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Sat, Jan 19 2002

I actually got into the thick of Blog coding yesterday evening and added the final bit of major functionality that I wanted to see in the 5.0 release - a Find tool that lets you find any entries in the current journal (or across all the journals in Blog) that have a specific word or phrase in them. I really like how the final product turned out because I hadn't really envisioned it that way when I started coding :p I need to do a few more bits of tweaking and testing and then I should be ready to release Blog 5.0 (finally ...) sometime today or tomorrow - latest, Monday. I am toying with the idea of making the full install be done via a setup program to make it easier on new users and make the upgrade distro (which I've been promising as a separate download for a while now <g>) be a ZIP file. Of course, if you want to download the full distro but do only an upgrade, the setup program would allow you to change the install options to remove the database files from the install ...

I'm also debating about releasing BOB and Scope at the same time - the reasons I'm in two minds about that? Well, Scope is still kinda half-baked and I don't know if Mozilla works or not with the latest build - on my system it crashes every time and I have no idea whether it is Mozilla or Scope. Plus, they've upgraded Mozilla again and I probably should test out Scope with the latest build again ... On the BOB side, I still haven't heard from Daniel and am wondering whether he's even using BOB or if it was another one of those e-mails where somebody gets really enthusiastic about an app for a few days but forgets all about it after that. If that is the case, since only two people have expressed any interest in it and the one who requested all the features has gone silent, I will simply leave BOB as it is since it has all the stuff that *I* need from it ...
posted at 08:53:52 AM  link  comment

Fri, Jan 18 2002

I'm watching "Swordfish" at the moment. There are little niggling things like the appearing and disappearing for John Travolta's goatee (not really a goatee but that strip of facial hair under his lowe lip :p) during the opening sequences but the opening sequences themselves made me sit up and say "Wow! I like it!!" The opening monologue was kinda boring due to the lack of any action but then the camera draws back and you see that he's surrounded by gun toting cops and I was totally blown away :-) And then the whole scene with the exploding hostage, what can I say? This one looks good and I don't care how badly it got panned by reviewers - of course, I reserve the option to reverse my judgment once I've seen the full movie :p
posted at 12:17:02 PM  link  comment

An interestingly coincidental thing happened yesterday :p I mentioned The Red Ferret Journal on here since I'd discovered the site on my reference logs and thought it was interesting. Then in the evening, I received a package from which contained the "Groundhog Day" DVD with a note from a UK Blog user named Nigel Powell. I had not heard from Nigel before and was wondering whom I should thank since there was no e-mail address or even a URL. I opened up my e-mail a bit later and there was an e-mail from Nigel Powell asking me what could be done since I'd mentioned in my journal entry that day that I should change my Wish List address as I'm moving to Sri Lanka :p What's more, it turned out that he was the guy who wrote The Red Ferret Journal! Sometimes I think there are way too many coincidences in life for them to be coincidences at all - or rather that coincidences aren't so coincidental after all :p

Nigel's gift did start me thinking about the fact that two thirds of the gifts/donations that I've received (not counting the time, effort and talents put in by folks - which I'm not demeaning by any means here but I'm trying to make a point <vbg>) so far have been from people in the UK. I thought that was kind of interesting and mentioned it to Nigel and he said that it might be due to the innate sense of fair play that the Brits have and you know, he may be right because Theo Richardson, who sent me a gift certificate a few days back, said that he'd been feeling guilty about using Blog without paying for it. Now all this talk about donations and paying does not mean I'm hinting at anything <vbg> It's just that I'm really excited any time I receive a gift and so will talk about it for a while but as long as somebody finds Blog useful, I'm happy too :-)

Incidentally, just checked the site for "Groundhog Day" and I see that they have a special edition of the movie coming out the end of the month. Argh! I hate that!! Why can't they make one edition of the DVD release with all the extras instead of making us buy new stuff over and over again? I guess you could just stick with the first one you bought but the main reason I buy DVD's is for the extras and so I hate it when they come up with a better release than the one I've got! It's happened to me several times already - most notably with "Seven", "Total Recall", the "Die Hard" boxed set and "Bad Boys". I bought all of them even though I had the older copy. When will it all end? When? (Probably not till idiots like me stop buying every new release of the same DVD but that's another story ... :p)
posted at 09:25:21 AM  link  comment

Thu, Jan 17 2002

It almost always pays to check out the referrers to my site(s) since that is how I find people using Blog on their sites - rather than the person e-mailing me and telling me that they are using Blog :p Found a site today named The Red Ferret Journal that is pretty interesting ... Interesting in that the guy has links to a lot of things (and talks about a lot of things) that I find interesting too ... Why am I writing this here? Probably because I'm at home and I'm bored <vbg> I am actually thinking of going back to work on Cee - the much neglected, extremely primitive (at the moment) cookie/quote program that I wrote to complement Blog - and adding some skinning capability or some such to make it look a bit better ... Will I do it? I don't know ... Guess laziness has got its coils around me really tight ... but fear not dear reader, I will break through and prevail - but not today <vbg>
posted at 11:33:38 AM  link  comment

When I mentioned yesterday that I was thinking of putting up a PayPal donations link on the site, I wasn't really expecting anybody to take me up on the offer immediately :p But Theo Richardson - who is a Blog user who has his site here - immediately sent me an Amazon.Com gift certificate for $30! Thanks a lot, Theo - it really makes a difference to me as a coder to see such generous gestures of appreciation from my users. I immediately put it to use and got "Almost Famous untitled - The Bootleg Cut" since I've been meaning to get that for a long time - I'll really enjoy that movie thanks to Theo :-) I hope it gets here before I leave though since I will be left wondering whether I'll get the stuff forwarded at all if it doesn't get here before I leave :p That reminds me, guess I should change the mailing address on my Amazon.Com wish list as well - not that anybody I know of has used it yet but still ...

It was sort of a bitter sweet parting yesterday when I left work - it felt good to know that I won't have to work for the next few weeks but I was sad to say good bye to some of the people that I'd worked with. Ah well, guess life is full of meetings and partings ... I got to stay up later than normal yesterday since I didn't have to get up early for work :p I still haven't heard from Daniel about BOB and so I'm kinda debating as to what I should do next - whether I should release BOB 1.2 or continue working on it so that I can release a different version or not work on it at all and go back to Blog ... Decisions, decisions :p
posted at 08:52:16 AM  link  comment

Wed, Jan 16 2002

Well ... did some emergency surgery on BOB yesterday :p I got the Favorite site selection grid changed and did some UI changes while I was at it as well. It looks better now (hopefully ....) and will not be as confusing to somebody who's trying to use it - again hopefully <g> So how come I haven't put up a new build? Well, the new build is up there - invisibly - but I'm waiting to see if Daniel has any problems with it before I make a general announcement. Anyway, since not many people seem to use BOB, I don't think it matters that much :-) But if you can't live without the latest version of BOB, let me know and I'll send you the download link ... It should actually work pretty fine since I used the latest version to upload the new build of BOB to all my servers and it went off without a hitch but you never know ...

On other news, today is my last day at work. I came in loaded for bear since my exit interview had not been scheduled even after repeated queries to HR. I was going to wait till noon and then e-mail the guy responsible for setting up the exit interview a scathing e-mail with CC's to everybody from the VP in charge of the IT department down to my boss and his boss <vbg> but the guy finally responded yesterday after I left work - darn! :p I'm kinda looking forward to spending two weeks at home without having to get up early in the morning, drive for an hour or more dealing with early morning traffic and of course, the snow ... Maybe I'll get some coding done as well but I mostly want to catch up on my movies, games, books etc. It's been a long time since I've had a vacation where I could just kick back and relax - even the trip home to Sri Lanka in October was kinda hectic since I had to do a lot of travelling, visiting relatives etc. So I'm looking forward to this ...

I've been thinking lately of putting up a PayPal donations link on this site ... Not that that many of my users have volunteered to donate anything <g> except of course for those generous souls who are listed on my Hall of Fame but what with the move to Sri Lanka and the resultant decrease in funds due to the drastic difference in exchange rates, I might be in a position where I'd welcome anything I can get :p I've always been reluctant to even ask for donations and stuff because to me it seems to be just a step below asking for payment up front but I guess beggars can't be choosers :p Guess I'll have to just wait and see which direction I go with that one ...
posted at 08:41:12 AM  link  comment

Tue, Jan 15 2002

You know, I'm really shortsighted when it comes to designing applications and especially the UI for an application :p As I think I've mentioned before, I usually write an app for myself (and usually because there is a specific circumstance that demands that particular app ...) and then put it up on the web site if I think somebody else might have a use for it. Unfortunately, this approach leads to a UI which can be clunky or even not very user-friendly. This was demonstrated again with BOB because when I did the UI for selecting Favorite sites, I didn't think much about not including a Select All button or even of finding a grid control where you can SHIFT+Click and select a range of items because I knew *I* wouldn't have more than three or four favorites to select at a time ... Poor Daniel wrote to me yesterday and said that he had to click 120 times since he was updating 120 sites in one go :-( Ugh! Not good at all! I intend to try and fix at least that bit in BOB today so that Daniel can use BOB more easily. Of course this means I'll probably continue to work on BOB for a while and neglect Blog ... Ah well ...
posted at 08:41:05 AM  link  comment

Mon, Jan 14 2002

Either TV script writers are scraping the bottom of the barrel for inspiration or I've been watching way too much TV *or* ... I've become psychic :p I watched "UC: Undercover" yesterday and saw the ending (or at least the unmasking ...) that I'd predicted last week when they ran the previews for the show for this week. An undercover agent who is supposed to have written the book on undercover work is killed and they said "you won't believe who the killer is ..." and I said "it's himself - he's not dead!" and guess what? I was right! I wasn't sure that they'd pull that particular stunt again since it's been done about a million times already - the most recent one I can think of (and that's not so recent since it was a few years ago <vbg>) was in "The Pretender" - So I guess, I just watch too much TV :p But then again, about three weeks back when they had Sidney Bristow find hidden messages in encrypted Cyrillic characters in some books belonging to her mother that her father had sent to her mother years back from Russia, I said the codes were not from/meant for her Dad but for her Mom. Sidney pursued in last week's episode and went so far as to accuse her Dad of being a double-agent for the KGB and then it was revealed that the codes were indeed sent to her mother ... Yeah, I guess I watch way too much TV <vbg>

To get back to the real (or should that be unreal? :p) world we live in, had a woman call the particular show I listen to in the morning on the way to work and ask for advice on the fact that she'd been having an affair with her boss (who was married ...) and had found out that he was cheating on her too! And her concern? Whether she'd get kicked out of her job if she terminated the affair! She seemed totally unconcerned about the fact that what she had been doing was wrong or the fact that a man who would cheat on his wife would probably cheat on her too. All she seemed to care about was her job security ... Have we come to that stage when we don't really care about the consequences that our actions have on other people? The further we go progress, the deeper we seem to sink in certain levels ... Yeah, yeah, I do sound very much like a Luddite but I assure you that I love technology and perhaps it is wrong to link the seemingly downward spiral of our morals to the upward ascent of technology but when we brag so much about how advanced we are, I would think we would not just take technology into the equation but ethics, culture, spirituality and other such intangibles into consideration as well ...

I've been talking to Daniel Garber who says that he's just discovered BOB but wants to use it on an extremely large scale - to update hundreds of different machines from one workstation! I hadn't really thought that BOB was useful to anybody but me but the use he wants to put it to seems just up BOB's alley though :-) I guess I might be working a bit on BOB before the promised Blog stuff since Daniel has suggested an extensive list of changes that might help him at his work ... Again we'll see how things go since I'm always changing my mind :p
posted at 08:27:51 AM  link  comment

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