A Sniper-Lite Post

I’m going to try to avoid ranting today. It’s going to hard because I was dumb last night and watched John Walsh on Larry King last night. But, I will say no more. I will instead tell you what I’ve been doing while trying to avoid cable news and my paranoid fear of being clipped while getting into or out of my car, and the gut wrenching thought that it might happen to my wife or son.

Max and I have a new favorite show. TLC has decided to combine Junkyard Wars and Battlebots to create the perfect television experience. Full Metal Challenge was an extreme amount of fun. Max almost lost it when he saw the cars run into the big bowling pins. He clapped and jumped up and down and cheered, counting at Max Volume 10, “1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 PINS!!” When I wasn’t enthralled with watching that little Chilean car beat the crap out of the other two huge monsters, I was laughing at Max and egging him on. When they blew up the third place car (in the only truly lame part of the show, in my opinion), Max cheered and yelled, “BOOM!” I have never had so much fun watching TV with my son. Thank goodness it was TiVo‘ed because Max wanted to watch it again last night. He was just as excited last night when we watched it again. I’m going to record Junkyard Wars tonight and see if he likes it. There isn’t as much action, but there is still the blowtorching, greasy goodness of geeks and their machines.

In other geekly news, I’m starting to fall in love with Java and JSP’s. Yes, I know, I never thought I’d say it either, but I really dig being able to separate everything I don’t want to write into a servlet and do JUST the display stuff in the JSP. The only ugly thing so far is closing if/while type statements. It’s hard to keep those hanging }’s tab-aligned properly (because I’m nothing if not anal about my tabs). Other than that, it’s a lot of fun. I’m still at the hunt and peck stage where I have to go to my two trusty books, O’Reilly’s great JavaServer Pages and Java in a Nutshell for answers where in Tcl I pretty much have everything memorized and writing it is no harder than the writing I’m doing now. In Tcl, it’s all about style and the best way to do it. In Java and JSP now, it’s how to do it at all, nevermind the “best” way. For a while, I’ll have to say, “I don’t know if we can do that”. In Tcl, I can say with authority, “No way” or “Sure, that’s easy” (because in Tcl it’s either impossible or trivial… no idea why that is). I’ll get there. It took me about two months in Tcl, writing something every day, to be able to start thinking more about the problem I’m trying to solve than the code I have to write to solve it. I figure Java’s a little more complex and the syntax is foreign, so it’ll take me maybe three months to get totally comfortable.

I also found an odd bug on this site yesterday. For each post on the homepage, the text would drift to the left for every paragraph tag. This doesn’t happen in Mozilla, and I’m having a hard time understanding why IE would do it. So, for now I’ve just set the left margin to 15, which seems to keep the text from running over the left edge. The other weird IE-ism today is form padding. If you have a form tag outside a div, IE decides that you want padding around it. The only way to get rid of it is to style the form tag with padding:0 and margin:0. How weird is that? Again, Mozilla doesn’t do this. IE for both Windows and OS X do. Again, odd.

By Kevin Lawver

Web developer, Software Engineer @ Gusto, Co-founder @ TechSAV, husband, father, aspiring social capitalist and troublemaker.