Archive for May, 2013

CA State Parks Rant #1

Sunday, May 26th, 2013

California has an incredibly groovy State Park system. It’s big, and it’s mind-bogglingly diverse. I’m continually baffled stunned, bemused, aggravated, exasperated, and nonplussed by the Parks management and by the CA State government which runs it. One source of bewilderment is Jerry Brown’s choice of Anthony L. Jackson to be  State Parks Director. He’s a long-time Marine Corps officer with no discernable connection to the problems facing the parks.

The more I read about the guy, the more I say WTF? But seriously, WTF? Some of the articles I’ve read try really hard to make it sound like he knows more about California’s State Parks than your average space alien, but they’re not very convincing. “Although lacking a formal connection to park service, Jackson links his military career to his advocacy for conservation and alternative energy.” But seriously, does alternative energy have a closer relationship to State Parks than working on a military base in Okinawa does?

‘ “I love the California state parks,” he said. “And I bought an RV in January (2012) …. We figured we would mark every state and natural park in the state of California in it, and since January, we have put nearly 10,000 miles on it” ’ Wow. He’d been visiting the parks for several months before he got the job. I’m so impressed.

Can somebody out there in web land help me out here? Why did this guy get the job? Is this Jackson guy really the one to turn around the troubled, twisted bureaucracy with the demented priorities? Couldn’t the Governor find anybody who’d even visited the parks before 2012? Does Jerry Brown even give a fuck about the parks?

Mini Sites for Everybody?

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

This is part of the ongoing saga of the development of Sort of, sort of not.

While I was doing data collecting and data entry for the directory section of realMendocino, I noticed that many of the local businesses and self employed professionals have no website at all. This doesn’t seem wise to me.

On the one hand, most of those folks don’t need a fancy-shmancy site; they’re not doing e-commerce, they don’t need to reach beyond the local community and people who actually visit the area. But, on the other hand, this is the Twenty-first Century. Fewer and fewer people use old-fashioned phone books. Every business needs some kind of web presence of their own, otherwise the only sign of their existence to many of their potential customers may be an inaccurate, rarely updated page on Yelp (or some such global corporate monoculture site). And that Yelp page is likely to have a nasty review by some grumpus who visited the store a year ago.

So, I saw a need to develop an option for mini-sites for these people. One easy-to-set-up, easy-to-edit page with the pertinent information about the business or service. They’d just need to fill out a few forms with info about their business, upload a few photos, pick some colors, define the order in which those elements are displayed, and *voila!* an instant mini-site!

It’ll be inexpensive (maybe $100/yr) for the people setting up the sites, but still a decent source of steady income for me, once I get a decent number of folks interested.

As is often the case with such things, actually developing the gosh-darned thing has turned to be vastly more complicated than it seemed like it would be. I’ve put a lot of time into designing the database, writing the scripts, securing it from malevolent code, trying to anticipate all credible contingencies, etc. But I’ve been persevering, and the monster is almost ready for me to draft a few friends to be beta testers.

Today, as I was working on some of the editing scripts, a new thought ocurred to me: maybe this isn’t just a section of realMendocino. Maybe I should offer the mini-sites to the larger web world. The scripts themselves are portable, I could set them up on a separate site and people in Hoboken and Biloxi could set up their mini-sites and I’d get rich. Or maybe it’d just get lost in a sea of other options which are supported by giant ad campaigns and stuff. Hmmm…

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