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Wednesday, July 16, 2003

July 16, 2003

Pictures...and MORE Pictures...

I spent some time this evening going through a big paper grocery bag of pictures...several hundred in all. Needless to say, I need [another] photo album. :P

It was interesting to see some of the images that I don't have online in any form...and of course good to see many of the images that are already here. smile Perhaps I will get some time eventually to sort through them in more detail and perhaps even scan some... smile But we'll see about that.

Aside from this, not much new today...aside from the beginnings of the computer build I'm working on. All that's left to be delivered of that is the motherboard and CPU...at which point in time I can work on the install and such.

But in the meantime...

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

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

July 15, 2003

Random Quotes!

After browsing through the TWiki:Plugins web a week ago or so, I decided to install and implement a few new ones of interest.

The first one was the RandomQuotePlugin which, as the name implies, gives out random quotes on page loads. This could be extremely interesting...and I thought it was cool...so installed it is. smile I expect to play with it some on my personal home network first and then implement it here. It's already installed at both locations, so I just need to hook it up in the right places where I want it displayed, like below:

%RANDOMQUOTE{web="Main"}%

Cool, huh? smile

(More) Local Time

One of the plugins available for TWiki is the LocalCityTimePlugin -- a cool feature that allows you to display the time in any given timezone in the world (as specified by a standard system (City/Country)). I have this plugin installed; however, it's not something I like to use. Mostly due to the fact that the plugin makes an online query (to a remote site) to get the time back. While it doesn't take forever, it does take some time...and is somewhat of a PITA (Pain In The Ass).

Again, I was browsing through the Plugins web a while back and found a new variant of this plugin called LocalTimePlugin. This uses the same syntax for queries, with the major difference in how it resolves time. It's done locally. This is a major improvement over the other form, and will allow me to view things in the correct timezone, at least. For instance, I live in CST. The mzonline.com machine is in PST (a two-hour difference). While this isn't a big deal, it's again a PITA for me (and others in the region who know me and view this site) For consistency purposes, I'd just like to leave every reference to time in Central/US format.

For instance, the SERVERTIME variable outputs this: 20 Aug 2007 - 19:40 (which is Pacific/US time)

I now am able to easily use LOCALTIME{US/Central} to get this: Monday, 20 August 2007, 21:40:31 (US/Central)

This was a bit trickier to install, as it requires another CPAN module to be installed (Perl modules for doing advanced things). I've had to install a few of them before, mostly to get the CalendarPlugin to work. But, it's done and (as you can see) it does work.

However, before I plan on using this at any decent length, I'm going to probably rewrite it a little bit to format in a way more like SERVERTIME, as I prefer that format to the (longer) format this outputs by default.

Extra Space & Backups...

After installing the CPAN module Date::Handler (required for the time thing above), I realized that I hadn't removed the other files from the previous CPAN modules I'd untarred. After installation, these files can be removed because the important stuff is resident in other locations. The only real benefit to leaving them around is in the event of corruption or reinstallation.

Anyway, after removing these no longer necessary files, I managed to clear up around 5.5MB of extra stuff. Not much, but enough to make me happy. smile

I also managed to get a decent backup system in place. After some looking around, I found a decent backup utility that does what I need it to do -- create backups that I can copy to CD.

While the backup program can automatically write files to CD-R[W], I'd (personally) rather have it create the files (set at the maximum size for my discs) and then allow me to put them on CD manually...mostly to prevent the backup from stalling in mid-backup to make me change discs. Since I'm running these automated backups in the middle of the night, I don't want to wake up to a half-complete backup.

So, this makes me feel better...especially since I can 'go back' to something reliable in the event all hell breaks loose. I've got (personal machine and server) backups set to go bimonthly. The server backups go bimonthly already (as set up with dump), and the /home directory goes weekly. But, these backups are now combined and written to CD as necessary in this system (so it's a backup of a backup...then written to CD). The personal machine files are done bimonthly as well, giving me at least a reasonable backup. I don't do enough (minus email) to justify weekly or daily, but figure more than once a month is probably necessary.

Ultimately, I'd like to get these backups written to tape (as it can hold a lot more than CD). However, even though I found the mounting rails for the old tape drive, I realized this afternoon that I need a bigger power supply in my personal machine in order to use it. So, it'll have to still be on CD until I order a new power supply (which isn't a big priority at the moment).


So, you win some...and you lose some... But that's alright. It keeps the news coming, I guess. smile

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

Monday, July 14, 2003

July 14, 2003

Let PDFs Reign!

I ran across two very interesting links today, the first of which makes me very excited! It's a program called CutePDF, and (the basic version, which is free) creates PDF files from anything printable. It works wonderfully, and much better than my previous form of creating PDFs. I was using a free service which, although worked, created hugely bloated files (e.g. a 31K original file came back as a 116K PDF). This worked, but I didn't like it. However, not ever having a better (free) option, I just dealt with it.

That's no longer the case. CutePDF created a 30K file from the same 31K original mentioned above. So this is a Good Thing. smile And better yet, it's FREE! Get it Here!

A Movie...in ASCII?

I was a little curious myself when I ran across this link today, but I found it very interesting at the same time. It's a scene from one of The Matrix movies that some random guy did in ASCII...and animated it. It's really neat, and definitely took some time to get done right.

Two warnings, though. First off, it's got some annoying background music (in form of Shockwave). I don't like webpage music. I admit, I had it also once...but quickly grew out of that phase. That was several years ago. Secondly, it's a hefty download (about 4.5MB), but it's definitely something you should see. smile Check it out here!

Aside from that, not much has been going on today. Making some small progress towards getting the Trip to Canada site moved, but that's about it.

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

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