A journal of questionable quality

Sunday, October 31, 2004

weight matters..

It's getting to that time again.

I can tell.

Work on the weekend left me tired and with sore feet.

Reason? Too long sitting down in front of this screen, doing nothing but moving a mouse, sometime managing to lean over and punch the keyboard a few times - heady stuff - stuff that will NOT help you lose weight.

Too long glumming over various CMS (still), we favor WordPress for people who want a no fuss blog by the way. Mambo, or maybe Movable Type is the way to go for big web, probably Mambo seeing as we haven't managed to set Movable Type up locally yet.

Too long savoring the delights of the Flash Communication Server - real time everything if you have the money and the bandwidth. Anyone thinking of real time audio/video should be looking at it. We're even preparing to undertake a small project with it... what does that tell you?

Time for the beloved bike again. I can feel it coming on. It's getting too hot to be out riding so that should mean it's a good time for me to do it. Try add get heat stroke at least once a year is my motto.

I love that bloody bike, for no particular reason, other than it give me an insane feeling of well being.

Well being only lasts as long as it takes for the first person that day to try and side swipe me in their car, after that it's getting to total war.

In flight, full flight - maybe every second day, riding will equate to a weight loss of 1Kg to 100klm - that's once the legs start to get up to pace, and the body has become used to it.

On that basis I need to do about 1400 klm - something, believe it or not, I have done before.

Yvonne has elected to be a little more on the gentle side, purchasing a pedometer to tell her how many steps she has taken - it seems to be living in the bedroom, making it hard to measure anything. Was it supposed to cause weight loss by simply 'being'?

I might stick to the bike - I know the results. The pedometer doesn't seem to have produced anything... at all, apart from the calories lost opening the packaging.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

cms, mdpro, mambo and other acronyms

A week of 'geek' stuff to keep me from running for the buggy to get some of these big winds we've been having, blowing implants all over the place.

A week of CMS, as mentioned, running a local server on the old '98 machine, trialing MDPro, Mambo, Word Press, ezPublish, and all manner of other applications.

The idea was to get a list of easily installed systems for the average user to deal with, negating the need for constant updates, modifications, small stuff, slap them all on a self booting CD/DVD (with Linux running it - beat that) and use it as a demo.

A good idea, a bad plan. Seems these CMS all need some sort of intervention in the install process, not quite what I had expected. Not something you can leave Joe Blow with, because the potential for something to go wrong is right up there.

Never mind, all good experience.

Mambo impresses, as does MDPro, if you're after fully featured applications that will give you a decent web presence.

If you want something a little 'cleaner', with the emphasis on content, have a look at the easiest to install of them all Word Press - this is the way web publishing should be.. it's clean, simple, skinable and runs really well. Now I see why so many fellow developers are using it for their own sites.

Zoetrope's next redesign, well overdue, but still happening somewhere, may well have to be on a WordPress platform... then again, Mambo is a good look too... what do you do?

Answer - bugger all, stitches out, new glasses on face thanks to the best optometrist in the entire World. These glasses sport the latest technology, whatever it may be - faster transitions, no distortion at the edge of the vision, all the stuff you want out of glass but have to have out of plastic, or, in this case polycarbonate or something.

So, bugger all of the geek stuff in the near future, I have a buggy to drive, a life to get back...

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

times changing.. brothels closing

All good things have to come to an end.

I'm not sure of the exact reasoning behind that saying, I suspect it was coined by a lapsed Catholic priest.

Ex partner, constant friend, Carol, has decided to quit the brothel business after all this time, citing boredom, bad staff attitude and lean business, coupled with a desire to spend more time with a growing family and man friend.

This after nearly a decade of business, at different locations all over the city, from the heights of the inner city high rise to the palatial expanses of the bayside.

Almost a decade of the daily drama of working girls' lives, a requirement, we suspect, to qualify as a true worker. That and the almost obligatory drug addiction.

Almost a decade of listening to the constant flow of 'heavy breathers', people who ring the number and hang on the line, breathing, not talking, as if the mere phone call may well get them off, without any further need.

I used to listen to these and other weirdo calls on the extension to try and come to grips with their methodology, but never could figure them.

Listening in on suspected self gratifiers while surveying the city from the comfort of a luxury highrise, good food, good company and downtown for a quick shopping blast, leaving the 'workers' whenever the urge took is not one of the hardest ways to spend a day I must admit.

We go back a long way, her and I, and have shared many an adventure, some more outrageous than others, practically all good.

Travelled Europe together, in the middle of Winter initially, checking out where we might like to live, if living there ever became necessary as a result of our less than perfect behavior in Australia.

Back here, and we go our own ways, phone calls from obscure places in the middle of the night, reporting in, as she always did when she was out of town. Strangely we communicate less when in the same city than we did when she was away.

Could be a sign of age - we all seem to have 'settled' over the last few years, me here in the boondocks, her just over the river, but a 40klm trip to get to see her, living, as she does now, in suburbia, similar to me.

Sign of the times when a business owner would rather fold it than put up with anymore drama.

Just goes to show - times really must be getting tough if blokes can't find an excuse for those credit card entries...

Monday, October 25, 2004

mySQL, my arse...

A week off.

A week to kill while I wait for the stitches to have become so embedded in my flesh that I won't be able to get them out. Happens most times, I resort to hacking at flesh with a razor blade to get to the knot.

A week to investigate the possibilities afforded by using prebuilt PHP modules to build a site that can be easily managed. Geeks will tell you they're named CMS (content management system). I'm telling you they're a wheelbarrow full of PHP code, all stuck together very nicely so that people like me can get a handle on them.

The list of available CMS is huge, but I have finally managed to pare it down to a few good ones. Mambo for one, MDPro for another (thanks Alan).

There had been prior concerns about CMS products taking business away from Dreamweaver coders like me - totally unfounded as it turns out, in fact, if anything they will bring more work our way, requiring, as we now know, a certain amount of knowledge of the PHP/Apache/mySQL environment.

A week to set up the spare '98 machine as a local server, complete with PWS and Apache (don't ask), and sporting a new mySQL database, all running a foot away.

The poor old thing has developed a complex about running so much PHP (figured I might as well run phpBBS as well, along with OScommerce, just to make it grunt a bit).

Grunt it does, so much so that for the second time today it has spat the database out - corrupted and not rebuildable. I am indeed pleased this is a local install, and I don't have to redo it via remote.

The outcome? We have become fans of the award winning Mambo - Linux software 2004 award - and we are developing a deep relationship with MDPro.

We're over the worry that everyone is going to rush out and install, configure and run their own setup - new thinking is that it would be better if they did.

Our new thinking is that the cost for rescuing doomed installs should incur a penalty of at least plus 50% dollar value to cover the frustration of cleaning up someone else's mess.

Go forth, multiply, have a look at the CMS revolution, it's something that should have a profound effect on the way things are done on the web.

Then again I said that about Blogger.

Friday, October 22, 2004

change for the sake of change

It can never stay the same - nothing can ever stay the same.
The change to broadband has not been without it's problems. We're talking here of Australia's telephony monopoly, Telstra.

Telstra tell you that should you feel the need to be connected broadband wise, nothing will change (well, the email address will, but they will divert it to the old one), so that's now nothing but the email address that will change... oh, and we may have to 'migrate' your site as well, but nothing will change.

Broadband connected (badly I might add - I ended up hacking it myself), everything settled down, running well, good speed, good everything....

....but the 'migration' of the site rears it's head. Would we like to 'migrate' it within 14 days or risk losing it - easy decision there, let's migrate it today.

Migration means, for Telstra anyway, the complete loss of your old address, and the requirement to add even more length to the URL - from http://www.users.bigpond.com/zoetrope101 (long enough so that people go to sleep typing it in) to an even longer version - http://www.users.bigpond.net.au/zoetrope101 - lets take out the com and add a dot net dot au.

Change for the sake of change, change for the sake of Telstra, not to help out customers, just change to make it easier for them to define their billing.

The only one that this effects is ME - not anyone else, the household is happy that they have broadband to wizz about on, site URL's not being within the (narrow) limits of their mentality.

The site, over the years, has been linked to, referred to, used by, countless other sites, people, companies, you name it, and now, for the sake of change I have to somehow try and let the world know.

Thank you Telstra - you may now prepare to suffer. I WILL cause damage, I will hack the living shit out of you. Thank you.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

and back to reality

Had to happen.
Time is up.
Two weeks of no children about to change. It's Sunday and they are on their way home.

A good two weeks. Spent it doing bugger all. Good just to be able to converse without being interrupted, except by the cat who seems to think it his duty to keep up a barrage of comments.

Didn't travel too much, down to the Coast once, to check the sand pumping jetty as a place for uninterrupted buggy driving. Too crowded, too many lifesavers taking a dim view of people in buggies running over the madding crowds. Not helped by the drowning, earlier in the week, of a child in the very same place as we were looking.

Opted instead for the nearby park, apparently unused during the week and crying out for some attention from me. Two hours racing about it in a wind that had all but ripped the skin off Yvonne, seated nearby reading a book, probably hoping I would give up before too long.

Down to Redland Bay, home of May and Don, and Randle, their disabled son. Wonderful people. Had the pleasure of working with May for a while at a well known towing company. She in administration, me the radio operator. Good times had by all.

Sad indeed that we only get there once a year. They're close - in the same city, and we still don't get there.

Resolved to do better this year, just like we did last year.

Back to the real World. Back to the latest project - PHP and mySQL - probably about time I did some database things, especially since we now have a spare machine for a server.

Doesn't look like it will be something that I will feel the need to write a book about, seems that plenty of people claim to be experts in it's use if the answers to a query I posted are anything to go by.

Reality - I'm not ready for it yet.

Friday, October 01, 2004

holidays - penultimate day

It's blowing a gale outside - a Northerly.

If I wasn't in here I would be out in that over at the park, or down the beachfront on the outgoing tide, trying out the new 2m Buster supplied by BrisKites, a bright red thing that will remove the necessity of using the 8' Delta.

The Delta is good to use in a strong wind, but unwieldy in that it needs a concerted effort to land and launch the thing - the new Buster, being a four line machine, has the ability to be reversed down without drama, packs up in a small roll, and doesn't have spars to poke the eyes out of victims.

Why I'm in here, wasting the wind, out of the sun, is called 'pre holiday preparation' - well, around here it is.

We're taking two weeks off. It's that time of the year again - Yvonne gets rid of her kids, then gets rid of the day care monsters and we kick back and relax.

Visit a few dear friends. May and Don, Ray and Melody, visit the God daughter, and her Father, day trips only, unable to leave the killer cat on his own for a night. Who would he have to talk to when he bustles in his door if we were away? Who would he wake up?

Visit a few beaches, check out the winds, check out the new Buster, give the buggy some real work to do for a change.

Clear the brain, have a break from the screen, from the code, from Photoshop, from all of it, start back with a clean mind, clear head, ready for a revamp of the site, a reboot for it and me.

Maybe a video project for when I get back into gear - should begin with one for BrisKites, a loop job to run into the shop, fast cuts, covering the entire sport, snow through to water.

Damn, I haven't gone yet and I'm already planning the return - mistake number one.