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  • 08:42, 1 Jul 2005 (EDT): Got all the images working. Oop, gotta go do Friday Morning Errands. *zoop*
  • 17:51, 1 Jul 2005 (EDT): And then we decided (at Mel's invitation) to finally watch The Return of the King (extended DVD). This may seem frivolous, given all the other stuff we needed to do today, but you have to understand the following:
    • We've had the DVD since before Christmas
    • Neither of us got to see it in the theatre -- there were no show times where it ended before kid-pick-up time
    • This is the one movie we've really wanted to see for the past year or so basically, if we didn't take this opportunity, who knows when we'd actually get around to seeing it. (As it was, we had to watch the last 20 minutes after picking up B & Z.)
And don't even ask about the hassles of trying to pin down a date when we can have the kids watched (ferried to & from camp, fed) so we can both go down to Athens next week to view the court documents. Also don't ask me why I don't just go by myself, because if you ask I'll tell you. And then you'll be sorry.


  • 10:18, 2 Jul 2005 (EDT): Feeling rather crappy due to mild throat cold. Mowed lawn anyway, because it was overdue. Processing in-stock orders.
  • 21:28, 2 Jul 2005 (EDT): Rotten headache most of the day, so didn't get much done -- but it mysteriously cleared up around suppertime (not that I'd eaten anything, and I still have a bit of a sore throat) and since then I've started moving the vbzwiki over to the newer-cheaper-faster server. Should be able to get it fully moved tomorrow morning. Going to bed now.


  • 08:18, 3 Jul 2005 (EDT): Still in the "getting up" process, but Pip hopped up on the sink so I thought it best to go make an entry so he would go away. Today: finishing move of vbzwiki.
  • 09:14, 3 Jul 2005 (EDT): One of the thumbnails still won't show up, but I've decided it's good enough (maybe a cache somewhere just needs to expire) and have pointed at the new server.
Meanwhile, this morning I was thinking of names for a hypothetical multi-wiki site. The first thing that came to mind was "wikimonster", which is pretty good and suggests a great logo -- a cookie-monster-ish creature eating one of the brackets by which it is surrounded -- but is a bit long to use for multiple subdomains. Then I thought maybe "wikimon", as a short form alias for wikimonster... and then I thought "wikim", even shorter, but then that suggested "wikem" (like "sic'em"), which is even shorter and doesn't require a longer form (but how do you make a logo for that? A dog chasing a wiki flower? Chasing brackets? More complicated and not as cute.)
But okay, is taken (not .net or .org). is available; is taken (not .net or .org), and is also taken (not .net or .org). So do I get one of those in .net/.org form, or maybe base it off ( and are both available) or, even?
  • 09:58, 3 Jul 2005 (EDT): Trying to decide if I should renew Wrote proposed Domain Resale Code of Ethics.
  • 16:31, 3 Jul 2005 (EDT): While searching for an image which I needed in order to get a particular thing done and off my desk, I found the hang-tag images which I thought might have been lost in migrating from Windows to Linux. So I've been reorganizing images (because there was a lot of other stuff in that same area which really belonged elsewhere), and getting B&Z ready for swimming with Grandma Dorothy, and now it's just about time to go get Sunday dinner (assuming Costco isn't closed early for July 4).


  • 09:46, 4 Jul 2005 (EDT): Working on legal stuff (which is appropriate, today being the one year anniversary of "pseudoquasime"'s visit to SluggySquad). I think I have an idea for how to make this move a bit faster, too... heh.


  • 14:37, 5 Jul 2005 (EDT): Posted a Legal Disclaimer in the Staddon vs. Griever area. I decided last night to stop restricting it to just the legal documents. My "bad kid, go to your room" reflex kicked in for a little while after I posted the disclaimer (since that was sort of crossing the "line of commitment"), but something else deeper and stronger says it's the right thing to do, and damn the torpedoes. We'll see what happens.
Otherwise, today we're getting ready for the trip to Athens tomorrow. I'm trying to put together a list of missing invoice paperwork, in case there are any in the stack of papers we have to review ("9-12 inches of documents from the years 2000-2004", said the defense attorney's paralegal), so we know which ones not to bother copying. I've already put together a list of emails from those same years.
Also shipped a few in-stock orders this morning. Yay.


  • 06:46, 6 Jul 2005 (EDT): Packing for Athens trip.
  • 20:53, 6 Jul 2005 (EDT): In Athens, using Joel's computer to make this entry just to show I was here :D


  • 15:52, 7 Jul 2005 (EDT): Back from Athens. Details when I get my head together.


  • 12:15, 8 Jul 2005 (EDT): A few miscellaneous things related to vbz/wiki interlinkage, mostly.


  • 13:02, 9 Jul 2005 (EDT): I seem to have spent much of the day making sure all the VBZ suppliers had wiki pages, just to be sure the new supplier wiki links from the main site didn't lead to blank pages. And my head hurts (stupid head cold still clinging tenaciously). Yesterday afternoon I added a few pages to the Issuepedia, starting with an article on Arbitrary Requirement.


  • 08:41, 10 Jul 2005 (EDT): Finally getting around to processing some images of shirts I purchased and photographed what seems like ages ago. The HyperFile program would really help with keeping track of this stuff, if I could ever manage to spend enough time on it just to make it usable.
  • 15:26, 10 Jul 2005 (EDT): Uploading rebuilt pages with new shirt images in them. Entering S vs. G emails into the wiki to make them easier to search and cross-reference. Pondering Harena's suggestion that image pages (and maybe others) need navigation links -- e.g. if you're in Category:Benjy and you click on an image, the image's page should have links to the previous and next images in the series on the page from which you came. Not a quick hack, but it seems like it could be a major improvement. The main trick (aside from the actual programming) is figuring out how not to be arbitrary about the look-and-feel of the nav links -- some kind of template or variable?


  • 07:37, 11 Jul 2005 (EDT): Yesterday as I was going out to get Costco pizza for the masses (as has become a Sunday ritual), I discovered that some jerk had apparently gone through the glove box of my Nissan, and left the driver's-side door just slightly open -- enough to leave the inside lights on and drain the battery. Nothing appeared to have been stolen.
Now, I don't like to go accusing people of things, but on Thursday afternoon (just after we got back from Athens) David Burnette had come by asking for a contribution to his cause. He even said "just $5 would help". I had some cash in pocket but it wasn't mine to give away (it was Harena's) so I said I could write him a check. He looked all crestfallen, and then asked if I could give him $1.50 for the bus. I said I might have that and went back in the office to look for change. I came back out with 50 cents, and gave that to him.
So now we have the car, where someone went through only the glove box (and maybe the little compartment between seats) and didn't take anything. It was almost as if they were looking for something very specific... loose change, perhaps?
I really need to type up a quicky article on David and post it to the attention of the Pinecrest Road group, to see if anyone else has any opinions on him.
...anyway, today. Right now I'm fixing a minor error (caused by a change I made to the design of a table) in the vbz topic pages scripts.
  • 16:28, 11 Jul 2005 (EDT): Gak -- is mysteriously not responding, and has been that way for several hours. (It was fine last night.) I tried to get onto chat with CI Host to get it fixed, but I couldn't get their chat page to load in either FireFox or MSIE 6... so I'm temporarily dropping everything else and moving over to the new server at TheRealms.
  • 21:56, 11 Jul 2005 (EDT): And gak again. In the middle of my emergency moving-of-vbz, a pillow bursts in the washing machine and spews little styrofoam things into the drain, clogging it. This has happened once before, and it required extensive reaming of the drains. There wasn't time for that, though, as Harena desperately needed to wash some underwear for Josh for tomorrow... so I've been in the laundry room bailing water out of the sink so it wouldn't overflow on the floor (too much).
In between other things, at least I got to the point of rebuilding the folder of images to upload to new-vbz. Which will happen tomorrow.


  • 07:16, 12 Jul 2005 (EDT): Yesterday I modified the Perl FTP script which uploads stuff to VBZ so it can handle different target sites. I should probably post a copy of it here at some point, because it's now to the point where it might be generally useful, even though it's not particularly elegant code.
So now I get to see if it properly uploads the image files I had the store cough up last night.


  • 07:20, 13 Jul 2005 (EDT): The FTP thingy has been working fine, although does consistently run into problems where the remote site stops responding; I have it set to retry each failed operation 5 times, but I think I need to tell it to disconnect/reconnect before trying... which is best written with object-oriented code, and I haven't yet got the hang of that in Perl.
Meanwhile... uploading store files while installing OSCommerce.


  • 08:10, 15 Jul 2005 (EDT): The evening of 7/13, it became apparent that the kitchen sink was also stopped up (it later became apparent that it was doing so completely on its own and independently of the stoppage in the laundry room, which at least means that the laundry room unstoppage hadn't turned out to be just a temporary fix, a possibility over which I was initially worried). So we put some 24-hour-drain-unstopper stuff into it, not really expecting it to work but thinking it couldn't hurt.
So yesterday evening I verified that in fact the sink was still stopped up, and then I proceeded to work on it. First I got out the small guns -- the short, hand-held plumber's snake. 20 minutes later no joy. So then I got out the big guns -- the motorized 100-foot (or more?) plumber's snake -- and ran it in. Just on a whim, I asked Harena to look outside to see/hear if it was coming out anywhere -- the theory being that the kitchen sink drains into the back yard, because it doesn't seem to be connected to the house plumbing at all -- and she said that yes, it was coming out of the vent pipe in the roof.
At that point it seemed that retreat was the better part of valor, so I pulled out the snake and put the U-thingy back together so the sink would be usable. (Tried plunging it some more, just in case.)
We have some options for today:
  • Try running the big snake in again, and watching the roof pipe to see if it comes out again (wasted a lot of time yesterday because it had already come out and snaked all the way down to the ground by the time Harena went out to look at it)
  • Try the small snake going directly under the sink, instead of through the sink drain as before
  • Somehow stop up the roof pipe so that the pressure can't get out that way, and try plunging some more
  • Work out a way to get the big snake up to the roof, and run it in from there (apparently this was the technique used by Roto-Rooter when they unclogged this same drain several years ago)
Oh, and I didn't even mention about the new web server suddenly becoming inaccessible in the early evening, so I wasn't able to do any more work on It's mostly working, but we're having trouble with the https service, and the cart system looks like it needs a little help. It's looking very iffy that I'll be able to get to it before it's time to go get Anna tomorrow.


  • 08:39, 16 Jul 2005 (EDT): Getting ready for Athens trip


  • 18:19, 17 Jul 2005 (EDT): Back from Athens, with Anna; supper eaten, car unpacked (I think). Returning to work on Stuff.


  • 08:10, 18 Jul 2005 (EDT): Learning the Perl interface to MySQL. Probably going to start creating a proper store database just because that's the right way to do it. Or should I try PHP, since there are examples handy? Hm.


  • 07:33, 19 Jul 2005 (EDT): Processing an order phoned in by a customer yesterday. (Amazing how one can still receive orders without the internet...) Hopefully placing a wholesale order this morning, too.


  • 07:32, 20 Jul 2005 (EDT): It seems I had about 15 minutes in all of yesterday for actually working on fixing Hopefully today will be better. I placed the wholesale order yesterday, but it turned out that 2 of the items couldn't be ordered because they were actually only available in adult sizes, and vbz was showing them as only available in child sizes (which is what the customers had ordered, of course). I had to go through and check every other Mountain item listed as child-sizes-only, and found quite a few which should have been adult-only; this took some considerable time.


  • 21:48, 21 Jul 2005 (EDT): VbzCart design


  • 07:44, 22 Jul 2005 (EDT): Designing and creating tables. Also, Douglas and Sonia are supposed to be showing up in town sometime this morning and we're all going to meet for breakfast at IHOP...


  • 08:04, 23 Jul 2005 (EDT): Benjy said last night he had a dream that was "lovely". And today I am fixing a bug that makes it difficult to enter customer orders by hand, and then continuing to work on getting the shopping cart working. Uploaded a lot of data yesterday, so I might be ready to get back to coding today; maybe some visible progress will happen.


  • 16:37, 24 Jul 2005 (EDT): The MySQL Query Browser is buggy. It only took me about an hour and a half to figure that out, because for the first 40-50 minutes I was still playing around with syntax and looking for examples in the MySQL documentation (of which there are none) in which a field and a string are compared as part of a WHERE clause. When it finally dawned on me that the syntax might be ok and I should try it on the command-line version of MySQL, I first tried shelling into the dedicated server. to run MySQL there and connect to TheRealms's server (Douglas charges extra for shell access), but the dedicated server's install of MySQL was too old to work with the one on TheRealms (good on them, and bad on CI Host for never upgrading my server from v3.23 or whatever it is).
Then it finally occurred to me to run it directly from Camilla, since Camilla is after all a Linux box, but it seemingly wouldn't attempt to connect to a different server if the local machine didn't have a server (I later figured out that this was probably a malformed command-line on my part, but too late), so I figured I'd better install MySQL on Camilla. That took about 10 minutes, during which I went down to the basement and investigated where Gonzo might be situated so as to become The Basement Server.
And then I came back up and tried again, and managed to get connected after a couple of false starts. And the syntax was fine. So now I have to move to the next tiny little step in figuring out why I'm not getting back a result set from MySQL via PHP... except that it's time for me to go get pizzas for the Traditional Hypertwin Sunday Dinner.
So that's what I'm doing now.
  • 19:19, 24 Jul 2005 (EDT): Finally got a proper phone for the line -- $40 (Costco) for a 2.4 GHz wireless-LAN-friendly cordless phone with 2 handsets (which can be used simultaneously and as an intercom, unlike the ones Harena has) and caller ID. Came with 6 NiMH batteries, which would go for about $15 retail. My only complaint is this: whatever happened to phones you could mount on a wall?? I have no desk surface, but these things don't even have mounting holes on the base if I wanted to build something. I'm going to have to velcro one of them to the top of my monitor.


  • 21:42, 25 Jul 2005 (EDT): Today I succeeded in actually pulling some data from the database and showing it onscreen. <Sarcastic whoop!> I've spent the rest of the day -- the part that wasn't occupied with fetching kids, cleaning dishes, cooking hamburgers for later so the meat wouldn't go bad, eating supper, cleaning up after supper, helping give Josh his scheduled Monday bath, helping Benjy with his unscheduled Monday bath, and reading His Dark Materials (ISBN 0439994349) to Harena and Zander -- working on the design of how the new cart system will actually work. I keep wondering if I'm getting too elaborate about it, because this was just supposed to be a quick drop-in to get things working, and I can spend more time on it later... but I seem to be extremely reluctant to design a kluge which I will no doubt have to deal with for longer than planned.
  • Meanwhile, Douglas was able to get the SSL server working -- so now responds to hails, and the ball is completely in my court.
  • Also, Anna made me look at this:
  • And I placed a Liquid Blue order which really could have been placed weeks ago, but I kept thinking I'd have the store running by now. Haven't heard back from them yet; I should probably email again to make sure they got it.


  • 07:27, 27 Jul 2005 (EDT): I think I've got to take a different tack, because there's just no way I'm going to get this finished by the weekend, and something has got to be up and running before we head off to the beach. I'm going to see if I can figure out what's stopping the old cart code from working. Last night I was thinking it might be a permissions issue in the data directory...
  • 21:06, 27 Jul 2005 (EDT): The old cart system is up and running. I hope I can still take the time to get the new one working, because it could be so much nicer... but at least orders can start coming in again.
  • My head hurts.


  • 10:00, 28 Jul 2005 (EDT): Got a nice big order from Texas last night. So it's official, we're back on the air. Currently taking care of various loose ends and starting to get ready (ha!!) for the beach trip.



  • 09:44, 29 Jul 2005 (EDT): Getting ready for beach trip, mostly. Also doing a few last-minute things with Anna's laptop (currently running antivirus again; backed it up last night). Posted an extensive review of CI Host, and included a link to it in my reply to their "please let us know how we could have served you better" email (well, the first one; I haven't replied to the second one, which was apparently sent independently of the first one).
  • Yesterday, tried to fix Skeeter (Harena's Thinkpad 390E laptop which works except that the screen illumination has died -- so you have to shine a flashlight on it to see anything) with parts from another Thinkpad (with system board issues) that someone sent us. Unfortunately, the other Thinkpad (a 600) has a smaller screen, and the connections don't seem to be physically compatible. So we now have two disassembled Thinkpads in a box down in the basement, waiting until I can find some cheap parts on Ebay.


  • 15:41, 31 Jul 2005 (EDT): Getting caught up on things after the bearch trip. Email piled up, of course, and a Liquid Blue package arrived, and it looks like a good quantity of orders came in. Maybe people are liking VBZ's shiny new SSL certificate?