Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Construction time again...

The grabbing hands grab all they can. Everything counts in large amounts. Wait, sorry, wrong Construction Time Again.

I don't know how much longer it'll take (a week, maybe?), but I'm finally making some of the changes to the Complete Starfleet Library website that I've been meaning to do for years. For a start, I've added anchor links to every individual book title, as I originally intended to. That got lost by the wayside when I started to focus on just getting more books onto the site.

The author index is also finally coming along. I'm linking to all those anchors but I have to tidy things up a little, so the authors who have a lot of books have readable and useful listings instead of a random list of titles. I'm also planning to anchor all the authors' names so that someone reading the entry on, for example, David Gerrold's The Galactic Whirlpool can click on his name and be taken straight to a list of his other Trek books.

Another touch, thanks to playing with Dreamweaver... although the site will look pretty much the same and still have the main content in pages by year, there'll be more navigational options on the pages, thanks to some pull-down menus that will allow the user to go to key pages (the main page, the title index, the what's new page, the lost books page, etc), book type index pages (biographies and autobiographies, novels, etc), and other year pages (from 1967 to 2004 so far).

Doing this as an actual database just isn't feasible for a couple of key reasons. First, I'm not a database programmer nor am I about to become one. Second, I'm still doing this on the cheap through my Well account's web space rather than through a more commercial heavy duty web hosting service, and there are limits to what kinds of things can be done on the Well's web server. The issue of going more pro with the site is one for another day.

In other news...

I finished reading Marryat's The Settlers in Canada. It was, I am sad to report, not very good. For a start, these settlers had a much easier time of it than most settlers in Canada, with help from soldiers to build a nice big house. The book's idea of a happy ending is not to show them well established and building a new town in a new country, but to have them inherit a bunch of money and land in England and go rushing back. And there's way too much Christian preaching. Here's how it ends:

They knew that this world was a world of trial, and but a preparation for another; they, therefore, did their duty in that state of life to which it pleased God to call them—proving in all their actions, that they remembered their duty to their God, and their duty to their neighbour; living and dying (as I hope all my young readers will) sincere and good Christians.
Include me out, Fred.

(I got a neat little German hardcover of the book, but interested folks can read the book free online as an etext.)

I'm currently reading Mark Bowden's book Black Hawk Down, and it's one hell of an experience, especially knowing that it's not fiction. It's hard at times not to empathize a little with the Somalis, who have soldiers from a foreign country occupying their city, but in general the American soldiers are the ones I empathize with. I'd never have joined the military myself, though my parents are both ex-Canadian Air Force, my best friend is a Canadian Army captain, and I have a brother-in-law who's a Canadian Army warrant officer (maybe CWO by now) who's done tours of duty in Cyprus, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Haiti. Basically, it's the story of a bunch of guys who find themselves in way too deep, on a mission they weren't properly prepared for, in a place they don't really understand. I can't imagine that Donald Rumsfeld or George W. Bush has ever read this book. They might have thought a little longer and harder before deciding that invading Iraq was a good idea. (I'm being unusually charitable here by allowing for the possibility that Bush and his junta read or think.)

In more cheerful news, Laura and I and our friends Anthony and Tamara saw Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow on Saturday. Much fun was had by all. I've seen some criticism suggesting that the script could be stronger, and it could, but that wouldn't make it any more faithful to the old serials, pulp fiction, and comics it draws on for inspiration. It's fun. If the DVD has some good extras, I may just buy it.

eMusic has just relaunched. I'd love to explore all the new features but it won't accept my user ID and password, and customer support hasn't yet responded. I can see lots of people posting to the message board but can't post anything myself, so evidently not everyone is having the same problem. Grumble. Curse. Mutter.

(Now playing: John Foxx, "Shimmer Symmetry," Cathedral Oceans II.)


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