August 2008

How not to cover a fire... the KTVB example

Boise had a devastating fire on Monday evening. When all is said and done a woman died, ten houses were destroyed and many more damaged. The Idaho Statesman has very good coverage. This post is not, however, about the fire but is about the coverage of the fire. Lacking a TiVo in our current setup I wasn't able to do a comparison between the different networks. As such this is then a critique of the coverage done by KTVB. One word sums it up.


However stopping there wouldn't do this story justice. At the same time KTVB is producing content that is embarrassingly bad they are bragging about it not just on the air but on Twitter as well. More about that in a bit.

Breaking News?

Let us start at the beginning, just after the fire raced into a southwest Boise subdivision. Within an hour of the fire hitting the houses KTVB broke into regular programming with the breaking news. I watched the next hour or so of coverage. In that time viewers learned:

Getting rid of filing cabinets

Moving is again in our future. We moved last December into a house we planned to stay in six months. Well we've stayed on past that and are now ready to find the next stop on our journey. It will be nice to finally unpack some of the boxes we've left packed knowing "we won't be here long".

One of the things we had intended to do before we moved last time was get rid of the file cabinets. We have lots of papers to keep and that we need access to but hauling around file cabinets doesn't seem the best solution. However with the rush that comes with moving it did not happen. This time, however it will get done. To that end I picked up a
[amazon B000WJCX18 inline] from Amazon today.

If anybody has experience or suggestions on the best methods for setting up a system please feel free to leave some comments here. With a good-high speed connection and solid backups I'm thinking of keeping the archive in the home office and storing an offsite backup. But what methods do folks find best. Of course in my mind this ties into a nice Drupal document repository that will keep it all together and store resources galore.

SXSW has some yummy looking Drupal panels that could use your support

I'll be the first to admit that it took me long enough to get around to doing it but now that it's done you should too. What is the wonderful "it"? Voting to get some great looking Drupal panels in the lineup at SXSW 2009.

The good news is getting it done is simple. All you need is an easy to create account and then visit the pages for the panels and give them a high five (stars that is). And to make that easy here's a handy list of the panels being offer:

The problem with using a good web framework... or how to fix the Node Add form

One of the problems with working on a great web framework is one makes assumptions about where the bugs lie. It is much easier to believe that the code I've written has a bug than that framework has a bug. Compounding the problem when you check out a website like and don't find a mention of the problem that perhaps you're the only one who has ever had the problem.

Such is the way I spent the morning. Working on a site and watching chunks of hair turn grey while searching for my mistake. Then in the latter stages of testing, having eliminated my code and all the modules that one starts to look at Drupal Core with a questioning eye. And that is when I found the bug, with comments and all, hanging out in the node module.

A busy evening in Boise

A busy night in Boise tonight. So many great meetings and opportunities to choose from. The Idaho Press Club has a forum on the impact of the internet on television. Meanwhile over here at the Washington Group building the Boise Web Technologies meetup is hearing about PHPUnit testing and Zend Framework from Brad Benner and Rich Benton.

Inspired by walkah

I've been meaning to get it done and walkah finally pushed me over the edge. The blog is now up on Drupal 6. A few of the things that were here will be re-worked and and the theme will need some tweaking to get it looking right. Nitobe is a cool theme but there are a few things I have in mind for this space so it will evolve for sure.

NBC Olympics and equestrian coverage

I'm rather surprised and pleased with how good is this time around. Sure there are annoyances like expecting users to download a Microsoft plugin, although it appears that the plugin is even available for Linux and Firefox. The site and approach aren't without their flaws. It remains clear that NBC doesn't grok the internet. They don't understand how people want to access data and they require you to click through a screen which says you subscribe to a local cable/satellite service as well as provide a zip code so they can target advertising on the page to their local affiliate.

So I'll certainly give the benefit of the doubt and say it looks like progress. I'm looking forward to the olympics of the future where networks compete globally and if the BBC has the best equestrian coverage I can not only view it easily but download and remix it in ways they never intended.

For now, this is better than a sharp stick in the eye. Although the next DirecTV terminator advertisement it might not be.

From bizarre to absurd

I wrote recently about the terrible G-Technology customer service experience with my G-Drive Mini Triple. After getting it off my mind I figured it would be the last I'd write on the subject. However tonight I'm convinced that there must be a time-sync or time-warp on the thing to go along with the impressive heat sync.

Picking up where the story left off I'd since sent two separate email inquiries about the status of the case. One, two and then three days passed with nary a response. In fact I still haven't gotten a response. I did, however, get a new drive so consider the issue resolved. And then tonight the event leading me to believe there is a hole in the fabric of time around this drive. I received an email from the store that sold the drive telling me my drive shipped today. At least the FedEx number was correct and correctly showed the drive arrived over a month ago.

So I'm cautiously loading the drive with some data. Hopefully it's not gone for good this time.