E-mail code fix

After racking my head to figure out what was wrong with why the e-mail links on my site didn’t work, I realized that there is a way to find out why the script doesn’t work in FireFox. So, I ran it (under Tools – JavaScript Console) and discovered that I wrote the code improperly. So it is all fixed now.

In the meantime, the work on the e-mail form is moving forward. I’ve learned a little about how to set up a CGI script to send e-mail to a specified address. I have more to learn about creating forms without using FrontPage, so it may be a while before the e-mail form is up.

I’ve already begun the weeklong countdown to my last day at the Department of Transportation. I’ve got mixed feelings, because I am excited about the new opportunity, but I’m also going to miss all of the people that I work with. But with moving on to new responsibilities, I really can’t wait. Over the next few days, I will collect some thoughts about what I’ll miss about working for DOT and post them here this weekend.

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Reviewing Windows XP SP2

I’m really impressed with what Microsoft has done with the Windows XP Service Pack 2. I was looking at something on the Internet, and it automatically stopped a pop-up (Internet Explorer notifies you when it blocks them). I checked out some other sites, and sure enough it continued to work. However, when I clicked on a window to allow a JavaScript pop-up window, it blocked that as well, which can be a little annoying. But it does give you the option to allow pop-ups, and you can set up the pop-up blocker to always allow certain sites to load pop-ups. Also, the new firewall tells me when a program is trying to connect to the Internet, similar to ZoneAlarm or Norton Internet Security. You can also add programs to a list to allow them to connect, such as Norton AntiVirus or Microsoft FrontPage (I haven’t set up Dreamweaver yet, but that’s coming soon enough). In the new Security Center tab of the Control Panel, it also adds a tab for Norton AntiVirus (or whatever antivirus software you’re running) and lets you know if it is up to date. The only thing I don’t like is the automatic Windows update download option; it gives you this “caution” yellow appearance if you select anything other than full automatic download and update. I used to prefer clicking on the balloon and manually allowing it to install, but I suppose that the patches have gotten better, so I guess I’m not too worried about it.

One big disadvantage is that Internet Explorer now needs to be configured to run the “scripts” on my site as well. That should not be as big an issue in the next site, but if you suddenly notice some issues with my site after installing SP2, please bear in mind that I don’t run malicious software, and that the scripts on this site are simple and (hopefully) not harmful. The other option is to use Mozilla or Mozilla FireFox (although it turns out that my scripts don’t work there either). My next step will be to develop a web form for contacting me, which I may make available soon on this site. The whole trick, though, is to do so without using a Microsoft FrontPage extension; that means that I’ll have to learn how to do this in either Perl or CGI (if I’ve already lost you, don’t worry because I’m just as lost).

I can’t believe I have only one week left at the Department of Transportation (DOT) before I move on to my new position at the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). The DOT Secretary stopped in and congratulated me again yesterday and wished me the best. Everyone seems really happy for me, but they’re also sad to see me go. During one meeting this past week, I was recognized for my support for the group (it was a information technology management committee). Although I’m a little sad to see my time at the DOT end for now, I am looking forward to an exciting new position at DATCP.

Windows XP Service Pack 2

I just installed Windows XP Service Pack 2, and I’m somewhat impressed at how it has made the effort to improve the usability of the security features. I’m especially impressed with the pop-up blocker. It’s very out-of-the-way and about as easy to use as the Google Toolbar’s. In the meantime, the new site is progressing forward. I’ve discovered some really cool things in Dreamweaver that make the migration much easier.

I have less than two weeks to go before I start the new job. I’m really excited, and I hope that I don’t lose this high. The next week will include finishing up some things for DOT, then I’m off for greener pastures.

Metallica Some Kind of Monster

I have been eagerly awaiting the release of Metallica’s Some Kind of Monster (SKOM) here in Madison since the end of July. Initially, Metallica’s web site listed its release on August 6. That later changed to August 27. So here I was wondering what my future would be and hoping to get a chance to see this highly rated film. Now I know, I’m disappointed that I may not see this movie.

I called the theater today to see if it was going to open this weekend. Unfortunately, due to dismal (more like unannounced) pre-screening turnout, the theater does not plan on showing it. The person I spoke to said that it may come out next week, but there’s no certainty of that.

I was actually hoping to give it some attention by posting the little SKOM graphic on my site’s navigation bar. I mean, it’s not a concert movie; it’s not Led Zeppelin’s The Song Remains the Same. Instead, it’s the bitter reality of what happened over the course of two years in the life of Metallica. They went through a series of tumultuous ordeals that came to blows in 2001. This film digs deep into the band’s heart and exposes the “monster” that needed to come out.

So I’m really turned off by this repeated “postponement.” I think the thing that bothers me is that the band is using a grass roots approach at announcing this film event. That’s pretty cool, because they’re getting their fans involved. But what ever happened to good old-fashioned television or radio advertising? Don’t think that Metallica couldn’t purchase some television ad spots and let the world know that there is a great story to be told. The film has received a variety of film festival selections and continues to receive great reviews from larger markets. That’s one big problem with living in such a small market city, though; it’s small and you don’t always get an opportunity to see something like this. I really can’t complain about where I live, though. Instead, I’m just upset that SKOM isn’t getting the attention that Disney’s America’s Heart and Soul received, despite its abysmal ticket sales (mind you, America’s Heart and Soul is a counterstrike to Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11).

If I don’t see it on the big screen, I hope Metallica releases it on video/DVD.

Now that that is off my chest, I also want to mention that I’ve finally completed (yes, that’s right, completed) the England scrapbook. Next up is the new site. Since I purchased Dreamweaver, I’ve decided to redesign the new site from the ground up (well, that plus I’ll still import existing items). I will spend the next few months working on it along with new features, such as the web site evolution and possibly building my desk.

My new position

I was informed on June 8 that my position (budget and policy analyst – advanced) in the Wisconsin Department of Transportation was at risk of being eliminated on March 31, 2005. That means that if I didn’t find a job by that date, I would be laid off. Although I knew that I had the least seniority in the office and that this would occur, it really hit me hard when I found out. So I was already seeking another position, but not much had surfaced.

After being placed at-risk, I became more active about looking for another position. One benefit is that people in this classification have a chance to compete for vacant positions before others can. The State has a web site that provides a list of positions to at-risk employees before it becomes available to others in state service. I found several opportunities to continue working for the State of Wisconsin on this site.

Among those positions was an Administrative Policy Advisor for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP, pronounced “dat-cap”). After interviewing and meeting with the Administrator of the Division of Management Services, I was offered the position. I graciously accepted (no, I didn’t do my Packers touchdown dance), especially since this position will provide me the opportunity to really advance in my career. I’m really excited because this is more than just a policy analyst; there will be some leadership/management involved. It’s also a new position, so I will have the opportunity to mold it into a really great position. Finally, I will remain in Madison (wow, I’ve lived here for almost four years already!!). I officially begin the new position on September 5, but my first day in the office is September 7 (due to Labor Day).

To commemorate, I’ve added the agency’s address to My Links. Of course, there’s still a special place in my heart for DOT, since it was my first professional position.

Close to finishing UK pictures

I’ve managed to get three more days worth of UK vacation pages on the site. Among the many cool things include trips to Madame Tussaud’s, Abbey Road, and Gilwell Park (just to name some places). Hopefully I’ll complete this tomorrow, and my England Scrapbook will be done!

Missing UK pictures loaded

I really hate it when people put things out on the web that are not completed. I mean, at least put something on the page that tells me that its incomplete. Well, I just realized that I’m guilty of doing just that. I didn’t finish the June 9 UK trip page before posting it. But I raced to finish it this evening, so I hope you enjoy it. Warning: it is really loaded with pictures!

The Green Bay Packers play their first pre-season game tonight against the Seattle Seahawks in Lambeau Field. Football season has officially started (well, pre-season anyway). Since it is a pre-season game, we’ll see where the Packers need work and where they shine. Hopefully they’ll manage to kick some Seahawk, uh, tail.