Lebanon Weather   Monday August 26, 2002

the end

A colorful end to the day and another stage towards the end for our old tree friend. You may remember the tree from here and here.



Jaguar

I ordered Jaguar last week and am really looking forward to getting it. I've seen so many people complaining about the price...lessee, at $120 if you use it for one year that's a month, less than...well, you get the idea, probably less than you spend for coffee per year. Some folks are completely irrational about buying software. Amortize it, figure out if/how it saves you time/money. How much is your time worth per hour? If it doesn't add up then don't buy it.

In case you are curious as to what's new, Ken Bereskin has started a daily posting for each of the 150 new Jaguar features.




A fog encased morning's walk. Behind us another couple drifts in and out of the mist, silent, whatever words spoken are swallowed by the heavy wet air. It is a tapestry of spider webs, thousands visible in the heavy dew their occupants patiently waiting for Sun to restore the subterfuge. And then, almost magically and without a sound, shapes bob into view up ahead as doe and three fawns jostle in confusion on the road's edge. She can't seem to decide which side offers the best protection and for a long while nervously leads her fold on the road in front of us. Big ears turn and twist to harvest faint sounds. The fawns flinch at the sound of their own clumsy footfalls, ready to bolt, prancing nervously on the pavement. Finally mom leads them through the ditch and into the cornfield. The road is empty and silent except for the sniffing sounds of the dog, decrypting the deer smells left behind.



Technical note: there are a few portions of the Jer Zone which are dynamically created, that is, which will often change for each person who reads the page. The list of recent weblogs on the right margin is one of them. A PHP script is triggered every fifteen minutes by a cron entry on the Linux host machine, the script gets the XML document from http://www.weblogs.com/changes.xml, parses it into a hash, looks for matching URLs and updates their timestamp in the database. It works well. The one shortcoming is that some of the weblogs don't "ping" weblogs.com when they update. I fixed that this weekend. Another cron triggered PHP script (four times a day) goes out and grabs the weblog page for each of these loners, strips off the markup, creates an MD5 checksum from some of the remaining text, compares that to the previous checksum, and updates the timestamp if they differ. The MD5 checksum is nice because only 32 bytes get stored in the database rather than a 1-8k chunk of text.