Feb 2002
First CityDesk Article By Ian Jones, Monday, February 11, 2002

Well, I've decided to make my life a lot easier, so first step was to pay off all my debts (other than mortgage), second step is to use CityDesk for publishing my website!

So, with any luck, using CityDesk should encourage me to make more updates to this site, as I won't be re-inventing the wheel like I was trying to do before!

Now Live With CityDesk Version Of Website By Ian Jones, Monday, February 11, 2002

So, I've finally gone live with a version of my web site published with CityDesk.

It took a little while longer than expected (about 5 hours with lots of playing), but still far less time than it has taken me to wrestle with PHP while trying to create what amounts to my own Content Management System. I've decided that writting a CMS from scratch isn't the best use of my time, I'm going to concentrate on what I enjoy and do best, database design and implementation. I enjoy creating solutions to problems that revolve around the capturing and manipulation of meaningful data, giving useful data to an organisation.

A Few Tweaks! By Ian Jones, Tuesday, February 12, 2002

Just a few tweaks this evening, and now ianmjones.net is up and running. So I now have two sites published with CityDesk, some of the content will be similar, and for the moment I'll just copy some articles across to the other site, but they are very likely to diverge very soon :-)

Me thinks that once CityDesk SP1 arrives, I'll fork out for the software, it's made life so much easier.

Right, it's 01:30am, time for bed.

Another Evening Of Tweaking! By Ian Jones, Wednesday, February 13, 2002

Another evening of tweaking my CityDesk html, templates and CityScript to (un)perfection!

I know it doesn't look like much at the moment, it needs a right royal make-over, but the basics are coming along. In the background there's been a lot change, things are fairly consistent, with the "structure" of the page ready for a little bit of "styling".

Anyway, walked to work this morning, very pleasant stroll, took a little under 30mins to do (including a little back-tracking while hunting for the start of the public footpath around the lake). If I can walk to work a couple of times a week, and actually get back on my MTB when back home at the weekends, maybe I'll be able to lose the stone or two that I should. Probably shouldn't have had that Mars Bar today though!

Right, I've done enough of this for today, I think I'll go read Joel Spolsky's User Interface Design For Programmers, that should help me wind down for the night!

Good night.

CityDesk Magic Names & CSS By Ian Jones, Thursday, February 14, 2002

This site now uses an imported cascading style sheet (CSS) file so that a change to my style rules does not mean that all files have to be uploaded as with embedded CSS. Before I was using a CityDesk variable containing the style rules which I embedded in the html and templates of my site. Now I use a variable that contains:

<style type="text/css">
@import url(PTMFOG0000000026.css);

The "PTMFOG0000000026.css" url is a CityDesk "Magic Name", when you publish your site Magic Names are changed to relative urls to the file who's Magic Name it is. If you look at the source for this page, youll see that I've had to use the character entity code for "P" (&#080;) to stop CityDesk from changing the url to "../../css/ianmjones.css"!

So, now a change to my style rules won't mean uploading all my content, which is something to be avoided at any cost when you're working away from home and can only do an upload via your mobile phone at 9,600bps!

Thank you CityDesk, you rock!

A Reason Not To Use Windows Update By Ian Jones, Wednesday, February 20, 2002

My laptop has had a growing tendency to lock up every now and then (read 2 - 5 times in a evening), it's mainly down to over-heating, so it's not a good idea to have a million and one services running in the background using up resources (like Apache, MySQL, DB2, anti virus software, and various other bits and pieces).

So I decided to wipe the disk and install a fairly minimal setup from scratch. I'm expecting a delivery of Windows XP and various other goodies real soon now anyway as part of my new subscription to the Microsoft Partners Action Pack, so this wasn't a big deal, just a measure to keep me sane for the next week or so.

This went fine, laptop is up and running, with only one lock up since. However, my new lean machine now couldn't connect to my mobile phone over IrDA, it used to be able, pre-reinstall, so why not now?

Two days later, I find out why, Windows 2000 doesn't support "Virtual Ports" such as those needed by mobile phones when connecting to your laptop via IrDA. Hmm, I need to apply a patch. Downloaded patch, floppied it across to laptop (can't use my laptop on network at site I'm working at), and run it. I need to be on at least Service Pack 1. Bugger, that's a big download and a lot of floppies.

"Hang on a minute" I say, "You've been keeping your laptop and desktop upto date with Service Packs and other fixes regularly using Microsoft Critical Updates, and have definitely downloaded SP1 and 2 before. So your nice and regular backups of software downloads will hold a copy of those files, problem solved!". Not so, I had only downloaded the "express" packs, these then analyse your installation and then go fetch what bits they need, so I couldn't apply the packs without having a internet connection. Which is of course the one bit of functionality I was trying to fix with the Service Packs!

Luckily a colleague took pity on me, and allowed me to burn a CD with the full Service Packs on, which I could then copy onto my laptop and run, my colleague figured that this CD may come in handy for other laptop users in the company, so had no qualms in letting me download a hundred or so megabytes of patches.

So, the lesson to be learnt? Use Critical Updates by all means, but just as an indicator of what files are available to be downloaded, then go download the files from the download section of Microsoft's web site, save to network drive which is regularly backed up, and install from there. Always download the full "Admin" files if you can, so that a CD full of Service Packs doesn't require anymore downloads.

Now Using Windows XP On My Laptop By Ian Jones, Wednesday, February 27, 2002

Just a quickie as I'm rather busy at the moment.

I'm now using Windows XP on my laptop, and it's working just fine. Which I must say, is a little surprising!

Anyway, I'll let you know how it's going after some real use.