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June 2003 News Archive

June 27, 2003 3:12 PM by Glenn Slayden   Ehk reads the dictionary

Uploaded version 1 of "Ehk reads the dictionary" to the dictionary page. Thanks to John Patten for more great work on these drawings.

Started work on the chat application, which I hope will cause quite a stir.

Added some more "friendly" URL remappings.

June 25, 2003 4:14 PM by Glenn Slayden   Blog Integration Complete

I've completed and tested most of the new site news mini-site. I hope I didn't break the RSS feeds. Still need to remap the extended latin characters.

June 24, 2003 11:29 PM by Glenn Slayden   Site News/Blog Integration

Work is in-progress on the new site news mini-site, using a design-as-you-go methodology. Wrote a new section on syndication, and created the navigation tabs for the site news page.

I also just realized that since I'm not using the URLs generated by MovableType template tags, I'm also going to have to change the RSS feed templates. If there's not enough flexibility in the MTEntryID tag (which is probably the only one I'll be able to use) then I may have to resort to URL remapping.

Earlier today, I replaced the Ehk headshot on the site's home page with a new shaded version.

June 23, 2003 7:32 PM by Glenn Slayden   Up Next: Blog Integration

The next step will be to create a set of MovableType templates which will render this site news blog into server-side ASP include files, rather than full-blown HTML files.

This will bring up the encoding issue again, but this time I'll be prepared: I know that I'll have to programmatically explicitly escape (i.e. replace with HTML entites) any extended Latin characters in the incoming blog data (UTF-8) before writing it to the final TIS-620-encoded page. I vaguely recall that there might be a Win32 API for doing this, perhaps in the Http functions.

Note that the incoming Thai characters should map fine without any intervention.

June 23, 2003 2:57 PM by Glenn Slayden   Introducing Khun Ehk

In association with John Patten Multimedia Designs, we're developing a gang of cartoon characters to be your hosts as you use our website. Today we are happy to introduce Ehk (version 1.0) on our homepage. We're planning to be slowly developing and adding other characters over time until we have a small cast of friends who will enhance your experience on the site.

June 22, 2003 11:49 PM by Glenn Slayden   XML Encoding Ordeal

What an ordeal. I battled with what encoding to specify for the RSS feeds, the blogs, and my authored XML files.

I tried a couple different RSS news aggregators (Feedreader 2.5.610 and Amphetanews) and couldn't get TIS-620 encoding to work. At this time, there aren't very many Thai RSS feeds to copy from.

The only compromise that seems workable is to set the MovableType Blog encoding to UTF-8. This means that any Thai characters which I wish to write in the Blog must be escaped like so: ก for ก. Geez.

With the hope of salvaging the ability to see the Thai I'm entering, I did investigate to see if 2-byte UTF-8 sequences can be typed instead in the Blog admin tools, but they get garbled upon re-display—no dice.

The other related problem was that some of my manually-authored XML gets programmatically written out of a (Unicode) XMLDOM object to the TIS-620-encoded pages of This causes non-Thai extended Latin characters to be lost. Obviously, changing the encoding of the actual site pages is not an option. I solved this by authoring the source with CDATA sections around the escapes such as é. Using CDATA like this for the European characters means that these XML files can retain the TIS-620 encoding (if they're not involved in RSS syndication).

Another choice would have been to programmatically scan for the extended Latin characters, and replace with the entities just before writing to the TIS-620 sink. Such code will eventually be needed for when the original XML source isn't under my direct authoring control, but for this first test case, I figured it's more efficient to author-in the CDATAs, and then have them passed transparently through the XMLDOM—than to run a search-and-replace on every single string as it gets fetched out of XMLDOM and into the final document.

All of this took many, many hours so now it's time to wait for the dust to settle and survey where we're at.

June 21, 2003 7:18 PM by Glenn Slayden   Brrrr...

When someone submitted us a quick-survey result claiming they hailed from Antarctica, I was naturally skeptical until I ran their IP through the cool city-level tracker from Maxmind GeoIP which confirmed a visitor from the US Antarctic Program at McMurdo Station, Antarctica. Well geez, that's some kind of record. And it's midwinter down there too, so someone's probably stuck for a long haul. Anyway, welcome to our mystery visitor from way down under.

June 21, 2003 7:10 PM by Glenn Slayden   Now Blogging!

Welcome to the new Weblog version of the site news!

For those of you who don't know, a Weblog, or "blog" is content management software which makes it easy to publish news-like (periodical) information to a website. Using a standard called RSS, these articles are then also syndicated as "feeds" to many different types of newsfeed clients.

We have selected MovableType for our site-news blog. This new system provides several advantages over the previous static HTML site news section, not the least of which is that I get to learn what a weblog is and how to set one up. I'd say it's a pretty involved process—it took me a couple days to get it going. As a bonus, I was also required to install MySql and various Perl modules.

Hard-core fans of will now be able to subscribe to a syndicated RSS 2.0 or RSS 1.0 feed of our site news into the RSS client of their choice. Two that I've tested are Feedreader and Amphetadesk.

I also hope that this new format will encourage me to keep more detailed records of the growth of As the site grows world-famous, such historical records may prove valuable.

June 18, 2003 12:00 PM by Glenn Slayden   Geography

Uploaded many new entries, especially countries and capitals of the world, now 20624 entries.

June 13, 2003 12:00 PM by Glenn Slayden   Miscellaneous Cleanup

Uploaded new entries; some application of new DBE Style guide.

June 10, 2003 12:00 PM by Glenn Slayden   Credit Card Donations

I created a secure page for those of you who have asked about direct credit card donations to our website. You can now contribute any amount you want by visiting here. The donation page is secured with gs-productions' SSL certificate.

Some of you have also discovered the brand new control panel, which allows you to customize the colors and other features of on your computer. I added a few more options to it today. Feel free to play with it and let me know if you discover any problems. Thanks.

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