Saturday, October 18, 2003

Trek stuff

Stardate 57101.8 (10-18-2003)

I've been wandering the net again. I went over to Wil Wheaton's site. The captain visits here regularly. I do on occasion, but I don't usually find too much that interests me. I did today. The entry was a letter to the Cubs fan that caught the foul ball in game 6. He goes on to tell 'that guy' he knows how he feels. Wil was on a 'cult TV show', where he got some rough treatment from the fans. Of course, I and some of the readers of this blog will know he is talking about his role as Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation. I didn't realize until now how bitter he still is about it. On the other hand, he taking steps to deal with it. It could be worse. Rush Limbaugh for years gave a hard-line stance against drug users. Does the same apply to him now that he admitted to drug addiction?

One thought that struck me while reading this. Many of the blogs have a link to place comments. I am not thinking of putting something like that here, but on the Enterprise reviews. It seems to be an obvious idea, and I wonder why it did not occur to me before.

On the Code Project, I found this article on the good and evil of moving development off-shore. There were some good points. I found the one about the lack of programmers in India driving up the salaries interesting. I don't hate these people, but I would like to compete on a better footing. I always look for ways to be more efficient One point I did miss from this is that the region is more unstable than the U.S., and development project can disappear in a blink of an eye.

Wednesday I had a meeting at my kids school to go over the computer situation. It's pretty sad. It's an old building, so the electrical system is not up to the job. The power pulled by the labs overwhelms the circuits and blows fuses. The have a hodge-podge of systems and OSs. There are at least five separate networks, and the two campuses have no connection. The first task of the new group is to inventory what is there, and make recommendations to the principal. She's not very computer literate, so I gather she is not as supportive of computers in the school as some would like. The leader of the volunteer group is gung-ho, and he wants everything networked together (preferably wireless),  instant messages, with e-mail and Internet access. It will be interesting to see what he can get away with.  One of the things you expect out of a private school is a better education. Computer skills are now necessary, and every school has a program. This one is not where I think it should be. I would like to eventually see a web server that the older kids could play with putting pages on.

I had a short conversation with Brady Jugler at the Senior Officers Meeting Friday night. I asked if he had some time to show me Flash. He readily agreed, and then asked how I had done the rotating image on the ship web site. I told him it was done with JavaScript. He told me that it would work better in Flash, and why. All good points, but to me the con of that is you need Flash to change it. With Javascript, you only need Notepad, vi, or your favorite text editor. To add a new image, you add one line to add an element to a list:
    image_list[image_index++] = new imageItem("float.jpg");
 image_list[image_index++] = new imageItem("enterprise.jpg");
image_list[image_index++] = new imageItem();

The script can be changed to slide show the images in order, or randomly by changing a single variable in the script.

Wil talks about Cubs fans having a passion for the team and how this passion is the same as the one Star Trek fans have for the TV show. I agree. The same passion exists for programming languages, editors, operating systems, book genres, music, and just about everything important to us in life. The previous paragraph is another example. I don't have an overriding need to use Javascript, but it was the best solution given the limitations I have for the site. I could have done it a number of other ways, and my request to Brady was aimed at finding more skills. Brady definitely has a passion for Flash, but I have found that same passion to blind people to different ideas and ways of doing things.

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