10/22/2000

Discussions should now be live. Thanks to Al Hawkins for the pointer. (Dan Bowman found it too, but Al said it first.)

And this is the last change for today. Constant changes so you’re always showing up on Weblogs.com’s most recently changed list is a good strategy for getting more hits, but I’ve got a magazine article I need to be working on, and a World Series to ignore!

Speaking of sports, with the Chiefs and Rams playing I couldn’t be too disappointed regardless of the outcome, but my Kansas City loyalties are very happy with that upset. (I’m from KC but live in St. Louis and normally pay little attention to football.)

And discussions… Dan Bowman asked me to turn on discussions “so [he] can make rude comments directly from the browser.” I’m used to rude comments so I kind of like them, but I can’t figure out how I managed to turn off that Discuss button, nor can I figure out how to bring it back.

In Prefs –> Editorial, site access isn’t set to editors only. Anyone have any other ideas?

Thanks a ton.

The page should render faster in Netscape now. I cut it down to three tables (it had been five, for no really good reason). It’s not as fast as I’d like, but Netscape 4.x just doesn’t handle scalable tables very quickly.

My best songwriting ideas come from church. One of our seminarians came up at the start of service and asked what kinds of songs we sing during the week. Are they songs like the Rolling Stones’ Satisfaction that put the focus on and glorify ourselves, or on God?

Well, I was writing a song yesterday. The chorus was to go something like “I want to use it all up before You call me home / I want to flame out for you.” It’s speaking to God, but the focus is on me, and it’s works-oriented. Remember, this is Christianity. Christianity has the DH rule. If we’re truly putting everything we have into living for Christ, the work is happening through us, but it’s really God doing it. We’re just allowing it. It’s when we’re taking the bat out of the Specialist’s capable hands and going up there to hack away ourselves that we find ourselves in trouble.

So I bounced it off my songwriting partner to see what he thinks. I may write the lyrics, but I still want his editorial opinion. He likes the idea but not necessarily the exact words. Making it grace-oriented rather than works-oriented will be a challenge.

Getting back to secular songwriters for a minute… I have trouble understanding one-hit wonders. Aimee Mann is basically that, and her huge hit with ‘Til Tuesday, Voices Carry, was one of the first songs she wrote by herself. The first worship song I wrote is decent (better than the one I’m working on now), but will anyone remember it in a year? I’ll be surprised. You get better with time.

And the one-hit wonders who survive illustrate that. Listen to Mann’s latest, and it’s as good as anything Lou Reed ever did. Listen to ‘Til Tuesday’s first album, and the majority of it sounds like the stuff Madonna was doing at the time.

Another Day. It’s amazing once I kick into design mode, how much I just want to change the design just a little… No, wait, better change it back. Hmm. Sheesh, even the location of the search engine tool (it’s working now, not that there’s much to search yet) is a big deal.

Imagine once I get around to scanning a photograph of myself to put up here, how big of a deal that will be. I guess there’s more graphic designer in me than I thought there was, which is strange because I don’t like to draw all that much. But I am creative, so that’s probably where the designer comes from.

I still have to clean up that list over to the left. I like having the search engine there rather than on its own page, so I need to get rid of that page link over there. And so on. It’ll happen later.

I see 254 page reads on yesterday’s post, which is higher than I expected. When I stopped tracking my last site, my high for a day was the day my review of Mandrake Linux 7.0 appeared on LinuxToday.com. That was just under 1,100 reads if I remember right. So for a weekend, on a new site, 254 seems really high. Thanks.

Windows speed tricks. The Register, the great British IT tabloid, has a collection of Windows ME speed links at http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/1/14154.html. I wasn’t impressed with such online collections two years ago, and I’m not impressed now. There’s some good info there, but it’s pretty light. One writer boasts of Windows ME booting his system in 50 seconds. I’ve gotten a Pentium-200 with Windows 95 to boot in 15. (Granted, it was after putting a 7200 RPM hard drive in it, but I’m betting this guy has a 7200 in his system too, and a much faster CPU.) If you’ve got a NIC and a modem in your system, it’s never likely to boot much faster than 30, but come on. Fifty? That’s pathetic for an OS that’s supposed to boot fast.

Believe it or not, turning off the Windows splash screen at boot yields tremendous speedups. Unide c:msdos.sys, then load it into Notepad. Scroll down to [options] and add this line:

logo=0

Now save it and hide the file again. This trick works on all flavors of Win95, 98, and ME. I thought this would only make a difference on pitifully slow machines, like 486SX/20s. I was wrong. Even if you’ve got a 1.2 GHz Athlon, that splash screen slows things down. With Windows 9x, you’re rebooting enough that this is worth doing.

Monotonous songwriting

Dave’s not here. Well, sort of. Dave here. For a minute. Di’s taking the weekend off. I sent her a bunch of material that she’ll work in next week. I just spent a lovely day cleaning my apartment, reading a few chapters out of the book of Matthew, and catching up with friends. My ex-bandmate Will Matherly (if we ever were a band, I don’t know) called early this evening looking for lyrics. I gave him some of my old lyrics (a pop/punk number reminiscent of The Cars and a dreary, gothy tune that was trying to sound like Joy Division or The Cure but ended up sounding nothing like either), then I started rattling off some lyrics I’ve been carrying around for two years but never finished properly. I told him I’d fix some dinner, finish them as I ate, then call him back in a couple of hours. The result was a hard-driving punky number called “Not Much Like You” using a really uncreative straight-A rhyme scheme (the exception being a brief “But Wait!” interjection). For some reason, my specialty seems to be breakup songs.
“She stands erect like you / She walks upright like you / She breathes oxygen too!”

Oh well. I’m actually supposed to be trying to write a song that works in the words “Celebrate Faith.” Unfortunately, I’m most effective writing about things that hack me off. While I frequently don’t know or understand what He’s up to, God doesn’t really hack me off, so it’s hard to write songs about Him. Hey, maybe that’s my start.

Anyway. There’s a busload of musings, reader mail and replies, and an announcement sitting in an inbox in Kansas City. Seeing as it’s really late on Saturday and I’m going to be shooting pictures all day Sunday, this is probably it for the Silicon Underground for this weekend.

I’m at Notepad’s limit. See ya.

Busting ads

Spam. Brightmail caught three pieces of spam for me in the past week. Four got through. It’s disappointing, but maybe they’ll get better with time. And 3 out of 7 is pretty close to Mike Sweeney’s batting average with the bases loaded, and no one complains about that.
Calling it a week. My apologies for Wednesday’s post not making it up until Thursday night. I wrote it, then forgot to upload it. Figures. The things that make me creative also can make me eccentric and scatterbrained sometimes.

I’m out of town for a family event. I’ll be in Kansas City, and while I have relatives with computers there I doubt I’ll be using them. So have a good weekend. I’ll be back Monday, in all likelihood.

Mail.

From: “al wynn”
To:
Sent: Friday, September 08, 2000 1:15 AM
Subject: What is the best COMMERCIAL ad-blocking utility for Windows95 out there (that is better than Proxomitron) ?

Can you tell me what is the best COMMERCIAL ad-blocking program for Windows95 out there (that is better than Proxomitron) ?
h question. The only commercial program that did that that I know of was WRQ’s AtGuard, which is now part of Symantec’s Norton Internet Security 2000. I played around with AtGuard a while last year when I was writing Optimizing Windows, but I didn’t like it any better than Proxomitron or Junkbuster (or the enhanced version). You might also check out AdSubtract, which is based on the Proxomitron engine but is less configurable and does a better job out of the box.

Another publication

Published again! Check this out, if you haven’t been there already. One of O’Reilly’s marketing guys dropped me a line early last week and asked how I liked voice recognition software. This die-hard Kansas City Royals fan told him I’d rather see another Yankees/Braves World Series than use it again. Next thing we know, I’m writing about what went wrong and why. For your reading pleasure, a brief essay written by me, with examples that prove my point, Voice Recognition to the Rescue? is available, at O’Reilly.
The big comeback? No. I’m going to do my best to post a little something on something resembling a daily basis. But as my time constraints are tight and my wrists still a little questionable, the days of daily 500-word essays are over.

I notice my book sales are down now that I’m not posting much. I also notice I’m much healthier when I’m not trying to write a half-million words a year. Looks like time for a compromise.