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A Site, a Script, a Stand, and So On

October 7, 2007 at 1:30 AM

I'm late...but as I promised earlier, here's what I've been up to in the past few months:

The site I've been helping to rebuild has gone live =D Some bugs (that couldn't be fixed prior to the release) still need ironed out, but hopefully the county employees will be able to update their pages on their own now, without putting all the work on one person (guess who =P). Two weeks before going live, I royally screwed up the gallery due to a botched upgrade and had to rebuild it. Fortunately, I could do a bulk upload of those pictures (and albums) from the copy I had on my local computer, and - with some clever searching, replacing and merging - I managed to get the descriptions back as well...that was a close one! An issue with the sidebar in IE7 (a CSS bug I have yet to figure out) and job postings (maybe changing those field names in phpMyAdmin wasn't such a good idea...) are the only two outstanding issues at this time.

I got a nice thank-you from SoulKat, the owner of the Katbox - as well as a few forum members - for a script I made to automate donation counter image generation. It not only has saved (and will save) him quite a bit of time when getting them ready, but it'll also ensure the counters are updated as soon as possible =)

Thanks to a trade-up program that APC's been holding, I decided to replace the UPS I have (a model BR1000, which passed self-testing even though it no longer kicked on during an outage) with a model BR1300LCD - not only can this one give me a few more minutes of power than the last one, but it's got a display that lets me know - among other things - how much load is being placed on it (just a bit over 10% at this time) and the estimated amount of battery time left (39-47 minutes). That's real nice to know, as now I'll have an idea of how much longer I can keep the system on before I should shut it down. Plus, the software they give for use with the UPS works properly this time =)

I also bought a new laptop stand (a model ETCS) to replace my old one, which didn't work too well as the feet kept getting caught in the grooves meant for ventilation. This one, though, unfolds into an "X" shape and, unlike the other one, can properly hold the laptop! I have to adjust it a bit so the feet don't get caught (it's a tight squeeze), but unlike the old one, the laptop doesn't wobble at all (nor does it seem like it's going to slide right off of the stand), so I'll feel much better about using a stand now =)

Also, remember how I mentioned about some lost comments earlier? They're back now =D I went through some backups of my WordPress database, found which ones were missing, and imported them back into the database. I'll be a little more careful next time when messing with my plugins, so I don't wipe out a comment by mistake.

(Speaking of comments: let me know by E-Mail if you can't post here. Late last month, I tried adding new form fields to prevent spam posting, combining it with a trick I used on one of my uncle's websites for this purpose: I added two fields - one pre-filled, one blank, both hidden - that, if either/both were altered, would prevent the comment from being submitted. In the case of my blog, it failed miserably, and spam comments still got through. Since then, I've replaced it with a single field that asks to type in a certain number - found on a certain character's jersey - and no spam comments have been posted since then! Hopefully it's not blocking legitimate comments - I tried it out and it seems to work for me, but there's no way to ensure that it really does work until someone else comments here.)

Finally, my family took a little three-day vacation to Erie from August 24-26, and here's what we did:

  • Friday:
    • We went to the Erie Zoo - my parents said I hadn't been there since I was four (and I can't remember anything before I was five, so... =P). Quite a few of the animals were interesting to see, and either a wallaby or kangaroo (I honestly have no idea which one it was) crossed in front of us at one point during that part of the trip. One more thing that happened before we left there was a rainbow lorikeet that got on Dad's shoulder - we took a few pictures, and did the same when it got on my shoulder...though it squawked in my ear quite a few times when they were taking pictures, and my hearing's probably not going to be so good in that ear now =P
    • For supper, we went to Quaker Steak 'n' Lube - it's been a long time since we last went there. Just like last time, I got the boneless Asian Sesame wings, which were really good. At my parent's request, I also tried the pita bread we got with our meals, and it was pretty good as well.
    • After that, we went to the Family First Fun Center and did a few things there. First, we rode the Go-Karts - I slowed down at the beginning due to four cars nearly colliding, and came in close to (if not) last. After that, we played miniature golf...which got interesting: I got a hole-in-one the first hole (!), and Mom also got one later on in the course. Dad had to leave for a few rounds and we played for him until he got back - in the end, he still beat us...mainly since I didn't do as well after the first hole - I ended up in 2nd place. After that, we got some ice cream (which was pretty good), and headed back to our hotel for the night.
  • Saturday:
    • We got to the Waldameer Amusement Park a little early - too early, in fact, as they weren't open yet...so we went over to one of the beaches of Presque Isle for an hour until they were open. When we went back, it wasn't that crowded, and we managed to get on nearly every ride - the wait for most of them was five minutes or less since it wasn't crowded. We got rained on near the end, and tended to be on-and-off rain, usually stopping right before getting to the roofs of certain rides =P
  • Sunday:
    • We went to the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh. I've been there quite a few times over the years and - like with Waldameer - a lot was accomplished in the day since there were relatively few people there at this time of year. It wasn't as fun as in the past, though...partly because I'm a little too old for some of the exhibits, and also due to the fact that quite a few exhibits didn't work - that was very surprising, considering that every other time I've been here, this would usually be one or two at most.

The trip was OK, but I didn't really have that much fun overall...and I think I know why. The reason, though, is more of a rant that I'm going to save for a future post (most likely my next one).


  1. A laptop stand?

    To me, I don't like those additional items that would raise laptop or monitors. I just want to put the laptop as flat and as flat as possible. This makes me wanting to get the new Apple keyboard, very slim design.

    As for monitor aspect, I just feel that looking (slightly) downwards is more conformable then looking horizon.

    Comment by Antony Shen — 10/15/2007 @ 11:21 PM
  2. Thank you for commenting, Antony - this confirms the new anti-spam technique mentioned above is working properly =D

    As for the stand, it all depends on what you're used to and where you're using it. In my case, it helps keep the laptop in an ergonomic position, as well as keeping it stabilized (the tight fit pretty much locks the laptop in place). If I have it on my lap, the stand also helps to keep my legs from feeling sweaty from the heat generated by the laptop.

    As for the monitor, I agree - the widescreen one I got awhile back to replace the original one for my desktop sits a bit higher, making it just about eye level. I'll admit it's a little less comfortable to look at because of this - and because it's also a little too bright sometimes - but unlike my previous monitor, I can see certain details that were too dark before, I've got a larger resolution, and I've got more room on my desk =)

    Comment by Wolfey — 10/16/2007 @ 9:04 PM

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