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Highlighted Search Terms

January 25th, 2006  · stk
If you have a b2evolution blog, you'll be interested in this plugin by Astonish Me!. It highlights multiple search terms and actually improves the relevant search returns. See it demonstrated and get your hands on a copy.

03-Feb-2007 - New Version!

Search term highlighting has been absent from this blog for several months (ever since upgrading from v1.6 "alpha" to v1.8.2 "Summer Beta" in July). The good news is that search term highlighting has RETURNED for v1.9.2 "Kyoto". It skipped the v1.8 series (might be gotten to work with it, however ... anyone want to try?).

It's different from the original a tad.

  1. One-click install - (no skin hacking)! :D
  2. Doesn't necessarily improve search results.**

**(It's 'brand new' and we're still testing it).

If you want to give it a try ... head here.

Finally, a Search That Works

I'm happy to announce that Astonish Me has come up with a plug-in that actually improves search results, in addition to highlighting multiple search terms.

First, this is "bleeding edge" stuff. It is really targeted for b2evolution versions 1.7 CVS and higher. It's loaded here, in a v1.6 "Alpha" release, but because v1.6 lacks certain SESSIONS PHP functions, it doesn't work perfectly. (Still, it's superior to what's available 'out of the box', and because of that, I'm using it and it's available for you to preview).

Check it out. Type a search term like "Alex" into the search box on the sidebar and hit "Go". See how the term is highlighted? Sweet. :)

Try more than one term ... such as "alex rachel" ... see how each term is colored differently?

If you're interested in finding out why it beats the standard search and to find out more about how you can get your hands on the plugin for your blog ... read on ...

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Updated: 18-Feb-2007
Web View Count: 7553 viewsLast Web Update: 18-Feb-2007
Filed in:Humor

Udderly Humorous

January 16th, 2006  · stk

A Political Science Lesson Using 2 Cows

This crossed my desk today and I couldn't resist posting it. It made me chuckle. (That's worth something in my book). If you've seen it before, then please add me to your e-mail joke list, because I just don't get many good ones anymore. If you haven't seen it, then I hope you enjoy it. (I changed the first one a tad ... ).


   You don't have any cows.
   Your neighbor has two cows.
   The government takes one fron the neighbor and gives it to you.
   After which, Barbara Streisand comes and sings for you.

   You have two cows.
   Your neighbor has none.

   You have two cows.
   The government takes one and gives it to your neighbor.
   You form a cooperative to tell him how to manage his cow.

   You have two cows.
   The government seizes both and provides you with milk.
   You wait in line for hours to get it.
   It is expensive and sour.

   You have two cows.
   You sell one, buy a bull, and build a herd of cows.

   You have two cows.
   Under the new farm program the government pays you to shoot one, milk the other, and then pour the milk down the drain.

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Updated: 27-Feb-2006
Web View Count: 64172 viewsLast Web Update: 27-Feb-2006
Filed in:Alexandra

Oop Hits the Ice

January 8th, 2006  · stk

What is there to do on a cold winter's day in Edmonton? We thought a trip to the neighborhood ice skating rink would be fun for our 2+ year old daughter. Guess what? We were right! See video and read about Alex's first time ice-skating ...

Alex's First Ice Skating Attempt Video

Alex (& Dad) Try Ice Skating at the Neighborhood Rink

Ever since Rachel bought a pair of used ice skates at a garage sale for a dollar, she's been anticipating the opening of the Montrose community center ice skating rink, which is just a block away. The warm winter thwarted her plans, until recently. During the past couple of weeks, while on Christmas break from the University of Alberta, she has been ducking out at night for free skating. (Since we can't leave the Oop at home, by herself, Scott ... (aka "California boy") has had a convenient excuse to avoid the slippery sport).

All that changed this past weekend, when Rachel finally found Alex a pair of "Bob skates" (inexpensive, double-bladed, strap-on skates for toddlers). She somehow managed to get Scott to come along and "take pictures", which was fine, as we knew the community league didn't rent skates and Scott didn't own any ... so he thought he was "safe". (Turns out that they have a bunch of free loaners and Scott, who knows tons more about oranges than he does about ice skating, amused the locals by donning a pair and tearing around the rink). If he had only known ... he would have made up some excuse and stayed home ... and you might not be watching this video of Alex's first encounter with ice skating. As it turned out, the skating encounter was very positive, for both Alex AND Scott.

In Scott's eyes, Rachel is an accomplished ice skater (she can turn, skates backwards, appears quite comfortable on ice and doesn't cling to the boards for dear life). We weren't sure how Alex would take to the ice, considering that she still has difficulty maintaining a vertical profile - either walking, running or negotiating around just about anything.

We were quite impressed by her "skill" and enthusiasm for the hard slab of frozen water. She had a great time and wanted "more" and has even talked about skating again (a sure sign she truly enjoyed it). She laughed as we dragged her about, legs splayed and skates at odd angles ... whizzing about the rink in Mom's steady grip. She also enjoyed being carried, twirled and speeding along with the wind in her face. (Her least favorite part, however, was with her on the ice, actually trying to propel herself forward ... though as the video shows, she gamely gave it a try.)

Poor California boy. Sore ankles, banged knees and (compared to Alex) at a severe height disadvantage for falling. Fortunately, he only plummeted to the ice once and actually (in his defense) did a pretty fair job of skating. We think the locals were disappointed though. Knowing that he was from California and not used to the frozen stuff, a couple ventured out to watch his attempt at skating. When they saw he wasn't all akimbo and the comic scene they had imagined a Californian might present, they headed back into the warmth of the neighborhood hall.

Mom & Alex now have skates. There's a free, outdoor community rink a block away. For sure there's several more months of frozen arctic weather ahead. Gee, there's even free skates for Scott. To Rachel's delight, it looks like we'll be skating more.

"Oh boy," says Scott, "I can hardly wait."

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Updated: 3-Feb-2007
Web View Count: 11653 viewsLast Web Update: 3-Feb-2007

Orange in Edmonton

January 5th, 2006  · stk

The Penn State Nittany Lions football team finished #3 in the Nation during regular season play. They also won the Jan 3, 2006 BCS FedEx Orange Bowl against FSU (26-23)! It took a record-long, triple-overtime to win. See video highlights of the game ...

Penn State Nittany Lions win FedEx Orange Bowl
Takes Record-long, Triple-Overtime to Top FSU 26-23

I know a thing or two about oranges, growing up in soCal with citrus trees growing in our yard. The intoxicating, fragrant smell of orange blossoms in the spring. The tree-ripened sweetness of oranges, tangerines and grapefruit.

The downside, is knowing what good citrus tastes like. It's rare that oranges purchased from an Edmonton grocery store live up to that standard. They're usually pithy and dry (frost-bitten), bruised, green or over-ripe. Even when they're juicy, they lack that tree-ripened sweetness.

So ... knowing oranges ... a blessing or a curse?

A Penn State football fan, I knew about the January 3rd Orange Bowl meeting between the #3-ranked Nittany Lions and #22 Florida State University Seminoles. The problem? Living in Edmonton, Canada. Here, New Years Day isn't synonymous with College Football Bowl games. I didn't check (because I was busy remodeling a certain bathroom), but I don't think ANY bowl games made into local programming on New Year's Day.

So, without on-air reminders, the evening of January 3rd appeared like any other New Year night.

Fortunately, while I was checking my email, I noticed someone reading the Geographically Challenged article on our web-site. "OMG," I realized, "I'm missing the GAME!!"

By the time I tuned into a radio broadcast, it was near the end of a (scoreless) 3rd quarter and Penn State was holding a narrow 14-13 lead. Depressed about missing the majority of the game I listened to a 4th quarter that looked like it would end with a Penn State win in the waning seconds ... as it turned out ... there was still LOTS more football than that!

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Updated: 5-Dec-2008
Web View Count: 17001 viewsLast Web Update: 5-Dec-2008
Filed in:Alexandra

A Brown Christmas

December 24th, 2005  · stk

For those feeling sorry for us because we're hip-deep in snow and frosty cold weather, I can only say, "Don't be." While it doesn't look like we'll be hitting the forecasted high of 11°C (52°F), it is currently 6°C (43°F) outside. Not exactly frostbite weather and a far cry from the -8°C (17°F) that is the normal high for this time of year.

Nearly all the snow has melted off of the ground and we're barely getting below freezing at night. I'm not certain if this is a global warming trend, but regardless, our warm blood isn't complaining in the least. We even braved the dark last night, preparing barbequed beef for supper.

So Santa will be in for a rough landing on the very steeply pitched roof, tonight! Skids will scrape the bare shingles, as he comes to a grinding halt. We might even manage to crack open a shutter tonight - something we wouldn't consider most years, for fear of freezing instantly, in our half-naked and sleepy condition.

Speaking of the fat man ... Alex did, indeed, meet the cheerful guy. Yesterday, she went out with Mom and grandparents, to show the other toddlers how it's done. When her turn came to meet the big dude, she raised her arms and waited to be scooped up. He was thrilled to finally meet such a brave little girl, that he managed a chorus or two of song, while the photographer (taken aback by friendly little Alex, was caught unprepared and scrambled to get the camera set up). We think that the photo turned out wonderfully and were only partially distressed to learn that she hadn't bothered to ask for a thing. She still hasn't learned that Christmas equals presents, but I imagine that the naivety will end come next year's celebration.

Alex also managed to woo a local news production crew into filming her, as well. She made a brief appearance on the six o'clock news, though the segment was mainly about waiting until the last minute to do Christmas shopping. Alex was in the reporters arms, while she asked Mom, "Why have you waited until the last minute to go to the Mall?" Mom's answer was, "Well, because Grandma and Grandpa have just arrived from Vancouver." The camera pans to two beaming grandparents thus ending the Oop's first T.V. appearance, in which the back of her head, made a brief, public debut. ;)

So tonight we'll turn on lights, host some cross-town friends and grandparents, watch Alex bounce around from attention, sugar and anticipation, then we'll head to bed, listening for the loud "thump" sure to wake us up from slumber!

Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!

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Updated: 26-Feb-2006
Web View Count: 8873 viewsLast Web Update: 26-Feb-2006