vBulletin vs Invision

Edit: 2011 June 16: This post is rather old and some of the information no longer applies. I’ve been getting a lot of bots hitting this post, so I’m closing it to comments.

I have been using vBulletin and Invision Power Board on different sites for several years now. I know that many people will want to know only my final decision, and to cut to the chase, I will say now that I much prefer vBulletin. But please keep in mind that what works for me may not work for you. As they say on forums sometimes, YMMV (your mileage may vary, which means that it might be different for you).

For those of you who want to know why, please read on.

I will try to describe my thoughts as i felt them (i.e., as I installed the two software packages on my sites and learned how to use them):

What I liked about vBulletin: Continue reading

A Brown Flair

My father always had the best handwriting of anybody I knew. He had a knack for giving even the shortest note look a touch that gave it a special impact.

And at the time his writing instrument of choice was a brown flair ben, the one with the small white plastic disc on the top of the cap that would spin if you turned the barrel while holding the cap still. Papermate would later upgrade the white disc to a white star, and although I must admit that I liked the new design, I felt a tug of nostalgia for the old design.

Google Toolbar for Firefox Bug

Situation: I’m typing in an input field and want to enter a special character, for example to type in “café”. I hit Alt + 130 to enter the “é” character.

For some reason, the “é” character shows up in the Firefox Google search box, not in the text box, then the page directs to a new page.

Data isn’t always saved (I guess that depends on the application.).

Response from Google: Known bug.

Back Alley Café

Not much seems to exist on the Internent on this short-lived punk and pseudo-punk hangout in an alley in northwest Washington, D.C. It was just a stone’s throw from where I worked at the time, the Ha’ Penny Lion, a popular hangout for DC lobbyists and other K Streeet wannabees. On a side note, I should mention that a good portion of the restaurant’s pre-lunch rush receipts came from the 11:00 A.M. lobbyists regulars ready to get a buzz-on before noon. And yes, the bar was full by noon.

From what I remember from my friends who were “in the scene,” the “Back Alley” occupied space unused by Mr. Days, a jock/sports bar, the type of which I’ve visited perhaps only once (and that was in Baltimore, not DC). The irony seemed to make it even more popular–jock bar by day, punk bar by night.

Almost every night, I would see a guy (who looked to be a light-skinned African-American bike courier) wearing a faded Batman t-shirt (before it became cool to wear them and way before it became geeky to wear them); Ben, the DJ (whom I would ask nightly to play or mix certain songs); and a few other people I shouldn’t mention right now.

I used to talk to Ben a bit. He DJ’d at Cagney’s sometimes, too. It was at the Back Alley that I first learned about Bauhaus, Public Image, LTD., Killing Joke, etc. Yes, I know that some will say that those bands are the “standards,” but in DC, there wasn’t much opportunity to hear those bands anywhere at the time. The local alternative station WHFS didn’t play that music too much, and there weren’t many other places to explore alternative music.

That Poseurs/Cagney’s Guy from D.C.

Don’t know what else to call him, but if you saw him, you’ll know exactly who I’m talking about the moment you read the title.

It’s funny what you remember as you get older and the fiery nights of hope and promise of your 20’s grow ever-distant, and you increasingly search for some sort of evidence that what you do remember actually did happen. Yes, you were young, you were full of energy, and you were going to stake your place in the world and in history, and you marched diligently out into the city on as many nights as you could to prove it to others.

I’ve always liked a few songs by Tones on Tail, but invariably the more popular songs by this 80s era goth/dance band trigger not an urge to tap my toes or memories of various late-80s DC hangouts (a few favorites being the Back Alley Café, Trax, the Fifth Column, the 930 Club, etc.), but the vision of a 40-something very much out-of-place man oddly whirling solo in the middle of the dance floor with a seemingly endless energy that I in my 20s couldn’t match. Perhaps cocaine- or alcohol-fueled, the guy never seemed to talk to anybody (nor anybody to him), and he seemed to wear more than his share of checkered flannel and Dickies (and no, not in the cool “I’m a proletarian” kind of way). At first I thought perhaps he was one of those types who’d stay true to the cause till death and was deeply accepted in the way that the aging bartenders at these clubs, bars, and restaurants were, but now I tend to think not. Continue reading