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'guana
jwg

when little things go wrong

Thursday was a day when lots of little things didn't work correctly - nothing bad - just a nuisance.

It started when I learned that a couple of web pages on a site I just created for the Cambridge Civic Association displayed badly for a user. I had used WordX to turn a couple of short documents (political platforms) into HTML and I checked them on my OSX mac with Safari and Netscape 7, OS9 with IE5 and Netscape 7, and WindowsXP with Netscape 7 and they looked fine. (I must say that the HTML was quite a mess in typical Microsoft fashion). It was IE5 on WindowsXP that didn't like some of the stuff that Word had put into the web page and thus messed up the display.

Next on tap was the new woodpile structure project. We had these two 20 ft pieces of 1 in galvanized pipe. Their original life was the above ground summer water supply to our house that had broken and had been patched several times. They were subsequently replaced with underground copper pipe to the new winter water main when the city did the Sewer project. We had reused this pipe to hold strawberry netting but when we replaced that earlier this summer I thought: aha, if cut each one in two the pieces can be used to hold the tarp over the woodpile instead of the warped wooden closet poles. We tried to use my little saber saw to cut pipe. Buzzing away for a while hardly made a dent so we gave up for the moment. (our neighbor since lent us a pipe cutter so the job was easy and I didn't have to go out and buy another tool).

While Robert was measuring the length of something, the measuring tape pulled out of its container. I had noticed earlier that it was being a bit fussy about being retracted. I took it apart to see if I could fix it but decided that it wasn't worth it so it went to the scrap heap.measuring tape

In the middle of screwing in 2 1/2 in outdoor-wood screws, the screwdriver battery got too weak to make headway. So that meant we had to other things until they recharged. (The next day when we completed the project and it happened again; this time we dragged out enough long extension cords to reach the 75 feet or so behind the garage and used my old-fashioned house power electric drill.)

So I took the batteries inside and placed them in the charger while we ate lunch and did a couple of other things. A couple of hours later I came back to get the batteries and discovered that one had popped out and thus it hadn't been charged. The rest of this job got postponed until Friday.

I had to make some mailing labels from the Cambridge Lavender Alliance FilemakerPro database to send to endorsed candidates. I printed a test page and they were fine. I created a PDF file containing the labels using OSX print to PDF and when I printed them they were scrunched up a bit. A number of false starts including slight reformatting of the FMP layout which had no effect and I discovered that I had the fit-to-page option turned on and even though they did fit the page, they were slightly reduced. So I fixed that and did a test print and they were fine. I moved them to my OS9 machine that I use for email. And printed them and they were scrunched again. The print interface is different so I didn't see the same option. Also I noticed that this Mac has been squeezing lines together a bit (I don't know why it suddenly started doing it) so I though that might have something to do with it. I rebooted but everything was the same. Then I looked further on one of the Print options windows and found that the fit-to-page option was on. So everything was fixed after at least 1/2 hour of wasted time.

Early the next morning I had a dream about renting a car; the agency had some special deal that they couldn't explain to me in a manner that I could understand. Each clerk started saying something and then walked away and another one came over but it still wasn't clear. Then I reached into my wallet to get a credit cards and couldn't find any so I took out my Sony Clie to look up something and it burst into a bunch of pieces all over the floor. Instead of trying to put it back together again I woke up.

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(I must say that the HTML was quite a mess in typical Microsoft fashion).

This is why when I've got to do that kind of document conversion I actually save as text only then mark it up as HTML manually in my favorite text editor. It's faster, it's more portable, and it's much less annoying.

(YMMV.)

It was all so ridiculously funny that the final punch line made me laugh out loud.

Heh. My reaction to that last line was to think of the many times that I've wanted to use that solution only to find that it wasn't available.

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