The release of the revised county website is going to be delayed a bit - I can't do much more work on my own, as I've reached the point where my supervisor will have to look at the site and see what might need fixed up before it's released. Unfortunately, he's very busy with getting the county government's network backbone upgraded, as well as work elsewhere in the buildings, and that makes it difficult to get things finalized here =/
Also, here's anything interesting I've been doing lately:
March 30 (possibly late March 29, after I went to bed) to April 2: My modem stopped working (like the last one, it was running 24/7) =( I originally noticed it Friday afternoon and thought there might have been a temporary outage or maintenance being done, so I waited until Saturday...and saw that it was still out. I called up support at Comcast, and found out I would have to wait until Monday before they could fix it.
On Monday, I got a replacement modem - this time around, instead of buying one, we rented one at $3/month. Last time we rented a modem (which was when we first got a cable modem), it was $6/month. The reason we went back to renting one (aside from it costing only half as much as it did before) is that, if something goes wrong, they have to come out and fix it.
They also replaced the cable line leading into our house - it's been there since before I was born, and it was actually the wrong grade of cable, weaker than what should have been used for underground burial. Part of its casing was worn away, and they said they were surprised it held up so well for so long. They replaced it with a new cable (the proper, stronger grade this time around), which was buried sometime in April. This fix dropped 10-15 db. on the line - I originally thought they meant "decibels", but later found out it actually meant "deadband" =P
They also said our cable lines in the house were split up too much, which is why the signal on a few TVs was weak. Some cables were switched around, and one was removed - that cable was for the TV in the living room, since it had to be switched to a different outlet sometimes when the furniture was rearranged (all that's needed to work around this is to go into the basement and switch the outlet the cable is plugged into). Except for one TV (whose quality remained unchanged, though that might be an issue with how it plugs into the wall), the signals on them are cleaned up now =)
- April 30: As mentioned in my previous post, I went to Red Lobster for my birthday dinner. I got coconut shrimp (which was pretty good), as well as a cake when we were all done eating =)
May 15: The county's 2007 Primary Election was held on this day. I worked my usual shift, and (like I did in the previous elections) a second one at night. The laptop hooked up to the projector in the main hallway was going real slow, and I used the Task Manager to keep closing out processes until it ran properly. When on the desktop used for uploading results online, the FTP account I used wouldn't work - even though I could see the files - and I couldn't figure out why. I went over to the I.T. Department and found out that the door was locked. I got someone to unlock it, logged on to my desktop, and finally realized what happened: I was supposed to be using a different account. I found out the day after that, for some reason, the old account used for uploading data no longer has write permissions (even though it still has read permissions), which is why that other account was made.
After I figured out what was going on, I went back over to the other building, logged into the FTP program (this time with the new account), and could finally upload the results! I then went back and forth between the desktop and laptop to upload results, like I did last year...but some people in the hallway complained about having to wait for all the results to go through to see the ones they wanted, which ended up taking over 20 minutes given the number of races being shown. I mentioned that (from what I could tell) the program goes through the results alphabetically, and since the political party is listed first (but not for all races), that's why the results were showing up in that order. They told me to wait a few minutes so they could see the results, but then asked if I could speed it up - fortunately, I could, and just kept hitting the "Next" button until the results they wanted to see were there. I kept doing that until all the precincts were in and went back upstairs to do the last upload. After that, I was finished for the day (er, night =P), called home, and left.
Given how things went with showing the results, I came up with some improvements for how results could be uploaded. Currently, the results file is burned onto a CD, given to me, I head downstairs to upload the laptop's results (for those watching the projector in the hallway), then head back upstairs to upload the desktop's results (for those watching the website), and finally take the CD back to wait for the next set of results to be burned to the CD. The improvements I suggested would be to have another laptop available, this one with a wireless connection - after being handed the CD, I could upload the results to the site (by FTP), as well as wirelessly to the laptop downstairs and remotely refresh its results (by VNC), all from the same computer - no running around required =)
I also typed up some things which could be done to improve the application (the JResult Client, made by Diebold). These were basically suggestions (I also had reasons for doing so, but forgot what they were right now ^_^; ) , as I don't know about the inner workings of the program:
- For HTML results:
- Add links to allow the user to go to whatever race they want to see.
- Convert all HTML code for formatting into (valid) CSS code, presented as an external stylesheet.
- Ensure HTML output for results is actually valid HTML, preferably HTML 4.01 Strict.
- Ensure that, with only minor changes to the code (most likely to the doctype and line breaks), the page would be valid XHTML as well.
- Allow a choice between presenting only the code necessary for the results (to allow pasting into a template page or CMS) or creating an entire page (to be uploaded as-is). The user would also be allowed to select which doctype it should validate against, so that the page is formatted properly.
- Allow web feeds for the results, so users with feed readers could keep up with them without having to visit (or refresh) the results page.
- Create a background application (on the server hosting the results) that could automatically update the HTML results page when the results file is updated.
I typed up these suggestions and gave them to my previous supervisor (who I still work with for the elections, but only during the elections now), and asked her if she could somehow forward them to the company that made the application, if possible. It's worth a shot - I have a feeling I'm not the only one who wants to see improvements to that application ;)