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Sat, Aug 25 2001

Well, the weekend's here and I'm at work :p The project rollout yesterday went pretty smoothly - or as smoothly as could be hoped for but I was at home till after 10 o'clock monitoring stuff and running conversion processes. Then I had to come in today to ensure that everything was hunky dory but it never is as easy as that is it? <g> There were about two hundred odd records which fell into the exception bin and most of them look as if they will have to be checked individually ... so a long day ahead ... ah well ...

Guess I won't get much coding done but then again, I'm not sure what I want to work on next - there were a lot of further feature requests for Blog that I didn't include in the 4.0 release but I think I've been working on Blog for too long - so probably time to get back to Scope :p But I guess we'll see what takes my fancy ...
posted at 09:27:49 AM  link  comment

Fri, Aug 24 2001

A weird thing has been happening today - I've been receiving a SirCam virus e-mail from the same address with the same subject line and the same attachment. So far I've received about 16 copies of the e-mail (not counting the four or five I received yesterday). Following the quote from "GoldFinger" which says "Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, thrice is enemy action", I'm beginning to suspect that this might indeed be enemy action :p I have written to the owner of the e-mail address but no response - the e-mails keep a comin' and so I wrote to the admins of his domain since this happens to be a university but still no response! Now, I'm getting really annoyed ... any suggestions?

On the other hand, I was able to get the documentation updated and all the features in for Blog 4.0 and so you know what comes next - yes, release time :-) This release has a lot of little feature enhancements and the list of changes is the longest (I think) for any release of Blog. There are a few things to watch out for, for existing Blog users. First, you will have to run the Data Conversion Utility - there is a new build so get it and run the 3.7 -> 4.0 conversion. Second, I have added three toolbar buttons (one for previewing your journal on the web to the main toolbar and two for bold and italic text to the edit toolbar) and you might not see them unless either you delete the Blog.cfg file in your Blog directory or click on the little arrow at the end of your toolbars and select "Reset Toolbar". In either case I'm afraid that you'll probably lose any customizations you made to your toolbar ... sorry :-(

I think that's all that you'll have to watch out for but quite a few settings have moved from the Global Options dialog to the Journal tab of the Journal Management Dialog but I have tried to ensure that the Data Conversion Utility ports over your existing settings. There might be some problems however and so I'd advice you to look over all the settings and go through the documentation again to at least find out about the new tags added to Blog. Speaking of documentation, you can now have the documentation open up in your default text editor by simply selecting ReadMe from the Help menu :-) Enjoy!!
posted at 01:21:02 PM  link  comment

Didn't get much done yesterday at all. I was working from home but I was suffering from lack of sleep (I have a problem with sleeping that seems to crop up around the time of season changes - probably due to changes in how much sunlight I get ...) and a major headache. I had finished reading "Destiny's Road" day before yesterday (excellent, excellent book!! Hope there is a sequel ...) and the next one I selected was Gordon R. Dickson and Keith Laumer's "Planet Run". Since it is a collaboration between two of the best in SF, I have great hopes for it but haven't started it yet because I haven't felt like reading.

Unfortunately sinesolis got pink eye but the silver lining (not for him but for Blog :p) was that he had the time to do some icons that I wanted to include in Blog 4.0 - thanks again for all your wonderful work sinesolis!! Since I have the icons, I should actually release Blog 4.0 today but there are two things that I still need to do. I still haven't done the enhancements to journal purging and Rick has convinced me to add a title per entry in Blog after some discussion :-) I know some people wanted this feature while others feel that it can be done simply by using HTML in your entry but I can see how certain things (like consistent formatting and linking to each entry) can be better facilitated with a separate <$BlogTitle> tag. Once I get all of that done (I don't really know when since this week is going to be pretty busy at work as well ...), you will finally be able to get your hands on Blog 4.0 :-)
posted at 07:26:49 AM  link  comment

Thu, Aug 23 2001

I think I should start codenaming each build of Blog by the people who push that particular build to be what it is by feature requests or bug testing <g> Blog 3.5 was Jason and 3.7 was JeroenWelmoetTracie and 4.0 is definitely TyranPhil :p Phil probably thought that I didn't have enough to do since I mentioned that 4.0 was almost ready and so he put forward one bug report and a couple of feature requests <vbg> Incidentally, I'm just kidding here - I appreciate all the positive input from Phil, Tyran and all the other Blog users as well as users of my other apps :-) If the feedback wasn't there, none of my apps would be where they are today. So a big thank you goes out from me to all of you!!

I've added a new option to the Data Conversion Utility at Phil's behest to allow a user to change the Author name from one value to another globally. This is due to the fact that from 4.0 onwards the Author is saved individually with each entry instead of being a global setting which can be easily changed. Of course, I have a feeling that I'm going to get another request soon to make that name changing option more flexible on a per-journal basis but for the moment it's global. I also added in the remote template option so that you can associate a template with an external file - if the file changes, the template is replaced with the contents of the file. Another idea from Phil :-)

I've got two other ideas from Phil that are not done yet - one I'm going to do but the other I'm simply considering at the moment. The first one is to make a more flexible purge option - which incidentally seems to have dropped out of Blog somewhere along the way :p So I'm planning to allow the option to purge entries older than a certain number of days or maybe a certain date or to purge all entries - all of these will work for the currently selected journal - not globally. The other suggestion was to have something like a <$BlogCookie> tag which would insert a random (or sequential) cookie from an external file. What do you think?

I've also received a request from Rick to have a title option in Blog and if I understand what he means correctly - the title would be per day and not per entry. I don't see the usefulness of a separate field for a per entry title because you can simply use HTML to specify the title in the entry itself but a per day title is a different matter. I am interested in the idea but am wondering whether anybody else would like or need this feature besides Rick? As always, I'm open to comments, suggestions, requests etc.
posted at 07:18:03 AM  link  comment

Wed, Aug 22 2001

Wow!! Yesterday's rant had more comments than any other entry in my journal :p Thank you one and all for your comments and views. Let me clarify something here - my problem is not with the genuine concerns that theme or module authors may have with somebody using their work on a compilation CD. If WareWolf just upped and said that he was selling a compilation CD instead of saying that he was thinking of it and that if anybody didn't want their work on the CD they could contact him and let him know, that was ill-adviced of him. But my whole problem is with the attitude of people when a person is in trouble. If you read some of the comments at LS2K, you will notice that one notable themer for whom I had a lot of respect till now (I will not name names) said that he does not want WareWolf making any profit from his work and another person commented that whatever problems that WW had was of his making and that he (meaning the person who made the comment) should not have to be bothered by it - or something along those lines. It is this callous and selfish attitude that makes me see red. But I've had enough of this stupidity - I will say, each to his own and still continue with the way I do things because I know there are a lot of good people in the LS community and out of it (again I will name no names because that is a pretty long list and I don't want to leave out anybody <g>) who do believe in doing something good for their fellows with no mind towards profit or ego stroking. Now on to other stuff ...

I find "Destiny's Road" to be extremely interesting - so interesting in fact that I am almost at the end of the book. Three more chapters and I'll be done!! I wish I had the ability of Larry Niven since he's woven an extremely interesting world and populated it with a cast of characters who keep me totally engrossed. This is the kind of science fiction that I love and remember. Speaking of writing and science fiction, I know I haven't continued my story (for the few of you who might be interested :p) but that's only because I haven't had the peace of mind to continue. I will do so as soon as I can since I like how this particular story has evolved and am looking forward to what happens next since even I don't know what does happen <vbg>

As for Blog news, I thought I had version 4.0 complete except for a few finishing touches but Tyran suggested a change today that I think is right in keeping with the philosophy of Blog and so I intend to implement it today. Once that is done, I need to update the documentation extensively since 4.0 has added quite a few new toys to the mix and then I have to wait for a few other cosmetic things to be done and Blog 4.0 should be ready to go :-)
posted at 08:13:39 AM  link  comment

Tue, Aug 21 2001

I didn't make a posting yesterday because if I had, I would have burst out ranting and raving but even after a day's delay (is that equivalent to counting to a hundred? <g>) I still am sizzling and can't contain the onset of a major rant.

I was involved with LiteStep for a very long time because I believed in the project and believed that I was doing something worthwhile and contributing to a cause that helped people. But the longer I was there, the more I began to see that it was becoming a forum for people to show off and to bicker. I moved on to a different project - DarkStep - and dropped that too since I didn't have the time for it. But recently I have been somewhat drawn back to the happenings in the LiteStep community because of a controversy surrounding WareWolf selling a compilation CD of LiteStep themes, modules etc. People who did themes and distributed it for free are suddenly saying "You should not profit from my work ...". Now I can understand that attitude perfectly if somebody was doing that just for profit. But when somebody is out of work and is just trying to make some money to support their family, *I* would think that people would put all of these petty concerns aside but I guess it is not to be so.

People who uploaded themes for others to use for free are suddenly saying, no you can't use my theme to make a little money - if somebody could make money selling these CD's in the first place ... which I think isn't going to work in the bulk that it would have to if WareWolf is to make tons and tons of cash as the whiners seem to think. These people say, that they should get some share of the profit for their work. So should I start asking people for royalties each time they use LiteStep on their machines because I put about a year of work into LiteStep? It is at times like these that I really feel like abandoning work on free software completely and either code for myself and not distribute any of my work or start charging for it (not that I will because I know there are still a lot of good people out there - both in LiteStep and just generally ...).

I can't say that I'm feeling very good about people in general at the moment or about the LiteStep "community". It is so easy for people to make suggestions and talk about alternatives without doing anything to help somebody. I would like to see any of the people doing all the talking taking some action. Ah well ... as usual, why do I even bother? The world is going to the selfish, mindless and the childish ... God have mercy on the future ...
posted at 08:09:30 AM  link  comment

Sun, Aug 19 2001

Yesterday was interesting - for me :p Didn't do much coding but did a lot of other stuff that I enjoy doing. I watched "Space Cowboys" - great movie! Clint Eastwood always gives a good performance and I enjoy his movies - some may think it's a bit over the top and all but hey, who cares? It's funny and it was interesting and it was even gripping at times. Certainly emotional too. I remember an old book that I read (I think it was called "The Kingmaker") about a HollyWood movie moghul who thought a script was good only if it made him cry - I am kinda like that <vbg> If a story moves me to shed a tear for the characters, I think it was well written though that is not my only criteria for a good movie. Yes, I do cry at the movies :p I don't know why they say that men shouldn't cry ... is there any logic to that? :-)

I then played "Grandia II" and finally completed the game! Grandia is still the best game series ever as far as I am concerned. The sequel seems a bit easier than the first because I never had any problems at all and beat all the bosses pretty easily whereas in the first at the end, I died a couple of times and had to go back and level up. Maybe I'm learning :p I then took up "Final Fantasy IX" again since I'd given up on it the first time I'd tried it. I realized that my problem was in approaching Final Fantasy as I did Grandia and trying to do everything. Grandia doesn't have too many mini-quests whereas Final Fantasy seems to have a lot more of them and at the very beginning of the game and I was failing miserably since the mini-quests depended on dexterity and quick reflexes and that is not a department that I'm very strong in <vbg> But once I decided to skip the mini-games and just go on with the story, I began really enjoying it - the FMV is fabulous and in a sense even better than Grandia's on the DreamCast. I guess my old PlayStation still has life in it :-)

The evening of course went to watching the various shows on the Sci-Fi channel. I'm really looking forward to the season finale of "First Wave" and I have a feeling that it will be something along the lines of Cade having to kill Jordan and the viewers being left in doubt as to whether he did or not or something along those lines ... Or it will have to be about whether the second wave started or not ... but why speculate? It should be here soon :p Once all the shows were done with, I began reading "Destiny's Road" - I'd been reading bits for a while now but I didn't fully get into the rythm of it till now and suddenly the story took hold of me and I was engrossed! I read on till midnight and couldn't put the book down and finally forced myself to do so around 12:30 and go to bed ...
posted at 08:33:57 AM  link  comment

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