April, 2008

The Design Is Live

Mon, 2008-04-28 00:38

I think my latest project was the hardest thing I have done since I first started learning my way around CSS. I am still tweaking it a bit, but you can take a look if you like. It is for the Blue Ridge Women In Agriculture. No, that's not my design, I just plugged it into Drupal. I have converted designs into Drupal themes before, but never one that was so table intensive with graphics sliced to fit the cells. I basically had to take a screenshot and start from there. The lady who created the design is obviously quite talented and I hope the changes I made to make the design fit are not too offensive to her.

I made the site over from scratch at least three times. I did not have the guts to make the big changes until I had proven that there was no other way. Maybe next time I will know to do what I know has to be done. I can always add stuff later.

Not to build two new sites, a MySpace clone and a shopping cart. It will be refreshing to try something relatively easy.

I am also going to the dentist. Even geeks have to go in for maintenance once in a while.

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I Don't Like Conflict

Tue, 2008-04-22 02:39

I know I don't act like somebody that plays it safe. I act the fool with shenanigans. I understand the rules and know how to appear wise. I can give you a look that will melt your socks.

But in reality I am actually quite sensitive.

No, quit laughing. It is true.

Funny thing is, the old man hates conflict too. I am hurt to the point of dying, he thinks I am mad, and he hides too.

Not much conflict resolution going on here folks.
We work it out sometime.

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My Rant On Designers Using Tables

Sun, 2008-04-13 02:43

I have been spending my day converting a design made by a local college student. It has been a very emotional experience. I spent the first hour randomly randomly throwing out curses because I was really unable to focus my anger well. I settled down a bit after that and focused my wrath on the local university. It is beyond all belief that a modern institution of higher learning would teach methods that do not scale in the real world.

I don't really have anything against tables if they can be made to work. What I am talking about here is a design so inflexible that if the content is too large you just need to change the content. Those kinds of tables.

The design itself is very nice. I do hope the designer does not think I have done it an injustice when I somehow plug it into Drupal.

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What Is The Price Of Spam Prevention?

Mon, 2008-04-07 01:41

Spam is a huge problem. I easily get a couple of hundred spam emails in a day. It is also a problem on websites that accept user input, such as this one. There is nothing sadder than a guestbook or comment section that is overrun with spam. The reason that this happens is that one poor human with a real life cannot compete with millions of spam producing robots. It gets worse when the site becomes a group site. After a while, you get kinda of a knack for spotting bogus registrations. ALLCAPS is a clue, that one is a real human. Usually it takes a look at the email address to sort the miscreants and the n'er-do-wells.

This sort of thing takes some time. Personally, I like it. It gives me pleasure to squash spammers like they was bugs. Problem is, it is not real-time.

I want my users to experience instant acceptance.

It is looking like some sort of reputation system may be the answer. Question is, how much are you willing to submit to a third party in order for this to work? Are you willing to have a single online identity?

As an administrator, I have to know this. Or guess.

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I Used To Have a Pug

Sat, 2008-04-05 02:02

I was just looking at this.

I can tell ya it brings back some memories.

I don't mind telling you that when I saw a pug running down the road, I did not just see a poor, frightened animal. I saw dollar signs. Let me tell ya, it is big business reuniting pets with their rightful owners. Folks are just too grateful. You can protest, but they just insist that you take that $50. And, since my solitary God given talent is finding critters, I do well.

So. When I saw a nice high dollar and obviously lost pug I really thought my ship had come in. That was not the case. I tried everything too. I thought it would be easy, the dog's collar was complete with veterinary tags. Unfortunately a computer crash had eliminated all records. I stepped up the pace. I got the dog out in public.

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I Am Not Giving You Any Cobbler

Fri, 2008-04-04 03:54

When you work in a restaurant, you have people coming in right at closing time on occasion. I never let that bother me too much. Sometimes people can be tired, lost and hungry, and they can be real grateful to you if you feed them.

That is not the same as people who just sit there and talk long after the place is closed, but I did not bring you here to talk about them.

So I am there working one Tuesday night, and doggone if a really big table of about 9 or 11 don't come in three minutes to closing. I know it was a Tuesday because there was a special on Tuesday and doggone if one of them doesn't order it. Special comes with dessert. An extra step.

So I get them all fed and start on the stuff I gotta do before I can leave and maybe get the old man a Pepsi and get him and me fed before midnight. I do a few things and then I figure it is about time to take that guy his dessert.

I just get it and put it on a tray because I figure hey, if he don't want it, somebody eat it.

I make it out to the table. The guy who ordered the special is sitting with his back to me. I am standing right behind him, when he says kinda loud like:

"Well I ain't leaving a tip."

I immediately say, just as loud like, "Well then, I ain't giving you your cobbler."

I was hoping for laughs. I had figured in the possibility of insults. What I got was something I never imagined.

Blank Horrified Stares. Lots of them. I meekly say OK and give him his cobbler.

Soon after, they start to leave. This is where the truly amazing part starts. One by one, the other people at the table take me aside, apologize, and hand me wads of cash. They suggest I try comedy. They compare me to Carol Burnett. One of them even offers a direct explanation.

"Sorry about that guy, but ya know, he is from Tennessee."

It almost moved me to admit the truth, namely, that I am from Tennessee too.
Almost.

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