Good News Bad News

When i began this blog, there was a cool “publicize” feature that automatically threw up a message on my Facebook whenever i published a new post. It even automatically used the blog post title in the Facebook post. It was a seamless and convenient way to publicize.

Both of my readers would flock to the new posts and the other 8 or so regulars usually turned up by day’s end.

A few months ago, this broke. I don’t know why, but i thought it was related to my dedication to an ancient (and super fantastic) browser called Firefox 3.

I have talked about browsers on here before and may hustle you up some links. But the short version re-cap is that i have tried most all of them and have been happiest with Firefox.

Until Firefox 4. This took away/changed many things about the UI (user interface) experience that had been my main reason for sticking with the fox instead of moving full time to the Chrome.

But i found an old version 3 disk image, removed version 4 and went back to the bliss of the browser i prefer.

The GOOD NEWS! This facebook/wordpress publicize failure thingy is not related to Firefox 3! I did some tests with Chrome and Safari and have the same problem. Most excellent as i do not want to lose what i love about the Firefox UI.

The BAD NEWS! I still have this stupid problem. WordPress knows about it, but does not seem to know what caused it or how to fix it. The steps they have listed for how to try to fix it are the cyber equivalent of rebooting, and that does not do it for me.

Not a huge problem, but just annoying.

If the feature had never existed, i do not think i would have ever missed it or wanted it. But having had it and now having it be gone – i do miss it.

In part, the Facebook “security” (this could actually be the browser – i am not sure – but i think it is the Facebook) usually requests that i go slightly blind trying to read fuzzy letters whenever i want to manually add a post with a link to the new blog entries. It generally takes me three tries to find one of these images that i can see letters in clearly enough to try to start typing. I have tried the audio version of this feature and it is even worse (for me). I can’t even tell what you are supposed to be listening for.

One more thing we can thank the spammers, malware folks, and other black hats out there for. You guys are like a gross cyber combination of ambulance chasers and panhandlers.

Anyway, rant over. (For now…and there are always more…)

Sultry Spam

“You really touch me when i read your entries on gaming” – from Josecasions!!

I almost approved this one, but thought a reprint would be safer for us all.

Let me take this time to say, “Thanks Josecasions! The whole point is for me to touch you. Don’t even get me started on my gamey entries!”

Thanksgiving Scrabble with Jake in AZ - 2008

(Insert your own photo – the possibilities are many, various, and entertaining!)

More odds and ends

I do have several substantive posts either brewing in my head or shaping up in outline form – but have not had/used the time to get that stuff down. Brief highlights follow…

I had an awesome meeting in the DC region with a family friend high up in “Big Consulting Firm”.  I got some excellent practical advice on the job hunt in general and pursuing a job with this company.  Also got some great intel on other good possibilities with firms that we know are hiring right now. This firm wants a fairly exhaustive long form resume, so i have spent the past few days turning my one-pager into a 4 pager.  Final edits to happen momentarily and then get sent out.

I may have to position myself somewhere in NOVA/DC for a week or so to be more prepared/available for meetings, and i have some things in the works for that – though input an/or floor space is appreciated.

Speaking of floor space, Big Agnes has an undetectable leak somewhere 🙁  It has been getting worse the past week and Thursday, when i woke up at 4 to get ready for the trip to DC, my back was killing me.  She is less than a year old.  She has been backpacking twice and spent a grand total of 2 nights in use in the woods. She has acted as my portable mattress for about two weeks. I cannot find the receipt, but hopefully i can still get some help at REI.  That trip will happen today after the resume edits.

Big Agnes looking after some of my books

Another time sucker – i found where you can play the Original Legend of Zelda online! I loved this game and spent many many hours playing it with my dad back when it came out around 1986.  But i think the Nintendo folks have a Microsoft bias even in online gaming!  I have not gotten the game to load in Chrome. I can play in Firefox, but the graphics are just jerky enough to get you occasionally killed. It works very well in Seamonkey.  But – in all of these, the java applet mechanism that allows you to save your game and quit your browser and come back in later – that does not quite work out.  I can see a java screen flash momentarily with the save code, but it goes away very quickly and i have not been able to actually recover a prior game.  I tried just leaving the game on pause.  This worked out well on the overnight in Seamonkey. (The Mac still goes to sleep and manages the power well.) I have not tried Safari yet – but i might, just as an experiment.

The brief return of snow put a kink in my renewed running.  I was eager to go, but the roads were a little too slushy/icy.  It looks good for today though! I have kept up with the daily stretching and at least once daily (though frequently twice daily) floor exercises.  I have been increasing my reps as well.  I am up to 18 push-ups, 55 crunches, 55 leg lifts, and 50 twisty crunches.  I am still weighing in at 187.

Hope you all out there participating through the series of tubes are rocking out.

“Whatever you are, be a good one.” Abe Lincoln – via Mike Birbiglia

Gulash – another mash-up

I have been playing with the scheduled release of blog posts and liking it. If you do not know, you can write entries and choose when they will be automatically published.  This is awesome for me given that i go through droughts of not writing and then writing four or five posts at once.  Now, i can spread those out.  It is a little difficult to deal with both tense and timeline issues, but i think it is worth it.  I released two or three posts via the scheduler Fri-Sun.

A little job news – one of the places i applied that i was excited about was the Apple Store at the local mall here in Millersville PA.  They are revamping their Business Team (which is a great and necessary idea) and have some openings. It has been a week and i have heard nothing.  I did go in the day after i applied online and spoke to one of the managers briefly just to verify that they were still looking as the post had been up since september.  It was a nice chat and i left feeling positive.

There is an up and a down side.  The up is that i do not really want to stay in Pennsylvania. I was serious when i applied and i would take the job if they offered it today, but i would want to learn and position myself to move before next winter. The down is that i do not understand why i did not get any contact. I felt like my package was good. Some of the folks in the store know me, a few managers, lots of floor staff, the Business guy, and the Regional manager. I am considering contacting my Business sales guy to try to set something up to find out what happened. Not so much to be begging for a job there, but to learn what was wrong to help me in the future. Did i make some gross error i am unaware of? Is it the pitfall i have found many times – overqualified? Is it the employer second guessing the applicant game of ‘he can’t really want this job, he’s been a CEO!’

The other facet of concern – I also applied for the same job in Georgetown as well as a job one rung up in the business division also in Georgetown.  Those jobs i am very interested in, and i have a bud in Apple throwing a good word my way. Probably the Apple thing is not going to work out right now, but that is OK. I have some other consulting leads and am setting up meetings for this week (and next if necessary). I do plan to go into the Georgetown Apple store though while i am down NOVA way. I can probably make much more money consulting, but i imagine that i would be happier working at Apple.

State of the Blog – I believe it is about time to kick it back into gear with the move to a self-hosted blog.  I did seriously slow down on that effort, but i hit an unusual wall.  I could not make the self-hosted site work on the free space at godaddy.  I read that many people had the same problem, and a few people made it work.  That was only designed to be a temporary stage anyway, as it would include godaddy banners at the top of each page.

I have been working on a post about Malcolm X (and a little about Martin Luther King Jr.) and some decent ideas hit me while walking this morning and i used the voice memos thingy on the iPhone to capture them.  I wanted to intersperse these voice clips with text in the entry, but you cannot upload mp3/m4a on a free blog hosted through wordpress.  The upgrade package to be able to post audio is about $20.00 a year.  Not bad, but if i have to pay, i would rather pay to host it myself and get the rest of the features that i am missing and the additional customization.

But – all that will have to wait until i get a new job.  I refuse to spend money on my blog while under-employed!

The Malcolm entry is probably going to stay in draft form for now.  It is too important to me to not craft it well, and that is going to take some more time, and i need to get back to other things.

For now let me just say that i hope we all take a minute to remember Malcolm today (he died on Feb 21, 1965).  If you do not know much about Malcolm, i encourage you to learn.  One of the best places to start is here!

If you know some about Malcolm and have a negative opinion, i encourage you to read this!

Martin and Malcolm

More from the Spam Bin

I hope to write some more substantial entries soon.  It has been difficult to find the time and motivation in the middle of job hunting.  For now, we revisit the Spam Bin!

There were three new entries today with two standouts.  One was the normal, poorly written/translated deal that goes something like this – ‘i stumble onto you thoughts and they are like thoughts i wish would fall from my head. Back come will i for plus plus’.

Then there were two new and innovative approaches to Spam – though both were still poorly written.  The first of these went something like this – ‘i come your blog to find inspired.  I find this not.  You waste time and seek attention only with things you could fix if you want.’  Now let’s be clear – this could totally apply to me, and almost every other ‘first-person’ blogger.  There may even be some entries in my blog that would warrant this admonition – but this was intended to be posted as a comment to the entry on Meditation.  I think that is probably the least self-involved and self-indulgent entry on the whole blog.  And, the email address of the “person” who tried to post this was something like [email protected].

The final example for today was a new form of clever.  “I left a comment on your blog one time and signed for mail about replies.  Now i get mails 4 times in the day about comments.  This every day and all are Spam. Can fix so no more will this happen?”  Wow – it almost got me for a micro-second.  But the good side of having an obscure blog with an incredibly small readership – i know everyone who has an approved comment personally, and i also am ‘signed for mail about replies’ so i would be getting those same messages.  But still – a nice attempt.

I do welcome comments of all sorts and would approve and share comments that presented less than flattering impressions of me and the blog.  If you ‘come my blog to find inspired’ and find only a whiny self-indulgent fellow, comment away and i will share it – so long as you are a real human and not a spammer, phisher, or other nefarious electro-being.  I have to protect my two dedicated readers, 10 regulars, and the other 10-20 people who sometimes drop in…

Camels and Gas - Northern Qatar near Al Ruis - 2005

A little resume and lots of geeky tech talk


A) I finished a reasonable draft of my resume last night, crafted for the current first phase of the job hunt, and have it out to three editors.  I was jazzed and could not get to sleep until about 3:45 this morning, so i am a little tired.  Once i incorporate the feedback i will have it online should you wish to: read it for pleasure, help with edits, hire me…  You can read the old version if you like.

Initially, i will simply replace this existing resume with the new one, but i am also crafting a narrative style bio for the web to replace the resume. Though for ease until i get hired somewhere else, i will probably implement a ‘download pdf resume’ button.  With the resume “nearly done”, i can press forward with slightly less unsavory tasks – finishing re-writing the rest of the RAI website.

Meeting of the MINDS - DC 2004

B) I am still working on transitioning to a self-hosted environment for this blog.  So far i am still stalled at the initial phase.  I have all the pre-pre work done, but the true first step “install WordPress on your website” – that one is still holding me up.  I did find and fix a slight (though probably inconsequential) error in the sample php config document the comes with the WordPress install download package, that you have to edit so that it will talk to your MySQL database, but that has not made everything groovy yet.  I do think it could have helped because i am getting different error messages than i was before.  I thought i had this all figured out, but i took a shortcut that may or may not have made any difference.  After deleting all the old install files from my site, and deleting the first database as well – in order to do a fresh and clean install, i assigned many of the same values in the new (second) database that i used in the first database.  Probably should not matter, but i do not really know what was wrong the first time, so i am trying to catch any useful details.  Today i shall start again.

C) Related to B) a little bit – web browsers.  I decided to try checking out the self-hosted blog in a wider variety of browsers instead of just 2 – Firefox which is my browser and Seamonkey which is my web design platform.  At least it has been for html – i do not yet know if i will need something else to develop php and css chops because i have not started figuring all that out yet.  So far in the reading, it seems that PHP and CSS are done more by actual coding than the GUI html approach dominant in the past, so people are doing it in simple text editors.  The nicest part of starting over with an issue like webdesign is that this is not a bad time to be doing it.  People have figured out a lot of mistakes made and have largely agreed on some decent standards.  So, i hope to continue to learn more about designing to current standards and getting rid of some old crap like the prevalence of tables in html designs.

I installed Chrome for the first time and dusted the cobwebs off of Safari.  I have never really liked Safari.  It works fine, but i don’t like the way it looks, you can’t customize your tool/nav bars as easily as some others, and i really hate the way it deals with and displays bookmarks.  I have used Chrome before on other people’s machines, and i figured that what i did not like were things i could fix through preferences on any machine of mine, and i had a good feeling about it since i like most things google makes.  I think that the gmail web interface is the only thing google makes that i do not like.  I love gmail, it just always bothered me that google decided i did not need folders anymore and i cold not have them.  Since i have been working in a fully portable high-powered laptop environment for a decade or so, i don’t need the web interface and I solved this by using gmail in the mail client of my choosing, formerly Thunderbird while i was still stuck with Windows, and now Mac Mail.

It was interesting to note that the self-hosted blog looked different in the different browsers.  Actually it looks the same in every browser except Firefox.  The blog would load in Firefox but would not in the other browsers.  The error messages i could see were useful, but still interesting that they did not come up in Firefox (and for other geeks out there, it was not a cookie or cache issue).

I enjoyed using Chrome.  It was super quick to set-up and i got it customized to about 90% of where i wanted it to be inside of 5 minutes.  I have not yet researched the last 10% but i bet it is possible.  Chrome looks slick and things work well, and having google search incorporated into your address bar is awesome.  I have only been playing with it for a few hours, but i don’t understand why all the ads?  There are ads at the bottom of people’s posts in my google reader, ads on my facebark, ads on some search pages, and it frustrates me.  Admittedly, i may be spoiled, but this does not happen to me in  Firefox. In Firefox, i have no ads in google reader ever. I have no ads on facebark ever, and i have no ads on search pages.  The ad banner that loads at the top of “free hosting” accounts with godaddy (which is where my self-hosted blog lives for now until i see if it is worth paying for) – i don’t even see that banner in Firefox.  I may look into seeing if i can cut the ads out of Chrome, but i bet not.  Mozilla has a different mandate than google.  I can’t blame google for wanting to make money, but i don’t want to see the ads.  It is a slippery slope between having a few ads and becoming godaddy.*

*Note – do a host provider write-up soon to get input on what other people are using.


Hopefully you guys will help me with resume feedback after the new one gets posted.

Hopefully i can get WordPress to install correctly today.

I will play with chrome a little more, but most likely i am sticking with Firefox.

Godaddy frustrates me very much, but it is like having an old car and not being able to afford a new car.  Do you stick with the one you have, fixing the things you know are broken, or do you buy a different used car having no idea what is about to break on that?  Further discussion pending…

The ladies of Red Bull - Doha 2005


Today, I am recovering from the thanksgiving trip: laundry, general office admin, back-up the “new” digital Billie Holiday, catch up on some correspondence and article reading.  I need to implement the resume changes i have made mentally into the actual world, but i am a bit drained today.  In order to stay productive, i thought it would be a good day to activate my self-hosted WordPress blog.

I re-read all the instructions from a few sources as well as a few user testimonial/tutorial/feedback articles.  The process was easy and simple – up to a point.

I did not like the idea of having to create a new user to activate and complete the install of WordPress and access my blog.  I already have a user account.  I know that technically these are two separate things and they have no way to talk to each other directly, but it still bugs my brain.  And, i know that i can set-up the “new user” the exact same way as the “old user” and not really feel any difference.  But like i say – it just bugged me.

Of course, it does not look like my blog once i do finish the install, it looks like a brand new blog template – duh, i have not uploaded any of my content yet – but i take a little tour, and the horrors begin.

Ok, these are actually small on the scale of “horrors”, but in terms of little digital bastards i now have to fight – they are pretty big to me.  The horror is two pronged: I think it involves a (probably simple) issue with the php admin file (and I don’t really know anything about php, so I do not know how to find any errors) – and I do not know the right words to use to describe the rest of the problem appropriately so that google will tell me what to do next.

The short version: my admin page is all fracked up.  Instead of the standard view I am used to from using the WordPress hosted blog, there is no header/title bar with drop down menus, there is no narrow nav bar on the left with two “content pane columns” in the middle and on the right.  What I have is a giant ball of text.  It is not exactly like reading code, but it is close.  The GUI is all munged up so that all the “weeee” is gone and I am left with just the “goo”.

When you read this mangled mass of words, you do see that it seems that the key nav structure is still sort of present, but it is very different.  And, when you do click on anything like “Posts” or “Themes”, the “new” information comes down at the bottom of this long jumbled list of words, and that too is jumbled and difficult to read and use.

So, I am frustrated.  I did a little bit of searching for terms like “wordpress install admin panel problem” – adding/changing with “self hosted, dashboard, godaddy, php” – none of these lead me towards anything like my issue – so far.

One site I forgot to bookmark during research (grrr) referenced something about (paraphrase) “when you change the php admin page make sure not to do X, Y, and Z, and if your page does not display correctly there is probably space before this initial set of symbols or after this set of final symbols”.

I did nothing but what I was instructed when I edited my php page, but I did read all the stuff there and noted that the initial and final sets of symbols were not the same or mirror images of one another as I would expect.  But I can’t find that page and again, I don’t have the proper vocabulary to describe this stuff well enough (especially when I am frustrated).

So, I did get this blog exported and imported, and I thought I might as well go ahead and slap the right theme on, but there was again thwarted by the nearly impossible to use flawed admin panel.

I gave up and went to practice some golf.  That started off well.  I was hitting my 9 iron straight (mostly) and pretty near the pin.  Then with about 6 balls left, I switched to the driver.  On my second ball, the shaft broke where it meets the club-head and my club-head went about 75 yards down the range.

I tried to shake it off and went to do short chips around the putting green.  That went better and after 120 short chips (good results), I packed it in and came home to write, eat, do something else and start again tomorrow.

I have to, have to, have to, do resume work first thing tomorrow morning once i “clock-in”.  But, when I do get back to the blog issues, I will first do a re-download, unzip, and upload of the WordPress files.  If that don’t work, I will try another search for sample php pages (today’s searches did not lead me to the opening and closing symbols section) or just general php writing info.  I will probably re-do the php page in question and see where that leaves me.

Or – I will discover that some smart person has replied to this entry and told me the magic answers!!??!

No mo bed head - 1
No mo bed head - 2
No mo bed head - 3