Bah! Humbug! And hosting too.

Surprise surprise, it was a stupid oversight that was messing up my database connection, but I still have to rework the text panel/data entry section that’s been largely untouched from day one. Paul mentioned the nightmare concept “Gridbag layout” for added prettiness. Rather him than me. I’ve done everything with Flow, Grid and Border and it’s been pretty good so far.

We’re looking at web hosting companies. Good as Freedom To Surf is, they’re not taking in new free sites any more, which could well be the beginning of the end for my yearlong tenure on their server. It would be nice to have a server on the same continent as we are, even though Paul found a decent web host in India for a mere 900 Rupees a month ($20). Webalizer stats would be nice, but aren’t essential, PHP, MySQL and JSP’s are on the required features list. Our own domain name would be very nice.

Paul suggested fartingshark, starchedweasel, looseelastic, and mentallyunbalanced, all of which are wholly available (com, net, org, biz, and info extensions) for some strange reason.

Progress and lack thereof

It seems Chronicle doesn’t actually save entries. I have to sync the data model with the text area before saving, but the text area isn’t public. Everything still needs to be able to dump to a local XML file which will be fine once this minor *cough* problem is fixed. Once it’s sorted, dumping to a database will be fine, loading shouldn’t be too hard either. The hard part will be the XSL transform and the publishing. Joy. My Java book has instructions for a Java spelling checker but no sample code. I found three or four commercial ones costing upwards of $200. At least the GUI is complete, apart from the options and settings dialog.

Norton Internet Security is what’s preventing me from seeing BlogSnob links, though I have no idea why. Most of it is turned off, when I do turn stuff back on it blocks Mozilla and Eudora, despite claiming to allow them free access. Useless article. The router does most of the job of keeping us safe from those nasty crackers.

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing

I’m retro-fitting Chronicle to do what Paul’s been suggesting from the start, publish web pages. First up is a change to store diary entries in a database instead of XML files. That will make indexing easier, and also give me search capability later. Next up is investigating the java.net package to find out about remote file publishing. It already has themes built in, so it looks cool, now I have to get it to the point where it does something useful. And find out about Hypersonic and hsql.

I have found one open source Java spelling checker, it’s pre Alpha though. I’d rather not have to create my own.

Caffeine, coffee, tea and chocolate

Reading The World of Caffeine by Weinberg and Bealer, coffee seems to have mysteriously escaped notice until the 1500’s, despite a reference to it in A.D. 1000. Weirder still, it seems to have been unknown to the Arabs until after they heard of tea, which was grown far further away than coffee. Coffee was growing wild practically in their own back yard, it is said to have originated in Ethiopia. It got very popular in Europe in the seventeenth century, Bach wrote a “Coffee Cantata” in 1732.

Interesting fact #2, chocolate contains a stimulant theobromine, which augments the effect of caffeine, and has a similar pharmacological profile. The book mentions chocolate and cocoa being sold in the coffee houses next to tea and coffee, much like today’s Starbucks coffee shops. Starbucks’ website sells an electric tea kettle for $125, as if it were some newfangled contraption for elite tea drinkers, instead of a kitchen workhorse, advertising it as “Revolutionary water heating technology.”

Mail

The signal to noise ratio on paper mail is horribly low. Six bits of noise in the box today and not one signal, especially not the signal I’m waiting for. People say that if junk email cost money to send there would be less of it, but I get an awful lot of junk paper mail too. Bill Bryson proposed tearing up their reply card and mailing it back in their own envelope, thus doubling their costs.

Change of Method

I have started using Blog (the program) and deleted my Blogger entries. I much prefer keeping the data myself, instead of relying on an outside source to keep it for me. It was interesting setting this up, not a walk in the park but a heck of a lot easier once I found the right bit in the help file. And I get to use my PHP templates, and titles too! Wonder of wonders, there is also a spelling checker. And there was much rejoicing!

All the HTML class assignments are marked, all the t-zero columns are formatted and uploaded, just waiting for teasers. Relief. I am finally up to date with everything. Synchronicity: one of the t-zero columns is about web logs. We have a new columnist who keeps not one, but two blogs going.