After almost two years of web searches, guides, tutorials and mucking about, I finally have a stable install of Django on OSX. For anyone who has gone the painful route of trying to get Django running smoothly on a Mac, I highly recommend free and open source Bitnami DjangoStack, which installs and is ready to go in just a few clicks. The stack includes Django 1.0.2, but will be updating to the latest release shortly, as one of their developers told me after I posted about the stack on Twitter.
Unfortunately, my adventures with Django only lasted a couple of days, as I was tossed into the deep end of the pool with Drupal this week. I’m working on building an e-commerce site, but the theme system in Drupal has my brain tied in knots. That’s what I’ll be working on for the next couple of weeks.
About a month ago, I traded my brick of a Creative Labs Nomad Zen Mp3 player for a Sony E Series Walkman. My Nomad lasted more than 4 years. If my Blackberry had better audio output (the volume on the Blackberry Pearl doesn’t go loud enough to be heard over the sound of the subway) I’d have used that, but I heard about the Walkman from Dave Winer’s Scripting News blog, and I love it. No, it doesn’t sync with iTunes, but I don’t want it to. The Walkman makes it easy to take in the podcasts I love while I’m walking or on the Subway. That’s all I want it to do.
On the subject of podcasts, I regularly listen to Dave Winer and Jay Rosen on Rebooting the News, Dave Stanton & Co., on Journalism Now, as well as some basic news analysis like Talk of the Nation, NOW on PBS and On the Media. I also listen to the New York Times Front Page podcast, just to see what the Grey Lady thinks is important today.
I also discovered that the New York Public Library has a great digital collection that can be checked out and downloaded online. My recent bedtime stories (audiobooks have been my salvation from insomnia since I was very young) have been the works of Orson Scott Card. I read the Ender’s Game series when I was in middle school, and again in high school, and again in college. But I never read Card’s less famous work. I’ve enjoyed Lost Boys, Hart’s Hope, Enchantment, and the Alvin Maker series immensely. Just my brand of fantasy+philosophy+sci-fi. I’m currently listening to Songmaster.
I realized something recently about my reading habits online. I use Google Reader to collect most of my news and information. Sometimes, I don’t have enough time to read everything, so I “star” things that I want to read later. The problem is, sometimes when “later” arrives, instead of reading and synthesizing something, I just bookmark it in Delicious. So now I have over 2,000 bookmarked items, a large part of which I haven’t even read. Lame.
In the same vein, I’ve been thinking about how I use Publish2. Most of the things I link to on P2 are blog posts and news articles relating to journalism. What people are doing and thinking and seeing for the future of the industry. I want to be able to share more fluidly, and while P2 can import shared items from Google Reader, not everything I share among my GR social circle is P2 material. At the same time, maybe I should go back to the slow method, take my time to add comments and quotes and tags, so my links will be more valuable.
On the subject of links, I have to confess that one of the reasons for this blog post was to test out Apture, a plugin that lets me add videos, images, Wikipedia, links, maps and more with just a few clicks. I have to say, I’m likin’ it. Another reason is that I’ve been out of the blogging groove for a long time, and this is yet another attempt to get back into it. I’ve been busy, and sometimes Twitter is so much easier, but I really think that it’s important to maintain the practice of long-form writing.
I think this blog design is one of the problems, though. It’s intimidating to think that I have to find images of a certain size for each post. And the design makes me feel like each blog post has to be an essay, instead of a few short paragraphs of thought. I’m not sure what the solution might be yet, but don’t be surprised when things start looking different around here.