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Previous passing thoughts of a Pageminder — MindBlog

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April 1 - 29, 2003



Previous passing thoughts of a Pageminder

04.29.03 - 7:05 pm (CT)
"If I could save time in a bottle, the first thing that I'd like to do…" Nah, Jim Croce already did that. Well, if I just had the time, I'd do all sorts of stuff that if I had the time I'd come up with a list of things to do when I had the time.

I did take the time earlier today to stop to smell and buy some flowers — geraniums, nicotiana, pansies, impatiens, and just one more variety of hosta. It was a beautiful day, so I took the time to go for a fun couple of hours even farther out in the country than I already live.

I went with someone that, had we known each other in grade school we could have been lifelong friends, instead we are becoming rest-of-lifelong friends. Anyway, she knows a lot about plants, so she is the perfect person to go plant shopping with — "No, that one won't do well in full sun". So, we hit two nurseries and then went off to lunch to chat about our purchases and life.

It was a nice change of pace as she is not a Web person — email is a weekly chore for her — so, not much was said about anything Web. It was all about plants and people and things that we have in common. When we were growing up we spent quite a few years living just blocks away from each other and knowing some of the same people, but never meeting until a couple of years ago. Our lives have taken us on different paths only to end up meeting at one of life's crossroads.

"Time (and tide) waits for no man" — when you add the tide was turned into a rather good proverb by a Danish fisherman way back in the 14th century (thank you Google, Deb, and Peg). There are some things that you just have to make the time to do and that's what I did today, I made the time to visit with a new/old friend.
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04.20.03 - 8:33 pm (CT)
Well, the other evening I talked about Pageminders for about 10 minutes and I don't think that I screwed anything up, so I'm glad I didn't fret about it as that would have been a colossal waste of time and energy.

My mind just wandered to another "meeting" I went to a week ago Friday — it was actually an all-day seminar — on tooth implants. (Yes, I said TOOTH, as in your teeth.) Why, you ask, was a Web developer attending such a seminar? Well, one of my life's accomplishments is that I am a Registered Dental Hygienist (Prairie State College, Class of 1973) and to keep my license active I have to accumulate 24 hours of Continuing Education (CE) every two years. So my old college friend, Karen, keeps me apprised of modestly priced, conveniently located CE opportunities that hopefully aren't too boring.

Anyway, this implant seminar was not about the implants themselves, but how to sell your patients on getting the gaping hole in their mouths filled with one or more (rather pricey, if you ask me) implants. This would be instead of a (not quite as pricey) fixed bridge or (least cost short of doing nothing) removable partial denture. So, they spent the entire day telling us how to reword what the patient's objections were, and then telling them that their objections were the very reasons that they should go ahead and have the procedure done. It was pretty much the kind of hard sell, along with mind games, that you would expect of say… a politician or a used car salesman.

Well, whether it's dentistry or Web page services, this very honest person (I tell the cashier when she has UNDERcharged me) just can't do business that way. Don't get me wrong… whether it's getting a titanium implant screwed into their jaw or a website, I'll let whomever know what I think they need and why, but then it's totally up to them to come to their own decision on whether to go ahead. If they need someone to play mind games to get them to "make" a decision, then they will have to go elsewhere as this Pageminder would not only like to sleep at night, but has to live with herself and be able to honestly tell her 85-year-old mother about her business.

If nothing else, honesty is easier than lying — it doesn't require a good memory as it's very easy to remember the truth than any of a number of lies you might have told to any of a number of people about any of a number of situations. And those are pretty much words to live by… as I do believe that common sense would dictate putting honesty under the category of common decency.
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04.16.03 - 5:49 pm (CT)
I didn't take the plunge on the 14th or the 15th… Oh well, that gives me plenty of time to properly research the Solo 401K investment deal, so I can get the most bang for my buck. Enough about financial procrastination…

Tonight I'm going to a Business Referral meeting where I get ten minutes to talk about what else… Pageminders. Well, you know the fretting I did the first time I had to give a three-minute speech on the very same subject? Well, this time I'm not fretting at all — if I screw it up, well then I screw it up. Besides, I'll bet that Denise would tell me (just like the first time) that anyone could talk for ten minutes about something they know about, so it should be no problem.

Well, this has been update week around here — everyone seems to have something new they want up on the Web — so I have spent the week "Minding their Web pages, so they don't have to". Some of it was just run-of-the-mill stuff, however there were a few updates that I actually had to think about which way to do it.

For instance, in updating one page where the soon-to-be archived information (to just a list) had links to other pages, which also led to other pages. Not wanting to leave perfectly good information on orphaned pages, I linked to it from the archived list, where the first bit of info opens in a popup window where I have another link to the second layer of info — with both opening in the same window. It's a kind of "recycling" of the information where it is still accessible and since I did not change the names of the pages, there are no 404 Error Messages involved. Neatly done, if I do say so myself… and I do.
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04.11.03 - 6:15 pm (CT)
This week I have been contemplating my financial future, as in how to support myself comfortably through March 2083 and beyond. It's all a matter of the best way and place to invest as much dough as possible while paying the least amount of taxes and still living comfortably in the present while setting up a comfortable future. And to complicate matters further, it has to be totally legal with no shades of gray.

So, I've been looking into setting up a Solo 401K (also known as EGGTRA or Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001). It was brought to my attention in a weekly newsletter from TaxMama.com as the best means for a sole proprietor to sock away the most bucks along with a variety of other advantages — if you're interested in reading up on it, TaxMama has an informative article, Finally, a Break for the Small Fry Or, Get $50,000 Tax Free, where she gives the low down on the ins and outs of Solo 401K's.

Anyway, I have to decide by the 15th if I want to squeeze in a contribution for 2002, which would be smart as I could reduce my tax liability to zero. So, what's to decide? Well, there is a cost to setting up the account, plus there's a percentage fee involved with every dollar that I invest. I guess I'll spend the weekend searching the Net for the best deal possible and then on Monday take the plunge. After all I have to make sure that I have enough money on hand to get myself to my 130th birthday party in 2083!
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04.03.03 - 6:18 pm (CT)
It has been brought to my attention that I didn't explain what an RSS Feed is, does, and what it's good for. I did have an explanation in the tag surrounding the (italicized) words "RSS Feed" so that if you held your mouse over the words you would have seen:
Really Simple Syndication. According to Danny Sullivan, "RSS is a method of distributing links to content in your web site that you'd like others to use. In other words, it's a mechanism to "syndicate" your content."
For those of you who would like to see what it looks like in action (Note: JavaScript has to be enabled), here it is:

RSS to JavaScript

As for what can be done with it… It is a Web Service that any site wanting to keep track of my passing thoughts could access the XML file and insert it into their page; just like the real news feeds that so many sites have. I might just insert a much smaller version of it on my front page, so people coming to MindBlog via the front page can see what passing thoughts I've been having of late. And as soon as I figure it out and implement it, I can automatically ping (i.e. notify) sites that list recently updated blogs, which would save me about 2 minutes of my sometimes valuable time. I'm sure there are other uses for it that I will probably trip over as I do further investigation on RSS and XML.

As for why I did it in the first place, well, it's just like with so many things I play with, I did it because I could. Hey, a girl's gotta have some fun…

(NOTE: The Wytheville Community College News Center Web Service "for including customized versions of RSS feeds in Web pages" was used to include the MindBlog RSS Feed in this webpage. — Jeane Wade, 08.23.03)

(ANOTHER NOTE: The Wytheville Community College News Center no longer offers this Web Service. We are now using RSS-to-JavaScript.com to convert and display RSS feeds on MindBlog. — Jeane Wade, 10.16.04)
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04.02.03 - 6:07 pm (CT)
This is a test… I repeat, this is a test… of my brand spanking new, and hopefully permanent, RSS Feed for this website. And it darn well better work as I was so involved in playing with it that I plum forgot my bi-weekly manicure appointment with Denise (Manhattan Style Unlimited, Manhattan, IL - 815.478.3292) until 15 minutes after my appointment would have been over!!!

It all started just before lunch when I got my monthly Search Engine Report (SER) newsletter and the whole darn thing was about RSS Feeds and blogs. Well, I've been thinking of adding an RSS Feed for awhile here at Mindblog, but never seemed to get around to investigating the how, where, and why of it. So, I thought I'd take a quick gander at what SER had to say — my attention was immediately drawn to Making An RSS Feed where Danny Sullivan made it all seem so easy that I proceeded to do my very first XML file! The next thing I knew, I had it up, validated, and had viewed it — I felt pleased with my successful plunge into the unknown.

That is until I realized that I had missed my appointment with Denise and then I felt very, very bad. My punishment is not only to have Denise really ticked off at me (which I deserve), but also to have scraggly-looking nails until my next appointment. So, every time I look at my nails for the next two weeks, I will be reminded of my inexcusable transgression… Sorry Denise.

(NOTE: The Wytheville Community College News Center Web Service "for including customized versions of RSS feeds in Web pages" was used to include the MindBlog RSS Feed in this webpage. — Jeane Wade, 08.23.03)

(ANOTHER NOTE: The Wytheville Community College News Center no longer offers this Web Service. We are now using RSS-to-JavaScript.com to convert and display RSS feeds on MindBlog. — Jeane Wade, 10.16.04)
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04.01.03 - 7:03 am (CT)
I think I've figured out why I like doing Web work — it is all based on logic and absolutes (yes, Margaret, there are absolutes in life). It, along with the programming languages that make it work, are like a giant "if then" statement comprised of a zillion other "if then" statements. As long as you know the "then" that goes with the "if", you've pretty much got the problem licked. You don't even really need to know the why of it; you just have to accept that it is.

It's similar to kids learning their facts — the addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division tables — they don't necessarily need to know why 2 + 2 = 4, they just need to accept that it does. There are numerous things in life that don't need to be proved over and over again and 2 + 2 = 4 is one of them. You just accept the fact that it is and move on to something else. If at a later date, you figure out the why of it, then that is a bonus.

The same goes with the Web, someone somewhere figured out the how and the why of it, proved it to be true, passed on their "wisdom" to others, some of whom verified the facts of it all, and the rest of us accept the facts and use that information to move on to something else. I don't have to necessarily know why if I leave out a quotation mark then the whole page will be screwed up; I just have to accept the fact that it does. Heck, if everyone had to start from scratch, then nothing would ever get done and there would be one guy with an Internet that linked only to him!
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