• warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/cvwuaemp/domains/ on line 33.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/cvwuaemp/domains/ on line 906.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_argument::init() should be compatible with views_handler::init(&$view, $options) in /home/cvwuaemp/domains/ on line 744.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/cvwuaemp/domains/ on line 607.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_submit() should be compatible with views_handler::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /home/cvwuaemp/domains/ on line 607.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_boolean_operator::value_validate() should be compatible with views_handler_filter::value_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/cvwuaemp/domains/ on line 159.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/cvwuaemp/domains/ on line 906.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_style_default::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /home/cvwuaemp/domains/ on line 24.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/cvwuaemp/domains/ on line 134.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_submit(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/cvwuaemp/domains/ on line 134.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/cvwuaemp/domains/ on line 906.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/cvwuaemp/domains/ on line 906.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/cvwuaemp/domains/ on line 906.

Browser War

As someone who uses different computers in different places, sometimes abroad, I take my browser with me on a USB stick. I used to have one of these U3 sticks (not related to U2 or UB40) and for a while it worked nicely. Plug the stick in the USB port and a pop-up menu appears with your favourite applications, not only my browser but also Open Office, an FTP client, an anti-virus scanner with firewall (essential for survival if you're making use of internet pubs in Africa from time to time) and other goodies.

Alas, U3 never became a widespread technology, and support was dwindling. For each of these applications, a special U3 version had to be made. I got in trouble with Firefox, because the most recent versions didn't have a U3 version. For a while, I could update it the usual way, but in the end it became intolerably slow.

So I switched to PortableApps, which does essentially the same thing but is supported by a much wider fan base. And best of all, you can install any application, not just the ones in their (rather exhaustive) list. However, although I could install the latest version now, Firefox remained sluggish. So I thought I'd give the much hiped Google Chrome a go.

And I must say it works fine, smooth and fast. Of course it took a bit of getting used to. And there's one thing I still don't like: the way the bookmarks are presented. Instead of a bookmark toolbar on the left like Firefox has, Chrome has a dropdown list from the menu bar on top. Annoyingly, this means that you can't leave it open and that you have to navigate through the list and the sub menus to the bookmark you want. If you want to go to the next bookmark, you have to open the dropdown list again and go to the same folder and then click on the link. I keep finding this a bit tedious.

Like Firefox, Chrome has plug-ins (although not as many... yet), but I couldn't find a bookmark add-in of my liking. Meanwhile, I noticed that I wouldn't visit a number of sites and blogs as much as I used to, just because their bookmarks were out of my view. I'm a visually oriented person, I don't remember names that well (so I don't use the search feature of the navigation bar that often) but I know where I've stored things. Worst of all was that I didn't visit what used to be some of my favourite weblogs and comics sites as much as I used to.

But then I came across Slick RSS, an RSS reader with a handy interface (plenty of RSS readers of course, but this one integrates with my browser). Now I don't have to miss a post any more, cause Slick RSS warns me when there are new updates available. Still, not all bloggers use RSS (or Atom) and some of them have an RSS feed on their weblog but aren't aware of it (Blogger and WordPress automatically generate feeds) so it takes a bit of guessing to locate it.

So all in all, I'm a happy camper surfer again.


PS: my RSS feed is (see the - very tiny - logo on the bottom of the main page)

Do Until objReader = acBored

It’s been quiet on this blog lately, I know. That’s because next Friday I will be leaving for Niger again. And before I can leave my monitoring software has to be ready. It’s almost ready, which is more frustrating than you’d imagine because of this endless stream of small issues and bigger problems that keep popping up at the last moment. Despite rigorous testing there’s always some bug that only appears at very specific circumstances, for which you of course didn’t test. In the best case, this means adding or removing a few lines of code. In the worst case I get stuck for days on end, slamming hundreds of lines of code out of my keyboard, only to find out after many gruelling hours that there was this silly little thing blocking the whole shabamble (official computer term). Take it away and the problem is gone. Oh, and you can also dispose of these thousands of lines of code you wrote in a desperate attempt to find a workaround.

Add to this mixture Murphy’s law, and you’ll know how many times I deal with a ‘best case’ and how many times with a ‘worst case’.

Physically, I’m turning into the hunchback of the Notre Dame. When I am working on my computer in utter concentration and under full steam, my posture is a disaster. So my shoulders ache and my neck hurts. I can also feel the tendons in my arms and fingers ‘freeze’, and my wrists feel as if they’re bloating. So you can understand that I wasn’t in the mood for getting behind the computer after work.

I had RSI or Repetitive Strain Injury a couple of years ago precisely from working on the computer, tapping away at high velocity for hours on end and that over a period of several months. I neglected my body’s warning signs, until I could type no more and had to rest. Surprisingly, the world didn’t end because of it. But I know it will if I don’t finish this in time.

The first time I had RSI was in my teens. Strangely enough I didn’t type that much back then. I wonder what other repetitive movement I could have done for months on end as a teenage boy…

I Like My Website Strong And Black

Last year I created the be.bart website to learn XHTML and CSS. For those of you who think I suddenly switched to Chinese, those are languages to make-up websites. My idea at the time was also to have a place to gather information that’s useful for me, but might also be useful to others. And to ridicule people without running the risk of violent physical reactions and bombardments with food items that are seriously over their consummation limit.

The result is a somewhat – erm – eclectic site with a lot of dead ends. You see, I made the site during a time when my situation at work (previous work that is) was infinitely less than pleasant. In fact, it was an all-out global conflict between yours truly and the powers that were supposed to direct the organisation I worked for. It was an incessant psychological war, and the site helped me to pass the many lonely hours when I couldn’t do anything because the executive board blocked me or got so much on my nerves that I just couldn’t get anything done. Then I changed jobs, got married, bought a house and a car and before you know it I barely had the time to set up and maintain this weblog. The website came to a dead stop, and it shows. So high time for a refurbishing exercise.

When I set up the website, I didn’t own a digital camera yet. So now I want to put more emphasis on my attempts at becoming a Magnum photographer. But making web pages with lots of photos directly in XHTML is a bit tedious and time-consuming to say the least, and also gives a result that is too rigid. So I started to look around for an application that allows you to do a What You See Is What You Get (if you’re very lucky) or WYSIWIG lay-out, while still having the possibility to tinker around with the code itself when it’s needed. I also wanted to continue with the use of CSS to determine the overall lay-out of the site.

There are very nice applications that let you do all that and more. They also cost all that and more. I don’t mind paying a bit for such a program, but I still have 24 and a half years of monthly instalments to pay for my house, which I’m also not willing to sell just to buy the likes of Adobe Dreamweaver. Before someone yells ‘Microsoft’, I did try Frontpage but I like my code to be W3C-compliant instead of in some Billgatian dialect. On the other hand there are loads of applications (even free ones) that are very easy to use and help you set up a website in minutes. Even a retarded cucumber can set up a website that way, but there’s generally no room for more (I tried CoffeeCup’s VisualSite Designer). If you want to add code you have to load it in another editor, assuming that this is at all possible. In between you have applications that try but fail to meet my requirements. They are difficult to handle, or rather they are unpredictable and give unstable results. I had a go at NVU for a while, but that wasn’t satisfying. I had to switch back and forth between NVU and my trusted (but not WYSIWIG) HTML Kit and NVU kept messing up the code.

So it’s either selling the house, get a lobotomy or make do with crap programmes. But then I discovered CoffeeCup’s HTML editor. I thought this was also a code editor, but it combines a code editor with a WYSIWIG graphical editor. Inserting photos is a snatch with this thing and although it has some quirks, it has the right balance between idiot-proof and being useful for technophiles and professionals. I have the feeling it will allow me to further learn website design and programming, without costing me an arm and a leg. So I hope it won’t be long before I can show you some results, although you shouldn’t expect a drastic re-design. It will be more subtle than that.

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