April 2002 Archives

 [Miss Kitty] Miss Kitty is here to demonstrate (or disprove) something I just learned — an easy CSS way to wrap text around an image. The trick here is knowing your limits — if the text is not long enough, you won’t get the effect. So, this seems like as good a time as any to introduce Miss Kitty to those who are not familiar with her. I first met her while Angela & I were in college — she enjoyed playing with my shoelaces (Miss Kitty, not Angela). We have since learned many games together, including “Unsuspecting Legs Walking By A Jungle Cat” and “The Monster That Lives In The Couch.” That is one great cat. And she takes a good picture, don’t you think?

Angela had her eye surgery today. So far, so good. It’ll be a few days before her eyes achieve their best results, but she’s already seeing better.

And I got to watch the surgery. That was amazing. I wasn’t in the surgery room — they had a TV hooked to the machine and I was able to watch it from the window. They start by using some type of medieval torture device to hold the eye in place and to keep her from blinking. Then they put a metal ring on top of that — the ring has a groove for another device which can only be described as the world’s smallest meat slicer. The slicer cuts a thin layer off the top of the eye, leaving it connected to the eye on one side. The surgeon pulls that back and fires his laser into the eye for a few seconds. He then lays the flap back down and smooths it out with a tiny broom — kind of like what an umpire uses to clean home plate. Only smaller. This is followed by a variety of eye drops. Then he does the same thing to the other eye. It was so interesting to watch. And, just like that, a person who has needed corrective eye wear since she was eight may never need it again. Amazing.

The totally redesigned Smart Goat went live last night. It does some quirky things in Netscape 4.76 (of course), but nothing we can’t live with. Still a couple of things to do:

  • Convert the home page to a perl script so the “Recent Headlines” can be easily updated.
  • Point the No Limits link to a screenshot of that site. It will be closing down soon, but I like the design we created for it, so I’d hate for people not to see it.
  • Menu items should be bold. They are if the user has the right font installed.
  • Make a couple of our other sites pretty enough to be pointed to in the portfolio.
  • Millions of things I haven’t thought of. :-)

I forgot to mention that Angela ran in the Red Bud. It was a miserable day for a race. We’d heard there was a chance of rain, but that morning looked pretty nice, so we went. It started really pouring about 20 minutes before the race. At that time, the race coordinators told everybody the rain was supposed to stop in 20-25 minutes. Five minutes before the race, when it was still coming down, they said the same thing — 20-25 minutes. :-)

While Angela was running the 2 mile race, I was walking the 1 mile to the finish line. We got there pretty close to the same time. Angela & I were both pretty wet by the time it was all over. But, Angela posted a good time, and the rain made it much less crowded than last year, so it wasn’t all bad.

We are so close to putting the new Smart Goat out — hopefully I’ll get to finish it this weekend. There are some issues with Netscape 4.76 that I need to iron out. Once that’s done, we’ll make the switch.

Angela’s eye surgery is this week. The first step is tomorrow — the doctor will dilate her eyes. Have to remember to take a good pair of sunglasses…

I’m falling woefully behind on my blogging. I’ll try to get back on track…

The new Smart Goat design is coming along nicely. Neither of us are graphic designers, so that’s the biggest challenge. We’ve got some interesting ideas in the works, though — we’ll just have to see how they turn out.

Our recipe database is almost fully functional, just not pretty yet. Angela has done all the work on that, and it’s really coming along. I’ll post a link, soon.

Here is the new News Goat design. I like this much better than the old look. I still have some things to iron out, but I got tired of waiting to switch. Netscape 4.76 refuses to put the side menus one under the other, but other than that it looks pretty good. If you’re using Netscape 6.2/Mozilla, you can switch to the old stylesheet — it doesn’t look good, but you can do it. If you miss the old design, it’s still out there.

You may have noticed the new “About” link on the left. This uses the new “Story” functionality in News Goat. Stories will generally be longer and more flexible than entries, while maintaining the same look & feel.

The next step for this site is to do some work on Blog Goat. For one thing, I need to get it ready so I can post it here for download. Then, I need to start adding features. It will have a tree interface that will show all your entries and stories. I would also like to be able to drag an item from the tree into the current document and automatically create a link to that item. Plus, lots more FTP functionality. But, all that will have to wait until I get Smart Goat and Crafty Goat redesigned. And Angela & I have plans for a nifty online recipe database — something that will be easy to update & easy to access from all our computers. Stay tuned… :-)

Nothing to say, really, just noting one of those interesting date/time combinations that occur occasionally.

Quick work story: About a week ago, a client informed us that they were unable to run one of our applications. When they clicked on the button to launch it, nothing would happen. My first suggestion was that they were missing one of our DLL files. When that didn’t fix it, I dialed in to their computer and tried running the program from the command line. I got this error:

The ordinal 6880 could not be located in the dynamic link library MFC42.DLL.

A search of Google discovered that this can occur when mfc42.dll (a Microsoft file) is old/missing/damaged. All the user needed to do was go to Microsoft and get the latest version of the file. Case closed, right?

Wrong. Our contact at the client company told us that couldn’t possibly be the problem — there’s no way that file could be corrupted on 15 different machines. He knew that DLL very well — if it were corrupted, he’d see problems in other programs.

So, we spent a week trying things we knew wouldn’t solve the problem, all because the user refused to accept the advice we gave him. We even tried replacing the DLL over the dial-in connection. It didn’t fix the problem — but, replacing a DLL that was is not always successful, so that wasn’t a real test. But it made me start thinking that maybe the guy was right.

Then, one of our VPs suggested putting the DLL in the folder with the program, so that the program would load that version instead of the user’s version. It was strange getting a good suggestion from an executive, but we tried it — and it worked. So, the problem was the mfc42.dll file after all. Who would have thought…

I like being right… :-)

I thought about posting an April Fool’s gag yesterday, but I’m pretty much the only one who reads this site, and I’m not easily fooled. :-)

Yesterday was the day we went wireless. We got a cell phone — and no, you can’t have the number. :-) We’re going to start advertising our business in the yellow pages, and we needed a business phone, so this seemed like the best solution. Plus, no long distance and no roaming seemed like a good deal. Most importantly, it’s one more tiny gadget that plays games. :-)

We also got the wireless network set up at home. I had some problems at first — I had downloaded and installed the latest software for the access points we bought. But the configuration utility couldn’t connect to either of the APs. No matter what I tried, I couldn’t connect — and there was nothing useful on the Internet. Finally, I got rid of all the software I had downloaded and then installed from the CD that came with the APs. Rebooted, and it worked. Apparently, the “latest software” from the Linksys website wasn’t the latest after all.

I then set one AP as an access point connected to the hub, and the other AP as an access point client connected (via cross-over cable) to Audrey. Voila! Wireless Audrey. And it works really well. Audrey is currently living on the kitchen counter. All the power cords limit its portability, but at least now it’s more useful than when it was sitting next to two full size computers. :-)

I’m working on a redesign of News Goat. It’s almost done, and it looks so much better than this version. I’ve also got an idea in my head for a new version of Smart Goat, which I’ll need to do pretty soon if we’re going to start advertising.

Last weekend, we painted the family room. It turned out really nice — the pictures don’t do it justice. We also got to have a nice visit with Angela’s family.

And now for some really big news — Angela is going to get LASIK surgery. She’s very excited about it, and I’m very excited for her. In about 2 weeks she’ll have normal vision — how cool is that?