The Decent Thing To Do

After a confusing day filled with follies of all sorts…I have to ask someone (because my answer is biased): do standards (both technical and personal) and hard work really matter? The day started off by me losing the last spot in my normal train parking lot to someone that I waved in front of me so they could make the turn (it was easier for me to do it, so I thought I would give them a break. Little did I know, they would take a quick turn into my parking lot and take the last spot causing me to miss my train and park much further away than I am accustomed to park.

As the day went on, I was reminded that double standards seem to be the standard. How is it that the others, who do the bare minimum (hopefully soon to be featured on thebareminimum.com (what you wonder why it is still at the bare minimum…it is called redoing the CSS and design for this site)), and seem to be stress and worry free, yet content to live like that while I am stressed out and produce quality solutions? (and then are the same people who complain about things that do not seem to be up to their standard) (which is well above their own in comparison)? (can you tell I like brackets?)

To follow things up, how is it possible I get the “are you fucking serious?” look from Mr. 1990 who is taking up 2 seats on the train and makes me ask him twice if he would please move his stuff so I could sit on the only empty seat that I have found in the past two train cars. PS Mr. 1990s, taking off your lame boots to itch your foot (with a sock with holes) is not very attractive.

To top it all off, as I was driving home, I have to cross the tracks, and as I was at a red light, tracks behind me, some jack ass decided to pull up, and wait on the tracks while we were waiting for the light to turn. So my final questions…what is the thought process with these people? Do they not care? Will I ever be appreciated because I do care?

Clean Code With Tidy

When I first started creating web pages with using SimpleText or BBEdit, my code was super clean…it might not have been as complicated as it now, but everything was in it’s place and it was damn impressive to look at. Enter in GoLive CyberStudio (now Adobe GoLive). Lots of great features and awesome site management, but my god, the code is nasty. Since I decided to design my pages using CSS instead of tables, I have once again found myself coding web pages in text editors or in GoLive’s source code editor. I am a much cleaner coder than Adobe GoLive, but I still make mistakes, and sometimes forget to properly code something, making my pages not compliant with the W3C’s standards. So what do I do? Enter Tidy. I use the command line version, but there is also a cocoa implementation of Tidy that is also pretty cool. So, no more excuses for nasty, non-compliant code.

Day 3: Panic, Day 4: Done.

Well, yesterday after hours of frustration and CSS style sheet number three, I started thinking that what I wanted was not possible…not even close. Thoughts entered my mind like : “maybe I will forward all IE users to a nice web site on standards” and “maybe I could pdf my web site and make users do that.” These thoughts were the desperation speaking. I dreamt all night about CSS classes, divs, and elements and woke up determined to find something that would work. Enter my new hero: Tonico Strasser who authored an awesome layout which I based my design on. I have learned so much about CSS…and this experience has been an education. I am still not a fan of IE, but it is something we have to deal with and I have dealt with it. I have a few spacing issues with IE still, but everything looks pretty good. Sixty plus hours worth it? Yes. Standards are important.

beautiful desktop pictures.

There are some days when I cannot work until I am happy with my desktop picture. I have been known to scour certain web sites for the perfect desktop picture and I like to think I am familiar with the top desktop picture web sites (per my taste) but I was stunned to find a new amazing desktop picture web site that I had never been to before: http://www.mandolux.com/. This web site almost made me want to start using dual displays, and for those who know me, that says a lot. Desktop pictures are important to me because they often set the tone, and color, for my designs. I can often look at any of my designs and tell you what desktop picture I was using at the time when I created the design. I have a new desktop picture and a new design in motion for jappler.com, so stay tuned. PS. Happy New Years!

flavors from around the world.

Back in November when I went to the World of Coca Cola with my friend Doug, we sampled flavors of pops from all over the world. Today, I have finally had a chance to post pictures of what we sampled. Some good, some bad, but none better than Coke itself.
PS. Stay away from pop from Italy, unless you request a Coke. 😉

access your home computers from anywhere

There comes a time when you are at work, travelling, or somewhere where you “really wish you could access your home computer(s).” Some people are fortunate enough to have static ips so they can simply access their computer by using their static IP. For most of us, we have to deal with dynamic IPs. For years now I have been using a great service (DynDNS.org). With dynDNS, you can set up a domain name that will point to your computer, and will update when your IP changes, so you will always be able to connect to your home computers. Sound cool? Here is how to set it up:

There are 3 basic parts to configuring DynDNS.

  1. Create an account. Go to DynDNS.org and at the top right of the page, click on the “Sign up now” link. Once you have an account, log in and choose a domain name from DynDNS’s options. Then, from the computer that you want to be able to access from outside of your home, add a host, and your public IP will automatically show up in the web browser form. Once your choosen domain name now has a public ip as a pointer, you will need to configure your router or DNSUpdate software so it knows that a computer on your home network is mydomina.dyndns.org
  2. Set up your router or use DNSUpdate software. If you are fortunate enough to have a netgear router, there are options (read your manual) where you can configure your router to work with DynDNS. If you do not have a router that supports DynDNS, you can use DNSUpdate software and configure it.
  3. Setting Up Port Forwarding. Once you get your domain set up to point to your home computer, you will need to set up port forwarding on your router so when the request for mydomain.dyns.org comes to the router, it will know where to forward the request. You will need to figure out how you want to access your home computer. If you want to access your computer using SSH, you will need to forward port 22 to the computer you set up mydomin.dyns.org to point to. If you want to be able to use Timbuktu to connect to your home computer, you will need to set up port forwarding to port 407. Your home computer, behind the router, has a private address. (192.168.x.x or 10.x.x.x). In the port forwarding section of your router configuration, you will choose which private IP will listen to all outisde traffic. (ex) forward all incoming traffic on port 22 to 192.168.0.4 if 192.168.0.4 is the computer you want to be able to SSH from outside of your home network. Not sure what port your application uses? http://www.iana.org/assignments/port-numbers

Confusing? Need help? Let me know.

the joys of hotels.

I travel pretty frequently. Not everyone does travel a lot, so I can understand that certain travel specific hassles and the likes would not bother people like it bothers me. Yet, I also drink a lot of water (and Coke (not Pepsi)) so I often have to go to the bathroom. Regardless of how much you drink, everyone has to go to the bathroom sooner or later and often several times a day. My point? How many hotels do I have to stay in where the toilet paper dispenser is out of reach? Who thinks that it would be ok to have to contort your whole body just to get a ply? (which ends up to be about two feet because it is so far away) I cannot think of the last hotel I was at (and I usually stay at high end hotels) where the toiler paper placement made sense. It is either way behind you nearly on the floor (like my current hotel) or perhaps on the other side of the room. My point? Where are all these so called designers when such a simple placement decision is needed? They have no excuses because everyone goes to the bathroom. It is the simple things that could easily be fixed that really drive me crazy. (Think back to one of my first postings, along with other random thoughts I have shared.) My life thesis: take a few minutes out of life to take care of the simple things. If you start with taking care of the simple things eventually the big picture questions appear not so big at all because really, they are just a lot of simple things combined.

Content Management, Rethought

After reading a few messages from my php mailing list, I again stopped to think about a content management system. Plone is amazing, but unless you have access to your own server, or have a host that supports Zope/Plone, you need something else to work with. I was intrigued by XOOPS until I went to my CMS info site. Not too much good stuff to say. I was excited that it was object oriented and that it used Smarty, but looks like I will keep looking, or perhaps make my own one of these days. Stay tuned.