Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cutting Down A Tree With A Pen Knife

I'm taking a break from the "festivities" (work) here at the office because I've been boiling my brain for the better part of two hours.

I believe I have mentioned before that we use Joomla to manage our web site. Joomla is one of those programs that you can spend a couple of days with, get a handle on the basics, and build a pretty decent product with but there are all sorts of hidden nooks and crannies you almost have to know about in advance to get into. I have been digging through those nooks and crannies and managed to find one of them and get a light fixture installed.

When I learned that we used Joomla, I immediately installed it on my "server" (that I share with who knows how many people), and went through a basic online tutorial. I didn't realize just how inadequate that tutorial was. I cannot fathom how many hours I have spent banging my head on the desk trying to figure out just what the h--- is going on and where Joomla is getting a particular piece of data. Well, it has been getting easier each time I try to tackle a problem. Today, I put one more piece of the puzzle together but if you look at the title of the post you will understand how I feel about the whole process.


Moving on to other news, I had a really... interesting weekend. I had already planned to go to the university surplus auction on Saturday and a friend, Kevin, was coming up from Oklahoma City (~60 miles) to go with me. When we found out that another friend was in town on business, he came up Friday night and we all went out.

Long story short I went just slightly over my cutoff line on Friday night. No illness or other difficulties but my tummy was not terribly pleased with me most of the rest of the weekend. It's okay, it was worth the price of admission and it's not something I do that often.

So, what about the auction? I purchased 2 kinda nice VCRs ($1 ea), 2 fancy Sony DVD players with component video and 5.1 audio outputs ($1 ea), a box of keyboards ($1 - if anyone needs one, let me know, I have extra), and 2 palettes of printers ($5/$1). That's just under $12 including tax.

I immediately gave one of the VCRs to the friend who was in town working. She had been saying, "I should get a VCR so I can watch my original-version Star Wars tapes," the night before so it seemed like the right thing to do. I'll have her buy me a soda sometime. The 2 DVD players tested fine. One is in the living room and I'll probably use the second one once I connect the audio stack to my PC. The status of the second VCR is unknown. I didn't realize they were mono when I bought them (I snagged 'em because they have jog/shuttle wheels) so I may use it or I may just freecycle the thing. The keyboards were purchased because my M-I-L needed a new one and, well, I had to take the whole box. They're pretty nice with a couple of USB ports built into them.

The printers are another story entirely. Kevin and I were talking and he was asking about the networked LaserJet 4 I bought at the last auction and mentioned that he wanted to get a network printer. I bought the first palette for $5 because it had a couple of LJ4 units and what looked like some LJ 1100's and 2100's I might be able to make use of somewhere. The $1 palette had a LaserJet 8000 (a big, honkin', heavy-duty laser printer). I thought it was worth the risk, plus it had at least another 1100. But it gets better.

Some guy asks me if I plan on keeping the copier that's on the $5 palette. There's a copier on there? I told him I had no interest and, having only paid $5 for the palette, I offered to give it to him (that's just the kind of guy I am). Once we got it off of the palette, I started uncovering the rest of the goodies. Sitting next to the copier was a Xerox Phaser 6300 color laser printer. When I got it home, I plugged it in and it spit out a startup page that showed it had less than 1,500 impressions on it. Once I found it a permanent home and did a bit of tweaking, I found the unit to be in excellent operating condition. The Cyan and Yellow cartridges are low but it starts hollering about that when it gets down to 500 pages so who knows when they'll actually run out.

One thing I am trying to figure out, though. There is a "test print" button on the back of the unit. When we pushed it, the unit slid out a piece of paper, sucked it back in, then spit it back out. It was printed on both sides. The printer obviously has duplexing capabilities but the firmware doesn't seem to think so and I can't activate it. I'm going to ask our Xerox repair guy next time I see him.

Well, that's about it and I've spent way too much time on this distraction already. Y'all have a good week.

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