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6.30.2006 - Stylin', UPS update, and Match.com must die!

Hmm, well, actually, technically this is a July update. July already?!?

I re-worked the style sheets for this site - the good news is I have Firefox handling printing almost perfect. IE on the other hand has me pining for a plane ticket to Redmond and a baseball bat. No Microsofties would be killed - but I love to put a few in the hospital for all the "fun" I get to experience dealing with their bugs. Usually it amounts in countless wasted hours of my life where I could be doing something else. Hopefully IE7 will fix all that crap though what I've seen thus far doesn't inspire much hope in me.

The GlenwoodArts.org site also received a style sheet re-work and is doing pretty well when it comes to printing under both browsers. I think it mainly has to do with the site's structure - SnydersWeb.com has pretty elaborate structure to pull off all the effects.

From what people have told me concerning my UPS - looks like the logic board wigged out. It is NOT normal for a unit to charge batteries to the point that they swell up like that! I could stick new batteries in it, but there's a chance they'll suffer the same fate and I might not catch it in time.

Hopefully it's under warranty or I can get the original seller to help. Failing that, I have a new one picked out - though I really don't have the money for it now.

My business relationship with Match.com is now terminated. I strongly recommend against anyone using them for anything. Reason being: they do not respect subscriber privacy. I started receiving spam email on the address that was only supplied to them and them alone, at no point did I ever correspond with anyone using this address. So technically the only way that address could have been obtained by spammers was if it was sold to them.

I am going to give them the chance to explain this. Failing that, said address with be turned into an alias to their customer service department so all the spam they signed me up for will be fired right back at them, complete with baby pictures, for their reading pleasure!

It's a real shame they have demonstrated a complete lack of respect for my privacy. My friend Tom actually met his wife through Match.com!

6.29.2006 - "Replace Batteries"

Swollen APC Batteries
Swollen APC Batteries
(click to enlarge)
Yow! So I arrive home today to hear a beeping sound coming from my newest UPS - an APC SmartUPS 1000. It had the "replace battery" light on. I also notice it has a very "hot" smell to it. So after messing around with it and confirming that it wasn't just a glitch I pull the unit. While doing so I noticed that the unit was very hot.

I opened it up and see the batteries had swollen - I had to take the outer cover off the unit to extract them. As you can see the top of one of the batteries is puffed out about 1" - all the sides are puffed out too. I'm just glad I hadn't gone on vacation otherwise it could've come home to a smoldering ruin that was my condo! *sigh* hopefully the unit isn't trashed... Either way I see a trip in the near future to Grand Junction and Batteries Plus to replace yet another set of UPS batteries this year - ~$80. This is the first time I've had batteries in my UPSs fail in such a manner. Hopefully it won't become a pattern!

On a different note - I found a way to make peace with Firefox's handling of print style sheets. Set up a @media screen style sheet for screen display so that way the print style sheet isn't totally loaded with overrides. Need to test this fix out on Konqeror - if it works I'll use that trick on all sites I do. In fact, I am plan to re-fit this site and glenwoodarts.org with that.

6.28.2006 - Browsers

Had the chance a week or so ago to see IE7 take a crack at rendering this site and the GlenwoodArts.org site... uh.. well. Let's just say MS better be still working on CSS compliance because what I saw wasn't ANYTHING like what Firefox or Konqueror based browsers do! God willing MS will get it working well before unleashing it on the world otherwise I see a troubled future ahead for web developers.

On this topic of browsers - Firefox deserves a smack over the head on its (mis)handling of print style sheets. I completed a project recently where I re-did the WestStar Bank site and I wasted HOURS working on a style sheet trying to get Firefox to print consistently. Hopefully future versions will fix that because it was extremely annoying. It's one of the very few things I've seen IE and Konqueror exceed Firefox in.

I suppose one potential work around would be to avoid using a baseline style sheet and use a screen style sheet. Might explore that option sometime in the future. For now it's working well enough and I have other fish to fry.

The WestStar Bank site was the first XHTML site I had ever done. It was great to have the chance to re-visit that site and re-do the style sheet with all the tricks I've picked up in the process of doing the other sites afterwards. The new style sheet is roughly the same size, but it is much more consistent and print more reliably. I was pleased to see a lot of sections required no re-writing at all. I hope to have the revised site up very soon!

Eventually I will add my WestStar Bank sites to my portfolio on this site. I feel that it is wise and prudent to wait until after I've parted company with them to avoid stepping on anyone's toes.

I need to start archiving stuff off this What's New page - it's getting a wee-bit scrolly!

6.19.2006 - Strawberry Days

Glenwood Spring's local fair "Strawberry Days" wrapped up this past Sunday. I was pretty involved in this one - helping the Arts center run the bike raffle booth. Was good fun helping out there and just hanging out. I felt the parade this year was a bit too long though - it just went on and on and on! The coolest part of the parade was the Army Blackhawk that flew just over tree-top level down the length of Grand Ave. All I can say is "WOW". It was low - low enough to see the tread on the tires. Was cool to see the Army showing the flag there.

Man, what is it with these referrer - spammers?!? Grr! Seems that for every technology invented there's no shortage of [insert compound expletives] who are more than happy to use it for selfish ends. For my site it is pointless because:
  • My web stats are not public
  • I delete all of the bogus referrer from my stats anyway
Found a new outlet for my Manly Destruction Of Inanimate Objects Through Explosives and Firearms - a couple of weeks ago we took some of my old surplus hard drives out to the range and used them for target practice. A nice side benefit is the drives are pretty well unreadable when you're done. For the record - a standard 22 caliber rifle doesn't have enough power to punch through a hard drive. An SKS or 12 gauge slug however DOES! Still, what the 22's couldn't destroy in one shot they would chew to pieces. Especially with three different people hammering on it.

Now if only I could dispose of my spammers (email and referrer) the same way...

6.7.2006 - Farewells

Oof, where to start?!

Yesterday my grandmother of 92 years passed away peacefully around 8pm. I'll miss her, she was a wonderful grandmother who strived to give her grandchildren everything she could - especially culture and education. I fondly remember taking her to the Myrtle Beach Dixie Stampede back in 2001 - she really enjoyed the trip and kept a little horse souvenir close to her until the end.

My mom, cousin Kerry, my brother and I had the chance to say our goodbyes last week. I'm thrilled she had the chance to meet her great grandchildren. She even got a laugh at Kayla. It had been a while since I had heard her laugh and it reminded me of what a wonderful sound it was.

Still, the last years were hard. Dementia had dulled her personality, and a broken hip had robbed her of her mobility. She was pretty well bedridden and spent most of her time sleeping. It was hard seeing her that way - especially since she always prided her independence.

While in Phoenix last week to say my goodbyes my employer called - apparently they are being bought by a larger company. Not sure at this point what is going to happen. I might stay with the purchasing company, stay in the area in a different job, or leave the area and company alltogether - just too early to tell.

On a (much) brighter note, early this morning I launched the new Glenwood Springs Center For The Arts site - you can read more about it on my Freelance Sites page.

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