Make your own free website on Tripod.com

This page was originally intended as a kind of version control system. A place to collect notes about how and when I did various things, but obviously it's mostly been neglected as unneeded bookkeeping. I might be retentive, but obviously not much of a bookkeeper.

Anyway, the entries were created in reverse chronological order, so I'm leaving them that way even though it is kind of confusing. If you just read forward, it is kind of like a zig zag pattern, since most of the entries actually span some time within themselves, but going forward, not backwards...


29 December 2001

Lots of material added to the site, but obviously not making much attempt to update this part of it. Actually, the proximate excuse for this entry is to provide link points for a rather new section, a rating system for generic newsgroup replies. There are actually three parts, the ad hominem part, the scale itself, and the entire thing including the detailed explanations of the ratings. Something I'd been thinking about but hadn't gotten around to. Perhaps a kind of commemoration of Google putting 20 years of posts searchably online.


10 June 2001

Actually quite a lot of changes since the previous September, though both of the new primary tools, Homepage Builder and JavaScript, had already been mentioned by then. Most recently added a kind of dynamic navigation bar done in JavaScript. It includes a data structure that describes the organization of the site, and adjusts itself depending on the current page. This was actually a spare time project I did for the intranet at IBM, but it was never adopted there, even by my own Technical Vitality section.

As an unpleasant side effect of the bizarre election and selection of 2000, I did add a large new section to the Web site--an anti-Bush area which currently has a number of pages and which continues to grow. It draws a moderate amount of traffic. Some anti-Supreme-Court pages are elsewhere. Technically speaking, not much new there, except for the use of Web rings, mostly Yahoo's. GOFJ is also linked into some Japanese Web rings, too.


15 September 2000

Okay, a minor wrinkle, but I like it. A very trivial bit of code detects if the jump is to an internal anchor in the page and both the email and counter reflect the specific jump. Apart from that, not much to say except that the large photoessay (GOFJ4) is a significant amount of work.


9 September 2000

Just added some new JavaScript to the GOFJ4 page so that the secondary thumbnails can be displayed in line with the text, and started working on the secondary pictures.

Didn't mention that part of my JavaScripting is to make the site more portable and manageable. I already mentioned the controllable footer thing, but there's also a site specific explanation function, which so far I only use for the a special note on the mirror site at Tripod's Japanese site (shanen.tripod.co.jp). I'd actually prefer that URL as my primary, but that server is still functionally limited compared to the American one. I may do another mirror over on Angelfire, though I don't know why the owners keep it alive since they also own Tripod, and the two are functionally very similar.

One of the things I'd like to do is consolidate the counters, or possibly even throw a reference to a hit logging page somewhere... Tripod's counter service is rather marginal, and apparently overloaded, often returning "a lot of" rather than an actual number.


30 August 2000

Well, no comments for a long time there. Mostly didn't do anything with it until recently, when I started doing a bunch of pretty radical stuff. I suppose some of that was because I basically decided to abandon GeoCities, but hadn't decided on a new server. Very easy to say what's wrong there: GeoCities is a spam-hole. The spam email lists include the shanen at GeoCities email address, so all that spam is delivered to the shanen.geo at Yahoo account, and there is NOTHING that can be done to stop it. I filed spam complaints HUNDREDS of times until I finally just abandoned it. I looked at the Yahoo account a few days later, and it had more than 60 email messages, ALL of which appeared to be spam. I rest my case against Yahoo--Yahoo loves delivering spam. Nice service, but God help you if the spamnuts get the address--it's dead.

Meanwhile, what to do with the home page? I basically fell back to Tripod, which I'd diddled with from time to time. Four things in their favor. Main positive point is their support for CGI/PERL, which allowed me to repair my old book search engine after it died at the old IAC site. Not sure when I actually did that. Secondary positive point is the short pseudo-domain URL--shanenj.tripod.jp isn't too bad. The other two are just non-negative points--Tripod allows for the less-intrusive in-line ads, and they have a Japanese co.jp site (which unfortunately does not have CGI/PERL or in-line ads yet). Main negative one, and probably the reason I hesitated to switch, was concern about their stability since they were acquired and even relocated.

Technical notes? Well the main one is that I started learning JavaScript recently, which has allowed me to make a number of improvements in the site. The main one was the site-footer I'd always wanted, without having to do lots of massive cutting and pasting every time the site moves or I want to change something in the footer. The way it works is that each page within the site (except for the top page) has two brief JavaScripts, one in the header, and one at the end. The last one has three parameters, the name of the file, the name of the link above it, and a text description of that link. The first JavaScript is actually a SRC reference that links into a formfunc.js file that does the actual work. The resultant header has five links, plus a counter and an DateModified reference. (Unfortunately, the Tripod free server doesn't honor DateModified as of this date.) The counter and the email link specifically and automatically refer to that page. And I can radically change any of it by messing with one place, the formfunc.js file. Actually, I did that just a day or two ago, when I added the page-specific email links to all of the pages on the site.

Another JavaScript technical note is about the GOFJ4 page, which uses some other fairly fancy JavaScript. The page itself is another photoessay, but I didn't want to have 40 or 100 secondary pages that basically do the same thing--show a large image. Using JavaScript, I simply plug in the name of the file and it's headline, and the JavaScript prepares the image link to the thumbnail and sets it up as a link to the other page that displays the large image when the thumbnail is clicked. That page uses JavaScript to display the correct image, but it is just the same page reading a pseudo-search parameter from its own URL. I tried to use a shared memory approach, but that didn't work reliably. This one isn't perfect, but it's okay for now.

Lastly, a structural note. I finally got around to radically reorganizing the index.html page itself. Basically it was a cancerous and mostly egocentric rant, but I redid it as a kind of priority list to other sections of the Web site. This kind of heavy reorganization is well supported by HomePage Builder, the HTML editor that I'm using quite a bit these days, but I'll probably write more about that later.

As I reviewed this site I noticed a number of other obsolete comments... I need to clean this up at leisure, but I'll just say that the Monolith Project died a long time ago, and the counter page also died when I left Asahi-Net. Not sure how I'll deal with that part of it. HomePage builder does have some interesting indexing and site mapping features I haven't explored yet, but I'm actually kind of abusing the counters... I'm messing with lots of pseudo-counters these days, and I'm not sure what to do about that part of it...


29 December 1998

Started moving from Asahi-Net back to GeoCities. Mostly just annoying tinkering with the hit counters, but I really regret losing some of the fancy options of the Asahi-Net CGI, both for the pointers and for the email forms. Shikatta ga nai. So far only a few pages have moved, and the student pages were restructured to the new directory structure.

In other news, the Monolith Project collapsed, so my fancy URL for my 'portable' home page is no more. I've looked at a couple of alternative pseudo-domains, but I don't particularly like any of them, and haven't decided what to do about this... Obviously portability looks good after the recent adventures, even though Monolith was kind of flaky.

Other free home page hosts were investigated before this unmove, but none of them looked to be very good. The popup ads on Tripod are about as annoying as GeoCities. DejaNews has a link to another alternative free home page host, but it would definitely require an external pointer, which would require assessing the utility and reliability of yet another kind of service.


22 November 1998

Main new item is first part of Curriculum Vitae (cv.html), though it still won't be fully linked in yet. Various other minor things are mostly cleaning up minor errors, such as missing links to the disclaimer and copyright pages, and counters that were not properly flagged as invisible. Started some preliminary work on the library card and phone card projects, but this is going to be rough. The library cards can be handled by brute force, just because there are very few of them, but that won't work for a database of thousands of phone cards. Both the hardware and software are going to need more work. Software is an appropriate database engine, and best hardware would be a very small color scanner suitable for business cards--resolution is not critical for this project unless I actually want to do some OCR, too...


2 November 1998

The usual semi-random mutations continue. Latest was fixing the JoeD links, but I had to trace him by searching the WWW for "buttload of sig files". Not sure if'n that's the kind of distinctive quote I would want to be traced by. J Did some other mostly minor work on the friends, students, and quotphil pages, as well as updating this one.

Various other minor changes in between these two reports, but mostly forgotten. The hitcount page did finish mutating to a consolidated hit count and site map page, but the site map part of the idea needs much more work to amount to much--but that's probably the best description of the entire project. Maybe a self-organized map from a keyword index? Naw, not weird enough. How about a client-side clickable map of Disneyland? But what would Cinderella's Castle link to?


11 September 1998

Quite a lot of changes over the last few days in connection with the move to Asahi-Net. Mostly just moving the pages over to Asahi-Net's server, but also trying to remove all the references to GeoCities and changing to the much nicer counter CGI that Asahi-Net has. Most of the pages will only have invisible counters, but I also created a non-incrementing hitcount.html page that shows the various counters.

Also set up what may be a good permanent URL for my home pages with the Monolith (www.ml.org) AtHome service. They let you register bogus subdomains in their ml domain, and point them anywhere, so now shanen.home.ml.org and shanen.base.org both point to my home pages (as newly installed on Asahi-Net). If I move the home pages later on, I just change the pointer, but the URL I announce need not be affected.


22 January 1998

Converted "Hot Tuna Pizza Crepe" into a photo-essay with thumbnails and secondary page enlargements. Also added Shojiro Tanaka to the friends page.


18 January 1998

Finished and uploaded "Hot Tuna Pizza Crepe" for GOFJ. Such minor things scarcely seem worth noting, and I probably won't after this.


15 January 1998

Quite a bit of work, starting last night. New disclaimer and copyright notices. The disclaimer is mostly from stuff pulled off of various places in the entry page, while the copyright notice is new work. I'll add in the appropriate links as I work on the other pages. After that I stubbed in the quotations about liars and beggars. I also started the Glimpses of Familiar Japan page with the Akihabara piece that was just published in Algorithmica Japanica.


13 January 1998

Did the Japanese CGI form today, moving both of them to the top of the home page. Failed in making good graphic buttons, but settled for English instructions. Translating was a major hassle, even for such a small page.


9 January 1998

Warnings to all you folks who edit with Communicator's built-in web page editor: it can really mess up a lot of things really fast. I hadn't looked closely at my publications page until I was updating it, and I discovered it was full of weird font attribute markings and various other problems that almost surely got in there when I was playing with Communicator a few months ago. It also messed up a lot of my image links, but I noticed those problems and hopefully fixed all of them long ago.


2 January 1998

Added Herman Marshall and Kimura-san to the friends' page and made a number of minor changes on that page and the index page. A bit more work on the stupid page, which will start using dated entries. Interesting was explicitly linking the jumps to the autostereogram page to a new window with the specific name. However, the way the window name appears is still confusing... Also fixed the mail form to use GeoCities own CGI script. This actually required a significant bit of rewriting, since the GeoCities approach was much simpler than the way it was set up on ol' jweb. I had thought that I had pointed this back to jweb, but the approach used there would have actually made that rather difficult.


30 December 1997

Just added the text for the quote about rigged demos, which also serves to date all of the other quotes as earlier work. I'll also try to put the last few counters on the pages over the next few days, though I've been having trouble with browser crashes because of GeoCities new advertising system.

As I was doing that I discovered that some of my pages were in worse shape than I thought, with old links to GOL and links that still pointed into the subdirectories that you can't use on the free GeoCities pages. Some sound files and images were also missing. So far I've taken care of five pages, but it's already more complicated than I'd realized... There're probably a few more, too. And as the mood seized me, I did some more work (including the renaming to "Apology") on the stupid.html page.


17 December 1997

Not exactly a crucial software system for version control, but the historical notes on my home page seem to be growing and growing, so I've decided to spawn them off onto their own page. This first entry in this history file is based on the extracted historical material on my entry home page at this time (as I remove it from that page), along with what I can recall of recent changes. One of my secondary goals with such work is to slim down the main home page, trading a link for the bulk.

This was the current warning note on the page when this history page was created:

Warning!
[Danger, Will Robinson!! Danger!]
This is yet another pre-beta port of my home pages and some things don't work yet (and (as usual) many things need to be rewritten).@ The original version where all of the CGI stuff actually works is the version on jweb, an old server I used to use when I worked for IAC. After that, I had a version on GOL, where I was also working, but I never was allowed to enable the CGI stuff there. We'll see how much I can set up here, eh? I'll probably just point part of the CGI stuff back to jweb...

Around the part where the link is now, there was this long explanation of how I cribbed most of it from James Liu before he went off to bigger and better things at Sun. In the original page I copied, he apologized for not being much of marketing type, so I apologized for being even less of a marketing type than that. The idea was to excuse the blandness of the pages, but these days I think they've gotten past that stage. Now they're probably downright offensive.

Then there were acknowledgements for the strong supporting cast. For example, I got the original main page counter and the radio buttons on the request form and the internal link format from negatron (Bob Scott). Philip Gordon and Jarius Jenkins threw in a bit of debugging, too. There are some other people who should be listed in the credits, but there have been too many helpful folks.

Actually, all those IAC links are probably dying, which is kind of discouraging considering how hard I worked trying to make something lasting while I was working there. I'm pretty sure Jarius has gone over to a company called Fusion, Philip and Bob left to start Posi|net Communications where they do much of the same stuff without 'help' from IAC's less-than-intrepid managers. I even think James Liu has left Sun, though there doesn't seem to be much reason to track him down these days, even though long after he'd left Japan he was still a helpful email correspondent.

My recollection now is that the original philosophy and quotes page were written soon after I copied the base home page. Various other things were added gradually. There was a fairly active period as I was leaving IAC, which is when I did the PERL stuff for the search engine on IAC's jweb machine. That's probably about the same time as when I did the HTML resumes, which was a pretty stiff challenge to my table-making skills.

In recent developments, besides this history page, I've been adding the counters that GeoCities has offered for the free home pages. My idea is to put them on all of the pages, and then use the counter manager to periodically check things without actually having to cruise all the links.