>good</em> solution to the problem, I've picked the least of the worst--I cleared out almost all of the vocabularies for the site and am re-tagging every node--447 minus a few which have been deleted--with terms from a single new integrated vocabulary for everything but stuff like this: meta-articles about the site itself. I kept that vocab, since that sort of thing hasn't really changed much.</p> <p>I'm working my way back so that the more recent things get tagged first. All of the content is still here--it's just no longer classified. Since I'm easily amused by my own writing, I don't expect this to be overly onerous.</p> <p>In other news, the laptop's problematic video weirdness has manifested into complete nonfunction. The wheel is spinning but the hamster is dead. I haven't decided what to do about it just yet, but I'm kind of glad now that I didn't get around to activating the Windows 2003 Server install. Wish I could have finished my Jedi Academy game, though--I was almost done. Also wish I had the site backups on another machine.</p> <p>Sig</p> Drupal Site Notes Fri, 16 Feb 2007 06:23:18 +0000 sig 447 at State of the art <p>After much wailing and gnashing of teeth, SigSpace has jumped from Drupal v4.7.something to v5.1.</p> <p><a href="" rel="nofollow">Drupal</a>, for those of you joining us since last time we did this, is the content management system that powers this site. It's shiny. I've been using it since I started playing with v4.5 on my home Linux test box, eventually going hosted with <a href="" rel="nofollow"></a> almost two years ago. Every major upgrade is a minor trauma, mostly because I don't read the instructions and am never happy with the default theme.</p> <p>I started out doing everything right this time. I backed up the database and all of the files to the laptop, had a nice video tutorial even to guide me through the steps. Things were going well. I was happy. I was looking forward to playing with the new features.</p> <p>There is a brief interval during the process when my website becomes nothing more than an error message--the time between deleting the old files and copying over the new. This is the moment that the laptop chose to overheat and lock up. It does this from time to time--the main reason I found it in my possession (thanks, Travis!), in fact. Of course, my directions, video tutorial, and backups were all on the laptop. Brilliant work. I awarded myself an ArCom, screamed a little, drank some ginger beer, and waited for either the laptop to cool or for my wife to graciously relinquish the iBook.</p> <p>Before using it, I had to promise not to break it.</p> <p>A few hours later, the site is running again and most of the functions are enabled. I have no idea what I'm going to do for a theme just yet. I start over every time I do an upgrade because I take an existing theme and bastardize it--I have no mad CSS skillz to make one of my own. Unfortunately, I'm not seeing much that inspires me from the available offerings just yet. The new default theme, Garland, is actually pretty slick--it's just not what I want.</p> <p>Anyway, I'm up and running again. Expect content soon.</p> <p>Sig</p> Drupal Site Notes Tue, 13 Feb 2007 20:20:19 +0000 sig 443 at Matters of Classification <p>Perhaps you've noticed them: little links just below the title of the entry with cryptic titles: Afghanistan. War on Terror. Humor. Guns. Review. Technology. In theory, these items are there to help me better organize the site and help the reader find material that he or she is interested in reading. In practice, they're kind of a pain in the ass, largely because I really didn't know what I was doing two years ago when I set this up.</p> <p>Drupal, which I started using at 4.6, is a really shiny setup. It has many powerful options for doing all sorts of wacky things, well beyond the combination personal rant site and news reader that SigSpace is (, tell yer friends!). Among other things, it has a fairly powerful taxonomy system, with items and subitems and related-to and blah blah blah--I don't even remember all of it. You could associate certain categories and terms with certain types of posts (blog entries, images, site announcements, that sort of thing) and not with others, have a weird hierarchy thing going on. Obviously, I am not using it to its full potential.</p> <p>It was kind of overwhelming, particularly to someone who was just setting up a web site to test out the neat software. So I perhaps took a few shortcuts and made some decisions more out of curiosity and random clicking than would be appropriate for a site now approaching the dawn of a third year. In my defense, I never ever expected to use it for more than a few weeks.</p> <p>So we're saddled with the legacy of a category/term system not at all appropriate to use as a personal web log. I have active four categories for my day-to-day entries: Meta, Military, Entertainment, and Current Events. A fifth, Photos, is associated only with image updates. Each category has anywhere from three to a dozen terms.</p> <p>A few things become obvious if you look at the <a href="" rel="nofollow">sitemap</a>. First, some terms that I created have no or almost no posts for them. Others are overflowing. Second, not everything in my site fits neatly into those few categories. For example, I was going to write a post about going to the range with my new rifle yesterday--would that go under weapons (military), weapons (entertainment), or even family (in-laws)? Or maybe even Soviet history (military), since it's a 1938 combat rifle from the Soviet Union? [Astute readers will recognize that I received the rifle from my brother-in-law; other more casual readers may conclude that I am planning on using it on my in-laws. I am not commenting at this time, except to say that all options are on the table.]</p> <p>And furthermore, does it matter? If this were a massive site, I could see using this system more fully, but I really don't need it. I could have had a "flat" category/term system--maybe just "blog entries," for example--and had everything that I write about appear therein. As it is, "Afghanistan" in the photo category will take you to a different collection of material than "Afghanistan" in the military category, and that's just confusing.</p> <p>So I'm faced with some unpleasant options. I can rip out the categories entirely and put in the new simpler system--and recategorize every individual post on the system. (416 and counting). Or I can try to learn the SQL kung fu necessary to make some changes at the database level. Erm. Bad things tend to happen when I mess with powers beyond my comprehension.</p> <p>Neither is going to happen until after the upgrade to newly released 5.0, which will take a number of hours to install, fix, test, tweak, and configure. Delightful, entertaining hours, to be sure, but hours I can't in good conscience spend right now.</p> <p>I also hope to fix the annoying spambot comment trend--spambots that post gibberish and not even actual ads are severely irritating. If you're going to waste my bandwidth, at least try to sell me something.</p> <p>Sig</p> Drupal Site Notes Sun, 21 Jan 2007 15:49:17 +0000 sig 417 at OCS: On Civilian Streets <p>They had scheduled three days to demobilize at the state after they sent us home from Fort Sill. It really should have taken less than a full day. The first day we arrived, waited around for the civilian and Guard employees who didn't want to show up--"No, the Army was not called off on account of snow"--and then sat through mini-repeats of all of the briefings we'd already endured.</p> <p>It was, of course, suggested that I talk to a counselor of some kind. Again. The VA rep referred to my combat action badge as a "30% badge," being prima facie evidence that I endured combat stress. Yada yada. His tie tack was a golden set of jump wings with a star, so I was polite and attentive.</p> <p>That took about 20 minutes, honestly, to go around the different tables and pick up the literature available. Then we sat around for 3 hours until the finance guys arrived to help us fill out our travel voucher.</p> <p>The travel voucher form is virtually incomprehensible and way more complicated than it needs to be. We are trying to get compensated for what was basically a <em>15 month</em> TDY. The finance dudes were useless; we ended up kind of muddling through it all and hoping that it made sense to someone. Complicating mine were the three TDYs I took during mobilization--all of which had to be documented and some of which I'd already been paid for. Messy. I hope that they go through the first time, though, since I'm not entirely certain how we're paying rent and eating for the month of February. We were released around 1700 or so, four hours after we started.</p> <p>On Wednesday, we were to show up around 1000, sit through an award ceremony at 1100, and be released by 1230--no other tasks to accomplish. The award ceremony was only because the 1-star general insisted, and we try to accomodate those.</p> <p>What actually happened is that we showed up early to help set up, sat around waiting for a while, and eventually discovered that B Co was the only company who actually brought and prepared the awards for presentation. So ceremony cancelled. THEN we were waiting around for the rest of the battalion to finish their mandatory online training before we could be released--again, B Co did it all a week ago when we were first told to.</p> <p>Finally, word came down: we're done, go home. After sitting around for 4 hours, we had a small company formation, a very brief "Good war, everybody, let's do it again next year" speech, and were dismissed. &lt;/war&gt;</p> <p>So now I'm sitting in my living room. I slept in (!) until 0900, made coffee, and now we're watching what is in retrospect a hilariously awful cartoon--"Oh no, it's Tiamat <em>again</em>!" I spent a few hours unenthusiastically looking for work online last night, but there is very little out there that sounds like much fun for me. I don't want to go back to computer work, particularly, and there isn't much for people who are experienced and skilled at hunting down bad guys and killing them.</p> <p>Time will tell. There are options out there, and I'm reasonably healthy and mostly sane.</p> <p>In the meantime, I will be spending quality time with Mrs. Sig and my stupid dog. Also, Drupal 5.0 final is out, so I will have to upgrade. This means a new theme because I can never upgrade the old one properly. I don't know what I'm doing, but Drupal makes it possible.</p> <p>Sig</p> Drupal Site Notes US Army War on Terror Thu, 18 Jan 2007 18:49:13 +0000 sig 415 at End of the year nonsense <p>It's the end of the calendar year--and coincidentally, the end of the Enduring Freedom/Boredom year, which turned out to be more like 11 months.</p> <p>I thought about setting up a poll so my not-so-vast readership could vote on their favorite entry for 2006, but this would require me to look through them and choose some options, and as I like almost everything I write, I am so <em>not</em> the person to do this. Feel free to speak on this topic in the comments.</p> <p>I have a few favorites, but what I like and why I like something rarely impinges on the taste of normal people, nor could I hazard a guess as to the tastes of the rare slice of humanity that subscribes to my ravings.</p> <p>So now I should address 2007, I suppose, since it's almost here.</p> <p>I am expecting to be fighting evil a good deal closer to home in 2007. A few weeks after I get home, I have to go to Warrior Leadership Course, more commonly known as Platoon Leader Development Course. Two weeks on the government dime, it's required to make E-6 (Staff Sergeant). Since I'm not even a regular Sergeant, I don't know what the rush is, but someone signed me up, so I'll go. Afterward, I will be working full time for the National Guard in conjunction with some other government agencies. I am unclear on the details, even if I were inclined to share them, but I expect to actually use and improve my Russian at this job. I'm happy to stay in uniform, since I am not really interested in returning to the civilian IT sector; they don't arm you well enough.</p> <p>Socially, I have no real plans past <a href="" rel="nofollow">Urn's</a> birthday party, time/date/location still to be determined. I've missed the last two or three years and am anxious to catch up.</p> <p>Regarding SigSpace itself--</p> <p>I would like to see expanded readership, but not if it means writing about things I don't care about or churning out high volumes of garbage to keep people's RSS clients pinging. I won't say I do this only for myself, but I'm still the target audience--you all are collateral damage.</p> <p>Expect yet another layout when <a href="" rel="nofollow">Drupal</a> hits v5.0 (now in release candidate status), since it has too many shiny features not to upgrade. I would still like to finish and update this layout, but I always say that and it never happens. Regardless, I will be doing a lot of behind the scenes work to make this site cleaner and more consistent.</p> <p>In terms of content, I like to pretend that my opinion matters, so there will be more editorializing and reviews and possibly a little ranting. In the immediate future, I will have some sort of retrospective on Afghanistan, lots more photos, and a fairly large list of thank-yous. Military issues and the War on Terror are not going away--I've got four more years in my contract, if nothing else--but I'm hoping to provide more depth than I've been able to on borrowed computers and molasses bandwidth. I also intend to do more writing of a general nature, some of which may find its way here.</p> <p>In short, expect more and better things. I will try not to disappoint.</p> <p>Sig</p> Drupal Site Notes Sat, 30 Dec 2006 09:06:46 +0000 sig 408 at