Thursday, October 29, 2009


I created my first web page back some time in the fall of 1995. It was just a handy place to post all my bookmarks since I didn't have my own PC at the time and was bouncing around from machine to machine in the student computer labs. Notepad was OK, for a bit, but then I came across editors that catered to people who wrote web pages and quickly settled on DerekWare, as it worked and was free. I ran into a problem a year or so later when I was typing along and all of a sudden the cursor stopped moving; I had reached a previously unknown file size maximum limit of 21k.

That led me back to notepad for a bit as I searched around; eventually I settled on (then Macromedia, now Adobe) Homesite and have been using it ever since. Being a modem user for as long as I had, I've always prided myself on writing tight code that took the minimum time to download, but even with that some of the documents I've been working on over the last couple of years have approached sizes just in code and text that I would have cringed at in years past for the total of code, text, and images.

Broadband use has grown over the last decade as well, so that according to Google Analytics just under 3% of my viewers are still on dial up. I still try and keep it as tight and clean as possible, however, because not only are some people still on dial up, I believe more people will be browsing on their phones in the future.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Going Away Party

It looks like Boeing is about to start a second 787 line in South Carolina. I grew up in the shadow of Boeing and am sad to see them continue to leave Washington. I rather enjoy the amount of aerospace we have here.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Picked up copies of Floating Drydocks 1970s-era camouflage books this week. Not knocking the research they did at all, I just find it interesting how far we've come in what we now know, and yet there is still so much we don't know for sure. We are able to do a higher fidelity research now because of what was done in the past and the records that have been declassified since then.

Back when I reviewed Squadron Signal's DD/DE Camouflage book, someone asked why I didn't just write my own instead of "trashing" someone else's. I hadn't given it any thought really because two friends of mine had already mentioned plans to do so themselves, but with one fairly assuredly canceled and the other essentially vaporware, it took me aback and I've been mulling it over... or rather, keeping my eyes on the possibility.

There are things I don't know enough about yet to do what I consider to be a credible job. Some of the dynamics of the early war politics between Admiral King and others, as well as the amphib green schemes and dazzle schemes are topics I would like to know more about before I attempt to describe them to others. But it is a tempting project with all I've come across.

Finished the ships section of the document I'm working on now and just have to finish the Marine Corps list and proofread. It's a 1940 memo detailing the organization of the fleet as of the 1st quarter of 1941 and should provide a good overview of the US fleet at the time of the US Entry into the second world war. Not sure what I'll work on after that, I've been focused on this one so long I've forgotten some of the goodies I'd planned on popping in the queue. Got to get some stuff done in November though as Left 4 Dead 2 is less than a month away!

Strange that a guy who doesn't like zombie movies enjoys a game patterned after them....

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Yeah, colds are great for productivity...

I had meant to post regularly during my recent trip to San Bruno but events transpired against me. Randy from showed for two days of research, but came down on Monday afternoon, so he was there for three nights. Of course, we had to go out for dinner and some fun each night, and by the time thursday evening came around I was just wiped. Friday was the flight home....

So one of my hopes this trip was to go through the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard files and look for specific ships; I'd hoped to find new information on the destroyers Ward, Allen, and a few other ships. The records are stored in their original order, which is according to the US Navy Filing System of the time. The system allows a couple different ways of ordering records, and it turned out that the PHNY records are not ordered in a way that makes looking for a particular ship easy.

Everything was broken down into a specific code; S44 was the filing code for propellers, for example and S74 was for anti-aircraft guns. While it would be perfectly natural to organize records by hull number / S74, S74 / hull number was also permitted. But that later structure, which PHNY follows, means that if you want to research a ship you have to go through EVERY file code looking for your particular ship. Since some of the file codes may have 8 boxes 18 inches long or longer, that can make for a slow process.

So... that becomes a project for when there's a little time here and there.

Otherwise though I did have some good results and have more documents to post.