Hey there, this site is pretty old now. I've decided to leave it up as I put a lot of work into it and would hate to see it disappear.


Neal is... Status Update

Mar 04

Ok, it's been awhile since I wrote a blog last (almost a whole month it appears). Life has been crazy, lately, especially at work and I've been pretty stressed out. For the past week or so I've been listening to my "Bob Marley - Greatest Hits" CD alot. Reggae is really slow and relaxing music and it has helped me be less stressed out, I think on some level.

At work we're launching several new websites (many which I'm extremely proud of) and they are all on deadlines. I have two going up next Friday, the 13th (ironic date eh?) and I will post a link to those immediately for all to see. Both sites are where I got started on JQuery with and since then I have been using it alot in different capacities.

Speaking of JQuery I had a hit article last week when I wrote about - CSS Horizontal And Vertical Align JQuery Plugin. Because of that article I ended up nabbing 790 visits last thursday on my site which was really exciting.

Then earlier this week I was checking my Google Analytics stats and noticed some strange URLs in the page report. I then discovered somebody ripped off my site's web design and were going to use it for a client of their's. I then proceeded to call the company up and had a talk with them. Ultimately what happened, is the company ditched the design, lost the client and fired a developer consultant. On the flip side I wrote an article about my experience which then brought in another 758 visits this tuesday so my website has been really really busy lately, even to the point of going down more than normal.


Also, a friend and former co-worker of mine; Eric Lightbody just launched his new website ericlightbody.com. The site runs off of WordPress, but Eric did the majority of the coding himself. I've been pestering him for the last several months to finish his website and now it's finally up. He did a really great job so everyone check him out, and if you like it, subscribe to his RSS feed.

Switching over to personal life, this weekend I was really busy as well. On saturday I went to a gun show in Oshkosh with my dad. I got a picture of a FN-P90 which is basically the RC-P90 from Goldeneye/Perfect Dark. Then after that I went to the Parade of Homes with my parents which I've posted some pictures of those in my photo gallery as well. Then if I hadn't done enough Tyler called me up and wanted to know if I wanted to go see Friday the 13th with him in Madison. I wasn't too keen on driving down there and back in one night so I ended up staying the night down there in his sweet new apartment.

All my running around this weekend was fun, but depressing at the same time because money is getting really tight for me. I changed my withholding allowances at work and it has pretty brought me to $0 leftover per month now. There is also alot of chatter at work that could ultimately lead to me making less money a month which would then put me in the red. Hopefully it doesn't come to that so let's keep our fingers crossed.

On house news, I've had numerous showings. Almost every weekend I get kicked out of my house at least one day either for an open house or a showing. So far I haven't received an offer on it but it does appear that things are picking up a bit. I really don't want to live in my house anymore. For the first week after things hit the fan I was considering it, but at that point I really hadn't looked over my financial situation yet. After realizing that having no money with a nice house or having money with a typical apartment, the choice seemed pretty obvious that I had to sell my house....well our house since it's only 50% my house, I'm just the caretaker, and the dude making the payments right now. I'll miss it but it is really just a giant burden and is stressing me out alot! My house + work + divorce is definitely taking a toll on me and I hope the madness will be over soon.

Wow, I managed to ramble on alot there, until next time...


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Website Updates

Feb 08

I made a few changes to my website so I figured I'd blog about it. Maybe while I'm rambling on about it I'll find something else to write about as well.

Anyway(s) I recently started tinkering with a JavaScript framework at work called JQuery. I'm not completely sure why I picked JQuery, perhaps to be different than Eric who did most of our current JavaScript (which I have no idea what's going on in most the code he wrote) or it could be because I've been a RSS subscriber of John Resig for a long time and inadvertently found out, he is the creator of JQuery. I think my main reason is that JQuery seems tailored for CSS people like myself, and I like how small the framework can be (about 50K).

While I'm no expert at it yet, I have figured out how to do a few tricks here and there. I added some nice effects to my toolbar, navigation, and actions dropdown menus. I personally like the toolbar effect the most which you can demo at the top of my screen (it's a little green & white star). Some the other effects I had to pull from IE6 & IE7 since they were choking on the transparent pngs (yes I know there are fixes out there for this but this is a different situation).

I also have implemented my new code block styling technique which I have been working on and off for a few months now. This is another one of those things that won't work in IE6 or IE7 but I have reverted the old styling to those browsers as a fallback. For people with browsers that don't suck you will now get line numbers for code blocks. This is accomplished with some unordingary CSS via css counters and css generated content.

I'm also pretty excited about my CSS Diagnostics article. It got picked up by a pretty well known web designer by the name of Roger Johansson at the website 456bereastreet.com. I've been an avid reader of his blog and mentioned to him awhile back about my CSS Diagnostics article. A few months later I was checking my RSS feeds and noticed he mentioned me!

Last Thursday my site got 407 visits and on Friday I got 458 visits. This weekend I have enjoyed higher visits than normal as well. I also saw my RSS subscription counter go up to 35 subscribers. Due to this I quickly pumped out another article hoping to keep the subscribers happy. This is probably the second biggest event my website has seen since I've started writing articles and I'm very excited about it.

Writing articles on cascading style sheets is one of those areas in life that makes me proud and I would someday like to have some sort of impact on the CSS community. Having had a few of my articles get picked up on larger sites is a good start for me to achieve that goal.

As far as site content updates go, I finally added a new review after months of letting that go, and I added a new video of the monster truck show we went to this weekend in Green Bay.

The show was fun. Tyler had car troubles and we had to pick him up on the way there and ended up getting there 30 minutes late. I was impressed this year with the motocross bikes as they seemed to pull of some more risky stunts than they have in the past years.

Well that's all for now.

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Relationship Ramblings

Feb 05

Well it's been about a month since I've posted a new blog which is a really long time for me. I probably would have posted one earlier but I didn't have much to write about. Probably the only life-related news I have to talk about is 1. my sister is having a boy and 2. I will be a single man again June 15th @ 3pm.

It's been a roller coaster ride on the relationship side of things. For the first few weeks I was getting over the shock of coming home and being the only person there (and eventually the only life form there.) My first reaction was "crap, I need wife" (the third and fourth digits are a security update). That wore off shortly and I started whole heartedly embracing the single life, which minus a few bumps towards the end of January, is still my opinion. I find that if you surround yourself with other people's failed relationships, you enjoy being single a lot more. Ironically most people aren't even aware that their relationship will eventually fail, but from the outside you can usually tell. After all only 50% of marriages are going to work out.

It's all those little things I hear people in relationships complaining about that get to me. You know "X doesn't let me watch that TV show on Thursdays" or "sorry I can't hang out with you because I'm stuck doing __ with X" or "I'm in a bad mood today because I got in a fight with X last night and slept on the couch. "

One way to look at it is I work 40 hours a week which if you tack on driving time its actually 45 hours a week. That means that I really only have 25 hours during the week and 24 hours on the weekends of time to do what I want with so 49 hours in all. I'm automatically going to want half of that time to do what Neal wants and not what some other person wants me to do, so really there's only 25 hours a week that I need to keep myself entertained to be happy and lead a fulfilling life. That's only 3.5 hours a day which isn't that difficult for me to occupy with something to do. It could be as easy as doing side website jobs or calling up my friends or family and seeing what they're doing.

The moral of my story is when you're in a relationship, you have no free time to do what you want, and when you're single you have too much free time to do what you want. Take your pick.

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NealGrosskopf.com 2008 Year In Review

Jan 07

Intro: I was originally going post a crap load of statistics for this post but as of late, I can't movtivate myself enough to gather them all up since pretty much all of my free time has gone to Grand Theft Auto IV now. Regardless here is the unfinished post.

Well another year has passed by for NealGrosskopf.com. This year saw another redesign of my website back in June and I've been staying on track of a redesign every year now. I thought since I have a full year's worth of analytics from Google Analytics, I'd list off a few statistics from 2008 regarding my website. Maybe some of these will surprise and maybe they won't, we'll see.

2008 Statistics for NealGrosskopf.com

Top Search Phrases:

  1. jack handey quotes: 507
  2. jack handy quotes: 352
  3. nealgrosskopf: 73
  4. firefox css hack: 68
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Website Updates

Dec 26

I thought I'd write up a blog regarding website updates that I've made recently. I have a great deal of time that I didn't have 2 months ago so I can start making some improvements to my site again and I have been browsing around it a lot lately looking for things to improve.

One example is I have brought back the ability to edit Message Board posts again. It was a page/process that I was too lazy to convert over, back in June when I re-designed my site. A couple weeks ago I converted that feature over. One thing I changed, is I completely threw out the stupid, separate page that people would have to use to edit posts. Instead I created a new, shiny, inline method of editing message board posts. Simply login, and browse to a thread reply and click the "edit" button, this will convert your comment into a textarea inline. After that just hit submit and it will update the comment. I stole this idea from Facebook, and I'm surprised more websites don't do something similar to this.

Also in my designs section, I re-did/deleted several pages. I noticed that a lot of my Geek Speak traffic was heading to my designs section after reading an article, and that section was done very lousy and more or less as an after-thought. Now when you visit the section, it will do a flashy popup box and the page actually contains screenshots of websites I've done rather than just a link to them.

Next, I made the videos in my Open Videos section widescreen. I noticed that YouTube has changed the size of all their video boxes on their site so I figured I would as well. I sort of like it, simply because it fills up my content space better and it looks a bit different than the normal YouTube embeded video box. Make sure to check out some of the new videos I've posted, most which are of me playing guitar (yes, I have a lot of free time, and I like it). On a side note, I've been trying to create some new music lately, and have also been revisiting a lot of songs I wrote in the pre-2005 days.

Another section I looked at on NealGrosskopf.com was my Photo Gallery section. I've noticed a lot of people that come to my website, visit that section. It's probably the second most used section. Depending on what browser you're using, you may see a totally cool hover box show up when you hover over a thumbnail image. I think I spent an entire night creating and tweaking this feature. It uses only CSS and originally I wanted to do it in an even more "CSS" way but the browser support isn't there yet.

Another thing I updated is, I completely ditched the "my photos" pages that were buried in the files section. Most of the photos were from 2005 or 2004 and were of my friends and I or the really early stuff of Emily and I. I decided I didn't want to just throw out all these pictures so instead, I "sucked" them all into my photo gallery. My next problem was I didn't want them to appear as if there were recent photos (because good god, they aren't) so I did some SQL hackery and got them stuck at the end rather than the front of the query. I think this section was also the pre-beta-alpha version of my Photo Gallery so it made sense to just incorporate it into that.

Finally, I have hopefully made my site more "IE6 friendly". I was never able to install Multiple-IEs on my computer because it hasn't been released for Windows Vista yet, but I recently found an even better program for testing in IE which comes with 5.5, 6, 7, and 8 beta! It's called IE-Tester and it is totally awesome. It allows me to open up different IE instances in separate tabs in one browser! This is especially useful for IE6, IE7 and IE8 which can't be installed simultaneously. I've also noticed that is a much more accurate representation of IEs rendering than Multiple-IEs was. My site looks pretty crappy in IE6 and I really don't know why anyone would go through the pain of using that browser, but yeah, I still get 10-20% of people using it.

I'll probably write up a blog next week summarizing Christmas and vacation, and also expect a totally, super, uber cool blog post after the first of the year summarizing 2008 related to my website and life in general.

Seacrest, out.

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