Category Archives: technology

Overzealous Comment Spam Detection

It was recently brought to my attention that some legitimate comments have been captured by my spam trap and held hostage. Unfortunately, because I had never checked the junk-mail bin on my blogging system until this morning, and comments were being summarily executed after having sat in the bin for more than five days, there is no way to know how many innocent comments were killed without a fair trial…


Learning jQuery

Over the past month or so I’ve been having an affair of sorts. No, not THAT kind of affair. I’ve just been splitting my time between English Rules and my new techie blog, Learning jQuery. jQuery is a new JavaScript library that lets programming neophytes like me do cool things on web pages. It’s what has allowed me to dynamically load “noteworthy articles” and my “blogroll” in the Widescreen Bonus section of my web pages. It made my secret, Harry Potteresque, skeleton-key style switcher pretty easy to accomplish. And it helped me slick up the home page of the David LaGrand for State Senate web site with images that fade in and out and big buttons that reveal forms for ordering bumper stickers and yard signs.


Amazing Leaping Ability

I’m not sure what this says about me, but one of my favorite techie blogs lately has been Popgadget, which is all about “personal tech and innovative lifestyle for women.” Last week they featured one of the coolest gadgets I have seen in a long time — so cool in fact that it makes the Segway look dorky. Well, I suppose the Segway makes the Segway look dorky. Anyway, according to Popgadget, Powerisers jumping stilts let you “leap up to almost 6 feet high and … run up to 20 miles an hour without having to grow wings” …


Modern Transportation

At the end of the work day on Friday, there was one last thing I needed to read on a web page to help solve a problem that had been vexing me for a couple weeks, but I knew that if I took the time to look at it in the office, I’d miss the bus and have to wait an extra half hour for the next one to pick me up. So I grabbed my work-issued laptop, tucked it into my backpack, and rushed off to the bus station…


Site Enhancements

Maybe it’s the summer doldrums that have been keeping me from posting an entry on this blog for the past couple weeks, or maybe it’s the photography gigs I’ve had, or maybe it’s just the lack of anything interesting to write.
One thing is for sure, though — I haven’t been collecting dust . . .


Online Grocery 2.0

The Grand Rapids Press featured an article in its business section yesterday about the local grocery chain Meijer starting up a new online store — — focusing on gourmet, upscale, and hard-to-find items that shoppers might not be able to find in their brick-and-mortar stores…

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Brand New Design, Same Old Site

If you’ve visited English Rules lately, you may have noticed a few changes around here. The site is sporting a brand new look, which evolved out of a little collaboration with a friend at work, Jennifer Wetzel. Jennifer and I struck a deal a few months ago to help with each other’s sites: She would design a “mockup” for my site in Photoshop, and I would help implement a new site for her. So now Jennifer has a cool new site,, to display her gorgeous design work, and I have a fresh way to display all the stuff that has been accumulating here for the past couple years…


Freelancing for Friends

My evenings (and early mornings) have been pretty crazy over the past few months. After coming home from work and eating dinner, playing with the kids and putting them to bed, spending a little time with Sara and taking care of a few household chores, I’ve been sitting down at the computer and cranking out a few web sites.
A friend of mine in Grand Rapids has a few web sites…


Viral Videos

Video is all the rage on the internet now for people with a broadband connection and a little too much time on their hands. Sites such as YouTube and Google Video are garnering millions of visitors as user-published video clips–some legal, some not–find their way on the web.
Two videos that I’ve found especially entertaining recently are…


The (New York) Times They Are A-Changin’

Dramatic changes are afoot at the New York Times website. First they hire one of my favorite web-design bloggers, Khoi Vinh, to head their web design department. Then they release their beautiful new look that just about everyone is raving about. Jack Schafer of thinks it’s so good, in fact, that he’s ready to cancel his subscription to the paper version.
Unlike my brother, who doesn’t trust “that liberal newspaper,” I’ve loved reading the Times online for years. My favorite part is…