Site Appearance

Yeah, I am not happy with the appearance of the site either.

The current theme just has a number of annoying “features” that just bother me. I am experimenting with another theme, one with an even cleaner and more minimalistic layout. So expect the appearance to change some time. In the meantime if you happen to stop by Darker View late some night to see an entirely different look… It is just me working on another layout.

Some Holiday Diving

Boat dives are always a treat. We generally shore dive, where the only costs are the tank fills and a little gas to drive to the site. Many sites along the Kohala Coast are easily reached from shore. There are a number of great sites that are more difficult to reach, sites for which a boat provides a nice alternative. When going with a dive boat you also have the crew to assist in rigging gear and getting in and out. They also provide drinks, snacks and friendly conversation while you wait through a surface interval between dives. A holiday treat? A mutual Christmas gift? Whatever you want to call it, we booked a dive with Denise and Dave from Blue Wilderness for a day of diving.

Deborah Descending
Deborah descending to the bottom

There were several divers beside Deb and myself. Ben, from London, had left his girlfriend back at the resort for a morning of diving. A family from Saskatchewan was escaping the winter with a couple weeks in Hawai’i and a morning of diving. The wife and daughter were simply snorkeling. The father, an ex-navy diver, was introducing his son Brett to the sport.

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The first meteor shower of 2012 is likely to be a good one. The Quadrantids are a reliable shower, producing 60-120 ZHR, one to two meteors per minute. The Quadrantids are named for the obsolete constellation Quadrans Muralis, now part of the constellation Boötes.

For viewers in the mid-Pacific the peak will arrive early on the morning of January 4th. The radiant rises around 2am, creating a pre-dawn event. Set the alarm clocks early for this one. While the predicted peak is January 4, 07:20 UT (January 3, 21:20 HST) the show should be quite decent for hours either side of this time. Unlike other showers where activity can occur for days or even weeks, the Quadrantids have a sharp peak, activity falls off rapidly on the preceding and following nights.

The Moon is still a few days short of full, allowing several dark hours before dawn for meteor watching. Moonset will occur about the same time the radiant rises, about 2am, giving observers about three hours of good dark skies to enjoy the event.

Watching meteors requires no more equipment than your eyes and a dark sky, and can be enjoyable for just about anyone. Set the alarm clock, this one should be worth the early morning wake-up.

Darker View is now on WordPress

It has been a decision that has been brewing for quite some time.  I have changed Darker View over to using WordPress as the underlying software.

For the last four years Darker View has run on Serendipity (known as S9Y) as the underlying blogging software.  The software has served me well, it is easily customizable and has proven quite stable.  Unfortunately it is also beginning to show some signs of wear.  It is getting slower and slower as the size of Darker View’s databases have grown.  Any number of new technologies and features I would like to add to DV are not available.

Serendipity is not supporting the blogging community to the degree that WordPress is.  The development behind WordPress has reached such an overwhelming critical mass that it is hard not to make this switch, if just to avail myself of the features and support available from the WP community.

When my father asked me to setup a blog for him I knew I would use WordPress to do it.  Using WP to setup allowed me to get a good hands-on look at the software.  I was expecting a good experience, what resulted was even better.  I was consistently pleased with the features and ease of use offered by WP.  This cemented my decision to convert Darker View to WP as soon as possible.

This will not be without a lot of pain.  There are over 2350 postings, hundreds of images, and a lot of history contained in the databases of Darker View.  I have attempted twice to automatically convert the mass of material contained in the S9Y databases to WP.  Both attempts were dismal failures, resulting in a couple FTP and SQL sessions needed to delete and clean up the resulting morass.  Thus I have simply setup a clean WP install and started afresh.  I will probably make an effort to cut and paste the most significant articles over to the new platform.

I will leave the old blogging software in-place for now.  All of the old links and articles will remain online.  Fortunately the choices I made when structuring the site years ago when installing S9Y will allow me to run both blogging packages in parallel.  But for 2012, all new material will be on the WordPress platform.

Postcard from the Summit – White Christmas

Regular snowfall has accumulated at the summit. It is patchy, the wind sweeping the snow off the slopes, creating substantial drifts behind buildings and against guardrails. If you want to sled or snowboard, some of the north slopes have a bit of accumulation. Try the small bowl between Keck and Subaru. Need to have a white Christmas in Hawai’i, we can provide this year…

Icy Summit
The Sun setting over an ice and snow covered Pu’u Hau Kea