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Thomas Stuart Hall

Smarter Agent has a new website

18:19 22 October in General by Thomas

This past Saturday we launched the new Smarter Agent website. Designed by Alison Hinch, with Flash by Nick 'the best damn intern' Mazzetti, constructed and implemented by me, it came online October 17th in all its glory. This is the second time I've rebuilt the site for Smarter Agent, and the first major redesign implementation. It was a good technological leap too, bringing several new functions for customers that should help us serve them better, and platform changes for further improvements in the near future. Its built with a new CMS system, with many custom sections for unique database requirements. I've been doing 'bolt tightening' on it all week, and am excited about the new work this is going to come next. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="The new Smarter Agent site. Click to visit."][/caption] Credits: Alison Hinch Nick 'the best damn intern' Mazzetti...

JavaScript function for blacklisting characters in Unicode

17:18 18 August in Forms, General, JavaScript by Thomas

This is a handy little function I wrote today to help me out with a special text field. This field needs to accept number and letters only, no spaces and no other characters.  There is a var for each character I don't want the field to accept, and there is an array that holds all those vars for the checking loop at the end. Depending on how this field works out, I may need to restore a couple of characters, like '-' and '_', for which all I have to do is remove them from the array. My short hand for the characters may be a little vague, but you can find the Unicode for any character by using the Character Mapper in Windows. function noChars(e) { var keynum; var keychar; if(window.event) // IE { keynum = e.keyCode; } else if(e.which) // Netscape/Firefox/Opera { keynum = e.which; } keychar = String.fromCharCode(keynum); var space = /u0020/; var hash = /u0023/; var exc = /u0021/; var at = /u0040/; var dollar = /u0024/; var perc = /u0025/; var amp = /u0026/; var lper = /u0028/; var rper = /u0029/; var ast = /u002a/; var apos = /u0027/; var lbra = /u007b/; var pipe = /u007c/; var rbra = /u007d/; var cir = /u005e/; var hm = /u002d/; var us = /u005f/; var plus = /u002b/; var equal = /u003d/; var sqrl = /u005b/; var sqrr = /u005d/; var bakslash = /u005c/; var forslash = /u002f/; var dq = /u0022/; var colon = /u003a/; var semi = /u003b/; var ques = /u003f/; var per = /u002e/; var com = /u002c/; var ltag = /u003c/; var rtag = /u003e/; var tld = /u007e/; var acc = /u0060/; var charChecks = new Array(space,hash,exc,at,dollar,perc,amp,lper, rper,ast,apos,lbra,pipe,rbra,cir,hm,us,plus,equal,sqrl,sqrr,bakslash, forslash,dq,colon,semi,ques,per,com,ltag,rtag,tld,acc); var i; for (i=0; i < charChecks.length; i++)...

Knowing you made the right descision… Priceless

12:18 26 July in Hosting by Thomas

Before this site came online yesterday, I used to use another site, hosted at Godaddy. The service with them was fine for a long time, up until about the beginning of this year.  At a certain point, I couldn't load files half of the time.  I would get these random disconnects.  I'm not even sure they would qualify as timeouts, its like the line would just go dead, with no reason why from the server.  I thought it was my computer, or my ISP, but when it began to happen in the office as well as home, I knew the problem was on their end. I wrote a letter detailing the problem, and said to the effect 'don't tell me its my computer, because its not just my computer, but also my work machine, and don't tell me its my ISP, because I don't have the same ISP at work, don't tell me its the program, because I have tried in multiple programs, and don't tell me its my firewall, cause again, I've tried from behind different firewalls.' The letter I got back from them was along the lines of  'please check your setting in Dreamweaver and your firewall'...

The Story of Tas, Part 3: The End

23:13 30 May in Personal by Thomas

Yesterday I woke up and went downstairs to get ready to go to work. I walked into the kitchen with little cats Janet and Maddie dancing around my feet. It was their standard interpretive dance of “Our food bowls are empty, and please fill them or we will be forced to trash the kitchen.” It was a dance I knew well. I reached up to grab the Tupperware container where we kept the cat food. We had to keep the cat food in the contain because Tas and his razor sharp teeth and claws could easily tear open any bag or box of food should he decide it was his time to eat. I filled the bowls, starting with Janet’s as she was going to eat first, no matter what. It was then I did the second hardest thing I had to do all week. I filled the 4th bowl, picked up the 5th and put it in the sink. I tried to do this unconsciously, just like picking up any other dish for washing, and I almost got away with it too. But seeing it in the sink, while the other bowls were still on the floor, stopped me cold. It was a few minutes before I could continue with my morning, make my coffee and leave the house. I just stood there, looking at the bowl, and flashing on 8 years of memories. These memories almost wouldn’t let me go. It had been 3 days since I did the hardest...

The Story of Tas, Part 2: A growing boy

23:10 29 May in Personal by Thomas

In his first few days at the apartment, Tas stayed in the bedroom while we were at work, mostly, and unjustifiably, because we were worried Simbe might eat him. She clearly didn’t like him, but she grew to ignore him, like she has the other cats we’ve taken in since. Upon coming home and opening the bedroom door in the evening, Tas would leap out and attach his claws to my leg, where he would proceed to climb up my entire body, so he could purr in my face and lick my moustache. I started calling him ‘Puppy’ because of this. He did this to my wife as well, although that stopped the day she wore loose sweats, and got ‘pants-ed’ by Tas who was growing bigger by the day. At night Tas would curl up on the pillow next to my face, and as he got bigger, snuggling into my armpit, where he slept part of most nights for his entire life. He was becoming my cat, though he was a gift for my wife. The moment I knew he was my cat took place one afternoon in the living room when Tas was about 6 months old. To stop cats from repeatedly doing bad things, like scratching on furniture, or knocking things off of shelves, it is sometime recommended that one use a squirt gun to shoot water at the offending animal when they have been caught in the act. This is an idea my wife and I adopted...

The Story of Tas, Part 1: Hello There

22:24 09 May in Personal by Thomas

After 9/11, my wife and I were deeply affected, like everyone else in America. All we could do is watch the news, be scared, and theorize about other possible attacks. We were absolute zombies for a week, the TV or the radio, depending on whether we were at home or at work, blaring recriminations, guesses, concerns. We were being driven mad by inches, one channel and one station at a time. A few weeks prior, in the sunny summer of 2001, I met a man down the block by way of one of his children. When walking back from work one afternoon, a small boy, no more than 6 years old perhaps, skidded his bike to a tumbling stop right at my feet. Shocked and concerned, I said “You alright?”, to which the boy meekly replied “No”, in a soft and hurt little voice. I reached down, pulled him and the bike apart and set him on his feet. “Can you walk home with this bike?” I asked him. “No” he said again. I held out my hand, and asked him where he lived. He took my hand and pointed to a house just up the street. I picked up the bike, and held his hand while he limped next to me. As we got closer to the house, I saw another child look at us and go running into the house yelling “Dad!” We came up to the front of the property as ‘Dad’, whom I came to know as Roger, came...