Browsers can be annoying -- 05/25/01
b I'm annoyed at the varriations in the way different releases of different browsers implement the html standard. I was very pleased with this current design. I've been using it for a couple of months now and even recently redid my page of online journal links to use the same page design. I created it using IBM WebSphere Homepage Builder (WebSphere Studio is powerful but it is meant for large commercial sites, not my little journal page)... and although for years I made a point of having a strictly hand-crafted site built in plain old text editors, I have come to enjoy using Homepage Builder, even though now that I've created this design, my entries are often still done in Notepad using a copy of a file with this layout. Homepage Builder is installed on my laptop and has its own preview pane to show what the html code would produce.

This design uses a little .gif file for a background image: the left inch or two of the screen should be dark blue which then quickly fades away to almost white. I use a table to put the left margin of the text at the point where the blue is very pale, fading away. In the upper left corner of the page, still in the dark blue area I have a small .gif image of an open journal book with a pen lying at an angle across the bottom of a page. Just below the book image I have jimsjournal in bold white letters in the Verdana font. Why am I describing it to you when it is obviously right in front of you as you read this? Well, I've recently discovered that it doesn't always show up this way in all versions of all browsers. Yes, I know, I know, browsers are weird and there is no assurance that any two browsers will display things the same way... but this was not something very complex... but I have found that some people may not see the background image, that this appears on a plain white background while others get the background but not the book image and journal name. Okay, so I guess it should look okay on both IE and Netscape version 5 or better, but on some people running various 4.n versions may not see what others see. *sigh*

And some people can't get here at all. I have one reader -- although I guess I should say former reader -- who uses WebTV and who used to be able to reach my site just fine but for months now has been unable to get to my pages (nor to any other Geocities site). My guess is that it has something to do with those damned little popup advertising boxes -- maybe WebTV can't handle java applets? -- and it is probably my own fault in a way because I dropped the $4.95 a month GeocitiesPlus plan that kept my pages advertising free. My ISP (which is also my cable tv provider... and also my local telephone company) does include ten megabytes at no additional charge for webpage use, but I've just never gotten around to doing anything with it... and the thought of trying to move everything from Geocities to @home is a bit daunting... I suppose what I should do is set up my site on @home's servers and keep my archives on Geocities. Hmmmm, wonder if I got my own domain name if I could still use @home to host my files?

Well, before I get into that I've got to get the local network hooked up here. I can't remember if I've mentioned this here... too many times of mentally composing an entry while driving to work or something but never getting around to actually typing it in and posting it to the site. I bought a Linksys router and a bunch of type 5 cable (still need to pick up a couple of ethernet cards)... The plan is to put the router in the basement with the cable modem feeding into it, then run cables from the router up to the attic (running them up through closets) and then dropping a cable down into each bedroom. Nancy has our old Win95 machine in our bedroom... she uses it mostly for word-processing, writing lesson plans, etc. but would love to be able to search the web for lesson plan ideas and materials as well as doing email right from her desk... Jennifer has the newest machine in her room, one we got her last year when she graduated from high school (she's a computer science major)... and the plan is that the "family" computer, currently located in the kitchen, would move up to Sean's room.

Hmmm, yes, that does leave me out. I do have my laptop, although I do not bring it home from work everynight... My plan is to buy a new computer, one that would be mine... yes, mine, my own computer, one that I wouldn't have to share with everyone else... one where I could configure things the way I like them and nobody would change them.... The trouble I'm having is that the machine I want to buy costs more than I want to spend... Oh, sure, I could pick up a relatively inexpensive machine for most of what I would want to do... word processing, income taxes, email, websurfing, working on this journal, etc... none of that would require too much of an investment... but I also want to be able to do video editing... I want to be able to copy in our old VHS tapes and work with them and burn them onto CDs for archival storage. (Some of those VHS tapes from when the kids were little are now fifteen years old, beyond the generally expected lifespan for that kind of storage.) That will require more machine... a faster processor, more memory (the kids' computers each have 128 Mb of RAM, although Nancy only has 24Mb... I want to have at least 256Mb.), a bigger hard drive, a CDburner...a good graphics card... and most important, a card to handle converting an analog input signal (from a VCR) to digital, plus the appropriate software... (and I'd kind of like a 19 inch monitor to go with this)... and I can see putting together a system at Dell that has what I want... but it will run about $2200! I could also use my employee discount (all three of our current home desktops were purchased that way) but then I'd still have to go out and buy the analog-to-video card and software and the total cost would still be in the same neighborhood plus I'd have to install the video stuff, etc. myself. (Have I mentioned that I'm cheap and hate to spend money on myself? I'm trying to persuade myself that I need to do this because of those aging videotapes and Nancy is telling me to go for it, but... it takes me a long time to talk myself into things like this.)

I am exhausted. Monday I was fighting with software installation and configuration for a class that was to start on Tuesday. This was to be the first time I taught this course, a course for a product I had never worked with until I went down to North Carolina last month and sat in this course as a student. Last week I was teaching a different course (involving completely different technology) ... so I was attempting to get this new material into my head and struggling with configuring the machines, etc. and then I did this four day class in three days... Started class at 9am Tuesday and didn't finish until 6:30 pm (and went out to lunch with the students so, in a sense, I was "on duty" that entire time)... Wednesday students were in around 8:30am to work on labs, although I did not start lecture until 9am... and we ordered lunch delivered so we could keep right on working and class did not finish until 7:30 pm... Thursday again students were in at 8:30 to work on stuff, began class at 9am, again got sandwiches to eat in classroom while working on hands-on lab exercises, and did not finish until almost 6:30 pm.... Oh yeah, and Sean went on a school trip to New York City on Thursday so I had to be up early enough to get him up and to the high school by 5:45 am... and the bus did not get back until well past midnight.

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