The Thinker

Writer’s Block

I’ve been drawing a blank lately in the insight department. Life seems to be keeping me pretty busy.

Here’s a snapshot of what I am doing and thinking about the last week or so.

I’ve been trying to help Lisa and the many people who host their blogs off her site get moving again, without much success. Lisa is the one who turned me on to blogging and we’re both using this Moveable Type software. Unfortunately she went first and configured her blog to use DBM for a database, whereas I put mine in a MySQL database. She is experiencing weird DBM problems and can’t seem to fix them — no surprise since she is not a techie. I tried to move her entries into MySQL but even that failed due to an error somewhere in her DBM database. She’s working on the problem but the prognosis doesn’t look great. As a last resort I can blow away her installation of Moveable Type and reinstall into a MySQL database but a lot of the people hanging off her web space might lose their content. I can’t export a number of her user’s entries.

My email digest modification for phpBB forum software continues to gather a lot of interest. As I mentioned I use phpBB to power my forum, The Potomac Tavern. So I keep making modifications to my modification, some done by other users, then testing and republishing my modification. The digest is being well received. It’s hard to know how many people out there in Internet-land are getting daily digests of messages, but if I were to guess the numbers would now be in the hundreds or thousands. Ah, the power of clever code. I wish there was money in this.

I’m also reworking my other domain, oakhillva.com. This is a domain I created a couple years ago but which has remained rather dormant, mainly because I don’t have the energy to market it. It is for the people in the community I live, zip code 20171, otherwise known as “Oak Hill” due to the name of our post office (we are not incorporated.) However, I discovered I was collecting email from folks and it wasn’t getting forwarded. Now that I’ve read it I realize there is some interest in my domain, but people want interactivity. So I blew away the PostNuke content management system and replaced it with phpBB forum software instead, and I am customizing it to add dynamic features that I prototyped on The Potomac Tavern. I plan to integrate an online business directory soon and other dynamic features, and this time I hope I can actually find the energy to market the site. This may require me digging into my pocket to pay for a little advertising. The long-term prognosis for making any profit off the site is slim, but anything is possible. I live in a new community and this is a new market so it might take off.

This week finds me in training. I am taking a course in Oracle Application Server, mainly because we use it at work and I figure I need to know a lot more about it if I am to do my job adequately. It’s a good course but it’s all the way over in Rockville and traffic is a bear. Meanwhile I find I am increasingly bored and unchallenged in my job and I am thinking of applying for some other jobs in Club Fed. Another one of these ideal jobs opened up in nearby Reston that I will apply for. It’s at the U.S. Geological Survey. I’ve done this before though and I don’t have much hope. I have excellent qualifications but it hasn’t seemed to matter in the past. Usually I don’t hear anything and when I do it’s just a report that I wasn’t selected. I strongly suspect most jobs at USGS go to insiders and I’m doomed to spend the rest of my federal career on long commutes into D.C. So I’m looking at other jobs; some in Arlington for the Transportation Security Administration look interesting primarily because there are a lot of openings and I suspect TSA, being a new agency, hasn’t developed the bureaucracy that kills the sole of creative types like me. Anyhow, I am increasingly disenfranchised with my agency. The people are good but the management doesn’t manage. They have no idea whether I am optimized or not, and currently I am not. My attempts to garner more work for myself largely fall on deaf ears or involve weeks of waiting for people’s schedules to clear to work through the issues.

And I’m doing the youth counselor thing for the Unitarian Church I attend in Reston. I don’t know whether we will be able to get a critical mass of youth together to do UU stuff, but I will try again like we did last year. Youth these days are so darn busy, but it would be nice to help these kids in a positive way through the teenage years. We’ll see.

As Atomic Tom would say today is a day to “empty the desk drawer of my mind.”

 

Leave a Reply

Switch to our mobile site