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Looks Like I’ve Got More Work to Do…

November 26, 2006 at 12:02 AM

I've been working on redesigning the county website (which will be switching to a CMS, rather than be updated by hand) since the 13th of this month. Unlike my previous jobs, this one's pretty much been the same work every day so far, so I'm not going to describe it here. Once I got the computer set up and added a few programs (including a local copy of the CMS they'll be using), I've just been working on modifying the template's code (adding/removing various plugins in the process) since then, until it's ready for use on the actual site =)

The current computer I'm using there is a bit slow, as it's a few years old, and has a low amount of RAM (256 MB). Unfortunately, that can't really be upgraded - it's RDRAM, which, for this computer, is very expensive in comparison to some other types of RAM. Fortunately, they've set up another (newer) computer, one with twice the amount of RAM (512 MB), and not RDRAM, either - they said they might upgrade it to 1 GB of RAM in the near future, if all goes well. I've tried it out, and it works much faster and better than the current one I'm using. Hopefully I'll be able to switch to it soon, once all of the programs I need on it are installed, set up, and ready to go =D

I also installed Blender on the computer I'm using, and used that to make a 3D version of their logo, which they thought was pretty cool =) All I really did was just trace over the current one (actually a PNG copy of the current logo, created with a large TIF version of that logo and Inkscape's "Trace Bitmap" function - after cleaning up the vector copy a bit, I saved it as an SVG and also made a WMF copy of it for future use), color it, and extrude it to give it depth. There are some minor flaws, but fortunately are ones that aren't visible once it's scaled down - I'm sure someone with more experience in this field could do a much better job with a 3D version of the logo, as I'm only a novice with this program. They said they won't be able to use it right now, but hope to find a use for it in the future, given the time I spent on making it.

And in church news:

Also, our church's pastor left on the 19th (out of respect, I won't mention why), and quite a few members left too - we'll be having guest speakers/pastors for awhile as a result (this week, it will be one of the teachers I had at school awhile back =) ). Mom's had to take up her Sunday School teacher job again (which means I'll have to help her with finding stuff for lessons), and they want me to consider helping with taking up the offering (for years, I just took up the Sunday School plate, one which the money has already been collected for) and help with the sound equipment. No offense to them, but...I don't want to take up any additional work for the church and, personally, I'm tired of taking up the Sunday School offering, too - as best as I can recall, I was only supposed to take it up a few times, when no one else was available, and have been stuck with it till now, even though there are other kids there who are old enough now to take over for me. As much as I like helping out, I do not like it when I get stuck with a job that was only meant to be temporary, especially given the number of times it's happened.

That, and...well, my parents just seem involved in too many things, especially with the clubs they're in - some other close family members have also told me that. Unless they're really busy or tired, I've purposely skipped doing work for them at times as a result. Why? Well...I know I should help them out when they ask me to, but I feel that (with certain jobs) if I do, it won't free up their time. Instead, it will end up leaving less time for all of us, as they'll just end up getting themselves (and/or me) involved in something else, usually by someone else's request and not by their own choice. I don't like being told I have to do something just because someone in their organization wants them to do the work, and I (not affiliated with that club or that particular area of the organization) have to do the work because I'm the only one in the family that can do that work. Even if you know someone in your family is capable of the job, it's much more respectable to ask if they want to do the job first, rather than tell them they have to do it, especially when that family member isn't part of the group in the first place >=(

Now, onto site news:

I think I've got all the information ready for my character - the only details I'm a little unsure about (as I can't describe them too well) are the hairstyle and glasses. Pretty much everything else is ready...except for the backstory, which is going to take me longer than I thought =P

I've also updated some links on this page recently, namely adding a few new comics (and website design pages) to the list, and removing a few comics (either due to them officially ending or a lengthy period of inactivity). They'll eventually be listed on the "Links" page once the template revision is complete (I'm only using my weblog for links right now since it's one of the few pages that's been updated on a regular basis), and currently are listed as comments in the "Links" page so I don't forget to put them back in later on =P

My IM accounts have been removed from the "Contact Me" page, as I have not used them for a few years now - if you've seen those accounts active, then it's not me using them. One day, I'll return to chatting on my IM programs (with different accounts this time), but not until things calm down a bit here, and my parents and I get out of some of the things we're involved in.

Thanks to the Smarty template engine, I've got a renewed interest in finishing my prototype template (and giving my site that much-needed overhaul), as it has helped to take care of a few major problems I ran into when working with the template beforehand.

I've also been working on redoing my business card - it was originally done with PrintMaster, and then with Microsoft Publisher, and now I'm doing it in a more...open format (I no longer use PrintMaster, and it's difficult to find someone with a copy of Publisher available) - an SVG made with Inkscape. It took me awhile, but I eventually figured out how to create one:

  1. Set up a new document (it's what Inkscape refers to this as, so...) using the business card template (or resize the current document's dimensions to match that of a business card =P).
  2. Create your card.
  3. Group together everything (images, paths, text, etc.) you have used to make that card.
  4. Save your current document (just in case ;) ).
  5. Copy that group.
  6. Create a new document, with measurements matching that of the paper you want to print your cards out on.
  7. Paste that group into this new document, and move it out of the printable area.
  8. Clone that group twice, making sure there is some overlap between them.
  9. Center the two clones vertically.
  10. Click on the button whose caption reads "Move objects as little as possible so that their bounding boxes do not overlap" - this button has four blue boxes in it (two thick ones in the first column, a single thick one in the second, and a single thin one in the third) - this will space them apart horizontally.
  11. Group these clones together.
  12. Duplicate that group.
  13. Center the two groups vertically, space them apart horizontally, and group them again.
  14. Repeat this process until you have at least (or, most likely, more) than the number that you can print on the page. If you have more than what you can print on the page, ungroup the last group a few times until you can select single rows of two cards each, and remove the extras. Regroup whatever is left.
  15. Center this group vertically and horizontally on the page (in "Align and Distribute", set the "Relative to:" drop-down box to "Page").
  16. Save this document.
  17. Print out a test copy on plain paper, and compare it to the sheet of blank business cards you will be printing it out on. Adjust the margins of the group as necessary until their edges match as close as possible to the boundaries of the actual cards.

As for the original card (the one that's not a clone, outside the printable area), there's a reason it was left there: if you need to change a color, some text, etc., just edit that group (don't ungroup it - just keep clicking on the group until the part you want to edit is selected), and the clones will pick up the revisions =)

Aside from different fonts (it was my own decision to change them) and slightly different margins (it is impossible to match them up exactly), the business card template I made in Inkscape looks pretty much the same as the one I did in Publisher. This time around, though, I'm not stuck with requiring PrintMaster or Publisher just to print them out (or, if necessary, edit them) - all I need is an application that can open (and if necessary, edit) SVGs, and the best thing is, the application I have for this is free =D

If you have any suggestions to add or corrections to make to this process, go right ahead and mention them. I've also made a blank business card template in SVG format (for Avery-brand business cards, as that's all I have available to test this out with), that will only require you to make one business card. All you will have to do after that is:

  1. Copy it to this template file, and move it outside of the printable area.
  2. Right-click on the card, select "Object Properties", change the value in the "Id" category to "Business_Card" (no quotes), and click on "Set".
  3. Once your business card has been given an ID of "Business_Card", the grouped set of clones of that business card will appear - if you can't see them, zoom out and they should show up. Just center the group horizontally and vertically on the page, and it's done!

If you want to make your own business cards, I hope you have found this information to be helpful =)

[Update (2006/12/05, 8:48 PM)]

This business card template is for Avery product numbers 5371, 5871, and 8371, as well as any other of their product numbers having the same measurements as these cards (3.5 in wide by 2 in high).

Some minor calibration issues were found with this template, as this particular type of business card is actually a bit smaller (8.90 cm wide by 5.09 cm high) than what the template says it should be - redownload this template if you downloaded it before this update was posted.

Also, to make things easier, set guides at these four points:

  • 1.25 cm (Horizontal, Bottom)
  • 1.75 cm (Vertical, Left)
  • 19.54 cm (Vertical, Right)
  • 26.70 cm (Horizontal, Top)

Align the group of cloned cards to fit within those four guides and your printed cards should match up pretty close to those boundaries. It's as accurate as I can make them without wasting a lot of card sheets - that, and feeding in the card sheets will always throw off the alignment a slight bit ;P

You may need to recalibrate the measurements a bit to ensure your cards will match up to these boundaries as accurately as possible, depending on the card brand and printer you are using.

[/Update]

...

That's all I can think of to talk about for now.

4 Comments

  1. Appreciate you making the business card template available, but I can't get the file to work following your instructions. Any help would be appreciated.

    Comment by Mark — 12/5/2006 @ 4:08 AM
  2. Sure thing - just tell me which step (or steps) in the instructions that you're having trouble with, and I'll see what I can do =)

    Also, you might want to redownload the template, as I recently updated it to take care of some issues with calibration.

    Comment by Wolfey — 12/5/2006 @ 8:54 PM
  3. Hi,

    When I try to use your business card template, I import the business card into your template, and rename the object using the properties settings, and nothing happens. any ideas?

    -Stephen

    Comment by Stephen — 1/15/2008 @ 11:56 PM
  4. I just tried out the template...does it show ten gray cards in the background? If not, you're seeing the same thing as I am - something broke in the template (probably due to a change I made, but later forgot about) and the business cards won't show up after changing the ID of the card you imported =(

    Fortunately, I found a working backup of the template on my computer and have uploaded it in place of the current one. Try it again and see if it works =)

    Comment by Wolfey — 1/16/2008 @ 6:47 PM

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