Not Breaking Broken Glass

01.19.54 - Mark

Results of engraving part of an glass bottle
While I still need to improve on cutting panes of glass in less random lines, and cutting glass bottles that don't resemble a bar fight, I've been keeping some of the scraps for tests or side projects. Today I was playing with engraving them with a dremel tool and some diamond tip engraver bits I acquired last week. Nothing special, but a fun little project. However if I do more of it, a dremel flex shaft would be a wise investment.

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22.07.42 - Mark

Since moving from Iowa to North Carolina, the winter thing largely disappeared. It gets chilly, but the winters around here don't create iced over ponds good enough for skating. Snow is almost equally absent, the few times it shows up (at least a bit off the mountains) accumulations seems to be fractions of an inch. Today however 3 inches isn't hard to find, and a foot or more is still predicted. It's truly lovely.

So while the snow is still falling, I'm reviewing some of what I did building this site. While the "disconnection" from the internet is easily blamed for the lack of writing, the reasons for some of my content disappeared in other ways. A variety of reasons I effectively stopped reading though a pile of RSS feeds (but now redeveloping), custom blogging tools I've honestly forgotten about until looking over my code. And while this code has remained working for years, I quickly fixed a few after yesterday's post (like removing the 19 empty archive pages that that post triggered), but I have a number of more bugs to iron out. Good thing I still enjoy coding.

The other little bit I've rediscovered is mess of changes to some of the online tools I had been using to help. I had forgotten Feedburner was purchased and moved to Google (admittedly well before I paused blogging), and my list of RSS feeds used to be backed up on NewsGator Online, but they shifted their goals and I apparently was supposed to have moved my list to Google Reader. Easy enough solutions to fix, just a bit surprised that I missed those changes.

Oh well, I suppose I've got a few more spider webs and dust to clear off this site.

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Free Topo Maps

01.46.38 - Mark

Several months there was an online effort to "free" all of the public domain maps published by the USGS called the "Libre Map Project". They solicited donations to purchase an entire set of USGS maps and then publish them on Archive.org. I tried donating a few dollars but paypal fucked up the transfer, which by the time I was sure was voided, the project goal had been reached. Non-the-less all of the maps have since been uploaded to the internet archive. This is a great resource on its own, but the Libre Map project site has a great search tool that makes downloading the relevant maps insanely easy.

Stuff like this makes me thankful for public domain and Creative commons licensed media. The government would never build a tool similar to what the Libre Map Project has produced.

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Mark Wiki

17.31.58 - Mark

I've known for a while that I needed to start moving my mess of local files onto the web - basically since I started using a Linux box in addition to my iBook and the computers at school, and that idea has become more ingrained in me since the great iBook crash.

Despite that personal tradigity, I'm getting a lot out of it - as among other things its been the swift kick in the ass I needed to start trying some of the very cool technologies out there, like the iPod Shuffle DB tool, Portable Firefox, and even Wikis.

Being able to email and network my files is one thing, but I finally bit the bullet and installed a copy of MediaWiki onto my server (same software as wikipedia). I've used various wikis before, but its amazing at how simple it is. I need to find and study some of the formatting commands for it, but I know enought that I can start adding info to the wiki. As I get more comforatble with it I might open it up to collaborate on various projects.

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Through the looking glass

00.14.30 - Mark

I'm starting to bang away at the hardware hacker's recipie box idea, and as I start writing some scripts for it, it occurs to me at how complex the content management problem really is. Much more than this blog engine, where I know the sole user better than anyone else on earth and can design and code according to what's intuitive.

With this bulked up system, there are far more questions to ask and answer. How do we get the user to enter data correctly? What type of entry form is more user friendly - and whats the best way to impliment it? How do we error check all that information? How do we divide that information up? Where it is stored? Does that database scheme make sense? Will I reuse that code? How much, and what will change between calls?

Fun challenge, but it seems like I've fallen though a looking glass, and there's a pair of questions for every answer.

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