Category Archives: Best Of

The best of The Blog.

Web design thoughts

I completed a dump of my old jwswebenterprises.com domain to my drive today in preparation for some serious archival (and dumping a hosting account that’s burning a $100 hole in my pocket every year that I don’t really use anymore). jwswebenterprises.com was where I did a lot of my work in my senior year of high school. While I certainly have come a long way in terms of design, I still think that some of the graphical pieces I did for my sites (mainly The Realm, my former personal site) were some of the most artistically aggressive work that I have ever done, especially as it relates to the typography I employed.

Putting aside the fact that it fully embraced the Internet Explorer monopoly and incorporated so many IE extensions that it made Mozilla 1.0 vomit when it was released in mid-2002, the fourth incarnation of my old Realm site is still my favorite — yes, of all time — in terms of sheer expression. It utilized a rich palette of deep blues, striking greens, and vivid oranges. The typography ran the gamut from futuristic lettering in OCR A Extended, to a grungy typewriter font in Batik (Harting) Regular, to dabbling in the classy with Vladimir Script. All three come into play in this rare graphic displayed in the early going of February 2002, when the news script was operating but the rest of the site was still being put together:

Realm 4 Transition Phase

The juxtaposition of the fonts was just out there and worked really, really well — it wasn’t something I would have expected myself to do. These themes were weaved in throughout the entire design and just lent a class to it — a pity I never finished the content of that site before moving onto another design.

As I’ve gotten older and allegedly grown up, I definitely have become more conservative with my design. My work is definitely more calculated; much more matters now on the Internet than it did then, when there was only one viable browser and platform, and search engine optimization was sticking “content” and “description” META tags in the top of all the pages. CSS for layout was an ideal that was seemingly impossible, and Netscape 4.7 would probably crash if you used CSS in your page anyway.

My, how times have changed.

Nerds

My buddy Tom and I are in Norm’s on Smith Street right now. As these three extremely scantily clad girls left Norm’s, one walked up to us and said “you should be dressed up.” Another one of the girls said “they are dressed up, they’re nerds.” Wow.

Perks of the job

Mac OS X Desktop

I got a MacBook Pro through work, and I am in love. I’m in love so much, in fact, that I can’t possibly see my next computer being a PC. After spending several days working in Mac OS X, going back to Windows seems like stepping back in time ten years. Perhaps it’s the excitement of regular exposure to something different, like an exciting new girl or something. I dunno. Windows definitely seems antiquated, though. This Mac blazes, and gets me to a login screen within 10 seconds on a cold boot. Try getting Windows to do THAT. (I don’t think the 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo inside hurts.) The Mac resumes much faster and much more reliably. For a laptop, I just don’t think you can beat a Mac. I’m using GeekTool to display the system log, kernel version and load average, running processes, and disk usage on the desktop.

With the Vista debacle being what it is, and Linux just not ready for prime time on the desktop, the Mac truly is the way to go. Guess Steve has ensnared another one…

“I have a secret.”

So my friend Mel and I were out celebrating his 23rd birthday tonight at Tsunami, when our waitress comes up and shares some interesting news. It goes a little something like this:

“I have a secret.”
“Really?”
“See that table over there? At about 9:00, Ryan Seacrest and Randy Jackson from American Idol are coming in.”
“No waaaaay.”
“No, seriously, they’ll be here…”

With skepticism, Mel and I stuck around for curiosity’s sake. And I’ll be damned if the clock didn’t strike 9, and Ryan and Randy were walking through the doors with their entourage seated at a table about 15 feet from us. Once word got around as to WHO was at the table, the entire room began texting. Like, I have never seen an ENTIRE room raise their phones and begin sending text messages rampantly. Naturally, Mel and I both joined the throng of eager texters all relaying OMG AMERICAN IDOL PEEPS OH NOES.

People were cool about it, though. Sure, people kept looking at ’em, but nobody went up to them and talked to them or tried to bug them (at least from what we saw). Randy appeared to give Mel some props as we were leaving, giving him a nod. You could see the star-struckness on many folks’ faces. It was interesting.

It definitely will be a birthday he remembers, for sure — it’s not every day you see people from the highest-rated television program ever, after all.

What a mess…

I’m on my laptop right now, with my main server and desktop powered down (the backup server, which runs the weather station, just has to tough it out), with insanely heavy rain, lightning, and thunder coming down (I heard a little hail, too). The way the rain is, my weather station is estimating about 3″ an hour. It’s not moving much, either, so I’m sure I’ll have great flooding photos later.

As my battery is low, I don’t want to write too much, but here’s the radar image we’re dealing with right now — YIKES!

Giant thunderstorm

Update around 1:50PM: Things are actually tapering off a bit. I went ahead and plugged the laptop into my power source. I’m still operating off wireless, so that’s good, but at least it won’t die in the middle of everything.

This has been one heck of a storm. I’m up to 1.5″ of rain in the last hour. The station is now estimating that I’ll see over 4″ of rain in an hour if it keeps raining at this rate. A flood advisory was issued for the area. Needless to say, portions of Ashley that don’t normally go underwater are getting covered. We have a very major flooding event unfolding downtown. I’ll keep an eye out — photos soon.

Update around 2:20PM: Here are those photos I mentioned. The flooding is impressive considering it’s just after low tide. Luckily, the waters will recede quickly. Here’s a look, though, at before and after…

Ominous Ashley Wake Ashley Wake 2

IT: Got No Idea

Exchange a few minutes ago as I’m walking into work. The elevator’s arrived and I’m stepping on when a fairly attractive young woman approaches, and then suddenly stops and flips through her purse.

Her: Do you know where the meeting is? I’ve got no idea where to go.
Me, looking like a young student-to-be that may be going to this meeting but really isn’t: I’m not sure…I’m just headed up to the fifth floor, IT, not sure about any meeting.
Her: I don’t even know what that is, but OK, I’m sure I’ll find out.

This post started with an intellectually-elite-assholish way of thinking that she “absolutely should know what IT is if she’s going to college,” but then I realized that her life is probably simpler on a magnitude of about 3 million without knowing all that, so maybe it’s not so bad. Let’s hope nobody shatters her innocence until she’s good and ready.

How I spent my Saturday night

Folks, this is going to be a long story, one that I’m certain explains my eHarmony results. Please, grab a cup of coffee spiked with the liquor of your choosing (you’ll need it), sit down, and dive into my tale of Active Directory chaos. It’s a bit geeky, but I’ll try to explain stuff as I go along. Continue reading

A travesty at The Weather Channel

First, a quick game of What’s Wrong With This Video? Keep in mind, it’s not altered in any way, shape, or form, other than being compressed to a manageable size and put on YouTube.

In terms of Weather Channel history, May 7, 2007 is a day that will forever live in infamy. Sometime in the evening, The Weather Channel shut off the computer-generated narration (the robot voice that I imitate oh-so-well) on the IntelliStar and Weather Star XL units nationwide and switched their Local Forecast playlist to — shudder — vocal music. Is this the demise of the smooth jazz that has marked the 8s of every hour for the last decade? It’s unfathomable. The last known true vocal song to air on The Weather Channel was a Willie Nelson song around Christmas 1983. 23 years later, there have been reports of Nickelback being played on the Local Forecast. Freaking NICKELBACK. And after watching a couple forecasts with the new vocal playlist, it becomes plainly obvious why TWC has played instrumental music — this new stuff just totally overwhelms the presentation! Music for The Weather Channel is designed to simply be background music, because the important part is the forecast, not necessarily what’s in the background (though they play some pretty nice jams, I must say). The common thread, though, is that the music is not supposed to overwhelm — and Chad Kroeger barking out over the forecast certainly does.

I was never a fan of the narration on the Weather Star XL or the IntelliStar, but this is most definitely not the way I wanted to see it retired. Let’s hope TWC is back to their senses tomorrow morning…

Update: As of the 1:08 Local Forecast, things are back to normal. I hope TWC never does this again.