24 August 2007

Wobble: All Good Things ...

Sigh, as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. I've been dreading this moment for a long time now, even though I knew it would have to come - and frankly, SHOULD have come - a long time ago. But there's no use kidding myself any more. Wobble ends here.

I will try and keep this site "up but as is" for as long as I can. But next year will be a big question mark. I do wish to stress though, that most of what is written here is hopelessly out of date, so please keep that in mind.

Thanks to all who visited here and spent time reading what I wrote. It was fun while it lasted. Bye.

22 March 2007

I'm Back, Sort Of, Maybe ...

Sleeping beauty has just woken up, after nearly a year and a half. Or put another way, I'm going to try and start writing again. I prefer not make any promises, so let's just keep our fingers crossed and see how things go. (One thing that bodes well for Wobble is that I've sort of retired from my job of the past 10 years, so that should free up a lot of my time. Plus the fact that I haven't written in a while, so the fingers are itching to write again.)

What prompted my return was that I was experimenting with Google Apps (https://www.google.com/a/). Two months ago, I signed up for an account and started playing with it. Like most Google stuff, though, it takes a litle bit of getting used to. The web component is especially frustrating. Granted, I'm not much of a web page designer, but I really would like a bit more control over what I can do. Realizing that I was severely limited in this, I tried to do a redirect to my own web server. Uh, not so easy to do.

With the help of an Italian (I think) fellow (name unknown) who has a nice batch of tips and tricks for Google Page Creator at https://www.polycrystalline.googlepages.com/poly.html, I was finally able to achieve this. By the way, the redirect was sent here to Wobble.

Meanwhile, my Thingamablog (which I'm still using - or more precisely, LEARNING to use again) has been upgraded from version 1.02 to 1.06. How time flies!

22 October 2005

Random Ramblings: Blosxom

When I transmorphed Wobble into its present blog format last year, I shopped around for blogging software that met my needs/fancy. Since I had my own domain, I chose to host it entirely on my own server and not to use the likes of Blogger or similar services. And not being terribly familiar with SQL (upon which most blogging systems depended), I eventually ended up with Thingamablog, a freeware, SQL-less blogging system.

While Thingamablog has worked pretty well for me so far, one thing I DON'T like about it is that I can't carry it around with me; or put another way, I'm not sure know HOW to carry it around with me. Every now and then when I'm away from my home computer (where Thingamablog Central lives), I get the urge to make a quick fix to a existing post or to upload something new. I can't seem to do that right now. The best I can do is to write any changes/additions to a text file and then paste it into my main Thingablog installation when I get home.

Not that I was looking around for a replacement, but I think I may have hit upon something that MIGHT ONE DAY replace Wobble's Thingamablog engine. Introducing Blosxom. Like Thingamablog, Blosxom is SQL-less and open source. What's different about it is that all posts are simply text files (well, maybe not just PLAIN text files since they can be liberally HTML imbued), that only need to be uploaded individually and not combined with other posts like with Thingamablog.

I haven't had the time to actually try the program out yet, but a proof-of-concept test IS expected before year end. The amazing thing about Blosxom is that it is less than 150 lines of Perl code. This is not suggest that it is simplistic and limited - far from it. Blosxom's plug-in architecture and the existence of hundreds of plug-ins allow it to operate just like any other blogging software on the block. We shall see ...

27 July 2005

Random Ramblings: Reader Emails

One of the consequences of my recent "walkabout" was that I forgot to check mail that was sent to Wobble. When I finally did that last week, I found several hundred spam emails, plus a handful of emails from readers of Wobble. For those who wrote me (as opposed to those who spammed me), my sincere apologies and herewith are my return comments.

To Ronald in Chiang Mai who suggested that I go to https://www.google.com/intl/en/ to get an English Google page instead of maintaining an easily lost Google language preference cookie, I agree - except that I find the loss of Google's colourful logo a bit disconcerting. As a way to help retain the Google cookie, I now avail myself of a Firefox extension called "Cookie Culler" which allows me to protect selected cookies, while automatically purging all others when I quit Firefox. So far, it works well.

To Dr. Klaus from Germany who revealed that a manual for Nerocmd (i.e. Nero Burning ROM's command line tool) does indeed exist, thanks for the info. Unfortunately, I never found the manual that was supposedly file attached. Instead, a manual for Nero proper (alas, in German which I cannot read) came in an earlier email. If he wishes to resend the manual (in English, thank-you), I would be glad to have a copy. Until then, I'll just continue to study the help options for what I need to do.

To Khun Tom who apparently wrote from Wesleyan University in Connecticut, asking why IE was shrinking Thai italics, well, you answered your own question. Thankfully too, since I'm not much of a web programmer/designer. Besides that, thank-you for your kind words about my writings.

The good news is that I've changed how future correspondances will be handled. Rather than checking Wobble's email separately, I've decided to route all Wobble mail directly to my regular mailbox now. While this may sound foolhardy (no, I'm not in love with spam), it's not (at least so far, it's not). Hint: It involves the use of Gmail. I'll write more about this in a future posting since it's a whole story unto itself.

08 July 2005

Wobble: Return from Walkabout

Long time readers of Wobble know that every now and then I "go walkabout"; i.e. I disappear for a lengthy period of time. This is what happened to me for the past few months. Anyway, I'm back - or at least I think I'm back - and have a few pieces of writing up my sleeve, with many more in my head but unwritten still. These will be posted in the coming days.

P.S. One minor benefit of being away for so long is that the Thingmablog blogging software that I'm using has been updated twice to version 1.0.1. At least it's now out of beta.

30 November 2004

Wobble: Site Changes

FYI: I just changed my spyware testing posting into a full fledged article, with the actual body of the article accessible through a link to an HTML file instead. I realized it should have been an article in the first place, but since I didn't have a template that uses a stylesheet similar to the rest of the site, I just uploaded it as a lengthy blog posting. Anyway, I've developed the template already, and since my next piece will also be of article length, this prompted this conversion. All of my past articles are being converted as well, albeit slowly.

21 October 2004

Wobble: Still More Site Changes

A few more site changes/improvements worth noting:
  • Visting the old Wobble website (https://www.tprthai.net) will now redirect you to Wobble Blog (https://www.tprthai.net/). What this means is that the old Wobble index.htm file (i.e. the entry point to Wobble) no longer works as it's been modified to do a redirect. However, all other files are unchanged and are still located where they used to be ... at least for now.
  • All of the old Wobble articles can now be accessed by clicking an "Article Index" link under the Archives Section. It still sports the old Wobble "look and feel" - as so it should since it's merely been linked to without any changes.
  • There have been some minor changes to the interface of the three main sections (front page, archives, categories), hopefully to make things more consistent. I even threw in the original Wobble logo, although I still need to finetune it a bit more.
  • I've signed up for Haloscan Premium. That means that you can now leave longer comments (3,000 characters versus 1,000 previously) and thankfully, the sex ads at the bottom of the comment page are gone now. That alone should be worth the $12/year fee.

16 October 2004

Wobble: Day Month Year

Yay, I've fixed it! To the best of my knowledge, every date reference now adheres to the day month year convention (i.e. either 25/10/2004 or 25 October 2004). This involved a dash of Javascript code in the template files. It also required some hair pulling debugging, partly because I haven't done any Javascript programming in two years. Of course, even when I was doing it, I wasn't very good at it, no thanks to Javascript's spectacularly unhelpful/non-existent error messages. Anyway, for what it's worth, the dates are now easier for us folks here in Asia to read.

14 October 2004

Wobble: Bells and Whistles

The look and feel of Wobble ("The Blog") has been bugging me a bit, so I took a day off from writing to add a few bells and whistles. Or rather, I just added features that every other blog worth its salt already has: i.e. commenting/trackback capabilities and a sprinkling of graphic links to show the "colors", so to speak. If you're curious what "trackback" is all about, read this. Just don't ask me to explain it. I've read it but I'm still a little blurry. Gimme time ...

This was my first crack at editing Thingamablog's templates. Not overly difficult, although I still don't understand what many of the tags refer to (this blogmaster isn't terribly smart, is he?). And I still don't like the MM/DD/YYYY date format (DD/MM/YYYY is the standard here in Thailand and most of Asia) used to divide the archive groupings, but that will have to wait.

The commenting and trackback modules were added courtesy of Haloscan, which a lot folks seem to use. Anyway, people can now leave comments/feedback - assuming, of course, that anyone actually reads this stuff!

10 October 2004

Wobble: And on the Seventh Day He Rested ...

And so will I. If you've been following Wobble since it woke up from its coma, you'll notice that I've been posting stuff every day of late. I'm afraid I'm not going to be able to keep this up. The good news is that my creative juices seem to be flowing again and admittedly, I DO have several more blog pieces already completed, but I'm going to keep them for next week. Time to do something else for a change. Ta.

05 October 2004

Wobble: Back from the Dead?

This is the first Wobble posting that I've made in over a year. Many times, I was tempted to add one last "Rest in Peace" posting to make Wobble's end official, but I always put it off for whatever reasons.

I haven't written anything in quite a while and frankly I'm not sure when a new piece will eke out. But hopefully, with a new look, feel and paradigm, this revived Wobble will stimulate me to start writing or at least rambling again.

Wobble's "Page 1" has always been a "blog" (before the term existed), but I decided to convert it into a true, modern "blog" format. Up to now, I knew very little (and still know very little) about blogs. My first instinct was to use the most popular blogging solution, Blogger. But after looking into things a bit further, I decided that I preferred to host the blog on my own server. And Thingamablog was finally chosen because: a) it's open source, b) I managed to get it up and running without reading the manual, and c) it runs without eating up a precious MySQL database on my server.

Anyway, a major clean up job still awaits. Many conversion errors still exist and I need to finetune the categories to make them more relevant. I haven't decided whether to convert the articles themselves into blog entries yet, but at least the on-site links still point to the original designed pages.

08 April 2003

Wobble: Move Completed

I've moved the tprthai.net domain name over to my new ISP already, although it may still take a bit more time to fully propagate.

A REALLY nice thing about my new ISP is that they provide an open source, server-side SPAM filter called "Spam Assassin" that does a good job of identifying spam. The filter operates by applying a set of default and/or custom rules and by checking published spam blacklists.

When it finds an email that it suspects is spam, it adds a few lines of warning to the body of the email. You then set up a rule or filter in your email client to search for Spam Assassin's warnings. When found, you normally have your email client delete the email or move it to some out-of-the-way folder. The latter is the preferred strategy since you will occasionlly need to inspect your suspected spam in case a legitimate email gets sent there by mistake.

In the past three days that I've had it running, Spam Assassin has only let through one bonafide spam mail, while catching more than a dozen. Sigh, my inbox is starting to become a lonely place again.

07 April 2003

Wobble: Moving This Week

A prior warning. Most likely, I will move the tprthai.net domain name to my new ISP sometime this coming week. This means that the site will probably not be available for a few days until the new DNS information is propagated to the far corners of the globe (i.e. Thailand).

06 April 2003

Wobble: Mozilla/Win Refresh Problem

Whoops, spoke too soon. The Mozilla/Win refresh problem wasn't due to the new ISP after all. It actually happens with every web page I load. Even after updating to the latest Mozilla 1.4b nightly binaries, the problem persists. Oh well.

05 April 2003

Wobble: Move Planned to A New ISP

I've just signed up with another ISP. My old one still has a few months to go, but I decided to make the move now due to a host of other reasons. I haven't moved the actual domain name yet (I'm just using a subdomain), but you will be automatically redirected to the new site if you go to the usual https://www.tprthai.net.

The good news is that the PNG rendering is now fixed - or rather, it's working as it always should have - both under the Windows and Linux versions of Mozilla. There's a slight bug with Mozilla/Win when you refresh the screen though. The "Transferring data ..." messsage at the bottom left of the screen gets stuck. But no problem - just move to a different page and move back. This doesn't occur with Mozilla/Linux though.

The bad news is that I haven't gotten my CGI stuff rejiggered yet. Thus, my counter is gone and I've disabled my search engine until I can get these working properly.

17 March 2003

Wobble: Mozilla PNG Display Problem

For more than a month now, I've been trying to solve a problem whereby Mozilla displays standalone PNG graphic files on Wobble as gibberish (click here to test). Both Internet Explorer v6 and Opera v6 work fine under Windows, but Mozilla under both Windows and Linux (even the latest v1.3 final), Opera v6 under Linux and KDE's Konqueror refuse to render the graphics properly.

I've tried numerous things to solve this problem, but to no avail. Last night on a hunch, I tried uploading a problem (sic) PNG file to another server and lo and behold, Mozilla was able to display it properly. Bottom line: the problem seems to be due to the server that my ISP is using. Unfortunately, this kind of problem falls outside their purview, so they can't/won't help me.

If you're using Mozilla and wish to display the graphics in the articles, you have two options: a) save the the graphics to your computer and view them there (even Mozilla works locally), or b) there's a link on the first page of my articles that says "All the Graphics" which displays all of the graphics of that article on a single page. This works because PNG files embedded into HTML files don't have the abovementioned rendering problem.

Not a very satisfactory solution I must admit - especially since I myself am using Mozilla more and more these days - but I'm going to file the problem away now. The problem should clear itself up if/when I change ISP's, but I have no immediate plans to do so yet.

04 March 2003

Wobble: Problem Viewing PNG's

There's a problem with Wobble when viewing individual PNG image files (i.e. those tagged with "figure" in the articles). This problem occurs with all browsers I've tested under Linux so far (Mozilla, Konqueror, Opera) but even Mozilla for Windows has the same problem. I'm still trying to run down the cause of the problem and to find a fix. Meanwhile, most articles have an "All the Graphics" link at the left side that displays all an article's images in one go, and this works OK.

08 January 2002

Wobble: Please Use tprthai.net

For quite some time now, I've been hosting Wobble at https://www.tprthai.net, although it actually started life at https://www.tprthai.com/wobble (or https://www.wobble.tprthai.com). In a few days, I will officially terminate the tprthai.com URL's (which were merely forwarding URL's anyway). Please use https://www.tprthai.net only from now on.

25 December 2001

Random Ramblings: Merry Christmas 2001

Merry Christmas. After being in a coma for four months, Wobble will be re-animated at the beginning of 2002.

19 February 2001

Wobble: A Year and 1,000 Hits Later

For what it's worth, Wobble is now a year old (a few weeks past a year actually, but ah, who cares?), and it has also reached (and ditto, past) the 1,000 hit mark! Of course, HALF of those hits are mine, but what the heck (no, I do not purposefully add hits!). What's more, it has tripled its readership in the past year - from 1 to a hefty 3! Oh well. Will it live to see its next anniversary? Hell, will *I* live to see MY next anniversary? Needless to say, I didn't have anything worth writing today :-)