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Previous passing thoughts of a Pageminder — MindBlog Archives

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February 1 - 28, 2003



Previous passing thoughts of a Pageminder

02.28.03 - 7:40 pm (CT)
The month just whizzed by, which is a good thing since it was not one of my better months. However, tomorrow is another month and, if nothing else, I got all of my flooring replaced, which after eight years, three dogs, three sons, and one husband REALLY NEEDED to be done.

Next weekend is one of two big party weekends in little Manhattan — we're having Irish Fest on March 7 - 8. This town is very Irish and really knows how to throw a party! If you're interested in attending the festivities, then check the official Irish Fest site for more info.

(NOTE: The Community Calendar is no longer being updated by or hosted at Pageminders.   The link for the calendar has been changed to its new home on the chamber site.10.16.07)

Speaking of Manhattan, I am now not only minding the Community Calendar pages for the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, but am also hosting them at Pageminders. As for the hosting part, unless you look in the address bar or in the footer of the page, you might not realize that you had actually moved from the Chamber's site to mine — it is a rather seamless move, which is the way they wanted it. I have made, what I consider to be, some improvements in the design and coding, but the "look" is the same.

What did I change? Well, first off, they use FrontPage™ (FP) and I don't, so I removed all the FP references and the bloated code created by it from the code. Then I did a little reformatting of the layout, changed a few of the graphics, re-did the form and included validation of the required fields, edited the copy, and that was pretty much it.

BTW, March is much better than February if for no other reason than my birthday is in March — the 11th to be exact — and I will be proudly hitting the half of a century mark… Happy Birthday to me!
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02.23.03 - 4:16 am (CT)
Well, Friday came and went, and my kitchen is still in my little office space, but my desk is not empty as I moved out of Bill's room Thursday so they could finish the upstairs on Friday. Now we're talking Tuesday to finish the downstairs, so maybe by Thursday everything will be back to as normal as we ever get around here.

Oh, and the cable guy did come by — the special filter he had to "install" was just a matter of unplugging the cable to my little office space from the filter that was already there and plugging in the one that went to Bill's room. Gee, he could have told me that over the phone, charged me the $25 for a phone consultation, and I could have been up and surfing the Internet at breakneck speeds within minutes instead of a day and a half.

Yesterday I made a quick run down to school to pick up Bill and his laundry, so he could come home for a day to see his dog, go bowling, and return to school with clean duds. Although the trip takes several hours out of my day (and me away from my computer), it does give me time to clear my mind, get a fresh perspective, and possibly think slightly "out of the box". I did come up with an idea or two that I'm going to try out here and there — I'll let you know if any turn out to be brilliant.

To those who noted the time — yes, I am up in the middle of the night writing this and now I must go "flip" a load of laundry and try to catch a few more winks before the sun comes up.
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02.18.03 - 1:45 pm (CT)
I'm working in what feels like the Stone Age today — I've had to vacate my little office space and move to temporary quarters in Bill's room, where I thought I could just plug the cable into the cable modem and surf away, but I was mistaken. The cable company informs me that I need to have them come out — for a fee, of course — to install a special filter to the line running to this room, and that the soonest they can possibly come out is midday tomorrow. Luckily, I had just, a week ago or so, signed back up with Earthlink, so I am very "slowly" making my way around the Internet through a dialup connection. I know, I have been spoiled by the speed of cable, but so what.

 
"the workmen tell me Friday sounds good to them"
 
 

Anyway, the reason I had to vacate my space is that I'm having the flooring replaced in the whole abode and thought they would be getting to my space today, but the workmen tell me Friday sounds good to them. So, now I await the cable guy tomorrow. There is a positive in this, and that would be that my kitchen will be torn up at least through Thursday, so there will be absolutely no cooking going on in there for a couple of days. As of right now, part of my kitchen — stove, refrigerator, and a couple of cabinets — is occupying my office space along with my very empty desk.

For those of you who are using my present mode of Internet access (dialup service), I would heartily suggest that you look into using Earthlink as your ISP. When I switched last fall from dialup to cable, it was not because I was dissatisfied with my ISP, it was because there were times when I needed to download massive amounts of information and, quite frankly, I don't have all day to wait for the download.

Earthlink's service is second to none, costs slightly less than the "big boy", they will let you have unlimited, raw Internet access (you don't have to use their software and interface — it's open your browser and go), they don't mess with your email and the images therein, and when you want to talk to a real person they have plenty of them willing and able to assist you. There also is the not so little matter of being able to get and stay online when you want to.

As for why I signed back up with Earthlink, there were actually two reasons. First, the wireless network didn't work out for my soon-to-be-home-for-Spring-Break college student, and because, with running an Internet business, I needed some kind of a backup in case the cable went out. Secondly, I had had two websites up there — another Pageminders and a high school reunion site that I had done for my husband's 30th reunion — and Earthlink had yet to take them down. So, I thought what the heck, which made the high school people happy as they would like to put up more ongoing info on the Rich Central High School, Class of 1971.

And now, since my kitchen is all torn up, I am "forced" to go out for a bite to eat… darn, double darn.
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02.14.03 - 12:00 pm (CT)
I just ran across an excellent NetMechanic article that goes perfectly with my Quick Tip that I offered the other day on the use of the ALT attribute with IMG tags — had I been keeping up with my email in the last month or more, I could have included it then. Neither here nor there, the article, "Using ALT And TITLE Attributes", is well worth reading… especially to those new to HTML and Web design.

While you're at NetMechanic, you might want to peruse their library of excellent articles and maybe even sign up for their twice-monthly newsletter. Over the years, I have found their articles to be a fount of valuable information on various aspects of Web design and promotion. And, no, I don't get paid for this kind of advice — I'm just trying to be of service to those with less experience than me, just as others with more experience than me have offered helpful advice without a thought of remuneration. It's all part of what the Internet is about… although making money is almost always a good thing.

As you already know, I check my access logs daily and have, on occasion, run across something I mention, such as the reader from Turkey or how access logs indicate possibly more than you'd like someone else to know. Well, today I'd just like to say "Hi!" to the person from Amsterdam who has twice in the last week or so had Google translate MindBlog for them. BTW, it could have been two different people, I don't really know because, just as my Privacy Policy states, after reviewing the logs I delete them.

Anyway, I was curious as to what language MindBlog was being translated to, so I went to the "Internet Butler" and asked — they speak Dutch, English, French, and German. On the off chance that Dutch was it, I'd like to say "Bedankt" to Amsterdam for reading MindBlog.
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02.11.03 - 5:51 pm (CT)
Wow, this may just turn out to be a blah month! Gee, I've never been one to suffer from the winter blahs, as I love living up north where there are four real seasons and I love snow, but…

Maybe I've just got a touch of "project letdown". You know how it is, you've been working your tail off to finish some huge whatever — doing whatever it is day and night for however long it takes you to finish it — and then you finish it, but the mind and adrenaline are still working away, but now with nowhere near the amount of stuff to do as before you finished the whatever. Oh well, life goes on.

Yesterday I was reviewing a site (that I had not designed) where the site owner was wondering what they could do to drive traffic to their site and to an in-demand item in particular. Upon first glance, the site was pleasant enough looking, so there wasn't a problem there. It didn't take very long though to locate some major problems with the code behind the design.

First off, the title, description, and keyword tags were there, but they were so generic as to be useless. However, the biggest problem was that pretty much the whole site was done with images with the text embedded into the images. As a matter of fact, the only text on the index page was the text link at the bottom of the page for — you guessed it — the web designer!

Well, search engines (and text readers used by the handicapped) do not "see" images, so that site owner's merchandise was pretty much hidden from the search engines, which is not good for creating traffic to one's site. But all is not lost, as they do see the text that makes an image appear on a page and with some information on each image added to each image tag we could "open the eyes" of those who canít see. So, for the uninitiated:

QUICK TIP: To make your content accessible to search engines and the handicapped alike, when using images there is a nice little attribute for the image tag that one should ALWAYS use and that would be alt="". Between the quotes is where you should put a description of whatever the image is PLUS, if you've embedded text into the image, then by all means, put the entire embedded text in there also. The only time it is acceptable to put nothing between the quotes is for images that are intended to format a page (such as spacer images).

Now back to my blahs, maybe taking a day off to go shopping up at Long Grove, IL would help. There's a certain item at a little nostalgia shop that, each time I've gone up there, I've been tempted to buy. And each time I've resisted the temptation only to regret it later — a kind of non-buyer's remorse. Yes, a combination of taking a day off and buying that certain item for a certain someone might be just what I need to chase away the blahs.
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02.07.03 - 6:39 pm (CT)
It's been kind of a blah week. It's not like I didn't have much to do. In fact, I was overloaded with things to do, I guess, it's just that nothing was that interesting. There was definitely nothing exciting. Oh well, can't have a fun time all of the time.

 
 
"Onward, Jeane, onward"
 

Gee, you know, it might just be that most of my "free time" was spent on taxes! To me, paying taxes is like paying someone to do absolutely nothing. After all, what work did they do to earn a good portion of my hard-earned money? Nothing, absolutely nothing… Onward, Jeane, onward… Don't let the slackers get you down!

On a lighter, but curious note, today I was reading about an upcoming seminar on writing effective newsletters. They seemed to be insinuating that people are basically simpletons, and lazy ones at that, as they encouraged the use of one-syllable words, very short sentences, and instead of paragraphs, using bullet points. If they were talking about a flyer, I'd say fine, but they were talking about a newsletter. It seems to me if a newsletter is so boring that you have to resort to simple-worded phrases to get people to read it, why write it in the first place? Although come to think of it, "See Spot run." does say it all.
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02.01.03 - 9:19 am (CT)
I must report back on the wireless network… I took the second one back also, as, just like the first one, it worked fine for a couple of days and then would fade in and out until it faded out permanently. So, POOF the links to the product have been removed wherever they occurred in MindBlog including the links at MB Links.

Recently I've been getting quite a few requests for links at MB Links that we have had to turn down — very politely, of course. As an FYI to the masses, the MindBlog Linking Policy is: The only way to get on the MB Links page is as a result of a blog about your site, product, and/or service. And we only write about sites that are of personal or professional interest, or we find particularly amusing, and products or services that we personally have used. So, there you have it… I may just have to make a Linking Policy page and, then again, maybe not.

As for today, it's the same old, same old… stuff. I am going to spend the day taking stuff down to Bill at school — it is a brand new semester and he did switch dorms, so, of course, he decided after going back that maybe he could use a few more items. And then his new roommate got called up — yes, that would be as in the military — so he needs a lot more stuff! Of course, there will be the usual going out to lunch for a "decent" meal and then I'll need to get out of town before the Saturday night college doings start to happen. Gotta go.
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