Site Updates

Introducing the Demwazel Theme (Blog wonky!)

No doubt those of you who read my blog posts on a regular basis already know things have changed at DFE. But after two weeks of checking the last few bugs and such, I’m ready to call the Demwazel theme officially active and introduce it to you. So, like, here goes!

Demwazel (dem-wah-ZEL) ~ Hatian Creole, “Dragonfly”

So, that’s where the name came from. Or more specifically, it came from me trying the word “dragonfly” out in a number of languages on Google Translate. I settled on this one just because I liked the way it sounds.

When I originally started this website, it had a lot of goals. But chief among those was to be a platform for my development: at the time, I was only just starting to learn how to code web pages, and when the opportunity came up to get some web space cheap, I took it. Since I love to write, love to write about politics specifically and needed to have a large volume of content to work with, creating a site not unlike this one seemed like the most logical choice. Little did I know how important the actual writing and policy stuff would eventually become to me, not to mention my audience.

Since then, I’ve moved on quite a bit in terms of development and don’t need to show off as much. What’s much more important to me now is satisfying the needs of my audience in the most efficient way possible, which is what Demwazel is all about. The last iteration of DFE, while it was nice, was really just becoming more work than it was worth, especially since it was clear that most of that content couldn’t be updated regularly. The notion that I had to update my news feed; had to update my videos; had to check in on other writers to see if they wanted to write for the site; had to check up on current writers to see if they had anything new; then if I got around to it, actually write a blog piece was so draining that I began to hate the whole process.

So the new layout is clean and efficient, focusing on the way I have reintroduced myself to a much wider audience these days, which is link blogging on Twitter. You’ll notice at the bottom of this page there are now three columns of information, organized to be the most relevant they can be. The “Trending” column shows the most popular links and articles I’ve posted from by account. The “Current” column shows the most recent posts from my Twitter account, and “Recent” displays the most recent posts on the blog. These columns are a lot more convenient on the front page, where only a few words of my latest post are displayed along with these three columns, so you should be able to get a good sense of what I’m up to today in a moment’s glance.

(And while I’m trying to focus on content, geek that I am, I couldn’t help adding a little AJAX-ified flair. The columns of content actually auto update on five-minute intervals and the full text of my latest post can be viewed on the front page by hitting “expand.” Ah, I’m weak!)

One goal of the new layout was to provide a complete picture of the day’s events at DFE on a single “above the fold” view on tablets like the iPad and Xoom. For the most part, this has been successful, though I note with more than a little disappointment that none of the tablet browsers I’ve been able to sample from seem to render the new Web Fonts correctly! Guess that whole HTML5 thing is going to take longer than we thought, eh?

I’d love to hear your comments about the new design, if you get a chance. Leave a comment here or if you’d like to, drop me a line and tell me all about it. If you see problems, definitely let me know. Thanks and please enjoy the blogging!

Site Updates

Best of Rochester: We’ve Been Nominated!

City Newspaper’s Best of Rochester 2010

Fans! Readers! Twitter followers! Thanks to your love and support, DragonFlyEye.Net has been nominated to the Best Blog category of the Rochester City Newspaper Best of Rochester 2010 and we couldn’t be prouder! Well, we could be, if we won the whole thing, but one step at a time.

All of us here at DFE are proud to offer Rochester the very best news, entertainment and progressive political commentary that we’re capable of. And we’re even prouder that so many of you have joined us on FaceBook, followed us on Twitter and nominated us to the Best Of ballot for this year. It shows you care and we thank you!

We hope you help us go all the way this year by VOTING FOR US and passing along the link to your friends and family to vote as well.

And don’t forget to share the DragonFlyEye.Net FaceBook page with your friends as well!

Site Updates

Open Casting! DFE is Looking for New Writers

The site has been a bit idle over the last year or so, but we’re starting to ramp up a new round of blogging and political analysis going into the fall. And that’s where you come in. We’re currently seeking talented writers with unique perspectives to add to the conversation. Political writing is just one of the possible types of writing to be done on this site: music and culture, food and wine or technology writing would also look pretty flippin’ sweet on this site.

The biggest thing I’m looking for is voice and writing. It is important that new bloggers writing style matches or is complimentary to what is on the site. To that end, I’ve setup a guest blogging area for potential writers. Accepted candidates will be given access to this location to write an article or two, so we can see how the content matches the website. If it seems we’ve found a match, you’ll get your own blog to write to whenever you feel the inspiration!

Writers also get access to a few other perks, such as an email newsletter with tips and ideas for working with the DFE blog platform, WordPress, along with topics of interest to the site. There’s other stuff, too, but of course, you’ll have to be accepted to find out!

Writing for a blog site is fun. If you have a passion for writing and an interesting perspective on the world we live in, we’d be happy to hear from you! Please contact us at for more details!

Site Updates

Latest Tweets from 2009-02-19

  • Sign the online petition to have Extreme Makeover rebuild the house the plane fell on outside of Buffalo: #

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Site Updates

Have a Look at the New Photos Page!

One of the advances of moving to my new host has been the ability to reinstall and significantly enhance the Photos page of this website.  The plugin I use for this page is a data-intensive, database-straining plugin that overwhelmed my limited capacity on the old host and had to be disabled.  Now, I’m able to use the new version which implements some fairly snazzy JavaScript animation to make it look extra cool.  Check it out!

Note also that all of my pictures are covered by a Creative Commons Share Alike license.  That means that my pictures that appear on this website are free to use – even commercially – so long as any derivative works are released under the same license and so long as I’m given credit for the original photograph.  Use them in good health!

Site Updates

And we. . are. . . Live!

DFE has now switched over to it’s new platform.  Of course, it’s not as though you’re really going to notice it, looking at the site.  But the switch from one platform to the other has happened and we can get on with providing Rochester with all the commentary we have been known for!

Some things are, of course, a little shakey.  But otherwise, the switch happened remarkably easily under the circumstances.  In the next weeks and months, look for the News Updates to pick up considerably, including original content, a new facelift and a new home on the site.  My friend Jamie Piazza, who has been authoring Inner Space here on the DFE Network for the last few weeks, is going to be filling in as DFE’s new editor.

I’ve also gotten some interested parties looking to become featured bloggers.  So hopefully, we’ll have a whole new set of bloggers, plus I’ll be gently but frequently needling those who’ve already been writing, in the hopes that they might write a bit more often.

And of course as always, more things are in the mix that I’m not going to start blabbing about now.  Just keep your eyes glued to DFE and find out!

Site Updates

Argh! Avast-ye, Maties! Thar be Rough Waters A-hed!

It’s web host changing time here in DFE land, and I couldn’t be less thrilled.  True, there will be some significant improvements to the site going forward that won’t be possible on my current host, but the transition is not fun.

For example, changing registrars takes about a week or so, during which any updates to this current version of the site will be lost to the new version until it’s updated, and there’s no warning when the switch happens.  So, if you see this same post here in a week or so, you’ll know the switch has happened and I am frantically trying to pull together the updates for the site in the meanwhile.  Or maybe I just say “the hell with it,” I haven’t decided yet.

Beyond that, the challenge for me will be making sure that the new site and databases exactly mirror the old, otherwise there could be some complications associated with the move.  Yeah, that’s fun.

So, wish me luck, people.  The site will continue to be updated, albeit sparingly, over the next week and then the good times start after that.

Site Updates

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

Over the Fourth of July weekend and the week that followed, this site has been – with the exception of a few Twitter tweets, just for fun – on hiatus.  It seemed like a good thing to me to take some time off and regroup, gather strength and inspiration, before settling into the long, hot summer of presidential politics.  So, what did I do whilst I was gone?

Well, for one, I completely screwed up my website.  Many of you may have noticed that some of the links to the other blogs aren’t working, and that the news hasn’t been updated in a while.  That’s because I fucked up.  I installed a new version of WPMU and discovered a problem no one else in the WPMU community seems to be having.  Lucky me!  So, whilst I trundle through fixing my mess and reporting my findings back to Donncha, I will likely remove these things from the front page and posting may be a bit sparse in the meanwhile.  Sorry!

But on the upside, my wife and I traveled back to NYC for another vaction.  We stayed at the Hotel Empire, whose classic red neon sign burns high above Columbus Circle on Broadway.  Very, very small rooms, but a cool, ultra-modern vibe throughout the hotel.  In the wee hours of Saturday morning, while I snapped photos of the cool decor, the radio played a very strange dub-esque remix of Riders on the Storm by The Doors.  Nothing but bass line with occasional flourishes of guitar and keyboard trippiness.

We took in a show on Broadway called Passing Strange, which has been getting a lot of advertisement here and on other local blogs for a month or so.  As you might imagine, a show advertising on lefty blogs probably isn’t doing so well, and indeed, we got second-from-front row seats for Row F Balcony prices.  It’s unfortunate that this show is doing so poorly, because that means a lot of people are missing out on a great production.  This show explores the various illusions people impose upon themselves for the sake of vanity – not merely the kids in the play, but also the mother figure who regards herself as so grown up.  If you get a chance to support this one before it goes away, definitely check it out.

And of course, we spent lots of money on food.  People go to New York for lots of reasons.  For Sarah and I, it’s all about the food, shows and shopping.  We spent $160 on our first meal, and while that was certainly the most expensive meal of the trip, other meals weren’t off by all that much.  In fact, we paid $80 for breakfast on Central Park South at a place called Sarahbeth’s, making it the single most expensive breakfast I’ve ever eaten.  But it was good.  We also visited Anthony Bourdain’s Brasserie Les Halles again.

And then we went to Naples wine country and sampled the local flavour.  Upstate New York wine keeps getting better and better.  They’re even developing their own voice in the red wine department, a genre of particular challenges for northern, short season hill country.  We went to Sonnenberg Gardens and tasted a bunch of wines there, but I have to say that the Sonnenberg home itself is the most depressing place I’ve ever been to.  There’s something about the place that says, “these people only just died. Please be quiet.”

And then we went to the Seneca Park Zoo, checked out the new baboon enclosure and the elephant pool, and that was about it.  Fascinating, eh?

Site Updates

Completely Distracted, People.

I’m sorry to my readers for my noticeable absence/lack of posting to this blog.  I’ve tried to keep the news section filled with some goodness, but that’s about all I’ve been able to muster of late.

Those of you who know me personally know by now that I’m in the process of buying a house in East Rochester.  In fact, we are slated to close the deal on the 28th of this month in what can only be described as a whirlwind tour of the real estate market, having gone though the entire process in a rare twenty eight days.  Most of the legwork for this transaction has been done by myself and I am eternally grateful that this process happened in February when the workload at my job is relatively light.

All of this is to say that I’ve had barely any time to think of anything other than banks, lawyers, inspectors, furniture, carpets, movers, moving fish tanks, switching cable, switching gas and electric, scheduling trash pickup, setting up water, filing change of address, offers, counter-offers, stipulations, taxes, forms, signatures, paperwork, rejected paperwork, more rejected paperwork, and the magic words “cleared to close.”

Huff!  My wife and I have not eaten anything that didn’t come out of a box, bag or restaurant kitchen in the last month.  That being the case, it’s a wonder I’ve been able to post anything at all.

Next month will be better.  Thank goodness my other blogging friends on this network have been helping out!

Site Updates

Improved DFE News Feed

For those of you who have been using the news feed that comes off the upper right hand side of this blog, I’ve made a few improvements to it that you might want to use.  Grab the feed from Feedburner, here.

What’s better?  Well, all the news articles now link directly to the original source rather than having to go through the intermediary (and pointless) news blog.  Secondly, I’ve added tags and related posts for your edification, just like I have on the home page now.  Third, there is a “Discuss this @DFE” link that points to the Forums.

Hope you guys enjoy these new additions.  I’m enjoying keeping this news list going and keeping you informed.  And for those of you who are not currently subscribers, why not try it out?

Site Updates

New Feature at DragonFlyEye

I just wanted to point out that there is a new feature here at DFE that some of you may want to avail yourselves of. I’ve created a Google custom search engine that pulls exclusively from Rochester news sources including Channels 8, 10, 13 and R-News, the Democrat and Chronicle, City Newspaper, Rochester Business Journal.   Look for it in the sidebar, below the news updates. If you know of other news sources I aught to be including in this list, leave a comment here or contact me with whatever websites you think of and I’ll add them to the list.

I’m hoping that, at some point, Google will let us unlock the power of the News Search where we can order by date. There may yet be a way to do that with what I’ve got, I’m going to keep checking.

Site Updates

Monica Leubner. . .

. . .  takes Hillary Rodham Clinton and her campaign to task for planting questions at a campaign stop in Iowa.  Better yet, she takes HRC supporters to task for being weak in the face of their girl’s failure.  Just own up to it, everybody makes mistakes.