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Passing thoughts of a Pageminder — MindBlog

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October 2 - 31, 2002



Previous passing thoughts of a Pageminder

10.31.02 - 2:20 pm (CT)
Okay, now I've had six days of testing with MailWasher 1.33 (the most recent STABLE version) and I must say that I was correct. It works great and now also clearly alerts you to infected emails by very nicely printing out the word "Virus" in red in the status column and marking it for deletion. It has missed only one so far, but then that's why I have Norton Antivirus (NAV) — actually I have (and heartily recommend) Norton System Works (NSW) 2002 and Norton Internet Security (NIS) 2002, both of which come with NAV. What's nice about MailWasher identifying it ahead of time is that then I can delete the nasty thing from the server, so it never makes it to my computer for NAV to do its thing. I like having that extra bit of protection. BTW, Symantec makes Norton products and if you watch the ads you can find a decent deal on their latest versions (not yet tested by yours truly), NSW and NIS 2003.

"at this very moment,
I feel brilliant"
 

Satisfaction on another front... I finally have ALL of the new email validation scripts working, as I managed to figure out how to tweak it to make it work on a single page with multiple forms (i.e. the MindBlog Update List page). So, now all of the forms work correctly independent of each other. I may not be brilliant, but, at this very moment, I feel brilliant... a tada for me!

The other day I was going through my daily access logs — they are emailed to me every day for each one of the sites that I manage — and I came across one that had originated from Yahoo. I thought, even though it had only been two months since I had submitted it there, maybe MindBlog had made it into the Yahoo Directory. That would be versus a listing at Yahoo Web, which would be no biggie as it includes every site on the Web — their robot crawls the entire Web and lists everything it finds. Ah, but to make it into Yahoo Directory means that a real person has actually viewed your site and deemed it worthy of being listed in their prestigious directory. Alas, that was not to be... not yet anyway.

All was not lost though, as it led me to two more places to submit MindBlog to: JoeAnt.com, a relatively new directory where you can "search, find and dig exactly what you're looking for by subject or boolean"; and to Alexa.com which bills itself as "a new kind of search engine... with traffic rankings, user reviews and other information about sites". JoeAnt's human reviewer, Hbird64, contacted me the same day to let me know that he had already reviewed and accepted MindBlog into that directory — wow, now that is fast! And he had really perused the site as he asked if it would be possible for me to list them on my MindBlog Links page under search engines — he, being an efficient business man, even included the link to that section of the page. I, of course, told him that the only way to get on that page is as the result of a blog — so, Hbird64, consider your site blogged.** As for Alexa, they actually had already crawled MindBlog, but asked me for more info on the site, which I was more than happy to give them. Top of the page

 
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10.25.02 - 10:51 am (CT)
Some might think that I've been on an extended vacation, but no, I have been busy with Pageminders / WebPageminders business (Note: WebPageminders now "points" to Pageminders, so whichever link you click on will take you to Pageminders — JW 12.15.05.) and continuing with my quest to learn JavaScript (JS). Also, I have been adding more stuff here at MindBlog — most of it is behind the scenes tweaks. One thing you can see, but probably didn't notice, is the MindBlog Update List sign up box (top right part of the page) has been moved from the sub header to within the content of almost all of the pages on this site. The reason for doing this is that I noticed some search engines were using that text for their description of every page on this site, which is obviously not a good thing.

Another thing you can see is something I've been meaning to do for a while, that being, I've added a quick sign up form to all of those update boxes. After researching at numerous JS sites for just the right script to suit my purpose, I came across an excellent (free) email validation script that actually had no errors in it at PerlScriptsJavaScripts.com. The only thing I had to do was to add my own HTML code to the form itself. So, now you can sign up to receive e-notification of updates to MindBlog and MindBlog Links directly from almost any page on this site — no traipsing to another page just to sign up, which to some is too much of an inconvenience.

BTW, a while back I mentioned MailWasher, which is a freeware/shareware ($20 to eliminate the advertising) email filtering/bouncing program. Anyway, if you have been meaning to try it, stick with the stable version! I recently tried the beta version, had one heck of a time with it, and went back to the stable version immediately. Right now I am still using version 1.32.9 and have had absolutely no problems with it. Just today I downloaded, but have yet to try, the latest stable version, which is 1.33. As soon as I have it up and running to test it, I'll let you know what I think...

Okay, I've installed it and used it with, so far, no problems. It installed nicely without having to uninstall the previous version, it left intact the software registration along with my previous email accounts, blacklist, and friends' settings. So, minutes later, I can tell it was a no fuss, no muss installation and initial usage. Of course as is always the case, I will let you know if I run into any problems. Top of the page

10.15.02 - 12:51 pm (CT)
Well, I'm back, back to the quiet streets of Manhattan and the two-lane roads that get you here. There are no four, five, or six-lane roads within five miles of this wonderfully quiet place. Just a minute, I have to check something... I had to go on the deck to listen to... absolutely nothing! Yes, it's very quiet here. It's a good place to unlax, which BTW, is not the same as relax — unlaxing is a total vegetative state whereas relaxing involves some mind activity.

After spending the last two days catching up on mail, bookkeeping tasks, and unlaxing, I am actually — sort of — working again, as I sat down here at the laptop (Deb, I will get it back to you soon) to run a mouse test. Yes, a mouse test. My husband, the architect, has a Logitech three-button mouse that he swears goes nuts — opening all sorts of windows all by itself. So, I thought I'd test it on the laptop and it does seem to be a bit jumpy, but it certainly hasn't performed any slight-of-hand with any windows. If nothing else it probably could use a good cleaning... Yes that is exactly what it needed, as the ball was clean, but the rollers were not.

QUICK TIP: An errant mouse might be a dirty mouse. When cleaning a dirty mouse, besides removing and cleaning the ball, don't forget to also clean the crud off of the rollers (and bars) inside the mouse. This task should be performed in a well-lit area and, if you wear glasses, my word, put them on.

Speaking of architects, it bugs me that the Net has taken the architect label and affixed it to, well, people who do what I do and other such stuff. I've seen what it takes to become a real architect and I know what processes real architects go through to get a building from concept to reality; and quite frankly, Web anything isn't anywhere near what goes on in the design and construction of a building of any type or size.

Yes, we design and build Web pages, Web sites, computers, networks, and the Internet itself, but none of that is architecture. Sure there is talk of form and function in both, but Net anything is still not architecture. There are far too many people out there who aren't happy with what or who they are, so they represent themselves as something they're not — just because someone calls themselves something, doesn't mean they are one. Besides, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being called a Webmaster, designer, or whatever, well, as long as you are one. Top of the page

10.12.02 - 7:14 pm (CT)
Tomorrow I will be leaving the hustle and bustle of the suburbs of St. Louis to go back to little Manhattan with its one, totally unnecessary stop light. My husband likes to say Manhattan is "twenty minutes from anywhere", which is one of the reasons we live there. We don't mind driving a considerable distance to get to an airport, mall, or whatever — it's a price that we are more than willing to pay to live in a quiet little town way out in the middle of nowhere.

A traffic jam in Manhattan is when both main thoroughfares are blocked by a "long" freight train consisting of — at last count by yours truly — a maximum of fifteen cars (engine included). Well, except for twice a year when those two thoroughfares are closed down for about an hour and a half for the Irish Fest and Labor Day parades, then traffic is really backed up. The locals aren't bothered though, as either, they know how to get around it on the back roads or, more likely, they are sitting in their lawn chairs enjoying the parade. As for the non-locals, they ought to get out of their cars, enjoy the parade, and then maybe stop by the park for the accompanying festivities.

My advice to those in a hurry to get through the small rural towns of America, slow down, wave to the locals (we're a friendly bunch), and enjoy the view. Otherwise you might just be filling the local coffers with some of your hard-earned cash, as the reason small towns are speed traps is because, with a crime rate around zero, our cops don't have a whole lot to do but catch you when you're in a hurry. So, if the sign says 35 mph, it means exactly what it says — after all, it is a speed limit sign. Top of the page

10.08.02 - 11:25 am (CT)
I polished off three more pages with JavaScript (JS) problems. These were much easier than the first one as I had already found the M.O. of the particular programmer who proved to be true to form in that the same types of errors and omissions were committed on all of the pages (i.e. the form was named in the HTML, but not defined in the JS.)

Now, I am definitely no JS guru, as I have pretty much used JS written by others (with their permission) that I might have tweaked in some instances, but have yet to write my own program. However, since it seems to be a programming language that pretty much is based on logic, which, no brag just fact*, is one of my strong suits, I am determined, with the help of online tutorials and a few books that I have purchased, to learn the ins and outs of writing my own scripts.

  "just enough to be dangerous"

At this point, there are those who would say that I know "just enough to be dangerous", which may be true, as knowing enough to tweak other's programs and to locate some errors and omissions, but not enough to write your own programs might be considered dangerous. However, that will be changing as I work my way through those tutorials and books, and when I have finished, I will report back with my evaluation of each resource that I use as to its educational value. Until then I will just enjoy the dangerous label, as it is not one that is applied very often to someone like me. Top of the page

10.05.02 - 8:32 pm (CT)
Well, we went, we saw, we bought... a very fine Gateway 500S with Intel 2.0-gigahertz Pentium 4 and an ample 60-gigabyte hard drive. It comes complete with a 17-inch flat screen monitor, Epson printer, and Epson scanner. All for the low price of — nah that would be tacky — suffice it to say, it was a nice deal. In addition, for the uninitiated in the inner workings and general troubleshooting of computers, Gateway offered a nicely priced in-house service contract.

I did take a gander at the laptops at Gateway, which were nice enough, but was not inspired to join the buying frenzy as they lacked price appeal. Plus I am still trying to decide whether I want one at this particular time. I can certainly see the need for one in certain situations, but I'm not so sure that it is a "must have"; although it has come in mighty handy this week... thanks Deb (that would be Deb at HelpQuest.net).

I am squeezing in some work while I'm here in St. Louis. Yesterday I was working on solving a JavaScript (JS) problem for a colleague. It was a case of a form working in Internet Explorer (IE), but not in Netscape (N), which means the code was screwed up, but not enough that IE couldn't figure out what the programmer wanted to do — IE is very forgiving of small errors whereas N is not. However, N has a handy little JS debugger of sorts where it first tells you in the message bar that there's an error and suggests that you type "javascript:" (with no quotes) in the address bar for a hint at what is wrong.

Not being a glutton for punishment, I took advantage of the debugger. In doing so, I found out there was an error in line 72 where an item was not defined. As it turned out, the programmer had remembered to name the form, but failed to define it in the associated JS that made the form work. To fix this I added "document." (with no quotes) before the offending item and then went on through the code as the debugger worked it's way through the rest of the script, pointing out each instance of the lack of definition of the form's name along the way. Between those instances and the lack of identifying the variables as variables, the problem was solved.

For good measure, and in the interest of accuracy, I threw in the comment tags after the opening and before the end script tags:

<script language="javascript" type="text/javascript"><!--    //--></script>

The beginning comment tag is to tell a browser that does not support JS to ignore the text that follows it. The end comment tag tells that same browser to continue on after that point. As for the two forward slashes before the end comment tag, those tell any JS-enabled browser to ignore the end comment tag, as it is not part of the script. Without these tags and slashes, a browser might just display all of the JS as text — not a very pretty addition to a Web page. Top of the page

10.02.02 - 7:20 pm (CT)
Remote passing thoughts from a suburb of St. Louis... I am sitting on the patio enjoying a beautiful, sunny day with a lovely breeze. I stop to think of all of the little people out there who could care less where I am or what I am doing, then I think about all of the big people out there who are thinking the same darn thing, and finally I think so what.

"Remote passing thoughts from... St. Louis"  

I am playing with a laptop that uses Windows 2000 — a first for me on the laptop — that I borrowed from Deb over at HelpQuest.net just for this occasion. I have been toying with the idea of purchasing a laptop for myself, but I had not got around to it. It's really just a matter of which I'd rather have first, a definitely more-than-adequate desktop system, or a slightly more-than-adequate laptop. Either one would be great, but one thing at a time. Actually, I have already picked up a Western Digital 100-gigabyte, 7200 rpm hard drive — Best Buy had a deal I just could not refuse for around $100 — but that would keep if I decide to go the laptop route.

Since I am going to be computer shopping with Peg tomorrow, I will take a gander at the laptops that Gateway has to offer, although, as of late, I have seen some very interesting ads for Dell, Sony, and maybe Toshiba. We will actually be looking for a top-notch replacement for her several-year-old 2-gigabyte, 100 something megahertz that at the time she bought it was top-notch — time travels so fast with technology. It just seems like yesterday that we bought a Commodore — no it doesn't, but you know what I mean. Anyway with the technology sector being down, it's a great time to be buying just about anything tech, so buy, buy, buy. Bye. Top of the page

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* The origin of my using this phrase is explained here. Back to where you were

** I would have mentioned them in passing anyway, as I have done that with the other sites where I have submitted MindBlog, but if he wants to feel special... Back to where you were

NOTES:
Text that appears in italics denotes that Internet Explorer users can place their mouse over the italicized text for an explanation. As for Netscape users, well...
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