Archive for: June 2008

June 23, 2008

Hot days, cool nights

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 9:15 am

I live in the San Francisco area, East Bay.  In the summer, we get hot days and cool nights.  I understand it is because the humidity is low.  When humidity is high, it holds the heat after the sun goes down.

Yesterday during the day was in the 90’s.  Last night is was so cool I turned on the electric blanket for a while to warm up the bed.  This morning the window is open and it is cool.  I have a light jacket on while working at the desk.

The weather forecast is for the low 80’s today.

In this part of the East Bay, it is regularly hot, so there is Air Conditioning everywhere.  It is always a question of when to turn the Air Conditioning on, and when to turn it off.

And I know when I blog about the weather, it is because I am worrying about things I do not want to discuss.  I suppose it is like making conversation about the weather during ackward moments.  I hope you have pleasant weather today where ever you are.

June 22, 2008

New Web Hosting

Filed under: Internet,Technology,Website — Les Bain @ 3:07 pm

So what did I learn while moving to a new web host.

  • The HTML and PHP code was well organized on my local computer with both a local and remote backup.  It was uploaded to the new webhosting with no problem.
  • The .htaccess files did not work the same on the new web hosting site, and had to be tweaked.  It was a simple change, but a significant impact.
  • The most significant impact was the email accounts being down.  I should have given the email a higher priority.  But it is all working down.
  • Restoring MySQL databases was smoother than I had anticipated.  I wanted to control backup and restore with PHP, but so far that has not worked.
  • On the new webhosting, I moved everything to PHP 5 and MySQL 5.  That might have caused some problems.  I have one vendor PHP routine that is not working, but instead of trying to debug it, I am going to download another PHP script.
  • Moving the WordPress blog took some time, because the problems were not apparent.  I finally just installed WordPress fresh, and reinstalled all of my theme and plugin changes.  That went quickly.
  • The wordpress database restore worked just fine.  I lost two posts, but I remembered them and posted them again.
  • Blogger blogs were very easy, I just had to republish.
  • In testing everything on the new web host, I found problems that I did not know about.  I have a task list of things to fix going forward.
  • Finding the right webhosting vendor is a crap shoot.  Basically, I decided to pick one with no setup and monthly fee so I could check it out and make good notes in case I had to move again, which I did.
  • Bottom line was that even though there were system wide problems to start, usually one parameter fixed many problems.

June 21, 2008

Rebuilt WordPress Blog

Filed under: Blogging — Les Bain @ 11:32 pm

I moved Webhosting provides and had to transport this WordPress blog from one Webhost server to another.  It went pretty well.  There are always wrinkles to work out, but all in all, a pretty smooth process.

The biggest problem was trying to reload the database.  The problem was too many records.  There were thousands of spam comments, once I took them out of the batch SQL file, all went well.

I did not backup over the last couple of days, so I did loose a couple of blog posts.  It is a very minor situation.

I will recreate two and the other one is better not recreated.

June 20, 2008


Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 12:00 am

Opiophobia is the unreasonable fear of prescribing opiates by both the medical professions and the public.

Opiophobia is responsible for the current situation where people on pain medications suffer difficulties from medical professionals, friends, and family.

I want to know where Opiophobia got started. I am doing research which I am capturing on a blog called History of Opiophobia.

I have identied several papers and books on the history of OpioPhobia, but they are either vary expensive or behind a firewall.   I am continuing to reasearch.

June 19, 2008

Aparment File

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 11:40 pm

There was a fire in our apartment complex.  We are fine.  It did get our attention.

Apartment Complex Fire

June 16, 2008

Senator Obama vs. Senator McCain

Filed under: Politics — Les Bain @ 10:21 am

Senator Obama and Senator McCain give us two different approaches to choose from.

They differ on the Iraq war, diplomacy, economics, taxes, and social issues.

I would like to add my voice to the chorus that is suggesting we look at those differences and vote according to which way we want the country to go.

We do not need to slander these men who want to lead the country. Let their positions on the issues stand or fall on their own merits.  Let the citizenry reason and decide without rancor.

June 14, 2008

Security Agreement with Iraq

Filed under: Politics — Les Bain @ 1:55 pm

The United States and Iraq are negotiating a new security agreement. Can you imagine.

Iraq insists that the agreement recognize Iraq’s sovereignty. What a concept.

If I was Mr. Maliki, which of the following would I agree to:

  • The US wants contract soldiers to be able to operate outside of Iraq law.
  • The US wants to be be able to arrest citizens of Iraq.
  • The US wants to stay in Iraq indefinitely.
  • The US wants to specify what kind of government Iraq has.

And Iraq wants their sovereignty to be recognized.

Sounds like some negotiation.

June 11, 2008

Who protects Iraq?

Filed under: Politics — Les Bain @ 9:50 am

When Irag invaded Kuwait, the United States came to the rescue. We drove Iraq out of Kuwait.

Then we invaded Irag, but we are the biggest guy on the block, so there is no one to rescue Iraq.

The other day I was talking about Iraq with a colleague, and he could not understand why they did not welcome us with open arms. I suggested that if Canada did not like George Bush and invaded us, would he welcome them with open arms? He laughed and said he would learn how to make Improvised Explosive Devices if we were invaded.

But somehow it was different he said. Saddam Hussein was evil, George Bush is not. How many evil guys have we had ruling countries in this century: Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Hussein, Amin, Kim Jong-il, and many others.

It is a quagmire.

June 10, 2008

Writing Code

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 12:08 pm

I am writing PHP code for a project that I am working on. There is good news and bad news.

The good news is that I really enjoy writing the code. But, I enjoy the coding so much that I keep wanting to do the code. I keep putting off more urgent and important tasks. That will end today – today is urgent and important tasks only. The code is important but not urgent.

I wake up thinking about the code and ways to improve it. Maybe it is just an excuse to stay in bed for a few more minutes working out the next routine to be coded.

It is certainly a type of system that I have written before, but as always, things change over time. So I bring some experience, but there are always new things to learn.

OK, I will set a goal for tasks to complete. If I complete all the tasks, I will take some time to code.

June 9, 2008

CSS and Color

Filed under: Website — Les Bain @ 2:17 pm

I am trying some new things with CSS.

I am taking all the color parameters out and putting them into one file. ../color.css. Because of the nature of CSS, I can replicate names of course, and it is last on the list.

I want to create different files for different color sets. I am not a sophisticated color person, so I use one of the many color sites to find compatible colors. I create the file and then have a “blue” set or a “orange and red” set of colors in different files. I can quickly change color sets to change the complete color scheme of a website.

There are lots of issues of course.

  • Matching Adsense code
  • Matching photos and logos
  • Matching graphics

But overall, I like doing it. I get tired looking at the same colors, and it is a good thing to be able to switch color schemes effortlessly.

The next thing to do is to create one for this blog. I am tired of these colors.

Waiting for Software

Filed under: Technology — Les Bain @ 2:08 pm

Whatever happened to Windows XP SP3? Did I miss the memo?

I am still on SP2 – I just checked – and I do the regular Windows updates. Perhaps I need to manually choose to install SP3.

Windows® XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) includes all previously released updates for the operating system.

I apply all the updates, so perhaps I am at the equivalent of SP3. I have not heard the customary screaming about SP3, so it is either a clean update, or no one is doing it.

And what about Firefox Version 3? I signed up for the memorable day to download and install the new version of Firefox. I am still waiting.

I have read some reviews that say it is a fine product, so I will make it a point to download if soon in the big day does not arrive.

I just have to remember to not do them at the same time, because then if there are problems I will not know which one caused the problems.

June 8, 2008

What to blog about?

Filed under: Blogging,Personal — Les Bain @ 4:58 pm

When I find myself wondering what to blog about on a particular day, it usually means that what is on my mind is not something I want to blog about.

It is like running into an acquaintance who asks how you are doing and answering “I am doing fine”. There is no reason to speak of the fears, the failures, the problems, and the disappointments.

I sometimes think that I should start another blog – an anonymous blog – so that I can speak about what is really doing on.

One of the things that stops me is that I am not sure what makes it truly anonymous. Seems like one can penetrate the IP address of posts and identify people pretty quickly.

Maybe I can look up Mini-Microsoft and see how he or she did it.

June 7, 2008

Thirty Thousand Foot View

Filed under: Politics — Les Bain @ 3:39 pm

Reading bloggers and listening to political pundits it is hard to find the “thirty thousand foot view”.

The view that:

  • Does not over react to events of one day.
  • Provides some historical perspective
  • Has some sense of what will pass in 2 weeks or 2 months and what will be an ongoing issue.

There are two that seem to have this perspective.

  • David Gergen
  • Donna Brazile

Aids Lifecycle closing ceremonies

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 3:32 pm

It is hard to focus on work because my mind keeps going to the Aids Lifecycle.  The closing ceremonies should be going on as I write this post.  My son rode this year.

My son is a cyclist, and I thought he was riding because of pure altruistic motives – to raise money for Aids.

Eventually I found out about the demographics of the riders.

  • Lots of gay men
  • Lots of older straight men.
  • Lots of young straight women.
  • Very few young straight men.

My son is a young straight guy.  He is meeting lots of fit, young, engaged straight women.  Just another benefit of doing a good thing I suppose.

For whatever the reason he rode, I am very proud of him.

June 6, 2008


Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 7:02 pm

Tracy Kidder wrote a book called “The Soul of a New Machine” about a computer design team.

One engineer, Josh Rosen, who burned out fighting nanosecond-level timing bugs was seduced by the attraction of commune living and left to live in the country. His resignation note declared, “I’m going to a commune in Vermont and will deal with no unit of time shorter than a season.”

I was thinking of that quote today. I have been dealing with units of time no longer than an hour, or a least a few hours.

  • Is Twitter up or down?
  • Is Senator Obama or Senator Clinton or Senator McCain going to give a speech?
  • What is the latest on CNN or MSNBC?
  • Work on critical client updates.
  • Watch a scheduled webinar.

I am going to take some time this weekend and meditate and read a book.  Think about something longer than an hour.

Filed under: Politics — Les Bain @ 8:30 am

A picture named nj2.jpg

T h e F r e s h e s t P o l i t i c s f o r N e w s J u n k i e s

Check out newsjunk if you are a news junkie. Dave Winer and others are behind it.

June 5, 2008

Democrats, Republicans and Others

Filed under: Politics — Les Bain @ 5:35 am

There are two major political parties in the United States.

  • The two parties represent 60% of the people in the United States.
  • Independents and other small parties represent 40% of the people.

CNN and other news stations normally have two pundits, one from the Republican Party and one from the Democratic Party.  Today they had on Jessie Ventura, who represents the 40% who are not part of either major political party.  It is refreshing to have that voice.

June 4, 2008

How Obama won: How Clinton lost

Filed under: Politics — Les Bain @ 4:43 pm

The pundits are hard at work doing post analysis.

This is what makes sense to me.

  • Senator Obama and his staff understood it was delegates, delegates, delegates. They organized and went after delegates. They went after small states and large, primaries and caucuses, but always with the eye to delegates.

“Between Idaho, Nebraska, Vermont, Maine, Mississippi, North Dakota, the District of Columbia, Hawaii and Alaska, Obama would amass 118 delegates to Clinton’s 57.”

  • The most interesting analysis I saw for Senator Clinton and staff suggested that she would have been better served as the “passionate” candidate and not the “experienced” candidate.
  • Senator Obama used the Internet.  He supposedly had a group of twenty somethings working the Internet from the start.  He used social media, websites, Twitter, Facebook.  He raised money and engaged individuals over the Internet.

Now Obama has to engage the older voters.

  • The Younger voters are saying “Yes we can”.
  • The Older voters are saying “Who is Obama”.

The Democratic primary raised questions of racism and sexism.

The Presidential campaign will raise issues of ageism.

June 3, 2008

Time is flying by

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 12:07 pm

Adding just a few things to my daily schedule has made my day very full.  Time seems to race by.

  • Bird sitting for a couple of cute parakeets
  • Watching the Aids LifeCycle news because my son is riding in the event
  • Paying attention to the Democratic Party nominating process
  • Voting in the California primary today.  Yes, the California primary was split and we voted for candidates early, but the other part of the primary is today.
  • Along with the client and business work.

Adding just a few items seems to make the day very busy, but it could be because some of the items have an emotional charge.

June 2, 2008

Website Technology

Filed under: Technology — Les Bain @ 6:47 pm

I looked at a website today that I created 5 years ago.  It was a mess.

  • The HTML had lots of repetitive code.
  • There was no CSS.
  • The website used FrontPage extensions which I would never use today.
  • The website loaded slowly.

There were some simple changes that I had to make but they were difficult to make.  I suppose I will have to retool the website.  FrontPage extensions will be obsolete soon.

If I had the time, I would welcome the opportunity, because I like to take messy code and create more elegant code.

June 1, 2008

Aids LifeCycle

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 10:37 am

Today is the start of the Aids LifeCycle. It is a bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise money for Aids.

My son is riding along with 2500 other riders. I am a typical parent and I am both very proud and a little concerned.

Aids LifeCycle Blog

The 2500 riders will raise more than 11 million dollars for Aids. It is quite a story and quite an adventure.

It feels a little strange sitting at my desk today while my son rides 80 miles on a bicycle. Maybe I will do a walk today.