Moving On.

Friday, September 27, 1996

The Next Step.

had no idea that it would ever come to this: Me installing Windows95 in any computer I own, while I'm in my right mind. But after what I've found out about the WFG v3.11, I can't keep to this path any longer, no matter how much I dislike Microsoft and Windows. Oh BTW, I've always used Microsoft software; it's the best around. But I distinctly dislike the sheer arrogance and overall stupidity of Microsoft, which I've discovered since making the InterNet and Web a second home in November, 1995. To think: I used to admire Bill Gates, until I found our what an moron he (and the company, which he is) really is.
With the continuing software problems I've been having lately, I almost don't have a choice. Windows NT v3.51 hasn't been able to solve the problems, because I've never had the time to fullly-convert to the NT software. Or at least no one I know is able to configure NT well enough that it eliminates what ails my two 586 Pentiums. I've long since given up on tech-type people fixing a system so that it works correctly.
There comes a point when it's better to replace than rebuild. And I'm sick of loading and re -loading software everyday to keep things humming. Time to move on to the next plateau.
For now, Windows95 seems to be the answer. Windows NT, the bigger and much stronger sibling of 95, will go in next, if it appears 95s features can clear up WFGs operating and memory problems. With all the megs of RAM under the hood, I shouldn't be running out of memory and system resources every three hours. No shit, Sherlock.
The migration to Windows95 will have to be done very carefully; the 32-bit stuff has to be substituted for 16-bit thingys, and hopefully the interface shock won't be too great. I used an Acer System the other day to build a Website for a customer, and found Windows95 somewhat daunting as a first-timer. Repitition will help dispell that feeling over time.
I don't hear very many people talk positively about Windows95, other than to complain about the bugs in their version of it. I really hope they're just kidding...

Did You See It?

Last night (Thursday) was the last full lunar eclipse until the year 2010AD, which I hope we'll be around to watch the next one together again.
I had just come out of PhotoShop Class at The Bradley Academy for The Visual Arts here in York, PA, and saw the event beginning to happen. Under about 9,000ft of clouds, no one could see a thing, including me. I'll read about it in tomorrow's New York Times. Awesome natural phenomenon as it is, a hurricane or tornado is a more religious experience. But the lack of mass destruction, as opposed to a hurricane or tornado, makes an eclipse a more desirable event in my book.
I hope you had a chance to see it. Now it's something to talk about when you're bouncing the grandchildren on your knee one day down the road.

Fall Is Here.

At 3:20am this past Monday morning, Fall officially arrived and was generally-unnoticed by most. But anyone who's been watching the signs in Nature knows that Fall was already here. The indications are that it will be another bad Winter. The signs were and are everywhere, if you'll only pause to notice. As they were with last Winter's indicators. Many millions of people in 17 states remember last winter all too well.
One of our controversial ads, Winter Over, is running right now in Pennsylvania and Maryland weekly and monthly papers, and is telling people what to do with their gardens to get ready for the coming Winter. It's a gift from me to gardeners to help prevent losses in the garden when Spring finally gets here next year. Why is it controversial? I don't really know, but it evoked a lot of attention when I ran it last year. Perhaps it's because no one has ever written an ad such as that, telling people what, when and how to do things in their garden. Just seemed logical to me.
Many people do nothing to ready a garden for the change of seasons, and then they wonder why there are so many casualties among their carefully-chosen and paid-for plants the next Spring. Because of my 5-year warranty (not guarantee), they then expect the plants to be replaced each Spring at no charge. What a shock they get when I ask them about the preparation they did for Winter.
Read the ad and learn about some quick steps that you can take now to avoid problems next April and May. Don't leave things to the chance that this coming Winter won't be as brutal and prolonged as the past two have been.
I really enjoy this (Fall) time of year; another change and life cycle is beginning and the human species is the only ones who need to be told. Everything else, such as the wildlife and plants, know it instinctively. Hmmmmmm...

Interviews and Reviews.

Earlier this year, several magazines and newspapers had called, after finding us or hearing about our Website on the InterNet, and interviewed me on how it was done, successes so far, and a dozen other topics. There are still some industry and trade publications calling for my time, but I seem to miss most of them since I've frequently out at on-site visits.
The first few of those have now been published. And a couple caught me by suprise: I'd completely forgotten about doing the interview with them earlier in the year. Several people emailed me that they'd read about us in such-and-such magazine or newspaper. It's all very flattering commentary on this Website.
I put up a Reviews page to keep them separated from the other types of PR and promotion generated by this Website. Spend some time there and see what the pundits are saying. As my friend Jeffrey Zeldman says about the hundreds of awards his Website has received, "We live for your approval". Hahahahahaha...
I have three speaking engagements this Winter as a result of the Website, all in horticultural industry forums so far, to explain how we did it and how it's working for us.

Error Message.

Everytime I try to visit Slick Willie and Hillarious Clinton's personal Website, I get this puzzling message.

Absolute shit.

The other day, a customer of the Garden Center called and asked if I'd take a look at her and her partner's soon-to-be new Website. Yes, of course I would, and I asked her to bring over the files on diskette so I could load them into HotDogPro v2.53 and check out the HTML for her and her partner. A simple de-bugging of a site is easy but can be time-consuming.
Little did I know that the site's files were in a piece-of-shit software called i-creator, one of those new, HTML-less web authoring software systems. It's made for idiots and morons; no, wait a minute, actually, it's made by idiots and morons for unsuspecting people. This type of shit software makes junk websites. For a mere $100 retail you get hosed.
These two women have a new, local business manufacturing wool sweaters for dogs. (Yeah, I know: anything can be sold on the InterNet. Maybe.) But as novices, they wanted to build their own Website. Some guy at a software products store sold them this package, probably because it was a good profit margin for him, and off they went into non-HTML land. What they've got is a nightmare now.
To make a long story short, I spent over two hours trying to get the files out of the software and loaded into HotDog, so I could preview them. No go. I copied them from DOS and tried them in HotDog. No go. In fact, nothing went anywhere. The files were empty and didn't load at all. Their Website has to be completely rebuilt. I wished them good luck.
The net, net of this pathetic saga: use HTML and not one of those shitpy HTML-mindless editors. There are many (Microsoft 'FrontPage'; Adobe 'SiteMill' and 'PageMill'; Forman 'I-Creator' and dozens more) on the market now, and many more to come, but don't buy or try one. It's Website death! Learn HTML. Get the best; get HotDogPro v2.53


The next day, another customer of ours called and asked if I'd help her build a Website for her very well-established business in Towson, MD. Sure, no problem, I'll help with some advice. I was at the office for the day doing Landscape Estimates and piles of paperwork.
She and her chauffeur arrived precisely one hour later, he unloaded the entire Acer Computer System from the Jaguar, and assembled it in my office. Now there were three computers in the office, including my landscape foreman's 486 which I was re-loading data into. It kind of looked like the bridge of the USS Enterprise on Star Trek... Ahhhhhh, suddenly I was Spock, shouting orders.... "A suggestion captain, use the photon torpedoes"... Wait! Pay no attention to the little man behind the curtain. Reload. Sorry.
It was a simple site to construct. Her sense of graphic design was excellent; her expertise on a computer was sadly lacking. It was sketched out and just needed some mechanical assistance. It took two hours to build the templates, and another hour to get to final deliverables ready. And that was in-between customers. I hope she uses the site; it will attract some attention.

Website Stats.

I received an interesting packet in the mail yesterday: Cyberia Communications, York's InterNet Specialist, is now compiling and publishing statistics for their dynamic Website customers on the performance of each Website's traffic. Cool.
Items such as total hits, most popular pages, high-traffic times, most active countries, most popular day of the week and many other hallmarks of a Website's history.
This data gives a Website owner a real insight into what's really happening in cyberspace with visitor traffic. I was suprised by a few of the numbers too. But that's to be expected: my gut-feeling about surfers was only partly right. I had expected certain pages to dominate the numbers, but was clearly suprised at what the data yielded.
I look forward to this report each month as a milepost for what the Website sustains.

J o h nS h e l l e y

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