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Sat, Aug 18 2001

My story is turning out to be pretty interesting :-) I caught up to what I had previously written yesterday and in fact had to do some editing to get yesterday's episode in. I had forgotten that when you type on a handheld about a page or two can look like a lot <vbg> I had had only a basic idea about where the story would lead but I began thinking about it yesterday and completely altered the plot from where it was originally supposed to go ... I still am working out the details but I like how it's turning out but it might change again - so guess both you and I will have to wait to see how it turns out ...

I did some more coding on Blog as well. The 4.0 release is shaping up pretty well and I have almost all of the functionality in place except for one element - remote templates. The idea was suggested to me by Phil Stopford - to have templates driven by external files which would basically update the Blog template if the external file had changed. I like the idea since it can be handy in certain situations but am still toying with the idea since there are a few other things to be considred.

Another idea that I've been toying with has been that of introducing an installer for Blog. I don't particularly like an installer since an installer means that you have no idea of what goes on and have no control of what gets installed where. But then again, I can see how it can be helpful to not so computer savvy users. I even played a little with the NullSoft installer since it adds very little overhead, shows all the stuff it's doing and is freeware but I can't get the two different types of installs - full and upgrade - working right from one package. So I might not be doing an installer after all - just as well :p
posted at 04:26:37 PM  link  comment

Fri, Aug 17 2001

It just hit me - I'm finally running two journals and publishing both to multiple sites from Blog ... basically utilizing Blog the way it was meant to be :-) Wow!! Did some more coding last night to add a new feature to Blog - the ability to customize the day and month names that are displayed when using Blog. This was primarily done so that users running a different language version of Windows could still do English Blogs (or vice versa) but it can also be used by people to just customize day and month names to have your own unique names - granted nobody else can understand what it stands for but still it has possibilities :-)

The project deployment that we were supposed to do this weekend at work has been postponed - it's good in a way since that means my weekend has been freed up but I hate having to go through the same anticipation, preparation and anxiety again. Ah well ...
posted at 08:18:30 AM  link  comment

Thu, Aug 16 2001

Did I say that I got my story online? I know I didn't :p I did get a new template set up and put the story up at RazorSys which is the place that the side-bar link that I put up earlier on in the day (did anybody notice that? <g>) though there is actually a copy at Tripod too. This is an old story that I have written a few pages of (and talked of before too ...) but I will be posting what I have written so far in installments :-) Let me know what you think and if you have any stories online like this, let me know so that I can link to your stories as well ...
posted at 05:57:08 PM  link  comment

Had an interesting evening yesterday. I was so pumped up about writing a story and then by Tyran's and Greg's comments about wanting to do serialized stories themselves that I started work on Blog 4.0 :p I got the reverse order entries thing done pretty fast but while I was at it, I decided to move quite a bit of the global options to the journal level so that you can have different settings for each journal. I had all of that done when Tyran suggested that I have a way to link to the previous and next journal entries and so Iadded two new tags - <$BlogArchivePrev> and <$BlogArchiveNext> and those work pretty OK except of course when you have no previous entries or next entries <vbg> I guess I could try to put in code to detect that and if so, point to the main file but that seems like a lot of work ... so I'm not sure what I'm going to do about that - for the moment I'm leaving it as it is ...

I had thought that I had most of the stuff done for 4.0 when I went through an e-mail from Bauke Schildt who suggested about four or five new features/options and since then I've been e-mailing back and forth with him and he's managed to add a couple of more items to the list :-) So looks as if 4.0 will be a while coming but then again since 3.7 was just released, I'm sure you can hold on <vbg>

I need to get a new template done and get started on publishing that story that I was talking about but there's so much other stuff to be done - Blog, the Data Conversion Utility since a lot is changing for Blog 4.0, work .. ah well, that's always how it is, isn't it? :-)
posted at 08:40:30 AM  link  comment

Wed, Aug 15 2001

I finished Mike Resnick's "Stalking the Unicorn: A Fable of Tonight" last night. It was a really good book as evidenced by the fact that I completed it in about three days instead of about the one month it usually takes me <g> but after I completed it I still felt somehow unfulfilled since it felt as if there was more to the story - I wanted to know what happened after that. Maybe I've gotten too used to having multiple sequels to a book as seems to be the trend these days but then again, multiple sequels don't necessarily mean that I want to know what happened next. Take Gordy Dickson's Dragon Knight series for instance - I love Gordy Dickson's work ... especially his early stuff which used to evoke a sense of wonder and make me want to write. The Dragon Knight series is not in the same category and I've enjoyed each of the books that I've read so far (and I think I've bought almost all of the series as well though I haven't read most of them yet ...) but when I finish one, I don't think "OK, what happens to Jim Eckert after that?".

You know, in a sense that saddens me. It's as if the magic that I felt when I read books is gone. Maybe it's again that sense of nostalgia but I know that I used to enjoy my reading a lot more. But then again, my reading habits have changed as well. I used to read almost anything that was SF and come away feeling invigorated, my head seething with ideas and wanting (no, almost aching ...) to write a story like that. These days, I mostly read fantasay rather than SF but I never really want to write a story - except perhaps after reading some of Terry Pratchett's work ... So what happened? Where did that almost indescribable feeling of joy, of wonder, of being totally entertained and thrilled go? Or did I just grow out of it as I grew older? I don't know ...

What I do know however is that I'm about to begin on a book which has sort of rekindled that feeling in me. Last night I held Larry Niven's "Destiny's Road" in my hands and I felt that same old thrill, the anticipation of a good read that would stimulate my mind and make me dream of future times and far off places. The cover art by Michael Whelan evokes the same sense of wonder that books by Isacc Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Theodore Sturgeon, A. E. Van Vogt, Jack Williamson, Murray Leinster et al used to evoke in me in those days of long ago (at least they seem like long ago though in reality it is less than fifteen years ...). I still haven't started on the book because in a sense I am afraid of being disappointed - in losing that feeling of wonder, of joy that I haven't felt in a long time ...

But then again, Larry Niven is of that breed and era of writers who never ever disappointed me. I don't know whether it is my unfamiliarity with contemprorary SF writers or whether contemprary writers have indeed moved on to different areas that don't interest me as much, but to me SF will always be memorable for the writers of yesteryear (not that I think Larry Niven is by any means a has-been writer but I associate him with a different era, a different generation ...). I still remember reading Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle's "The Mote in God's Eye" and being overwhelmed by the sheer brilliance of it, the completeness of the world that they'd created. I can't really express most of the feelings that those books evoked in me in adequate words. I think Jerry Pournelle is the first writer that I wrote to after reading a book written by him/her - I e-mailed him and told him how much I enjoyed "The Mote in God's Eye" and he almost immediately wrote back and recommended some other books. Perhaps it's because of people like Jerry and Terry Pratchett who take the time to respond to their readers, that I try to be as responsive to the users of my apps as I do ... it is strange how things work out.

But I drone on :-) I love those old books and I hope "Destiny's Road" will prove to be just as good as I anticipate it to be but one thing it's done even before I start reading it is to rekindle the desire to write SF in me again. So I intend to start something that I've been thinking of for a long time - to do a story bit by bit online ... Blog will let me do it except for one thing - the entries have to be in normal order instead of reverse order. Tyran Ormond already suggested this feature to me and so I will try to get that in sometime soon so that I can get started on this story that I'm bursting to write and who knows, maybe I will provide somebody else with the same feeling of joy, wonder and make them dream of far off places and strange people like all my favorite SF authors did for me ...
posted at 07:39:24 AM  link  comment

Tue, Aug 14 2001

I might not have much time for posting or for working on any of my apps for the next few days since we are preparing for the deployment of a project that we'd been working on for the last couple of months. The deployment is this weekend and it looks as if I'll have to work at least Saturday and probably be here till late on Friday too :-( Ah well ... anyway bear with me (and my silence if you do write to me ...) till this weekend is over, I should then be back in full force ... or maybe not ... <vbg>

I know that NewsHoard is pretty buggy - especially the listviews that display stuff .. particularly the subscribe/unsubscribe dialog. I need to do a lot of work there and I'm already contemplating some major additions to Blog following certain suggestions made by Phil Stopford. ElevateSoft has just released the first beta of DBISAM 3.0, which is the database engine that I use in most of my apps. This release supports client server databases natively and depending on how it's implemented, I might be going back to the client server version of Blog again as well. The old version is pretty much outdated and needs to be brought up-to-date but I've been reluctant to do so since nobody seems to want that functionality but maybe it's time ...
posted at 08:31:53 AM  link  comment

Mon, Aug 13 2001

Ok, I finally managed to find some time to update the Gossip documentation to reflect the name change to NewsHoard and even add a little bit of information about the new functionality :p So I guess that means we are ready for a NewsHoard 2.0 Beta release and there it is on the side bar :-) Have fun and as always let me know of bugs, features, suggestions etc.
posted at 03:19:34 PM  link  comment

Ok, I'm finally releasing the much delayed Blog 3.7 ... Yeah, yeah I know, NewsHoard should have been released first but what can I say? I'm lazy and I still haven't modified the docs :p Anyway, a word of caution to existing Blog users, you'll need to download the Data Conversion utility again and run it to update your databases plus if you have a crash as soon as you start Blog (you almost certainly will ...) simply delete your existing Blog.cfg file and you should be fine after that. Those few users who had advanced copies of Blog 3.7 need not run the data conversion again but they are adviced to get the Blog 3.7 download again since this release has a few tweaks over the various builds they might have :-) That's about it - I'll try to get the NewsHoard beta out sometime today too if I can ...
posted at 09:12:03 AM  link  comment

Sun, Aug 12 2001

I watched "Mystery, Alaska" yesterday evening - that one goes on my list of top sports movies along with the likes of "Tin Cup" and "For Love of the Game" :-) But unlike "For Love of the Game" where I felt that Chappel shouldn't have got a perfect game at the end, I wanted the Mystery boys to at least tie the game at the end. Of course, in this instance I wasn't thinking of it critically but more with my heart and guts since the characters totally pulled me into the story ... To say the least, it's a great movie!

I also got quite a ways into my Mike Resnick novel - very interesting and easy reading. I completed the day's activities by playing "Grandia II". As I noted last week, I was very close to the end and though I still haven't got to the very end, I got much closer yesterday. I probably should have completed the game but I want to savour it as much as I can since I have kind of gotten used to the DreamCast graphics and am not sure that I can go back to the PlayStation :p So I'll either have to buy a PS2 (which I don't want to do yet since I'm waiting for the prices to fall ...) or go back to my old PlayStation games and make do with them till whenever ... Oh well :-
posted at 08:24:35 AM  link  comment

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Copyright (c) 2001 Fahim A. Farook