State of Play: 2013/wk34 End

Moved email and web hosting. Checked emails worked via mobile broadband, at home, and at future residence over in Maitland on the Yorke Peninsula. Closed Office retracted back home. Set up wireless home network. Temporarily redirected office phone number to Roy’s mobile. Conrad got mobile phone.

Researched web store providers, online booking systems and digital products, along with open source, and free software concepts. Installed wordpress as content manager for site, to provide page seeing now.

Still have various structural projects on the go:

1) Cold-Formed Steel Sheds
2) Carports and Verandahs
3) Retaining Walls
4) Residential footings
5) Balustrades
6) Sports nets

Other Activities been pursuing :


Google Chrome Bookmarks

Created a MS Excel workbook for tools used with google. Modified Excel/vba xtract macro to work in this workbook. Its purpose is for importing google bookmarks into Excel, from where they are manually imported into MS Access.

Deleted unsorted bookmarks from Chrome, now it loads faster.

Operating System

Rewrote vbs sendto macro used to open explorer using command line switches ( /e,/root, %1) in VB as a console application. For no other reason than to test VB’s facilities for working with files, folders, command line parameters, and executing other programs.

Blogging and Blogger

Experimented with extracting data from blogger export file. Its an XML file, I just wanted a list of blog post titles. So it seemed a simple matter. Reading file with UltraEdit and XML Notepad 2007, it seemed very general with a multitude of entry tags. These being used for blog settings, pages and posts. Still it seemed that just needed to scan for title tag, and once got all these could manually delete the ones not needed. Unfortunately usual vba routines for reading files didn’t work. From UltraEdit seems the file is in Unix format. Therefore modified my vba routines to check for LF only instead of LF/CR pairs. But still appeared to have problems. Wrote a simple vbs script this read and echoed to the screen without a problem, though seemed to pause at one stage. Rewrote vba macro to read single characters and without echoing anything to the immediate screen, this ran and completed in next to no time.

Previously had problems with MS Access, which appears to have limits to what can be echoed to the immediate screen, but not experienced similar in MS Excel before. The length of string may also have been a problem, though I believe vba strings are relatively long, much longer than 256 characters, or maybe mixing up with another type. So that’s something need to check.

Not wanting to write a parser to parse character by character, just looking for simple brute force extraction, thought would have a look at XML objects. Then figured that probably too complicated, and besides should check if can open the XML file in Excel first. Didn’t try this option in the first place as expected the XML format would be too complicated for MS Excel. Turned out that Excel could open the file, there were some errors including trimming the strings to fit. But still was useable format for given purpose, found the title column and copy/pasted to a new worksheet, then sorted and deleted data that wasn’t a post title.

Having done that, still went and did it the hard way copy/pasting from the blogger dashboard. The single lines copied from blogger became multiple lines when copied, and the titles were also trimmed. Manually edited the data to create consistent format. Then used UltraEdit macro record to create a macro to convert the data sets back onto a single line delimited by semi colons. Manually ran this macro on each set. Once done this, imported the data into MS Excel, and converted the data text to columns based on semi colons used as delimiters. Used text to columns again, on the column of tags, this time the delimiter was comma’s.

Once got the tags into separate columns, wanted to sort them into alphabetical order. To do this was going to modify existing macro I have for reversing hole punching data. Then got stuck at least thinking about modifying my bubble sort routine for text. Did some internet research and seems don’t need to sort on individual characters. But also discovered that the Excel standard sort data menu command, has option to sort a row across columns. So used the built in command, but none the less still modified and tested my bubble sort vba macro. Bubble sort may not be the fastest sort method, but its the one I learned at uni where we studied Fortran 77.

Once got this list, then copied and aligned with list extracted from the blog xml file, discovered deleted some blog post titles but retained some settings. Cleaned up the missing post names, then deleted the titles which were copy/pasted from dashboard as they were trimmed. The result a single list of blog post titles, dates posted, number of views, and tags. From the collection of tags assigned to each post, built a single list of unique tags. So now have a better idea of what already posted, and whether posts that belong together are tagged appropriately.

Information Management

Also been researching tags and information retrieval, the internet not such a good place for such research, all seems biased towards SEO and marketing. Not really interested in that aspect, prime interest is retrieving information from local computer. I have CMaps, TreePad Business, Personal brain. xyplorer, diskboss ultimate, and Filelocator Pro, swift-to-do-list, so no problem searching for stuff. However, I don’t believe it should be necessary to search, retrieval should be more immediate.

Place stuff inside personal brain and it gets lost, its helpful to avoid duplicate thoughts, but still a tendency to have to search to retrieve stuff. TreePad can more directly get to stuff, but still stuff gets lost and duplicated and so have to search to find stuff.

Been looking at Scrivener, and it looks like it could be a useful information manager for writing reports, articles and blog posts.

Application Development and Programming

Also been looking at the requirements for writing applications for smart phone, seems there is an add-in for Eclipse. Not got that yet, but took another look at the Eclipse IDE, and Java.

Diagramming: Mind Mapping and Similar

Also been looking at software for drawing diagrams, mindmaps and similar, yEd looks like it may be suitable but not installed and tested yet. Also been looking at treemaps, seem an interesting way of presenting data. Also took another look at Delaunay triangulation and Voronoi polygons main interest is geographical economics and catchment zones for various facilities. Previously written Acad LT scripts (*.scr) for triangulation, now would like to do the polygons.

Licensing Digital Products

Also looked into copy protection and software licensing as well as general business issues concerning goods and services, products and services, and solutions. Seems if really want to protect computer application software and other digital products then best option is to purchase one of the available systems, not worth time and effort developing own. Registration needs to be convenient, and with out hassle. So it seems rather than sell digital goods, make them gratis and sell support services.

Bit of a problem, since I had objective of turning service into digital goods. The situation is however different, as the digital goods are not yet available. My objective is to make the goods available. These goods become a reference datum against which to measure the real value of service providers. Goods and services are interchangeable, just as tools and techniques are interchangeable. Technique can be embodied in a tool, in the form of a machine. Anyone can buy the machine and put to use. Tools in such manner can enable and empower the people at large to do much for themselves as individuals without the assistance of an army of other people. Appropriately designed digital tools can put a lot of decision making back into the hands of individuals without the need to rely on specialist consultants. Consultants who make decisions often with out any real explanations to their clients.

Digital goods also resolve some of the problems of scheduling limited resources, and provide faster supply compared to custom designed offerings.

Just a series of stepping stones towards designing the design process itself.