This is just a test of using an image via the glossary. Recently I discovered a handy little site called It's a great resource if you are working on a web project and need some quick and easy placeholder images. It's also a great example of what Dave said about how to make money on the internet. You're not going to get rich with an idea like this, but it's a nice simple strategy that solves a problem for web developers. And in turn, they can run some ads directed at web devs.

The cool thing about lorempixel is that you use HTML to generate an image based on whatever height/width you want, and whatever category you choose (landscape, sports, people, etc.) For this example I set it to 150 x 150 pixels and gave it the abstract category. I also added the img-circle class (Bootstrap! FTW). Then I dumped that into my glossary and called it "pic." Each time I post something I can add a pretty little flourish to it.

08/02/13; 10:54AM

I've been using bluehost for the past 6 years to host my wordpress sites. Bluehost hasn't been horrible. They're cheap at $9/month, as a shared hosting should be. But you get what you pay for and I'm ready to upgrade. I'm hoping to start offering wordpress services to small businesses/individuals so I need something a little more solid. These type of sites would have the requirement of reliable speed/uptime but would not necessarily generate a heap of traffic. I'm looking at Media Temple.

I'm also thinking about setting up a home server just for fun. I feel like it would be an great learning experience for me and my 6 year old. He definitely has the makings of a junior hacker.

Update: ugh. This is bad. ALL bluehost sites have been down since 3AM. Apparently it's a major outage for bluehost, hostgator, and justhost, all owned by the same entity. Think I'll be switching hosts sooner rather than later.

08/02/13; 08:07AM

In 2001 I discovered my first weblog. I had been hired to teach a group of marketing folks how to use Flash. Why people who work in marketing needed to use flash was beyond me, but I didn’t care. I was desperate to find some sort of work that would enable me to break out of the restaurant biz. The guy who was orienting me, Mike Lee, showed me his weblog. I was immediately hooked. It brought the internet into a new context - I started to see it as a place for individual publishing.

Alas, my escape from the restaurant life did not turn out to be through web stuff. Instead I chose nursing. In 2004 I was finishing up nursing school and started to poke around to see if there were any nurses who wrote blogs. That’s when I found codeblog and Head Nurse (Brain on the top, spine down the back!) For my critical care clinical I was assigned to keep a journal. I decided to make mine a weblog.

I knew there was a thing called typepad but I never really got around to figuring it out. I was busy with clinical rotations, exams, and I still worked in a restaurant on weekends. So the night before my journal was due, I took all my scrawly, hand written notes (the “journal” of my clinical care rotation), and converted them into text. Then I made a little site in HTML. The sidebar had a list of all the dates of all my clinical shifts in the MICU, and when you clicked on each one it went to the page detailing that day - my patient’s diagnosis, treatments, my personal reaction to the experience and of course -hyperlinks!- in case you didn’t know what sarcoidosis or BOOP was. I also had some sort of navigation enabling you to page through the clinical dates.

I then uploaded the files to my server space on AOL(!), and sent the link to my critical care professor. I also made a CD of the files because you never knew when the internet would go all wonky on you in 2004.

I arrived at class the next morning, and there was my site, up on the projector screen. My professor was impressed, and excited to show the class. For me it turned out to be the difference between an A and a B, so that was cool. Plus it's always fun to show people what you made. What really surprised me was later that day, in a different class, I came across another professor showing the site to her class. “And look at this - you can click on the link and it shows you more information!!!” She seemed genuinely delighted to discover the concept of hyperlinks. And really - who wouldn’t be?

And then a few months later my nursing blog was born.

08/01/13; 08:24AM

Fitbark, to track your dog's fitness. $31,000 in kickstarter funding so far.

Diabetes: The Musical! $3610. Fully funded!

According to the American Diabetes Association, type 2 diabetes cost the United States $245 billion in 2012. As far as I know, dogs who are out of shape did not cost the United States anything. I could be wrong.

To be fair there are scores of apps that help you track your blood sugar. Unfortunately they are not going to solve the problem of why type 2 diabetes exists in the first place. IMHO I think a big part of the problem is the ridiculously powerful food industry lobby. Their messaging is so tightly woven into our culture that we accept a lot of things as truth without really looking into the facts. That idea that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and that it's impossible to lose weight when you skip breakfast? I'm guessing you could trace those adages back to General Mills.

And also, in fairness, most of the kickstarter projects related to diabetes were for funding documentaries. A noble endeavor - but does anyone really watch those documentaries? Anyone who is motivated enough to solve the problem of counteracting the food lobby? I wonder how technology could solve that problem.

07/26/13; 07:24AM

Or maybe just fake it until it's time for this:

Fun Fact: This image uses the "img-polaroid" class from bootstrap.

07/26/13; 06:26AM

I ask myself this all the time. I think about blogging a lot, even when I let months go by without posting anything. There's always that nagging little question of why bother blogging? Is anyone reading? I think by blogging here on fargo I am starting to make a little more sense of this question. I had this exchange with @betsykimak yesterday and it got me thinking.

I was skeptical but then I remembered a story. In 2008 I was rolling along with my nurse blog and I was getting increasingly interested in analytics and SEO, to the point of maybe starting up a small venture of building sites for small businesses. But then my my site got delisted from google. I was mystified. I tried very hard to figure out why I had offended the gods of google. I thought it was something I had done. My blog was totally corrupted so I decided to make this video post, detailing my frustration.

Shortly after that, someone said to me on twitter, "Hey @pixelrn, did you know Matt Cutts is blogging about you?" Yeah, that Matt Cutts. The one that runs the webspam team at google. He was kind enough to show me that my wordpress site was hacked and pointed out that my source code looked like this.

In the end I was able to solve the problem just by blogging about it. I learned a lot about what it takes to be a good webmaster. (When you have a wordpress blog you can't just "set it and forget it," it's more like "update frequently, and watch vigilantly." But more importantly it points out a reason to blog in the first place. People are listening. It might only be a small handful of people, but if they are the right people, you can sometimes get things done.

07/25/13; 04:07AM

I've been ruminating a lot about Dave Winer's thoughts on this and this. There's a great divide between those who have problems to solve, and those who develop the technology to solve the problems. The consequences of this are kind of frightening when you extrapolate them to industries like health care. Here's an example:

There is a cardiac monitor. It's at the center of the patient's care in the ICU. It produces the information that the caregivers need to maintain this patient's fragile state of health. The nurse watches the data coming out of this machine like a hawk. She uses a set of protocols to record the data, and to make decisions about how to respond to the data.

There is a problem. An overwhelming number of alarms get through to the nurse that don't require action. They occur as a result of the patient moving in the bed, or if a sensor slips out of place. We call these "nuisance alarms." In a perfect world they would be eliminated, but because of the critical nature of the data being collected, the alarms continue, creating a stressful, noisy environment. The opposite of how you need things to be to be when you are attempting to heal someone.

But more than that - there's a danger. Imagine when a series of alarms are going off and the nurse or tech who is responsible for watching the monitor stops responding to them because they are nuisance alarms. 25 nuisance alarms go off in a row, but then the 26th alarm is real, and requires a response. But no one responds. The patient dies. This actually happens. We call these "sentinel events." You can read more about them here.

Then there's the company that produces the patient monitoring technology. A top level executive has gotten the idea that there should be metabolic data built into this monitor. It's a noble idea. Theoretically this could improve patient outcomes with sepsis, a common ICU affliction. But at this point it's only theoretical. And few if any of the clinicians caring for the patients have asked for this feature. Nonetheless, they build this feature into the monitor, and implore the salesforce to go out and convince the clinicians that they need this feature. If the whole thing works, the top level executive gets a big promotion.

Meanwhile, there are armies of start-ups working on shiny little apps that "track your health." The kind that Biz would probably green light. They're fun and easy to use and who knows - maybe in the long run they will solve some problems. But the people with the boots on the ground (the clinicians) have urgent problems that need to be solved. Unfortunately, they are too far removed from those who are developing the technology. How do you cross that divide?

And speaking of boots on the ground, try extrapolating the above example to the military. That's when things really start to get scary.

07/23/13; 10:22AM

I love how when you are trying to learn something new and complex, your brain works silently in the background on the concept, even when (especially when) you are working on some unrelated task. So the next time you come back to the problem you have some fresh insight.

I love it except when I am trying to sleep.

I was in that half conscious state trying to sleep and my brain wanted to think about trex, and what I want to do with it.

Trex. Tracks. Train tracks? No.

"It eats outlines."

"It chews up OPML files and spits out web pages."

And then BOOM: T REX.

That's why there's a picture of a tyrannosaurus rex in the sidebar. Of course that realization isn't going to help me figure out what I want to do with my CSS, but still - pretty darn cool.

Maybe on another level it is helpful though, because you can get so caught up in the details of the tool, that you forget the original purpose of the tool.

07/20/13; 09:15AM

Not sure where I got this idea but I was envisioning Fargo as having a feature that would enable the user to create rivers. Now that I know this isn't going to happen I know that at some point I will have to dive back into Dave's River stuff. I feel like I'm not really a member of the "club" until I get my River3 working.

My progress so far has been:

  • I got River2 working on my computer, but got hung up on publishing it.

  • I did the EC2 for poets tutorial, got my server up and running but then something broke after 20 minutes.

  • I started to noodle around with River3 but hit some roadblocks. What I need to get it to work is a large block of uninterrupted time, and possibly a guardian angel, sitting on my shoulder, imploring me not to give up.

I built my nurse river with Simple Pie, simply because it was a tool I was familiar with. I knew how to get it to work. And I was really anxious just to get the thing up and running so I could say, "See, nurses - look what I made!" I also wanted to see if nurses were actually interested in having this kind of resource. But it takes an incredibly long time to load my page that only has about 50 feeds.

I'm also wondering about whether I even need to publish a river. Maybe the biggest value is using the river as a curatorial tool. Fishing in the river as opposed to swimming in it. At any rate, the nurse river will be a good experiment to test these ideas out.

07/19/13; 05:59AM

Just when I was really starting to gain some momentum with this Fargo stuff, I started having computer problems. While my iMac was dying, I started riffing on all the ways my dying computer was like a dying patient in crisis in the ICU.

The last gasps of air as it tries to reboot.

The big blue screen as it freezes up. (In the hospital we call a "Code Blue" in order to activate the resuscitation team.)

Then there is booting into terminal mode. It's like when you're ready to start pushing the epinephrine and atropine, and the paddles are ready to go. (At one point I couldn't even make that work - unbeknownst to me one of my kids had unplugged the keyboard. It was much like the moment of panic you experience when someone inadvertently disconnects your patient's cardiac monitor from the display.)

Next comes the "disk0s2: I/O error" repeating, repeating, repeating, down the screen. Like watching a heart rate disintegrate into asystole.

This computer had really meant a lot to me. It was the first major purchase I made after receiving my first nursing bonus. I thought she'd be with me a little longer. But like any good nurse, I made advanced directives. Everything was backed up on my external hard drive. I even purchased a new macbook air because I knew that day was coming...

Of course then my husband completely busted my metaphorical bubble and pointed out that my computer wasn't dead. The hard drive can be replaced; it's just a little bit harder to do with an iMac. Apparently you need suction cups. If only humans were that easy to repair.

07/18/13; 06:59AM

I read the docs and I have a much better perspective on what to do with Fargo now. The question now is, how am I going to use it? I have a pretty big Fargo to-do list and I wanted to try and make sense of it in this post. The two main things I want to work on are technical skills and my writing skills.

Technical Skills

  • I need to get better with CSS. Trex is a powerful content management system and it looks great out of the box. But I want to be able to make it look exactly how I want. I can envision maybe doing this for clients someday.


  • I can see how thinking in outliners is really going to change how I write. I miss writing. I've kind of pigeon holed myself into my nursing blog and I've never really settled into another venue for other types of writing. But I have a million other stories to tell that don't have much to do with nursing.

What about Community?

  • There's some wistfulness out there in the medblogger community. I think there are some key people who want to go back to the way things were in the mid 2000's when people were writing longform blog posts and telling a lot of good stories about what it's like to work in health care. I would love to see some of those people migrate over here and I intend to encourage that.

My Limitations

  • Currently I'm a stay at home mom. Everything I do here on Fargo happens in between the spaces of taking care of my 3 year old twins and my six year old. The interruptions are plentiful. But I'm getting a sense that I can make some real progress here so I'm going to stick with it.
07/16/13; 04:26AM

Just testing out the glossary. Here is my my nursing blog and my my linkblog . There is also my art and photography blog .

A Nurse Cap So this image is right where I want it to be. What I am trying to do is figure out the best place to put the style elements so I can reuse them. I'm thinking that goes in the glossary. That would be the best place for reusable CSS snippets, right?

07/15/13; 05:48AM

Spent some quality time with the docs this weekend :)

  • Smallpict worknotes

  • Trex Docs

  • Trex Rules

Great stuff. I can't wait to get my hands dirty.

  • CSS tweaking.

  • Fun with markdown.

  • The fact that it's in bootstrap is such a huge positive. Bootstrap as a default is perfectly lovely, but considering that there's already a community of designers out there making bootstrap templates, things could quickly get interesting.

My two favorite comments about Fargo so far:

  • "It's like starting a muscle car."

    • Someone said that in the comments. I can't remember who ):
  • "It's a tool that meets both my publishing and mental organization needs."

    • Jeffrey said that. It really pinpoints what is so powerful about Fargo. Aside from the fact that has technical power, it's also a tool that enables you to untangle the thoughts in your brain, and go straight to publishing. Think about it - there are a lot of steps in between that the Fargo kind of eliminates. It's highly efficient!

2 more thoughts:

  • It's going to take a big bite out of wordpress.

  • It's going to disrupt the market share of shared hosting providers.

07/15/13; 04:21AM

Just implemented the domain directive. So freaking easy. I love it.

Now I'm wondering: Is there a list somewhere of all the directives available for our use on fargo?

And attributes - Are they just HTML attributes? Is it an outliner thing? I would love to see a list of all the attributes available for me to play with and hopefully not break anything.

Fargo is fun.

07/12/13; 15:28PM

I'm not too worried about fargo sunsetting. I don't know the timeline for fargo, although I can completely see why some have those concerns.

For me this is more about blogging in the moment. It's a new publishing tool to try out. My incentive for sticking with it is that there is a river associated with it.

Someone posted here about Which looks interesting. You can publish your evernote pages to the web. I can see this working for people who don't want to have to look at what's under the hood. My attention span is short. I could easily see myself heading over there to spend some time kicking the tires. But the biggest factor that makes me want to keep plugging away at fargo is that there is a river. An instant community. And it's so simple. You don't need to form groups, or lists, or start a ning network, or a blog carnival, or any of that nonsense. You just blog, and your blog exists in a river.

For me that's what blogging was like back in 2005-2006, before Big Social came along and sucked the life out of it.

07/12/13; 05:13AM

One thing I like to do is to watch RSS feeds of Google Alerts set up for random keywords. The alerts usually bring back a lot of scammy, spammy type stuff, but occasionally you uncover something random and good; something unconnected to anything or anyone you already know. In other words, it's kind of like searching for serendipity.

I've found that the perfect container for these alerts is a river, although I always called it a "current." You can scan the currents pretty quickly. Sometimes I set up multiple columns of currents on a single page and call it a matrix. When the Internet starts to seem like the same old circles, rattling around the same old links, I head on over to my matrix and see if I can dig up something new and interesting.

When Google announced it was shutting down reader, I had a feeling that Google alerts would not be far behind. What I didn't anticipate was that they killed google alerts RSS on the same day that they killed Reader. So my matrix is no more.

I know there's got to be some sort of work around for this. Maybe just convert the alerts to email alerts and start playing around with mailbox filters. But that kind of takes the fun out of it.

07/11/13; 14:13PM

Up until this year I had never heard of outliners. It's an interesting approach to getting your thoughts wrangled down in a format that makes sense. As far as writing goes I've always used an approach that my high school history teacher taught me:

  • Get everything out of your head and onto your paper,

  • then edit the crap out of it.

07/10/13; 12:44PM

I love rivers. I think it's the best way to get content. If you don't check the river for awhile and miss some things - so what? Just let it float down the river. I even made some rivers out of Google alert RSS feeds; just as a way to find completely random content. Can't do that anymore :(

But this nurse river I made - there's a problem. No one is writing any interesting content anymore. Back in 2005-2007 there was a vibrant little community of nurse bloggers. Almost all of them have given it up. The ones that are around now are just posting little blurbs and pictures, or else really, really dry accounts of current nursing research. The storytelling is long gone.

A blogging community should be at least as interesting as the fodder you hear in the breakroom. If we can't find a way to bring that back then maybe it's time to really admit that nurse blogging is over.

07/07/13; 07:57AM

I am really getting the hang of this! I finally figured out how to trick out my menu, thanks to Jeffrey Kirshner's post. It's also super helpful to be able to "view source" in other people's outlines.

I've been working on a River of Nursing blogs and I am very excited about transitioning the whole project over to fargo. Soon!

07/05/13; 11:18AM

Now that the River of Fargo blogs is up I am finding some great resources, and ready to take a giant leap forward.

07/04/13; 15:47PM

There is a lot to get the hang of and the only way to do this is to play with it. Which is fun!

I'm looking at some of the other ones on Dave's Fargo River and it is clear there are two kinds:

  • Some are tricked out with a top navigation. How did they do that? Are they using domain mapping? Did they change the CSS?
07/02/13; 14:50PM

It is experimental. I still have a lot to learn.

This is just an image test. Where will it go? how will it look? Will is align nicely or just kindo f hang there awkwardly? This is just an image test. Where will it go? how will it look? Will is align nicely or just kindo f hang there awkwardly?

07/02/13; 14:40PM

Last built: Sat, Feb 22, 2014 at 7:27 PM

By The Blog Where I Learn to Use Fargo, Tuesday, July 2, 2013 at 2:40 PM.