Gas Prices: Don’t Panic

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Many people are calling about gas supplies. We put the rumors to rest.

WJBF NewsCHANNEL 6 · Wednesday, August 31, 2005

First things first: Don’t worry about your local gas station. It’s not closing and the supplies are not nearly as low as people believe.

A report out of Atlanta has sparked major worries among drivers who believe their tanks won’t be able to be filled in the coming days. Supplies do vary from day to day, and the hurricane has caused an interruption in getting fuel to distributors. However, the only way a shortage of gas would occur is if people overrun their local pumping station in a panic.

As for the high prices, they are a direct result of that demand the challenge of getting fuel to its destinations.

Americans ARE encouraged to limit driving and conserve energy but that’s so current supplies aren’t taxed.

Problem is, people ARE panicking. Which is stupid. The very fact that people are lining up in droves at local gas stations is evidence that there WILL be shortages. And it’s not going to be due to short supply – it’s going to be due to OVER-DEMAND. Why can’t Americans be sensible about anything? We’ve just now created a much worse situation for ourselves.

Gas Prices

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Gas prices just hit $2.99 here in Augusta, Georgia, and they’re not showing any signs of slowing up. People are lining up at gas stations, filling up their vehicles, filling up gas containers, etc. Guess what, all these dumb a-holes are CAUSING A F-ING GAS SHORTAGE. Thanks. If everyone only used what the NEEDED, we’d ALL BE OKAY. But no!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am so pissed off right now. It cost me $60 to fill up my truck the other day @ $2.34/gallon. God only knows what it’ll cost me in the next couple of days.

Congratulations!

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I’d like to congratulate Jeff and Rachel on the birth of their new baby – Ann Maria! Ann Maria was delivered just a little while ago, and weighs in a 11lb 10oz! Momma and Baby are both doing fine!

Going Gmail Only

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After a lot of deliberation, I’ve decided to go Gmail only for email. I am now having my chris@cdharrison.com and chris@powerserve.net accounts forwarded to my cdharrison@gmail.com account. Because Gmail allows me to send from multiple accounts, this transition will be seemless for users accustomed to sending email to me to any particular account.

Why’d I do this? Well, for starters, I want all of my email in one central location. With Gmail, I can easily (and automatically) filter email based on the destination account. Having it all in Gmail allows me to easily search email. I only have to login to one place now. Before, I was logging into several mail servers to check to see if I had email.

Sure, one could argue that it doesn’t make sense to mix personal email with work email, or that I could use Outlook to check all of my accounts at once. But none of those solutions meet my main need to have all of my email available to me in one central location.

I’ve been using Gmail for well over 6 months now, and I’m finally confident enough in it to make this switch. Have you considered doing something like this? If not, why not? I’m interested to hear what others have to say…

Working with Semantics

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I came across a rather timely article this morning on web semantics, entitled "Semantics: The Red-Headed Step-Child of Markup" by Garrett Dimon.

While working on ideas for my site reorganization and redesign (which is still in progress), I struggled with how to present some items on my website – primarily my site navigation. I’ve been in the habit of using UL’s, but I figured there had to be a better way. There is..

When I first started picking up HTML and web design in general, I used to scour the source code of sites I liked the look of to see how they did things. I still do that. The best way to learn HTML or CSS is to look at what other people have done and build on top of it. In this case, I was looking through Jeffrey Zeldman’s source code on Zeldman.com for ideas. I noticed he was using DL’s! I also read Chapter 4 in Dan Cederholm’s “Bulletproof Web Design” where he used a DL to display groupings of photos, titles, and captions.

I have a confession to make: I have never, ever, ever, used a DL in markup before. It’s not that I didn’t know about them. The more I think about it though, the more they make sense for Navigation Lists, Product Displays, etc. Dictionary Lists are highly flexible, and it terms of their meaning… they are used to Define something. So, in the context of a product…

<dl>

<dt>Product Name</dt>

<dd><img src=”%photourl%” /></dd>

<dd>This is where the product description would go.</dd>

</dl>

This markup is completely valid, and makes sense – because we are defining a product!

I’m telling you all of this to tell you that Dimon’s article made me realize there are a lot more under-utilized tags out there – label, cite, code, samp, pre, and blockquote… Realizing that has made me reconsider the usage of some of these tags and how I might incorporate them into my markup. Each of these tags connotates certain meaning to the text they encapsulate. Using them can provide more meaning to your documents, and will give you even greater design flexibility with each tag.

Great article, Garrett. Thanks for reminding me about what I’ve been missing out on.

The Effect On Me – Mint Royale – See You In the Morning

Website Evolution

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I love web design, because it’s such a liquid format. With print design, once you create a piece that is all it will ever be. As long as it exists, it can never be anything else. With web design, once you create something… you can easily turn it into something else by tweaking the CSS or adding some additional imagery into a layout.

If you don’t like how something looks, you can easily change it. I love having that sort of flexibility.

Ch..ch…ch…changes!

So, having said all that… obviously, you’ve noticed some changes here at cdharrison.com. I’m sporting a slightly different layout, a new logo… and the blog is the core of the site now. It now utilizes the same design thoughout. The core of the site is using Blogger to publish content onto the site. I tweaked the templates to utilize some chunks of ColdFusion and Blogger code that I crafted up that enable me to use ColdFusion templates on every post page.

Making that happen wasn’t easy. I had to utilize some of Blogger’s conditional logic to pass off the proper relative paths to the generated pages. I was able to use <MainPage>, <ArchivePag>, and <ItemPage> to pass off the proper relative paths to the rendered pages. Using <MainPage> passed <cfinclude template="inc/hdr.cfm">. Using <ArchivePage> passed <cfinclude template="../inc/hdr.cfm"> to the render pages (due to them being a folder deep – /archive/). Using <ItemPage> passed <cfinclude template="../../inc/hdr.cfm"> to the rendered pages that were two levels deep (i.e. /2005/08/, /2005/07/, etc.).

It took me a few tries to get Blogger to play nice… but… as you can see… it’s now working. I am now using Blogger as a quasi-CMS. Whodathunkit?

Honestly, I’d really prefer to use something like MovableType, Textpattern or WordPress… but my current host doesn’t support PHP. I’m not complaining though… this solution will work fine for my current needs.

If you’re looking to try this sort of “technique” for your site, you may have to manually go into each post and republish them. One hiccup I encountered was older posts were not getting published with a .CFM extension. They were retaining .HTML extensions (which did not want to play nice with my ColdFusion markup). I had to go in and republish about 60 of my existing entries in order to fix this error. I think it’s due to the fact that Blogger only recently started supporting publishing all blog files to certain extensions. Previously, you could change your index and archive page extensions (and filenames), but all post pages were rendered out as HTML docs. I’m glad they made the swtch.

So, what’s next for the site? Good question. I plan on using Blogger to manage even more content on this site. I’ll be incorporating additional blogs into the site to manage the Folio and Links that I post to the site pretty often. Doing it this way will enable me to publish new things consistently…and will automate the process of linking all relevant pages together and creating Atom/RSS feeds that people can subscribe to. Because I’m able to use ColdFusion throughout the whole site now, I’ll hopefully be able to toy around with the design more. I plan on incorporating my Flickr feed into the site soon. I also plan on re-incorporating my iTunes Now Playing feed back into the site. I may also incorporate some other ideas into the site as well.

Anyways, stay tuned, because this site is sure to evolve even more in the coming weeks. I have only just begun tweaking this site out.

Awesome News!

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My wife, Kim, got the results back from her Licensure test today…

She passed! She is now an Associate Professional Counselor! I’m very proud of her!

I drank the Kool-Aid, again.

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I’m getting more than a little pissed with myself these days. Every time Google releases a new app, I jump on the bandwagon and install it on my computer just to try it out. Why do I continually subject myself to this kinda crap?

Anyway… enough ranting. Google just released GoogleTalk this morning. It’s a new IM client that is compatible with the Jabber/XMPP protocol. I’ve installed it, and invited some of my gmail-using friends to download it so I can test it out. I like the interface so far. It’s simple and clean. I can’t speak to how well the IMing feature works, or how well the audio chat feature works… but, as soon as I can test those features out, I will report back.

I joke about drinking the Kool-Aid, because it is sort of getting pathetic. I admire Google a lot, as do lots of people out there. They continue to release products that people like and use often… That confidence in Google is dangerous, however… With every app they release. With every app we install onto our computers… We allow Google deeper and deeper into our lives. Is that a good thing? Only time will tell.