2009.March.31 » Had a problem with some of the icons in my system tray failing to appear on Windows start-up. Never experienced this kind of weirdness before.
The Mysterious Case of the Disappearing Icons began shortly after I uninstalled all the programs I no longer use (something I do every 3 months), and then scanned the registry to delete unnecessary entries (thousands).
Afterwards, my system *did* start noticeably faster. Maybe too fast.
The only thing that worked was to find (& install) a program that delays the loading of Windows programs on startup .. called (what else?) » Startup Delayer (freebie).
Impressive little program. It comes with a graphical interface to delay the startup of your programs (via drag-n-drop functionality) .. for up to 2 minutes .. which should be plenty for most users.
Some programs will insist on starting with Windows .. no matter what kind of delay you assign to them in SD. I had 3 such rebels (including Daemon Tools & DAP), which I re-configured to NOT Start with Windows. I now start these manually, as needed.
Many of the sites I consulted theorize that too many programs are trying to load concurrently, which prevents some of the tray icons from appearing.
2009.March.22 » "Pick the professor, not the course" is sage advice for those heading off to college. With that in mind, I've discovered an exceptional instructor for folks wishing to master some of the programs contained in Adobe's Creative Suite.
Of course, we all have different learning styles, so we respond differently to different types of instructors. But I feel comfortable recommending any of the titles he has authored, especially those contained in his trademark series » One-on-One.
I like how he comes across as someone who is more concerned that students learn the program and its accompanying toolset than trying to impress you with their level of knowledge. I most like that he obviously has the technolust. His enthusiasm is contagious.
His courses nicely balance a folksy demeanor (he lives in Boulder) with technical jargon. Very personable. Doesn't seem to take himself too seriously.
For example, he has no problem referring to Illustrator's Selection and Direct Selection tools as » "the black-arrow tool" and » "the white-arrow tool." Little touches like this help demystify Adobe's most sophisticated programs.
He injects just enough humor to keep the material interesting, but never strays from the subject matter. He obviously enjoys the creativity these programs offer, but this doesn't prevent him from criticizing features or questioning some of Adobe's design choices.
Today's entry concludes in Ye Olde Rad Blog III .. see here » Deke does Adobe da Best » Teaching Photoshop & Illustrator CS4
Obama Comes to Town
When I pulled up this morning however, a bunch of news trucks were parked outside the gate (Channel 4, 7 & 9, plus several others) with their tall, telescoping antennas. And there were folks stopping & checking everybody entering.
"What's going on?" I asked. "Why the news trucks?" "The President's coming," said the lady who stopped my car.
"Obama?" I asked.
Been having ultra-realistic dreams about our new Prez (where I'm hanging out with him), and had one just last night .. so it felt kinda weird that he was coming to the same place I was going. (Haven't been there in a year.) Coincidental. Might share these dreams another time. So far tho, I've only told the Dog.
Anyway, after we parked, as we were entering the park area, here came 6 Secret Services dudes (actually 5 guys and 1 girl), walking out, crossed right in front of us (touchable distance), walking 2-by-2. Very sharply dressed. The real Men-in-Black. Here in the laid-back OC, they stood out .. (waay out).
None of them were very big. I kinda expect people protecting the president to be 6-4, 250 lbs. In fact, they all looked kinda scrawny, if ya ask me. I mean, they certainly didn't look scary. If I didn't know better, I might've thought I could take all 6 of 'em. =)
2009.March.13 » Whenever I return the Bug, after having him a few days, it can be emotionally disorienting. I mean, for days he's my focus, my whole life. Then suddenly .. nothing. It's like part of me is ripped away.
Disoriented Following Drop-offs
When the smoke clears, Diego the Sabertooth Tiger is standing in front of him, yelling for Manny to get up. But Manny hears only a distant echo. In his dazed state, everything looks pleasantly dreamy.
That's a decent representation of how I feel, sometimes. Shell-shocked. Numb. Like somebody tossed a flash-bang into my life.
It goes away. Always does. Usually after a few hours. So I know it's no big deal. But initially, it can be difficult to cope. There have been a few times when I've been driving, and forgotten where I was going, and had to turn around and head back home. (That sux.) Most of the time however, I just stare off into space.
Used to think there was something wrong with me .. until I heard other dads describe similar experiences.
Best to be alone during these times, cuz most people can't relate (understandably). Some even take the distance personally. A walk in nature is usually the best therapy.
It's not always this way. (Maybe every third or fourth week.) But I haven't been able to figure out the variables that accompany the disorienting times. They seem to follow no particular rhyme or reason. So I haven't been able to stop it.
Today's entry concludes in Ye Olde Rad Blog III .. see here » Disoriented Following Drop-offs + Bedtime Stories (Treasure Island)
2009.March.10 » Redesigned the site's » Archive index page (from scratch). It contains links to all monthly archives posted since the site's launch (summer of 2000). Gateway to Memory Lane.
Been meaning to do that for some time now (years, actually). That page was the single-most mucked-up page on the entire site. The code was a rat's nest of deprecated standards, poor design choices and mark-up errors. I'm surprised it would render.
Began that page back when I knew very little about HTML and before I'd even heard of CSS. Over the years, the muck seemed to multiply as the page grew. It's not a highly trafficked page, so I didn't worry about it.
Tho at sundry times, I'd go in and try to manually clean up the code. That always proved an exercise in futility. Seemed like the more I tried, the worse things got. The only real solution was a complete makeover (a move which could be viewed as symbolic of the site's growth and development).
Now the page contains a third the mark-up it did before (10-KB vs 30) and the styling looks 3X cleaner, by making use of advanced techniques such as colgroup styling for better readability. Leaner, meaner and faster-loading.
Immediately after transferring some 15,000 files (to complete the upgrade), I launched the forums to test-n-see if everything was working hun ky-dory.
At that very moment, the ISP dude here disconnected our wireless gateway, which gave me a bizarre error I'd never seen before .. something like » "Dude, your gateway is completely trashed. Better contact your Internet Service Provider for help."
I panicked. The thought ran thru my head » "Oh my God. I screwed up the forums so bad that they trashed my router gateway .. (which is physically impossible, if you think about it) .. but you know how disorienting untimely error messages can be .. when you're already on edge.