Archive for December, 2009

SharePoint Designer

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

I just got off the phone from a friend who needs to design a web page. I suggested that he do it himself. It seems anyone who is out of work fancies themselves a web page designer. I get asked quite often about designing web pages and the best way to go about it. Since I am a programmer and don’t care how a page looks, it is not like I am losing any business by helping these people.

Lately I have been steering people towards the FREE Microsoft Sharepoint Designer software. This is Microsoft’s replacement for Front Page, the software responsible for so many very bad websites. Sharepoint Designer is easy to use and those used to other MS products will be comfortable using its interface. It is also very powerful and will let more sophisticated users add all the tweaks and styles that they want.

Best, it is free, so everyone can have a copy and produce ugly webpages and then call me to write the back end software.

SharePoint Designer Home Page – Microsoft Office Online.

Justin (*****mydadsays) on Twitter

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

My Dad could be sarcastic, but he almost never used foul language. Other than that, I like this twitter feed. It reminds me of my Dad.

Justin (****mydadsays) on Twitter.


Thursday, December 31st, 2009

I’ve learned not to make too much out of new year’s resolutions. Last year I wanted to take some courses, but that was a bust. The course I did take was a total waste of time. I would like to take an evening computer course, so I will do some research over the next few weeks.

I have lots of projects that I want to do in the coming year, but I would work on these projects without having to make a resolution. I will be upgrading blogs, starting new websites and writing stories. I have a new Flip Ultra HD video cam and I want to record some tutorials using it.

In 2009, the weather was bad and I did not walk much. The bus commute made my schedule very rigid, so I did not get up early and walk. I want to start that up as soon as the weather starts to get better. In April I want to go to bed earlier and get up early enough to walk around the lake again. I liked that. If I don’t get up early, I will drive over there after work and walk, but either way I want to walk at least three miles a day this spring.

I’ll check on new year’s eve 2010 and see how I’ve done. 1) Walk. 2) Take a course. 3) Record Tutorials. 4) Follow up on new projects (Harp recording project and Robotic Website).

Odds are I will never get to any of these. I’ve had similar resolutions for as long as I have been writing them down.

Ten Best Fantasy Series of All Time

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

I recently read a list of best fantasy series and I was surprised that they left out some of the best fantasy ever written.

I an not trying to say the books on the other list are bad, but they did leave out most of my favorites. I can only conclude that the blogger has not read all that much. We only agree on one series.

Here’s my alternate list.

10) The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny
Very good series of Fantasy novels featuring rich settings, very real characters and (almost) believable world building.

9) The Fairy Books, by Andrew Lang
Like the Arthur romances, fairy tales are one of the main sources for modern fantasy. Lang has collected a wonderful assortment in his books.

8 ) The Once and Future King, by T. H. White
The Arthurian cycle is the basis for what we call fantasy, and T. H. White’s version is richly done with three dimensional characters and a grand treatment.

7) Biography of Manuel by James Branch Cabell
Lushly written, this series, the descendants of Cabell’s Jurgen fantasy farce, are subtle and sometimes difficult, but well worth reading. The plots, characters and settings are distinctly Fantasy. I am a fan of Cabell’s rich musical style of writing.

6) Witch World Series by Andre Norton
Much of modern fantasy has been influenced by Norton’s seminal Witch World books. The first three or four books are wonderful, but Norton became a brand name late in her life and much of what appeared under her name she did not actually write, so avoid the later books.

5) The Martian Novels, By Edgar Rice Burroughs
Better than Burroughs’ Tarzan novels, the Barsoom stories are pure fantasy, in spite of taking place on another planet.

4) Conan, By Robert E. Howard
Somewhat dated, but some of the best action adventure stories ever written, full of magic, gods, and blood.

3) Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, Fritz Leiber
These stories have wit and adventure. I read and then reread them.

2) The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis
Written for children, but loved by adults. Aside from a little too much Christian based allegory, some of the best fantasy stories ever written. Voyage of the Dawn Treader is one of my favorite books of all time.

1) The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien.
Best plot, best characters, best writing – best bar none.

Mr. and Mrs. Claus

Monday, December 28th, 2009

From Saturday at the Graham homestead (Mom’s House).

Christmas Day Check on Bees

Friday, December 25th, 2009

I tested out the Flip video by going back and checking on the bees. It was too cold to open the boxes.

Christmas Day Bees from Keith Graham on Vimeo.

Mystery Safe – Unknown contents.

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

I saw this on the Westchester County eBay site. It is a locked safe. Someone has bid $5. It is probably full of money. I would bid on it if I were you, and then crack the lock.

SAFE – eBay (item 330389365738 end time Dec-30-09 05:47:01 PST)

My SF Christmas Card Program Works Again

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

There are parts of my websites that I haven’t seen for years. I went to send one of SF Christmas Cards and the site did not work. I upgraded to PHP5 and never tested it.

It took a few minutes but I found the problem and had to make changes to 5 programs to get the images to display. I’ve got it working now, but I have to read up on how to embed the image in the email rather than send it as an attachment – maybe next year.

Santa Poker

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

The poker boys wore their Santa Suits to poker last night.

Jim and I had suits. Robert IS Santa with his long white beard, but he just wore was his Santa cap, no red suit. John wore a tickle me Elmo hat with antlers.

When Polly and Stella came home, we all started Ho-Ho-Ho-ing and got the girls laughing so hard that they could hardly stand. Every time they came back into the room we started up again. Too bad I didn’t bring a camera.

Stupid Picture of Me in a Santa Suit

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

I lost out on a domain

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

I noticed that the website where I sold my second story was gone and the domain name was expiring. I backordered the domain with, but they didn’t get it. I am disappointed. I had the idea that I would restart the magazine. Instead I will just archive it somewhere.

Just upgraded to WordPress 2.9

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

If you ever want to create a WordPress blog, make sure that you install the WordPress Software in a different directory than the blog root. This should be mandatory. It allows you to upgrade your blog by uploading a new directory and then renaming the two directories.

In the past my blog would be down for a half an hour while I uploaded the new software. Now it still takes a half an hour to upload, but the blog is only down for about 15 seconds and I can switch back in 15 seconds if it doesn’t work.

Twas the Night Before Sci-Fi

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

Twas the Night Before Sci-Fi
A Visit from St. Forrest

‘Twas the night before Sci-Fi when all through the ship
Not a cyborg was stirring not even a chip.

The blasters were hung by the antimatter drive
In hopes that St. Forrey would help us survive.

The clones were nestled all snug in their vats,
While visions of death rays scampered like rats.

And yeoman in her armor and I in full gear,
Had entered hibernate with a twinge of fear.

When out in the vacuum there arose such a clatter,
I booted up quickly and plugged into the chatter.

Away to the viewport I flew like a flash,
Went to full sensors and readied for crash,

The meteoric dust in a nova’s cosmic rays,
Gave the luster of x-rays to the galactic haze,

When what then resolved to my deep sensor chips,
But a miniature sphere and eight tiny space ships,

With a fearsome old captain on a sacred quest,
I knew in a moment ’twas the famous Forrest.

More rapid than photons his courses they came,
and he transmitted, and signaled, and call them by name;

“Now, Wallaby! now, Serenity! now, Dora and Nimbus!
On, Moonbeam! on, Skylark! on, Enterprise and Brutus!

To the top of the C drive, to the tip of the bow,
All warp away! Warp away, warp away Now!

As galactic dust before the solar wind flies
When they meet with a planetoid, leap to the skies;

So up to the control ports, their retros they flew,
With a sphere full of weapons and St. Forrey too.

And then in a nanosecond, I heard from the dock,
Howling and scratching at the main air lock.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
From the turbolift St. Forrey emerged with a bound.

He was wrapped in a force field from his head to his ass,
And his plating was all tarnished with entrails and ash.

A bundle of weapons he had flung over his shoulder,
And he looked like a berserker just starting to smolder.

His eye sockets they glowed with a blood lust of fire!
His fangs were all sharpened, his claws clasped in desire!

His prehensile tail was drawn up like bow,
and the scales on his body were as black as a crow;

The roach of a joint was held tight in his beak,
and the smoke of it encircled his head like freak;

He had a chromed skull and barrel shaped chest,
That wheezed when he breathed like a demon possessed,

He was gnarly and scarred, like an evil dark elf,
And I screamed when I saw him in spite of myself;

A click of his mouse and nod of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the armories; then turned with a jerk,

And laying his blaster aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the turbolift he rose;

He sprang to his sphere, and setting his goal,
And away they all warped through a spacial worm hole,

But I heard him exclaim, ere he tunneled out of sight,
“Happy Sci-Fi to all, and to all a good-night.”

You heard it here first:

Converting to WordPress 2.9 today

Monday, December 21st, 2009

I will pull the trigger on the root site upgrade of WordPress 2.9 in two minutes. If it works you will not notice. If it doesn’t the root site will be down for a few minutes.

I’ll do this blog tomorrow at lunch time.

Keep your fingers crossed.

It Worked!

(I have to watch it closely, though)