Wednesday, March 31, 2010

SOFTWARE: PDFs On Watch List

The best defence against viruses and the like (worms, becoming zombies, etc.) is not being idiotic and believing everything that comes across the transom. If you don't expect it, don't click on it. You will USUALLY be safe if you NEVER disobey that one directive. You'll be percentages safer if you never click on anything, but that probably means you're the type to put plastic all over the coach and STILL forbid the kids and dogs from sitting on it. There's only so much abstinance before crazy town sets in.

At any rate, one of the 'safe' things out there was PDF files. Portable Document Files. Invented by Adobe and just about ruined by Adobe's bloated software to read and create the things. Thankfully, several other companies have stepped in and started offering alternatives to the free Adobe Reader (aka Adobe Acrobat in its youth). For the last two or so years, my alternative of choice has been Foxit Reader. It's fast, small on resouce-chomping and isn't from Adobe, which might be reason enough to use it. It searches through the file quickly, both backward, forward and around the ends. I like it.

But now I am worried. Dider Stevens has found Foxit's rep as a 'secure' alternative to Adobe Reader is flawed. Badly flawed. A nasty person of dubious parentage, can run a program inside of a PDF opened in the latest version(s) of Foxit. The threat is lessoned to some degree by using Adobe thanks to a message system that might or might not let you catch yourself before getting futzed up. A little skill at writing replacement text for Adobe's warning message might let the thing through anyways, but at least there's a chance to stop calamity. Unfortunately, Stevens' article is now out in the wild and the bad guys will be inspecting his example and burrowing through the PDF language in the hopes of figuring out exactly how to deliver harm rather than Stevens' proof of concept.

Which means I must now cast a cautious eye towards everything PDF I collect. And I collect lots of PDF files. Being a roto player means mining various sites and I frequently get the data back in PDF file format. Now, I'll have to reconsider. It's not like the HTML stuff is a whole lot more palatable. But I might just react to the Foxit security hole by switching to PDF-XChange Viewer.

Now, PDF-XChange Viewer has more going on than Foxit. There's a LOT of commenting and marking tools available in the free version (I remain committed to using free software unless there is no alternative to a needed feature of a pro version of anything). But it has one thing that Foxit doesn't have. That's the ability to move a LOT of the command toolbars off to the side and onto the same level as the word menu. What that does is to restore MORE depth to the viewing window. And that means bigger magnification of text. And that's good.

Two months ago, when one of my Samsung 21in screens went a bit wonky and I decided to replace the twin screens with twin 23in monitors, I went from individual monitors displaying 1600x1200 to the individual monitors displaying 2000x1148. That 52 lost pixels in depth are mostly offset by the extra 400 pixels in width. Except in web browsing and in PDF viewing. It's four percent shorter and that means every letter seems a point smaller on the screen. It's noticeable. However, by moving anything that CAN move (and locking them down, don't forget to do that) in PDF-XChange Viewer, I was able to get roughly the same viewing area as I used to get on the old desktop. So, I am in the process of switching over to PDF-XChange Viewer as the default PDF viewer here at the Castle of Confusion.

Plus, it means I probably don't have to worry about PDF security for another while.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

INTERNET: I'm Divorcing

When I was ten, my parents made the decision that they weren't going to get the Toronto Star anymore. I looked forward to reading it every afternoon (Yes, newspapers came in morning and afternoon varieties back in the ancient mists of time). I decided I would subscribe with part of my allowance. Best decision I ever made.

Later, in high school, I got a really good grade for writing a paper called "The Toronto Star - The Best Bargain for 25 Cents," after I visited the printing plant (then downtown) on a school trip. Later, I started making money from the paper as a High School Reporter, phoning in scores from various games at Bramalea Secondary School. After graduating and after my ever-so-short sojourn at Ryerson Polytech, I started hustling the scores to The Star for ALL high schools in Peel region. Did it for the Sun and Globe, too. In fact, for a very brief period of time, getting three bucks times three for each score for each school made me one of the top ten paid non-columnist sports reporters in Toronto. The gig didn't last out a year, but it was fun while it lasted. Later, I covered the Toronto Tornados of the Continental Basketball Association (I was fired from that post) and wrote free-lance stories for the Star's Business section and for the regional inserts.

Through all of it, including the later-reversed firing, I continued to subscribe. My morning STARTED with the Star. I watched the paper wane from a marathon read to a 20-minute peruse. But I still kept getting the paper. Star blood ran through my veins. The decades passed. Unfortunately I frequently had an issue with the ever-changing delivery people. I will not accept a paper thrown on the stoop or shoved into the mail box. The paper must go into the space between the front door and the screen door. No danger of it getting wet or blown away. No danger of it holding the mailbox open to the mercies of the weather. Nope, it has to go into the inside of the door. This of course would require complaining once in a while. Rarely would I need more than one complaint to have the newest delivery person adjust to my conditions.

Then, late last year, the idiot delivering in my area ignored FIVE complaints. I told the dolts managing the idiot that that that was the last straw. CANCEL MY SUBSCRIPTION. For the first time in 43 years, I wasn't getting a daily newspaper delivered to my house. And I was a 15-year veteran of the sports journalism wars. BUT, I had the Internet to fall back on. In fact, I was reading most of what I would read in the morning around 4am every day. I was not happy, but I wasn't unhappy. You can't take the computer into the reading room (well, I could, but I don't). On the other hand, I didn't have to bundle up newspaper for the trash weekly anymore.

I could live with the Internet Star. And I knew it was only a matter of time before the decision to switch would have been forced upon me anyways. I got out of the newspaper game just ahead of the unionization of the paper I worked for. I wouldn't have handled that well (I worked waaaay more than 40 hours a week and didn't take a vacation at one point for a 30-month stretch, things not possible in a union-interfering world). The newspaper business I grew up in doesn't exist anymore. It was dying even back then. It's been bruited about that 2020 will largely be a newspaper-free year.

But an unfunny thing happened on the way to the future. The Star decided to redo its web-site. And myopic designers and COMMITTEES (aka groups of people who don't actually USE what they are making) managed to mangle my reading experience. Why? Because the designing dufuses doing this re-design decided merely to transport the hard-copy reading experience to the screen. Function defines form. I 'think' that comes from Marshall McLuhan, but I certainly could be wrong. That said, the same design that works on the screen doesn't work on a big broadsheet paper. And, more importantly, vice versa. And yet, that was EXACTLY what the re-design accomplished. Ignore function, retain form. The reason? Impossible to figure out.

The reading experience at has deteriorated incredibly with this 'beta' design that is, in fact, the final product. The reason is INSERTS, sidebars that add information to the story you are reading. These inserts are supposed to add bite-sized informational morsels. In the paper, you can glance at them and read them in a second or two while between paragraphs. Or you can read them after perusing the whole story. Not much effort beyond shifting your eyes. Works well on the printed page.

On the screen .... not so much. Look I run high-end graphics on my computer. I can see a WHOLE lot of the length of any screen page. I even have AutoPager set up in Firefox and a very easy-to-use scroll wheel. But reading the Star story is arduous at best. First, the story stars in a minuscule-width column on the left to allow for a picture on the right. Then it snakes back to the right to allow for an OBLIGATORY INSERT, which means a more than a minuscule, but not much more, width column of story text. Finally, at the end of the insert, we get the the full width of the column to fill with story.

And let me say something here. I trundle through this, including having to scroll BACK UP to read the insert, because the quality of the writing in The Star has never wavered. It's the best written. It's the most complete. It's the most informed. (of the major Toronto dailies).

But today, the straw broke my back. In particular, the feature on Tom Tango, written by Robert Cribb. Well done. Informative. News to me, and I follow the Blue Jays again, these days. And a pain in the posterior to read. The reason? The insert went on for four screens on my 2000x1148 screen with very, very minimized headers in Firefox. I work hard, very hard, to maximize the amount of the page I can actually see at any given time.

Enough. I've complained TO the idiots (maybe the same group that foisted Buzz on we Google Mail users). I get back a platitude expressing thanks for my opinion. Nothing to address my complaints. I have friends amongst the writers and I've sent them begging requests and screeds to address the fools. And they have. And they universally report back to me the most incredible of all statements. "Every time I mention some of these problems to our web editors, I'm told there is no problem. They're quite happy with this, believe it or not," emailed back one of my old workmates who now has a prominent column. If that is the case, and I believe my guy, then Cyril Kornbluth's "Marching Morons" has become less science fiction and more fact.

The Star, to the best of my investigation, is the ONLY newspaper that uses this 'template.' EVERY other site I have visited runs the notes-kind of sidebar where it needs to be in a web-site. At the END of the story. EVERY other site allows me to read the story in the fewest key-clicks/scrolls as possible. They understand ticking off viewers is NOT the way to keep their eyeballs. And eyeballs is how you sell advertising. You know, the money-making machine BEHIND the continued jobs everybody has, writers and web-designers alike.

Also, finding stories on The Star's sports front page is pretty easy. There's ten, I think. Big headlines, easy to find by-lines. Now, if you want something that happened a few hours ago and is no longer among the top ten stories time-wise, well good bleepin' luck. You'll be clicking yourself into apoplexy or using the search box and hoping you get the keywords right that they index on. The Toronto Sun, nowhere near the quality of writing of The Star, gets it right. Show the headlines and then include that MORE at the bottom of the time-sorted list of stories. Sure, the tabloid newspaper's stories often only run a few paragraphs, but you can get the news if you are interested in something that isn't one of the BIG stories of the moments. In effect, The Sun is more of a newspaper while The Star has become a wretched artistic exercise in making me work.

No more. As of today, I will be reading the columnists I currently read. I mean, Doug Smith is the hardest working sports reporter in Canada. I'm not going to kick him out of my life just because his employers are myopic and totally ignorant of the mess their minions are creating for them. But for news, no more. The Sun and the TV will suffice.

After 44 years, this love affair is over.

Friday, March 19, 2010

HARDWARE: One LESS Thing Against the iPad

When the iPad was announced (officially), I was mostly not interested. Part of the issues I had with the device was its lack of support for Adobe Flash. In fact, if I remember correctly, in the list of things I didn't like about the iPad, Flash was mentioned multiple times. I thought it was important, if only for YouTube's sake.

Turns out, I was wrong. YouTube and HTML5 will make Flash a non-issue. In fact, if it helps make Adobe a non-issue, given my dislike for the company in general, that will be a good idea. But where I was really wrong was the technical reason Steve Jobs had for banishing Flash from all iDevices for all time. It just WON'T WORK ON THEM. Ever.

What convinced me of that was a link in Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary pointing to THIS entry from Daniel Dilger, who does a blog called RoughlyDrafted Magazine. Boiling down the issue, it's because Flash is very mouse-specific, very single-pointer location specific. Given the multi-touch interface on the Apple hardware, Flash would go ballistic. Even if Flash can be updated/changed to accommodate multi-touch, the fact is that it has always been a solution that barely worked and had no opposition. It's resource-consuming (read battery draining) and buggy. But we've all put up with it because it was, more or less, the only choice we had.

Now, HTML5 is coming onto the scene. It's not controlled (read patented) by one company and Jobs likes that, probably more than any other 'feature' of the would-be Flash killer. YouTube, Hulu and the ilk will be offering HTML5 alongside Flash well before iPad v2.0 comes out.

The real question is, will there even be a Flash to worry about by iPad v3.0?

SPORTS: The Best Since Not As Good

Just heard it again. A broadcaster on the tube said, "West Virginia's second seed is the school's best since it was a fifth seed in ..."

Drives me absolutely up the wall. Who CARES when West Virginia was a fifth seed? When was the last time the Mountaineers were a second seed? Or a first seed? Or is this the best ranking West Virginia's EVER had going into an NCAA tournament? I don't think so. WVU once had the wondrous Jerry West leading the charge and you have to think the selection committee was as impressed by him, as the Basketball Hall of Fame voters eventually were. But I digress.

First, statements like the one made by the announcer (who matters not), are true but are intellectually lazy. It's like the researcher said, "Well, I've looked far enough back. Time to call it a day (minute?) and just say it's the best since ..." Secondly, it's LESS impressive than it can be. If, for example, the last time West Virginia was second or better seeded was back in West's day, then it's been a HALF-CENTURY, or close to it, since people were this gaga about the Mountaineers. That's a heck of a lot more impressive than a fifth seed some (small) number of years ago.

Occasionally, these lazy historical comparatives are even bordering on the actual wrong side of accuracy. You've ALL heard announcers intone some current mark is the best since ... well the exact same mark. But sometimes those historical milestones occurred in less games or more games, less time or more time. And the same numbers don't reflect accurate relationships.

Me, when I hear the word 'since,' I want the number from the history to be better. Not the same. Not sort of the same, but better. Or worst (New Jersey Nets in the race with the sad sack Philadelphia Seventy-Sixers for the most futile NBA season of the modern era) That way I can evaluate the best/worst SINCE evaluation without wanting to reach through the TV screen and shake the announcer to the point he takes it out on the researcher.

The lazy researcher.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

SPORTS: You've Heard It Before, ROCK, CHALK JAYHAWK!

Rising my head above water for a nonce, it's time to get my March Madness picks made publicly, in order to bask in the afterglow of 'Told Ya So!'

Yes, I am wearing my Kansas Jayhawks Championship Tee-shirt as I proudly name this year's version of the Jayhawks as the national champion. I think I have something like eighty poolsheets going (some of them progressive, being made before each round) and Kansas wears the crown in, ohhhh, about 76 of them. That's despite arguably the most stacked region to tiptoe through, including the only two teams that have bested Kansas this year. Gotta admire the sense of humour demonstrated by the selection committee. I don't think it's much possible that Tennessee will earn a rematch, but it's not beyond the realm of possibility to see Oklahoma State make the regional final. Realistically, it'll be either Ohio State or Georgetown who will see Kansas cut the region nets for souvenirs. I actually like Georgetown here because I'm a big Greg Monroe fan.

Now, who will play Kansas in the final. I'm betting it won't be Kentucky, who has a minefield of chances to slip up before the big Monday night in Indy. In my voluminous pool sheets, I have Kentucky losing in the second round a couple of times, in the third round a bunch of times, in the fourth round a bunch more times, in the semi-finals a few times and not a all a couple of times. The Wildcats are a wild mix of talent and youthful inexperience. And somehow, that means I think Bobby Knight gets a laugh at John Calipari's expense.

Let's face it, when you have two of the top four picks in this summer's NBA draft, at least two other first round talents and a guy off the bench who might go in the draft too, you know Kentucky has championship level talent. But there is something to ponder. In anointing John Wall player of the year before we ever saw the best of Ohio State's Evan Turner, we also glossed over the warts on Kentucky. This is a team that runs and guns and depends on the other wonder frosh, Demarcus Cousins, and late lottery pick Patrick Patterson, to play volleyball with the offensive rebounds. But in their losses, and the near losses to a non-tourney team like Mississippi State, the formula for beating Kentucky became all too clear. They don't shoot threes all that well, are so-so at the charity stripe and don't retain focus all that well on defence when the other team stalls (the truer way of saying, patience on offence).

Remember that humour I mention the selection committee showed earlier. Well, they must all be Bobby Knight fan club members. Cuz look at this route to the title. After the opening round practice slash game for Kentucky, the Wildcats will likely get Texas, merely the top-ranked team in the country two months ago. If the Longhorns suddenly get serious and focus, it will be a heck of a game and no guarantees who wins. Assuming Kentucky does in Texas, next in line is Wisconsin, the defensive-minded demons coached by Bo Ryan. Well THAT's not going to be fun. Wisconsin doesn't make many mistakes. The Badgers will air the ball out and they've got the three-point threats and interior offence to make that work. Then on defence, the Badgers will pack the paint and dare Wall and company to hoist up shots (and make a few). Oh, and if Kentucky falls behind and has to foul Wisconsin, the Badgers will make their free throws. Kentucky doesn't get any breaks just getting by Wisconsin, as West Virginia will be MORE than happy to take a shot at ending Wall's collegiate career. The Mountaineers have their own potential draftees in Da'Sean Butler and Devin Ebanks and they might be playing the best ball in the best league in the country right now. Plus, coach Bob Huggins has that number two seed to fire up his club. Knowing the formula will make Huggins' game plan simple.

But let's say Kentucky walks the walk through the minefield. Come Final Four Saturday, who will Kentucky see wearing blue and white too? Yep, the Duke Blue Devils. Let's see how THEY fit the formula. Outside shooting? Check. Interior presence? Check, and the two Plumlee Brothers are in a race for most improved players from season start to season finish. Ability to work the clock? Check. Well-coached defensive schemes that will off-set the frontcourt Kentucky strongmen? Check. Experience? Check, what with most all the players having multiple NCAA's experience while the Wildcats are so young, if you add up ALL the years of experience their top six players have, it doesn't hit double-digits. And that doesn't include anything but a cup of coffee for Patterson as far as March Madness goes. Although getting that far will obviate another Kentucky peculiarity (the team didn't play all that many good teams, especially away from the friendly confines of Rupp Arena) so there will be some decent wins on their resume by then.

Give them the win over Duke (I'm actually betting mostly that West Virginia does them in, first), the Wildcats are met finally by an even more talented team in Kansas. I think Sherron Collins neutralizes Wall, the bigger Wildcats discover why Cole Aldrich is the best true collegiate center in the country and there is no shining moment for the bluegrass boys.

So, go ahead and pick where you think Kentucky loses, if at all. As I mentioned I think West Virginia gets them and then does in Duke in the national semi-final. A glorious season comes up short in losing to Kansas in the final, but that's what's going to happen.

The other Final Four participant? Syracuse, who really only needs to get by a second-round tripwire in Gonzaga. And that's only because of injury concerns. Syracuse has been the most cohesive unit in the country over the season and there just isn't anybody in their bracket who will give them the heebie jeebies. In fact, I think BYU might be their regional final opponent two weekends from now.

All in all, I'm expecting a rash of favourites winning. Sure, I've got some variety in my various sheets. Afterall, why repeat the same picks more than once, when a perfect sheet can be worth a million bucks. For the usual nine-eight mismatches (the nines win 54 per cent of the time), I like Northern Iowa and Louisville. The five-twelve to watch is UTEP beating a good Butler team, since there has to be one of those, or the tournament isn't complete. But that's the only one that appeals. A LOT of OTHER people like Utah State and especially Cornell to continue that odd five-twelve thing. But I don't. Texas A&M is good and Cornell has a bad match-up in their model, Temple. It'll be close in both games but the higher seeds will win. I like Saint Mary's to give the ten's a win and that's about it early. I didn't mention upset darlings Sienna, who have a badly wounded Purdue in a four-thirteen that a LOT of people are jumping all over, including me, until I looked at it more intently.

First, pre-Robbie Hummel injury, Purdue was a one-seed in the making. Sure, when another injury Saturday led to the Boilermakers finally giving up the ghost and getting pasted in the Big Ten semis, it appeared a four-seed might have been too high. I mean, come on, ELEVEN POINTS in the first half!! But as good as Hummel is/was, as problematical as a hobbling Lew Jackson will be, this is still a very talented and well-coached team. Yes, Sienna's good and has been to the second round as a double-digit seed the last two years. But the Saints have their OWN injury problems right now. And with that factor to take into account, I'm calling for Purdue over Sienna almost right across my boards. But I have them losing to Texas A&M right after that.

So that's the scoop three weeks in advance. It's Kansas over West Virgina for the title and Syracuse and Duke joining West Virgina one win short of a dream come true.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

LIFE: Please and Thank You

I was reading Jeffrey Toobin's fine piece on American Supreme Court Justive John Paul Stevens in The New Yorker (You can read it on line here), when I came across Toobin's detailing of one of Stevens' habits. "Stevens tends to weigh in at oral argument at around the halfway point, and he does something that none of his colleagues do: he asks permission. 'May I ask you a question?' or 'May I ask you this?' "

My thoughts immediately turned back to the first boss I ever had. Ken Giles. The legendary, hall of famer Sports Editor of the Brampton Guardian (and of the Bramalea Guardian, which is where I started my sports writing career while in Grade Ten at Bramalea Secondary School). In the decade and a half that he was my boss, he NEVER, EVER told me to do anything! Not once. EVERY single command was put into the form of a question. Would you ... Can you ... Always a question that I never, of course, ever declined. But it was a matter of civility to a most civilized man. And he'd say please a lot too. And this from a man who the town named an arena after. And it's the Ken Giles Arena, NOT the Ken Giles Memorial Arena.

It shaped my professional life. I assumed all bosses behaved similarly. Heck, even the Boss's boss, tended to behave similarly. Robert King, the publisher through much of my Guardian years, also believed in the principle of not barking out commands. I can be forgiven if I thought business worked that way.

It doesn't, of course.

As a result, these two men are undoubtedly responsible for my inability to hang onto a job for much of the last three decades. Just kidding! I'm hardcore unemployable. Which is why I work for myself and only get into verbal battles with myself these days. But my professional upbringing has had an effect on how I do handle my interactions with fellow workers (the bosses still have 'issues' with me). As bellicose as I am, and trust me, I am, I try to say please and make the request a form of question. And I strain to remember to say thank you, even when, theoretically, I'm thanking them for doing their job. I don't always succeed.

Afterall, I'm not Ken Giles.

Monday, March 15, 2010

BOOKS/MOVIES: Two of My Favourite Ladies

Kristine Katherine Rusch writes the great Retrieval Artist science fiction mysteries. She also writes a blog that is part personal journal and part an on-going book called, The Freelancer's Survival Guide. Stay for the personal anecdotes, but come for the Guide if you have the slightest urge to go out on your own, as a writer or what have you.

Sunday's entry was on Risk and mentioned Sandra Bullock prominently. I have been remiss in not expressing public congratulations to Sandy for her win last Sunday at the Oscars. I've seen The Blind Side and enjoyed it a lot. But then I'm pre-disposed to liking movies starring Bullock, having worked with her in the misty ancient ages of last century. It was only the once and only for the briefest of times. But I became a life-long fan and haven't felt the poorer for it. Heck, I even like a few of her bombs (and there have been a few). You could make the case that the statute was a lifetime achievement award because every single crew person on her movies loves her, but karma's not always a bitch. Nice women don't always finish last, Mr. Durocher. Occasionally they win the big prize.

Okay, I've digressed a bit. No apologies. Now, back to KK Rusch.

I've been unemployed now for closing in on 30 years. I haven't gotten rich, to the eternal unhappiness of some related minds. But I have been secure enough to turn down big-paying jobs. Twice, I've kicked away six-figure jobs because I didn't like working with the people I would have had to work with. I've fired clients for wasting my time. And the only time I ever regretted it was the time it took me away from Laura. Oh, and the original first quitting, that of my position as Assistant Sports Editor at the Brampton Guardian newspaper caused me a few wistful thoughts. But otherwise, I've been okay with being unemployed and underemployed.

And KK does a good job of revealing how okay she is currently with having turned down a high-paying gig because of working conditions and because she would have been ON somebody's payroll, in effect. And subject to their whims. Rather than give up her independence, she opted to turn down the gig with not much more than a passing thought or two. That's when you KNOW you've become a freelancer. And that realization is like winning an award. It's called freedom.

As I've said, these two ladies produce work I enjoy. Thanks and congratulations, ladies. Keep it up.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

BLOGGING: Other Changes I Discovered

There are some other changes to the blog I've just discovered. Comments will be a little less spam-filled. Yeah, there's been a LOT of crap from Anonymous ignoramuses. Ignoramusii? At any rate, you have to be identifiable and you have to answer one of those word picture thingies to post a comment. Given the dearth of actual real life comment, that won't be too much of an imposition.


Earlier this year, I got phone calls wondering if I was dead. No, NOT because of inactivity in this blog, but because news of bridge player Gary Mugford's passing was going around. It was true. But it was the OTHER Gary Mugford who had recently died. A better man than I, Gary R. Mugford was a man who saved lives as a fireman and who happened to play a pretty good game of bridge. I met him at a tournament in Jordan and we actually did play in a Canadian Nationals one year as a lark. He will be sadly missed.

This blog has suffered from the recent spate of work-related tasks. In addition to my eons-long programming project at the main customer, we had to virtually re-do the whole network after a virus attack hit their network hard in early February. We had to replace 85 per cent of the network. And by we, I mean Patrick did most of it and I configured software after the fact. That was three weeks of 16-hour workdays with not much time for programming. Or for watching the Olympics. We were doing the last of the physical installs right about the time Sidney Crosby scored the winning goal in the Game That Mattered. Thus, this old sports reporter was one of the few Canadians not watching the gold medal game. Of course, I wouldn't have anyways. I vowed not to watch any Canadian team with that oaf Dany Heatley wearing the national colours and I was true to my word. And I WAS available to watch all but that gold medal game and chose not to. Good for Sid the Kid, Luongo and the rest, bad for that bozo who, I guess, will get his comeuppance come playoff time.

At any rate, I was stirred to make this quick (for me) post because of changes here at Blogger. I was, more or less, asked to 'freshen' up my site design. I did the least amount possible. But here it is. I DO like that I was able to switch the guides to the left. I think it's idiotic to place menus on the right due to differences in user screen dimensions. And the column now stretches to accommodate the width you have. In MOST cases, that should mean more text per line, more text per screen and less scrolling. Don't like the colours all that much, but fiddling around with things will have to wait. Otherwise, I don't hate the changes.

When will this blog pick up again? Don't know. I'm decompressing this week. Well three days. Then it's March Madness. But the programming project that will never end beckons with a new beta test target of the end of the month (training in it has to be finished by the end of April). Another client has been really, really great at putting off an update cuz both he and I hate the idiots forcing the update. And the old POS software is due for an upgrade, part of which is already written.

What's that Chinese curse? May you live in interesting times! Well....