Archive for June, 2004

June 30th, 2004

The return of improved commenting

I continued my adventures with the WordPress commenting, and implemented a decent solution for the error messages. Now the commentor is redirected to the commenting screen and the redirect URI contains suitable code to show the error message.

I also improved the look and feel of the comment form in the process. Now it looks good enough, so I can move forward to the next challenges.

Improved commenting

I improved the commenting system of WordPress to allow simple markup with Textile commands. The comment box has now also a preview area and very short help text to aid the writer to get most of the system.

The whole thing is done using JavaScript Textile code found in the network — see source code for credits — and thus no extra conversions are needed in WordPress. I really don’t have the guts to install any WP plugins or hacks, as the system seems very unreliable to me. I’m not very impressed with the WP source code, but I have to stick with WP for the time being.

The comment error reporting is one thing that sucks hard in the basic WP implementation. It is not nice to show just a text error message and hope that user will go back and try to fix things.

I tried to get it fixed by including the index page, but unfortunately my trick did not yield to any conclusion. If somebody has a solution, please inform me.

And, if you are interested in the comment stuff, please use the comment box for opening the discussion…

Second Dalí exhibition trip failed

[I have to write this article again, as I (or WordPress) got it accidentally deleted].

We were going to visit another Salvador Dalí exhibition here in Helsinki, Finland. One of our group got there before the rest and found out that the exhibition has been closed two days prior the official closing date. Instead, we visited quite dull Alvar Aalto exhibition at the Design Museum.

After getting back home, I read Helsingin Sanomat, the local news paper and found out that there are suspicions of forgery, and the police is investigating the matter. Too bad that we didn’t visit the exhibition earlier in June, when we were planning to.

Today, the plot thickens as Helsingin Sanomat wrote that there may be even more crimes found in the investigation: forgeries, copyright infringements and frauds. Doesn’t sound too nice…

June 29th, 2004

Dalí in middle of nowhere

Location of JuukaAs I mentioned in the previous post, I and my family visited Salvador Dalí exhibition in Kivikeskus, a Finnish centre for rock and stone industry (not rock and roll industry :).

The centre is located in the rural Eastern Finland, quite near the Russian border — from perspective of a foreigner. Locals would say that Juuka is on the western border of North Carelia, far away from Russia.

Statue in Dali exhibition in JuukaThe exhibition was surprisingly big; there were several statues and most probably over hundred sheets of graphic of different techniques. The collection is owned by a patron, who has some housing industry plant in the Middle Finland.

The settings were properly surreal. The vast, private collection of not-so-easy art of Dalí, was exhibited in the rural Finland, 70 kilometers from the nearest city (of 50,000 inhabitants). The place was surprisingly packed with people, most probably from the nearby Koli national park and hotel.

It was pleasurable visit, driving small dirt roads (Iain Banks would say great wee roads) through idyllic Finnish countryside — mostly forest and some fields here and there — and then ending up to a sleek, modern exhibition space filled with enjoyable art. We visited also the soapstone quarry, the ground zero for all stone related activities in Juuka.

June 28th, 2004

Midsummer in sunshine

Sun is setting at 23I was visiting countryside during the previous weekend. It was time for “Juhannus”, Finnish celebration for midsummer. The festivities date back to old heathen ages, when the solstice was celebrated. The image on the left was taken after 23 o’clock, and the sun was just setting.

We were fortunately in my family cottage on the shore of lake Höytiäinen in Northern Carelia, as the weather was excellent there and mostly dull in the rest of the country. I got myself burned in the sunshine — nice variation from the constant raining in Helsinki region.

The trip was excellent by any standards; good food, good people and good time. We visited also an exhibition of Salvador Dalí near our cottage… I’ll provide more details (and maybe some images, too) later.

June 23rd, 2004

Fourth hotel, too

The last missing accommodation for our next trip was secured yesterday, again directly from hotel’s on website. Maybe we are in a verge of problematic times for centralised Internet hotel booking systems? You get better deals from a) directly from the hotel, b) through travel agency and c) using name-your-price services.

June 22nd, 2004

One step backwards, two steps forward

I decided to ditch WordPress for the rest of the site, and keep it just for the journal. I suddenly started to worry about the number of database accesses for very static content, and replaced WordPress with my own tool — which is using mostly static content and no database at all.

In essence, I’m reversing my decision after two days in action. Should I spend more time designing and planning the site instead of hitting in the action? Nah.

I got also more flexibility in the bargain, as I can freely arrange pages and chapters, without needing to hack anything in the WordPress templates. Now I must have a cut-n-paste exercise to get the content to the new pages.

June 21st, 2004

Reserving hotels

I’ve been planning for the next trip a few weeks now — we’re going to Iceland and the eastern coast of USA, namely Boston, New York and Washington D.C.

One part of the travel planning is nowadays wading through different hotel reservation systems trying to squeeze the price as down as possible. I have played with Hotwire and Priceline, but got poor results (see earlier journal entries), and now I’ve to confess that the hotel reservation sites let me down, too.

We have now reserved three accommodations of four; all of them are reserved directly from the website of the hotel/B&B — and with better prices.

One of the reservations is with Jurys Doyle hotels, www.jurysdoyle.com, and I got an error message during reservation. This is not out of ordinary, these things tend to happen. I called the hotel to make sure everything is right, and it got promptly sorted out. That was yesterday. Today I got an apology from the Jurys Doyle e-distribution department and they also announced that the problem is being rectified. This is the first time ever I have got an apology because some e-service did not behave properly. If the hotel is as good as their service attitude, I’ll stick with them. Time will tell.