Recent Student Publications Posts

January 11, 2009

Using IfArchiveType to display keywords on Entry pages

Some times it is easy to find useful code snippets for Movable Type, sometimes not. I had always wondered how you would intelligently include META information (specifically keywords), and after a few tries, and looking through the tag reference on, I found IfArchiveType.

Starting the mt:if statement off with IfArchiveType is important because IfArchiveType itself is a block tag. I also am using BlogID and some global and local template modules. Hit the jump for the code an a short description

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September 12, 2008

BG Views Developer Blog

Introducing the BG Views Developer Blog. Not sure what this is all about? Check the About page. Other than that, stay tuned for more (at the dev blog, I will not be double posting).

August 18, 2007

Two week old Intel iMac hard drive died

Man, when it rains it pours! We have had major hard drive issues this summer, but that is another blog post. We just got AdManager Pro 4 installed, and have been using it for about two weeks, though only one week of "real world" use.

Yesterday it started making an odd noise, and crashed. I got it working again but this morning it was not working; blinking question mark icon. It must have crashed again before 11 PM, because that is when the automatic database backup goes off, and we have no backup for 8/16.

After BGSU ITS replaced the hard drive, I was on the phone to MediaSpan to get FrontBase and the AMPServer all setup and running.

What a long day, especially after being in the newsroom late making sure the Freshman Edition went out the door smoothly.

Sadly we have to re-enter a day's worth of ads. And yesterday was about the busiest day of the year.

There is no reason for that iMac hard drive to go bad in two weeks. Like I said, when it rains it pours.

Ken Edwards Not Leaving The News

So Brandon just wrote on my Wall (on Facebook, about a week ago now) asking if I left the news. Must have seen my Status about working for myself now.

Me leave the news? Come on, you have got to be joking!

I do work there less, yes, but I am still working for Student Publications.

It just so happens that the majority of my time is spent at my office in downtown BG (133 N. Prospect St. -- stop by!) and not in the newsroom.

I work with two print designers, and I handle web and database development. I have finally, after five years, taken my company (Meancode Media, LLC) out of my apartment. I could not be happier with the arrangement.

So, if you need a web site or web hosting, you know who to call :P (Shameful plug, I know)

August 5, 2007

AdManager Pro 4 Upgrade

Last week was a long work week for me. Not only did I have training from 9-5, but then I had to get web work done after that. MediaSpan training went well though, and now our Advertising department is out of OS 9, which is such a blessing.

It is going to be great to not have to support OS 9 any more, I cannot express how much I have been looking forward to this day.

Of course I will now get a lot of OS X questions, because it is very new to those working in our Advertising department, but it is much easier to support something that you use every day. Especially considering I have not used OS 9 for at least six years now.

I was not present when they did the training in 1997 for AdManager Pro 2 (I had to chose between learning Editorial or Advertising, and I chose Editorial) so now I have a much better understanding of how AMP works.

Two big jumps at once, AMP 2 to 4 and OS 9 to X, similar to when Editorial jumped from Quark and OS 9 to InDesign and OS X.

We are also getting Liners Online, which will allow people to purchase classified ads right on our site. This will be installed soon.

July 28, 2007

Eight New iMacs for Student Publications

I sure love this desktop replacement program the university has. Eight more of our oldest machines get traded in, and we get new iMacs.

This time they are dual proc, 20" Intel 2.16 Ghz, with 2 GB of RAM. They will be distributed as needed around Student Publications. The most needed spot is for our Advertising, which is getting a substantial upgrade next week.

The oldest of the old we gave back was a pink iMac. That is a 233 Mhz G3 with maybe 512 MB of RAM (which is a lot for that old system).

May 4, 2007

I got a raise! Lots to do this summer!

Not only did I get a raise, I got a raise on my birthday. How cool is that? And it looks like a lot is going on this summer at Student Publications. We will be upgrading our advertising software out of Mac OS 9 (thank God) and moving away from FoxPro (thank God). The new system will be running under OS X and a MySQL database with a Tomcat server.

Sure, you might not have a clue what I just said, but let me make this much clear: Mac OS 9 died at WWDC in 2002. For those playing at home, that was five years ago. I hate supporting Mac OS 9 almost as much as I hate Flash sites.

We are also set to get new computers thanks to the university's desktop replacement program - though I am not yet sure how many will get replaced. Usually its about six computers.

There is also this super top secret project that I can't talk about yet. But its gonna be a lot of fun. More on it when the time comes.

January 17, 2007

New Features on AP Video, Blog

The BG News has a blog! They are only five years late! Yay!

I have been pushing The News to get blogging for years now. They are finally testing the waters. I hope that I am not the only one who contributes. So far, five staffers have access to the blog, other than me. Only time will tell.

It is powered by Word Press, which is something I like, even though I am much more at home in Movable Type. But hey, it wasn't in charge of which blog platform the College Publisher network uses.

The other new feature we (and by we, of course I mean I) added to the site is a co-branded video site featuring video from the AP.

Hit up The BG News' site and scroll past the navigation. You will see a rotating Flash clip with the top videos.

At first the site didn't work on a Mac, then it crapped out in Safari. I was not happy. I am quite happy the site now works on a Mac, and in Safari too. Check it out, because we make money off of it (and by we, I do not mean myself - sadly).

January 8, 2007

Documentary on The BG News

Matt Clark made this video. He did a great job!

September 27, 2006

The Great Server Crash of 2006

Last week was a FUBAR. That is the only way to describe it. Without going into detail, and boring the hell out of all you, our file server crashed -- hard.

I had to replace the internal drive that had the operating system. I also had to use DiskWarrior to resurrect the main firewire drive. The only way to salvage data off of one of the other external drives was Data Rescue II (DiskWarrior could not even help me with that one.

Continue reading "The Great Server Crash of 2006" »

September 10, 2006

Good News from College Publisher and mtvU

Yea, good news! That was the subject of an email I got on 8/28. Let me kindly remind you that mtvU bought out Y2M (College Publisher) on August 3. Nice work keeping your clients in the know guys.

What follows is the dry email, but it does contain some good info of what we can expect soon on

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September 3, 2006

New Feature on Today's Cover

We (and by we, of course I mean I) are rolling out new features on We are now comfortably moved into the College Publisher system (albeit reluctantly) and now is a great time to introduce new things. Once I get all the new stuff online, I will have the paper write a nice feature about our web site!

Starting a couple weeks ago, when semester started, is the inclusion of "Today's Cover" posted at night, before the paper goes to press. This is a PDF of the front page, so that people up late can see the next day's front page. It is like a bonus for those who surf late.

The following day, that PDF is replaced with the full PDF of the paper, making it even easier to find the entire paper in PDF. I have effectively reduced finding the daily PDF archive to zero clicks.

Be sure to check it out, it is under the main navigation in the left column.

August 18, 2006

Longest Work Week Ever

I have logged over 40 hrs. in just four days this week (today was a short day, as I only worked 12 hrs.). No, I am not trying to break a record, or kill myself -- I had exactly three days to take a design comp for a newspaper, complete production, and implement it for The BG News.

The paper went down tonight. It looks great. There are still some styles that need tweaked and added, a bulk of the library created, and I still have to fix up the almost useful style book, but the brunt of the work is over.

I love it when stuff like this is dropped in my lap like this. At least if I knew it was coming, I would have prepared for it.

Four 'New' iMacs for Student Publications

This week we got four new-to-us iMacs. And this time they are scott free. Usually with the desktop replacement program, we have to give up an old one.

We were going to purchase four new Intel-based iMacs, we even put in the order. The university said they could save us the money as they had four G5-based 17 inch iMacs.

That is quite possibly the nicest thing they have ever done, especially this summer.

August 13, 2006

Why does it feel like Monday already?

Yes, it is still Sunday. But I just put in 12 hrs. at Student Publications. What a way to start the week. This might explain the lack of blogging.

August 3, 2006

MTVU Buys College Publisher Parent Y2M

MTVU, an MTV Networks-owned channel geared toward college students, has purchased Youth Media & Marketing Networks (Y2M). Y2M owns College Publisher, which provides Web-based publishing and content management software geared toward online student newspapers. It counts approximately 450 colleges among its clients
Source: CNET

BGSU is one of those clients. As you might know by reading this blog, I have been involved with since it launched in 1997. We have never really switched service providers. They always get bought out by someone else.

Continue reading "MTVU Buys College Publisher Parent Y2M" »

July 21, 2006

Six New Intel iMacs

Because of BGSU's Desktop Replacement Program, we recently got six new Intel iMacs. We had to give up six iMacs to get them, but those were seven years old! I don't mind that trade one bit.

These are 2 Ghz Dual Core Intel, 2 GB of RAM, 20" display, AirPort Extreme, ATI X1600, and SuperDrive. This is a step up from our 2 Ghz G5 17" iMacs, but I wonder how the Adobe and Macromedia software will run emulated.

The only bad news is that I have to configure them all separately. For "security reasons" the university will not give me the install discs to make my own image, which is what I do with all of our PowerPC based Macs.

Less than 20 minutes and I can clone any of the computers here at Student Publications. This is also how I handle troubleshooting, at least with the PPC based Macs. If one computer has a problem, I do not waste time trying to fix it, I just re-image that computer. It looks like I will not be able to do that with these new Intel Macs because of a change in university policy.

If we had more than six, the IT department would help out with making a Radmind image, but with only six, there is no help. This is total BS, but something I will have to live with.

Of course this means I have to install all of Student Publication's software, including six user accounts each, on every stinking computer. Now that just sounds like fun.

Oh, they also will not give me the main admin account password. Again, for "security reasons." So now the computer is cluttered up with two different admin accounts. Thanks.

University bureaucracy is really wearing me thin, to be honest.

June 17, 2006

New Rhythmyx Percussion Training

Last week I got to see the new bells and whistles in the new version of Rhythmyx Percussion. I don't know the exact number, but I believe BGSU upgraded one full version cycle, I know it was an immense leap.

Continue reading "New Rhythmyx Percussion Training" »

April 14, 2006

ASR Command Line in Mac OS X 10.4.6

Ahh yes, it is good to get back to the geeky posts, isn't it.

I just found this out the hard way. I use Carbon Copy Cloner (thanks so much Mike Bombich) and Apple System Restore in my day job a lot. It allows me to clone a new Mac in about 15 minutes, and that is with about 10 GB of data.

Mac OS X 10.4.6 prevents me from even using 'sudo' to execute the 'asr' command in Terminal. My handy AppleScript even fails.

It turns out that you need to run the 'asr' command in a root shell, or login to the system as root. If you ask me, this is something that you should not have to do. As any BOFH will tell you, using root to do anything is not a good idea.

And I am not about to leave a root password in a "do shell script" AppleScript, as I don't even like putting in an admin password in there. Even though adding "user name "username" password "password" with administrator privileges" to the end seems to work if you enable root in OS X, and use that user in the script.

Using root allowed me to continue my ASR cloning as I always have in every previous iteration of OS X.

To make matters worse, you get an odd-ball error. The "Permission denied" error makes sense, but not the "Validating target" error. Why? Because in this case the Target had nothing on it, it was in fact a newly formatted HFS+ volume. The "The target volume will not be bootable" is also a little odd too. I chalk this up as another oddity of OS X/BSD integration.

See the entire CLI dump after the break.

Continue reading "ASR Command Line in Mac OS X 10.4.6" »

HP 5100 LaserJet Driver Fix

This is as simple as they come. After a week of trying different things when we got a new HP 5100ntd, we had flaky printing from any number of applications.

After calling HP, the solution was to force the printer to use the HP 5000 Series drivers, as there are serious issues with the 5100 Series drivers for OS X. I was told that HP had no plans yet to address the problem. But hey, if you want to call and complain that wouldn't hurt.

Using the 5000 Series drivers is our only option, and have had no problems at all.

On a technical note, we have had better success with LPD printing with the 5100, even though IPP printing worked fine with our 5000 Series printers.

December 9, 2005

Gamers get heated over Xbox 360

As soon as the Xbox 360 game console was released in the United States last month, the media filled with reports of widespread problems with the system overheating and crashing — but those reports may have been overblown.
Source: BG News

I posted this here for two reasons. I think Dan did a good job on it, and Matt was interviewed for it. And as much as he though he was, he does not sound like an idiot in his quotes that Dan used. So good choice of the quotes Dan!

I have to say, I am still getting the error messages telling me to put the game disc in a Xbox 360. I have to give it 20 minutes with XBL Arcade, that or twiddle my thumbs, then I can play my next game. That is just lame. The next time it happens I am going to call Microsoft.

October 18, 2005

BG News Celebrates 85th Anniversary with Reunion

This is quite old news, but I wanted to post it anyways. During Homecoming weekend this year (September 30th - October 1st) The BG News held their 85th Anniversary Reunion with festivities Friday and Saturday.

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August 20, 2005

BG News Freshman Edition

Every fall we start with two rather large newspapers. It seems odd that you would put a fresh staff through such torture, but it is when we have the highest readership and therefore the most ad revenue. For the new writers and designers it is a gantlet.

Continue reading "BG News Freshman Edition" »

August 9, 2005

BG News Alumni Society

This is my first web site using Movable Type as a back end. MT is great to work with, as it is much more then a blogging tool. The BG News Alumni Society was recently formed, and now they have a site. It has been up in some form or another for a couple months now, but it is now mostly complete. The last thing I need to do is make the MailMan templates look nice. Plus some other small tweaks.

It took the most work to take the SMARTY templates of The BG News site and convert them to MT templates.

The BG News is having its 85th anniversary this year. I put together my first PayPal shopping cart for this site. PayPal is really great to use for Point Of Sale (POS) work.

August 7, 2005

Another training day

I know it is almost time for a new school year when we have our annual training session. It is time to train all the new people on how to use InDesign and our work flow to put The BG News together every day.

This time went better then others. In the past year I have been doing a lot to make the News' staff job a lot easier. Last year I overhauled out style guide, as well as supplement the InDesign library with even more drag-and-drop parts.

I still have a list of things to edit before we start classes in three weeks.

June 13, 2005

BG News Dashboard Widget

Dashboard Widgets in Tiger are really easy to create. Especially when there are so many examples (400+ according to Steve Jobs) you can take apart. If you install the Tiger Developer Tools, you get a blank Widget, as well as a folder full of examples.

Making an RSS reading Widget is pretty simple. Just rip apart another RSS widget. I will make one for Breaking Windows soon enough. First here is one for The BG News. I will post it on soon enough.


June 12, 2005

New computers for Student Publications

Every couple years the University's IT department (ITS) has a Desktop Replacement Program. We give up old computers and get new ones. Its a sweet deal. As we put a little more then $10,000 into new computers two years ago, its nice to get seven brand new iMac G5s and not have to pay for them. This is the second time we have received new, free computers.

We recieved three free computers in the ITS Replacement Program in July of 2004. At that time my boss only thought we would get one. I asked for three, and got them. Yep, I was happy.

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April 30, 2005

BG News Opinion editor fired for plagiarism

Chelsea Snyder, opinion editor of The BG News, was fired early Wednesday morning for plagiarizing much of her column on Tuesday, April 26.

This was brought to the attention of Editor-in-Chief Carrie Whitaker late Tuesday evening by an online reader, who found distinct similarities in an opinion post on

Source: BG News

This is wild, it is just so shocking. Earlier this week I had to pull her column off the web site, I got a call from Carrie and it was something I thought I would never hear! You can only read Chelsea's column in the PDF archive for the 26th. You can also read Chelsea's apology in today's letters to the editor.

March 13, 2005

Nikon Coolscan V ED for Student Publications

I have bought two Nikon Coolscan V ED film scanners for Student Publications. This has been a long time coming. We have a couple SprintScan 35s that we bought off of eBay years ago. The SprintScan is SCSI, and we now only have one SCSI capable Mac in The BG News currently. And one more in The KEY Yearbook. Not to mention that OS X does not really like SCSI. Add to that the fact that Polaroid does not even make OS X drivers, and you can start to see my headache with the SprintScan 35.

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February 5, 2005

IQue Server 4 offers new editorial capabilities

Harris & Baseview on Friday released IQue Server 4.0, an editorial solution that includes a MySQL database, a JBoss application server and a cross-platform NewsEditPro IQue client.
Source: MacCentral

We do not use IQue at The BG News, it simply costs to much. We use the non-IQue version of their NewsEdit Pro editorial software. It is great that they finally ported IQue over to MySQL and JBoss though. The previous version uses FoxPro and I have, unfortunately, had *fun* experiences with that. It should also be a lot more stable under MySQL and JBoss, though if you know how stable NEP and iQue are, you are not holding your breath. We can all hope, right?

The more important change here is that you can run MySQL and Java under Mac OS X very well. This will allow a lot of small and medium sized newspapers that use Harris/Baseview's workflow to upgrade to OS X. I know if I was running IQue Server, I would not want to be running them under Mac OS 9.

October 10, 2004

New design about to go live for

I cannot wait to get this new design live for There are a few more small things to fix up. I need to attend to the CSS for the Classifieds module.

Continue reading "New design about to go live for" »

October 7, 2004

We are running a national ad on right now for Digital Partners does not have to tell us when a national ad campaign is running, but it was nice to allow us to opt-out if we choose because of its political nature.

The image of Bush pissing on the world is a little crude, but it is humorous. We are running the ad on the site, by the way. Our Advertising Manager didn't care for it but the Advisor green lighted it.

The site sells T-shirts for $15 and 50% of net proceeds will be donated to to help Kerry defeat Bush.

So go buy a Bush-T!

August 22, 2004

Fall 2004 Classes; 36 page BG News issues

This fall I have 2 classes. Art History 146 (Western) at 8 freaking 30 in the AM on M W and F. I took that over the 3 hr. class one day a week. The second class is Economics 200 at 10:30 AM on M W and F. I am not gonna complain about that 8:30 Art History class (too much) as my classes are done by 11:20. I haven't been posting much lately because we have just put out the 2 biggest papers of the year. Both the Freshman and Welcome issues of the BG News are 36 pages. The new system works, and works well. This is a major success for me as the hardware, software, and new templates and libraries were all overhauled by me this summer. The process for both editorial and production is also new. It all went well. These 12 and 14 page papers will be a walk in the park after two 36 pagers! I am just so proud of all the students involved, because they had to learn a new workflow and a new software package, InDesign, in a very short period of time. The students have done great, and these first two papers look great. I have to give them a lot of credit on a job well done, and I think they will do even better work as they become more familiar with InDesign. I originally though that teaching InDesign would be harder then Quark. I was wrong. Teaching InDesign is so much easier. And I am very thankful for that. I keep tweaking the templates and libraries. It took a lot longer than I thought it would, but as I found out the templates and libraries we use needed a lot of work. I still have things to fix, and I find more little things as we produce more papers. I made a long list of things to fix Thursday when we put together the Freshmen issue. I will fix those this week. If that isn't enough for my first day of college this fall, our Student Publications graduate student is starting work today. I have plenty of work that she can help with, mostly web sites that need attention. More on that later.

August 10, 2004

The Transition is Complete: Part Two

Technically moving documents from Quark 4 to InDesign CS (IDCS) is an easy transition. Quark 4 files open in IDCS just fine. Styles and Libraries are a different thing all together. However some of the objects on the documents came over to IDCS with some weirdness to them. This is a "real world" account of moving from Quark 4 to InDesign CS. Just because we are a college newspaper does not mean our production process is any easier or less complicated then a newspaper with a much larger circulation in a small or large city. I have seen first hand newspapers in different markets, and that myth is not true at all.
You may want to read the first part of this series.
DOCUMENTS: We use many templates for front and inside section pages. Opening these in IDCS had all but no ill effects. The one problem was the weird runaround on objects. Even though the Text Wrap palette in IDCS says there is none on the objects. This happened on both text and picture boxes. I had a lot to do, so the things that did not absolutely need to be recreated didn't get special treatment. Later I might recreate all page objects "the right way." This amounts to about 4 points of margin on the inside of the text boxes. That is not good when you are trying to align headlines with body copy, photos, and other page objects that need to align to a strict grid. I checked in Quark, to see if the original objects had a small runaround value on them. None of them did. This weird runaround was on all objects, not just ones on the templates themselves, but also objects from our library. For objects that are center aligned, this 4 point "margin" is no problem. I had to, however, recreate all objects that have left or right aligned text in them. The picture boxes that were brought over from Quark to IDCS had runaround applied to the outside, not the inside like the text boxes. In most cases that is not a problem, so I did not have to recreate many picture boxes. Now here is another wrinkle in this mess. Some text boxes came over to IDCS with no runaround (the way they should) but this was too few and way too far between to be called a trend. I do not know if this peculiar runaround (now called text wrap in IDCS) is something that always happens when moving Quark documents to ID, I cannot imagine it happens all the time. I have not had the time to test this myself by making a new document in Quark 4 and bringing it into IDCS. I imagine when I get a chance to try that out, I will not see runaround on the objects. I will have to see. I don't even have OS 9 on my TiBook much less Quark 4, so I will have to try this out at work tomorrow. In this case, I had to pretty much recreate every template. That was not a fast process. But then none of this went by quickly. Recreating most all text boxes on the templates took the least of my time, however. LIBRARY: Quark documents will open in IDCS. Quark libraries on the other hand, will not. I also have a rant about how the IDCS library works, but that is another post. The only solution is to drag all the objects from the Quark library into Quark documents. Then opening those Quark documents in IDCS and creating a IDCS library. We have many, many items in our library. Mostly everything needed to create the newspaper is in our library. After making the IDCS library I realized the runaround problem on all the text objects. Of course it happened in that order. Minor details. STYLES: All the styles had little disk icons next to their names when brought into IDCS from Quark 4. This means the style is an imported style. Imported styles are bad, very, very, bad. I had to recreate every style. We use somewhere between 40 and 50 different paragraph styles. We used no character styles. Yet with all the imported Quark 4 templates and normal documents I now have a Normal character style. It is set to Helvetica (which is the default font in Quark 4). Everything that is not set with a paragraph style is assigned this Normal character style. This means all the objects used to recreate our library as well, all have Normal assigned to them. This would not be such a big problem but when I go assigning paragraph styles, or an actual character style, I get weirdness as the paragraph styles do not work because it is competing with Normal. I had to go through and kill the Normal character style all over the place. CONCLUSION: I now know of many of the side effects when bringing a document from Quark to InDesign. I know there are many more, but these are the problems I faced while getting everything ready to publish the paper in IDCS. I now know that the first thing to do is delete the Normal character style first. Doing that first, not third, is the way to go. I don't know how to prevent any of the other headaches I encountered taking our newspaper from Quark to InDesign. As much of a pain in the rear this was, it was needed. I have not done so much as touched InDesign before this summer. So to that end, I needed to learn IDCS hyper fast. The Total Training DVD's we bought help, but not as much as fixing up these templates to work smoothly. More to come on this transition soon...

August 9, 2004

InDesing Training Sessions

Today was the first of two 4 hr. training sessions I am conducting for the students who will be putting the paper together this fall. Paul, from Unigraphics and Carrie, our Editor in Chief this fall, also helped a lot during the training. I am obviously not the only one who hates using Quark. They were all eager to learn the new software and new system. The thing I am amazed at so much is the fact that the students are picking up InDesign very fast. And more important than that is the fact that they like using InDesign. Its not that I don't have faith in our News staff, I have just never taught InDesign to anyone before, and I have heard from different sources that InDesign is much harder to teach then Quark. I think that statement is wrong, completely wrong. Monday our two production interns come in for training. Hopefully that will go as smoothly as the News' training has. Wednesday we have our second training session for The News. Hopefully those who could not make it to today's training can make it Wednesday. The best part about today's training, besides getting the students feet wet in InDesign, is having folks in the newsroom that can tell me what I forgot to make. I missed a few library items and a couple paragraph styles. I hope Wednesday's session will turn up a couple more items I missed. There is always something. But right now I have all of the templates, styles and library complete. That is a great feeling.

August 5, 2004

New Template for

I have been wanting to refresh the site design for a while now. I want a CSS based template. But I have no time to do this right now, just like I have not time to work on the Unigraphics Invoicing System at the moment. All my energy is being spent on this InDesign switchover and all that entails (another post entirely). Those folks at Digital Partners are making my life a bit easier. They have a bunch of new template designs. While I do not like using cookie cutter designs, the BG News site needs a revamp because a) I don't like how it looks anymore and more importantly, b) the IAB has some funky new ad banner sizes. Please tell me which template you like the best. My current favorites is Layout 4: Skin 5. I can put the BG News flag in the upper left, since it is not a wide flag like most the other designs accommodate, and I will use orange and blue as the colors. The only thing I think the template needs is a tile to the RSS feed under the AvantGo tile. Is there another template you like? Let me know, post a comment.

July 29, 2004

The Transition is Complete: Taking The BG News to the Next Level

We did it. No I did it. And I am very proud of all the hard work. I have put in long hours each day. But the main transition, or phase 1, is complete. I have revamped both the layout process of the Editorial and Production of The News. If that isn't enough, Mac OS 9 is out for Mac OS X, G3's are out for G4's and a G5, and Quark 4 is out for InDesign CS. And if that isnt enough, all our Baseview software (newspaper software) had to be updated to work in OS X, and I also updated out file server to Panther (10.3) Server. This recipe consists of: 2x 500 GB Lacie Big DIsk Firewire Hard Drives 13x 800 Mhz eMacs for BG News, Production, Obsidian, Gavel, and Unigraphics 1 PowerMac G5 for Production 20 seat of Adobe CS Premium with PageMaker Plugin Pack 5 seat of Extensis Suitcase X1 Baseview upgrades (NewsEdit Pro, Admin Pro, DragIn, CopyTools, WireManager Pro) Panther Server upgrade Retrospect Server upgrade Total Training for Adobe CS apps, plus Acrobat 6 The eMacs and G5 were purchased last summer, when this transition was originally going to take place. Everything else was purchased this summer. We originally were going to buy the software last summer, but ended up spreading it out over 2 summers. As you can see from the above list, this is a heck of a lot of variables to be changing at once. I seriously suggest to never attempt any transition with this many variables. Unfortunately (or fortunately) this is one of those all or nothing type deals. Going in I did not think it would work. Not that I do not have faith in myself, but because I know there is never enough time to do things "the right way" and corners are usually cut to get things done. Now that all is complete I am amazed that it all worked without problems at all. Some small snags reared their heads, but all in all everything went A OK. Server Panther Server was the first thing to get working. I have been running 10.1 Server since it came out a couple years ago. It has not been updated just because it has ran and not needed kicked (imagine that, its a Mac). I got to the point where using 10.1 was slowing me down. You cannot administer 10.1 Server remotely via the Server Admin software when the client machines (and more importantly my laptop) are running 10.3). Panther Server is a lot faster, and the Admin apps are far superior to those found in 10.1, hands down. Of course there is no direct way to import users and groups from 10.1 Server to 10.3 Server. That would have been too easy. I got over that fact and recreated all the users and groups. After so long at letting 10.1 Server sit, I needed to clean up the users anyway. For a period of about 6 months we were growing dangerously close to not having enough disk space for all publications and Unigraphics. We were deleting or burning files on Friday to have room on Monday. The file backup process was also becoming out of control. We were using an AIT tape drive, which can take 30 GB native and 60 GB compressed. Our backup had become a 3 tape backup, ballooning from a 1 tape backup in short order. Since we bought the AIT tape drive the cost of Firewire drives has come down so far it is no longer cost effective to use AIT tapes. Not to mention that a 3 tape backup is not the most convenient thing. Now the most important files (60 GB or less) are put on AIT tape, and the full server backups are done to Firewire disk. Three Freebies Thanks to the University's Desktop Replacement Program, we had to give up a PowerMac 7100/66 and 2 Beige 266 Mhz G3's for 3 shiny new 17" Flat Panel iMacs, 1.25 Ghz with SuperDrives. This ended up great as I need to run a new (OS X) version of WireManager Pro because the tagging of the AP News is different into InDesign then the tagging is in Quark. And a 7100/66 would not cut it for too much longer anyhow. Of course since we no longer have a ADB (Serial) Mac, I need a Keyspan Serial to USB Adapter. That has been ordered. The AP Wire will be back up and running soon. Luckily we have access to a AP News Rerun web site that is as current as the text that comes down the satellite. I tell you it was not hard trading those 3 Beige Boxes. Oh the new FP iMacs each came with a 256 MB USB thumb drive too. Gravy. To Be Continued...

July 10, 2004

Panther Server, Lacie Hard Drives Installed

Just in time for Tiger Server, I have installed Panther Server at Student Publications. We bought a "Quicksilver" 733 Mhz G4 with 10.0 Server and I quickly updated it to 10.1 Server when it came out. Things have been busy, and since it has been working, I have not updated the server to Panther until now. I just got flipping tired of using 10.1 on our file server. I also saw the new admin tools in Panther Server (they are a major improvement).

Finding the time to upgrade the server is an entirely different matter entirely. Making the purchase was the easy step. You cannot (easily) take users and groups from 10.1 to 10.3 Server. I do not know why this is, but thats the way it is. No lost sleep here, I am simplifying user log ins anyways.

It is SO NICE to have Panther Server up and running for our file/print server.

Did you ever thing that a 1 TB (yes, terabyte) firewire drive would cost only $1200? That is a pretty good cost per MB price, isn't it. Well when we needed the drives Lacie was not selling their 1 TB drive yet, but they were selling their 500 GB drives. Same price, imagine that.

We were getting severely low on HD space. Throwing files out Friday to be able to work Monday. Not fun at all. We have 120 GB in the Quicksilver (10K RPM), and 2x120 GB external. You might think that would be enough space but when you have a dozen publications being produced at some point during the year plus Unigraphics, there are always space problems. But now Unigraphics has the room to really have their photo archive and graphics archive they really need to have online.

The next time we need another TB, I bet the price will come down by at least 1/3. Since I have so much file space to work with now, I am no longer backing up to AIT tape, I will probably be putting that up on eBay. It is alot nicer backing up to firewire, it is a lot faster for one. I recycled our two external 120 GB drives and they are now our backup drives. One of which can always be taken out of West Hall.

These 500 GB Lacie drives have Firewire 800 on them, and because of some voodoo magic that Lacie does with their firmware, these FW 800 drives are screaming fast compared to the competition. I didn't just go by the bar graph on the side of the box, I did some tests myself (I mean we have a 500 GB drive thats not really being used for much right now). Since we have a G5 for Production, I could test the drive with FW 800. I found a couple other FW 800 drives on campus to test against. Lacie FW 800 wins, hands down. They stripe the drives (its not really a 500 GB or 1 TB drive, they are smaller drives that once one gets filled up, it goes to the next HD and fills that one up. Whatever Lacie is doing it is nice.)

Needless to say I ordered a FW 800 PCI card ($50) for our Quicksilver and the speed over the network is well worth the $50 of that FW 800 card.

Panther Server is so much faster then 10.1 Server was, and now we have breathing room on the file space front. *phew*

June 10, 2004

Jazbox 3 adds InDesign, InCopy CS support

Harris & Baseview has announced that it will debut Jazbox 3.0 at the NEXPO newspaper technology trade show being held in Washington, DC June 19-22. The new version of the company's flagship content syndication system adds support for Adobe's InDesign and InCopy CS and features OnePlan, a tool for managing budgets and resources. In addition, version 3.0 brings Mac OS X compatibility to the Jazbox page design client, allowing page designers to work on Macs even when reporters and editors are using Windows computers. Harris & Baseview has not released pricing nor system requirements for the new application yet. Source: MacCentral I saw this in action at an Adobe - Baseview dog and pony show three months ago. At that time they would not even tell me they had an OS X version in the works, I wish they had because that could have changed my suggestion. This system is very nice. It lets multiple people have the same layout(s) open. It lets you jump text over multiple documents - something I really wish could be done. The database backend to this system looks really great. There is a reason they did not give MacCentral a price. You will not find prices on the Harris/Baseview site either. It is really expensive. But its also really worth it for those who need it. I was very impressed with the presentation, even if it was done on Windows. I did not understand why they did not have an OS X version (I asked at the show) since most newspapers are Mac based.

May 20, 2004

Adobe Version Cue does not work

It is recommended that you backup your projects and reinstall Version Cue from the CD that came with the Creative Suite.

Click Continue to start the backup process.

I have, twice now.

I do not think anyone can get Version Cue to work. I got this above message after I:

Tried turning on Version Cue
Got a message that said it would not start up, told to look at the log file
Was asked, and accepted the offer for it to fix itself.

I hear it is a problem with using Tomcat. At least that is the only thing I can find on the multitude of boards I searched.

Lets look at that log file shall we (look in the extended entry)

Oh my, what? Error writing plist file? That couldn't be a file permission error could it?

I am trying one more time then giving up. It would be nice to have Version Cue to work for the different publications here. We will see.

Continue reading "Adobe Version Cue does not work" »

May 12, 2004

Upgrading Baseview Software

The first step of the transition ot InDesign and OS X has come to pass. Today we got our upgrade package of Baseview software. Baseview makes software for newspapers, we use Baseview software for editorial, production, and advertising. We are upgrading editorial and production this summer. Upgrading advertising would cost too much, as we would also need to get new computers to be able to run Mac OS X. Last summer we got new eMacs and a dual 2 Ghz G5 for production and editorial. This summer we are upgrading the software, Baseview and Adobe being the two components of that. We are also doing a cross-grade from Quark Xtentions to InDesign plugins. There are two plugins we use- DragIn and CopyTools. I have never used these before, but as I saw in Chicago these plugins look and act like their Quark counterparts DragX and QTools. We also use a MS Word like text editor called NewsEdit Pro that works with InDesign (in the same way that InCopy CS works with InDesign, well sorta). We use a Xtension called ClassFlow to flow our classifieds. Baseview have not ported this to InDesign yet (Grrrr) so we will still need to do the classifieds in Quark 4 and OS 9 somehow. This is something that we need to figure out how to handle until we get a native InDesign version of ClassFlow. Hurry up Baseview! WireManager is the last application we use in the daily production of the newspaper. WireManager grabs the AP news from the satellite rack down the hall, through a serial connection of all things! Currently the computer WireManager runs on is a PowerMac 7100/66. I remember when those computers were blazing fast! Thanks to the University's Desktop Replacement Program, I can replace that 7100/66 with an iMac that can handle OS X. I need the OS X version of WireManager because of our move to InDesign (I was hoping we could just use our OS 9 version of WireManager, but alas, things are never that easy). We have 20 seats ordered of Adobe Creative Suite, which is for BG News, Obsidian, Gavel, Miscellany, Unigraphics, and Production. It sure will be nice having CS everything at all desks. When that arrives I will get to have fun learning how to use the new Baseview plugins for InDesign. Then also comes creating InDesign templates, styles, and libraries out of all our Quark templates, styles, and libraries. Thats a lot of work! Paul and I get to tackle that job soon.

May 11, 2004

Managing Multiple Projects, Objectives and Deadlines

Monday Paul and I went to this SkillPath workshop: Managing Multiple Projects, Objectives and Deadlines. It is even worth 0.6 credit hours! It was a full day workshop, and I learned a lot. I bought some of the books they had for sale, they were at a big discount, so what the hell. If I ever get through them I might just review them here. Now we just have to see if we can put to use what we learned. We have a lot of things to accomplish this summer, and only three months to do it in! Originally my boss suggested that I go to this, mainly due to the fact that my responsibilities here have escalated in the past semester, and he wants me to learn how to handle things better. And so do I! I showed the pamphlet about the workshop to Paul and he wanted to go. Our instructor was great! His name is Robert Wangen and he has his own training and consulting business. I would highly recommend this workshop to anyone who works on multiple projects at once, and who doesn't do that? Not only was this workshop beneficial to my work here at Student Publications, but ironically it is helpful to my own business, imagine that! I am glad I took the day off to go.

May 4, 2004

Spring 2004 BG News in the bag

Ahh it is always a great day when the semesters paper is done! Tonight (well Monday night) was the last day of publishing for the Spring 2004 Semester. This means two or three weeks till we start publishing again! This does mean however that I do not need to be in the newsroom till midnight for the foreseeable future. Summer Semester is only published once a week so they are not on deadline like they are during the semester. This is great news for me, because I will again enjoy getting home from work before midnight. Ohh, Mike, you need some help. HE HE, just kidding.

April 1, 2004

Performing Eudora Pro Surgury

I just keep impressing people here at the office. Everyone at the office uses Eudora Pro 4.2 on OS 9. I used to use Eudora Pro, but have since moved on to Entourage and now Apple Mail. I wish our office would change to Entourage because that program is easier to organize mail (everyone here leaves ALL their mail in their Inbox). My boss got an email with a resume in it, it is in RTF format (MS Word RTF to be specific). He opened and could read the email, but could not open the attached RTF file. This is because it was doing this really weird thing that OS 9 used to do with QuickTime (which is used for translation) would display the RTF as a slideshow style QuickTime movie. I have seen this before. Its a black movie box with white text. Except with a RTF document, you have a lot of RTF commands and code before the text. Not only could we not read this RTF file, we could not close the message, or delete it for that matter, without it taking the entire system down, no three finger solute worked here. Luckily I have used Eudora Pro enough in the past to know how to handle this. How you ask? Get out my trusty Swiss Army Knife - BBEdit. In the Eudora Folder there is a Mail Folder. In here is the 48 MB Inbox file that holds most of my bosses email. All I had to do was open this in BBEdit and delete this email that had this RTF file. Eudora use carriage returns to differentiate individual emails. I wish Apple Mail worked like that. Maybe just because I know how fix it. Upon opening Eudora Pro you are warned that Eudora has to recompile the database, it does, and you are good to go. The only problem is that there are a lot of emails that were previously deleted that show up again, and all email is set to a ? for its read status. But, my boss could send and receive again. Mission Accomplished. Oh and that RTF, it was in the Attachments Folder where I knew it was. It even opened up in Word when double clicked. Imagine that. That read-a-text-file-as-movie thing is really weird.

March 25, 2004

Live From Detroit

This is the first live remote for Breaking Windows! But it has not been without some small problems. The M39/Southfield exit was closed (yes construction in Michigan is actually worse then it is in Ohio) so I had to take Ford Rd. exit and double back to the Holiday Inn. But did I remember everything? Lets see: Clean underwear, etc: Check Razor, toiletries: Check Cell Phone: Check AC Adapter for Cell Phone: Check Palm: Check GameBoy Advance: Check PowerBook: Check AC Adapter for PowerBook: Oops! Man I was so close! And as I am here for a FileMaker Pro training workshop, I can't go three days without actually using FileMaker Pro as I am learning new techniques. I can't stand learning the things and not being able to apply them right away, especially when it has to do with software. Don't believe what Apple says about PowerBook battery life. They are correct about iBook batteries, they seem to last. But not the PowerBook ones. Luckily there is a CompUSA within walking distance from the Holiday Inn I am staying at. So now I am the proud owner of 4, yes 4, PowerBook AC adapters. I keep one at work, one at my couch (I pride myself on being lazy), one at my desk attached to my BookEndz Dock, and now I guess I have one I can permanently keep in my PowerBook bag. That is pathetic. MacAdacemy/ WindowsAcademy is putting this show on, and Keith Keil is the instructor. I have some of the training CDs he has authored for MA/WA. As a nice bonus, we get a voucher for 6 free training CDs from MA/WA. I am not sure to wait until they have a set on FMP 7 or get their InDesign CS set. Work already owns their FMP 6 set. This Holiday Inn is l33t! I get free DSL, something I have never had in a hotel, although I do not travel. Since this FMP workshop is here at the hotel, there is a discount on the price of the room. So it made no sense staying at a "cheaper" place. The food is great, and I get 10% off at the restaurant downstairs. So the price is right all around. There is a pool to swim (no, I don't get to swim much). This place is great, and very relaxing. I will worry about work on Monday, yay! Next update from Detroit will be about the first day of FMP goodness. Fun fun!

March 10, 2004

Trip to Chicago

Monday and Tuesday I was in Chicago. I like visiting Chicago, but I don't think living or working their is my cup of tea. It is one of my favorite places to visit though. Monday night I got to go out with a friend who is working in Chicago right now. It was great to sit in a bar and BS all night. Tuesday Paul and I went to a full day workshop put on by Baseview and Adobe. But that is for another post. The best part of the show was the Jazzbox demo that worked with InDesign CS and InCopy CS. Jazzbox is a Baseview product, Windows only right now, it allows for multiple people to work on the same layout, double-truck even, as well as jump stories between separate documents. Very cool! Too bad we cant use it (Windows) or afford it (its really expensive). The second half of the show was a presentation by Russel Viers, an Adobe Certified Trainer. The topic was Quark to InDesign migration, and he was really funny. He did show a number of things that I did not know how to do, or how easy to do, in InDesign. He was very informative. He even had giveaways. Including some LOTR games, and 2 full copies of the Adobe CS suite.

March 6, 2004

Interviewing Graduate Students

ME: "I conducted 3 interviews today." FRIEND: "Oh yea, who did you interview." ME: "Graduate students for our assistantship for the fall" FRIEND: "Wait, you interviewing graduate students? You are a college drop out." ME: "Any your point?" The fact that my recommendation will determine who gets the assistantship does come with a touch of irony. But I was doing this when I was a college student as well. So this is nothing new. This year my boss did not have time to help me with the interviews, so it was me in a solo effort. Since those who I interviewed might be reading this, I will not divulge my opinions on the contestants, er.. applicants. All I will say now is that I know without a doubt who I will recommend for the job. Conducting an interview is really hard work. And although I have been doing it for years now, interviewing both undergraduate and graduate students, I do not think I am that great at it. I usually rely on my boss to ask the hard questions. I have not struck out yet on my recommendations, so I have that going for me. If anything, I am now able to get a good sense of talent in an interview. While that is not the only part of determining a future employee, it has become the easiest thing for me to gauge. Another thing that I have learned to gauge is communication skills, and the fact that those skills trump talent in a tie breaker. Sometimes communications skills can even outweigh talent alone. You learn a lot more about the interview when you are the one asking the questions, and not answering them.

February 25, 2004

Switching to InDesign?

Here at Student Publications only Unigraphics has switched to InDesign. And they love it. This is partially due to the fact that they hate Quark of course. But they love using InDesign for all their projects. This might be changing. The BG News might be moving to InDesign. Which I would dearly love as well. I would also love moving to OS X so I can stop supporting OS 9, which is getting to be a pain since I do not actively use it. On March 9th Baseview and Adobe are putting on a dog and pony show in Chicago to showcase InDesign CS, InCopy CS, and NewsEdit Pro (thats a Baseview app). Paul and I will be there to see what they have to show. Unfortunately we already purchased Quark 6, because we were originally going to start using OS X last year. Adobe's volume licensing is really nice, and is better then Quark's educational pricing, but we already own Quark 6. So moving to InDesign would be $2000 down the drain. We shall see. I wish the Baseview upgrade (to OS X native versions) was not so high. But they can charge whatever they want, they are similar to M$ in that respect.

February 21, 2004

Its been a busy month this week

Wow I have been busy. Way to busy to even think of my blog. But since I don't make a living bloggings, its the first thing that goes, as well as the video games. I haven't touched a controller in a couple weeks. My role at Student Publications is changing (again). It is exiting, and new. I am always up for a challenge, and this should be fun. My first task is to help streamline the entire production process. We also need to address the fact that our paper (BG News) is straying from the Style Guide set forth a number of years ago. I cannot blame it on the fact that the students are new to putting the paper together. This staff has an entire semester under their belt. My only conclusion is laziness. I am not happy with the way the paper is looking, and I am going to do something about it. Paul, the Director of Unigraphics, (same person I am making the FileMaker Pro database for) and I are going to beat this paper into shape if need be. If you want a laugh, take a look at the front page of todays paper. Take special note of the lines. Not good, not good. Oh, and check out the Pulse front, that is very well done. The Unigraphics Invoicing database is progressing very well. The University gave me a new set of fields and new way they need the export file to be exported, so I have been making these changes. Always changes. I have a couple feature additions that were just brought up. I also now know I need a multi-user login system. So I have FileMaker Server running on a G3, yet another box sitting in the office (added warmth, good for winter here in BG). I am also working on a new look for the system. It might be because I am getting tired of looking at it, but I just think the graphics were too ugly, and too much like Office apps. You can see the new GUI here. What do you think? Old screen shots are here.

February 13, 2004

Quark releases QuarkXPress 6.1 Update

On Wednesday, Quark released QuarkXPress 6.1 Update, a ~75MB download. Among the changes listed as being included in the update are: Support for Mac OS X v10.3 Panther - Um...Yea. It seemed to work in Panther just fine. But we all know how buggy, or quarky, Quark is. So I am sure they smoothed out some jagged edges. It seems to run as it did before. Improved integration with Microsoft Excel - It sure is. I can confirm this. It is much nicer bringing in tabular data and working with it in Quark. Ability to select a picture then open and edit it in a preferred image editing application - This is a great feature, and something that I won't use. The way InDesign works with Illustrator and Photoshop documents is a thing of beauty, and cannot be matched. But this is better then nothing. New font mapping utility to create and manage rules to govern automatic font substitution - Anything is better the Courier New right? I don't know about you, but if I see that a font didn't load I go turn the font on. Updating went just fine. I did NOT need the installer CD, I read you did. And thank god I did not have to retype that 48 digit install code. I am running Quark License Administrator (QLA), and had no problems with the quark licenses talking to the QLA server. Quark is really turning around. They are shivering in their britches because InDesign is gaining momentum. I have actually, for the first time ever, had good to excellent tech support from Quark when I have had to call them with QLA related questions.

February 11, 2004

Studio MX 2004 for $199

If you are in education in some form or another, and are interested in Macromedia Studio MX 2004 for $199 (the cost of Dreamweaver alone) do not wait. Run, don't walk to this page. It is a savings of $700! You also get a free 12-month digital subscription to MX Developer's Journal. This offer is good through February 29. I should have added this earlier, but am now, thanks to TDavid. This even prompted him to write a post about it, which you should go read. I suggest those in that category carefully read the fine print of their academic license:
Education end users are full-time students, faculty, staff and employees of government-certified educational institutions, consisting of Elementary, Middle, Junior High and High Schools, and Accredited public or private universities, colleges, and community colleges that grant degrees requiring at least two years of full-time matriculation.
What are the restrictions in using education versions of Macromedia products?
Education versions of Macromedia products are intended for instructional and administrative purposes only and may not be used for any commercial purpose. Macromedia will conduct periodic security audits to be certain of your education qualification.

February 7, 2004

RSS Feeds for BG News and DP Network (Updated)

This was originally written in March 2003. I have edited and added to it now in February 2004. Our users wanted it. So I had a challenge in head of me. The RSS feed is complete! Boy oh boy am I exited about this. Web Monkeys just get exited about stuff like this. I have coded 2 RSS templates for The BG News CMS with some syntax help from Eric at Digital Partners (DP). Digital Partners home grown CMS (they call it Open Communications System or OCS these days) is written in the SMARTY php temple lanugage. SMARTY was closed, but ispi has open sourced it, so check it out if you get the chance. I like SMARTY a lot, I wish I had more time to learn more. Since March 2003 I have worked on editing a few different templates, and am starting a new template, and in doing this I have learned a lot about SMARTY. I really like this CMS, I like the logic I am afforded the most I think. I wish I could write my own PHP backend so I could install it on my own server and use it. I have created a RSS feed pulls the 3 most recent articles from each section. It is a 1.0 feed, I will not be hard at all to create a RSS 2.0 feed. I created the RSS 2.0 feed, and both validate, well, sort of. The RSS 1.0 feed has some white space at the beginning of the feed, and the validator does not like that. If I manually take out that white space and re-validate, it works. Eric figured out how to fix this with my RSS 2.0 feed, and since that is the one we publicize, we never went back to fix the white space problem in the RSS 1.0 feed. What I am most proud of is the fact that every school's site in the DP network can now use the RSS feed that I created. All told from the time I started pestering Digital Partners about having an RSS feed for our site, to completing both templates, to final legalese, it was about an entire year. Being able to contribute the RSS template to the network is really great. Its not really much, but hey, its more then nothing! I know DP was working on a syndication scheme that was home grown and not standards based, and since I was pushing RSS so much, Monte wrote a RSS Plugin, which is so great for the community. It sure is better to have a standards based syndication method. At first Digital Partners was apprehensive about the RSS thing. They charge for syndication of their content in a lot of their sites (Digital Partners is but one network in the ispi family). I am glad they finally decided to green light my RSS idea. Tomorrow I will put an article in our "Resources" section of the site detailing the feed as well as how to use if for people who don't know what RSS is. I have had a number of emails from users of and this sure will make them happy. I added the article, but have yet to add the info for Windows, using FeedReader (because it is free). This is still on my list of things to do. This is the addy for the feed: well it seems that there are legal and business issues that Digital Partners is dealing with right now. so until they get resolved I am not going to post the feed. Legal and business issues are finalized. You can get to the feeds here: Now if you go to that web page, and then try to go anywhere else on you will find yourself going absolutely nowhere fast. This is because the site has set a cookie for that template. Click here: That will get you back to the main template. Also if you want to see the PDA/Mobile Phone template, I recently tweaked it a bit: The pda template is also a great way to view the site on low bandwidth. Next up is a text only template. It will be like the pda template but have all the functions as the main template such as the archive and the search etc. etc. I am about halfway done with the text template now: Next on the list is a total rewrite of the default template, that has been up for a few years now, and it is getting old. I don't like it anymore. I want a proportional design. The work is never done.

January 29, 2004

MyDdoom Causes Havoc All Over

Not only did MyDoom have fun with our university's mail servers, but the mail servers of our web host, Digital Partners, were getting hit as well, slowing them down to a crawl, I hear. In a somewhat related note, Eric tells me that DP is looking into spam software to install of their mail servers. This is something I asked for some time ago because of the amount of spam we get to The BG News listproc. I am really glad they are looking into this, because it is getting to be an annoying problem that almost half the emails to the list are spam.

November 30, 2003

Server CD-RW Drive is Dead

Major Bummer! We use the CD-RW on the server to archive the newspaper every week, not to mention the other publications, and Unigraphics files. I think one or two of the teeth on the disc that is used to retract the CD tray are broken. Because this is a File and Print server, I knew I would have to wait until a break when we could actually turn the machine off. This morning (this was originally written weeks ago) I get a call (I usually take Wednesday off to do other work) about both Production and Unigraphics having problems saving files. After I get into work I found out what happened. A University IT tech came over to replace the broken CD-RW. He just restarted the server. Not telling anyone. First, he could not shut it down because he did not know my admin password (ITS never asked, nor asked the best time to show up). Secondly, this ITS tech has to have some type of sensibility in the fact that this is a file server, I mean I noted that when I called to get the drive fixed. Thirdly, they brought a CD-ROM when I said I needed a CD-RW. Apparently they did not read the ticket i submitted. Sometimes I wonder who they hire over at ITS. Most of the people I have worked with at ITS have been on the ball, but not this time, thats for sure. Most all of Student Publications is still using OS 9. When a file server drops off the network, a lot of times it is required to restart the computer to be able to connect to the server again. So, besides the fact that a lot of people lost work, no one has listened to my "1st step of troubleshooting" speech. For those who do not know, that would be "Restart!" I called ITS, let them know we need a CD-RW, told them my admin password so they could actually shut the machine down this time, and told them they need to tell everyone in Student Publications before they shut the server down. To their credit, when they come to install the CD-RW, (I again was not in the office) they tell the one person about shutting down the server that will not let everyone else know. I am talking about the "Oh, OK" type person. So again I get angry phone calls, again I have to tell them to restart and that they lost what they were working on. And again it is (obviously) my fault. And there is nothing I can do at this point. Blaming ITS is like blaming a brick wall, and frankly, we have had our share of ITS snafus at Student Publications over the years. The reason they could not wait until a break in classes is because they need to send the bad CD-RW drive back to Apple so that BGSU does not have to pay for it. I did not learn about this fact until after the replacement CD-RW was installed. Had I known this at the get go, I would have them hold the ticket until Christmas break. After all I have other computers that have burners in them (and had been using another machine for about a month anyways). This is what I refer to as NO COMMUNICATION and is not uncommon, unfortunately. And in the age of email and cell phones, I cannot except no communication. On the bright side of this rant, we did get a CD-RW that was twice the speed of the original one we had. So in that respect it worked out very well. It was the path getting here that was a bit muddy. More times then not, that is how things work with ITS.

October 27, 2003

Panther Install On Our G5

I had the exact same problems with Macromedia Studio MX 2004 on our G5 at work. This seems to be a well documented issue on Macromedia Forums as well as on MacFixIt. The way I fixed it on my PowerBook was to reinstall the entire Macromedia Suite. I will get to that later, I do not have time to do that now. Getting Quark 6 and Quark License Administrator working again was actually not that hard. And for the second time in a row I got nice tech. support from Quark! This is amazing, as even their sales staff has a history of being nasty on the phone. Yea, we finally got Quark 6 in. It only took them 3 days after I called them back. I ordered it a good 2 months ago, and wondered where the hell it was. When I called back the sales person said our order was in as a quote and not an actual purchase. Morons. I guess they do not want our money. I will never understand that company. But like I said I have gotten good tech. support the last two times I called (both related to Quark License Administrator.) Quark 6 comes with no printed manuals, just like Macromedia Studio MX 2004. What the heck is going on here? What happened to printed manuals? I'm sorry but I burn my eye balls out enough as it is, I prefer to look at a physical book when I want help with my software. After upgrading to Panther, I had to reinstall QuarkXPress Components, which resides in the "For System" folder in the Quark 6 folder. These are shared library files. Interestingly enough this is the exact same problem with Palm syncing. Quark License Administrator works in Panther no problems. I just had to re-add it to the startup items. Since it has taken Quark 2+ years to get a Mac OS X version out it is nice that it actually works in Panther.

September 29, 2003

One year later; A look back

I have been at Student Publications (as a Staff member) for a year now! I cannot believe it has been a year. I just signed another 1 yr. contract too. Yay :-D. (a non student letter of appointment is a 1 yr. appointment.) I say as a staff member because I have been involved with Student Publications since 1998 when I was a freshman in college. A lot of things have changed. For one, in 1998 there was no web site for The BG News. For a while we hosted it in West Hall, hosted on a Mac. Wow that was a while ago. I used AppleShare IP for a while, and then when Mac OS X Server (the first one, not the current version, the one known as Rhapsody). The process for posting the site took 2 hrs. even with the use of Transporter. My staff was 6 to 8 people and handled posting the news and also posting original content. We used to use NetObject Fusion (NOF) (no longer a Mac product). When Macromedia released Dreamweaver 1.2 we made to switch to it. Dreamweaver 1.0 was still a little on the "not all there" stage. The switch to Dreamweaver was more because NetObjects was discontinuing its WYSIWYG editor for the Mac. Its a shame they did because NOF is a wonderful product, even today.
Side Note: At that time I was involved with Apollon Components, a set of components for NOF. NOF Components are like DW Extensions or GoLive Actions. I provided the Mac Installers, using Stuffit InstallMaker to make them. After Mac support went south I had no reason to be involved with Apollon Project, or with NetObject Fusion.
After about 2 yrs. of producing The BG News site ourselves we partnered with a company that published college newspaper sites. The company was called Campus Engine, and their solution was written in Cold Fusion. At the time I did not know CF but I knew it was cool. It is, indeed a nice language. Campus Engine got bought out by Digital Partners, and we have been with them ever since. Digital Partners uses a PHP template engine called SMARTY, which I love. When partnered, and was given a CMS to use for our site, my web staff went down to two, which was such a nice change (think about managing hours for 6 to 8 college students). But you know what? This semester, Fall 2003 is the first semester that the print staff is publishing the web site. It has taken me 5 years to get the print staff to publish the paper online. It is so nice to not have to put the web site online every day (well ok its nice that I don't have to have my staff to put it online :-P). Now all I have to do is train the print staff how to fill out forms on a web page. That is so much nicer then teaching people HTML! It now takes an hour or less to put the paper online. A lot better then 2 or more hours!

September 26, 2003

New G5 at Work

Today was a wonderful day. ITS brought our Dual 2 Ghz G5 that we ordered, ordered way back when they were announced. I am so glad that Virginia Tech got theirs first :-P. This thing is fast! It better be for the price! It is also very quiet, especially compared to the Mirrored Door Drive (MDD) model, even quieter then the Quicksilver model. The model we ordered is like I said the dual 2 Ghz, with 2 GB RAM, and we decided it was not worth the money to get the ATI Radeon 9800 Pro, so it only has the ATI 9600. This is no slouch of a video card though. It can handle the highest resolution of the 21" CRT we bought, and it can even push the screen saver "Flurry" set as the Desktop Background. Not bad at all, I'd say. Since the news and production is not using OS X yet, this computer is mine to "test" until the switch over to OS X. I am shooting for that switch over to happen in January but only time will tell. So this is for the time being my desk, myself and my graduate assistant gets to use this. Oh how much fun I am going to have :-D. One small problem though... All of the University Keyed software does not seem to install on the G5. I do not know if this is the fault of the G5 or OS 10.2.7 which ships installed on the G5. All I know is that when I try and launch an installer for any University packaged software (anything from Photoshop to Fetch) I get an error message that states "This installer requires 4092 K of Memory." Hmmm, last I checked 2 GB was more than 5 MB. Information Technology Services (ITS) uses Stuffit InstallMaker to repackaged the Keyed versions of all University owned software. I have some experience with InstallMaker myself, and I think this is the real reason behind this. I talked to ITS today about this and tomorrow I get to go over to Hayes Hall and try and help them fix this problem. Since Student Publications is the first to get a G5 on campus, I get to be the guinea pig for the rest of campus, how fun! When I learn more about this I will be sure to post it. Next up is a short first impressions post about my first day with the G5.

September 16, 2003

Buckeyes on ropes heading into Saturday

Check out Joel hammond's sports column in today's edition of The BG News. For those who do not follow college football, BGSU is playing No. 5 Ohio State this weekend. BGSU has been playing rather well, even beating Purdue, the first time they have beat a ranked opponent since the 1970's. Ohio State on the other hand have not been playing that well, They were lucky to win over N. C. State in triple overtime. OSU also squeaked out a win over San Diego State. This is going to be a great game. I am by no means a OSU fan. I am a 'Canes fan, I always have been. Now reguardless of the fact that OSU really didn't win the National Championship vs. the 'Canes last year (lets face it, the referees won the game for OSU) I am gonna be rooting for BGSU here. Not to mention I go to BGSU - you don't root against your team. This column by Joel has gotten 24 feedback posts on The BG News web site. That is the most we have ever got. This is wonderful because now more people on The News staff are getting exposure online and finding out more and more about our online edition. That is one of my goals is to get The News staff involved with the web site. Most of the feedback seems to be coming from outside of Bowling Green too, which is nice to see. GO FALCONS!

September 11, 2003

The BG News Layout & Design

Well we can add another proverbial hats to my job at Student Publications. Last week I was called upon to salvage the Pulse cover (which is color, i.e. more important) because the designer who designed the page did not do a good enough job. All they had was a boot on the front of the Pulse section (otherwise known as Arts & Entertainment). Even though the boot was of awful quality i left it there, and just added some photos, last minute with a digital no less, of the Portage Quarry (the subject of this feature). How could you design a color front to a section and only run a boot at the bottom? The only thing you could see above the fold was a headline, and a column of text. Anyways, I fixed it up. You can check out the PDF if you like. It is by no means great work, but its better then what was planned. Today that same designer quit. Great. So now we have a design for the Pulse section (Matt Ivey does the design) but no one who knows how to put a layout together (they can layout the news, it seems they all lack in layout of a feature). So this time the entire layout was done by me, there was no boot this time, there was nothing. In the process I showed our Pulse Editor, Angela Gorter, a few things about Photoshop and Quark. I will link Friday's PDF once it is created. I have never done layout for the paper. Mainly because it is not my job and I do not have time for it. Lately my job description has been a changing though. So a new hat is more hands on Quark and Photoshop support. Now I am doing one on one training, group training, and both in person and over the phone (for when I am at home and don't want to drive to the newsroom) tech support. To say we have a green staff this year is an understatement. There is one, maybe two people on staff that really understand how to layout a paper. We do not ask them to understand Photoshop and Quark, just enough to get the paper put together Sunday through Thursday. This lack of experience is just that, lack of experience. It is not their fault, they are just green. So we need to fix that, because it is starting to hinder the look of The BG News. The first group training session will be this coming Sunday, and I am hoping things start to click.

September 5, 2003

Cease & Desist, Part 2

Now for the really big twist that no one saw coming: The Capwiz web site was developed as a test portal with the approval of Larry Weiss. The last time I checked the only one to approve the use of The BG News name was my boss, Bob Bortel. Thanks to Kent Strickland I found out that Larry Weiss, Associate Vice President for University Advancement and Director of Alumni and Governmental Affairs, is behind all this. Larry Weiss is responsible for University relations and governmental affairs, he is a lobbyist. Once I had his name I called him and let him know I was not happy to have our web site ripped off! Not to mention we as a newspaper do not support the crap they were placing in our template. Mr. Weiss started drawing a shady picture for me on the phone. This company, Capital Advantage, had put a demo together for the University, a private demo, and Larry did not know why they chose to rip off the code from Larry told me that they thought was a news site about BG, as in Bowling Green, and NOT a news site. Now that is total bull shit. Does NOT look like a newspaper? Does a site about a city have a Sports, Opinion or Arts & Entertainment section? Come on! Total horse shit. He told me the site would be down that day. I gave him my number so he could call and let me know when it was taken down. A few hours later I got a call from Mr. Weiss's assistant. She had no idea that this site had moved so many eye balls to our site. She has no idea why they chose our site to rip off for this private demo. Private my ass. I have more then 1000 visits from that "demo site." This assistant, nore Mr. Weiss seem to have any idea what went wrong here. Hell even Kent Strickland was agreeing with me. Kent had put in an incident report with Exodus Cable & Wireless to have them take down the entire Capital Advantage site. I kind of wish their site had been taken down before we found out about Larry Weiss. Once Kent found out about Larry he had Exodus Cable close the incident. Do you think that Larry Weiss has any idea about this? Do you think that Capital Advantage has any idea about this? I gotta say this though, Larry Weiss did a great job at taking this site down in a very timely fashion once I talked to him. I did my best to be professional on the phone and I think I did a good job talking to both Larry and his assistant, but man I gotta say I was pissed off. I was hot. My boss was hot. From talking to Kent, he was hot about it too. And I guess this ruffled the feathers with Bruce Petryshak and Toby Singer as well. So I feel pretty good. I got this issue resolved. My boss is happy, I am happy. If someone steals copywrite material, wether it be content or design, I am going to pursue it the same way I went after this. They had no right to use our name, I don't care if it was only for a "demo."

September 2, 2003

Cease & Desist

Last week I checked the web logs for and in the referrer log I find this site, from Capital Advantage. They are using our name and our site template all without our say so. I do not know how, but they are driving traffic to their site, and therefor to our site. They are in the top 5 referrer sites for us. In this case this is not cool because we did not ask for it. But they are not a partner of us, nor are a partner with Digital Partners. I sent a cease & desist email of which I did not get a response from. My next step was a snail mail letter. Well I am not the only person that looks at referrer logs because we got an email from Kent Strickland, BGSU's Information Security Officer. He noticed that Capital Advantage is using our name, not legally I might add. After emailing back and forth with Kent both Bruce Petryshak, the CIO, and Toby Singer, the Executive Director of ITS are now notified. And getting help from the university's lawyers will be no problem. This could not have worked out better, the university is going to help us with this matter before I even had the chance to ask for their help. I only wonder how many other college news sites are being taken advantage of from Capital Advantage. It isn't right they are ripping the code off our web site and placing their own content in the "body" of the page. I will update when anything new comes up.

August 28, 2003

Classes Back in Session

Classes are back in session. The paper is back to a daily publishing schedule. My responsibilities are back to there "normal" state. No more "laid back" atmosphere for me. But I don't mind it, I work good under the pressure. Right now I am training our new graduate student. He is a CS student, per usual, and will be doing graphic design type work. I sometimes question why we get CS graduate students. But it is nothing new. His name is Tianjun Xu, and he knows HTML so I do not have to teach him that. He has so far learned the web PDF workflow so we now have a PDF Archives section to the BG News site. Tianjun learns really quickly which helps. The other thing I have been doing a lot lately is Documentation. UGGGGG. I don't like it. I have gotten used to it over the years tho. I am writing docs for both The BG News as well as the grad student and web staff. Another thing I must say I am impressed with is how much the News staff is so into the web site. It is nice. This is the first News staff that has been so into working on the web site. I am very pleased with that. It makes my job a lot easier, thats for sure. Classes might be back in session but I am not. I decided not to take classes this semester. I will most probably take classes next semester.

August 22, 2003

First Paper Done

The BG News first newspaper of the semester went out without a (major) hitch. The Welcome Freshman issue, all 34 pages of it, was done at 7:30. The deadline was 8 PM, so they even made deadline.

We have been testing a PDF workflow for about a year now. The summer paper was done all in PDF. Friday's 34 page paper was the first major paper we did without pasting up one page. Production started converting the Quark layouts to PDF, they finished at midnight. Why did it take this long? Font problems with the display ads could major headaches.

But the new editors work well together. And what is so wonderful is the fact that a number of them are interested in the web site. I am so thrilled about this. We are going to have so many things on our site that have not been available before. I have been telling editors for years of these available features, they just have chosen not to listen or care. We now have an editorial board who cares about it. I for one am glad.

A 36 page paper goes out Sunday for Monday. Then the next paper is all of *gasp* 8 pages! Hmm maybe no ads were left for paper #3 for the semester, I wonder?

August 19, 2003

No Way! Another email Worm?

This morning I opened my BGNet email to around 40 emails from other BGNet users and it was not hard to tell that a new virus has spread on campus. This happens all to often. I remember when the Arts & Sciences list was infected with a similar virus. Yet another reason I enjoy using a Mac. How fun. Below is the email I received this morning from the University IT department (I added the link).
Currently the e-mail virus Sobig.f is infecting the BGSU campus. Please do not open any unexpected attachments and especially any with the Subject of: * Re: Thank you! * Re: Details * Re: Re: My details * Re: Approved * Re: Your application * Re: Wicked screensaver * Re: That movie or an Attachment of: * your_document.pif * document_all.pif * thank_you.pif * your_details.pif * details.pif * document_9446.pif * application.pif * wicked_scr.scr * movie0045.pif A solution is being created - please contact the Technology Support Center (TSC), 2-0999 if you have been infected or for further details. Cindy E. Fuller
I am so glad the University informs us of these things. Before this email was sent i had already gone to and read about the virus. No one said the university was fast at these types of things but at least they sent out a warning email. I have so far gotten no less ten 80 emails from other infected university email addresses. I am sure that number will double in a couple of hours.

August 12, 2003

Attack of the (eMac) Clones

I cannot express how much Apple System Restore (ASR) and most recently Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC) makes life as a Mac Admin a more enjoyable time. After a couple weeks the job of cloning 12 eMac's is done. Why does it take so long? Step into my shoes (size 16) and see how many hours a day I can devote to setting up new computers :-P All I do is set CCC to prepare the image it makes for ASR. This takes over an hour for about 5.5 GB worth of data (OS 9 and OS X systems and applications). I have this on a FireWire HD that I can take from computer to computer to boot from and image the internal HD. That takes 18 minutes. That rocks! 18 minutes! Now the fun part is when you figure out you forgot something on the image. We have a bunch of first generation iMac's, these do not have FireWire. My job is always interesting in this way. I cannot image these iMac's using my handy bus powered FireWire/USB drive. And unfortunate as it is, I cannot boot an iMac from a USB HD. I guess I am going to have to do ASR the hard way (old way) of making an ASR CD for the iMac's. Oh well. Next up is to put two more third generation (yay FireWire!) iMac's down in the Yearbook office. Their secretary's desk is going to loose an aging 7100/66. I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to get rid of that old beast. This will mean that Yearbook will have 4 iMac's and a 4400/200. I wish I could get rid of the 4400/200 but they use that for the SCSI film scanner. Oh Well. This is how work works sometimes. Oh well.

August 8, 2003

New Loot for Student Pub

One of the best parts of my job is being in charge of purchases for Student Publications. This surely has its benefits. The only thing that is irritating about this is occasionally something is bought without a consultation with me. And unfortunately that usually ends up as a very bad decision. But hey, nothing is perfect. Some purchases are needed and some are just wanted. The latest hardware purchases and these new software purchases were very needed. The computers in the news room were 5 years old. And we all know how much you can "upgrade" a Mac. Quark 6 has been ordered, although is not in yet. We are not planning on moving to Quark 6 until January but both the Production Manager and I need to time to learn it enough to support it. Since We are getting rid of all the SCSI based Macs in the Production we needed a new USB based scanner. The $79 Canon CanoScan LiDE 30 just came in yesterday and it does a great job, its a lot nicer then the ScanMaker that production was using. The last of my recent purchases falls into the "want" category. But before you judge, listen to my story. We are not getting new film scanners that are FireWire based (USB film scanners blow). So we need a SCSI based Mac in the news room for the photo desk. My goal in all this was to get rid of anything beige in the news room and production room. I also wanted to use on of those snazzy new eMacs at my desk. So I bought a $89 adaptec SCSI card for my 400 Mhz G4 tower that is currently sitting on my desk. This makes the photo desk a G4 and not a G3. So every one wins, and for under $100 for a SCSI card. I get an eMac to use that is twice the speed as my current work computer, and the photo guys didn't have to live with the ugliest, slowest computer in the news room. :-D Our push to OS X is almost complete. Unfortunatly the final step has a $3,000 price tag on it. It is called Baseview: NewsEdit Pro, ClassFlow, DragX and QTools. I am glad we are not taking AdManager Pro and WireManager to OS X!!

July 22, 2003

The eMac's are in

All 12 of them! The specs for these things are: * 512MB SDRAM - 1 DIMM * eMac Tilt & Swivel Stand * 800MHz PowerPC G4 * 40GB Ultra ATA drive * CD-ROM drive * Mac OS X and Mac OS 9 I have to say I am really impressed with these things! The performance in Photoshop is much better then I expected. I have been busy working on creating a master image. I have done one trial clone and it worked very well. All thanks to Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC) and the OS X version of Apple System Restore (ASR). I have got to say that the OS X version of ASR is really slick. It just takes a command in the Terminal and about 15 min. later the HD has been formatted and imaged. CCC makes the creation of ASR images a breeze compaired to when I used to make ASR images in OS 9. Manually creating them in OS 9 was not fun. With CCC and ASR my job of cloning 12 workstation is cake (don't tell my boss that). The hard and really time consuming part is creating the master image with all the apps and preferencecs exactly as needed. Here is the shot off all the eMac's stacked in the newsroom right after they were delivered by the University. Now take note of those 2 red circles. Those are the computers the News is currently using for layout. Now all these boxes are stacked up in the Advertising Office, ha ha. Oh and we also got a 22" CRT (20" viewable, its just cool to say its a 22" CRT). That CRT is for the G5 tower. I cannot wait to test that baby out!




I hate Quark

I am going to be blunt here. I ******* HATE QUARK! OK i feel a little better now. I am going to do my best here not to go on a cussing spree, and will prolly have to edit this when i am done, heh. I am really pissed, and I am writing this after work today, and I am still irritated about this.

I have always not liked Quark, the company, or QuarkXPress the product, but at the moment I have a very good reason to hate them. Their Sales and Tech Support staff are most the time not helpfull. And their pricing policy is just down right horrid. (To "upgrade" from Quark 3.3 to Quark 4 you had to pay full price, EVEN FOR EDUCATION.)

Here is the situation.

We have a 15 seat lab pack of Quark 4. Quark 4 was hardware dongled for some reason. We have an assortment of OLD and REALLY OLD computers that have Quark 4 installed. Said REALLY OLD computers are ADB based, and said OLD computers actually have a USB port (whoa!). So of our 15 seats of Quark, 7 are USB and 8 have ADB dongles. In the past when we got an OLD computer and got rid of a REALLY OLD computer we have called Quark and traded a ADB dongle for a USB dongle.

We got 12 new eMac's last week (still need to post about that, I took pictures ;-D). So we no longer have the need for the ADB dongles. I called Quark today and guess what, Quark has no more USB dongles either. And its not like any of there resellers have any either (I called). What is their solution? Spend Money! Upgrade right now. 15 seats times $145/seat equals $2175. We do plan to upgrade when we move to OS X but not untill then (Quark 6 required OS 10.2 and we cannot move to OS X just yet).

I am not about to upgrade to Quark 5 so I can still use OS 9 for the time being and then upgrade to Quark 6 when we move to OS X (which was the suggestion I was given). I can understand my boss's point of view. He just spent over 10k on hardware, he really doesn't want to spend the 2k for Quark right now. Oh and there is a hidden cost in there, NewsEdit Pro and the Quark Xtentions we use (Both from Baseview) that run in Quark 6 and in OS X. The Baseview upgrade is going to run 3k. Does this person from Quark even remotely give the impression of caring? No. She checked with her supervisor about the USB dongles issue, but that was about it.

I understand that Quark 4 is old news, but how many customers do you think still use Quark 4? And we have been a long time customer.

Aside from the cost aspect, The BG News, Gavel, Miscellany, Obsidian, and BG News Production are NOT ready to jump to OS X just yet. It is going to happen in say January, that much has been discussed and agreed upon. But not right now.

What is going to happen is that a number of the eMac's that were bought to be layout machine's are going to sit in boxes for a few months, or be used as text entry stations (something a beige G3 is quite good at). I am going to have to use 2nd generation iMac's for the pagination stations with the exeption of 2 that will be new eMac's. Yay, what a geat use of the new hardware!

July 8, 2003

Actual vs. Billable hours

Well it is the 11th hr. as usual and I am asked to put in another feature to this invoicing system (a needed feature though). They could not start working with this database on the 1st as planned because there were a couple last minute feature requests. So tomorrow (Tuesday) come hell or high water they are going to start using this system! I have now added an Actual Hours field to the production line items. This will be good to run reports on to see the deviation between actual and billable hrs. This is a find out Friday need done by Monday type thing. Yay. So that was my weekend, that and a couple other features that I needed to add anyway but was gonna wait till my next "release." I also this weekend have done away with the need for a plugin I was using. It is nice to do away with the need for plugins. I was using SCRIPTit for a bunch of menus. One for the Change Module menu and one for a scripts menu. With the help of Ray Cologon and his generosity in making his ScriptMenu technique file work with changing files I no longer need SCRIPTit (Thanks Ray!). It takes twice the amount of scripts to pull it off, but it is worth it. Oh if FileMaker only had field modification triggers...oops sorry I was dreaming. It must be time for bed.

Getting a G5 for work!

I posted earlier about getting new computers at work. As it turns out it would take more work to order a G4 since they are going out of style like well, something going out of style. The university's purchasing agent told me this today (not the style part, the ordering part) and so what is there to do now? We are gonna get a G5 for the same price give or take $100. It won't boot into OS 9 so production will have to wait to use it. But good lord its gonna be fun playing with that thing *ahem* I mean testing it out. Specs: dual 2 Ghz G5 with 2 GB of RAM. SuperDrive, 160 GB HD, ATI 9600 (If this was for me I would have said get the 9800 but that is an extra $300, and the 9600 will do just fine for desktop publishing :-O Also ordered for this beast is a 22" CRT that cost less the Apple's 17" flat panel. Apple sais they will ship in August but I have heard September. Either way it will be a little while. I can't wait to "test it out."

July 1, 2003

New G4's for Student Publications

Today I spent $13,000 and some change for student publications. We ordered: * 12 800 Mhz G4 eMacs * 1 Dual 1.25 Ghz PowerMac G4 We even got that tilt and swivel stand for them cuz its just so cool! These computers are for the BG News, Obsidian, Gavel, and Miscellany. Let me put things into a little perspective. The BG News currently uses 7100/200's for writing and first generation (beige) g3 desktops for page layout. Production uses first generation iMacs (bondi) as does the Obsidian, Gavel and Miscillany. Yea. Old. We are moving all these publications to OS X as well. The only thing holding us back at the moment is Quark (go figure!) since they have not yet released the Lab Pak for Quark 6. I was however happy to find out that it will only be $145 a seat to upgrade the lab pack. We own 15 licenses, so there is another $2000 (well ok mr. picky that would be $2175). But seeing as how much Quark 6 costs retail I am very happy with that price. If we can get Quark 6 by Christmas Break (I sure hope so) that is when we will be switching to Mac OS X. I am dreading this. Supporting OS 9 is cake, supporting OS X takes work. Especially since the users are journalists who have no patients at all with computers. A year ago we got a Mac OS X Server (Quicksilver G4) so that helps a lot. I can just see permission issues with the files for the newspaper and such. OS 10.3 should be out by then so we can take advantage of the Font Book app so we do not need to buy Suitcase or Font Reserve. Adobe volume licensing sure is nice. As long as you buy 20 “points” worth of software you qualify. This allows us to buy Photoshop 7 for $150 a seat. We will need to buy Illustrator, Acrobat and a few other apps but they are similarly priced. More on this when they arrive. I know the PowerMac will take 3 to 4 weeks but the eMacs should be here shortly.

June 26, 2003

Screens from FileMaker Pro Project

We have reached a major milestone. On July 1 Unigraphics will start using this system. I wish I could say they were going to use if for live invoice billing. The University still has to make a validating application for this system since the output of this goes directly to the Bursar. This has been a long battle because the programmer that needs to do this has many other things on his plate. They will start putting in info so when we do reports we can do a fiscal year to date. That is happy news. It also means that my training is going to start paying off as they will be using this thing regulary.

Here are 4 screen shots of the finished layouts. The Find layout looks pretty much the same on all files. I am using orange to make a difference from data input to searching. I don't need them doing data input on a search layout. That would be very bad!

Invoice - Main
Invoice - Find
Clients - Main
Clients - List

June 7, 2003

It has been a long week

What a long busy week I have had. And to top it off friday I find out that there are all sorts of problems with the Key Yearbook database that is used to track senior pictures and yearbooks sold. That is a serious mess requiring a lot of extra work for the yearbook's secretary, and for me later on. Multiple problems equal one thing: FUBAR. So that is something I can add to my list of things that need attention this summer. I started training the Creative Director, Paul, of Unigraphics these last two weeks. We are hoping to roll out this invoicing system I have been working on for so long. While going over the vendor line items layout Paul gave me another "oh, can you add this." This translates to "I forgot to mention this to you six months ago, but could you add it." These types of things are not a problem, and they do not annoy me. It is fairly easy to implement new things. This time it is a markup on the vendor price. A percent dependent on the total vendor cost. It will require me to add two more calculation fields and change the grand total calc. as well. The thing is that these types of additions take time to put together. They push back the target roll out date, no one other then me seems to realize that. I have tried many times in the past 6 months to freeze feature additions to this database system, but it seems that that is not possible. And just like this vendor markup price, it is something that needs to go into the invoice now and not later. I am going to be very glad when this thing is in use. Of course that means it is on to phase 2 for me - Reports and Help System, yay.

May 20, 2003

Invoice Print Layout

I have been hard at work at fixing things and making sure this invoicing system is ready to roll soon. Next week I start training Paul on how to use it. I have been wanting to do that for a while now but he has just been swamped with clients. I made the print layout look all pretty like.

March 31, 2003

Conducting Interviews

For Student Publications my boss has put me in charge of finding a graduate assistant for this next school year. After conducting 4 interviews I have come to the conclusion that I am horrible at interviewing people. I guess it is because I do not ask such formal questions. The interviews just sorta became conversations. I got better by the forth interview at asking questions and not conversing so much. Just a little beter though, not a lot. I think I need to look up some information about how to conduct an interview. Its a little wierd. First of all I am not a graduate yet, and I am hiring a graduate (I mean hell you could call me a college drop out untill I go back to taking classes in the fall!). Second of all these grad students are older than me by a few years. And thirdly I am in charge of telling them what to do. Its just plain weird. But seriously, I have got to look into conducting better interviews.

March 24, 2003

Teaching HTML

It has been some time since I have taught anyone HTML. Our assistant online editor, a tech writing graduate student, wants to learn HTML. At least she knows what a <b> and a <p> tag is to start with. But when showing her the code of The BG News site she freaked out (well yea I would too its really dated code) :=D

The last time I taught anyone HTML was back in the HTML 3.2 spec days. Now with the latest XHTML spec there are no font tags, and tables are not used for layout. CSS is used for a lot more now than it ever was. I don't have a lot of hours to devote to teaching (very busy with this invoicing database) So unfortunatly most of the "teaching" is going to consist of "go here and read this" but I will have a few hours a week to sit down and go over stuff. I miss teaching though, I did a lot of that when I worked at CTLT.

The first thing out of our grad assistants mouth was "I want to learn Dreamweaver" Yet she does not know HTML in the first place. That is a bad way to start out. Unfortunatly that is how a lot of people do. Then they know nothing of the "behind the scenes" stuff. That bothers me, people should get out SimpleText or Notepad before they go to Dreamweaver. Of course I remember using NSCA Mozaic to browse the web, ha ha ha.

March 7, 2003

MacReporter plugin created

Whenever the powers that be let me put up the RSS feed for the BG News site I have also created a MacReporter plugin. MacReporter is an application that was out long before NetNewsWire and I actually like it better. it is shareware tho, it is not free like NetNewsWire is. reason being MacReporter is a is a dockling so you don't have to bring it to the foreground to rifle threw headlines with. With the public beta of MacReporter Forge I created a plugin for the BG News site so that anyone else that uses MacReporter wants to get headlines for the BG News site through MacReporter they can. OK, so I basically made it for myself ;p and I am going to make it available to anyone who wants it. that is when it is OK'd to post the RSS feed. A small note about MacReporter Forge. it will only parse RSS not RDF. RDF is the "new" standard for RSS files. I had to contact the developer, but he was very quick to send me an RSS plugin for Forge that would allow me to make a ratify plugging.

March 4, 2003

only 32 MB of RAM!

some people have a lot more patients than i do. and they must not know how to bitch loud enough. well i finally heard them yesterday. The Key Yearbook has an OLD rev. B "tangerine" iMac that they use for photoshop and pagemaker. it only has 32 MB of RAM in it! i cculd not work like that. but they do because they do not know any different. can you imagine laying out a yearbook on a machine that has only 32 MB of RAM? they have another iMac that has 96 MB and a 4400/200 (yea, i knowl O L D) that has only 48 MB in it. it cost $30 a piece for the iMacs for a 128 MB stick. that old 4400/200 is costly tho. you can only put 64 MB sticks in its 2 dual slots, and only 8, 16 or 32 MB in its single slot. pushing that box up past 128 MB was $150! once the RAM arrives Mac OS will run a lot smoother for them (you are suposed to have at least 32 MB for OS 9) and gosh! they will be able to have photoshop AND pagemaker open at the same time!

Training a Grad Assistant

Busy, busy busy. I have been so busy with work I have not had the time to post anything new. Lately I have been training a technical writing grad student for the newspaper. she is the assistant online editor this semester, so first i had to show her how to put the paper online. Today i showed her how to take screen shots on a Mac and PC (we take screen caps of the info graphics to put them online). I have also been showing her how to use photoshop. next on the bill is basic HTML. over my years here at college i have trained a lot of faculty, staff and grad students, especially when i worked for CTLT. it does not matter if they are an international graduate or not, one thing remains the same. i am in aw how little graduate students know about computers. either the general operating system or major applications. i am not slamming graduate students, i am just saying that my expectations of someone who has been in college for more than 4 years would have a better understanding of either the mac or the pc. i assume they do not know how to use photoshop, but i also assume they do know how to use an operating system, wether that be Mac OS or Windows. my expectations of graduate students is too high. for example I figured a technical writing student would know how to take screen shots on either a mac or a pc. i know i am a geek at this stuff, but i am not a genius at it. i like teaching people how to use computers and software tho, its a lot of fun. teaching the basics of HTML is gonna be a blast since thats my main thing.

February 11, 2003

I work with SLOW computers

I gotta say that having this new P4 rig has one down side. it not only lets me know how slow my own 500 Mhz TiBook is, but how slow the computers at work are. and i have to service and support these slow bastards at work. The BG News uses PM 7300/200's and first gen desktop G3's to layout the paper, production uses 4th and 5th gen iMacs, the other publications use 3rd gen imacs. man this sucks! these computers are so slow now that i got my new computer! im getting tired of SCSI based perifirals(sp?) too! whaa whaa whaa. ok so not every computer can be a G4 with USB or FireWire perifirals, not at the price of Apple hardware. so i understand why we have older hardware, it just is getting to be more of a chore to make them work.

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