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December 2010

Apache SSIDecember 28, 2010 - Was trying to get a random photo script to work and oh boy was there a lot to be learned. First, used a script from Matt's Script Archives. The short story is Matt provides a nice Perl script but very little in the way of instructions. Things I learned about CGI scripts and Apache SSI:

Drove. Me. Nuts.

December 26, 2010 - Holy FREAKING Hannah... was working on the home page and trying to setup a random photo script. It's a free script found on Matt's Script Archive (see below) that looked easy enough. Except I've spent several frustrating hours trying to figure out why it wasn't working - only to discover the culprit was Microsoft Word smart quotes. Smart quotes are different from normal quotes and the script program, Perl, doesn't like smart quotes. But it wasn't until after reading the script instructions 89 times, combing thru my website tech support, digging into error logs and finally Googling "perl @files = unrecognized character" that I finally discovered this golden nugget of truth. And sure enough, if you compare the two quotes side-by-side there's a teeny tiny oh-so-insignificant difference that only Microsoft and Perl will care about.

December 10, 2010
Blackberry Bold 9650 Blackberry Bold 9650 - so work is getting crazy with this Windchill project and I needed to stay on top of email without having to fire up the laptop at home. Enter the company cell phone, a Blackberry 9650 on Verizon. Very nice... had an 8330 for personal use and liked everything about it - except the fact that it had become a 2 year-old very slow smartphone that also didn't have WiFi. Using the internet on that thing was like stepping back into the '90s with a 28.8k modem (sometimes I swear I could hear to beep tones.)

Anyway the 9650 is pretty smooth. At first I was a little frustrated because Blackberrys just take a while to get used to... yes, I had been using an 8330, but once they're setup you don't need to fiddle with much else. And after 2 years of smooth performance either things had changed or I had simply forgotten where all the menu picks were hidden. And really the biggest difference wasn't the downside of relearning the software - it was the sweet surprise of using the new trackpad in place of the old trackball. The trackpad is a brilliant improvement - yes, it's that good!

Another reason I like Blackberry is the real keyboard as opposed to the on-screen keyboards popularized by the iPhone. I'll still argue that real keyboards are far better than the touch-screen variety... an accidental brush across a real keyboard is much more forgiving than the same with a touch-screen.

And the speed of the 9650 is also an improvement... everything has a quick smooth feel to it that is very responsive.

The only downside noticed so far is battery life... a new phone with a fresh battery used to deliver at least 2 or 3 days away from the charger. Maybe this is more common with the sophistication of smartphones today, but the 9650 can't go more than a day without getting near 50% (which doesn't sound like a lot - but you KNOW the one time you skip a charge will be the one time when you need it.) And really this is a trade for faster WiFi internet speed, a quicker CPU, and a brighter more beautiful screen.

Other than battery life, I'm again impressed with Blackberry. A very solid device, both the software and hardware. For anyone not mesmerized by the gloss of an iPhone or iClones, the Blackberry 9650 would be a solid choice.