October, 2007

If I Lose My Mind Now, How Will You Remember Me?

Thu, 2007-10-25 23:27

My online experience is starting to be filled with too many uncertainties and inconsistencies. That is the sort of thing I might expect from interpersonal relationships, but computers are supposed to behave in a predictable manner, right? Lately getting a computer to behave like I would expect has made my alternate experiences with personalities, politics and egos seem like a sort of escape.

The uncertainties I refer to may actually have a bit of the human element added in. Mostly I am thinking something like: If I send this email, will anybody ever read it? It all depends on what the person who makes the decisions for that particular email account has decided to allow. I can increase my chances by doing a few things, and occasionally a hint will be thrown my way, but largely it is only hit or miss. Uncertainties.

Inconsistencies are anybody's guess. At the moment I am trying to predict the cost of sending a package through the U.S.Mail, and let me tell ya they are not helping. Sometimes I get a highball figure, sometimes it is even doubled, and other times I get a bargain indeed. I could do as well using a random number generator. I can't really say how I will deal with that.

On a side note, I am listening to the Goo Goo Dolls doing a cover of an old Supertramp standard. You kids don't know what you are missing.

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Keeping My Head Above Water

Tue, 2007-10-23 23:09

I finally got all my websites updated to the newest Drupal release. I may have gotten it done a few days earlier, but I pulled my back something awful and it was only today that I could even think of tracking down all the different servers.

I got a pretty good idea of what I have during the updating process. I have a couple of websites still using the older and soon to be outdated version of Drupal, but updating the themes seems to be a simple process, so that should be quick.

I have a couple of shopping carts that need to be started or redone. One should be a simple copy/paste, the other will be an ongoing process, but should pay well...

Is it possible that I am approaching the slow season in a semi-caught-up fashion?

My site owner who has been getting the most attention lately is experiencing downtime. I am continually asking the same question: Would a VPS be more reliable or would I be just putting all my eggs in one very expensive basket? One thing is certain, I will need a lot more education to continue to do my job. More money would do equally as well, but let's get real here!

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Find Me On The Network

Fri, 2007-10-19 23:00

I am pleased to say that I am now a member of a blogging network! The network is still new and I was one of the first to sign up. I am looking forward to getting to know my new and future colleagues.

The network is a part of Feedburner. I had not signed up for their services before; I am certain that most of my traffic comes from folks checking their linkbacks rather than RSS subscriptions. I have no plans to monetize this blog unless it becomes so wildly popular that I cannot afford it. Heehee.

The idea of a group feed is very interesting to me. I did read somewhere not too long ago that certain types of people will remove a blog's feed from their feed reader if updates do not come often enough. I am more inclined to do the opposite, if someone is far too chatty, especially about something I am not wildly excited about, I will drop them and maybe just visit the actual blog when I have a chance. This might be a way to keep both types of subscribers happy.

Anyway, the network is made up of geeky chicks. If you enjoy listening to girls talking nerdy, this may be a feed you will enjoy.

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Zero Waste

Mon, 2007-10-15 20:49

I recently met with a group of people who are trying to promote zero waste in our community. I was aware of their accomplishments but had never attended a formal meeting. I was impressed with the wide range of people who are willing to work in this area, and it seems that some of the local public spaces may find themselves with new or improved recycling stations.

It is amazing how much trash accumulates when people gather, and it is a sure bet that large volumes of waste leave private homes every day. I hope that the presence of effective recycling programs will influence consumers to lower their own private waste output.

My family throws out a good amount of waste as well. This is despite recycling whenever possible and choosing reduced packaging when possible. We also compost everything we can, this includes not only kitchen scraps and used coffee filters but also junk mail after we run it through a shredder. The end product is wonderful for growing things.

Another thing I always try to remember when I am leaving the house is my insulated coffee mug. Coffee houses are happy to fill my cup instead of using theirs as it saves them money, and over time small actions like that can make quite a dent in the landfill.

This post is a participation in Blog Action Day. The aim is to get everyone talking towards a better future. Let's do it.

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Awesome Firefox Extensions #1

Thu, 2007-10-04 20:24

It's All Text is a Firefox extension I have been waiting for ever since I got a really good text editor. It not only deals with the tiny artsy input forms you see so often, but it turns every web form on the 'Net into an extension of your favorite text editor.

This is open source software at it's best, folks. Someone had a problem, knew how to fix it, and released the results for the rest of us to enjoy.

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I Can't Get No Validation

Thu, 2007-10-04 00:58

I ran this site through the W3C Markup Validation Service today. I got 11 errors. The first two were my fault, I have so far failed to give alt tags to the decorative icons in the sidebar. It would be easy enough to do that, but it seems kinda silly to have alt="eye candy" or alt="fluff". I might do it anyway if it was the only thing holding me back.

The next error that gets me is in the JavaScript. I do not know if it is possible to write JavaScript that validates for this particular case but I suspect not. If I even knew how to do it I might not hack into the Drupal code to fix it.

After the JS error things just fall apart in a way that defies understanding. I think that one error just cascades down the page. I will give it a look-see. I just wanted y'all to know I am thinking about these things.

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How To Build Your Website

Mon, 2007-10-01 01:16

Lots of people I know are starting to build websites, and lots more are wondering about moving into what I will call blog software. Sometimes for various reasons I wish I had stayed with static websites and uploaded each page manually, but when I remember the shopping carts and other features I need on various sites I am happy to have kept up with the times.

I use Drupal for everything, even for drop dead simple sites such as this one that would work just as well with Wordpress. I like using and learning a single system, and to me it is easier to enable fewer features when they are not needed. I started out using Movable Type and I was able to expand it in amazing ways. I could have done a better job had I understood a few things better. I am glad I moved to Drupal instead of learning to tweak Movable Type to the Nth degree. The learning curve was about the same, and I was able to join a community of folks interested in blogging plus many things beyond that.

Anything you do will be a challenge at some point. You can pay up front and learn a flexible system, or gradually expand on what you have. It is all good!

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