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May 2001

05.31.2001

I took little Maddy to therapy the other day. It was painful (for both of us) but very insightful. I wish I could go every week. It's amazing to see therapists at work, it makes my job seem so damn easy. Dealing with children under 3 years of age who have sensory problems must be draining. I'm hoping it's also rewarding...

It's official - ALL YOUR HOUSE ARE BELONG TO US! Yes, we moved... and as always, it was painful. It was well worth it though, as now we actually own a house again, and what a house it is! We like it. We're staying.

Forgotten again...

05.24.2001

gzipping a 235 mb file is slow... need... faster... computer...

R.I.P. - Grady... Good goobily goop!

Whitman Mayo was in Hell Town, which starred Robert Blake - coincidence? Notice that you can't spell 'Whitman' without 'hitman'

05.23.2001

Bash Reference Manual

Sorting 32,000 records is slow... I should index them... indexing 32,000 records is slow... need... faster... computer...

Like Wes I got to see a Titanium PowerBook recently, and the techno-lust urge kicked in... I nearly got drool on the thing...

Ahhh, the beauty of perl... yesterday the boss was writing some code and had an array which he really wanted to be a hash, so we made it a hash, then he said he really wanted the hash to contain hashes... he said "Can that be done in perl?" and when you get a question like that, you're about 95% sure it can be done in perl, because chances are that back in perl 4 or 3 or whatever, someone thought it might be useful to do such a thing. The only hard part is finding the proper syntax, you can usually look up an example (Google works well) or hack away at it for 5 or 10 minutes until you figure it out... This time he figured it out before I could even look it up. Damn I love perl...

...and as much as I love perl, we did just get in a book python and two on PHP which should be interesting...

Also, we're starting to move towards syntax validation! When I say 'we' I am referring to the company that employs me. We're starting to make the html people aware of the problems with their markup and putting it on them to fix things... in the meantime I get the fun task of defining what those markup rules will be. I don't think they're ready for XHTML, so we might need to go with HTML 4.01 Transitional while following some of the XHTML rules of good syntax... it should be an interesting summer...

05.21.2001

Sometimes it takes every little bit of energy I have to not explode. If you use a piece of software everyday, say, I dunno... a web browser, and you lack even the most basic idea how to use it... AARRGGHHHH!!! And since they don't know how to use a browser, they deliver things that prevent me from using a browser to it's fullest extent... dammit...

More ARGGHHHH!!!! The world does not run on one OS, the world does not use one single browser! The world does not work that way... I don't want it to work that way... and I'm glad it doesn't! double dammit...

I've got this developer telling me that if we just authored for IE we could do all of these 'cool things' ahh, the 'cool things' pitch! I suppose if we were an entertainment company that would be very important, but as a company that provides information for business, it's extremely low in priority in relation to providing a good user experience. He tells me how Netscape is bad, and how we should just validate user input on the client side, and not worry about the server side. Sounds great, sounds like someone is lazy... sounds like I could turn off JavaScript and submit anything I want... Sounds like someone should really be a Microsoft Developer rather than an Internet Developer. Did I mention that viewing any information on their web site requires Java? Yes, you can't even get a phone number with running an applet... good gosh, sometimes the world scares me...

Make things forward compatible when you can...

On the brighter side of life, we finally got to see Best in Show which ruled. The female even liked it (she fell asleep during Waiting for Guffman.) I can't wait for the next Christopher Guest (and gang) project...

I got an email at the office that said they will be "...upgrading the operating system on the HP..." I'm assuming they will try to get Linux running on it... but I'd probably be assuming wrong...

Wow... I got an email from Dan Valerian the other day. It's always amazing to get email from someone who you haven't heard from in like 10 years... Since I've been doing this site I've heard from a number of people I knew long ago, but have since lost contact with. Most of them are listed on the Where Are They Now? page... and a lot of them knew each other...

Cold Fusion has got to be the most sucky web programming language there is! And by sucky I mean the language that makes it the most difficult to do things like create valid HTML. Then again, my view is probably tainted by people who aren't experts... argh...

We move in one week... Memorial Day indeed! Where's my Diddly Squat tape?

05.17.2001

News Flash: Dan Duchaine is not dead (as of 05.15.2001, anyway...) [ read more ]

Does anyone have a USB cuecat? I stopped by Radio Shack again and all they have is a huge box of serial cats... damn that Digital Convergence!

I wish I could update The Road to Linux with news about the new RAM I got (well, old RAM from my brother's junkpile) but when I showed the RAM to our NT guy and said, "How big do you think these are?" he said I'd be lucky if they were 4 meg... so if I get really ambitious I'll shutdown Decstar, put the RAM in, and reboot to be sure... but it's unlikely they're more that 8 meg, which is what Decstar's got now... damn two slot machines...

I've been doing process charts lately, here's one I found somewhere that will help you with the problem everyone seems to face at one time or another: Does the Darn Thing work?

Last night I started to format my new 20 gig USB hard drive, since it was late I looked at the monitor and said, "Hmmm, 8 minutes to format it? No problem..." and a few minutes later I realized it was really 8 hours... Since it was connected to the iMac and I couldn't turn off the monitor, I had to put a shirt over it. It still wasn't done when I left for work. Of course it wouldn't be - that would require me sleeping for 8 hours, which I haven't done since the mid-90's...

In a week and a half we'll be moving again. Which is good since the current residence lacks things like air conditioning and windows that actually open. It does however, have an ample supply of bugs. This house has so many bugs you'd think Microsoft built it.

New legislation now says that if I'm driving home and hit a deer and kill it, I can just take it on home without having to contact the DNR and going through the paperwork. My life is now complete.

I saw this car for sale on the way to work. I'm not sure if the sign said $65 or $85... because $65, well that's a deal... but $85, that's a total ripoff...

Ok, gotta run, the Monkey Man is here!

05.09.2001

Dear robots and spiders: Your crawler is not hitting our servers very hard. Please try harder, it will help the service we provide to our readers. Don't worry, we can handle it... Thanks.

Really, if it weren't for robots, spiders and crawlers, I'd have almost no readers at all! ;-)

So yesterday I watched this guy go through a procedure to update MS SQL with data coming from Access, after he started the update and said "This is gonna take a while" I said "So 90% of the work you're doing is staring at a progress bar?" to which he replied "Welcome to Microsoft!"

05.08.2001

Geez, if I used Cold Fusion maybe I could get away with blaming the tools like some developers do... as it is, I use perl, so I have no vendor to blame... no one to blame but myself...

I've been starting to use Win32::ODBC a bit... it's been a few years, but I picked it up pretty quickly again. Now I can think about writing the code I need in perl rather than relying on the Cold Fusion guys for some of the stuff I'm working on... file under: hack-perl-yay...

Now if I can just dig up the info on DBI, DBD::Proxy, or whatever else I need, to do what I want in MacPerl rather than WinPerl, my life will be much improved...

Went to Madison today, met with a company that was doing trivial work for us and way over-charging for it, and found out that what they were doing was deleting our data coming from other sources... urgh... glad we're done with them. Some advice, find good, honest, hard-working, document-writing, developers that you like and can work with, and do whatever you can to keep the relationship going...

05.07.2001

I reported some cryptic error messages to a developer, and they replied "Hmmm, I suppose we'll have to train the users not to do that" to which my reply was, "Hmmm, perhaps you could provide useful error messages to the users who we will quite often have no contact with before they use this software..." And so it goes...

I ordered a 20 gig external USB hard drive, so I might actually be able to get OS X running on our iMac, I'll have an update when it happens. (Probably 3 months from now!)

Recently I tried to classify myself, I figured I wasn't a hardware guy because I don't know the hardware the way I used to... and I'm not a software guy, because while I write code, I'm more of a hacker/problem solver than application developer... so, the best I can come up with is that I'm a data/format/protocol guy... I know, it doesn't sound quite as cool, but there ya go...

We got our naughty little bunny a collar with a bell so we can track her throughout the house. It'll do for now until a more high-tech solution presents itself.

12 grain is better than 7 grain, but 3 cheese is better than 6 cheese...

05.04.2001

Storms last night, power problems, let's see how everyone did:

  • Linux - rebooted, seems fine.
  • Mac OS - shutdown, seems fine.
  • Windows 2000 - dead.

Draw your own conclusions... Actually, I could blame it on hardware, even though the W2K machine is less than a year old, and the Linux box is probably 5 years old. It's probably because the Linux box was made by DEC, they sure (used to) know how to make em! (Seems the power supply on the W2K machine went la-la... replaced it and we're up and running again...)

05.03.2001

Damn this Cold Fusion stuff! There are two tags that can do what I need done. Either the cfexecute tag, or the cf_perl tag. Neither of which run in Cold Fusion 4.0. Gee, I guess we'll upgrade to 4.5 - what?! Version 5.0 is out? ugh...

Yellow Dog 2 is on the way!

I had a close call with the authorities due to extreme squirrel activity last night. I escaped unharmed... physically anyway... one of the squirrels should be nursing his wound today. Muwa-ha-ha-ha!

05.02.2001

Analog 5.0 for Mac OS is available... or if you prefer another platform, there's more Analog...

Does the <cfexecute> tag only work in Cold Fusion 4.5? Can it work in 4.0? As long as we're talking Cold Fusion, what's the deal with all of the whitespace Cold Fusion seems to generate? Being a perl guy, I explained to our Cold Fusion guys how they could get rid of the unneeded whitespace with a single regular expression. No response from them on that issue yet...

Time to install Netatalk again...

After someone ftp'd a 100+ mb log file to me, I suggested they might want to install and use gzip to reduce the size by about 10 times. The response I got what that the person was not a "fan" of installing software that "isn't needed." We'll neither am I... In this case, I'd say gzip is needed. Well, I supposed it's only needed if you want to save things like time, bandwidth, and disk space. I guess to some people those things are not important... (Can you tell it was a Windows person?)

the squirrels are getting braver. They're coming right up to the porch while we eat dinner. I've been throwing toys at them or trying to scare them with noise, and at least once I pulled out the gun. The female says I should be sitting in a rocking chair with a shotgun, straw hat, and corn cob pipe. I'm not quite that far... I'm just protecting our turf! Luckily it won't be our turf for very much longer...

Don't you wish you could open a window? Now that our landlord put screens on, we can open the windows. It took me 20 minutes of prying and scraping last night to get a kitchen window open. It's now open about 3 inches. Yay... One of the other ones opens at least 8 inches. Wow... Again, can't wait to move on... less than one month... the boxes are starting to get piled up.

One agent. Black car. Backroad route. On alert.

05.01.2001

Why use tools that don't do what you want them to do? Why use something that outputs something in a way you can't control? Is it so that you can blame the software vendor? Dammit! Stop it already...

Does anyone document things? When a vendor creates a process for you, shouldn't they outline that process? I guess not, better to keep it a mystery and hope the monthly bills keep getting paid. Is that a solution - or extortion?

If a company creates tools to facilitate a process for you, are you entitled to those tools? Do you have to pay for them separately from the process? Hmmm?

I don't know... Do you?

The war of usability and "cool" rages on! Ask yourself, "Does it add value for the users?" Don't tell yourself (or others) "It would be really cool..." I've noticed that usability problems happen when people get lazy. It's easier to open something in a new window rather than incorporate navigation into something... sad, sad, sad...

The weekend was not kind to me. On Friday I woke up coughing up a little spit & blood mixture, and ended up missing out of work to see a doctor. Probably some sort of throat infection. I've got yellow pills and red pills. I can talk, but not very well. Other than that nastiness, it was a good weekend. Our landlord finally put the screens on, so now we can open some windows... well, the ones that aren't painted shut anyway. I spent like 20 minutes prying one of them open the other day. In 30 days we'll be in our new house - whew!

So a week ago we got a bunny, and named her Molly. (Her full name is Molly Foo Foo.) I'm trying to learn more about bunnies from Rabbit Web, and if you don't think rabbit's can be housepets, visit the House Rabbit Society site. Molly is young, but I'm working on litterbox training her already. Emma loves Molly, and Maddy likes her best when she's in the cage, but is otherwise a little scared when we give her the run of the house. (Maddy is also scared of ants and ladybugs, but she's an SI kid, so we're working on it.) Why a rabbit? Well, we can't get a dog right now (for various reasons) and a cat does quite work for us either, I hate birds, and we already had fish, the female didn't want gerbils or any other 'rodent' like creatures, so we got a rabbit. There ya go...

Wooo, I really need to restart my Mac. (It's running Mac OS 9, not X...) I almost never restart it. I usually just wait for it to crash or lock-up, and then reboot it. And everytime I do, the clock does it's goofy 'Daylight Saving Time' think, and sets itself ahead an hour. the uptime this time was around 195 hours, of course I was off one day last week...

"If you can't beat them with a stick, join them with a log"... or something like that...

I forgot to mention this, I finally saw the Blair Witch Project. This happens a lot, we end up seeing a movie long after it's been out, and the hype has died down, or out. I thought it was good - not great - but a good film. I wasn't really scared at all. Some of it reminded me of our old PixelVision from the late 80's... Now there's some good 'mockumentary' film-making.

I think I've forgotten how to write... like, properly-like. The right way, as it were. In this case... see?

 

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  Last Modified: 09.17.2001 by rasterboy