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The Raven


[02/27/2013 22:41 pst]

Well, we certainly anticipated being live before now, but such is WD. We shall accept.

The old site is still up and running (why?) and will remain for a while. Our patience in developing and deploying this new mess is completely exhausted. The belief that the process would be difficult certainly became real over these many months. Of course, the plan was to begin dropping QR codes all over the place at precisely midnight on the first day of this year. That did not work out thanks to many delays and issues. Nevertheless, here we are. And... there we are, just below:

qr code

We must roll with the web. We must progress with the progress. We must turn with the tech. We must... oh, you get it.

There are many changes with this new format. First, the master pages have allowed us to update the main links, menus, and site information more easily, and second, new sections have popped up which display writings and photography from the past. Other improvements are quicker navigation thanks to ASP menus, faster load times thanks to the .NET framework, and the ability to entertain comments and even link to Facebook for discussion of topics posted here. That last one was given a trial on the old site (as well as the two previous sites which seem to date back to the stone age) but it never worked smoothly. We have included the disqus interface below and the Facebook hookup will appear shortly. Comments are important, and in 2013 locating blogs, commentary, or journals without comments is becoming difficult. Considering what the web has become since our first attempt in 1996, we felt that to include this interactive step was crucial to web survival.

One thing that will not change is the occasional gray-italic chatter which appears below some (most) time-stamped updates shown here on the index. The HMFIC wants it that way, so as long as he is holding the pink slip, we go.

Other than the key changes outlined above, visitors will notice the founder's image displayed to the left, both artistically and less so. He has been the force behind the entire presence, so we tossed him some space. The staff loves it (not).

Back in the year, our original intent was to create a discussion forum for all subjects. The idea was a good one and and that moment stemmed from the man in charge spending time as a staff member for a well-known internet forum. We discussed the possibility of creating something similar but the motion was never realized.. We sought to open communication (just as many sites have since) and provide a single sounding-board type of forum enabling folks to scream. Between moderate ads and connection to local media, we felt the word would spread enough to eventually garner national attention. From that point the rest is easy... simple steps... dedicated server, more than one, more moderation, more admin, new building. Yeah. That was back in the year. Now, however, we are sitting quietly in front of 78 inches of displays and typing incessantly. Quiet. You know how it is.

Who knows... perhaps that little discussion forum sitting in the background will eventually come to light and turn into something. We would love to see some responsiveness and relaxation on the web beyond the typical day-to-day bitching about whatever may be the current key words. Yes, we know what you're thinking. We have commanded the bitching and even stretched the limits of bitchiness both here and on Facebook. All of us. The bitching is unstoppable most of the time. We all have lousy days and such things happen which summon the questionable wording and photos that subsequently spring forth. No big deal, really.

Funny, we should point out the desire for such an expansive and complex discussion board one day after a humiliating search for a simplistic issue caused by none other than yours truly. Upon first deploying, any images from one particular folder were not displaying in the production environment. In development everything was fine. So, we went on a search for the issue... folder permissions, URL issues, syntax issues, you name it. Six hours later and many cups of coffee and with hair standing on end, the issue was located. One little '.htaccess' file left over from years ago was not allowing any user (not even us) into the folder. Delete, reload, five seconds, all is well. Wow... how long have we been at this? Ugh to the nth.

Anyway, today marks a small upward step. Small, but it is something. At least we're on the air, and as for the forum, well, that is a 'wait and see'.

We rollin'.

[08/07/2013 23:04 pdt]


That is today's word (likely tomorrow's as well). We sit and wait just like the days of old. Back then, we waited for something unrealized. More recently, however, there is a goal. A place, but not a time. Hopefully a place worthy of us.

Evenings are nice. Days are ok. Nights are ok. Plenty of time in front of this editor, just like years ago. Despite all of the time spent staring at the screen, the flow is mud. The negative space in which we have languished for years always seemed to help to provide many words and they hit the screen quickly and daily. Often more than once per day. No one was reading back then , but the catharsis was a good thing. We sat and typed, typed and sat. Typed and dreamed, dreamed and drank. Though the dreams' subjects have changed mildly, the stuation is largely unchanged. We are treading water yet again. I don't know how this happens to us, but here we are.

One event which may help to shape the flow here is our founder's recent career change. He has switched channels (halfway 'cross the dial, really) as of the first of August and the new path is both frightening and exciting. There will be travel at times which brings interest and focus. Of course, as with any type of time spent away from home, the editor cannot follow. As much as we can support from here, he will be forced to write from afar and that means having the necessary electronic resources to get the content either to us or directly to the production environment. Efforts to this end are already under way.

The more elaborate sections of this content are unfinished as of this writing. Upon deployment a few months ago, we calculated that those areas would not take long to complete and they did not constitute the bulk of the information here. So, they still sit. We are configuring the backend a little at a time but all of the scripting for the galleries is a pain in our collective ass. We will get there. Not only will the present galleries improve, but more are in the works. Also, the Laserdisc and Autosound areas still await updating. The old site was complete before going dark and migrating the extensive content into .ASP form can be time consuming - despite the ease of master pages.

The Clodmaster has seen much design work during the last several months though none is displayed yet. The main control system is all but finished and recent testing has supported the design. This is good. Despite all of the components and boards added to the system, everything seems to work well together and aside from tremendous power consumption should prove reliable.


"As the days roll by, I can feel the weight upon my shoulders. The weight is pressing me, molding me, shoving me into a hole, leaving me to sit and ponder -- misshapen and uncomfortable -- the near past. I do not like this at all. Of course, there is no choice.

Choices have been deleted and the recycle bin emptied. That may sound humorous. Relating feelings to computer operations is fairly common these days so I thought I might toss that in. Unfortunately, none of this is funny to me. Depressing and sad is more like it. I will say that I have been reminded of a joke section from Reader's Digest entitled 'Laughter, the Best Medicine'. I suppose my mind wanders toward attempts at humor when things are aslant. That effort is for naught, however. As often as I have attempted to lighten things while down, nothing has ever helped. Sure, ten seconds here and there perhaps, but just a moment later and I am fallen. I sit there now. All the way in and mired.





In the near future I have differing responsibilities and that fact brings interest. The interest lies within the idea of a changing atmosphere and random locales within said atmosphere. I will be able to focus upon keeping organized and prepared and those two have always been strengths. I look forward to the change. I expect no differences within me, though. Granite. Granite remains unchanging, unmovable, uncaring. Granite just sits and awaits the water. I sit and await... something. Wait. Wait. Wait. I'm sick of it. Tired of the waiting and wondering. I don't want to have to flip a switch. No on will enjoy that at all.

If the switch becomes necessary, however, shit will change. Period."

[08/15/2013 08:58 pdt]

As of this writing, the entire LaserDisc Legacy section of the site is live. After agonizing for months over formatting and indexing, everything is in place and in the production environment. We are particularly proud of the Mint Marks section which was a bitch to get formatted. Thanks go to the entire site staff for getting this in order.

With both the auto sound and laserdisc sections of the site complete, we can return our attention to further expansion and even the streamlining of the legacy pages. Those have languished for too long. Also we will be expanding all of the projects and furthering discussion on the Clodmaster. One new item that will soon be introduced is a scroller full of images. We have yet to decide the content or purpose of such an addition, but regardless it will be here.

- The ages-old battle -

"A very nice older couple came to the door this mid morning and dropped off a small booklet about God. The gentleman stated that I may have questions about Him and the booklet can begin to help with understanding. Yes, I do have questions, but they are not directed at any supreme being -- they are directed at myself and always have been. I do not push off or otherwise try to deflect responsibilities on any other soul (or larger noun) because I am the type that knows precisely how and why I became what I am. No one else is at fault for anything. Sure, people have pissed me off and I have thrown several souls into the dumpster, but that is another matter. As for everything else, the lot of it is me. Even if Jesus himself came down fresh off the cross to tell me otherwise, I would request that He stifle it.

Ok, enough of that for now.

The last few days have seen significant progress on organizing and cleaning the house, plus much contemplation on the electronic systems of the little truck. Last night I successfully interfaced the steering motor controller with the transmitter and motor for the first time without anything smoking (except me). This may have been a step forward, but the experiment has raised an issue -- as designed, this controller will not move the motor as needed. I need to work with the feedback and scaling until the motor behaves as a servo. This means positioning control and not speed control. I may end up using a high-accuracy pot on the end of the steering lead screw in order to provide a reference for the controller. If the motor does not stop when needed, parts are going to suffer and that is very bad. I spent many years designing and machining those componenets and just a few seconds of mismanagement can bring the shole project to a crashing halt. The limit switches that sit at either end of the steering block will likely be necessary until the control is worked out. I will continue to think upon this.

Coffee and keyboard go together like mashed potatoes and gravy. Just a thought.

As bad as things look financially, they look just the opposite physically for the home. I have been rolling through junk and reorganizing everything in order to get the bedrooms changed around. So far it looks good. I should get some major moving finished today. These types of accomplishments are very satisfying.


The cable modem has been showing me differing patterns of flashing LEDs throughout the last few days. The internet connection goes awy, returns, goes away, returns... very irritating to say the least. I will not call them, but perhaps later today I can dash to their office and exchange the modem. I have researched the issue and the general consensus is that a firmware issue is the cause. Apparently, this brand and model of modem has a lousy attitude and baffles even the technical folks at the provider's headquarters. So, I will do a little switch and see what happens."

To 2014

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