Archive for February, 2008

Scott Fitzgerald lives on

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

Life imitates literature yet again:

Officers said they began searching for [the] car after a grocery store employee phoned authorities to report that a car leaving the store’s parking lot was missing a wheel.

Lt. Shaun McColgan said [the driver], who was behind the wheel of the car when police arrived, admitted to being intoxicated, but said it did not matter because “he ‘wasn’t driving.’”

The police said [the driver] did not know his car was missing a wheel, nor did he know where or why the crucial car part might have come off the vehicle. The officers said they retraced the path followed by [the driver] — aided by the scratch marks his car left on the pavement — but were unable to locate the missing component. ^

And the original, as written by F. Scott Fitzgerald:

Half a dozen fingers pointed at the amputated wheel — he stared at it for a moment, and then looked upward as though he suspected that it had dropped from the sky.

“It came off,” some one explained.

He nodded.

“At first I din’ notice we’d stopped.”

A pause. Then, taking a long breath and straightening his shoulders, he remarked in a determined voice:

“Wonder’ff tell me where there’s a gas’line station?”

At least a dozen men, some of them little better off than he was, explained to him that wheel and car were no longer joined by any physical bond.

“Back out,” he suggested after a moment. “Put her in reverse.”

“But the WHEEL’S off!”

He hesitated.

“No harm in trying,” he said. ^

Denial of responsibility seems an eternal trait.

Red light cameras

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

Some of my friends say they’re a good idea because they fear the incompetence of others. Others say the cameras are an awful idea, but I think it’s because they’re afraid of getting caught. I just detest them. Cameras do not understand special circumstances, and they prompt a very negative reaction of slamming on the brakes suddenly when approaching a stale green turning yellow.

Photoenforced lists red light cameras and camera speed traps around you. If you can’t avoid them, see if you can run into them so I can avoid them.

Manually merged help on WebWorks ePublisher Pro

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

This blog post is more of a scribble with some valuable information that at least to me seemed hard to find. The short answer is that you follow the instructions in the WebWorks Help 3.0 guide, and do a bit of trial and error to update that format. The slightly longer answer is this list.

Manually merged help can be created by taking two or more existing help systems (not their source files), and combining them with a little sleight of hand and the aid of a nifty little program called wwhelp5.exe, which is what indexes the content in each help system. Merging help systems allows them to share a table of contents, an index, and a search engine. You might use this approach if you have several projects, and your best customer orders three of them and wants them to share a help system.

  1. Create a new folder for your merged project, and copy every top-level folder which contains content (as opposed to code, a.k.a. the wwhdata and wwhelp folders) to the merged project folder.
  2. Go into one of your top-level folders which contains content, and copy the wwhelp folder, wwhelp folder, and index.html file, and paste them at the root of your merged project folder.
  3. In the root of your merged folder, go into the wwhelp folder, and open the file books.xml in a text editor.
    1. Find xml entries that look like <Book directory=”folder-name” >. Change these entries to point to your top level content folders, relative to the root (if your folder in the root is named EatingCrow, enter directory=”EatingCrow”).
    2. Find the text showbooks=”false” and change it to showbooks=”true.”
  4. In the root of your merged folder, go into the wwhdata folder, open the xml folder, and open the files.xml file in a text editor.
    1. Find xml entries that look like <Document title=”folder-title” href=”folder-pathname” />
    2. Change these to use the correct title (shows up in table of contents) and href to your top-level folders with content, but append this suffix to each /wwhdata/xml/files.xml.
  5. In each top level folder, open the wwhdata folder, open the common folder, and then open towwhdir.js in a text editor. Locate the line that reads { return “” } and replace it with return { “../” }
  6. Open a command window (Start->Run->”cmd”) and type a variation on this command:
    “C:\Program files\WebWorks\ePublisher Pro\Helpers\WebWorks\wwhelp5.exe -wwhdata “C:\path-to-merged-project\wwhdata” -wwhelp “C:\path-to-merged-project\wwhelp”

That’s it. I apologize for the hasty nature of these notes, but they contain everything necessary to get a moderately experienced WWeP user up and running with this procedure.

Alexandra Smoots-Hogan for Judge

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

My old buddy and debate homey Alexandra Smoots-Hogan is running for Judge here in Texas. I know her as a person of integrity and tolerance, and respect how she has worked hard for her status in the legal community. She’s running as a Democrat for Judge of the 164th Judicial District, Harris County, Texas, and the link above is to her funding kickoff party. In the picture, she’s on the left.

Allison Tartalia

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

Allison Tartalia is an old friend now making it in the world as a singer-songwriter in New York City. Her music can best be described as throaty folk with jazz rhythms and ecclectic influences. Putting her background in drama to good use, she has taken this form of music and given it a storyteller’s quirky, vibrant gaze. She’s got several MP3s online here: Let it Go, Advent of You, Absolutely Fabulous.

The secrets of the mystic art

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

From William Gibson:

I suspect I have spent just about exactly as much time actually writing as the average person my age has spent watching television, and that, as much as anything, may be the real secret here. ^

You will meet many “artists” in this life. Most of them are not serious about writing for four to six hours a day, or even for three, or even writing at all. Gibson said what all of us are thinking when we see this phenomenon.