Subscribe to Jro's World

I've done it. It took me a whole day, but I finally have a system in place so people can subscribe to this blog. I'm not exaggerating either. It probably only would've taken someone who actually knew what they were doing 30 minutes to put into place what I have now, but I had to learn all this crap about scripts and stuff, and then actually come up with some kind of system to get a subsription working. It really did take a whole day.

So first off, I look through Fantastico, which is the part of my website control panel that has services and applications provided by InMotion, my hosting company. If you were reading this blog a while back, you'll know that not knowing about this has been incredibly costly time-wise, in implementing the photo gallery and the forum, so I wasn't going to make that mistake again. Though when I looked into the PHP mailing list software that they offered, I wasn't impressed. I'd also found something called the CGI center, which to this point, I still don't know what CGI stands for. But in this "center," was something called CGI email, which was described as: "CGI email takes the input of an HTML form and converts it to an email format defined by the author of the form." I didn't have anything else going for me, so I thought I'll try and make something out of this. This is what took quite a while. To learn how to create CGI email forms, and then create an actual form, and have this form link to the CGI email form whilst at the same time transfering a viewer to a confirmation page that would automatically link back to the travel blog, all this probably took me about 3 hours. Eventually though, I had a system in place so that people could fill out a form with their details, which would then be emailed to me, translated to a readable document.

Travel blog subscription form This was a start, but all it was, was an email of peoples details, it wasn't yet a subscription system. That whole process had taken a lot of brain power, so on an off-day from the gym, I went for a walk instead. On this walk, I came up with the rest of the system. If I set up an independent email address to handle these blog subscriptions, then every contact in the address book for this email address, would be there, because they have subscribed to the blog. All I would need to do, is create a template email and save a draft of it. Then whenever I posted a new blog entry, I could forward this email to every person in this address book, and Bob's your uncle, subscription system. So I set up this new email account, It was unnecessarily complicated though to set up a draft email that could be resumed at the click of a button that contained a link to the blog. It involved a lot of changing the email account settings. So that whole process and extensive testing to make sure that all links were working and pages were automatically reloading etc, I finally finished this system, having started mid-morning and only taking a break to go for a walk, at around 6pm. It might not be a state of the art, cutting-edge system, but it's simple, and it works. Now, when I start publicising this site properly, which will not be until I'm actually travelling and have blog entries worth reading rather than this drivle, I have a system in place so people can subscribe to them. It's probably only good for a small number of subscriptions because the email client that I'm using through my control panel doesn't allow me to highlight every address in my address book, so I have to highlight every email address individually. But in the unlikely event I get so many subscriptions that I need a better system, a quick upgrade to Thunderbird, or some other email service should make the process easier.

The only point where this system could become redundant, is if I get so many subscriptions, adding and removing email addresses manually becomes too time-consuming. Though I can't see that situation ever arising. And if it does, I'll be making so much on advertising revenues, that I can pay a poor person to do it for me. So this blog, is now subscribable! Incidentally, if anyone else if suffering the same problem regarding forms, and having them configure properly in your email account, the very useful page that I used can be found here.

Contact page form Now that I had the knowledge of how to create forms and use CGI scripts, whatever that may stand for, I thought I may as well make the most of it. So now, instead of finding a link to an email address when you go onto the contact page, there is now a form there as well. And I saw the value of creating an individual email address as well (I get 5,000 so I may as well make the most of it), so the contact page now has it's own email. They all get copied to my hotmail, so I will get any messages very quickly, but they will all be archived in different places, so everything becomes very streamlined, which is something I'm a fan of.

I said last time I wrote that apart from this subscription system, the other thing it was important to do, was link the photo gallery back to the website homepage, so that people who are finding the gallery through Google, are able to navigate to the website proper. I'd put a message in the Gallery forum the night before, and I had a couple of responses, so I got on with this. Showing just how little I actually knew about Gallery, I put this message in Gallery 1. I was apparently using Gallery 2. So my post got moved here, but I also got the link to a very helpful page, detailing exactly how to change what I wanted to change, in language for normal people. I had spent virtually all day in front of my laptop working on these two problems. I eventually got this one fixed, with the flashing 'Jro's World' logo in the corner of the gallery, linking back to the website homepage, with less than 3 minutes until kickoff for Croatia - England. That literally was my day. Like I said, a person who knew what they were doing could have had all this done in 30 minutes. For me though, I actually felt really good to have got it all done. I think it makes my site much improved, and greatly increases my chance of increasing traffic. England won 4-1 as well. It was a pretty good day. Again, if anyone else happens to be struggling with this problem, the excellent help page that I used is located here.

sunset running That walk I was mentioning earlier, happened to be the route that I will normally run when I go out running. I am a fast walker, so I wanted to see how the time taken when walking this route, compared to when I was running it. It took me 1:48:40 to walk. That was disappointing to me. I was hoping it would take 2+ hours, because I think the minimum speed I should be aiming to run, should be double fast walking pace, so that would be 54:20. Albeit with a bad knee, last time I ran, it took me about 57 minutes, so I'd expect to improve on that before I leave for Canada. To run 54:20 would be very unimpressive, but when healthy, is just about the minimum time I now consider acceptable. I usually walk pretty fast. I always consider about 4 miles per hour, so that would make this route a little over 7 miles. Again, I need to increase that distance. Injury more than fatigue have stopped me going further recently, but I still feel that someone of my age, should have the physical capability to run considerably more than 7 miles. If challenged, I would expect myself at any given point to be able to complete a marathon without too much difficulty, so if my knee holds out, then I'll be increasing speed and distance when I start up running again. Having watched the London marathon for a few years now, I consider a marathon time of 3 hours to again be unimpressive, but acceptable. I'm not even close to being on pace for that over 7+ miles right now, so as long as my knee holds, I'm going to start taking my running more seriously again.

Pheidippides One thing I find funny, that a lot of people don't know about marathons when they flock to sign up, is that when Pheidippides (I had to look up the spelling of his name) finished running from Marathon to Athenia to announce that the Persians had been defeated, he actually dropped dead from his physical exploits. I wonder how many people would rush to sign-up if they knew that about the legend of Phiedippides. That version of events is actually disputed, with some people believing Phiedippides actually ran from Athens to Sparta, but fuck them. It makes a better story this way.

I got an email from Party Poker yesterday. Once again they were giving me $20 to play poker with. This is about the 5th time they've given me free money, and I've never proceeded to top-up my account... you'd think they'd learn. I'd uninstalled Party Poker a couple of weeks back, but this was free money, so I had to reinstall it to try my luck at some tables. To my dismay though, the bonus awaiting me was only to the value of $15. I even emailed them an email titled Where's my $5?, that I ended with the sentence "When will I receive my further $5 please?" They emailed me back, blaming it on a typing error, and the bonus was only for $15. "Although we make every effort to avoid these kinds of errors, occasionally something like this occurs. All we can do is offer our sincere apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused." Well that's not all you could do. You could give me my $5. Son's of bitches. I've since lost all that $15. I don't really have the patience for poker right now, so I just get bored and go all-in. It occasionally pays off, but having lost that $15, it didn't pay off today. I have now once again uninstalled Party Poker.

That was one dispute about money. Through the post this morning, I get a letter from those thieving fuckers at HSBC claiming that I'm being charged an arrangement fee of £25 because they're changing my overdraft. Like fuck I am. I'd had a shit workout this morning. And when that happens, it can throw off your whole day. I needed a bit of conflict to exert some anger, so this was perfect timing. It said on the letter to call the number at the bottom if there was any problems. Like fuck I am. I'll get put through to some idiot in India who doesn't know what the fuck they're doing. I want to sort this face-to-face so I can see their reaction when I shout at them and so they can't hang-up on me. If you read this blog regularly, then you'll know that when it comes to money, I'm pretty much Jewish. £25 to me, is £1,000 to a normal person. They're taking that over my dead-body.

I hate it now, how in banks they put a retard who has no idea what they're doing, on the door, so you can't get through to the people you want to see straight away. Even before I started talking to this idiot, I could see he had no clue what he was doing. He looked about 19. He tried explaining to me why I was being charged $25, and I was arguing with him because it said in the letter I'd got that this was the 2nd time my overdraft had been changed in the last 6 months, and it wasn't. More than that I just felt like a bit of conflict, and it was great to have someone who had to be polite to me regardless. Great way to exert some anger. He even advised me I could cancel the overdraft, and I could do it on this phone, pointing at a phone. First problem with this, I'm not getting put through to fucking India to do my banking when I'm in my local branch. Second problem, is as much as I despise HSBC, they give me a £1,500 interest-free overdraft. I don't plan on using this account at all when I'm travelling. So instead I'll be taking this £1,500 overdraft, and putting it into a savings account with a better bank to earn interest. So cancelling the overdraft was a no-go. It took fucking ages of angrily disagreeing with everything he said, before he finally went to the back to speak to someone more important. When he came back, I was inline to speak to someone at a computer who could go through all the details with me. That was cool. I'd seen a few people come in and have to make appointments for tomorrow, but I got to the front of the queue.

Anyway, I get to the computer with this pretty hot bank-girl. I can't really shout at her because she's hot, so we have much more civilised dealing. She then concludes, that the charge of £25 had been put on this letter in error, and I might not be getting charged it anyway. Apparently she couldn't fix that, so instead, I have a written agreement with the bank, that I will be refunded this £25 if it does get taken out of my account. I made her print it off for me just to be safe. I'm not falling for that. So that really made my day. Fucking charging me in error. What a load of bullshit. I'm not living on Tesco Value kidney beans right now to have an "arrangement fee" of £25 be taken out my account. And a valuable lesson learnt: Those idiots that they put at the front of banks, really have no idea what they're doing. He was telling me to call India and cancel my overdraft to avoid this £25 charge. I never listened to these idiots before. Now I definitely won't be.

What the fuck is this £25 for anyway? A fucking arrangement fee. Does it really cost £25 to change a number on a damn computer? Fucking HSBC. They just rape people for their money. I'm quite proud I'll be taking £1,500 from them and investing it myself. I'm actually getting the better of them. Fucking arrangement fee. What a load of bullshit.

After that this hot chic starts asking me about if I want any help with investing my recently matured deposit bond. Even though she's hot, I take a lot of glee in informing her that I'm investing it all in other banks, because they're better. My new ISA lets me transfer my money out from my HSBC ISA, to that ISA. HSBC's e-ISA doesn't do that. "Oh," she says, "that's just our terms and conditions." Yeah don't I fucking know it. Your screw people over document. Though I can't be too mean to them. I'll be earning upwards of £90 per year in interest from this £1,500 they're kindly giving to me, so it's all good. It doesn't mean I like them.

money, pound coins, sterling So that was twice in as many days I had disputes with companies over the money they're giving me. Firstly, those son's of bitches at Party Poker robbed me of my $5, and then sent a apology. Try playing that at a damn poker table. Then HSBC "accidentally" tries to charge me £25. After all that, if they had refused to waive the charge, I would have paid it anyway. This overdraft is worth £90+ to me each year. A £25 investment is financially worthwile. I won't be telling them that though.

That was my fun for today. I did also find the time to make some further website updates to go with yesterday's exploits. First off, a link to the Mozilla Firefox download page is now included in the downloads section. Before I started making a website, I noticed subtle improvements of Mozilla over Internet Explorer. Since I've been making and testing a website though, you notice so much more. Mozilla is a far superior product, and the one I'm largely using to test this website, so it is in my interest to get as many people using it as possible. Code such as style="text-decoration:blink", that makes text flash or blink, I have started using in places on this site, most recently in the pages successive to the forms I've newly added. This code doesn't work in IE, so the look of the site deteriorates in Internet Explorer. Not only that, you have to give permission for the shark swimming, and the buttons changing colour when the mouse is over them and things like that. To view this site in IE is just less of an experience that through Mozilla, which is why I am promoting them. I did realise today that the code rel="external" doesn't actually work in Mozilla, but it does in IE, so there's to show I'm not being bias. It doesn't matter because other code does the same thing, but just something I noticed.

Then I've added Feedzilla to the links page. A resource I find exceptionally useful, and think that others will, gets added to links. I use Feedzilla for the news feeds on this site, so I figure other people may be able to make use of it. Speaking of news feeds, I have now added a travel news section, so avaiable news on this website is now 'headline news, NFL news and travel news'. Seeing as this is a travel website, it seemed appropriate. I'm not sure how much world travel news there actually is everyday, but we'll find out I guess.

Now that the photo gallery now links back to the main website, I no longer have it open up in a new window. You still have to click through on the photos page to get there, but it opens in the same window. It will be less of an annoyance to people this way, and will save any problems that pop-up blockers may have posed. And finally, the extras page and webcam page, and all associated files have been permanently deleted, so there is no turning back for these pages. It's been a pretty productive couple of days for this website. There is still things to be done, but I finally feel, after 9 or 10 months since I started learning HTML, that the website is approaching where I want it to be when I leave to travel. There are no longer any unnecessary pages, yet all of the pages I have provide content that might be of interest to people, and it is all as updated as it can be. All the hostel details on the hostel page are there for example. My profile is uncecessary, but that is more of a hidden page, so I don't mind that. The only other page with any controvesy, is the forum. Why do I need it? What are people ever going to discuss in this forum? It could be useful if I ever get a significant amount of traffic. But right now, it just sits there idly. And for a new viewer of this site, what will they see? That I am still the only memeber of the forum, and the only person to post there. It just says to them, "this site is shit. No one goes here." I think I'll still keep it for now, but if in 6 months that is still the case, I'll be tempted to get rid of it. I even have messages in the guestbook now, so although it isn't bustling with activity, at least people won't see an empty page. Keeping the forum, it definitely needs formatting, much like the gallery just was. I need the background turned black, I need the site logo in the corner, and I need it to link back to the main website. I think I need to visit another forum for help to get this forum sorted. That's my main grievance with the site at the moment. A few other sections need minor touching-up, but other than that, it's nearly ready for travel.

That really has been my last couple of days. I went for a walk and I shouted at this retard in the bank. The rest has been sat in front of this laptop. Though like I said, it was pretty rewarding when I got those forms working and my subscription "system" all set up. I've had time to keep an eye on the news though, and as I always seem to, I have an opinion on most of it.

Polar bears Firstly, the environment. In one hand, you have 1,000,000 people in Texas having to evacuate because hurricane Ike is heading their way. This after it caused mass devastation in the Caribbean. On the other hand, you have a 5 country dispute over the border rights of the Arctic, because of the available oil the melting ice caps will expose. This 5 nation dispute includes the US, whom having just dealt with the evacuation of New Orleans, is now evacuating in Texas. When are they going to learn, that it is the use of this oil, that is causing these increased storms, and problems for so many of their citizens. It exposes the sickening, greedy nature of mankind, that the destruction of a habitat due to human activity that has been there for millions of years, is greeted not by the search for a resolution or by regret at the loss of wildlife, rather a "what's in it for me" attitude. How can I profit from the destruction of the arctic? It's vile. Makes me ashamed to be a part of this species.

Large Hadron Collider If it wasn't enough that we're destoying the world that way, we've also decided to create a black-hole machine. I won't lie, I know comparatively little about this story to recreate the physical reaction of the big-bang, but it can't end well. There's possibilities we could create black holes that could swallow the earth by my understanding. How will that ever end well for anyone? A girl in India has actually commit suicide amid her fears that this experiment would end the world. We'll see how this goes. From what I do know, it actually sounds an impressive experiment... things are actually going to be travelling at the speed of light from what I understand. I should probably look more into it. One thing I do know, is that it's being conducted on the French border, so if we do destroy the world, we can take comfort in knowing that France went first.

"Gordon" on kent power station protest. Greenpeace. In a rare victory for the environment, a group of hippies were cleared after causing £30,000 worth of damage to a coal-fired powerstation, on the grounds that it's aim was to prevent damaging emissions. Therefore, as I see it, any coal-fired powerstation is now fair-game. Just claim it's fucking with the environment, and you can do what you want to it. More coal-fired power stations: These are the actions of Gordon "Green" Brown. Once George Bush goes, he'll be the new retard in world politics. I love the E.ON spokeswoman's comment "We respect people's right to protest, but what Greenpeace did was hugely irresponsible." Translated, this basically means, people can stand in the street and hold up signs, but when they do something that actually has an impact on the cause they're fighting for, this affects E.ON's already excessive profits seeing as we're heading into a recession and we're overcharging people for electricity. This is unacceptable to us, as although it may destroy the environment and the planet we live on, these profits mean we can afford Cristal for the Christmas party, which is what we really want. Fuck the environment.

A day after this announcement, our retard leader Brown turned up with a £910 million package to help those struggling with paying energy bills. Am I missing something, or did Brown not see the profits these companies announced not too long ago. These companies are simultaneously raising prices, and announcing huge profits... and why haven't they been charged with collusion yet? And they have to pay a measly £910 million to help people that they've just fleeced billions out of. It's bullshit. You cannot privatise essential resources such as water and energy, because private companies invest for profit. Therefore, they are taking money from the hands of the people, and giving it to their shareholders, just for customers to receive necessary resources. These industries should never have been privatised. And this "action plan" is nothing but a small Sorry world percentage of the money that should be in the pockets of the people. When the fuck are we going to have a leader that has the balls to actually stand up to these companies, and do what's right by the people that elected him. Wait, we didn't elect him. So why is he there exactly? Oh that's right, our flawless fucking democracy.

Speaking of which, I am begging to America, don't be retards at your presidential election 3 times in a row. The world hates you enough already. Do not allow McCain and that damn pig in lipstick Palin into the Whitehouse. You already had to apologise after the last election (see here). Don't make the same mistake again. It's not that hard. You just tick the box that says Obama, and people might start to harbour some degree, however small, of respect for you again. As Obama said, "You can put lipstick on a pig. It's still a pig." He may not have been referring to McCain, but George Bush in a McCain mask, is still George Bush. The world hates you already, just have some common-sense and vote democrat. I'm begging you. Don't fuck this up like everything else.

And finally, if we didn't know it already, Britain is going to fall into recession later this year. That the prediction of the European Commission. It's not all bad though, we're taking Germany down with us, so we can take joy watching them suffer as we're doing so. That's me done.

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