A Truly Suck-tastic Book

I finished reading “The Dragon’s Son” by Margaret Weis today. It’s quite amazing how much that book sucked. No, seriously. Through the entire book I kept asking myself, “Who cares?” I have one of those life-size cardboard cut-out Stormtroopers. You know the kind you could take your picture with and say, “Hey, look I’m in Star Wars!” Well that Stormtrooper has more personality than the characters in this book.

It’s really a shame. The first book in the series “The Mistress Of Dragons” wasn’t bad. Not the best fantasy I’ve ever read but the world she creates is has a bit of a unique twist on the dragon lore. And it didn’t hurt that there was a lesbian love scene within like the first 20 pages. I think that alone managed to keep my interest for the rest of the book.

But “The Dragon’s Son” really bites. And what’s even worse is that the first book I ever read by her—actually her and Tracy Hickman together—was the first Dragonlance book, “The Dragon Of Autumn Twilight”. That is probably one of the coolest fantasy books out there. It’s D&D and I was in 4th grade when I first read it so there’s definitely some of that “childhood magic” flavoring my opinion. But still it’s really tough to see someone who wrote such a captivating book (series) write such crap. It makes you wonder if Tracy was the real talent behind that duo.

So if you’re into fantasy books and like dragon stories I would suggest you skip this one. Instead pick up the Dragonlance Chronicles. They kick ass.

HD Has The Sharpest Pictures

You know I was at my friends’ house tonight enjoying good company and great tacos. They have a monster flat screen TV and an HD Direct TV box hooked up to it. I hadn’t been over there in a while and I was disappointed to discover that a couple of the very few HD channels that are offered were only showing the damn Republican National Convention.

I got to see McCain’s weird-ass watery red eye in all its nauseating detail. I was unpleasantly reminded of the “vulture eye” in “The Tell-Tale Heart”.

McCain and his eye 1


McCain and his eye 2


The Day Everything Was Upgraded

Hey, hey party people. I’m typing up this entry in my brand-spankin’ new copy of BBEdit 8. Perhaps you don’t know this, but I love BBEdit. If I were still in third grade, some clever person would undoubtedly quip, “Then why don’t you marry it?” That’s how much I love BBEdit.

So of course typing this is hardly giving it a workout. If it had been released Friday I could have truly put it through its paces as I worked diligently on my site redesign. I will have to break it in while I try to slog my way through various PHP and Javascript methods of dealing with style sheets later this week.

Today was software update day for my workstation. Pro Tools 6.4.1. Soundminer 3.1.2 (b96). Change Note Assistant 1.0.2. Titan 3.1b11. I did verify that Adobe Premiere 6.5 does not properly support Core Audio in OS X. It won’t work with the new official Pro Tools Core Audio Driver 6.4.1. Final Cut Pro will handle it however. I’ll have to dig out my copy and put it on my system.

Shhhh. Here’s a secret: Load picture digital picture in OS X in Final Cut Pro with audio via Core Audio through your Pro Tools hardware. Make sure your USD or Sync I/O is set to pulldown before-hand. When you’re done open the picture in that old copy of Adobe Premiere 4 that you have lying around. (Come on, you know you do.) Trim the picture to start at 0 and export video clip or piece or whatever that option is. Use the Conform tool to conform the picture to 30 frames per second. You now have digital picture file with in-sync embedded worktracks that you can use to spot to on a laptop or whatever. It can also cut against it in Pro Tools 6.x or 5.3. It’s also backwards compatible with 5.1.x. And you can use the Import Audio From Movie function to get video guide tracks into your session. Pretty sweet.

Tomorrow I’m back with the Universal folks.

Ooo! I just discovered something fun in BBEdit 8! Ok, those of you who used 7, might remember the screen flash that you would get if you typed a close parenthesis ) before the open (. In 8, you get a fun message that flashes on your screen. Go on. Give it a try.

Woop! There it is.

I feel a bit like Microsoft. To get my redesign done and up I ended up tossing out quite a few goodies I was working on. I figured the major “look and feel” was the single most important thing. And since I’m going back to work this week, I had to get something up or it would languish for a while.

So it’s missing the font resizer that would allow you to choose between small and large fonts, and the style switcher so that visitors could turn off CSS if it wasn’t working with their browser. Also missing are a few new pages like “Downloads” that will turn up one of these days. There’s also a bunch of little tweaky stuff I didn’t get done like moving my affiliations list from the About page to the sidebar and validation of the code with appropriate links.

Despite all that I think the new look turned out pretty darn cool, if I do say so myself. And I was able to put in some fun new things like integrating the site with my photo moblog, and the new sidebar sections—recent comments and interesting links. Plus I have new RSS feed options. Take a look at the bottom of the sidebar for all the XML goodness.

So there you go. I welcome any and all comments. Please let me know if there are any display issues on any browser—I definitely couldn’t check them all.

Solution For Mac IE5 CSS Problem?

Are there any CSS web designers out there who can offer a guy a bit of advice? This problem is bugging me:

My webpage in Firefox looks like this:

Firefox is correct

Which is correct. Unfortunately, IE5 for Mac looks like this:

Mac IE5 is not

This is not correct. I added the red, white and blue lines to differentiate the various divisions. White is “header”, red is “main-body”, and blue is “content”. The code right at that point looks like this:


</div> <!--End div "header"-->

<div id="main-body">

<div id="content">

For some reason, IE5 for Mac insists on putting a bit of space between the header and main-body divisions. It’s not the end of the world but it’s also not correct and I’d like to know why. I’m sure it has to do with yet another CSS bug in IE5Mac which has to be compensated for with a hack.

I would appreciate any help people can offer.


Nevermind. I fixed it. It turns out the <ul> directly above the end of the “header” division was the issue. I had defined it with an id of “text-size”. The problem was that in the CSS for “text-size” I set a top margin of 5 pixels. When I changed all margins to 0 pixels, the gap closed up:

#text-size {
    text-align: right;
    color: #ffffff;
    font: bold 10px Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;
    margin: 0px;
    padding-top: 0px;
    padding-right: 5px;
    padding-bottom: 0px;

The margins on the <ul> and <li> tags don’t seem to matter—at least in terms of the bug. It’s the margin on the id object itself which causes the problem.

Tinker Toys

I am still here. I’ve just been busy tinkering away behind the scenes. I’ve been wanting to do a major revamp of this website for a while now. Some of you may have noticed a few bits and pieces as they’ve been installed, like my photo moblog. I’ve been working on a new look to go with it—and practicing my CSS.

Here’s a sneak-peek:

New design sneak-peek

It’s not done yet. But the major “look and feel” is pretty much in place. Now I’m adding in all the little extras. Then it’s adding the new look to all the other templates. Lots of testing to make sure I didn’t miss anything. And then installing it on my website. Maybe I’ll be done by the end of the weekend. That would be nice.

Of course the new Movable Type 3.1 will be out in a couple of days. I should probably wait until then so see what new fun things I can add in. But sometimes I get the urge for these things and I have to keep going no matter what.

I’ve also been reading “Xenocide” by Orson Scott Card. Fantastic book.

Ok, time to get back to things…

Don’t Fear The Reaper

The good news: Thanks to a lot of patience from the wonderful Adriaan and some great advice from the fantastic Ben Trott, we’ve figured out why I can’t always successfully post to my website from ecto.

The bad news: I don’t know if we’ll be able to fix it.

Pair.com has a program called The Reaper. It’s purpose is to protect their servers from runaway programs by killing off ones that use up too many resources. (Perhaps they should call it Tom Selleck.) One of the criteria is that a program cannot use more than 16MB of memory. MT-xmlrpc.cgi, the perl script that handles remote posting for Movable Type, is often hitting that 16MB barrier and getting killed by The Reaper.

I have held a lengthy email discussion with various Pair support staff about this with a final plea to look into increasing this memory limit. They assured me that my request was passed on to the appropriate people for consideration.

What would be great is if other pair.com users would step up and say “Hey, I think it would rock if the memory limit was increased to 24MB!” Or even better since I don’t really know how much memory is need for XML-RPC, “Hey, I would be swell if we had enough memory to run MT, including XML-RPC, without getting a visit from The Reaper.”

Some People Are So Very Annoying

There are several of us sitting here waiting for our cars in the customer lounge at the Robertson Honda service center. Most people are reading or just sitting. Two young men walked in about 20 minutes ago and they are quietly to each other in Spanish.

A fellow Mac-user walked in about 40 minutes ago and perhaps inspired by my own use of my laptop, pulled out his iBook and started typing away in Word. (You can tell by those annoying sounds that Microsoft products make if you don’t go into the general perferences and turn them off.)

Our quiet patience was rudely interrupted a few minutes ago. A man, perhaps in his early 50s, shuffled over to the corner where the TV is mounted to the wall, and proceeded to turn it on. My fellow Mac-user was sitting right next to the television. He shot the man an ugly look, pointedly gathered up his things and moved to the other end of the lounge. I don’t blame him. We were all enjoying the escape from the ever-present brain-drain of the TV.

To make things worse, the man who turned on the TV sat down in a seat, pulled out a book and began reading. I can’t believe he would actually annoy everyone with the television and then not actually watch it himself.

I’m tempted to go over and turn it off.

A mother and her daughter, 8 or 9 years old, just walked in. The girl is now watching. I don’t want to make things more unpleasant for her than necessary. I remember sitting in lounges like this with my mom when I was little. It’s boring enough when you’re an adult—in can be shear torture as a child.

That guy is still not actually watching television!

I just noticed that it’s “The View” that’s on. Poor girl. At least she should be enjoying some cartoons.

Brave New World

Ok, this is cool.

I took my car in for it’s 20,000 mile check-up. They say it’s going to take 2 hours and since I’m not working right now, I figured I might as well just sit and wait for it. Renting a car for 2 hours is silly.

Last night in anticipation of that, I finished setting up my idmonsters.dev virtual host on my laptop. I had already installed Movable Type 3, but I imported all the entries from my weblog, duplicated my templates from my regular site, and copied all the settings. Plus I installed Gallery and downloaded a copy of my albums. So I’ve logged into a local copy of MT and I’m working away on a newer, cooler version while I wait for my car.

But wait, it gets better… since I previously configured my laptop to log in to the internet using my cellphone as a bluetooth modem, I was able to jump online, check my email and make this post. It’s slow. I wouldn’t want to always be at this speed. But it works. And I’m just sitting here in the customer lounge of Robertson Honda.

It’s an exciting technological world we live in.

Perhaps This Will Fix My Problems

I continue to have posting problems with ecto. I started searching the Movable Type forums to see if anyone has any ideas. I’m trying something out here to see if it helps.


Nope. Several months ago, people reported problems with using ecto and Markdown. They were able to fix things by submitting with the standard “Convert Line Breaks”. I tried it, and it didn’t fix my problem. Going back to Markdown.


Trying something else… nope.