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Daynotes Journal

Week of 6/15/98


A (mostly) daily journal of the trials, tribulations, and random observations of Robert Bruce Thompson, a writer of computer books.

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Wednesday, June 17, 1998 - in a burst of energy back in March, I'd installed Microsoft Front Page 98 and signed up with a web hosting company to host my domain. Since then, I've been under the gun to finish the last two of the five on-line MCSE training courses I've been working on since last November for DigitalThink, and to finish the final draft of Windows NT TCP/IP Network Administration for O'Reilly. I pretty much finished those two projects last week, and have spent the intervening time relaxing and catching up on miscellaneous stuff around the office that I'd been putting off. Now it's time to get serious about bringing up this web site, particularly since the new book points readers to it.

I fire up FP98 and it generates an immediate GPF when I try to load the FP Editor. That's odd. It worked fine the last time I used it. I haven't done anything to it in the meantime, so why does it generate GPF's reproducibly? Perhaps there's something messed up with the data, so I create a new web site as a test. Nope. GPF's on that one, too. Maybe some other software I've installed since then overwrote some DLL's or something, so I start checking directory dates on my main Windows NT workstation. The only significant software I installed after FP98 is IBM ViaVoice Gold, a speech recognition product that's never worked very well for me anyway. I uninstall ViaVoice, figuring that I'll probably have to reinstall FP98 anyway. Nope. With ViaVoice Gold gone, FP98 fires up and runs perfectly. Isn't that strange?

Now that I've almost finished the DigitalThink courses and the NT/TCP book for O'Reilly, I need to order some new hardware to get ready for the new projects waiting in the queue. One of the things I desperately need is at least one more UPS. I've added several computers lately, and have had the best intentions of buying a UPS for each, but never got around to it. I've always bought APC UPS's before, but my friend John Mikol bought a couple of TrippLite 420's to use on his home network and has been very happy with them. The TrippLite specs seem to be about equivalent for the competing APC models, and the TrippLite's are a little less expensive. Perhaps it's time to give TrippLite a try. I call up my favorite distributor and order a TrippLite OmniSmart 675 PNP.

Thursday, June 18, 1998 - spent most of the day doing a semi-final pass through Windows NT TCP/IP Network Administration to fix screen shots, etc. In his earlier books, Craig Hunt had used the imaginary Internet domain, his standard machine names (e.g. peanut and cashew), and the private Class B network number 172.16. In the material I wrote for the book, I used my real Internet domain,, my two Windows domains, ttg and ttgnet, and my standard machine names (e.g. kerby and thoth). I also used my real Class C network number, 204.238.30, and the private Class C network number 192.168.111. Craig had gone through and fixed all the domain and network number references for consistency. However, it turns out that is no longer an imaginary domain name. Someone in Canada registered it, so we can't use it in the book. Making sure all the domain names, machine names, and network number references are correct and consistent, and that the screen shots reflect them correctly turns out to be a non-trivial task.

Friday, June 19, 1998 - UPS shows up with the TrippLite OmniSmart 675 PnP UPS I ordered. I'd planned to swap it in to replace the APC BackUPS 600 currently under my desk, but my office is completely trashed at the moment, so I decide to just plug the new TrippLite into a receptacle in another room and let it charge completely while I get my office straightened out. As it turns out, this was a fortuitous choice. When I plug the TrippLite in and turn on the power switch per the quick start instructions, sparks fly out the back and the breaker blows. It's lucky I hadn't connected it to my network first. I call the distributor I bought it from and leave voicemail.

Saturday and Sunday, June 20/21, 1998 - spent the weekend on and off working with FP98 and fleshing out the structure of this web site. I'd built the whole site using a slick FP98 feature called Hover Buttons. They change color automatically as the cursor touches them, and have some other pretty neat features. When I finally got around to viewing the site in Netscape 4.05, however, I was horrified to find that Hover Buttons don't play nice with Netscape. Not only don't they work, they crash Netscape horribly. Netscape displays a "Starting Java" message, gets to 11% and dies. Most of the time, I could use Windows NT Task Manager to kill Netscape, but a couple of times NT locked up solid. It takes a pretty severe error to kill the NT kernel. Back to the drawing board. I replaced all the Hover Buttons with FP 98 Navigation Bars. They appear similar in a browser, but work with both IE4 and Navigator. The trouble is, they're automatically generated, and a lot less flexible than the Hover Buttons.



Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 by Robert Bruce Thompson. All Rights Reserved.