wordpress 1.5 upgrade

I’ve upgraded my blog again. I can see that my RSS feed URL has changed, so I apologize to everyone who’s tracking me via RSS that may now have a problem. When/if I decide to move the blog to the new URL, you can all feel free to hate me one more time for the same reason.

Initial impression of the new version’s look — much better than the defaults on the old version. There are some weird issues if you have viewed my site before and your browser has cached it. Hold down either ctrl or shift (depending on your browser) and click on the reload button … that should clear up any problems.

The new version seems to have a fixed width that is significantly smaller than I like – I run 1600×1200 at work and 1280×1024 at home. I’m thinking I should probably optimize the width for a browser opened fullscreen on a 1024×768 monitor, with the hopes that there aren’t any readers out there with really old or small monitors. I’d like to hear your thoughts on this.

domain registration silly business

I have registered two new domains … “atory.org” and “itory.org” are the names.

Under strong consideration for my blog is https://purg.atory.org with a new blogname..

An old friend of mine that I haven’t seen in a long time owns ity.org which is much better than mine when it comes to using real words as hostnames. I’m going to need to use partial words as hostnames for most of these.

mucking about in the blog stylesheet

I’ve done a little work on making my blog look more like Nat’s. In the end, I want it to look different from his, but he has a great look already that is better than the wordpress defaults.

Not knowing CSS, this is a slow-going adventure! CSS looks extremely powerful, and the only way to go for designing anything beyond a simple one or two page site. I should probably dust off my programming brain and actually learn this stuff.

single awareness day 2005

It’s Valentine’s Day. Have you remembered to obtain SOMETHING for your significant other today?

For those of the male species who may not be aware, we cannot EVER ignore any Hallmark Holiday (birthdays, mother’s day, anniversary, TODAY, etc.), even if she tells you that you don’t need to get her anything. The fact that you remembered the day will bring her joy. If you forget or take her “no gift” request literally, it will break her heart and forgiveness will be slow. If she really loves you, only time and extreme grovelling will soothe the hurt — the most expensive gift in the world might actually make it worse.

People who are single tend to hate Valentine’s Day. Is there anyone who hasn’t heard it bitterly referred to as “Single Awareness Day” — a day that single people are cruelly reminded by everyone around them that they have no love life?

I enjoy Valentine’s Day myself. I have been married for just over four years, and the relationship is still going strong. I love my wife very much, and all evidence says she loves me. Last year I bought my wife concert tickets for a show that played on her birthday, and gave them to her on Valentine’s Day. I’m afraid that the budget keeps me from doing something so flashy this year.

UPDATE: I didn’t intend the focus of my second paragraph above to be gifts. I was trying to say that you must show, in some way, that the day is important to you and that you remembered it. The problem arises when the man inteprets “don’t get me anything” as “today means nothing, don’t worry about it.”

round and round we go

The quote in my last post got my brain thinking on a tangent.

People waste an amazing amount of energy doing things that are either pointless or harmful, myself included. I have a tendency to get lost in my computer or a movie and ignore everything else around me, especially if it involves getting up and actually doing something. I’ve been trying to change that, and having mixed results.

There are naturally more examples I could mention about myself, but this is my blog, and therefore I’m not going to dwell on my flaws. 🙂 Instead, I’ll talk about the kids!

When it comes to cleaning rooms, taking baths, or other basic household chores, my kids will spend more time and energy at one or more of the following than it would take to just complete the task:

  • Insist, often in the form of screaming, that they WILL NOT DO IT.
  • Tell me that I am mean and unfair.
  • Mention the things that siblings have not yet completed in an attempt to direct my attention elsewhere.
  • Remind me that they have to complete the task that I requested two hours earlier, which they have not yet started.
  • Completely ignore me.
  • Say “ok,” go off as if to do the task, and play with toys instead.

Usually I feel I’m alone in having this trouble with my kids, but intellectually I know I’m not. I already have one teenager, and the others aren’t far behind. I fear for my sanity.

unbending

I came across a quote today that someone on an open source mailing list was using as their signature.

Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy with the proof. — J.K. Galbraith

It is amazing that we have progressed as far as we have, given this tendency in human nature.

URL changing

Because there never has been anything useful on my main website, I have decided to change the URL of this blog to just http://www.elyograg.org instead of appending the /blog … so my RSS feed has changed too. Update your readers as soon as you can.

For now, /blog/* will properly redirect.

luring the bears

I read about Project HoneyPot on Slashdot recently, and signed up to help out the cause. I put pots on two of my domains and also donated two MX entries. So the spambots can find them, links to the pots are here and here.

Although I have managed to eliminate virtually all spam from my own email, other accounts that are hosted on my servers are not so lucky, so any progress in the fight against spam is a good thing.

I would encourage anyone with their own domain to create pots and MX records to help out.

against the grain

When you shave, do you move the razor downward or upward? The former is often referred to as “with the grain” while the latter is “against the grain.” In the movie Lethal Weapon 4, Roger Murtaugh tells his son that he should shave with the grain.

For me, shaving in this way results in almost no effect. If I’m not moving the razor (either electric or bladed) upward, the hair doesn’t come off. I’m curious about other people’s experiences with this.

megapixel heaven

Kathy surprised me with a new present a few days ago. It’s a Nikon D70 digital camera. She’s known for a long time that I wanted one, and with my recent raise at work, she felt that I deserved something special.

This camera is so far beyond anything I ever expected to own that I’m still in shock every time I pick it up. It’s so fast and responsive, and being a true SLR camera, the possibilities are endless. Everything except the zoom feature can be configured to be completely automatic, or you can do everything manually. It’s taken beautiful pictures so far, and I should be able to do even better after I learn a thing or two in the photography classes.

My old camera, the HP photosmart 318, really sucks. It took at least two seconds after pushing the button for it to do anything at all, after which it would flash twice very slowly (three times with red-eye reduction), and finally take the picture. Sometimes nothing would happen at all when you pushed the button, for no visible reason. I have never been very happy with the quality of the pictures I got out of this camera, and because of the rather cumbersome interface, the only time it got real use was on my trip to India … and I REALLY wish that I’d had the Nikon back then!

Many thanks to my loving wife!

noo yeers

It’s nearly midnight on New Years Eve, Mountain Standard Time.

Tomorrow, we all venture into a new year. Things are pretty good for me right now. I have a good job, and some additional opportunities on the horizon.

Kathy’s brother (my brother-in-law) is exchanging vows in the afternoon tomorrow — with his wife. They were officially married on Christmas Eve, in Japan. He is stationed on a naval base near Tokyo, which is the city that she lives in. She is a native of Japan.

Nat is performing the ceremony, which will only have sentimental value, since they are already legally married. Thanks to a lot of effort by Kathy and her mom, it promises to be a beautiful wedding.

christmas quest

This christmas, we did something a little different for the kids.

We told them prior to the big day that they would not have any presents under the tree, and there would be nothing in their stockings. They didn’t actually believe that we would do it, but we did.

Sitting on top of their stockings was a note. Click the image to see it full size.

Christmas hunt poster

Attached to this note was a clue, leading them off on a hunt that lasted half an hour and ranged all over the house. It was a more satisfying experience for everyone than we’ve had in the past — it used to be over in just a few minutes.

shave every day and you’ll always look keen

I went to Walmart on December 24th. Yes, I was dumb enough to wander into the den of evil on Christmas Eve. Thankfully, I only had a few things to get, and I was able to get into a relatively fast “20 items or less” checkout line.

I bought some of the 50 cent pies that Nat mentioned in his blog. They are pretty good, but Kathy says that Hostess pies are better, and they are three for a buck at the Hostess store.

While I was at Walmart, I bought a new shaver. I am hopeful that this one will give me a few years of service.

These fancy electric razors are not cheap, but they really do make the job of shaving faster and easier. If they didn’t, the companies that make them would not be able to get anyone to pay so much for them.

Anyone who has known me in person in the last few years is aware of my facial hair. I have bushy hair on my face because I am lazy, not because I enjoy it. Kathy does not like the hair. She very much prefers me to have a smooth face, and I enjoy being hair free as well. I look much younger when I shave. There have been a lot of scientific and non-scientific studies done that show people, especially women, tend to have more trust in a man who shaves. We haven’t had a president with a beard in amost 100 years.

Even so, I really hate to mess with disposable razors and shaving cream. I hate it so much that I will go a month or more without shaving, rather than deal with them.

A few years ago for Valentines day, Kathy bought me a Braun Syncro shaver (model 7526). Like the one I just bought, it’s a self-cleaning razor.

A month or so after I got it, it broke. I never got around to calling Braun for warranty replacement, which I probably could have gotten, but in the end I figure the new one would have broken in a similar manner.

The nature of the problem is, in my opinion, a major design flaw in the cleaner. The top part pushes down into the end of the razor, providing power for charging and cleaning. The problem was that the top would not stay down — the latching mechanism deep inside broke. There is a spring inside, designed to disengage the power from the razor at the touch of a button. Because it would not lock in the coiled position, the cleaner was completely broken unless I spent 20 minutes holding it down. The only thing I ever found to wrap around it effectively to as a jury-rig was so hard to attach and remove that it wasn’t worth doing.

This problem effectively rendered the entire shaver useless, because its blades are designed to be cleaned daily. If they are not cleaned daily, excess hair accumulates and the razor stops working effectively. Cleaning the razor manually is a major chore — I would rather get out the shaving cream and the disposable razors.

The Remington razor I just bought also receives power at the top of the cleaning mechanism. I don’t believe there is a design flaw here, because the spring, located in the bottom under the blades, works to push the razor into the power source, rather than separate it.

The Braun company does seem to be aware of this design flaw. Their newest razor doesn’t have this problem — you drop the razor into the base and it’s ready to go. I would have bought this razor, but Walmart was out of them.

dvd backup

I have had enormous trouble with optical drives on my main Windows system. The CD burner that came with it died for unknown reasons. I bought a new DVD burner that did everything except dual layer, and either Ben (my 3 year old) or one of the other small kids who happened to be in the house that day pulled the tray out of the drive. Even though I managed to get the tray back in and physically functional, the drive no longer works.

A couple of days ago, a brand new drive arrived at my house – dual-layer all-format (except DVD-RAM) DVD burning. It burns DVD+R discs (the only kind I have at the moment) at 8X – about ten minutes for a full burn. It claims 11080KB/sec as it burns, which would be equivalent to a 73X CD burner.

Thanks to this new drive, I have a full backup of my main computer now, using three DVDs for a file-based backup and one CD for an MS backup of the “System State” which is a 500 MB file.

I have been trying to locate a utility to lock the tray on my drive so that kids can’t ruin another one, but the ones I have found all cost about $20. Can anyone either help me find a free one or dust off their keyboard and write me one?

I may end up buying one anyway — the cost of buying all these new drives is becoming irritating.

blog upgrade frenzy

Now that Nat has upgraded to version 1.2.1, version 1.2.2 has now come out.

I will be upgrading my blog from 1.2.1 to 1.2.2 in the near future. When I do, I will be temporarily going back to the default WordPress stylesheet. I will be attempting to distill Nat’s stylesheet to its essence, so that I can forge my own using the 1.2.2 stylesheet as a starting point.

Nat, I may need to enlist your direct assistance for this!