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Sat, Jul 20 2002

I've been working on the customized code snippet feature for Blog and it's taking shape pretty nicely :-) First the good news: you can name the snippet, define the beginning and ending HTML tags and even assign a hotkey and an icon to it - in fact, you can even add external icons to assign to the code snippets! The bad news is: a) you lose the edit right-click context menu accessibility to the snippets (I am hoping to fix this but not done yet ..) b) you can't define edit toolbar buttons for the snippets (you can but they don't always work ..) c) the hotkey assignment doesn't check to see if the hotkey combination is in use and so you can end up with a hotkey combo that does something else. Other than for these problems, it works :p In fact, I've now converted the standard bold, italic, paragraph, line break, angle bracket and space insertion menu items to use the new system and it all works just fine.

I intend to take a look at the little problems I've mentioned above and maybe get those sorted out too - or as much as possible - so that I can go ahead and release Blog 6.1 :-) In the mean time, Tyran has pointed out that the Next and Previous tags in Blog behave differently now than they did a while back in that they now force the HTML code to be used, on you, instead of simply returning the file name... I hadn't realized the change but have a feeling that there was some code consideration behind it. I will look into this and change it back if possible but that may break existing templates for some of you - sorry :-(
posted at 06:41:36 AM  link  comment

Fri, Jul 19 2002

A few days ago, Eric Williams pointed out a problem in Blog in Server mode that would always result in an error when trying to publish. This had to do with a coding bug in the loop variable I used since I used the same variable from the outer loop (which iterated through each message on the server) for the inner loop (which iterated through each address on the Include/Exclude list). I fixed the bug and Eric reports that it works fine but I just haven't had the time to release Blog 6.01 so that others can benefit from this fix as well.

However, I'm planning on doing a Blog 6.1 release soon since there's an idea suggested by Jason that's burning a hole through my mind and while I'd originally planned to include the feature in Blog 7.0, I don't think I can wait that long :p Basically, Jason wanted a way to have user-defined HTML snippets available in the edit window. Currently there are options like Bold, Italic etc. that allow the user to format their text using HTML code but Jason wanted a way to have customized HTML code snippets since the most used snippets probably change from user to user. I think this is a great idea and something that would really make Blog user-friendly and customizable to suit individual users. I've been running the idea through my mind and the basic "how-to" has now formulated in my mind and I keep on adding newer and niftier features to it :p When this starts happening, I begin to feel as if that I'd either forget a bit of it or that I would explode if I don't implement it immediately. So, it looks as if I'll be coding this weekend <g>
posted at 06:56:28 AM  link  comment

Thu, Jul 18 2002

They're going to being screening "Spider-man" here on Friday. That's pretty impressive considering that usually we have to wait a couple of years before some of the current Hollywood movies come to the theaters here - mainly a matter of cost since they (meaning the Sri Lankan theater owners or whoever brings the movie down ...) usually can't recoup the money they have to pay the Hollywood studios to distribute the movie over here. I guess they are betting on "Spider-man" being as big a hit with the people as "Lord of the Rings" was a couple of months back.

I'm in two minds as to whether I really want to see "Spider-man" :p As a matter of principle, I don't watch live action remakes of comic book classics since it ruins the comic - for me at least. Yes, I've seen a few of them here and there because: a) it was on TV b) a friend had the movie and I got it for free c) it was playing on an airplane during a trip. But I've made a point of not paying for the movie till now - "Blade" being the exception but I've never read the comic much :p I already don't really like "Spider-man" because of some of the character/plot changes they've made to the original and because of the stupid costume with that webbing standing out as if somebody stuck ropes on a spandex suit :p I also don't like the choice of Toby McGuire to play the role of Peter Parker but on the other hand, I feel like going to see the movie just so that I can rant about it some more :p Plus, everybody from work is going on Friday but ...

Anyway, speaking of comic book characters, has anybody caught the new "Daredevil" trailer? Even with the choice of Ben Affleck for the main role, the trailer at least looks very impressive. I didn't pay much attention to the costumes and stuff and but it did look as if they'd made changes there. Of course, the choice of Michael Clarke Duncan for the role of KingPin does break original characterizations ... Ah well, guess nothing is sacred anymore :p Anyway, I'm tempted to watch "Daredevil" based on the trailer - yes, even pay money to see it :p - but things may change as I see and hear more about the movie ...
posted at 06:36:54 AM  link  comment

Wed, Jul 17 2002

The newspaper project at work has to be jinxed :p Yesterday, the Illustrator file for the Sinhala page that we'd done the layout and proofread, turned out to be corrupted! The layout and the changes had to be done all over again and the guy from the graphics department who was doing it had to go off at noon and it was a pretty rushed job, I can tell you. We did get the page out on time but all this is making me a petty dictator since I've been quashing ideas right left and center and settling disputes by simply enforcing my own will :p I shudder to think of Friday since that will be the deadline for both the Tamil and English papers and usually that's when I almost always get to stay behind and work Saturdays :p

Of course, I'm beginning to re-evaluate the whole working Saturdays thing too. Yesterday my boss looked at the Tamil page that I'd worked on the whole weekend to get out and had only criticisms. I reminded him that I did work the weekend to get it out and that there was nobody helping me but his only response was that it wasn't my job to work on the page but to get somebody else to do it since I'm supposed to be in charge of the project. While I do see his project, I also believe that he and I are two different kinds of managers - he's a hands-off manager since he doesn't know the software or how to get the stuff done and so can only tell somebody to get it done, whereas I'm a hands-on manager since I know what needs to be done and in most cases, can get it done faster than anybody I'd entrust the job to. Whatever the case maybe, I am beginning to realize that the work environment is far different from the US here and that I'd gotten used to doing things the US way. Now I'm simply going to tell somebody to get the job done and not bother whether it's done or not - even though that seems totally asinine to me ... Oh well ...
posted at 06:33:21 AM  link  comment

Tue, Jul 16 2002

Work continues at an unabated pace ... I forgot to mention yesterday that I worked part of Sunday as well ... Well, I did and that actually helped me to get the Tamil newspaper page in shape though I still needed the help of the Tamil team yesterday to proofread it and make the final corrections. We were told that we had to get it on the table of the editor of the paper by noon if we wanted the page to be published and we sent it off at 11:35! I'm not even sure that the page will be published this time but I did learn a lot about Adobe Illustrator in the space of three day's time - so not everything is lost :p

Of course, as soon as I got the Tamil page out, I had to start working on the Sinhala page since that has to go out today. At least, that was being done by the graphics guys and all I had to do was proofread, make editorial changes and make judgment calls on various layout decisions :p I'm beginning to think that being democratic is not the way to go when working in a team environment. Even people who contribute nothing towards the newspaper page feel that it is their duty to contribute inane (and conflicting) suggestions about layout changes and they all feel that their's is the only good suggestion. I've finally become so fed up with it that I've said that *I* will make the decisions and that they will be final - guess the stress is getting to me :p
posted at 06:30:09 AM  link  comment

Mon, Jul 15 2002

Had an interesting weekend - or at least Saturday :p Went to work again on Saturday since one of the newspaper column teams had decided to do their layout in PageMaker instead of Adobe Illustrator like everybody else and didn't know till the end that PageMaker couldn't output to TIFF format like Illustrator could. Of course, the boys in the graphics department didn't inform anybody of this fact either since they just wanted to sit back and watch the fun when they tried to finally output their layout. The upshot of it was that the graphics guys went home on Friday, the newspaper team went home on Friday and I had to come in and try to sort out their mess on Saturday! I didn't think being head honcho meant that you had to do so much work - my boss has it easier, he just tells them that they'll fire them if they don't get it right :p

Anyway, I did some research and found out that you can install a postscript printer driver and have PageMaker print the page into an EPS file, which Illustrator can read. Of course, this is something that the boys in graphics said could not be done in any form whatever - so much for what they know :p The problem started with fonts - they had used a lot of Tamil fonts that weren't installed on my system and even after installing them, Illustrator would say that the font wasn't there when the EPS file was opened. It would however substitute the exact fonts it said that weren't there - crazy! There were other problems with layout and placement however and I had to spend the whole day before I came up with something which *almost* worked. My Tamil wasn't up to the task of proofreading the text however and so I decided to wait till Monday ...

There was a party to be held by a bunch of people who'd come to work with our company on a sort of mutual exchange program. It was in the evening and I was simply going to give it a miss and go home but since work kept me at work till evening, I decided to go with a couple of other guys from work. It turned out that it was a good idea that I decided to go since I had a very good time there. I got to know a lot of people that I hadn't talked to much except perhaps to smile and say "Hi" to and found them to be great people. I hadn't danced in a while and the music was pretty good too :-) Of course, one of the guys we went with had to go get so drunk that he went over the top - I think that's a peculiarly Sri Lankan thing ... Or does anybody else have friends like that? He was so drunk that he started puking and then we had to take him downstairs and let him lie down ... When I finally left, he was still sleeping and two of the guys stayed back to take him home in the morning - what a way to end a party :p
posted at 06:28:59 AM  link  comment

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