Adventures in Linux
Web Site Building
On October 7, 1997 I finally got through the sign-up
maze at Geocities to get my free home page space. Using the
provided HTML editor provided online proved cumbersome, so I
began downloading the source of my pages and editing in
Notepad. Next I tried the Internet Assistant add in for
Word 95. That was pretty nice. I could type and
format pretty much like I was in a word processor that I was used
to, and the code would be written. It has the ability to
switch to an "HTML source" view for some of the finer
points of formatting.
Search for an HTML Editor
Actually, it is a search for an HTML editor and web site
management tool. The new packages are geared toward doing much
more than typing up individual web pages. They have features to
keep track of the structure of all the pages on a site, check
links, and handle all the publishing tasks, which is the job of
getting the files from the computer's hard disk up to the file
HotDog Pro 4.03
I downloaded a trial version of this program from the website
at Sausage Software. There is no WYSIWYG editing with this
program. All the text and HTML codes are entered on a screen that
looks like a word processor. There are a good assortment of tool
bars, which you can turn on and off through Toolbars under the
I have gotten at least one computer crash with this program.
It was listed as an "Exception EAccess Violation in module
HOTDOG.EXE". I don't believe that there was any actual loss
of any data with that crash.
There have been a couple of other glitches such as the scroll
bar and arrows for the editing screen getting stuck on so that
the document would scroll when I just held the mouse cursor over
the arrow button without even clicking anything. That actually
just happened as I am typing this on 11/29/97. I just closed the
file and re-opened it. The scroll bars are working fine now.
Just had another crash. The program uses the spell checker from
my Microsoft Word 95 (7.0), and that's fine with me. The trouble
is that I just had a lock up while doing it. I think I'll give up
on using this program until I get the new version on Monday.
In fairness to HotDog, their support people sent me the
". 4.5 full release is going to be out on Monday, and that
adds a LOT of functionality to it. I suggest that you check it
out if you really want to see what HotDog is about.
I hope this helps! Feel free to contact us again if you have any
These are nice people with a very interesting product. You can
bet I'll be downloading the version 4.5 to give a trial on
Office Assistant Add-in for Word 95
This was the approach I used to create most of the first
updates of the early pages. I downloaded this Word Add-in from
the Microsoft site, and it made a pretty good almost WYSIWYG
editor. I haven't checked yet to see if I have the same feature
installed with Word 97.
5/7/98 The HTML feature wasn't in my installation of Word 97,
so I re-ran the Office installation program and included it. I am
back to using Word as my HTML editor.
I downloaded a trial beta version of this program from
Microsoft's web site. The thing I like most about this program is
the ability to edit and enter text right on a screen that pretty
much shows how the page will appear.
This program appears to use some HTML codes I'm not familiar
with and it uses some of the ones that I am used to in ways I
haven't seen before. For instance, to center something, I'm used
to putting a tag in front of the material to be centered and then
a close-center tag at the end. FrontPage 98 uses a format that
says "align=center... with no end mark. Another thing I
found odd about this program is that it uses a closing code for
the "paragraph" code.
I'm not sure if these things are the newest standards of HTML,
or if Microsoft just does things differently. I would think there
would be a preferences menu to change some of these things, but I
haven't found it yet.
This program appears to have great promise for total web site
management. It supports changing the link addresses in local
files as they are dragged to a different directory in the
structure of the web site on the local hard disk.
I also had at least one system crash while this program as
well Additionally, this program takes up a whole lot of disk
Front Page Express
2/7/98 This one just sort of appeared on my new computer. I
guess it came as a part of the Office, Small Business Edition
that Gateway included on the new computer. I'm updating this page
with it now.
"Interstitial Ads" and
On Friday, November 21, 1997 Geocities began an
experiment. Occasionally, when one tries to load a member's
page into a browser, an ad page for Geocities pops up for 10
seconds instead. If you have the correct browser technology
installed, the page you wanted will load after 10 seconds.
5/7/98 It looks like I may need to go back to advertising the
Geocities address as the address of the index page of my website.
When I move to the CyberRanch, Easy.com, my current ISP will be a
long distance call. I can always link from Geocities to the
actual pages on my new ISP, as I am doing with my Easy.com site
now. I only wish that Geocities would let us use an
"images" subdirectory on their free site. They do offer
this feature if you pay them. The links in all my pages are set
to use images from a subdirectory.
My Search For the Ultimate Personal Information Manager
Way back in the beginning, I began storing information in
WordPerfect and Lotus 123.
Here I started with version 4.0 and kept up with the upgrades. It was a great system because
everything was modular. You could create any tabbed page you wanted and then put
any totally customizable viewers and data entry screens you desired on it. This
reached a beautiful level with release 5.0, but unfortunately that program was
incompatible with just about every machine it was installed on. I can't believe
that Polaris software even stayed in business the way they just screwed and then
abandoned their customers with that release. Yet somehow they did stay in
business. and are supposedly releasing a brand new version 6.0. I don't think
any program could be special enough to get me back to using a program from
people like this. Unfortunately the data needed to be irreversibly converted to
update from ver. 4 to ver. 5, so going back to the ver 4 wasn't an option
because of the way I trustingly upgraded. Yes, I still hold a grudge toward
Polaris Software. If you ever have a chance to buy one of their competitor's
products instead of one of theirs, please do so.
This was the first 32 bit info manager to hit the shelves
after the introduction of windows 95. It's basic database engine
was Microsoft's own Access. The program called itself
"docucentric" and it was good at arranging, storing,
and finding documents. For about the last 1.5 years of my
practice, I kept all my patient scheduling in this program. The
main drawback to this program for me when I was in practice was
it's cumbersome method of logging phone calls. I used to make
many phone calls to pharmacies for refills of patient's
medicines, and a program that would not only dial the phone, but
then also automatically bring up a log screen with the date time
and phone number already in it would have been so much more
convenient. I E-mailed Janna and their support a couple of times,
but never got any response from them.
I tend to think in the form of an outline, so this program
really appealed to me. In addition to it's general calendar,
scheduling, and To Do functions, the whole program is based on a
free form outline style of nested notes. Items can linked
together, and there are many features and much power that I
haven't even begun to explore yet.
I downloaded a limited time trial version of this program from
the Net Manage web site. I quickly found some great newsgroups
for tips, questions, support, and new application development on
web. Unfortunately, it was here that I also found out that Net
Manage has no interest in continuing to support or develop this
product. They are supposedly trying to sell it, but it looks more
like they are just letting it die a slow death. They have cut the
staff for this product way down. The few that are left are great
people. I think this was really a program that had even more
I still liked it well enough to go out an buy it, even though it
is about to become an orphan.
I think the main weakness of the existing version is that it
still doesn't achieve the mythical status of "Universal
Address Book". Ideally such a program would work for our
main database such as contact manager, as well as with our mail
merge, our E-mail programs, and our web browsers.
It is apparently because Gates has gotten such widespread
distribution of this program that some of the information
managers seem to be giving up. I don't have a copy of Outlook
yet, because I'm waiting until I get my new computer to move on
to Office 97. I understand that this program goes a long way
toward achieving the "Universal Address Book" function.
I just read a list of upgrades to this program, and many of them
are to make the E-mail portion as nice as the Outlook Express
E-mail client that I have been using since I got Internet
Explorer 4.0 on the first day that program became available.
2/7/98 The Outlook that came with Office 97 was really clunky.
I downloaded a 3-pane extension and a number of other updates. It
still didn't seem as nice as Outlook Express for handling E-mail.
Figuring I had nothing to loose, because I didn't like Outlook 97
anyway, I downloaded Microsoft's Beta 2 of Outlook 98. Now here
is an E-mail program that's almost as good as Outlook Express.
I've worked hard to get my Contacts folder to be my one single
overall address book. That was the whole purpose in using Outlook
instead of Outlook Express.
7/31/98 I've continued to stick with Outlook 98 as my E-mail
client, but I still use ECCO for its wonderful free form outline
note taking features. Additionally, Outlook does lock up with
some frequency when I'm exiting the program. I'm sure I have much
more saved E-mail than the designers of the program ever
anticipated anyone having. With about 100 folders and subfolders,
I'm able to organize and store much information that I gain from
the various E-mail discussion groups. For months I was afraid of
the auto-archive function and delayed letting it run itself. Now
I've finally let it run a couple times and I can still see all my
oldest messages, so I'm not really sure just what's happening
with this archive feature.
1/15/00 Actually my whole Outlook program locked up so
terribly on the home computer that I can't even start it anymore.
I think the Office 97 CD that I have has some sort of error.
Therefore I'm back to using Outlook Express for my E-mail and
have long given up on using Outlook as my PIM and gone back to
Ecco for managing my information.
A Whole New Approach
1/16/00 I've still been using Ecco Pro as my main PIM on the
home computer, though it is now a defunct orphan program. It's
not that I so much like its calendar or address book, it's the
outliner style of storing lots of data that appeals to me.
Because my Ecco is on a CD and my work computer doesn't have a CD
drive, I've been having to use Outlook at work. There really is
enough separation of my work and real lives that having two
separate programs hasn't been too problematic. Because my
computer system at work doesn't provide a good way for me to
manage information, I have been using a paper system for the past
year. I've given up on the VA ever providing me with a decent
computer system, though they have been saying it could be coming
for more than 6 months now.
I got very interested in this new Visor Deluxe, an 8 meg PDA
from Handspring, a company created when the original founders of
the Palm Pilot felt too constrained by the 3Com corporation. Only
$250 for an 8 MB, palm OS, PDA sounded too good to be true. When
I started reading the reviews and feedback from people, I found
there were some quality problems, huge shipping and availability
problems, and the worst Customer Support since AOL invented
horrible Customer Support. In my researching about the Visor, I
was really impressed by much seemingly useful software is
available for the Palm OS. I had looked at a Windows CE operating
system on a small device a few years ago and thought it would be
great. Since then it has proven itself a typical Windows product
by becoming extremely bloated and a resource hog. Not only that,
but there is very little software available for it. On the other
hand, Palm has now sold 5 million PDA's and there something like
20,000 developers producing all sorts of neat programs and
utilities for it. I spent a lot time yesterday searching the web
on information about the Palm products and the software available
for the Palm OS. There is now a Palm VII that includes a wireless
connection, but I believe one has to pay monthly for another
service and the device still isn't all that useful yet. That
leaves my choices between the IIIx and the Vx. The "x"
models are the ones that have more memory than their
counterparts, with the IIIx having 4 MB and the Vx having 8 MB.
Unlike the "GameBoy" look of the Visor, the Palm Vx has
an aluminum case. Not quite as cool as Toshiba's magnesium cased
subnotebook, but not too shabby.
One of my main concerns is data input. Each day I get detailed
reports on each of my patients, and I jot notes down during this
time that tell what I want to do for them that day. This provides
a daily ToDo list, as well as leaving a documentation of the work
I've done. In medicine, if you don't document, it didn't happen.
The problem is that the computer system is so slow at work that I
can't possibly document in the electronic patient record all that
I would like to. Therefore it is important for me to have
documentation of what I've done somewhere. I'm not sure that the
Graffiti input system will be fast enough for me to get down what
I'd want during the morning report time, though I realized there
is a definite learning curve for that. Since college, I've done
my note taking in printing rather than script, so I hope I won't
have too much trouble with the Graffitti system. One of the
medical software programs I found appears to have customizable
pop-up lists for lots of the most common entries. This could mean
that input would just consist of stylus taps, rather than
writing. Landmark or some such company also makes a small
keyboard called GoType! that might also be useful. I really think
I'll give a Palm product a try and report back on how it works
3/17/00 It's exactly two months now since I bought
the Palm Vx. Last night I bought and added Quicksheet 4.0
which now gives me a spreadsheet that integrates totally with
Excel. Earlier this week I downloaded the software from
AvantGo and began setting up a number of channels. Now at
each Hot Synch I get the latest weather, medical news, Hand held
computer news and developments and much more. All this is
downloaded right to the Palm for viewing any time. No more
needing access to the desk top system to catch up on very up to
12/7/00 I've experimented with many of the Outliner programs
available for the Palm. So far, I'm most impressed with Progect,
and I recently discovered another called Shadow. I've been
putting a lot of information into Arranger for the past 10
months, but I may very well change to one of the above programs.
the free form way to handle random bits of information has been around since the
DOS days. They have finally come out with a Palm OS product. While reading
E-mail discussion groups I saw InfoSelect mentioned so I decided to go out to
their website. I kind of impulsively bought the Windows version for $99.95 For
this price, the program must be downloaded and one receives no paper
documentation. There is a feature where one can highlight material from a
webpage on ones browser, they click on a lightening bolt and have that material
entered into InfoSelect 5. They also say it can take over handling your E-mail.
I belong to many discussion groups, and important bits of information are always
coming accross. The thought of being able to search for this data in one's main
information manager program sounded really appealing. I worked through the
tutorial and help files. Having used ECCO to outline for so long, I've gotten
into some habits. To add a new item at the same level in ECCO, one simply hits
"Enter". To add a child item, I'm very used to holding down Ctrl and hitting "r"
The best I can tell, to add a new item or "Topic" as they call it, one must
either mouse through the menus, or use the F11 key. I imagine I can learn to
live with that. When I tried to figure out how to add a Child Topic, I just
couldn't figure out how it was done. The Keyboard Shortcuts included in the Help
files don't say how to do. I began to search for the mythical "Online Manual"
I'm sure I saw mentioned somewhere. I could find no way to access it from within
the program, so I went to MicroLogics website. Feeling very stupid, I was unable
to access any online manual there either. Adding a Child Topic is something that
I do so frequently, I'm getting very frustrated trying to figure out how it
would be done. I E-mailed my question to Customer Support this morning, but so
far the only E-mail I've received from them is an acknowledgement of my order. I
can't believe how much it bugs me to spend a hundred bucks on a program and not
be able to figure out how to do something that I feel is important to me. As of
now, I have really negative feelings about InfoSelect 5 and MicroLogic. I'll
just have to wait and see what kind of response I get from Tech Support.
UltraRecall Pro v2.0b
Was excited enough to buy a license for this baby, even
after a bit of a mess getting a copy installed and registered. The selling
point of this program for was the ability to place and exact "copy" at another
place in the outline. In fact, it's not a copy at all. It is a
second instance of the original node. This way and important subtopic,
such as "The House" can be given a top level position as well as living at the
proper place in the Overall Outline. Any changes to one are made on the
other. Another great feature, which I find more useful for research than
general record keeping or ToDo list generation, is the ability to copy or link a
web page anywhere in the outline. A menu is added to Internet Explorer to
Copy or Link. I prefer to copy most pages, or at least a selection of one,
as that leaves the material available at times of no internet connection.
The storage alogorythym must be fairly sophisticated as pages are stored very
accurately, and take up minimal room. I have no idea how many pages and
parts of pages I've added to my UltraRecall, but the file had not grown large.
Size is about 55,000 KB
Despite skulking around the forums and reading the local
and on line help, searching is not at all intuitive for me, and I'm sad to say
that I still do not know how to produce a simple list of current ToDo:s
Adventures in Linux