September 2005


Joy used to work in a real estate office before Charis arrived, so this flash game caught my eye when it was posted on Download Squad as a “real estate game”. That sounded kind of unusual for a flash game, so I tried it out. I know, I know, something is definitely wrong with me when I think to myself, “that sounds like a boring game,” and then I try it out anyway, but that’s okay because it turns out this game is actually pretty fun. The idea, as you might be able to guess, is to buy low and sell high and you win the game by earning enough money to buy a “mansion”. It reminds me of whack-a-mole, but with a little bit of strategy. It’s not complicated and it doesn’t take that long to play, so I found it to be a nice quick diversion.

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I know I usually save up all of my random links for my weekly del.icio.us posts, but this one is just too cool. It’s a flash program that displays over 80,000 English words, in order from most used to least used. The way it dynamically scrolls through the list reminds me a lot of the Baby Name Wizard I wrote about previously.

I had a lot of fun typing in random words to see where they fell in the scale. After I had played around with it for a little bit using common words, I started trying to think of the most obscure word I knew to see how close to the bottom of the scale I could get. After trying lots of unusual words (but without using a dictionary, trying only words that I actually knew), the best word I could come up with that might actually be used in a normal conversation was “attestation”, which ranked 73,132. As far as technical or scientific words go, the best I could do was “zooxanthellae” (a type of algae that lives inside corals), which ranked 83,108.

I’m joining the ten zillion other people that have written posts regarding Ruby on Rails and AJAX. I’ve been pulled in by the hype and I’m starting a new project to see what all the fuss is about.

At work we frequently use treeview controls in our desktop application to present data and collect input. We plan to eventually create a web based version, and this will be an experimental step in that direction. My goal is to create the HTML equivalent of a treeview control that uses AJAX to dynamically update itself as the user clicks things off. Perhaps that’s a little more complicated than a simple hello world program, but I definitely think I can get it worked out.

I’m also going to use the new MySQL 5 release candidate for the database side of things. We currently use MS SQL Server at work, but we’ve been wating for MySQL 5 to be released since the addition of stored procedures and views makes it a viable alternative for us.

We haven’t decided what web platform we want to use yet, so this will be a chance to try out RoR and see how things go. Our desktop app is currently written in .Net, so RoR would be a big switch, but it makes sense to get a feel for all of the options before deciding which path to take.

I’m starting to think I should have paid more attention in English class. Not only do I have to learn Greek, but it turns out I have to relearn parts of English, too.

When declining nouns, one of the things you have to determine is the case. There are apparently five cases in the Greek: nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, and vocative. From what I’ve found online, there are similar cases in the English language, but I don’t remember ever learning them. I don’t know if that’s because I simply forget, or if they don’t cover that sort of thing in school anymore.

The mouse, that is. I checked the traps after I got home from work this evening and the mouse had been caught by one of the snap traps. I had placed the “live catch” trap first in line according to where we’ve seen him running along the wall, but unfortunately for him, he passed it up and checked out one of the new snap traps I purchased over the weekend. They are apparently quite a bit more sensitive than the traps I was using before. Well, that or the mouse got heavier from all of the peanut butter he kept eating off the old traps.

I was a little bit sad because I was really hoping to get him in a “live catch” trap. I don’t like the fact that he had to die, but I can’t have a mouse running around, especially with Charis. She’ll be mobile in a month or two and I don’t want to have to worry about mice or other critters.

So, the mouse is gone, but at least now I have one more thing to add to my “stuff a homeowner has to do that you don’t think about before you buy a house” list. I think I’m going to leave the other traps up for a day or two, just to be sure there aren’t any other furry friends hanging around, but hopefully this adventure has come to an end.

Click “more” to see a list of all of the interesting web sites I found this week. I keep track of my favorite sites using del.icio.us, a free web site where you can access your favorite links from any computer and share them with friends. You can also see all of my favorite links (not just the ones from this week).

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My sister is getting married in three weeks (October 15). It’s hard to believe the wedding is so close, but it is almost here. Quite a few of my relatives will be coming in from California and it will be the first time they all get to see Charis, so that will be neat.

Anyway, Joy and I went to my parents’ house this evening to help prepare programs for the wedding. We had to fold them, place the inner page inside the cover page, then tie a ribbon around each one. The folding wasn’t so bad, but the ribbons were quite a chore. My sister wanted to attach the ribbons on the back of the programs with little sticky things so that the ribbons stayed in place. The adhesive she picked was “Zots”, and honestly they were horrible. They are these tiny little sticky dots that come on a roll of something kind of like wax paper. The kicker is that they are placed on the roll with two dots side by side, maybe half an inch apart. So when you want to use just one dot, you have to fold the wax paper over on itself diagonally so that only one dot is exposed to stick to whatever you are adding adhesive to. Not to mention that the dots are transparent so you can barely see them on the wax paper, and you can’t see them at all once you turn the paper over to transfer the dot off the wax paper.

While sticking hundreds of programs with Zots, I commented that they weren’t exactly the best thought out design in the world. When asked what I thought might be a better choice, my suggestion of duct tape was flatly refused as an option, as was super glue. Some people just don’t know the right tool for the job.

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