Previous passing thoughts of a Pageminder — MindBlog

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May 1 - 31, 2003

Previous passing thoughts of a Pageminder

05.31.03 - 6:29 pm (CT)
Good news — the wireless network is now fully operational between the main computer and the laptop! The problem was with the firewall permissions at both ends — I just knew that Jon would figure it all out and he did.

Now, if he and Bill can find the time to get Bill's computer (at the other end of the house) hooked up to our little wireless network, we can have MindBlog's Quality Control Team take this baby for a long test drive of a couple of weeks and I'll let you know whether it's worth the time, effort, and money. So far, so good, but, as my dear, sweet, soon-to-be 86-year-old mother would say, "Time will tell".

As far as the laptop goes, it's a nice little contraption — there's nothing really wrong with it — but I wouldn't want to have to work on it fulltime. It's just that I'm spoiled by my desktop's 19" monitor where I can run up to four windows comfortably at the maximum resolution of 1600 x 1200, although I usually work with only two open at a time. With the laptop's 15.2" screen at the maximum resolution of 1280 x 854, if you have two windows open, then there's horizontal scrolling to deal with, which is a pain. So, as far a coding webpages goes, it'll be useful at poolside and as a backup.

Now, where it will really come in handy is in marketing Pageminders' services and the Biz projects I'm involved in — JolietBiz.com and NewLenoxBiz.com. In fact, Deb (at HelpQuest) and I might just do a Business Expo next month doing just that — using our laptops to market NewLenoxBiz to New Lenox, Illinois, area businesses as well as the local community.

There's also bad news — at least for me — the pool may be at a wonderfully comfortable 86ºF, but the air is nowhere near that. In fact, the temperature for almost a week now has ranged from 40º to (if we're lucky) 70ºF — today it made it to the low 50's. So, unless I want to stay totally submerged, there's no pool time for me — and that gets a harrumph!
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05.27.03 - 7:28 pm (CT)
A quick note… the pool is at a constant and comfy 86ºF. Also, even though I was actually still in my jammies, I was the first one in, which shocked the oldest son, but not his wife.

On the wireless front, we're working on getting the network up and running — it is giving us a few problems, but I have confidence that we (really Jon) will succeed. It could be a matter of an operating system conflict (i.e. Windows® 2000 and Windows® XP) or firewall permissions, or… well, we'll see.

We did have the Internet working through the network, but then when we went to open up the full network between the main computer and the laptop, the Internet connection went to pot — even at the source. Now we have the Internet back up at the main computer, but not at the laptop. Harrumph!
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05.26.03 - 10:34 am (CT)
My laptop cruising was a success! I found a vpr Matrix® 185A5 at the local Best Buy that was on "clearance" — 1.8 GHz, 15.2" widescreen LCD display, 30 GB hard drive, 512 MB DDR memory, DVD/CD-RW combo drive, and 32 MB nVidia GeForce4 420 Go Graphics — so I bought it for 40% off the recommended retail price.

It also came with built-in 802.11b wireless connectivity, but I went ahead and picked up a Linksys® Wireless-G Notebook Adapter (Model #WPC54G). I know, why not just use the built-in 11b card? Well, you'd have to know me — I like everything to match, to be copasetic — I am a very symmetrical person. I did, however, buy only one Targus Wireless Optical Mini-Mouse (Model #PAUM005U) to use with it — I really don't like using the little touch pad that comes with laptops — but I will somehow manage to survive that small asymmetry.

So, now I will be busy playing… uh, testing the whole setup to see how well it all works before considering adding links to any or all of the products at MindBlog Links. Until then I am sure I will be putting in many grueling testing hours by the pool, which, BTW, is at a comfortable 84ºF! Ah, "summer time and the living is easy…"
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05.23.03 - 1:49 pm (CT)
It's hard to believe, but MindBlog is one-year-old TODAY!!! Yes, I have been passing on my passing thoughts to the masses for a whole year now (the inaugural passing thought). So, with great fanfare, falderal, and other such celebratory exclamations, a great big…

Happy Birthday to MindBlog!!!

In honor of the occasion, MindBlog is on the verge of getting that laptop to use with a new wireless network that it has just received from ME! This time I bought a Linksys® Wireless-G Broadband Router (Model #WRT54G) and a Linksys® Wireless-G PCI Adapter (Model #WMP54G) — after I try them out with Bill's computer (he's home from college), I'll let you know whether they deserve a place at MindBlog Links. I have yet to buy the notebook/laptop adapter, but then I really don't need that until I have the laptop itself.

As for the remainder of MindBlog's birthday, we (i.e. me, myself, and I) are going "laptop cruising" at the local tech stores with our final destination being a fine steak house for a celebratory rib-eye and maybe a drink or two to toast the occasion.
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05.21.03 - 5:44 pm (CT)
Well, there's a new blog on the block, Blogistic.com - Where It All Makes Sense, penned by none other than my sister, Deb from HelpQuest.net. Her very own description of Blogistic is a "blog with logical assertions and conclusions — stuff that makes sense." So, check it out and do let her know if she is making any sense of it all.

Just now I've been reminded of an irritating quirk of using the <br /> (or the old <br>) tag that occurs when you are pushing the width limits of any space — as in the navigation bar at the bottom of this page. Unless the <br /> tag after the first line image is butted up next to the end of the image's tag, there is an unsightly space created between the line and the text on the next line. The same goes for after the last of the text and the second line image — the <br /> tag must be butted up against the last of the text or, once again, you will end up with a mysterious space that you might find the source of… probably by accident.

QUICK TIP: A mysterious space occurring after using the full width (or almost) of a space might be caused by a <br /> tag that is not placed directly after whatever just took up the limits of your space's width (see example above). This usually occurs when you very neatly have all of your code tab-indexed to make it easier to read.

To avoid the irritation of having to remember this tip, just place <br /> tags immediately after the preceding code… and try to pretend it doesn't bother you to have that one tag not tab-indexed.

I know those of us who are sticklers for readable code are definitely pretenders when dealing with this seemingly stupid tag quirk… Personally, I prefer to just remember the tip so that every time I see a <br /> tag, it doesn't bug me.
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05.15.03 - 4:03 pm (CT)
For those of you following the exploits of Marie and Tara, they did get the pool heater for me as a Mother's Day gift and are having it installed on the 25th. The girls insisted that I go back to the pool store on Mother's Day, if you can believe it, and salesmen were plentiful, which was unlike two days before when there were no salesmen to be found. So, now with the pool heated, I can extend my "Summer Hours" by almost two whole months, as the cool nights of spring and fall won’t also cool the pool below an acceptable temperature of say 84º.

You may just be wondering what exactly do I mean by "Summer Hours"? Well, they are kind of like a siesta of sorts, as on nice days (i.e. pool days) this office closes from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. while Jeane and Marie take a dip and a siesta in the pool. Since my day usually starts between 4 and 5:00 a.m., by 1:00 p.m. it is definitely time for a break and what better place to take it than in the pool. After that I still have a couple of hours to wind up anything I was working on before I call it a day.

Now all I need is a laptop and a wireless network (that works) and I can spend almost the entire summer "working" by the pool… Sounds almost decadent, doesn't it? Well, it does for this straight arrow-type person, which may just be the impetus I need to go out and finally purchase a laptop and another wireless network. I seem to remember starting to think about this last fall when I was doing remote blogs from St. Louis, and then again at Christmas when I purchased a less than admirable wireless network.

Yes, it was a good idea then and is looking like an even better idea now that summer is almost here. I’ll check with the girls to see what they think…
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05.11.03 - 6:15 pm (CT)
Back at the beginning of the month I didn't want to let the domain cat out of the bag, as I was not sure it was in the bag to let out. Well, well, well, the domain cat is definitely in the bag, so now I can let it out…

This afternoon I received confirmation from Go Daddy that their new service, Domain Alert, has procured an expiring domain for a new local business referral group that I belong to — Black Sheep Business Group (BSBG). So, now John Sicinski, the founder of BSBG, is the proud owner of BlackSheepUSA.com for the low, low price of $18.95, which includes one-year registration.

BSBG was established by John, a financial advisor for Safeco Investment Services at Gnade Insurance Group, Inc. (19820 S. Wolf Rd., Mokena, Il 60448; phone 708-478-8800), and Wendy Sicinski, an insurance agent for Gnade Insurance Group, Inc. (19820 S. Wolf Rd., Mokena, Il 60448; phone 708-478-8800) to help local small businesses expand their businesses by way of referrals from others in the group who are seeking to do the same.

"those with entrepreneurial spirit and drive are not the norm — they are the black sheep in the flock…"

John and Wendy, who are cousins, looked into using a more traditional company to set up the group, but found it not only cost prohibitive, but unnecessary and struck out on their own. As they run across others that they think will fit into the group, they ask them to join — I had met John at a New Lenox Chamber of Commerce meeting and he later asked me to join the group as their Web/Internet business (only one of each type of business is allowed).

As for the "Black Sheep" moniker, John and Wendy realized that those with entrepreneurial spirit and drive are not the norm — they are the black sheep in the flock, so to speak (a rather astute observation on their part, if you ask me). And now, thanks to Go Daddy's Domain Alert Service, John now owns the BlackSheepUSA.com name and it should be going online soon… I'll let you know when we have it up and running.
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05.10.03 - 10:36 am (CT)
Oh my blogness, no sooner do I read about making my way through the blog and hoping MindBlog is a Boswell-like Blog than I run across another little ditty about blog categories in a Yahoo Group about blogs where a Boswell is out of favor and a Linkage about others is in. What is a bloggist to think? Aw, who cares! There are plenty of audiences out there for all kinds of blogs, so blog away — whatever way you like!

The last week and half around here has been a mess, as the painters have been here painting the whole darn place. Yesterday it was round numbers 1 and 2 on my office space, which made it a tad hard to work — round number 3 will continue after they take a week off to go fishing. Anyway, I got up early and raced through my daily stuff and then… went shopping!

I needed to go to the bank anyway as Bill, my college student of a son, needed a few extra bucks to get him through finals (a guy's gotta eat). And my niece is graduating college today — CONGRATS MELISSA! — so I needed to pick up a little something for the now grown twerp that was more like a sister than a cousin to my three boys. Plus, she is the soon-to-be Mrs. Eric Thornberg, so there were shower and wedding presents to pick out and up.

The only thing I didn't manage to get was my Mother's Day gift from Marie and Tara — maybe I should have taken the dogs with me as they could have sniffed out a salesman at the pool store, then I could have inquired about and bought a heater for the pool! Oh well, today is another day and, for that matter, so is tomorrow.
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05.06.03 - 7:04 pm (CT)
I was doing my usual early morning sprint of the net looking for online news stories to link to for two local business directories that I do daily updates on (JolietBiz.com and NewLenoxBiz.com), when I ran across a somewhat amusing article on blogs — "How to Make Your Way Through the Blog" (Andy Ihnatko, Chicago Sun-Times, 05.06.03).

Mr. Ihnatko gave the expected list of his personal blog favorites, but what I found interesting was his categorization of blogs into four nice little, or maybe large, boxes:
  • "Linkage Blogs: The most classic-style blog, its individual blog entries are links to other sites on the ’net, embroidered with brief descriptions."

  • "Info Blogs: Is the office print server available, or offline? Schools, companies and local businesses use blogs as a way to keep folks informed."

  • "Boswell Blogs: Like Boswell's London Journal or Pepys Diary, this is a street-level account of an individual life. It's the most interesting and exciting type of blog by far."

  • "Barbie Blogs: Like the Boswell Blog, except the blog entries are of interest only to the writer, the writer's immediate circle of friends."

"Oh, I like that idea — having the wherewithal to pay someone else to do my work for me…"

As I was reading down the list I, of course, starting thinking which of his categories MindBlog would fit into and I thought: Linkage, no; Info, no; Boswell, ah, yes; and Barbie, oh, I hope not!!!! Not that there is anything wrong with sharing your life with family and friends, but half of my family and almost all of my friends are of the non-tech persuasion. And the ones who do read this blog find it amusing, but don't understand the technical stuff — hence the explanations of things that seem old hat to those of us more technically inclined.

Anyway, I blog for several reasons, one of which is to help out those less technically inclined than me — sometimes all people need is a quick non-tech explanation of something (i.e. in plain English or whatever language they want to translate it into). Then there are those who just need a helping hand on their way up the Web ladder, so that someday when I don't know near as much as them, maybe they can extend a hand to me… or maybe I'll just pay them to do it for me.

(Oh, I like that idea — having the wherewithal to pay someone else to do my work for me… Not that I would, but the wherewithal part would be nice.)

And last, but not least, I blog because I can.
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05.01.03 - 5:18 am (CT)
What I was going to blog about is not what I'm going to blog about, as I don't want to let the domain cat out of the bag before I'm sure the cat is in the bag to let out. Luckily (or not) I have a few random passing thoughts to disperse to the masses:

I'm still doing updates on a particular website that I've been slowly but surely working my way through all of the code to remove the last of the deprecated tags (i.e. ones that the code muckety-mucks have deigned to be no longer usable — I disagree, but then I'm not one of the muckety-mucks). It's a tedious, but profitable task.

If it ain't broke… The servers where several sites that I'm responsible for reside were recently moved from one location to another — halfway across the country to be exact. Anyway, in the process they managed to disrupt quite a few sites along with the sites' email. What a pain!

And last, but not least, there's a new Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) book coming out later this month from SitePoint. It is based on a two-part series of articles they ran in April 2001 — Html Utopia: Designing Without Tables Using CSS by Julian Carroll. I have downloaded (you can, too) the first four chapters to peruse and evaluate before I more than likely order the entire tome.

As always, I'll let you know what I think when I think it.
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