0 comments Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Danny is still off tending to his new baby, but despite what he'd have you believe, we're still adding new things to the site.

Today we added live traffic data, so you can see in real time where there are wrecks, road hazards and other incidents of note. You can see it at www.sanluisobispo.com/traffic, or select the Live Traffic info link in the navigation.

At some point, we hope to be able to map this information for you, but for now, a quick check of our web site will give you all the information you need before you head out onto the roads.

0 comments Monday, February 25, 2008

I noticed one of our regular web commenters has been asking why some stories allow comments, but others don't. The person seems upset that a seemingly non-comment-worthy item - such as a photo - gets a comment section, while a breaking news-type item doesn't.

Here's your answer:

Any story that gets published from the print edition (which shows up in the "Today's Headlines" section of the site) automatically gets a comment section. There's no extra step required by a human. That means all stories, not matter how innocuous, have that nice box at the bottom where you can post away.

But items we post manually throughout the day and night in the "Latest from the newsroom" section at the top of the homepage doesn't have that nice feature. After someone here at The Tribune posts a story to that section, they have to go in and manually add a comment section. It's an easy, three-step process, but sometimes the person posting may forget. On weekends and nights, several people in the newsroom are responsible for posting to that section. Because it's not their usual duty, it sometimes gets overlooked. I'll try and remind everyone to take those extra steps so commenting is allowed on all stories.

Our policy as of last year is that all stories should have a comment section. So if you notice a story doesn't have one, it was likely just overlooked by the person who posted the story. If I see it, I'll try to go in and add a comment section later.

As always, feel free to e-mail me questions at ldoust@thetribunenews.com.

2 comments Tuesday, February 12, 2008

It seems like there are some questions out there about our Web site. Why are there two of the same stories on the homepage? Why is a day-old story still considered "breaking news?" And why is that story breaking news at all?

Well, lucky for you, I have the answers.

Our goal here at sanluisobispo.com is to get you the news as it happens. We know you don't want to wait until the delivery person throws the rolled-up paper at your door early in the morning. By that time, the news is old. (That's not to say the printed product is worthless. It has many features not available online).

But our goal on the site is providing up-to-the-minute updates. So when I get in at 7 a.m. (or sometimes 5 a.m.), I immediately start looking for the newest news. I check for press releases e-mailed or faxed to us by local police or fire departments. I peruse the CHP Web site for any crashes or other mishaps that may delay your commute. I scan the news wire for stories from outside agencies (such as the Associated Press) that may be of interest to SLO County residents. I'll either write up the short article or copy and past, and then post to the section of our site called "Latest from the newsroom."

The items go up onto the site in the order I post them. So a story that may seem like bigger news may be under something was posted more recently. I do have the ability to reorder the stories, so sometimes a really big story will stay at the time, and newer stuff will go underneath.

Throughout the day, I try to keep fresh news up on the site. That means working with the reporters on anything they may have, and reporting and writing up anything I find. After I leave in the afternoon, night web producer Kim Bui takes over and can post any updates.

Sometimes we'll post stories in the "Latest from the newsroom" section that will run in the next day's paper. Example: A man was arrested Monday on suspicion of killing a SLO woman three years ago. You don't want to wait to read about it the next day, so we posted it to our Web site immediately.

But on Tuesday, we posted the same story under the "Today's headlines" section of the homepage. That's where all the local stories from The Tribune go. The problem - yesterday's web update was still on the homepage. Well, I'm trying my best to find you some new updates so that one will bump off. But because I can't create the news, there's not always enough to go into that section. Sure, I can post upcoming events or some minor happenings. But that's usually when I hear from you guys: "Slow news day??" "This is breaking news??"

I'm doing my best to give you fresh content that's also worth your time. So sometimes you may see two of the same stories on the homepage. Or a story from yesterday is still up there because there hasn't been enough new news to bump it off. Or there may be a really boring item that you don't think is worthy of being on the homepage.

OK, that's all I've got for now. I hope I've answered some of your questions. And as always, let me know if there's anything else about the Web site that you're curious about.

2 comments Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Justin Hoeger (pictured right), one of our nondescript editorial staff (I think he works on Ticket or something, I don't know) is misguided. Not only that, he’s also misinformed and mistaken. And probably miserable and misanthropic.

In his recent blog post he mentions that he and I are engaged in a brutal mix-CD-off to the death and in the process manages to hurl insults referring to myself and my nationality. He must be assuming that because of my gentle, non-confrontational manner that I will have no retort to his crude and unwarranted vitriol.

Haha. Funny.

Justin’s account of how the bitter feud came to be is slightly inaccurate; let me tell you a tale.

A little over a week ago, Justin came rumbling into my cubicle spouting “facts” about Amy Winehouse that were obviously based on false information. When I did not conform to his way of thinking, he laid out his terms for war and then proceeded to invade, decimate and occupy my cubicle for an extended period of time, apparently without an exit strategy of any kind. Perhaps it is his American-ness that makes him predisposed to jumping into confrontation with those different to him without thinking of the consequences, I’m not sure. He then started mumbling something about me being an illegal alien and threatened to deport me.

I also think his CD may be some sick form of torture.

His condescending attitude made it clear that he expected to win and with the might of the editorial department (and two mix-CD veterans) behind him, I was sure to be the underdog. What Justin failed to realize is that we Scots are always the underdogs.

And so Justin issued his challenge, in between bites of cheeseburger, being generally uneducated, having no concept of the world outside his immediate surroundings nor any concept of irony in addition to acting out several other stereotypical American traits. The terms were laid out, we were each to create what we considered an “awesome” mix CD, limiting ourselves to what will physically fit onto a single disk – and we had one week to do it.

So I set to work thinking of a theme for my CD that would put Justin in his place. I decided that since his opinions on British music seem to be skewed towards, well let’s just say “not awesome”, I should make a CD consisting of awesome British music. So I did. And it’s awesome.

Here are my track listings and the reasons I picked them. Also for reference, here’s my packaging.

And here’s Justin’s.

I’m quietly confident.

U2 – Where the Streets Have No Name
The opening track to what is often regarded as on of the greatest albums ever made. The intro to this song has been described as “musical foreplay”. This is a truly awesome song in an album made entirely of awesome songs.

The Who – Baba O’Riley
What makes this song awesome? Well, House (played by British actor Hugh Laurie) seems to like it and he’s definitely awesome.

Genesis – Land of Confusion
Anything featuring Phil Collins is automatically going to be great, no question. The man oozes talent from every orifice. Have you seen the video to this song? Awesome.

Simple Minds – (Don’t You) Forget About Me
The fact that hearing this song instantly conjures up images of one of the defining movies of the ‘80s is pretty impressive. The fact that the song is by a Scottish band makes it awesome.

Jamiroquai – Canned Heat
You know that song Napoleon Dynamite dances to at the end of the movie? Yeah, awesome.

Tears for Fears – Head Over Heals
Another movie reference, the scene in Donnie Darko that makes use of this song is an awesome example of how to use music in film.

Queen – Under Pressure
I resisted the urge to use Bohemian Rhapsody in favour of this song because it combines two legendary British artists, Queen and David Bowie in one song here – Awesome. Even if the bass riff was later stolen by Vanilla Ice.

Led Zeppelin – Immigrant Song
I couldn’t make a compilation of awesome British music without including Led Zeppelin, and after careful consideration, I decided this was my favourite – Awesome, because they’re all awesome.

Coldplay – Clocks
An awesome minimalist masterpiece by one of the biggest artists around. They layering of simple rhythmical piano and drums into something so complex is genius.

The Police – Roxanne
A song inspired by the prostitutes Sting saw from his window while staying in a hotel in France. Not only that, it’s a tango. Awesome.

Ozzy Osbourne – Crazy Train
I went to the Ozzfest in the UK in 1998 where I saw not only Ozzy, but Black Sabbath. Ozzy will always rule, and I’ll always have stories to tell.

Derek & the Dominos – Layla
My wife and I are expecting our third child in a couple of weeks. We’ve been told to expect a girl and are planning to call her Layla. You want to try and tell me this song isn’t awesome? Didn’t think so.

Elton John – Daniel
We’re naming our daughter Layla, so it’s only fitting that I follow that song with the one I was named after. There are a lot of awesome Elton John songs, but come on, just the fact that I was named after this one surely bumps it up a notch or two.

John Lennon – Imagine
Rolling Stone called this the 3rd greatest song of all time. I can’t argue with that.

Stereophonics – Handbags and Gladrags
The theme song to the undeniably awesome British version of The Office. I know this isn’t the original, nor is it the version used in the show, but the Stereophonics are a great band and deserving of inclusion into this CD.

Pink Floyd – Comfortably Numb
Honestly, there isn’t a Pink Floyd song that couldn’t have been used in this CD, and I had a hard time choosing one. I guess I just like this one the best.

Radiohead – You
How do you make a song with the time signature 23/8 (or 3 bars of 6/8 and one of 5/8 in 4 bar phrases) sound good? You need to be awesome.

Dire Straits – Money For Nothing
If you have Sting singing backing vocals for you, you know you’re awesome. Also, have you seen the music video to this song? Impressive, considering it was released in 1984.

0 comments Monday, February 4, 2008

The community site is starting to grow. We have gained quite a few new users over the last week, and although only a handful have posted anything, I’m encouraged that there are those out there who are willing to help make the site a success.

People have started making their own forum topics, and some are even getting replies. It’s hardly a staggering amount of content, but it’s a start.

Our Ninjas vs. Pirates poll has come to a close with ninjas only just edging out a win. Congratulations go out to ninjas everywhere.

Replacing that poll, we have an all new one featuring a point/counterpoint by our very own Pat Pemberton, and some other guy. The topic: Football Vs Soccer. Vote for the winner and discuss who you think should win here.