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March 2001


Mozilla 0.8.1 is looking good. The system requirements (PowerPC 604e 266 MHz or faster processor, or G3/G4) are still well above the system I use at home, but at the office it runs pretty well. Not perfect (I suppose there is no such thing as a perfect browser) but pretty good. I'm really liking some of the features, and it's making it harder to go back to Netscape 4.x sometimes...

I was in Madison yesterday, which is always a good time. I still think someday I'll end up living in Madision. Not sure why... just a feeling...

I went on a data center tour, and I tell ya, if you are a computer geek, those things never fail to amaze. Biometric hand scan, numeric passcode, and magnetic card to get in. Whew! Inside are racks and racks and racks as well as AS/400's and RS/6000's. Big hardware is neat. Lots and lots of cables and pipes and vents and ups's and a big ol' diesel generator. Now that's where your data belongs, not on some Zip disk in your desk drawer...

mnoGoSearch used to be udmSearch... and it still looks good...

Should I bother learning Java? Hmmm?

I've been digging into perl's XML::DOM, which is very nice, but from what I read, it seems to slow and memory intensive to use for CGI related things. Argh... I've toyed with XML::Simple but I prefer DOM... I think I'll do a project using DOM just to see how it performs...


Managing bookmarks... bleargh... I've been using a combination of Backflip, perl, OPML, and whatever else I can find. I still not happy with my system. I'm getting there... I'm getting there...

bkmrkconv is a simple perl script that builds a directory from your bookmarks file...

XBEL is the The XML Bookmark Exchange Language...

b. is a web-based manager for bookmarks written in perl. Bookmarks are stored in XML...

Damn suits...


It's been a long time since I've done a big documentation project, but now I'm deep into writing docs again. It's a bit difficult to document a product that still has lots of holes in it, and has a history of changing quite a bit along the way... At least I'm not testing, that's even more frustrating, for the same reasons - hitting a broken and moving target is not a fun thing to do. No wonder so many people/companies don't test or document software anymore... it's damn hard work.

And on that note, does anyone know of a simple (preferably perl, though python might do) web-based system for bug tracking? I'm looking for brain-dead easy set-up, small on features, basic and bare-bones... I'm not asking you to crawl freshmeat or Sourceforge for me, though if you want to, that's fine too ;)

An XML based forum: XMLBoard looks kinda cool, but it seems to have a bit of bad logic somewhere which causes Content-type: text/html to show up on the pages it generates. Still, I like the idea of XML based things.

We're still trying to name the boat. It's a white canoe. Got a suggestion?

I'm using iTunes today... Sometimes I get too jaded about music, other times, I get totally into it, lately it's been more of the former than the latter...

If you use the phrase "...a web design...firm..." to describe your company, shouldn't you be able to built sites that are usable across a variety of browsers and platforms? I would think so...

The cool part about this screen shot is that someone at Microsoft said "Hey Jill, we need a really cute graphic of an overloaded server." And then Jill made a cute graphic... (and probably used her Mac to do it...)

Need some old sküle WWW icons...

A POOP story from someone who has had more email problems than me...

Every now and then I find some typeos on this sight. I was amazed at how many I found on this page when I checked. I have korrected them, and I apolgized for the problems they may have caused. I used to pride myself on my speling abilities.


A must see: AmphetaDesk (please turn down your radio)

Sometimes you win... sometimes you lose... It sure does feel good to win once in a while when you normally feel like you're losing most of the time...

Note: Microsoft does not run the world. Now repeat that phrase. Change the name 'Microsoft' to something else if that makes you more comfortable. Now say it again. Keep doing it. Try not to forget. Work towards making that statement always be true.


Now that I own a boat, I'm hoping to make Pier2Pier a reality. In the coming months I'll be working on SLAP (Simple Lake Access Protocol) as well as XSLT (eXtensible Stream and Lake Transport.) I know, streaming protocols are often not as good as they should be, especially when compared to other protocols, but we hope to have RPC (River and Pond Crossing) implemented as well.

A new ramble: I've been following some (not all) of the HailStorm coverage, and thought it might be good to collect my thoughts on it so far - failstorm

Now more than ever: Jabber


Freakin' bookmarks: I spent a good number of hours the last few days organizing my bookmarks/favorites. I used my current browser bookmarks, old bookmark files, lists of urls I've had laying around, and some urls I just happen to remember. I started to organize them like a directory, but I don't think that will work well, I'm not building the next Yahoo! or ODP, I'm just trying to organize sites I visit, or have visited and may need to visit again. I need to organize them in the way I think about them. Bleargh... it'll take some time I'm sure...

I am now a boat owner. Our landlord gave me the canoe previously mentioned here, and now I look at the lake every day hoping the ice will melt so we can put it to good use. We don't have a name for it yet, my suggestions include "The Millennium Falcon" but the kids had some ideas as well.

If you ever find yourself in the hell known as Canada, stop by The Canadian Canoe Museum. I'm still at war with Canada, I haven't forgotten 1971.

A bragging contest broke out: Person #1 says "I've got about 4 gigs of MP3's at home." Person #2 says "I've got about 6 gigs plus 4 or 5 CD's full of more." I don't mention that I have about 5 megs of MP3 files myself, but when one of them suggests they should swap, I mentioned that it may be illegal to do that. I then had to quickly run away...


For a change of pace from the failed Linux installs, I tried to install the BeOS onto Slave1, then after that failed I tried LinuxPPC, and since Slave1 couldn't even read the CD, I tried (and failed with) Yellow Dog again. I'm destined not to have anything but the Mac OS on Slave1. Argh...

"...edit your HTML content from any computer anywhere through a standard web browser..." Umm, define "standard"

How the hell does Tellme know that "OS" means "Operating System" and that BeOS should be pronounced "Be Operating System" - Ha! It didn't get Mac OS X right though, of course, the media and most consumers can't either.

Mac OS X Apps?

Crap, somebody stole my motorcycle. Ok, it wasn't really mine, it was in the backyard of the house we're renting, and I was really hoping it had been abandoned there for someone, me for instance, to put it to good use. Ah well, I probably would have put somebody in the hospital with it - again, most likely me. It's probably for the best. Now the canoe is a different story. There's a canoe out behind the garage that I plan to use as soon as the lake thaws out. I'm not sure if it'll actually float (may need some duct tape) and I might need to stop by Sherper's for some new paddles, but I'm hyped! Canoes RULE!

Kids, you best watch yourself when using gzip to uncompress files, lest you start to type gunzip on the command line and someone gets the wrong idea... (and don't even think about typing man kill without making sure no one else is in the room!)

I found this slightly amusing: Why My Email Address is not a mailto: Link


Programming is hard. Don't forget that. (Note to self: remember that programming is hard.) Sure, it's easy to write some code, some people even write code that is useful in some way. The sad thing is, you often write more code, or spend more time writing code to deal with things that could, or do, go wrong. What if the user tries to do this? What if my application can't make a network connection, or times out? I tend to do this, and I know others do as well - you see some system/application and think "Geez, I could hack together something similar in a few hours" And sometimes you do, but then you think about error checking, and defensive coding for when things go wrong, and modularizing things, and creating an easy to use configuration scheme. It's all just a damn mess. Sometimes it actually works. Hmmm...

Luckily, HTML Programmers don't have these problems... I'm joking of course... people who just markup documents aren't really programmers. I mean, applying structural code to data is something better done by computers anyway. Most people who write HTML don't bother to validate it anyway. Probably because it can be really difficult to incorporate things from outside sources and still have your pages validate. Hell, even putting in links is work, because url string need to be encoded properly. Instead of using an application that creates animated Flash buttons, why not use one that assists in creating good documents?

Hack: Yeah, I hack code. Writing one-off scripts is quick, easy, and relatively painless. Writing full blown scripts that get dropped into somebody's workflow, and must be completely reliable is another thing. Remember that as well...

linux.Weblogger.com might prove useful...

Here's a little game you can play. Find files on your hard drive that were last modified 1 year from today. I did this and dug up a script I was working on to place the content of an email message into this site in some creative way. That was interesting, I had forgotten about that one! Hmmm, I'll have to see what else I can dig up.

Driving me insane lately: MacRoman

Urk! Someone took a project I worked on and made it part of a frameset. Frames... I feel so cheap and dirty... (On top of that, it does an SSL connection in one of the frames... Security? What's that?)


Radio is shipping. Full circle? Well, for those of us that we're involved in the Frontier community circa 1996/1997. It really is an impressive piece of software. I think people will dig it. Now if UserLand could just get perl scripts running in Radio...

Charts and Graphs! Charts and Graphs! Everybody love Charts and Graphs! (Sing it now!)

I started working on Art Manager a little bit this weekend. It's got a loooong way to go... I think it'll be a pretty usable system when it's done though. Well, I know it will.

My feet took a beating this weekend, no, I didn't do too much walking, but I did end up with a blood covered foot one night and a big bruise on the other one the next day. You don't wanna know what goes on in our house.


Yesterday I started testing iCab again, and finally downloaded Opera. At first glance, they're both looking good. I'll have to try using them each for a day. I've been using Mozilla more and more, alas, I still have to use Netscape 4.75 for various reasons beyond my control... sigh... Standards Compliance, we'll meet up someday...

Recent trash finds: Some nice windows that we'll be using for picture frames, and a good looking chair that needed minor repair. The twist is, the female grabbed these, she gets more from the trash than I do now! It sure is nice living near the rich people who cast off still usable items...

Would you rather be strong or bold? Would you like to be deprecated?



Seeing as how I love perl, Greymatter is a great piece of work! Very impressive! I'll need to find a use for it... you can too!

Isn't this a great story about using Microsoft Publisher to create an online newsletter? The example companies, organizations, products, people, and events depicted herein are fictitious. No association with any real company, organization, product, person, or event is intended or should be inferred. )

meta, meta, meta, meta, meta, meta, meta, meta, meta, meta, meta, meta, meta, meta, meta, meta, meta, meta, meta, meta, meta, enter some damn meta info!

The guy who was my perl mentor (years ago) eventually got into Java. This other guy I know (he knows perl, and favors PHP) is now getting into the Java stuff as well. (We're talking Java on the server, as it's pretty well know Java in the client is dead, right?) Anyway, what is it about Java that attracts people to it? I've just never seen the draw... of course I'm J.A.P.H. so what do I know?

I've been looking into Simple.pm. From the docs: What could be simpler? (Rhetorical).


Argh! What happened to Be Dope?

Banner ads on banner ads on banner ads?

I've seen some sites out there, they might be "weblogs" or "blogs" or whatever the kids are calling them these days, that put this little checkbox on the page with an "Open links in new window?" caption next to it. They will then add some JavaScript to their page to accomplish this. Now, I use a variety of browsers on different platforms, and in my informal testing, I've found that this functionality already exists in most browsers. Try holding down a modifier key when you click a link, maybe the command or shift key, and see if it works... Now, delete that JavaScript code... you probably don't need it. There, I've just made the web a better place.

CodeBitch is right on... Yeah, right on...


Lack of software for OS X? I'm assuming apache, perl, python, the Gimp, and the standard BSD stuff will be there...

I was testing a web app, and put in for the url field: http://www.www.www.com/ Oddly enough, it exists, so I ended up using http://www.www.www.www.com/ which luckily doesn't exist. I can't see to find the purpose of www.com besides being a place to sell ad space... What a waste!

If you're having any web related work done, and you care at all about non-Windows users, please work with a company that understands the complexities of truly cross-platform, cross-browser development. I'm working with two companies who don't even have a Mac on the premises! So they obviously don't test things under the Mac OS. The assumption, "it works on Windows with IE, therefore it works" is that of close minded people who don't care about customers or accessibility. I mean, when you specify a problem that might only affect Netscape 4.x/Mac OS users (as per the specified requirements) and the developlers don't even have access to a Mac, what's the point? Listen, cough up $800 and get a damn iMac for testing! (And while you're at it, get a Linux machine to test with as well, if you think your audience might also use that platform. Is it so hard?)

I know Dave's all hyped about Radio and I have been using it lately (mainly as a Frontier 5.0.1 replacement) but it seems to be leaking like a sieve. It starts with 10MB free, and it goes down to zero during the workday. Maybe a root update will fix it, in the meantime I had to write an agent to warn me when the memAvail gets too low...

Why do so many people thing Excel is a database, or some kind of organizer or whatever? It's a freakin' spreadsheet! Oh, we'll just do our scheduling in Excel, a Bug Reporting database? Excel can do it! Bleargh... I can't even blame Microsoft for this one, Excel is a good spreadsheet (I'm assuming, I know little of building spreadsheets myself) but it's not an all-purpose, do-everything piece of software... like BBEdit! (just kidding...)

Today I heard someone say, "There are people out there who don't like anyone touching them." I am one of those people. If it's not a family member, I'm really uncomfortable with people touching me. The whole "personal space" thing. For a while in the 90's I wouldn't shake anyone's hand. Then it became some big contest to try to shake my hand, so people could say they did it. Who's the freak there, eh?


Feathers! Damn feathers! Yesterday I noticed this white stuff on my pants, and I didn't realize what it was at first. Then I remembered the feathers... See, about a week ago the f had a task, she had this feather pillow that she wanted the feathers removed from. Now, if I were smart I might have asked Jeeves or searched Google for "How do I remove feathers from a pillow?" or something like that. But I'm not smart. That's a well established fact. So I stick my hand in the pillow and pull out a bunch of feathers. There are now feathers everywhere. I think that putting it in water might help, but while the f is filling a big container, I decide to go outside and just empty the damn thing into a garbage can. Now you'll have to image me outside trying to put a bag of feathers into a garbage can, with damn feathers going everywhere - in the air, on the ground, in my mouth, in my clothes, and a few in the garbage can. There were freakin' feathers everywhere when I came back in the house choking. I jumped in the shower, and let the female take it from there. So yesterday, even after washing my feather shirt, it still had feathers in it. I hate feathers...

Generic Equivalents: Spotted at Walmart recently, a soda named "Twist Up" and one called "Dr Thunder"

Speaking of Walmart, what's the difference between a Walman and a Walwoman? Walnuts!

A lot of people don't know this, but Dr. Pepper actually lost his license to practice medicine and was drummed out of the medical community. It was all very hush-hush. He later changed his name to Mr. Pibb.

Found in an email message from the ColdFusion guys "...may be some sort of bug in ColdFusion ..." What? bug? ColdFusion? Why - it can't be!

What if - and this is a hypothetical - what if all your base are belong to Bill Gates? Or maybe Steve Jobs? Or even, Linus Torvalds? A frightening thought indeed!

As parents we've tried hard to understand our children. It can be difficult. Our youngest is quite different from our oldest in her behavior, and we figured that was ok, but some things really left us puzzled. Most people would probably say "Oh, you have a difficult child" and in some ways we do, but determining why is the real problem. Well, we have determined why, Sensory Integration. Things are starting to make sense. Now we know why our beloved little one acts the way she does, and what we can do about it. My advice to all parents, is to watch the actions of your children carefully, if something doesn't seem quite right, look into it. I hate to be a public service announcement here, but I've know parents who probably should have looked into behavioral problems, but took the defensive stance of "There's nothing wrong with my child" to avoid the issue. If you really love your children, do what's best for them.


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  Last Modified: 09.17.2001 by rasterboy