One of the more entertaining (if not a little enlightening) things about hosting your own website is that you get to log all of the accesses to the site and then review the logs whenever you want. One of the things that browsers do is send a “Referrer” header along with the web requests. This usually shows the page a person is coming from when they click through a link to your page. In the case of a search engine, you often get to see the search terms people use in order to come across your pages.
I’ve been playing with different designs over the past few weeks, finally decided on using a fixed width layout based on the one I found at Neil Turner’s site. I played with variable width sites, since I use an ultra-wide screen resolution things look goofy when they are pegged for an 800×600 screen, but since I also like using floats it presented a bunch of difficulties trying to get the CSS to render correctly. I figure most of the people I know browse my site at 800×600 or 1024×768, so I set the fixed width around 750. I apologize in advance to anyone browsing on a smaller screen - if you wanna help me convert the existing CSS to a dynamic width layout I’m open to it!
I’ve got upwards of 10 accounts across the major IM services. Since I’ve been using Trillian since its early days, this has never really been a problem. I simply defer to my friend or coworkers for which service they prefer to use and give them the appropriate screen name to add to their lists.
All of a sudden, last Friday morning the AIM account I’ve had for ages, DamonDCD, was suspended by AOL. Trillian reported an error code 17, which linked to a webpage on AIM’s site that listed the reasons for suspension - none of the reasons seemed to apply to me. I tried to connect with the real AOL client, still didn’t let me connect.
This was OK, tho, since I had a backup account that had every buddy my DamonDCD account listed. Other than some mild confusion over some of my AIM buddies receiving messages from this long-forgotten account, it was only a disappointment on my part because I lost my DamonDCD account.
Nonetheless, by Sunday, I realized how silly this was. Why had my account been suspended? I only talk to 2-3 people on AIM…none of them would have blocked me or given me some kind of warning. There was no reason my account should be suspended!
I scoured AOL and AIM’s website, looking for some way to contact support and see why they felt my account should be suspended. I read to the FAQ…the only help it offered me was the same message I got when I tried to connect. The only avenue for support, it seemed, was to fill out a bug report. Even tho I could choose “Problem connecting with account” from the list of errors I wished to report, I found I could only submit a report if I checked a box next to the following statement:
Check this checkbox to indicate that you understand this is not a place to get support, and that you will not receive a reply to the information you entered above. You may not submit a bug report unless you check this box. If you need help solving a problem, please visit our FAQ page instead.
So, while I filled out the form, I was pretty certain I could count on getting nothing in response. I managed to track down a live online customer support website - they just referred me back to the same FAQ. I tried calling AOL’s 1-800 support number, only to be read the same information on the website. When I explained I already knew all that information, that I was curious WHY it had been suspended, the account rep just referred me back to the AIM site again.
I removed DamonDCD from my auto-connect list in Trillian and decided that I’d have to wait for the account to expire in a few months, at which time I could recreate it, re-add all of my buddies and move forward.
“According to a story on eWeek, AOL has mistakenly suspended a very large number of AOL Instant Messenger (one of the most widely used IM programs) accounts, by mistake.
I tried reconnecting with DamonDCD and viola!, everything worked just dandy.
I don’t know what was worse…
I picked up these antlers many years ago…just the perfect thing to wear around the office as we approach Christmas!
As you can see, the holiday celebration is in full swing here at the office. I’ve got my holiday lights up, causing epileptic seisures for my coworkers who look upon them all day long. Holiday music has been blaring, too! Yay!
The 2005 Facial Hair Experiment is Over
Bloomington, Minnesota (PRSOURCE) March 23, 2005 - With a pull of the razor, Damon Durand’s accumulated facial hair was removed this past weekend. “I haven’t looked back,” Damon exclaimed today in an interview.
Reviews and polls were mixed during the two-week trial - most people responded that Mr. Durand looked good with facial hair, but they also indicated that he looked good without it, too. Among those that expressed a preference, only 15% of respondents indicated Mr. Durand looked better with the manicured facial hair growth.
“Considering the upkeep and my facial hair’s ability to capture bits of almost everything that came in contact with my mouth, I thought it best my facial hair and I parted ways,” Mr. Durand explained at a press conference.
For those still interested, Mr. Durand advises that they can still tune into OfficeCam most Thursdays and Fridays - most weeks he lets his facial hair grow unchecked. “Most weeks I let it grow out during the week,” Mr. Durand explained, “cause frankly, even daily or semi-daily shaving just seems to be too much work that early in the morning!”
Last night, with the mere flip of a power toggle, IAI’s IT systems ceased operations.[Who's IAI, you might ask? More info on the history of IAI and my history with them below the fold]
Fifth Third had been slow to replace the IT operations of Paladin/IAI after the acquisition - the staff had continued to use many of the same systems they had beforehand. As systems were replaced, things were turned down, but the “core” of the Novell, Microsoft NT and Lotus Notes networks continued to operate. Last night, after one final replication off the Notes server to a spare workstation, all three networks ceased operations. Servers were turned down, UPS power turned off, cables unpatched and cleaned up.
Together we pulled out all the KVM units, at least 100 network cables, 8 phone lines, and 8 or 9 leftover server chassis. We had a chance to tell stories, stack up all the leftover equipment, even took a moment to admire the hack job we performed on move weekend years ago to finish the wiring job the electrician didn’t do in order to get the UPS up by SOB Monday morning. Mike Anderson had the honor of turning off THOR and ZEUS, the main Novell and Microsoft NT servers, respectively, and I turned off the UPS power. Thus was the end of the IAI IT Infrastructure.
It is fitting, tho, that there is going to be an IAI reunion party next month. Perfect timing? I certainly think so! In the lead up to the party I’ll be writing a bunch of nostalgic pieces about IAI…there are so many stories I was reminded of last night that I’ve never put down into words.
Every year the Saint Cloud State Student Radio Station, KVSC, organizes a 50-hour long trivia contest. I had wanted to play for the past 4-5 years…only I’d realize this when I heard the winners announced every year. This year, I got to join the team “Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women” since Kate, my biking buddy, has been a member of the team for years. They run an amazing organization, have a great playbook (which I’ve been sworn to secrecy not to reveal!) with all kinds of great strategies proved over their many, many years of playing the trivia game. I had been looking forward to the contest for over 8 months since I first met Kate and found out she played…
I’ve had the orange and blue design for a few years now (According to this old post, I rolled it out on October 7th, 2004) and I had been meaning to make a change for a while now. I had looked everywhere for inspiration, but eventually found most of what I wanted on The Style Archive in Newsline.
The Newsline style needed some polishing to fit my site, but eventually I’ve massaged it into shape as what you see here. The main thing that I’ve always looked for when contemplating redesign options is a variable-width layout. There are simply too many different resolutions people view the web at nowadays, having a static-width layout could leave a large amount of a user’s web browser window unused…or even worse, on a small screen you may end up having to scroll back and forth just to read the entire thing! The second thing major thing that drew me in to the Newsline style is that it didn’t rely heavily on graphics to get things done - it was a neat, polished style with few graphic embellishments. The fewer the graphics, the easier it is to mod a style in my opinion.
There is still some work to do on the site, I’m thinking I need to bring back a menu again for easy access to OfficeCam and the other major areas of the site, but for now I’ve created a “Features” heading on the sidebar. Also need to reformat said OfficeCam page for the new CSS stylesheet, as well as many of the other static pages. For now, tho, most of the main site is rendering just fine.