Wii package gets Nintendo Power-inspired newspaper play

I recently adapted a couple of posts from my Nerdvana site, looking at the Wii Virtual Console in light of the Wii Shop Channel’s planned shutdown and how to make the most of it, for The Pueblo Chieftain’s “Tech Thursday” page.

Chieftain graphic designer Jennifer Tate did an amazing job capturing the classic look of old Nintendo Power magazines with her nostalgic layout! You can check out the print version below.

I know nothing? Eat crow, damn it!

The modern web. Third party plugins galore. And the site-breaking conflicts that can come with them.

I spent most of the last 36+ hours hounding our CMS vendor after, it turns out, another vendor’s code broke our slideshows. (Not just on our site, but across the CMS’ user base.) Then their hotfix to address that broke all our ads (which run through yet another third party — would that be a fifth party?).

And every single one of these -rd/-th parties initially reacted to my reports of “something’s up on your end” with “Nah! Everything is fine! You’re crazy.”

But I’m not crazy. And I have the support ticket updates to prove it.

While all this was going on, I was also fighting our CMS team over whether or not the content-import jobs we run were slowing down dramatically — something that’s caused significant friction among out staff — and, eventually, they had to admit I was right (along with their other clients, apparently).

At least now, instead of blaming the user, they’re blaming … the hurricanes. For real.

It’s progress.

Why don’t archivists digitize everything?

Fascinating. Inspiring and daunting.

Archives @ PAMA

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Today on the blog we’re tackling one of our most frequently asked questions: “Why don’t you digitize everything?” and its related runner-up, “When will you be putting all your records on the web?”

As archivists we like these questions because they tell us that people are eager for access to archival records. They also show that people realize that not everything is digitized. Indeed only a tiny fraction of the world’s primary resources are available digitally. This doesn’t mean that undigitized records are inaccessible or not worth consulting, but you will need to visit us archivists to use them.

In fact, archivists and librarians themselves are behind the abundance of primary sources already available on the internet. From rare books to official records and from diaries to sound recordings, digitized resources have spread the word (literally) that the past informs our present and our future. In the meantime, both non-profit and commercial organizations whose…

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Award-winning videos from 2016

A video I shot and co-produced with Pueblo Chieftain reporter Peter Roper won second place in the multimedia category of the annual Better Newspaper Contest at the 2017 Colorado Press Association convention. “Remembering Hiroshima’s Empty Streets” featured World War II U.S. Army veteran Bruce Elson recounting his experiences in the Japanese city of Hiroshima after the atomic bomb explosion that helped end the war. The video was edited in Adobe Premiere CC.

I also edited “Columbus Day: Pride & protest in Pueblo,” which won second place in the breaking news video category and was shot by reporter Jon Pompia. The video was edited in iMovie for Mac.

I’m also proud to add that The Pueblo Chieftain was named Best Website-Daily in its category!

Now I Know: WordPress page template customization and more

I learned a lot about customizing WordPress Page templates over the past week while making some changes requested by our advertising team to their dedicated contact form.

We use a self-hosted WordPress site, with lots of help from the aptly named Formidable plugin, to give us flexible and powerful responsive contact forms, for everything from news tips to letters to the editor and more. (In the past, we’ve even used this to collect votes for the annual Best of Pueblo ballots, but our promotions team is using a third-party partner’s tool for that now. It’s OK … really.)

Back to the project at hand: Our business development manager wanted a more dynamic, and eye-pleasing, alternative to the functional but boxy form page they had before. A particular challenge was not only rotating between multiple photos, something I had to learn how to do (but has taught me a lot more about PHP, and storing and using variables, than I’ve managed to learn on my own impetus so far; can some programming progress be far behind?), but then using CSS to impose the form itself, generated by a Formidable shortcode, on top of the image.

The result (click for live example):

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The only actual content in the WordPress “Page” is the Formidable shortcode; everything else, from the headings and randomized background images to the promotional copy and “FAQ” links below, is hard-coded onto the custom Page template file. I may alter that eventually, but for now I was looking for maximum control to meet the “client’s” desired specifications — and I needed it fast. The content of the Page isn’t expected to change much, if at all, ever.

Fortunately, I’ve become quite familiar with child themes over the last year with my work on Nerdvana, so I know my new Page template customizations are safe from future parent theme updates. (I wish “child plugins” were a thing — I haven’t figured out the best way to update-proof plugin customizations, but that’s another matter entirely.)

Shout-out to my digital media/graphic design intern Severino Martinez from Pueblo Community College (soon to be Colorado State University-Pueblo) for help optimizing these beautiful background images in PhotoShop for this project.