Beautiful artwork, animation, and sound design. Amazing work.

Just like modular synthesizers, people connect with each other in order to achieve diverse objectives. In Voltage, robots, half-human and half-synthesizer, powered by a huge amount of energy, connect to each other in an electric and chaotic trance.

Output default thumbnail in Movabletype 4

In a recent website redesign I wanted to have a simple article photo thumnbnail beside the title in a recent articles list placed in the site’s sidebar.
Using Movabletype 4’s asset manager this is relatively painless to implement unless their happens to be no assets associated with that entry. In that case MT will output the title without thumbnail.
What I want to happen is MT to output a default thumbnail in those instances.
I spent a couple hours trying to get this to work until a kind member of the MT community forums gave me the template code below:

<mt:SetVarBlock name="fallbackthumb">[FALLBACK CONTENT]</mt:setvarblock>
    <mt:EntryAssets setvar="postthumb">[DESIRED CONTENT]</mt:entryassets>
    <$mt:Var name="postthumb" _default="$fallbackthumb"$>

This is how mine looked after replacing the bracketed content.

<ul class="featured clearfix"><mt:Entries lastn="8"><li><a href="<$mt:EntryPermalink$>"><mt:SetVarBlock name="fallbackthumb"><img src="<$MTBlogURL$>img/default.jpg" /></mt:setvarblock><mt:EntryAssets setvar="postthumb" type="image" limit="1"><img src="<mt:AssetThumbnailURL width="70" />" alt="<mt:assetlabel>"/></mt:entryassets>
    <$mt:Var name="postthumb" _default="$fallbackthumb"$><strong><$MTEntryTitle$></strong></a></li>

Camren off to Skybird

A photo of Camren last week as he went to his first day of pre-shaoban (yeoban?). He’ll be attending full time come September while Catriona will be off to her first year of elementary school. They are both enjoying the experience so far.

Movabletype’s Documentation Boondoggle

In product documentation, the manual is the product. If a feature isn’t defined, it doesn’t exist as far as the user can tell. If a feature is described badly, the user will perceive the product to be a bad product. Thus, do not skimp on the documentation. Randal L. Schwartz, Perl author

With Sixapart’s Movabletype (MT) the lack of usable documentation is a feature. How else could you explain the lack of improvement despite a (shrinking) community of developers constantly complaining for years.
I’m currently upgrading a website that has been using MT since the software was publicly available. With such a long history there is a sense of loyalty and accumulated experience that made switching to Drupal or WordPress difficult. There were other concerns as well but thats not important here.
During this transition, the MT documentation has failed in almost every instance I have needed an answer to a question.
It’s not just their lack of written material, it’s the stupid mistakes with the material they have. The embedded links to ‘help’ within my MT install are a dead end and their search engine continuously times out.
We all plan our sites with the knowledge that Google search is likely how many will experience our sites but shouldn’t they, like the rest of us, at least try to design their site in such a fashion that data can actually be found? Nothing that is written seems to be connected — I found the old help forums through a Google search. There is a huge amount of user-contributed information that’s been available through these forums for years. They don’t bother to link to it nor provide a facility to search it.
Generally the best guide to MT is provided outside Six Apart but much of that is disappearing along with their user base.
Perhaps their latest effort will bare fruit but I’m not holding my breath.