Spaghetti dinner inspires writing tips.

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On Wednesday night, Kris and I went to Keith and Katie's house for a spaghetti dinner. The dinner was a fund-raiser for the Second Harvest Food Bank, which is a great idea. Lots of bridge friends were there: Lisa, Andy & Michele, Mark and Megan, Hugh & Bridget, Kitty and another friend of Keith and Katie, whose name I don't know.

Kris and I talked for a while with Hugh. Hugh is still looking for a job (anyone looking for a computational chemist?) in the Bay Area. He thinks he'll get an offer for a job with a company in San Diego. He's not thrilled about moving from the area. However, he'd rather not blow through his entire savings.

When I asked if he was excited about the job, he didn't say he was very thrilled. It was doing work that he had already been doing, so it wasn't a new challenge. When I asked him what he'd like to be doing, Kris responded, "Writing!" Hugh agreed, but explained he's had a block. He can write in his journal, but is unable to get writing on things he feels he "should" write about.

We went on to discuss ways to get Hugh writing. We had a large number of suggestions that I really liked, so I wrote them down. As my new policy of saving most everything electronically, the suggestions are now an article named Ways to start writing.

Published my first tutorial.

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I made my first contribution to the Drupal project today. I wrote a tutorial (also published on my site) and published it just now. It took me two days to do. I was pretty nervous about publishing such a lengthy first article/page as my first contribution, but I received some good feedback, so I think it'll be fine.

Publishing the tutorial on my site meant I needed to figure out some details with my site. I had the system stripping HTML tags. Unfortuately, I was stripping too many tags: the formatting was lost. I've since added the tags, so it looks good here. I'm pretty excited.

There's a lot of configuration details on the site. I'm trying to keep the base code unmodified so that I can update at any point. We'll see how long I can keep from fixing things.

Finally making progress!

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Whoo! I'm finally starting to make progress on this site, both with installing already written modules and writing new modules. The site doesn't look exactly what I'd like it to look like (still having CSS issues) but starting to work them out.

I've installed the quotes module (you can see the rotating quotes in the menu/sidebar). I've also installed a few other modules to play with them (throttle, article, polls).

I also finally finished writing my first module: On This Date. Currently it displays older content that was published on this site "on this date" in the past. When a site has been around for a longish while, it'll display links to nodes (blogs, articles, book pages) that were created a some fixed time ago (ideally a year ago). A problem occurs when the site isn't old enough to have content from a long while ago. It currently has the option to display content from a week, month and a year ago, as well as limit the number of links to content on this date.

I think most people would want to add historical footnotes like, "On this date 100 years ago, the Wright Brothers flew the Spirit of St. Louis at Kitty Hawk." It doesn't do that. Perhaps I'll write that module, too. Call that one "onthisdate" and have a list of events that have already happened that are selectable, then rename my current "onthisdate" to "onthisdatesite". Maybe include them both on the same module?

Eh. <shrug />

Talked to Mike Gull about possibly using Drupal for a rewrite of the UPA site. If I get proficient at writing modules, it'll make pushing for Drupal a lot easier. Sometimes I think, "Poor Mike" - he has a lot of responsibility for work he's been roped into. Hopefully it'll all work out well.

Inspired by iWalt.com!

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Forums: 

About 3 weeks ago, Megan Smith showed me iWalt.com. The site is the website of an old classmate of Megan's (I don't recall if it was high school or college), and, damn it, I'm impressed. I love the site, I love the idea. "I want, I want! I want one, too!" I think.

Well, I'm a programmer. I build websites. And now I'm inspired, too! And here we go.

Although I find the name iWalt clever, iKitt doesn't work too well. And most people won't be able to spell iHodsden. I'll have to figure something out. Much like iWalt, I'll do forums, code, blogs, photos, links, history, trivia and all the other stuff for my friends and family. I am so inspired!

Whoo!

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