Monday, September 1, 2014

Rain Rain Rain

Nothing beats spending time with my wife and her family in a camper as it rains outside. 12 of us. Lou, Susie, mark, Karen and Megan playing cards, Jonathan and Danny and Tyler on handheld devices, Alex and Jean finding a game on television, barb and I sitting on the couch.

My imdb.com app is getting a workout.

On another note, talking with Mark R and Steve R was a highlight of this weekend. Another was going to Guardians of the Galaxy at the Elkader theater yesterday at 330 with Megan. A third highlight was not going to bed and then waking up with a terrible headache that 2 Aleve hasn't taken away.

It's not even 1 PM and I am already thinking about Vanessa's issue with Confluence. When she tries to export to PDF, there's a table that gets cut off. I think there is a way to make it work but I don't know what it is at the moment. I'm hoping to get back home fairly early so I can try to figure it out.

I'm also anxious to get home so I can see if the RoboCopy job that I left running when we left the house on Saturday morning has been completed. If it's done, I think I will be able to resume the task of consolidating the files on the MyCloud drive to some sort of structure that makes sense. I created such a mess. Each of the two times I had an external hard drive fail resulted in copying duplicates to more than one of the partitions. My goal is to reduce the number of duplicates and reduce the space being used.

It's unclear whether the plans outlined above will come to fruition.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The End of WCW and The First WWE Raw

WCW:The Last Monday Nitro (03,26,2001 Full Show): http://youtu.be/YaocHIpPLPo

The very first episode of Monday Night Raw - Janu…: http://youtu.be/iS4o4ldqPGk

Friday, August 29, 2014

News Flash! Load Still Sucks!

http://loudwire.com/philip-anselmo-metallica-load-terrible-record

Just How Did This Happen?

I'm not entirely sure I can comprehend how I now have 67437 File(s) in my MP3 folders. Just last month, I had 57391 so I've added nearly 10,000 music files between 8/15 and today? Really? I have a feeling that that number is artificially inflated by the consolidations of the MyCloud drive partitions and that the number for 9/1-9/15 will correct that. Regardless of the artificial inflation, there are 93 Days remaining until the end of the CD reconversion project. My progress continues to the extent that I will certainly be done prior to December 1, 2014. If things continue as they have been, it may be October 1, 2014, when I rip my last CD.

Uncle Rico Videos

I'm not in any of these videos.

New Wave 80s Rock Covers


Ring of Fire cover


70s Punk Rock covers


Buddy Holly Covers




Song Name -- Artist (original artist)
  1. All These Things That I've Done -- Killers
  2. Bad Case of Loving You -- Robert Palmer
  3. Basket Case -- Green Day
  4. Blister in the Sun -- Violent Femmes
  5. Blitzkreig Bop -- Ramones
  6. Brown Eyed Girl -- Van Morrison
  7. Brown Sugar -- Rolling Stones
  8. Dancing Queen -- Yayhoos (ABBA)
  9. Dancing With Myself -- Billy Idol
  10. Don't Change -- INXS
  11. Fight For Your Right -- Beastie Boys
  12. Folsom Prison Blues -- Johnny Cash
  13. Hey Jealousy -- Gin Blossoms
  14. Hot Stuff -- Cockroach (Donna Summer)
  15. I Ran -- A Flock of Seagulls
  16. I Saw Her Standing There -- Beatles
  17. I Wanna Be Sedated -- Ramones
  18. I Will Survive -- Shout (Gloria Gaynor)
  19. I'm a Believer -- Smash Mouth (Monkeys)
  20. I'm Gonna Be, 500 Miles -- Proclaimers
  21. Interstate Love Song -- Stone Temple Pilots
  22. I've Been Everywhere -- Johnny Cash
  23. Jenny / 867-5309 -- Tommy Tutone
  24. Jet Airliner -- Steve Miller
  25. Johnny B Goode -- Chuck Berry
  26. Just Like Heaven -- Cure
  27. Lola -- Kinks
  28. Lonely Boy -- Black Keys
  29. Love Her Madly -- The Doors
  30. Margaritaville -- Jimmy Buffet
  31. Melt With You -- Modern English
  32. Mony Mony -- Billy Idol
  33. Oh Boy -- Crickets (Buddy Holly)
  34. Paranoid -- Black Sabbath
  35. Pump It Up -- Elvis Costello
  36. Ring of Fire -- Social Distortion (Johnny Cash)
  37. Rock and Roll All Nite -- Kiss
  38. Rockin' in the Free World -- Neil Young
  39. Rock'n Me -- Steve Miller
  40. Santa Monica -- Everclear
  41. Should I Stay or Should I Go -- Clash
  42. Squeeze Box -- Who
  43. Still Rock and Roll to Me -- Billy Joel
  44. Sweet Caroline -- Neil Diamond
  45. Train in Vain (Stand By Me) -- Clash
  46. Two Princes -- Spin Doctors
  47. What I Like About You -- Romantics
  48. When the Sun Goes Down -- Kenny Chesney
  49. Wonderful Tonight -- Eric Clapton
  50. You May Be Right -- Billy Joel
  51. Your Mama Can't Dance -- Poison (Loggins and Messina)
    • For next rehearsal
      • It's the End of the World -- REM
      • Angie -- Rolling Stones
We have also played these songs in past gigs.
  1. A Hard Day's Night -- Beatles
  2. Accidentally In Love -- Counting Crows
  3. All Shook Up -- Elvis
  4. All the Small Things -- Blink 182
  5. An American Girl -- Tom Petty
  6. Angie -- Rolling Stones
  7. Authority Song -- John Mellencamp
  8. Break Up Song -- Greg Kihn
  9. Burning Love -- Elvis
  10. Bus Stop -- Hollies
  11. Cars -- Gary Numan
  12. Come Out and Play -- Offspring
  13. Crazy Little Thing Called Love -- Queen
  14. Crocodile Rock -- Elton John
  15. Day Tripper -- Cheap Trick (Beatles)
  16. Don't Be Cruel -- Elvis
  17. Driver 8 -- REM
  18. Fortunate Son -- Creedence Clearwater Revival
  19. Go All the Way -- Raspberries
  20. Good Girls Don't -- Knack
  21. Hello Mary Lou -- Creedence Clearwater Revival (Ricky Nelson)
  22. I Fought the Law -- Clash (Crickets)
  23. I Love Rock n Roll -- Joan Jett
  24. I Wanna Be With You -- Raspberries
  25. I Want to Hold Your Hand -- Beatles
  26. I'm Yours -- Jason Mraz
  27. It's Not My Time -- 3 Doors Down
  28. Know Your Enemy -- Green Day
  29. Kodachrome -- Paul Simon
  30. La Bamba -- Los Lobos (Ritchie Valens)
  31. Lay Down Sally -- Eric Clapton
  32. Monster Mash -- Bobby "Boris" Pickett
  33. Mrs Robinson -- Lemonheads (Simon/Garfunkel)
  34. Oh Pretty Woman -- Roy Orbison
  35. Photograph -- Ringo Starr
  36. Promises -- Eric Clapton
  37. Puppy Love -- Donny Osmond
  38. Red Solo Cup -- Toby Keith
  39. Rock and Roll Music -- Beatles (Chuck Berry)
  40. ROCK in the USA -- John Mellencamp
  41. Run Rudolph Run -- Bryan Adams (Chuck Berry)
  42. Running Down a Dream -- Tom Petty
  43. Seven Nation Army -- White Stripes
  44. Sex and Candy -- Marcy Playground
  45. Shake Your Booty -- KC & Sunshine Band
  46. Shama Lama Ding Dong -- Lloyd Williams (Animal House)
  47. Somebody to Love -- Jefferson Airplane
  48. Surrender -- Cheap Trick
  49. Suspicious Minds -- Elvis
  50. Teddy Bear -- Elvis
  51. That'll be the Day -- Buddy Holly
  52. The More I Drink -- Blake Shelton
  53. They Say Its Your Birthday -- Beatles
  54. Twist and Shout -- Beatles
  55. Upside Down -- Jack Johnson
  56. Vertigo -- U2
  57. Who Says You Can't Go Home -- Bon Jovi
  58. Wild Child -- Chris Ocasek (Crickets)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Snap! Poof! Wa-la!

From cedarrapids.craigslist.org:

4 Piece rock cover band in CR looking for pro drummer. Preferably 35-50.

Classic rock, modern rock, a little rockin' country maybe to tease the ladies and maybe some pop here and there. However, it's mainly geared around 80's 90's and today's rock.

practice on average once a week, gig approximately twice to three times a month. Probably gig more in the fall and winter, then we like to take some time off for summer and play outdoor fests/gigs then. All in our early 40's and have decades of experience. We're looking for a dedicated drummer with experience. Plus if you have backup vocals and/or venue connections, but not a must on either. We have really good vocals right now and venue connections, but more always helps.

Email me with your credentials if interested in meeting us.

Please contact us if interested in trying out. Thanks, 

Imagine....

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/08/28/john-lennon-killer-says-hes-sorry-for-being-idiot/

Windows Maintenance & Other News

I will probably forget about these two articles but am thinking if I put them here, as a blog post, I may stumble upon them in the future.

The role of System Administrator has become mine at home. When the Toshiba laptop doesn't function as expected, I try to figure it out. Often, I am merely guessing or making slightly educated guesses, based upon whatever website Google takes me to as I research the issue. From an email newsletter I subscribe to about Microsoft Windows, I skimmed the following two articles about Windows maintenance.

There's also news about the Los Angeles school district and my employer: http://www.latimes.com/local/education/la-me-lausd-ipads-20140822-story.html

Another thing that has bugging me lately is what Windows Media Player does. When I rip a CD, as part of the CD to MP3 conversion, I am often already listening to a MP3. What WMP does is automatically stop playback of the music and takes its focus to ripping the CD. This article -
http://superuser.com/questions/53703/how-do-i-stop-windows-media-player-12-auto-playing-cds - provides an easy solution of adding a registry key. Don't muck with the registry if you're uncomfortable doing so.

And speaking of the CD to MP3 conversion, I am at 



What a Coincidence!

After Karen was dropped off at work this AM, instead of listening to the recordings of the Uncle Rico gig from 8/23/14, I turned on Rock 108. Guess what song they were playing! Yes! Pantera's "Walk" that I wrote about yesterday! Rock 108 doesn't play an extensive number of Pantera songs. In fact,  "Walk" and their cover of "Planet Caravan" are the only two Pantera songs I can think of that I've heard on that station. Of course, I turned up the bass and played my air drums flawlessly as I drove.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Great Discussion

http://www.thrashunlimited.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=13918

Great thoughts about the idea of collecting music. Some bad words so beware.

Mentioned Thousands

I have been working rather feverishly on the CD to MP3 conversion. I am in what I would call the final stretch. I have, roughly, 500 more CDs to go. I have also been consolidating the music and other files on the MyCloud drive. Bluntly, I created a mess and have so many duplicates that it is a terrible and time consuming mess. As I write this, I have 4 DOS windows open on the Toshiba laptop running RoboCopy from 4 different partitions on the MyCloud to an external hard drive. In the meantime, I have already copied some of the files from those directories into my 'master' music folder and the result is that when I ran my DOS batch file a little while ago, I had 93199 File(s). Here's a screen captures from Windows Media Player showing I have 9 copies of "Kryptonite":


Lucky for me, I have a freeware called Search My Files and I can look for all files with (2) in the file name and delete them. It's not a big deal to also look for all files with @ in the file name and delete them. Yet, it's also kind of fun to say "I have 93,199 files in my music collection."

Easily Selfish

The first measure of Pantera's "Walk" does it to me every time. I feel chills up and down my spine. It is in my personal Top 25 songs. For me, with 1000s of MP3s on my hard drive, that's prestigious as far as I'm concerned. Anyways, that song is the epitome of heavy metal. Yes, I know Pantera started out as a glam band and I've seen the photos of them decked out in outfits that make them easily confused with the band Poison. But, by the time "Walk" came into my ears the first time, it was something that filled a hole in me that I didn't know was even there. Nearly a decade ago, Pantera's guitarist, Dimebag, was shot on stage. Within the last, oh, couple of years, there's been these swirling rumors that "Pantera" would get back together and that it would be former Ozzy guitarist Zakk Wylde playing guitar with vocalist Phil Anselmo, bassist Rex Brown, and drummer Vinnie Paul. It seems every couple of weeks, this rumor comes up and, without any shred of doubt, each time, Dimebag's brother Vinnie Paul slams the rumor down. Just today, on Loudwire, there's another interview with Vinnie Paul and yet another slamming of this rumor. I don't think I really understood Vinnie Paul's feelings until he laid it out the way he did in this interview. He asked if Eddie Van Halen was shot, would the fans be asking Zakk Wylde to fill in on guitar and to call it Van Halen?

When I read that, I felt Vinnie Paul's pain that I imagine he feels each time he is asked about this idea. It was not just the chance of a Pantera reunion that was destroyed when Dimebag was shot. That's the easy thing to think about. This was Vinnie Paul's brother who was shot in front of him on a stage, playing music together.

In the interview, Vinnie Paul calls the fans "selfish" for not letting this idea die. And, okay, until today, when I read the interview and read how clearly the idea of Zakk Wylde replacing Dimebag is ludicrous in Vinnie Paul's mind, I would label myself selfish. I wanted to hear the magic of "Walk" being played again by Vinnie Paul and Rex Brown and sung by Phil Anselmo. I wanted to hear that not because I don't respect the tragedy of losing a brother.

I wanted to hear that because "Walk" releases an emotional burden when I listen to the song. Like I said, it's in my personal Top 25. If being selfish is liking a song so much that I thought about my adoration of Pantera's accomplishment with that song - that it could help me through sadness and rile me up when I have felt lackadaisical, then yes, easily, I am a selfish son of a bitch.



Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Image Issue

An American is beheaded (though there are now rumblings that the video was a fake?) and minutes later, the POTUS is on the golf course and that, per Erick Erickson, is playing the game badly.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Bittersweet

In a single word, the gig on Saturday night was "bittersweet" in the sense that there were positives and negatives.

On the positive side, I am estimating that I played at a 95% "grade" as far as hitting spots that we worked on in rehearsal. I call that tremendously awesome. I felt positive about how I played Alex's drums. As I begin to listen to the 3 files I created on my phone (one for each set), that impression is being reinforced.

On the negative side, I am saddened to report that Uncle Rico the Band is not going to be a band anymore. Why is the band not going to be a band? There's a variety of factors but probably the two biggest are time and there just isn't enough of it in a day to balance family, the band, and work.

When I think about my time over my tenure with the band, it's easy to look at numbers. What I've been thinking about is I spent 60 hours (including transportation from North Liberty to rehearsal in Cedar Rapids and then back home) with Uncle Rico. That doesn't count the hours I made my family listen to our setlist on my MP3 player whenever we were traveling somewhere in the Ford. It also doesn't count the hours I spent practicing the songs in the den on Alex's Yamaha electronic set. So, given 60 hours, the payout of those hours is a 3 hour gig and the $100 I got paid.

I'm not complaining about the time I invested. This was only my third band since high school - Old Stew and Lou's Classic Ride being the other two - and I think playing with Gary made me a much more precise drummer than the other two. With the other two, if I changed up my pattern or changed up a drum fill, it wasn't usually noticed. With Gary, though, it was noticed. Gary is a very precise guitarist and keys in on certain parts that are played by others. It wasn't an easy concept to dial in to my mentality.

Maybe something will change in the future and, if it does, I will be happy to play with Scott, Gary, and Greg. I updated the Uncle Rico page with some pictures. When I get the videos Alex took on his iPod, I'll add those as well.

I'm not in any of these videos.

New Wave 80s Rock Covers


Ring of Fire cover


70s Punk Rock covers


Buddy Holly Covers


Song Name -- Artist (original artist)

  1. All These Things That I've Done -- Killers
  2. Bad Case of Loving You -- Robert Palmer
  3. Basket Case -- Green Day
  4. Blister in the Sun -- Violent Femmes
  5. Blitzkreig Bop -- Ramones
  6. Brown Eyed Girl -- Van Morrison
  7. Brown Sugar -- Rolling Stones
  8. Dancing Queen -- Yayhoos (ABBA)
  9. Dancing With Myself -- Billy Idol
  10. Don't Change -- INXS
  11. Fight For Your Right -- Beastie Boys
  12. Folsom Prison Blues -- Johnny Cash
  13. Hey Jealousy -- Gin Blossoms
  14. Hot Stuff -- Cockroach (Donna Summer)
  15. I Ran -- A Flock of Seagulls
  16. I Saw Her Standing There -- Beatles
  17. I Wanna Be Sedated -- Ramones
  18. I Will Survive -- Shout (Gloria Gaynor)
  19. I'm a Believer -- Smash Mouth (Monkeys)
  20. I'm Gonna Be, 500 Miles -- Proclaimers
  21. Interstate Love Song -- Stone Temple Pilots
  22. I've Been Everywhere -- Johnny Cash
  23. Jenny / 867-5309 -- Tommy Tutone
  24. Jet Airliner -- Steve Miller
  25. Johnny B Goode -- Chuck Berry
  26. Just Like Heaven -- Cure
  27. Lola -- Kinks
  28. Lonely Boy -- Black Keys
  29. Love Her Madly -- The Doors
  30. Margaritaville -- Jimmy Buffet
  31. Melt With You -- Modern English
  32. Mony Mony -- Billy Idol
  33. Oh Boy -- Crickets (Buddy Holly)
  34. Paranoid -- Black Sabbath
  35. Pump It Up -- Elvis Costello
  36. Ring of Fire -- Social Distortion (Johnny Cash)
  37. Rock and Roll All Nite -- Kiss
  38. Rockin' in the Free World -- Neil Young
  39. Rock'n Me -- Steve Miller
  40. Santa Monica -- Everclear
  41. Should I Stay or Should I Go -- Clash
  42. Squeeze Box -- Who
  43. Still Rock and Roll to Me -- Billy Joel
  44. Sweet Caroline -- Neil Diamond
  45. Train in Vain (Stand By Me) -- Clash
  46. Two Princes -- Spin Doctors
  47. What I Like About You -- Romantics
  48. When the Sun Goes Down -- Kenny Chesney
  49. Wonderful Tonight -- Eric Clapton
  50. You May Be Right -- Billy Joel
  51. Your Mama Can't Dance -- Poison (Loggins and Messina)
    • For next rehearsal
      • It's the End of the World -- REM
      • Angie -- Rolling Stones
We have also played these songs in past gigs.
  1. A Hard Day's Night -- Beatles
  2. Accidentally In Love -- Counting Crows
  3. All Shook Up -- Elvis
  4. All the Small Things -- Blink 182
  5. An American Girl -- Tom Petty
  6. Angie -- Rolling Stones
  7. Authority Song -- John Mellencamp
  8. Break Up Song -- Greg Kihn
  9. Burning Love -- Elvis
  10. Bus Stop -- Hollies
  11. Cars -- Gary Numan
  12. Come Out and Play -- Offspring
  13. Crazy Little Thing Called Love -- Queen
  14. Crocodile Rock -- Elton John
  15. Day Tripper -- Cheap Trick (Beatles)
  16. Don't Be Cruel -- Elvis
  17. Driver 8 -- REM
  18. Fortunate Son -- Creedence Clearwater Revival
  19. Go All the Way -- Raspberries
  20. Good Girls Don't -- Knack
  21. Hello Mary Lou -- Creedence Clearwater Revival (Ricky Nelson)
  22. I Fought the Law -- Clash (Crickets)
  23. I Love Rock n Roll -- Joan Jett
  24. I Wanna Be With You -- Raspberries
  25. I Want to Hold Your Hand -- Beatles
  26. I'm Yours -- Jason Mraz
  27. It's Not My Time -- 3 Doors Down
  28. Know Your Enemy -- Green Day
  29. Kodachrome -- Paul Simon
  30. La Bamba -- Los Lobos (Ritchie Valens)
  31. Lay Down Sally -- Eric Clapton
  32. Monster Mash -- Bobby "Boris" Pickett
  33. Mrs Robinson -- Lemonheads (Simon/Garfunkel)
  34. Oh Pretty Woman -- Roy Orbison
  35. Photograph -- Ringo Starr
  36. Promises -- Eric Clapton
  37. Puppy Love -- Donny Osmond
  38. Red Solo Cup -- Toby Keith
  39. Rock and Roll Music -- Beatles (Chuck Berry)
  40. ROCK in the USA -- John Mellencamp
  41. Run Rudolph Run -- Bryan Adams (Chuck Berry)
  42. Running Down a Dream -- Tom Petty
  43. Seven Nation Army -- White Stripes
  44. Sex and Candy -- Marcy Playground
  45. Shake Your Booty -- KC & Sunshine Band
  46. Shama Lama Ding Dong -- Lloyd Williams (Animal House)
  47. Somebody to Love -- Jefferson Airplane
  48. Surrender -- Cheap Trick
  49. Suspicious Minds -- Elvis
  50. Teddy Bear -- Elvis
  51. That'll be the Day -- Buddy Holly
  52. The More I Drink -- Blake Shelton
  53. They Say Its Your Birthday -- Beatles
  54. Twist and Shout -- Beatles
  55. Upside Down -- Jack Johnson
  56. Vertigo -- U2
  57. Who Says You Can't Go Home -- Bon Jovi
  58. Wild Child -- Chris Ocasek (Crickets)

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Friday, August 22, 2014

Under a Rock

I think I have been under a rock. I don't think I have ever listened to the Replacements until yesterday. My initiation began with "Cant Hardly Wait." Here's a link to a cover. The quality of the video has something to be desired, but the tune is an awesome gem. Here's the link: http://youtu.be/33k1uLsGAIg

Here's a link to the band playing at a concert: http://youtu.be/O24c02t5Hv8

Mock and Change




How Deep Do You Go

How deep do you go when you are using expand / collapse functionality on a help page is a recent discussion topic at work. If you are using expand / collapse functionality in your help system, and you expand a section, would you put an expandable section within that section so, essentially, you would be able to drill down 3 levels?

We didn’t put the 3rd level on a separate page because we didn’t want to make the user click a link and go to another page and lose the context of what they were reading about, but now the question becomes, “Is that a justification for going 3 levels deep within the same page?”

Here's a screen capture (without proprietary information) to better understand the specifics of the page our team is working on.


Rollins on Williams

Henry Rollins - and I know I am not as familiar with his work as I perhaps should be - wrote about Robin Williams' suicide in this article and I think reading it is a good thing.

Meanwhile, trying to navigate through a lot of work and life stuff.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Too Busy

Work has been absolutely amazing and devastatingly busy in a twisted slam dance with Metallica's "Master of Puppets" in the background as I sit and watch the chaos.

Except that I don't have time to enjoy the chaos. Release 8.0 goes out tomorrow. There are pending changes to the documentation for it.

I keep a journal in a spiral notebook and it's not been written in this week.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Final Preps

Uncle Rico had our final rehearsal prior to Saturday's gig. It was a good rehearsal, but certainly not the best I've ever played. For a stretch of five or so songs, I couldn't nail the tempo. I was either too fast or too slow. We navigated through set 3 as well as some other songs that Greg and I wanted to run through - Greg chose the two Steve Miller songs ("Jet Airliner" and "Rockin' Me") while I wanted to nail the tempo for both "Margaritaville" and "When the Sun Goes Down." We also went through "Royals" since it is a recently added tune.

After rehearsal, I loaded Alex's electronic drums into the van and then helped Greg by carrying some of his equipment out of Gary's house so Greg could load his car. The ride home from Cedar Rapids to North Liberty was uneventful as I scrutinized the recording of our rehearsal that I had created with my cell phone.

The band members are meeting around 5 PM on Saturday to get set up for our 7 PM start time. I am already anxious and excited.

Lucky to Be Alive

Motley Crue vocalist Vince Neil recently reflected upon the band's history of living a very different lifestyle than I have, or ever, lived. When he says "we could have died many times from many different things," I'm glad to know he realizes how precious life is.

Farewell to a Legend

Per this article, Smulekoff’s, a fixture of downtown Cedar Rapids, is closing.

I wasn't a frequent shopper at the store, but I recognize it as a fixture. Why this story is relevant to me, then, is because I have a friend of mine named Gary. He graduated from Mount Mercy College with me in 1992 and, shortly after graduation, began working at Smulekoff's. He has worked there ever since. When my dad and I went there to get furniture for my mom's room in the nursing home, I remember asking specifically for Gary to deliver the furniture because I knew that he would be good at his job. It was a real comfort to me to know that I didn't have to worry about anything related to her furniture being delivered.

Now Gary has to find a new job after putting in 20+ years of service. I hope his job search is already over because of a contact he made through all the deliveries he made.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Fields in Word Documents

I sent a draft of a user guide to a co-worker today. In part, this is part of his reply to my email:

I want to mention that I think it is cool to see that you are using fields in your documents. I proposed doing this in our manuals a few years ago. My proposal was not accepted, so we are still doing it long-hand. I think fields are under utilized.


I couldn't resist ranting about fields in Microsoft Word so I replied with the following:

I have two brief stories related to using fields.

From 1998 - 2010, I worked at a company. My co-worker, Brian, was writing documentation before I arrived. The plan was for that portion of his job was to come to me. So, one day, we were looking at one of his Word documents. I think I suggested making a text change to one of the sections. He protested that it would be a lot of work to do that. When I asked for his reasoning, he took me through his process for writing the documentation and for creating the TOC. This was his process:
  1. manually type the TOC entries, including the .... to the page number.
  2. manually create a bookmark for each heading style in the document (except he didn't use heading style - he used Normal and manually formatted each heading to match what he wanted it to look like)
  3. manually type the page number
  4. manually create a hyperlink from the page number in the TOC to the bookmark in the body of the document (and make the hyperlink blue & bold by manually applying that formatting to the page number).
  5. manually create a section break so that each section had different text in the header.

I was completely dumbfounded. I already had created documentation in Word at a previous company with an auto-generated TOC so I changed his manually formatted Normal "headings" to Heading 1, 2, and 3, inserted a field instead of what he had manually typed. I think he made me do this in a copy of his document because he didn't trust what I was doing, but that detail is a little fuzzy. What is not fuzzy is the look of shock and disbelief that still makes me chuckle. He nearly fell out of his chair when I had him Ctrl+A, F9, and he saw how what I had done automatically would update the TOC.

At a different company, the documentation was written in InDesign. My co-worker manually typed the TOC, same way as Brian at the other company, including the ... between the text and the page number. For the 200+ page user guide she was working on, she would then print the entire user guide so she could manually verify that the page number in the TOC matched the page number in the body. If she found a discrepancy, she reprinted the user guide. She told me a story about how she had to be up past midnight so that she could verify the TOC was correct by 9 AM. Their process was to send a PDF of the user guide to a print vendor, who then printed a set number of hard copies, and if the TOC was incorrect and 10 copies had been printed, it was an expensive mistake.

When I heard her story of woe, I had no idea how to set up a TOC in InDesign as I had never used that tool before I started there. By the end of the day, I had figured how to set up Heading styles as well as how to create an equivalent of a field in Word. The next day, when I showed her how easy it would be to use this, she rejected my suggestion. Her comment was that it looked "too complicated" to implement. To my knowledge, they are still manually typing a TOC instead of using what took me a day to figure out. Part of me wants to know, the other is okay with ignorance to how much time my "too complicated" technique would have saved her over the years.

Thus, if you have a way to make your life easier, I say go for it. It's easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask permission.

Unrest in Ferguson

It would be irresponsible for me to not include a link to a story about the unrest in Ferguson, MO, which is described as a St. Louis suburb, after the shooting of Michael Brown, an 18 year old kid, but I also suspect that, as more details emerge, there will be a lot more information that needs to be edited for clarity and accuracy.

We Don't Have Thugs

I was wondering when the recent outbreak of college kids being college kids would end. I don't care if you are a Big Ten basketball player, a sorority girl, or any other kind of student, college kids make mistakes. That's all there is to it and Coach Fran says it the right way. Do I really need to list all of my mistakes that I made in college? I didn't think so.

Monday, August 18, 2014

What? It's For Charity

http://fansided.com/2014/08/18/dean-ambrose-helps-seth-rollins-als-ice-bucket-challenge-wwe-raw-gif/#!bFXTgJ

Gigging

In case it's been lost in the jungle of all the other posts that have been made on this blog, Uncle Rico the Band is playing at a poolside party at the Elk's Club in Iowa City on Saturday night. I am so excited to be playing! We rehearsed twice last week (Monday and Wednesday) and rehearse for a final time tomorrow night. We will have gone through all three of our sets twice after tomorrow night's rehearsal. Randy, who is our Gary's (guitar/vocals) brother, has been running our sound through the PA to get things ready for Saturday. I have been especially happy with the way Alex's Yamaha electronic drums have sounded coming through the PA. The PA speakers are set up in what I would call a living room while the four of us play our instruments in what I would call a bedroom. Previously, I would use my cell phone to record our rehearsals with my cell phone in the same room as our instruments. However, at Wednesday night's rehearsal, I put my phone in the living room with the PA speakers. I like what I hear when I listen to the recording.

These are the songs we are playing.


Set 1
Ring of Fire
57
Open HH
84
I've Been Everywhere
58
Jet
106
Oh Boy
58
Jet
96
Squeeze Box
53
Tamb & Click
68
Jet Airliner
58
Jet
61
Margaritaville
53
Tamb & Click
66
When the Sun Goes Down
53
Tamb & Click
53
Stand By Me
58
Jet
60
500 Miles
58
Jet
65
It's the End of the World
58
Jet
104
Just Like Heaven
4
Rock Kit
77
I Melt With You
4
Rock Kit
77
I Saw Her Standing There
57
Open HH
80
Love Her Madly
1
Oak Custom
74
I Will Survive
57
Open HH
60
Rock'n Me
58
Jet
62
Royals
57
Open HH
42
Set 2

You May Be Right
58
Jet
75
Blister in the Sun
58
Jet
87
What I Like About You
57
Open HH
80
Jenny / 867-5309
58
Jet
70
Brown Eyed Girl
53
Tamb & Click
73
Escape
58
Jet
88
Dancing Queen
58
Jet
54
I Ran
58
Jet
73
Wonderful Tonight
58
Jet
24
Folsom Prison Blues
58
Jet
104
Hot Stuff
57
Open HH
77
Bad Case of Loving You
58
Jet
74
Johnny B Goode
58
Jet
80
Sweet Caroline
58
Jet
65
Set 3

Hey Jealousy
58
Jet
77
Blitzkreig Bop
57
Open HH
89
I Wanna Be Sedated
57
Open HH
81
Should I Stay or Should I Go
53
Tamb & Click
56
Basket Case
58
Jet
88
Fight For Your Right
57
Open HH
67
Sweet Child O Mine
58
Jet
42
Paranoid
57
Open HH
87
Rock and Roll All Nite
57
Open HH
72
Rockin' in the Free World
57
Open HH
73
Brown Sugar
58
Jet
66
Your Mama Can't Dance
57
Open HH
76
Pump It Up
57
Open HH
69
Lola
57
Open HH
83
Oh Boy
58
Jet
96