UPS, Progress, Ooops

So I splurged on a new UPS Saturday, an APC Back-UPS RS 1500—hopefully it’ll work, it’s been charging so-far, and hopefully the controller software works under Ubuntu. I have an UPS already, but it’s underpowered for my system. So when the guy next door turns on his (fire-code violating) microwave, it fluxuates the power just enough to kick in the battery, which promptly trips it’s circuit breaker (effectively toggling the power to my machine). Bigger, badder UPS it is.

I’ve also updated my blog template in honor of WordPress 2.0. The template uses JavaScript menus and tables-for-layout, but I don’t really care about niceties in web design anymore. If everyone used a recent copy of Firefox or Safari, I would ditch tables in favor of doing all the layout in CSS and JavaScript, leaving a clean, pressed, cell-phone friendly blog in it’s place, but a full third of the people viewing this site (including most employers, sadly enough) use IE, so the more I do in CSS and JavaScript, the more “work, damn you” moments I create for myself.

IE, BTW, is the devil. Not a minion, not a henchfiend, the full-on devil himself. I’m going to tweak the template to show a link to if you aren’t using a Mozilla browser.

On the work front, I figured out how to do a incremental progress-bar using JavaScript and PHP, so a ten-minute validation of 30,000 records in a MySQL database doesn’t look like it’s crashed your browser or hung. The way, BTW, is to write two classes, a JavaScript one which actually handles adding the images to the window and updates them, etc. and a PHP class to handle calculating what to do, and then writes out JavaScript to update the progress-bar image (ugliest part was actually getting PHP to flush it’s buffers).

It works well, in spite of it’s status as a sick hack. The validation results are stored in another table in the database, so the items lists and editing pages can display a “this record has issues” icon. Yes, yes, the solution is to properly validate input, blah-blah-blah. If I was rewriting the system, that’s what I’d do, but the software didn’t for a long time (and still doesn’t, in a gradually dwindling set of cases), and many of our customers have loads of data they’re dragging in from a variety of proprietary Access nightmares. So providing a “here’s a list of things to fix” page when getting a new customer going with the system is really useful—as is marking all the broken items as such whenever they appear in the system.

Oh, and I missed the release of FUSA 2.13.4 (in time to get in with the GNOME 2.13.4 release) by a half-hour. I’ll choose to blame biology—in that the woman who lives across the hall wrangled me into giving her a ride to the bus station about an hour before the release was due. Yeah, I’m a sucker like that.

And now it’s off to my 4 hours of sleep, hoping that I can wake myself early enough to get into the office and find out what’s wrong with the CVS server. Sigh….

4 thoughts on “UPS, Progress, Ooops

  1. You might try IE7, a combination Javascript and CSS hack which fixes a large number of the deficiencies with Internet Explorer, without requiring you to change your site to cater to it. This includes advanced CSS selectors like attribute matching and before/after (mark all external links with: a[href^=”http://”]:before { content: url(/external.png) }), hover on arbitrary attributes (implement a menu in pure CSS), the CSS “opacity” property, PNG transparency, background-attachment: fixed, form submission, and various bugfixes.

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