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Saturday, July 5, 2003

July 5, 2003

New Pictures!

Well, as 'promised', I have added some storm pictures to the site. They're of not the greatest quality, but I took them through the windows of my pickup, which weren't the cleanest...and also had some glare. But, they're on the StormPictures? page if you're curious.

I also took some time to add a few new GeorgePictures? to the collection. This was mostly because I was adding other pictures to the set...so while I was at it... smile

New Organization For Pictures!

I also thought it now a good time to work on some restructuring of the image locations (for the picture pages). I was previously using the stock TWiki path for keeping images, and to be quite honest, it was just plain confusing. With my now-existant experience with variables in TWiki...and the customization part of that...it was much easier to make a better location (which made more sense to me) for these to call home.

That said, this change has taken place. So, if you're bored or something...give the MattPictures pages a test-drive and make sure I got them all right. If an image doesn't load, send me an email about it. They should all work, (as I copied/pasted the new variable in place) but you never know.

More Pictures Soon!

I've been on this photographic kick lately...in other words, I've been itching to get some pictures taken that I haven't yet gotten to. So, hopefully within the next few months I'll have done that...and also reindexed the existing images here...so that the MattPictures page can be more complete.

But as always, before I get to that, I have to finish some other things on my plate... Until then... smile

This post was upgraded to the MZ Online Blog on 8/20/07

Friday, July 4, 2003

July 4, 2003

Happy Birthday!

A Happy 4th of July to you all, in the case you happen to be reading this. smile

Python Transition Complete

I just finished the move to the TWiki for my Monty Python Repository. Be sure to check it out NOW! I did a real dry run of it myself, and everything looks like it should be just fine. But of course, things are never that predictable. smile But at least it's a project knocked off the list.

I've placed the appropriate redirects in place on the site, which automatically brings people to the new location, even if they use old bookmarks. I've still got on the order of 10-15 skits to place on the site (of my own collection)...and then I'll look at adding more from other locations online.

The ultimate goal of the site is to become a 'repository' for sketch and movie transcripts/screenplays.

One HELL Of A Storm...

Well, two nights ago (Tuesday, the 1st) we had quite a storm come through after 10pm. Produced a significant rainfall for a short period of time...and also a pretty good lightning show. BUT, nothing would compare to what we experienced last night!

We watched a movie late last night, which was over around 11:30. Beth was asleep by that time ( smile ), so after I got things put away I made one last check of the weather situation (thanks to My-Cast) before hitting the sack, mostly as I'd heard earlier it could get stormy.

This check showed me that indeed, there was a storm heading directly for us, and based upon the radar loop movement, I figured that within an hour and a half, we'd be getting that. It also, I should add, had one large red center...also which was heading directly for us. While this concerned me some, I wasn't going to stay up until it arrived, so I went to bed.

Approximately 12:30 I was woken by a lightning strike/thunder clap. I proceeded to get up to check on everything, which wasn't a problem. Of course, then knowing this big ass storm was in the neighborhood, I stayed up. Needless to say, I'm glad I did...

About five minutes later, the front began to move through. This I knew from the tell-tale sign of a heavier breeze -- a much cooler one at that. I should again state that there was a buttload of lightning at this time. Lighning fascinates me, and I always like watching it (from as safe a distance possible, that is). Anyway, after a minute or two of the front business, the wind got much stronger. And it didn't stop there. This was the point in time I put some clothes on, just because I didn't want to be running around mostly naked (nor did anyone else in the neighborhood want me to be doing that). This is also the time when Beth began to panic a little bit (and rightfully so).

I decided it necessary to turn on the police scanner at this time, only to find out that it was not a good situation. Several 'cloud patterns' had been showing up as reported by officers, and these were (more or less) heading right for us.

I guess at this time I should explain something. Matt doesn't like wind. At all. With that said, I need to clarify some things. My definition of 'wind' is anything forceful (e.g. not breezes, winds less than, say 25-30mph). Wind freaks me out. Seriously.

So, I kept an eye to the sky (what little I could see) and kept a cautious ear out. I decided to take a peek out in the hallway, as I'd heard some noise out there. The folks from across the hall were looking out the doors and such. So I went back in to our apartment. This is when the power started to get, for lack of a better term, erratic. For some time it couldn't decide whether or not to be on or off. This went on for some time (a few minutes). Thank God for batteries! smile At least the network wouldn't be affected by this.

At this point in time, it was around 12:45...and the wind was still very strong. In fact, I heard a tree break in our backyard...which is when I knew this was going to be really serious. Beth and George were already located in the bathroom, but after I'd told her there were folks downstairs, she decided that it'd be a good idea to go there, too.

Anyway, it was at this time we grabbed the cat (who was placed in his cage) and went for a chat with the neighbors. We were all hanging out for a while, when the power finally went out. Of course, this meant that the neighbors' scanner was no longer working. But, after a minute, the power came back on...and we were in an okay situation. Then the power went out again, and I kinda figured this would be the state for some time. Especially when it hadn't come back on for a few minutes.

I made my way back to our apartment, mostly to bring down our workstations (those batteries last anywhere between 10-20 minutes under load). I have one giant UPS unit which powers the servers and our scanner (so I listened for a bit while I was up there)...so I left those machines up for the time. I unhooked Beth's UPS unit and brought it down with me...so we could power the neighbors' scanner...for which that UPS worked nicely.

The wind finally calmed down around 1-1:10am. It was still raining to beat hell, but at least the wind was gone. Of course we had no power, but we all kinda went our separate ways as the major part of the storm was gone.

Well, after that, we were all kinda bored, so we ended up hanging out outside our door for a while. Still no power. By this time, the neighbors had a handheld scanner available, and we could hear ours (as we had the door open and the volume turned way up). Dispatch announced that the power company stated the power would be out for several hours. I decided that I could just as well bring the servers down, as the UPS wasn't going to withstand a long outage (it'd handle two machines for an hour...which is more than most outages anyway). So I brought down the servers and left the scanner go.

This was also the time when we discovered exactly how much damage there was...via radio. City crews, fire, EMTs, cops, everyone was called out. There seemed to be a few small fires from the downed power lines which needed to be taken care of. This was also the time when we were informed that these personnel were out 'looking for injuries'. I guess that's when it hit how bad this storm probably was.

As crews were out and talking, we quickly discovered that the east side of town was in the worst shape (our side), particularly between 4th and 7th streets (we're on the edge of this band). No wonder it'd seemed bad. smile Well, we all again after a while (it was around 2am) disbanded and went to bed. This was a particularly good thing as both Beth and I had to work at 8 and 7:30am respectively. Of course, I was too pumped with adrenaline to go to bed...but the alarm for the UPS was pissing me off...and the scanner talk was really all the same...nothing new had been reported in a while.

So, I cut power to the last UPS on the network and we went to bed. This was around 3am.

I woke up again around 5 (when it got light out) and looked outside. Now, I knew there was some damage in our backyard to trees, but wasn't able to really see (aside from what the flashlight showed). It was pretty amazing. Needless to say, it's much brighter overall in our bedroom now, as that was the shade tree for the east side.

Still no power, but Beth and I got up around 7 for good...and got ready for the day. As I'm more or less the guy in charge at Subway (and since I was opening the store), I wasn't planning on being to work on time. Especially since the power was still out. Our power service at home is on the same line as that of the store, so if we don't have power, neither does the store. Willie's would be anyone's guess...but we went for a drive around 7:30 to figure out what was going on.

So, we drove over to Willie's...to find out that their power had been restored. So it was off to work for Beth... But before we went back home, we drove around just a little more. Needless to say, it's not a pretty situation. The east side of town (even though crews started on this side before the west side) was still pretty bad.

Well, to bring this to an end here shortly, we both went to work. There was no power and then intermittent power at Subway, but it all got worked out eventually.

After work, I drove around with the camera and took some pictures. I haven't uploaded them yet, but I imagine that they'll end up here on the website somewhere. Perhaps that'll be my Saturday afternoon project. smile

Before I sign off, though, I should add that there didn't seem to be any injuries (minus a disloacted shoulder and such) related to the storm...just a lot of clean-up going on in the next few days.

This post was upgraded to the MZ Online Blog on 8/20/07

Wednesday, July 2, 2003

July 2, 2003 (Post 2)

And It Was Fixed!

Okay, so it turns out that the aforementioned problem with Internet Explorer in testing the Python TWiki Conversion ended up being a server-side typo. Not to go into detail, but what's very strange about this is that it only seemed to affect IE, while Opera and Netscape/Mozilla worked just fine.

But, the main part is that it's working now...and things look good.

The Official Launch...

I was shooting for an official launch to happen on 1 July 2003 (yesterday). But, I knew that wouldn't happen when I set the goal...and it was more of a goal to have a good chunk of the change complete prior to that date...which was the case.

My new goal for an official launch is either this Friday (4 July) or Saturday, depending upon what my schedule ends up looking like. Currently, there are approximately 96 files (or individual TWiki Pages, rather) of Python material at this point in time of the change. The Holy Grail Movie Script has been completely converted, and about 15-20 more skits have also been added.

In my collection of Python transcripts I found several years ago, I still have about 20-25 left to put online (I haven't counted, but it's in that neighborhood, plus/minus 10). These will be the first to get done, at which point in time I'll probably focus on the other major Python movies (Life of Brian, Meaning of Life, etc.). I've found some transcripts of these movies, but they're not overly complete. So this will definitely be a 'back burner' type of project.

Anyway, that's about all for now!

This post was upgraded to the MZ Online Blog on 8/20/07

July 2, 2003

Almost Complete!

Well, the Monty Python TWikification Project is more or less complete! This is obviously a Good Thing!

However, it's not all happy-go-lucky time yet. After getting the base complete using Netscape 7.02, I decided that (as always) it would be a good idea to test cross-browser prior to the official launch. After finding a minor bug or two with Opera (the most picky of the main three -- Opera, Netscape, IE), I decided to test with IE6.

Big mistake.

For some reason unbeknownst to me, IE6 doesn't like TWiki at all. Well, correction -- my TWiki setups at all. I get prompted to 'save or download' the page, instead of loading. What's particularly bizarre is that it worked in the not-so-distant past.

It's either one of two things: Something strange that's suddenly come up with IE on my machine, or some really strange server-side issue that's popped up in the last month.

More about that as I get info, though...

Aside from that, things are pretty quiet. Hot, but quiet. And the Python site will be up again in its new form soon!

This post was upgraded to the MZ Online Blog on 8/20/07

Tuesday, July 1, 2003

July 1, 2003

More Progress!

I'm approximately 62% complete with the Holy Grail Screenplay conversion (total progress of what was already online: ~75%). I'm trying something new with the Python site (when compared to my personal TWiki you're visiting right now): You'll notice (if you have a screen resolution > 800x600) that the title and footer bars (the parts in maroon) go all the way across the screen (table = 100%), but the central text doesn't go that far. The inner table is set to 800 pixels wide (200 reserved for the sidebar, and 600 for main text). This was done to give a consistent look to the site (regardless of browser). The main downside to this is the audience.

How many people still use 640x480 or 800x600 resolutions? Many, for many different reasons (of which many are valid). The major problem with TWiki and low resolutions is clutter. Even if you create or modify your own templates, there can still be a lot of clutter which is overly obvious in those modes. I used to design for 640x480 in mind. Not any more. If you're stuck in that land, there ought to be a good reason...and you should know how to modify your browser text sizes and such to make it work better. But that's just my opinion.

Now, I still design for 800x600, but that's tough too. So I set the master layouts to 800 pixels wide, which creates minimal horizontal scroll for the 800x600 people, and still looks good in 1280x1024. Sadly, the 640x480 people are hopelessly lost, but see my argument above.

I don't anticipate changing the templates for this site to make the text go at 100% width (as I'm going to test on the Python site), but since the Python site is the most heavily viewed site, I figured it best to give it a shot and see what happens. The 640x480 people will still have much clutter, but no horizontal scroll in that land.

In other news...

I've made the major font change for the MZ Online logo. It's no longer done in a Times font, which makes me happy. It's still semi-formal (e.g. a font you can read), but not frilly (non-blocky).

And with that, I leave you to ponder...

This post was upgraded to the MZ Online Blog on 8/20/07

Monday, June 30, 2003

June 30, 2003

Many Days Have Come And Gone...

Well, things seem now to be slowing down...somewhat. After being gone for a few days, putting together a musical production, and just not being home...it's time once again to be normal. smile

Back to the salt mine...and back to the Python TWiki Changeover! This will need to be the first project to be completed (of the web projects). The second of which will then be the main MZ Online site change. The MZ Online site will not move to the TWiki -- such a 'massive' change isn't all that necessary. However, it does need some new features and changes. Most notably are a new logo (although what I've got in mind is nearly identical to what's currently there), new contact design, and less verbage and crap. smile

But anyway, we're back and in action again...and that means more news items as appropriate.

21!

I near forgot to mention it, but Beth's 21st has come...and was quite exciting. smile Many good times were (and will be in the future) had!

This post was upgraded to the MZ Online Blog on 8/20/07

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