The Daily Grind

Random ramblings from a random admin.

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I said that to a friend once, I thought it was very profound.

But enough sharing, that might imply I care.

Nothing really to report, thus the lack of posting.  I’ve been working on RPoL, but nothing very exciting, I’ve been hacking up the visual layout, which is more fun than coding, until you have to get it to work for half a dozen different browsers and for twice as many colour schemes.

I’d guess I’ve spent 16 hours on it all since I last posted.  That’s a lot of html.

This week doesn’t look too consulting-work busy, so hopefully I’ll get quite a bit of RPoL coding done (though hopefully not too much, I’d like to get paid for a bit).

Time spend on RPoL today: 1 hour.
Total time spend on RPoL: 24 hours.

I don’t post for months, and yet within a day of posting two people have not only read my entry but posted replies.  My god people, you must be bored!

Anyhoo.  Today was a day of… uh… frustration It’s currently 2am.

I got up at 9-something.  A bit late I know. ‘lo any behold, as if to punish me for sleeping in the server was down.  I wasn’t sure if it was the server or Zip, so I contacted support telling them that our server was not available (giving them the details of the server, which included the IP address and host name) as well as, to my folly, the IP address of the last device that responded with my trace route.

Support happily told me that the IP address of the last hop I quoted was responding fine.  Uh.. firstly; can you read?  Secondly, don’t you know the addresses of your own networking equipment?!

eventually they got it right and it was our server, so it was rebooted.  Seven hours of downtime. )c;

I was a little miffed with this and asked what happened to our server monitoring that they were supposed to provide?  We are supposed to be notified if the server’s down for 30 minutes.  It seems they forgot us, but now it’s all good.  So they say.

So that was the morning gone.

Then came client #1.  PC’s running like crap they reckon.  So we load a test document and wow, does that take forever, they’re right.  To cut a boring story short, after 30 or so minutes of playing around trying to figure out why it takes so long to load a document we find out it’s not “a” document, it’s “the” document.  This one document we decided to test the PC with is a piece of crap and takes up to two minutes to open.  Other, large, documents open in a flash.

Client #2 was a server migration.  I was hoping to ghost from disk to disk, but after about three hours of trying I give up, ghost just either crashes or won’t see the new and old disk.  So then I go with a backup and restore option, but by this time it’s past 9pm.  And that’s where I still am now, at 2am, just polishing off the new server, getting Windows happy with the new hardware.  I’m almost done now, almost.

And because this is going to become my running tally of RPoL development;

Time spend on RPoL today: 2 hours.
Total time spend on RPoL: 8 hours.

omg omg!

4 comments

Why yes, it’s back, I’m back.  For better and for worse, til boredom do we part.

Anyhow…

Today is the first day without a certain large organisation paying me to come in whenever I could.  Now the pay wasn’t fantastic, but the conditions were good, I could pretty much come and go as I pleased, which allowed me to continue doing my “real” job of contracting for my business.

Whatever it may or may not have been; it was a great financial crutch.  I’m now crutchless, not to be confused with a similar word.  Yes, “potato”.  Very similar.

So today I contracted for just under 3 hours, which is ok if I can do that every day, which there’s certainly no guarantee of, so more would have been nice; but at least I’m doing another 3 or 4 hours tomorrow arvo.

But to the point, and why I’m suddenly posting like a hyperactive mailman; I came home at 12 and, unlike what I used to do, I didn’t play a game, watch TV, have a nap or do any slacking off.  I actually worked on RPoL for 6 hours.  So, even though I’m not going to get any money for the second half of the day, I’m hoping it’ll eventually pay off.

So.. anyway.  That’s my current plan.  When I’m not contracting then I’ll be doing either business maintenance or working on RPoL.  If this rate of work continues I should imagine the next version will be finished in short order.

I’m even still wearing a tie.

Staaaaarike!

1 comment

I have learnt the secret to ten pin bowling, get full of piss before hand.

Tonight I came home king, I do not know how.

Work had a bowling social function on.  Not only did our team get the highest score for the night but I managed to get the highest score for the night (and a personal best, afaik).  I have a block of chocolate and a bottle of wine to prove it!

We were also clearly responsible for having the most outrageous fun and lifting the spirits and enjoyment of every one around us, the wet blankets.

It was a damn fine night full of winning and watching asses bowl.  If only the bottle had been red! (c;

War of the Worlds

Any time I offer an opinion on the movie I state that I’m sure it’ll be good, I’ll see it; but I’m also sure it won’t be like the original.

The number of confused or blank looks I get is disturbing.

I’m here to let you Neanderthals know…

War of the Worlds was a movie released in 1953, written by Barré Lyndon.

War of the Worlds was also broadcast live on American radio on October 30, 1938.  It was done with little announcement and many people thought the radio play, starring Orson Wells, was not a hoax (well, a radio play, to be precise).  It caused quite a bit of a stir, if not hysteria.

The radio play was a slight adaptation of the book of the same name first published by H.G. Wells in 1898.  Listen up!  H.G. Wells.  1898!

The 2005 movie, incidentally, is a thoroughly enjoyable Hollywood adaptation, in my humble opinion.

Is this news?

9 comments

I really thought tonight was going to be the night.

I really thought I was going to go through with it.

Go ‘all the way’.

But it’s 5am, I didn’t.  I’m not sure if I elaborated before, but my problem with sleeping isn’t so much going to sleep when I go to bed, it’s the fact I wake up during the night.  I was sure that I was going to sleep through until the alarm went off at 11am today (I’m normally very good at sleeping in), alas the winds of fate (is that even a saying?) were against me and deemed I should wake up.  At least I can take solstice in the fact it wasn’t me just waking up, for once.

I don’t think I’m pushing any envelopes when I say that I spend a lot of time on RPoL.  Thinking about it, coding it, administering it, and, every now and then, a dash of playing in it.  Over the past five years it’s dominated my life in one form or another, starting as a hobby and growing from there.

I’ve always harboured ideas to get more of a RP community going, and not RPoL centric, though it’d be nice to be considered the ‘hub’.  Things like the IRC chat channel being #RolePlay not #RPoL and my offering of the chat code to another other site (not that they ever used it), to the upcoming RP news site; a user submission and moderated based page.

Whilst I opted out of coding as a profession so many years ago, I do enjoy molding the site into what the users (hopefully) want.  I always enjoyed coding, I used to write silly programs just for kicks; but I got lazy, I was put off by the claim that I’d only code for a few years and then I’d go onto something like teaching, but ultimately I decided I didn’t want to sit in a room all day and code (misnomer or not).  That’s why I went into technical consulting, going out to meet new people and solve their problems is great.

But RPoL’s such a beast now, my complete novice coding and decisions from five years ago are still there on the site, I’m slowly trying to migrate off as it really does make my life much easier moving to a mySQL database, plus I think the server has reached it’s performance limits without some serious disk caching and technology change.  The current version has taken over a year to get here.  There’s been lots of outside influences but ultimately it’s just one big beast.  A very large change, a necessary one to release the performance bottlenecks, and I’ve got more stuff to go, lots more.

Administering, coding, and generally maintaining RPoL combined with my ‘build a community’ plan is just getting too big, it’s taking up far too much of my time.

Yesterday it dawned on me that I just can’t do it any more.

I can’t try and earn a living and commit the time I want to, that I need to, to the site.  There’s so much to do, but not enough time in the day.  I find myself coding RPoL more and more during the day of late and not developing my business, the thing that keeps me ‘comfortably well off’ (to quote Daffy Duck).  It just doesn’t work, it can’t work, I need to focus on the very basic requirement, and (unfortunately for us all) that is making money.

And so, dear friends, associates, comrades, RPoLians and the general reader, I hope you’ll understand when I tell you I’ve decided to try and make a living off RPoL.

I have no idea how I’m going to do it.  I can guarantee you, however, that it won’t include ‘you must pay to play’.

I know insomnia is not on anyone’s Christmas card list, but really, the level of hate between us is beyond ridiculous!

I wish I could get a full nights sleep for once, it’s been over a week.

I’ve been awake for hours.

Standards?

2 comments

Great thing about web standards is they aint.

The alt tag for images is there for the visually impaired.  The idea is if they can’t see the screen then their text-to-speech reader can read out the alt (alternate) tag for them instead.  So, the W3C recommendation (y’know, the people that did the whole HTML thang) is to only have an alt tag when the image matters.  If it’s just for visual layout or eye candy then you make it blank.

So I was doing a bit of search engine optimisation.  One of the tips? “Your keyword is not present in the first 3 ALT image attributes on your page! Put your keyword in one of these ALTs as they are considered more important than the rest of ALTs on your page.”

So to increase my page rankings I’m supposed to say a big f’you to the visually impaired?  Nice work search engine people!

On a different note; today is the first day of the rest of my life.  It’s also the first day of re-unemployment.  I must do that business development thing.

Sometimes I forget about how funny a man I am.  Really, I do.

For those not in the know, I programmed the WingedMonkeyBot that’s featuring in todays exciting instalment.

[00:00] *** Daz is now known as Guest6224848
[00:00] *** Guest6224848 is now known as dazzer
[00:00] <dazzer> SmileySmileySmileySmileySmiley
[00:00] [dazzer:#RolePlay SOUND] laugh.au thinks that’s very funny…
[00:01] <dazzer> talk
[00:01] <dazzer> 0
[00:01] <jase> yakidy yak.
[00:01] <dazzer> 6
[00:01] <dazzer> yak
[00:01] <dazzer> hi
[00:01] <dazzer> hi
[00:01] <dazzer> hi
[00:01] <dazzer> hi
[00:01] <dazzer> hi
[00:01] <dazzer> hi
[00:01] <dazzer> h
[00:01] *** dazzer is now known as Guest6224852
[00:01] <Guest6224852> ih
[00:01] *** Guest6224852 has been kicked off channel #RolePlay by WingedMonkeyBot (flood)
[00:01] *** me (java@IRChat-44619219.lns2-c8.dsl.pol.co.uk) has joined channel #RolePlay
[00:01] <me> ha ja
[00:02] <me> he
[00:02] <me> he
[00:02] <me> he
[00:02] <me> he
[00:02] <me> he
[00:02] <me> ehe
[00:02] <me> he
[00:02] <me> he
[00:02] <me> he
[00:02] *** me has been kicked off channel #RolePlay by WingedMonkeyBot (flood)
[00:02] *** me (java@IRChat-44619219.lns2-c8.dsl.pol.co.uk) has joined channel #RolePlay
[00:02] <me> ha
[00:02] <me> ha
[00:02] <me> kick me
[00:02] *** me has been kicked off channel #RolePlay by WingedMonkeyBot (Hey, they /asked/.)

Ok, so Duran Duran never actually used those particular lyrics, and this post isn’t going to interest my regular readers (though I have faith it’ll be as interesting as my regular posts for them).  Nobody will really care except those who happen to stumble on this post after searching for keywords such as “dynamic redraw”, “innerHtml”, “innerText”, “document.write” with “lose”, “clear”, “undo”, “redo”, “buffer” and “IE” or “Internet Explorer”.  Possible also “Mozilla” or “Firefox”.

To make sense of the keywords, basically when you dynamically update part of the text on the screen, Internet Explorer has the nasty habit of clearing the undo/redo buffer.  Mozilla was supposed to have fixed this in a bugfix, but it still does the same thing to me.

Changing form values also has the same effect, so I can’t use a form to update part of the screen for any value otherwise the undo buffer is cleared every time the update is called… basically if I was using such a function now and pressed Alt-Z, nothing would happen.

I make far too many mistakes to not have undo!

Now this was really annoying when I wanted to have a message input area like the one I’m using right now, while also having a status line showing how many characters the user has entered, and the limit they can have.

I did, however, find out you can hide and unhide elements with the style.visibility = “hidden”/”visible” javascript directive, so I originally had a fuel gauge type thing with a bunch of slashes etc

(i.e. it looked like this; [ E\\\\\\\\\\|//////////Full])

And I used to hide all of the slashes except for the appropriate one (and hide the “ull” in “Full” unless it was full.  Simple enough I guess, but not really the nice-ity that a status line of “Using xxx of xxx characters” gave.

So then one day I thought, hmmm, you actually can have HTML overlap each other.  Imagine 0 through to 9 all occupying the same spot on the screen, initially messy yes, but then you only make one of the digits visible… to the user they’d see the appropriate number.  So what if I did that for a bunch of numbers, 0 through to 9 repeated several times, with each repetition adjacent to the other.  Then surely I could only make the appropriate digit of each repetition visible, so I could effectively have a counter without the old dynamic redraw?

Well, after about four hours of javascript hacking coding, I came up with the solution.

And because I know my regular visitors are already bored, I’ll put the code in the comments section. (c;