Monthly Archives: January 2002

Far Above Cayuga’s Waters

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Monday was a beautifully clear day, like last weekend. The rest of the week turned a bit nasty (as any self-respecting week in January should). This is looking off towards Lake Cayuga from the top of Libe Slope at Cornell. How I long to sail again! I didn’t sail all season last year, and I miss it. (We were traveling a lot and East Shore Sailing closed. Sigh.) A friend and I are considering a voyage to explore the whole length of the lake this summer, though. I’ll let you know if it pans out. In the meantime, you can find the current conditions on the lake (updated every five minutes) here.

Another Sunset

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“Is that from Disney World? Or from your trip to Texas?” Becky walked up behind me when I was looking at the pictures I took this afternoon, and those were her questions. In truth, the pictures that she saw, including this one, were taken today right here in Ithaca.

I was driving back from Dryden this afternoon, and I couldn’t resist the urge to stop at Stewart Park (at the south end of Cayuga Lake) and snap some photos. It has been a glorious weekend. Daytime temperatures were in the low fifties, the sky was blue, and the sun was shining all weekend long. It was a January weekend that felt like Spring. While I still can’t help but wonder what happened to winter, it’s hard to complain with weather like this.

Craftsman

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My father-in-law is a craftsman. If you ask him, he’d probably tell you that he was a carpenter, but that now he’s a social worker. The truth, though, is quite different. While he no longer works with wood by trade, I think he’s progressed from carpenter to craftsman. Take a look at this, for instance, while I tell you a story.

When Becky was five years old, her dad added a second story to their house. Her mom loaded Becky and her brother into the car and took them to Missouri for two weeks. When they came back, their former one-story house had a new second story. The exterior of the house was colonial in style. So, when Mr. Williams added the second story, he made everything colonial. Unfortunately, Becky’s mom wasn’t wild about colonial. So, since then, they’ve been slowly converting colonial to something more modern.

In the last couple of weeks – nearly 20 years after the original addition – Mr. Williams finished the new handrail for the staircase. To construct this handrail, he carefully bent plies of wood using a method that he perfected in his garage. The end result is a thing of beauty – though he’s quick to point out its flaws. The curve pictured above turns 180 degrees while rising some 8 inches. He used no metal fasteners anywhere – only glue and dowels.

Here’s to people who make beautiful things.

Sunset

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A gorgeous sunset this afternoon. I’m not sure that this picture completely captures it. Alas, they never do. Becky suggested that we go down to Frederick this weekend to see her parents, and I agreed. I hope to snag a few pictures while I’m there. Look for an update sometime next wek.

Snow

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We got a bit of snow overnight. Not much really, maybe half an inch. It feels weird to be in the middle of January and to not have a good base of snow on the ground. We got between four and six inches a couple of weeks ago (when I posted the picture of the statue), but it all melted away last week. If you’ve never seen a Cornell postcard, the Clock Tower is McGraw Tower, Cornell’s best-known landmark. To the left is Willard Straight Hall, the Cornell student union.

Rose

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I took the picture above primarily so that I would have an excuse to make an entry today. I wanted to do that because I’ve spent the whole day working on the site. In any case, this is a rose that Becky is in the process of drying in our study. My digital camera equipment isn’t exactly cut out for this kind of work. When I get rich and can afford a digital SLR rig and and some really nice lenses, then we can talk.

For the last several days I’ve been completely taken by the Joel on Software website. I don’t even write that much code these days (not as much as I probably should, even), but the man can write. In any case, his company recently came out with a product called “CityDesk.” Now, CityDesk is designed to make it easy to manage websites which change often. I wasn’t totally happy with using Greymatter to manage the site. First of all, while I don’t mind tweaking some HTML, writing my whole site in raw HTML is not my idea of a good time. Second of all, I would like to be able to make updates to the site while offline, and then upload them when I’m done; that’s not possible with Greymatter. Finally, I wanted to see if Joel’s company could write software as well as he writes about software.

So, what have I done? Well, first of all I imported all of the old Imagenab site. The content is basically the same, although I did make one change that I should point out. I changed the dates on all of the old entries to be the dates the pictures were taken as opposed to the dates the entries were posted. This didn’t seem to be a choice with Greymatter, but it’s what I’ve wanted to be able to do for some time. I have pretty much gotten into the habit of taking lots of pictures, but I haven’t done so well with uploading them promptly. While I’ll try to do better, I hate for the site to have long gaps in it just because I haven’t been uploading.

After that, I added several new entries that have been accumulating in my camera for the past three or four weeks. Then, I created another folder and uploaded all of the pictures from my Christmas visit to Tennessee. At that point, I was ready to upload the site. Unfortunately, I ran into a problem. The free version of CityDesk only allows a site to contain 50 files. I was up to 66. <Sigh.> Now, if I keep using CityDesk then I have every intention of buying the Home Edition (which allows 500 files). But, I didn’t have any intention of buying it on my very first day. So, I created a new site for all of the 2001 Imagenab entries and copied them all over to there. Then I made a few critical links between the two years, so that if you go follow the link to the Imagenab index (below) you will easily see how to move back to 2001. This solution seems satisfactory for now.

So, what do I think of CityDesk? For a first version piece of software, it’s outstanding. There wasn’t much I wanted to do that I couldn’t figure out a way to do. Everything was really intuitive. Even someone with little or no knowledge of HTML could certainly create articles, although any sort of complicated formatting will require you to dig into the HTML a bit. This brings me to my only big complaint: The lack of support for tables in the HTML editor was a rather grave oversight. It is difficult to make nice looking pages without tables. While I missed some other HTML functionality, it was tables that really irked me. Fortunately, the editor does allow you to display tables, even though you can’t edit them; however, when you edit text within a table, you seem to get some rather funny-looking HTML. In any case, kudos to Fog Creek Software for coming out with a great product. I’m planning to stick with it for a while – I can’t give all my weekends over to recreating this site over and over!