CharlieMC (charliemc) wrote,

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Where Has the Time Gone??? Update Time!


Where has the time gone to???

I haven't posted since October 29! I was really surprised when I saw that!

We ordered OIL for the house yesterday. The cost is almost $650 for 200 gallons. That's outrageous! I've never seen oil this high, ever.

But we have to stay warm, after all. So what's a person to do?

Speaking of staying warm, the oil is being delivered today. So I have to have the furnace off prior to delivery. It's in the mid-60's in the house right now. Can you say COLD? (brrr) I can't wait until that delivery gets here!

Official Work Update!

I did something pretty amazing yesterday, if I do say so myself...

We got a new Notebook computer donated to the office, but it came with Windows Vista. (For those who may not know it, apparently Windows Vista requires 2 gigs of RAM to operate worth a damn!) Anyway, because the hardware didn't really support Vista -- and we didn't want to use it anyway -- I needed to install Windows XP.

Sounds easy enough, right?

Well, not exactly!

It took hours. I had to repartition the hard drive. I had to reformat the hard drive. Then I had to install Windows XP. Done? Nope! I had to reinstall all the drivers and basic software.

When all that was done, I was finally able to install MS Office. The goal for this computer is to use it as our official 'Presentation' notebook -- which means taking it out in the field when people give speeches (etc.). It needs to be able to decently play our PowerPoint presentations, in other words.

I hadn't reformatted a hard drive in over a decade. The same thing for repartitioning. Neither thing is horribly difficult, but naturally I was a tad stressed. After all, this isn't my personal computer we're talking about -- and there's no budget for repairs if I'd screwed up!

Happily, it went well.

Of course, the internet went down at work yesterday, too -- just to keep me on my toes! I tried recycling power (the most simple 'fix'), but no go. So I was ages on the phone with a young twit of a guy that annoyed hell out of me. But in the end we got things back up again, which is all that matters...

The internet connection going down is hell on wheels in there, so that's a major part of my IT Manager job. But you never know when you're going to end up needing to work on it, obviously...

I did finish the ad for the regional magazine that Jeff asked me to design, by the way. It turned out nice enough. Marilyn mistressmarilyn sat over me and told me exactly what she did and didn't want, as it's her job to try and maintain the festival 'brand' now. So while I did the actual graphics work, most of the design was her! She's got a great eye for things, which is why we work so well together creating PowerPoint presentations. I'm the technician -- and she has the creative energy! (I totally believe in giving credit where credit is due -- and I try never to take credit for work I don't do...)

It is pretty cool to think of my personally designed ad appearing in a magazine. I hadn't really stopped to consider it until blogging it just now. This year has been a pretty amazing one for me, artistically speaking. Suddenly my graphics are being used in so many different ways. I guess I can now consider myself a professional graphic artist...

The interesting thing is that I almost went to a college that focused entirely on Art (before chickening out and ending up at Portland State University), right after high school. You had to apply to the college -- and send tons of samples of your work. I was accepted, but I got very nervous about whether or not I could 'cut it' there. It was mainly tied up in the high cost of tuition, which was tremendous for my family. Seriously! My parents were willing to foot the bill initially, but they really didn't have the money to manage it.

The college refund policy was strict, so you didn't get much back if you changed your mind after you'd been there a few weeks. I decided I could take art courses in a standard college, which I did -- for the first term. (smile)

I quickly determined I didn't want to be an art major, needless-to-say. When you think about it, there's not much you can do with an art degree, after all. (I was so opposed to ever teaching at that age -- even though I probably should have gone that direction. I've spent my entire life teaching things in one form or another. Mom was right -- but I didn't want to hear it then!)

Actually, I've been doing various forms of graphic art for decades, too.

I never took a single class, ever. I had a friend who did while in college, and she was always telling me that I 'did it wrong' when she watched me created things. It drove her crazy that we could both have similar graphics assignments, but mine would turn out so much better than hers did. (smile) This was in the days before computer graphics, so I wouldn't have learned that anyway! In the long run, I ended up better off teaching myself how to do things...

Anyway, I'm proud to be able to use my skills to produce things that can be used. And having me do it saves money, too -- which is always an issue.

I also worked on some website changes.

I have tons more to do, though.

And while I'm working on them, I have so damn much code to clean up. (sigh)

I find that part really annoying -- and I'm tempted as hell to just leave it the way it is. But I know in my heart of hearts that keeping bad code is simply bad practice. It doesn't matter if it displays correctly now -- eventually broken code will break the webpage. So I need to fix it as I go -- which makes it all take forever and a day.

There's no easy way to clean up bad code.

That why it's best to try and get the code right in the first place, of course.

Yesterday I kept finding tons and tons of non-breaking spaces that had been put in with the text. That's just laziness. (That might sound harsh, I guess. Maybe laziness isn't fair. Maybe ignorance is more accurate...) Anyway, it comes from typing extra spaces after text and then failing to clean up the 'trailing spaces' before turning the text into HTML. Obviously the text was either typed into some software that coded it as it was done, or it was dumped into a software to convert it. I know this because I've seen several softwares that will then automatically convert everything -- including the non-breaking spaces -- into code. What a bitch to fix. Seriously. I wanted to tear my hair out yesterday while I waded through tons of bad code...

Eventually I'll get it all fixed, though -- and then I'll have clean code to work with in the future when I make changes! That is a very good thing. It's worth the annoyance of fixing it now, rather than goofing off and just changing the text as I need it...

Nobody has a clue how much work coding webpages is, though. The only person in the office who has any idea about HTML is Marilyn. I don't know if even she gets what's being talked about when I discuss cleaning up code. Considering it's easy to leave single characters around that can break code, I have to go through things line by line and character by character. But, again, it's worth doing it!

An aside: It's freezing in HERE!!!

But my oil delivery isn't until later today, so I need to leave the furnace off. It's around 63° in here -- which makes it hard to do anything!

On top of that, the yard guys came (and went) -- and the house smells of the fuel they use for their mowers, blowers and weedeaters. (ugh)

The poor cats! They keep trying to find places to huddle to get warm. It's cold!

I slept in this morning. And when I woke up, both cats were sleeping snuggled against me -- understandably! Henry keeps getting in my lap to get some body heat. (grin)

Oh! And I've been dealing on and off today with the donated computers -- and getting some actually up and running! That's huge to me -- and I suspect Donn will make it happen.

I Donn! What a great guy.

He's doing pretty well considering it's only been three months since his accident. You know, he's really lucky to be alive (which is what his doctor told him again this morning)...

If things work out as expected, I should be able to get at least six -- and maybe even seven -- computers built. I can't wait to have them up and running in the office! That would give decent computers to all the full-time staff! (woo hoo)

I'll be so proud if it works out. There have been some people who aren't enthused about these donations, but I think it's going to end up a true boon to the festival.

On another note, we're getting our 501 (C)(3) status as a non-profit. Then I'll be saying PRFF, rather than PRFA ('foundation' will replace 'association'). I'm forcing myself not to say 'association' anymore, but it's hard! It's been that as long as I've known it (over three decades, in other words).

That's one of the things I have to do as webmaster -- try to find all references to a 'civic' event, so it can be changed for our new designation. I've started, but there's tons to do!

I just keep going away to try and do other things -- then ending up here, again. (grin) Hey, it's been ages since I did a decent update, after all.

This is now quite long, so I guess I'll do another entry if I want to add more. (Like what's going on at home, for example.)

I have elements of the PowerPoint for tomorrow night's Board Meeting, so I should get started on it, I guess!

By the way, I miss all of you!

Maybe (???) after budgets and the meeting get done, things will slow down at work and I'll be able to do some things here again. (Hopefully!)


Tags: 2007, ad-for-magazine, donn, fall-board-meeting, festival, it-manager, it-related, marilyn, november-2007, powerpoint-presentation, prfa, prff, webmaster

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