Misconceptions misnumbering

Jill is working on a new topic (

Processes that shape the earth/Plate Tectonics Version II (PT)) which shares a number of misconceptions with another topic (Earth Science: Processes that shape the Earth / Plate Tectonics (EP)).

Problem: She changed the topic of those misconceptions believing it would be available to both topics. Once she realized this was not the case, she changed the topic back, but the numbering was off.

Solution: She provided me a list of which misconceptions were out of sync. Because adding a misconception involves updating multiple tables I actually had to add the misconceptions through the Item interface and then change the numbering on the backend.

Conclusion: The conclusion is that the conclusion is pretty obvious. This functionality needs to be revised. Changing the topic of a misconception has considerable consequences throughout the Items utility, so I think it may be necessary to add an additional step to this process. For example, have the current topic displayed along with a check box and a disabled/hidden topic menu. Then use the checkbox to enable/disable the menu and possibly some kind of textual warning (“Changing this is likely to break something.”).

Another note is that the ‘code’ column denoting the numbering sequence is not a unique column so we could have the numbering be editable on the interface. Although this could have some duplication complications.

I also found it strange that when submitting a new misconception, there is no notification and you are not redirected back to the miscon list. I found out the hard way that once you submit a misconception you are essentially in edit mode (not Add New Miscon anymore) and any changes made are being made to the record you just added. It wasn’t obvious to me the difference between Add and Edit mode.

Updates to field test registrant_list_demo

As I was meddling with registrant_list_demo.php I found that the demographics were not showing up for any of my test cases.  I was under the mistaken impression this data was obtained from an external server, but it is actually taken from a data dump from the nces stored on our server in a database called ‘demographics’ (go figure).  The demographics data appears to be sorted by zip code.  I am surmising that this data dump is requested from nces after the registration process is complete and an updated list of zip codes has been generated. 

I’m sure Mr. Sweeney can provide details of this request procedure upon his return.  The demographics script is working fine, but the demographics data is most likely out if date.  Cari indicated the demographics data will not be needed for a few weeks.

Updates to field test registrant_list

When I first opened up the register dir I found register.php, review.php and review.v1.php.  Based on script and notes in the script the registration and review registration processes were consolidatedby Mr. Sweeney in register.php, but perhaps at one point they were separate.  review.php and review.v1.php turned out to be the registrant listing scripts. 

This names were confusing so I renamed them to registrant_list.php and registrant_list_demo.php (demographics).

I added a filter (by year) to limit output results.  However it is not technically filtering by year.  There was already a date limit written into the existing query (2007-04-27, I think) which I used as the start range marker for 2007.  The start range for 2008 is 2008-01-01.  The messy part is that everything prior to 2007-04-27 is marked as 2006 in the filter when in fact the records only go back to 2007-04-17.  I expect to be working on this script again in the near future (see “Updates to field test registrant_list_demo”) at which point I will probably change the filter to just ‘Prior’.

image upload problem (New Items)

The researchers reported a problem uploading images while using the Add New Items section of the Items Utility.  

The researchers were unable to access the upload server directory via the fckeditor (from the fck interface, hit image upload icon and then ‘browse’ server… js error, popup interface is non-functional).  Error messages indicated a connector error.  I traced this to a setting in the fckconfig.js.  The fileBrowserLanguage setting was set to asp instead of php.  In addition, I found there were some other mods missing.  Somehow fckconfig.js was reverted back to an earlier/original version.

I found a more recent version on my local machine (last update 5/2007) which seemed to correct the problem.  However, I’m not sure when I downloaded my version (so I don’t know how old it is), and I don’t know if BS has made any revisions since 5/2007. 

This is the version I uploaded: fckconfig

Dreamweaver Instability

Lately I haven’t been able to use Dreamweaver to edit ASP or PHP pages without it crashing. After a quick search of the web I found that this is a known problem with a fairly simple solution. See the following KB from Adobe: Dreamweaver CS3 crashes after Daylight Savings Time ends.

The title of the post doesn’t really seem relevant at first, but a quick read of the content of the KB shows it to be exactly the problem I was encountering.

Found via Blogvaria.

Better cross-browser support when saving to SVG from Illustrator

Because of Mozilla’s compliance with W3C-CSS, entities, CSS, and style-attributes require units when measurements are expressed. Hence, “font-size:4.1898;” is invalid syntax. To ensure proper rendering, first add “px” to all font-sizes in order to get strings like “font-size:4.1898px;”. The second possibilty is to export with “presentation attributes” as in attribute-style writing (XML) –no uni are needed as long as they are expressed in the main coordinate system, but this results in larger files.

Use these Save a Copy settings:
DTD: 1.1
Text: SVG
Subsetting: none (system fonts)
DO NOT Preserve Illustrator Editing Capabilities
CSS: Style Elements (generates a set of 25 style definitions in the file header) –> make sure to add px units
3 decimal places
Uncheck: Optimize for ASV, Include Adobe Graphics Server data, Include Slicing Data, and Include XMP
Check: Output fewer <tspan> elements and Use <textPath> elements.

Working with OAI

We’ve been helping with the development of the PRISMS resource review utility and public interface.

Our most recent task was to find a way to provide access to the data in an exchange format compatible with the NSDL. To do this we were looking for a PHP-based OAI provider that could interface with our MySQL database. We found a capable application in the work of Heinrich Stamerjohanns. He has put together a set of PHP scripts which provides exactly the kind of functionality we needed.

Continue reading Working with OAI

Some issues with Illustrator CS3 for Windows

1. I have yet to find an option to keep BOTH Acrobat 7 Professional and Acrobat 8 Professional (part of the CS3 Web Premium suite) on the same PC. I noticed that during installation, the installer tells you that v7 will be removed. If this is indeed the only option, I think this is a bad decision and poor PR on Adobe’s part.

2. It would seem that Illustrator CS3 is significantly slower than CS2, so I tried briefly doing some of our poster preparation work in the latter. However, when you save the file, Illustrator CS3 automatically opens it! This doesn’t happen when you choose Save As from CS2. We are investing on more memory to max out our current RAM to 4GB total, which will hopefully improve the performance of CS3.

3. SVG support is (thankfully) retained in CS3.