What's New?

(January 2000: this file is closed ---- memoirs from the first two years in the life of my website...)

November 1, 1999
I hardly take time to play with this side of my site anymore. It was fun while I was crawling up the techno-learning curve, but now that I've mastered THAT, I tend to focus my energy on the social research links. On the plus side, more and more people are using the links site, and things are going the way I want - no censorship, nobody else's deadlines and standards...

October 11, 1999
I haven't been keeping this What's New page up to date because I tend to focus more on the Canadian Social Research Links part of my site. Since I last updated this page in July, I've found XOOM getting slower and slower, especially when I try to access the site from the office (must have something to do with the security firewall at Human Resources Development Canada). I finally decided in early September that enough was enough, and I moved the busy part of my site to the Rogers@home server. This past weekend, I moved the rest of the site (the personal side) to Rogers as well.
I've continued doing monthly site linkchecks throughout this period, though...

July 10
Ditto. Over 6,300 links, 398 broken ones to fix.

June 14, 1999
Keeping up with my commitment to review all links monthly - just completed an update earlier this month, had to fix  406 links out of a total of about 6,200 for the whole site...

April 2, 1999
Did a full site linkcheck the last week in March - over 5,000 links. Started changing the look of my main page, partly to facilitate navigation, partly for the sake of variety. In mid-March, XOOM changed the look of my pages by adding a banner - more like a border - at the top of the browser window. A little advertising for XOOM in exchange for unlimited server space for my site. Incredible. I haven't seen any other deal like this since I discovered free server space providers two years ago...

March 5, 1999
Had some problems with XOOM (where my site is located) late last week. The company tested some frames and Javascript throughout their network, and they had some stupid coding or similar problems - site access was tough for people using version 4 browsers, frustrating as hell for version 3 browsers (five or six error screens to click through) and impossible for non-Netscape or Internet Explorer browsers. So bad I had to add a notice at the top of my main links page telling visitors that the problem with XOOM would hopefully be fixed soon. It's OK now, though...
Would've been courteous of XOOM to let people on their server(s) know that they were testing "new features"
(Also looks like XOOM will be adding banner ads to sites on its server(s) - like Geocities or Tripod or Angelfire or any other commercial provider of free web server space. I never could figure out how they make their money...)

February 17, 1999
Updating links today.
All is working well with Rogers@Home.

January 24, 1999
- My ROGERS@HOME Adventure Page is done. Good therapy. Cleansing.
- Forgot to mention in my earlier entry (that's how distracted I was with the ROGERS thing...) that I moved my site to XOOM.COM on January 15

January 15, 1999:
Happy New Year!
I keep forgetting to update this "What's New" page because I update my Canadian Social Research Links page more frequently than the personal side of my site.
The "What's New in Canadian Social Research Links" page is updated very regularly...
My experience to date with ROGERS@HOME has been pathetic. Another cable guy came December 31, again to check the integrity of the cable and modem. The original installation (Dec. 1) consisted of new wiring from the point of entry into the house right to the (new) modem. On December 15, and December 31, two different cable guys said everything was fine right up to my machine.
Now we all agree, I thought. The problem lies in the computer.
If we can get a COMPUTER TECHIE to come fix my computer configuration, I'm laughing!
But no, I'm told, I should call back if I have any further problems.
During the first two weeks in January, I tried a different approach - I used the e-mail route. I sent about five or six messages over that period to Rogers e-mail support address. Of course, I had to resend several of them because I never received my blind copy (I send myself a copy of each outgoing message to ensure that Rogers' mail server is working). Each message is a reiteration of my two ongoing problems: mail service that is down more often than it is up, and a file transfer speed that has yet to exceed 8.7KPS. So far, I've received one reply - a form reply saying that my e-mail has been "placed into the queue in the order in which it arrived".
 Now a techie from my office has alerted me to another potential problem - the card that was installed on my machine is an ISA card - office techie says this is old, slow technology, that I should have a PCI Ethernet card. I called Rogers this morning on this very question. They will get back to me ASAP (rhymes with "the cheque's in the mail"?)
More to come...
Caveat Emptor...

December 28, 1998:
ROGERS@HOME was installed on December 1st.
"Download speeds attaining 100 times your old dial-up connection - literally!"(from recent ROGERS@HOME full-page ads in the local newspaper)
My average transfer speed on larger files is around 8.7 KPS - roughly three times the speed of my old dial-up connection to Comnet. A far cry from 100 times. I'm still awaiting transfer speeds over 10KPS.
So far, I've spoken to about four different techies, very sympathetic every one of them, but without any improvement. Now that the Christmas season is past (hope it was a good time for you!), I'm ready to move to the next level. So far, I've tried about eight times unsuccessfully to download a 20 Mb file that the support desk suggested might resolve my problem. The file downloads up to about 15 Mb, then just stops dead, the "Saving..." window closes. The end.
In mid-December, the Rogers cable guy came by to check the integrity of the cable and router (external "modem"). A-OK, he says - you should be getting top transfer speed.
The problem's with the network - needs another technician, a network PC specialist.
That's where I'm at now.
I moved my website to the @HOME server in early December without too many problems. However, I did decide to renew my Comnet account for at least an extra month just to have my redirect page up a bit longer for infrequent visitors or those coming from an old links page. Also because ROGERS has been very unreliable in this my first month with them.
The mail server was down several times during the month - something that never happened with Comnet in the entire year that I spent with them. I really didn't like that part. The news server was also down periodically during December - not quite as bad, because I spend less time there. Even access to the WWW has been impossible on several occasions. Unacceptable. I'll stick with Comnet for now as a backup...
I'll add more news as this gets sorted out...

November 8, 1998: Lots happenin' in the past few weeks...
I decided to keep my Social Research Links site personal rather than move it to the office website, for now. Less exposure, but it's easier to deal with issues that way. I've freshened up the appearance of the link pages, and I've added a "What's New" page where I copy all new additions to the site. (People can subscribe to Mindit and receive an e-mail message when I update the What's New page.)
I've started sprucing up the personal side of my site as well, what with its first anniversary coming up - November 13, if you check the bottom of this page. I've decided to do the wave - Rogers Wave, that is. It's available in Ottawa. I'm goin' for it. Potential challenges lie ahead when I have to move this site to the Rogers server in mid-December.
Sheesh - this is almost as messy as breaking up with a housemate.
But it will be worth it for the extra OOMPH when I surf the net using cable. For now, I've sent my request (by e-mail) for connection, and I'm waiting for a call to set up an appointment for installation ($150 for "The Guy" to come out and install the cable modem and set it up). This is all in the last week. FYI... Ottawa ROGERS@HOME is $39.95/mo.(plus $15 for modem rental - waived until early in the new new year). I'll add more info on this event as it unfolds.

October 26/98: Another linkcheck done. Well, that's ONE way to kill ten hours or so...
3,676 links this time, just over 200 needed fixing.

September 11/98: Wrapping up another complete linkcheck started on September 7. The site is up to 3,420 links, 190 links needed fixing this time. Done.

August 1/98: Just finished a linkcheck of my Social Research Links site - 3,254 links, 143 errors to fix. Couple of hours to repair links, plus a couple more for the sidetrips (always something new to explore!). Recent additions to the site include a "reference e-library" for the Social Union and some personal photos (You've just gotta go see my Cosmic Twin!)

June 27/98: Spent the last part of May and most of June just keeping my social research links page up to snuff.
Summer spruce-up for the website. It took almost three hours for InfoLink to check through 2,982 links in my site today.
Just under 300 broken links to check, fix and upload to my site.
That should keep me off the streets for the next few days...
Earlier this month I bought a scanner - Logitech Freescan. Great stuff. I scanned the two top photos on Daniel's page using my new scanner (I scanned the rest of the photos on the page last year at the office - on a Saturday, of course...)

June 4/98: Finally got around to doing an update of my Silly Stuff page. Added a link to an online (Java) backgammon game and a public service announcement for emancipated women. Check it out...

May 14/98: Website cleanup complete, all pages updated & booted back up to the site.
Whew! what a job. It seems that a housenerd's work is never done...

May 10/98: Complete website check using InfoLink (link-checking software). Over 2,800 links on my site, 190 need fixin' or deletin'. Something to do over the next few days...
While InfoLink did its thing, I was reading "Double Vision", by Edward Greenspon and Anthony Wilson-Smith (subtitled "The Inside Story of the Liberals in Power"), June 1997. It's an eye-opener - talks about all the back-room stuff that's behind the shift in social policy in Canada since the return to power of the Liberals in '93...

May 7/98: I added a search engine to my Social Research Links page today, courtesy of Comnet's (that's my Internet Service Provider) CGI script. It was a challenge to get the thing operating (I'm not a programmer), but I actually had fun putting it all together...

April 4/98: In the past week, I've been updating provincial links pages. I made a few cosmetic changes to my main social research links page (by scrunching the provinces into a table). I also updated my Web Authoring and Editing Links page.

March 28/98: Complete site analysis - 2,581 links - using InfoLink Link Checker. Good product - especially the shareware part : I get to do 42 more site analyses before the program times out. I put a cute graphic link to the company on my links page. Thanks, InfoLink!

March 20/98: Disregard the part of the previous entry that says "improved" - A blue border thingy that I'd added to spiffy up my home page (see how my tech talk has already improved?)started making my Netscape browser go silly (overlapping and duplicating graphics as I scrolled down the page, sort of like the LSD trails in "Easy Rider"... but I digress. I fixed the problem by removing the border from my page.

I also changed some of the graphics on the "serious" (Social Research Links) pages, and BY THE JEEZ, it looks like a real professional job now. I guess I'll have to start wearing a shirt and tie when I'm working on those pages...not.

I also added a Provincial-Territorial Welfare Departments Page to Social Research Links.Somebody better remind me from time to time that I have to copy all updates to the individual provinces, though.

March 8/98: New (and improved?) home page. Got tired of looking at the same old same old opening page. After all, it's been there for a whole three months. Also played around with the background of my social research links pages, to give them a different look from the rest of my site.

February 21/98: Today, I checked all links (1,602) on my website using software called BiggByte InfoLink. I'd already tried Linkbot (30-day trial during the holiday season). Linkbot was faster but five times more expensive, in case you care...

January '98: Really went nuts on Social Research Links page. I'd just finished the translation of the home page when office colleague Jeff Greenwood told me about the Alta Vista Translation Service at the end of January. Shit. Poor timing. Still, it's an excellent service. Abducted by aliens January 26, returned home six hours later. Same tests as previous two abductions. Ouch.

December '97: Spent most of this month piddlin' around with Daniel's Page and Silly Stuff, gaining valuable experience with graphics. Am also noticing that people don't always appreciate a good joke.

November 13/97: Canadian Social Research Links site launch
Ta-da! Let the bells ring out and the banners fly ...



Canadian Social Research LinksPage