Archives for: 2008

Dec 24, 2008 : New job

I'll be starting a new job in a few weeks. I took a position at SourceForge Inc (formerly OSTG, OSTN,, VA Linux, VA Software). They run sites like (open source project hosting), Slashdot (news for nerds), ThinkGeek (geek gifts) and others. I'll be working on a new project within the company, not any of those sites. They are based on out California but have an office in Ann Arbor. I'll go to Ann Arbor sometimes, but primarily be working from home. That should be interesting :) I'm looking forward to it a lot... I think I'll enjoy the kind of work I'll be doing there, and the telecommuting should give me a lot of flexibility.

I will be sad to leave Cornerstone University. I've made lots of good friends there and truly enjoyed working there. I'll still be in the area, so I hope to stop by and visit now and again. After I gave them notice, I had a week before our long Christmas break that I spent writing lots of documentation of the things I know and do there. Not the most fun thing to do. After break, my last week there will be full of lots meetings. And trying to squeeze in some more documentation and finish a few more tasks from my list.

Have a Merry Christmas, everyone!

Oct 29, 2008 : Backup Day

This Friday is Halloween. And it's this year's backup day. At least, according to Maxell. Two years ago, they inaugurated Fall Backup Day to be the Friday before the United States' "fall back" daylight savings time change. So each year it is the Friday before the first Sunday in November. (Assuming no new legislation is passed to change DST dates)

Just yesterday I was thinking there should be a backup day, where everyone is reminded to burn some CDs/DVDs of their important files, or make sure they have an automated backup to a remote computer or external hard drive. Because it's so easy to keep putting it off and never doing it. One of my hard drives died several weeks ago, and even that painful reminder wasn't enough for me to get backups in place right away for all my other files.

So I searched for a backup day, but I didn't find much. A few random declarations of random days as backup day, and Maxell's declaration seemed to be the most prominent (even their day seems weak, nothing but a few news articles about it). But I, at least, will start celebrating it.

So during a lull in the trick-or-treaters this year, start burning a DVD. Or find some software to do automatic backups of your files to a remote location.

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Oct 15, 2008 : Trinidad & Tobago steel drumming

On Tuesdays, all faculty & staff are encouraged to attend the chapels at Cornerstone University, in addition to the students. Yesterday the steelpan band from Trinidad & Tobago Urban Ministries was there. They played some awesome songs on their steel drums, and their leader gave a short message. It was really cool. They are traveling around the US performing at many schools and churches. Here's a video of a steelpan drum being played, although it's not from the team we heard.

Oct 08, 2008 : Highlights of Bruce Peninsula Trip

Cherith and I went to the Bruce Peninsula 2 weekends ago for a nice long-weekend vacation. It was a lot of fun hiking along the Bruce Trail and seeing the great views of the peninsula. Since I haven't updated my photo gallery in such a long time, I feel obliged to share at least a few highlight pictures. And put them on a map! Since that is kind of cool for you to see where we went. It's a bit of a drive from Michigan, but very easy driving along the highway in Canada, not much traffic. So go ahead and view a few of our best pictures on a Google Map

Aug 25, 2008 : Short thoughts - twitter

I've been using twitter some lately. It's sort of like public asynchronous IM or chatting. And there are many ways to post and read your updates, from IM-like apps, to text messaging, to their website. I don't know if I'll use twitter a ton, but I am some for now.

I've added my "tweets" to show up on my homepage under the heading "Short Thoughts". You can also check out my twitter page to read them there.

At least for now, I'm posting short tweets more often than long blog posts.

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Aug 15, 2008 : Populate Form Fields Bookmarklet

Sometimes you need to fill in lots of form fields, but you aren't using Firefox with the Web Developer Toolbar and it's "Populate Form Fields" tool. So I wrote a javascript bookmarklet that does basically the same thing.

Drag this to your bookmarks toolbar: Populate Fields

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Jun 29, 2008 : photos of road trip to Atlanta & Chattanooga

Someday I'll actually have a process down pat to get my pictures onto my website in a timely manner. In the mean time, you can look at my sister's pictures from a recent trip with friends

Jun 18, 2008 : family websites

My mom, both of my sisters, and I have websites. Even our popup camper (for sale) has its own website; but my Dad doesn't!

May 19, 2008 : Drop-down menu without javascript

Some time ago I was looking for a CSS-only (no javascript) cross-browser technique to make a drop-down expanding navigation menu. I found the GRC Menu that did this, but it had a lot of site-specific stuff in there. It was not something I could easily use as a starting point for my own sites.

So I hacked around with Steve's CSS and HTML and developed a minimal version. Here's the minimal version of GRC's script-free pure-css menu.

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May 13, 2008 : That doesn't happen very often

On Saturday morning I woke up to people talking about string concatenation, and how many parameters some function needed.

Feb 13, 2008 : Know anyone in Morocco?

Morocco's country code is 'ma', so they own the .ma domain. The site 'brondse' is available within the .ma domain, meaning I could own However, Morocco requires a local person to register a .ma domain, so I can't do it myself. Do you know anyone in Morocco?

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Feb 06, 2008 : Understanding the world

Here are two very good presentations about world health, politics, and economics.

The History of Violence

Debunking third-world myths with the best stats you've ever seen And you can also play around with the data & graphs yourself with gapminder.

Watch them. They're incredibly informative and engaging, and only about 20 min each

: MS SQL matrix query

If you use Microsoft SQL and you want to do a query to turn some rows into columns, it can be tricky. I don't know what that type of query is called, I think some call it a matrix query or a cross-tab query or a pivot query. Here's how I've been able to write a pivot cross-tab matrix queries for Microsoft SQL Server including an extra variation for SQL Server 2005.

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Jan 08, 2008 : Michigan 2008 primaries

Since my last post makes no sense to the majority of my readers, here's something else that makes me mad. Since Michigan moved their primary to Jan 15, before Feb 5, which isn't allowed by the Democratic National Committee (except for a few states that traditionally had them earlier) or the Republican National Committee, Michigan gets 0 delegates in the Democratic primary decision and they get half as many as normal for Republican. The major Democrats except for Hillary withdrew their name from the ballot, too. That makes me mad, so I found the voting record for MI senators, representatives, and the governor on this change. I know who I won't be voting for in the next MI elections.

: MediaWiki software and rel=nofollow

In case any of my readers run a MediaWiki site, you should know: By default, MediaWiki is configured to use rel=nofollow on links. This means anyone who sets up a MediaWiki site, not just wikipedia and its siblings. Here's more info and how to reconfigure it. That makes me mad. They should have better defaults.

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