Archive | November 29, 2008

Getting Stuff Organized

This next month, I’ll be flipping the calendar page to 2009 to schedule the next month’s work. I’ve been using a “desk-size” Day Runner – 5½” x 8½”, conveniently half a US Letter sized sheet – for fifteen years. I’ve got one of the older 3-ring models, and lots of the cool accessories: zip pouches, business card holders, etc., but I’ve bought the calendar refills each year. I’ve also printed some pages for myself: some grid pages using DOS-characters and FoxPro/DOS, dumps of my contacts, etc. But I’ve kept DayTimer and other vendors busy printing.

This year, I came across a great site,, with some great templates to use. The host developed a set of templates, now up to version 3.0, released under Creative Commons, an nearly 80 pages of clever templates. Many other have contributed templates, graphics, word processing documents and executables to generate some really professionally-finished pages. Supporters of Getting Things Done, Hipster, the Covey plans and the other organizing techniques seem to be getting along pretty civilly, and have posted a number of interesting articles. If you’re a fan of systematic ways of doing things (and that seems to be a common trait amongst the computer nerds), check out

Webpages should accomodate the viewer gracefully.

I regularly run my FireFox browser with JavaScript disabled, using the great NoScript plugin. Keeping JavaScript disabled by default protects me, a little, from malicious sites. “Malicious sites” used to be a codeword for “sites you shouldn’t visit anyway,” but all sites need to be considered malicious, owned by bad guys, until you have a good reason to believe otherwise. Ad networks have accepted ad content containing malware. It happens. Bad guys figure out how to inject code into comments on legitimate sites. And phishing emails are getting so believable that everyone’s going to get caught once in a while. A first visit to a linked web site should let me examine the HTML and the page and decide if this is a site I’d like to trust. Websites that just dump me on a blank page with a disabled Flash animation FAIL.

Sites need to understand there’s good reasons for a client having their JavaScript turned off, and downgrade their presentation gracefully. For example, the site tells me, “IMPORTANT ! This website requires JavaScript support for proper operation. It appears that your browser does not have this feature enabled. Click here for more information and assistance.” Well done. Proctor and Gamble’s site, on the other hand, hangs for 10 seconds at a blank page, and then takes me to a generic page (using a NOSCRIPT tag and redirect) telling me “ is best viewed on Netscape or Internet Explorer version 4 or above. To ensure our Web site works on your system, please upgrade your browser…” Oh, puhleez! Wrong in so many ways.

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This work by Ted Roche is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.