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Journal: Welcome to 2010

Journal by DG

Out goes the RAZR2 V9

In comes the BlackBerry 9700.

Amazing bit of hardware. Finally lives up to the promise my Palm Lifedrive offered but never quite delivered on.

DG

User Journal

Journal: PayPal Donations... I'll be damned 1

Journal by DG

So a while ago, I wrote a little web based e-book called Autocross To Win (inspired by Carrol Smith's "To Win" series.

You can see it at http://farnorthracing.com/autocross_secrets.html

I wrote it primarily because I wasted a shit-ton of money chasing my own tail and following "conventional wisdom" when it came to race car setup, and discovered a number of things that conventional wisdom got wrong.

It became more important to me just before I left for Afghanistan. I didn't want this information left locked inside my head where it would be lost if I got knocked on the head while in theatre. It seems silly I know, but I wanted to make sure that it wouldn't go for naught if I got killed.

Now I'm back - and I'm unemployed. I've been trying to go back to Afghanistan but there's no open slots and I'm having a lot of trouble prising one open. And it struck me that there's a lot of good info in ATW - enough that it probably makes a good book.

But I also do not regret the impulse that put it online for free. To pull it down so I could charge money for it... that seems dishonest. Information really does want to be free, even the information I wrote myself.

I put some ads on the site, but I'm not a high-exposure site. I'm deep, not broad, and I'm very highly specialized. The ads cover the bandwidth bill and little else.

So yesterday I figured I'd try a tactic that I've seen web cartoonists use - the PayPal "donate" button. I added one to the ATW base template. Small. Unobtrusive. No fanfare or hard sell. No promotion of this on any of the forums I use to announce site updates. Just added it quietly.

And 24 hours later, I have my first donation. Wow, I didn't think that would work.

I'm going to do up a little "thank you" certificate and email those out to donors.

Maybe this is how all content providers will get paid from now on...

DG

User Journal

Journal: MASSIVE farnorthracing.com website update - but IE6?

Journal by DG

So I finally took the time to convert http://farnorthracing.com to CSS instead of tables, and wrote a little perl front-end to allow me to separate content from presentation. Huzzah!

It has been a metric assload of work (with a little bit left) but the results are soooooo worth it.

Just one fly in the ointment - IE6. My nifty-keen layout works great in Firefox and IE8, but fails in IE6 - see http://farnorthracing.com/autocross_secrets2.html for an example.

Any CSS guru-types know why?

DG

Mozilla

Journal: Revamping Far North Racing 2

Journal by DG

So I've decided to do a much-needed revamp of the Far North Racing websites. It looks like my second tour of Afghanistan may be iffy and I may need to get a job. Given that my website work is kinda my portfolio/resume, it's high time I stripped out the 1998-era table-based layout for some proper CSS.

Anyway, feedback encouraged. Lemme know what you think.

DG

User Journal

Journal: Help Me End MS Part 2 Slashdot vs The World

Journal by DG

As previously posted I am doing my little bit to try and help rid the world of the scourge of MS by participating (again) in the MS Bike Tour.

In an attempt to raise funds, I posted a little entry to the Donation Page to the following websites:

  • Facebook (in a status update)
  • MyFamily.com
  • Slashdot, and
  • An exclusive, members-only car racing website that functions like Fight Club.

The results within the first week are striking. Facebook and MyFamily - nil. Fight Club, 1 pers for $10. And Slashdot - 2 pers for an amazing $125.

Clearly - although the sample set is admittedly small - Slashdotters lead the way when it comes to supporting worthy causes.

I am now attempting to challenge the other members of Fight Club to donate more by appealing to their manhood (or lack thereof) by daring them to beat Slashdot's contributions.

You, gentle reader (previous donors excepted) can help make this more difficult by raising the bar by donating more money - and in the end, it is the MS society who wins.

Help me end MS!

DG

User Journal

Journal: Suspension Dynamics Calculator - Code Review Requested

Journal by DG

So in anticipation of my upcoming jaunt to South Central Asia, I got to work writing a web-based version of my Excel Suspension Dynamics Calculator.

http://farnorthracing.com/autocross_secrets16.html

It's all in Javascript, and it works.

It's also butt-ugly, both on the coding and layout sides, but the intent was very much "get it working before making it pretty".

That, and I'm a perl guy. This Javascript stuff is new to me, so I took the brute force, copy-and-paste approach to coding it, rather than try and duplicate the elegant stuff I know how to do in perl.

But now that it is up, I'm interested in seeing what all y'all suggest for layout and code cleanup. And in particular, I'm interested in seeing a good way to do tooltips for the input fields.

So if you're a Javascript or CSS code monkey, have a look at my steaming pile of shite, and suggest ways to make it better. T'would be much appreciated.

And if you're a car guy (or girl)... you're going to want to see this.

DG

User Journal

Journal: Rock Band 2

Journal by DG

So home for a month before deployment, and I have to find a way to diffuse some of the stress and anxiety building up in the ol' household.

Walking through Best Buy, I find that the PS2 version of Rock Band is on sale for less than $100. Niner used to be a professional musician, and I've always wanted to learn how to play drums, so what the hell?

OMFG, Best Game Evar.

We have turned into Rock Band junkies, with me flailing away on the drums, and Niner rocking the guitar and vocals.

The absolutely amazing part is just how well suited the user interface on the game is to teaching how to play a drum kit. I actually wish it had a training mode that had teaching exercises from actual music lessons on it, because the UI makes practice fun.

In the space of a week, I've gone from failing out of songs on Easy, to mid-90% scores (on the basic songs) on Expert.

Back in the Stone Age, I played a little trumpet, so I get what it is like to learn to play an instrument - and this is astounding. I'm actually capable of maintaining a couple of different basic rock backbeats, and I'm starting to get a grasp on off-beats, limb independence, and other real-world drumming techniques.

OK, so there's a long way to go before I'll be subbing in for Alex Van Halen, and "Run to the Hills" on Expert seems unobtainable in my lifetime... but I haven't gotten such a sense of accomplishment from a game since GT4.

And I find myself air drumming all the time now....

Seriously, seriously cool.

DG

User Journal

Journal: It is accomplished 2

Journal by DG

In the bookstore at 2300 hrs.

Back home at 0130 hrs.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows finished at 0737 hrs.

No spoilers, but this is the best book since Goblet of Fire, and perhaps the best of the series.

Oh, and she's as ruthless with her characters as David Weber.

DG

The bogosity meter just pegged.

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