2009 News Archive
Past news items regarding me, this website, or this hobby, can be found below in descending order, latest news at the top. Be aware that there may be some scrolling involved. When this archive gets large enough, I intend to condense the articles into groups according to specific date ranges.
05/5/2009: Performed a few minor tweaks to the site, and one rather large change. The minor changes included the addition of an address bar logo to each page (short-cut icon or favicon). A rather neat little trick I was made aware of courtesy of the members of the rec.antique.radio+phono news group...thanks guys. Doesn't provide any more functionality or information, but does look interesting, and acts as a unique site logo easily identifiable within a list of other sites in someones Bookmarks. Using a Linux editor named KIconEdit, I took as the base graphic one of the old Clough Brengle logos that I had previously scanned, then modified it with the initials TE instead of CB. Further tinkering enhanced the readability and clarity of the finished icon.
The big change is another one which is invisible to the viewer. After much consideration and study, I decided to transfer version control of the website from CVS to Subversion. There are numerous reasons for the change, most of which is added functionality and ease of use, but the major one from my perspective was the seamless manner in which Subversion handles binary files versus CVS. The transfer is now complete, and there are no problems to report. I highly reccommend the application to those who need a versioning system.
The other changes occurring are still in-process. One is the design of a graphical banner, instead of the text version for the top of each page. I have toyed with several iterations and styles, but have yet to be pleased with the results. The final proposed site mod. is one which will take some time to deploy, and I am quite uncertain at this point as to whether I will even make the change. That is the conversion of site construction and design from my web IDE to a CMS (Content Management System) system. After having been suggested by one of the posters on RARP (rec.antique.radios+phono), I have been investigating the various CMS solutions available, and have settled on the Plone + Zope combination. Fully open-source, Linux based, and employing Python, the application is held in high regard by many in the CMS field. The jury is still out as to whether future site development will shift from my trusty Quanta to Plone, as much study needs to be undertaken yet.
05/5/2009: Incorporated several changes recently, the most visible of which to the viewer is the inclusion of a "splash page" to the site. Using a client-pull webpage, a visitor is first presented with a large, high-quality image of the "Winged Messenger" graphic, along with an invitation to "enter the world of vacuum tubes", instead of going directly to the main page. After approximately 10 seconds, the "splash" automatically refreshes and then presents the main site page. While frowned upon by some web design purists and website hosting companies, I felt the effect was both interesting, and enticing to the newcomer. However, if one wishes to enter the site without waiting, they just need to click on the "Enter into the World..." phrase to go immediately to the main page.
Other improvements are in the area of graphics. I have been scanning and modifying digital images from various Clough-Brengle manuals and documents, and employing them as a sort of "bling" to different C-B pages. On pages describing older C-B units, I have incorporated the old "Winged" C-B logo along with banners from the era. On newer pieces of equipment, those of post-war production, I have included the more modern logos and banners found in the documents from that period. Additionally, since I have yet to procure a replacement digital camera, I have taken the liberty of scanning off period promotional photographs of both the Clough Brengle Model 411 and Model 299A oscillators. This allows viewers to see what the units looked like, and fills the image holes on the Clough Brengle main page. Once I have procured a new camera, these images will be replaced with photos of the actual units in my possession. The last changes are not visible to the viewer at all, but dramatically improves tracking of modifications and revisions to the website and it's individual pages. This is the institution of the CVS revisioning control system. Now, I have the ability to easily monitor page changes, compare current with older versions, and if need be, roll-back to a previous iteration of the site.
04/30/2009: Have not done much upgrading of the website until today, as I have had to repair a Crate guitar amp for someone. Be that as it may, the upgrades and modifications to the site are mostly unseen. After reviewing the basic construction as it stood, I came to the conclusion that the structure of the pages, codewise, was a kludge at best. I therefore reworked the header coding, and placed more control of element positioning in the CSS page, instead of the html pages (which is how it is supposed to be). This way, I have more flexibility when changing the site design, and will require less typing to effect those changes I may decide to implement. Also instituted a small fix regarding borders on graphics that are links. I had noticed that some of the photos were missing the borders, so I tracked down the offending lines of code, and removed the 'border=0' phrase. Lastly, I changed the header graphic link (the "Winged Messenger of Radio" in the upper left-hand corner of each page) to point to a separate page that displays the entire cover for the November, 1925 Radio Broadcast magazine from whence the image came.
04/24/2009: Constructed blank pages from template for all of the missing Clough Brengle and table top radio pages. Ran KLinkStatus, a KDE/Linux link checker on the whole site. All links now point to a valid page. Many pages are just skeletal, but at least the dreaded 404 page doesn't come up. On the main site page, I added some more explanatory text describing thermionic emissions phenomena, along with a line drawing of a beam-power tube. The drawing graphically illustrates emissions and, in my view, is worth a thousand words. The last of today's additions is a small horizontal menu along the bottom of each page. This menu facilitates the ease in which a visitor can navigate to another portion of the site when at the bottom of a long page, minimizing scrolling and back-button use.
04/23/2009: Because I can't leave well enough alone, I have dinked again with the main menu alignment, and added borders of varying width. I feel the change adds somewhat to the appearance, and the organization of the pages. Also added a News Archive (see above note). A further addition to the site, is a page devoted to the Clough Brengle 79B audio oscillator with descriptive narrative. Now if you click on the 79B photo or link, you will be directed to the appropriate page instead of a 404. Going forward, I am presently investigating search engines for addition to the site. Since many either cost money, or blast your pages with ads, I may have to construct one of my own. What I want has to be functional, yet unobtrusive. Another function I seek to incorporate, is some sort of sign-in/comments function. Have not decided how to go with that yet. Will keep everyone posted.
04/22/2009: Spent some more time formatting the left-hand main menu, increasing the sub-menu bold (was not very bold in IE), adjusting the vertical spacing of the headings, and placement of the menu with regards to the heading elements. Have also added the page for the Model OM frequency modulator, along with a photo of the unit. Other additions include repairing the link to the OM under the Projects heading, and placing a couple of photos with explanatory dialog on the Projects page. Along with the above, web pages with some photos have been constructed for the Model 182A and the Model 125A audio oscillator and tube tester respectively. I still have numerous pages and photos to create however, I am fast running up against a wall until I can secure a replacement for my busted digital camera. Finally, I have completed running HTML Tidy on all pages, and have repaired the errors. About half of the pages published thus far, have had the HTML Validator from W3C ran on them and corrected. The remaining pages have mostly petty errors and warnings. The result is that now, you can view the entire site on most all browsers without breakage.
04/19/2009: Fixed more errors on all of the site pages. Ran the program HTML Tidy to nail down incorrect HTML tags and code. Changed the entire site's DTD to HTML 4.01 for consistency and as a baseline or starting point for future upgrades. Will eventually upgrade the individual pages as I roll out more functionality with the ultimate goal of employing XHTML and other improvements. Have also began validating the pages with the W3C Markup Validation Service. The CSS sheets are already in compliance, and about half of the HTML pages are complete. Should begin to see a marked improvement in page rendering across most all browsers now. The last thing I have done for the evening, before my eyes dropped out and bounced across the keyboard, was to add a sub-menu to the Clough-Brengle link on all of the left-hand main menus. This facilitates rapidly selecting a specific class of C-B equipment. When a sub-link is clicked, your browser transports you to the class heading within the main C-B page.
04/17/2009: Went through every page and used the spell-checker to correct errors. Found several, along with other grammatical errors, should be repaired now. Updated the Copyright year. Added two more links to the Clough-Brengle page. One is for the Model OM frequency modulator, and the other is for the Model 299A signal generator. As of this writing, the pages these links point to have yet to be finished and uploaded, so don't click on them yet. Finally, there were rendering issues when the site pages were being viewed in Internet Explorer. As pointed out to me by a member of the rec.antique.radio+phono newsgroup, when viewing in IE, the burgundy background in the header obscured the top entry on the left-hand main menu. A slight adjustment of table properties resolved that problem. Many thanks to all who have contributed suggestions and observations, such commentary is more helpful than you know.
04/15/2009: Not being able to sleep, I decided to act on an idea for an addition to the site, specifically a page listing the various restorations I am presently, or have in the past, worked on. Appropriately enough, I have entitled it Current/Past Projects. The idea being to record and publish my efforts on the various vintage devices I tackle. I have also added sub-menus to the main menu on the left side of each webpage. This way a visitor may go directly to the specific radio or tester they are interested in without having to "drill down" through the links and pages. Lastly, I fixed some of the grammatical and spelling errors. Notice I said some, I am sure there are others...
04/13/2009: Added quite a bit of content to the site today. Firstly, on the home page I have inserted this Site News section so that visitors may take a quick gander to see if any new information or pictures have been put up. This will alleviate the need for visitors from having to click through the entire site to see if there has been any changes since their last visit. I have also been developing the model pages for each of the individual console radios found on the Consoles page. Now when you click on say, the Silvertone R111, you are directed to the specific R111 webpage. Each of the pages only has the full-size version of the thumb and a short description of the model at present. Much more needs to be added. The Clough Brengle page has been re-written to display properly in Internet Explorer and Opera. When checking layout in various browsers recently, I found that part of the thumbs were falling toward the bottom of the page resulting in a long gap between the Audio Oscillator section and those sections following. I have also inserted a new heading, the Capacitance/Resistance Bridges section, and added a couple of new entries: the Clough Brengle 105 oscillograph (photograph), and the 245 and ZM-11/U capacitance bridges. Further, the 105 'scope now has it's own page with some narrative regarding those models. Bear with me folks, there is lots and lots more to come in the weeks ahead.