Well it’s been a while since I’ve written anything to the Beakspeak blog. It’s not due to a lack of things to write about; Austin has shown to provide plenty of topics and material. After I moved and started unpacking, it hit me how overwhelming things had become. I was in a new town, a world away from the people I’d gotten to know as friends in the 18 years I’d spent in Los Angeles. The sporadic calls of “Let’s hit up Killer Shrimp for lunch” or “Poker at Petey’s on Saturday” were no more. My birding friends weren’t calling for a Saturday trip to Bolsa Chica or Malibu Lagoon.
My new coworkers and the familiar faces of those who’d already transferred from the Santa Monica office were key in helping me get settled in. I’d spent so much time in LA, that I knew most of the town like the back of my hand. And though Austin’s a fraction of the size of LA, it was a complete unknown. Exciting, yet I didn’t quite know where to start. I had a direction…well several directions actually, which was kind of a problem. A good problem. Rather than searching for all that is Austin, I decided to let Austin find me.
The past year has been quite inspirational and energizing. Some of that energy has gone into Beakspeak. And after more development hours than I care to count, a vision that’s been developing for quite some time is finally able to emerge. The egg tooth has broken through the shell.
Without boring you too much with the details, here are some of the main changes:
1) Visual design. When I first designed Beakspeak in 2004, I didn’t have much of a plan past a basic blog. Then I got into photography. I created a Beakspeak photo gallery on Flickr and started including photos in posts. Next, I got into Birdcams and Podcasts. Those sections were easy additions…I didn’t change any of the layout; for each new section I just changed the color scheme. This rebirth brings photos into the main layout. The best color schemes are better found in nature than in a book, and the new theme uses colors found in the African Grey parrot. I’ve named it “Tango” in honor of a wonderful bird I left in the care of a sanctuary when I moved.
2) Podcasts. The list of podcasts has grown significantly. Listing everything on one page made the page very long and busy. The new page lists the most recent six podcasts for each channel, with a button that takes you to all podcasts for that channel. And you can now listen to the audio podcasts using the inline player. There’s no longer any need to download the file and open it with an external player. Video podcasts will still require downloading.
3) Birdcams. The list of birdcams has grown significantly in the past few years thanks to all the generous people who took the time to email me links to new and updated video feeds. It’s been great to see all the support! If you’ve been to the page during nesting season, you’ve seen how many nests there are with eggs and chicks! I added three columns of icons to help make things a little more friendlier and easier to use. The second and third columns note the location and local time of the nest. The first column is new and shows the most recent status of the video, whether it’s an empty nest, shows activity or nest building, or has a nest with eggs or chicks. If you see a video feed that needs a status change, please feel free to drop me an email.
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That’s it for now. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. It’s been a lot of work in the making, and there’s still a lot more to do. There is also a lot more to write about, so stay tuned!
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