Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Monday 7 December 2009

Light blogging for at least the next week

No surprise there then! In fact my blogging has been VERY sporadic for several weeks now, as a few visitors may have noticed. I'm sorry about this, but 'real life' has a way of butting in so rudely, don't ya know? So, this light blogging will be a feature here for at least the next week or ten days. On the one hand I am somewhat 'stressed' as a result of a rather tricky family matter - my mother moved to live in a care home earlier this year and whilst it is, I think, a pretty decent place both in terms of the care offered and the physical environment of the home (it is warm and comfortable and, according to my mother, the food is of high quality - and my observations bear this out), she has unfortunately taken against it. Some of the reasons which lie behind her attitude I am party to, but I feel we (the family and her social worker) have still to get to the root of some aspects of the problem. Unfortunately the home she wishes to go to does not have vacancies at present and quite apart from that it is a 'residential' rather than a 'care' home according to the arcane definitions that the governing authorities set so is very probably no longer suitable to cater for my mother's much deteriorated physical condition; she is very much 'on the ball' mentally, if a little forgetful. So I've been losing some sleep in recent weeks as a result. Why else would I be on the internet at 1 a.m,? This has been a pretty frequent occurrence of late, I'm afraid - my internal clock is way out of kilter, because of the worry.

The other factor that is contributing to my light blogging of late is a new website I am designing for the 'urbanisation' where I have my Spanish holiday home, to take over from the former website. Whilst it worked, it had a fairly basic, if cumbersome, design. All of the basic design criteria have been ironed out and I have got the username/password script working as it should (for the private part of the site); there are between 500 and 1,000 users so it is not too large a user-base, but it's not tiny either. However, there is still a lot of work to do if I am to meet the 'launch date' I have set for the middle of next week. There are three major strands to what remains to be done:

- loading and linking to a lot of the data (in the form of .PDF documents in the main, with a few other file-types as well) carried over from the former website; the file structure I am designing will I hope make it easier to maintain the site in the future to cater for additional data;

- putting in place an effective FAQ section, with the ability to handle new queries 'as and when' so that the database becomes more useful over time and keeps pace with changing requirements;

- taking care that all the major language requirements are catered for, principally English, Spanish, German and Dutch with some requirement for documents to be in French and Norwegian as well. Fortunately I am not responsible for preparing translations into most of those other languages (except for French, which I can do pretty competently I think), but certain parts of the site require to have separate sections for each of the languages and other pages require to be multi-lingual. This introduces all sorts of design constraints that take a bit of 'lateral thinking' to implement satisfactorily, quite apart from having to rely on a variety of others to supply the necessary translations in a reasonably timely manner so that all parts of the site say the same thing in the different language areas.

So whilst typing this I've been watching a movie recorded a few days ago on my DVR, but now I must really take myself off to bed, although I'll probably end up reading for a while before putting my bedside light off.

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