Banana Stew

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

No, I didn't send you a solicitation for \/|/\{R/\

This has been happening to me a lot this week. One of the consequences of having the same email address and website for over 12 years.

It's not me. I promise. Please don't hurt my family.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Slouching towards Facebook

One of my Wilkinson correspondents (from the Wilkinsons on the Web site) sent me an invitation to join Facebook. I've avoided it until now, but I decided to take the leap and am now officially an icky old married guy on Facebook.

Befriend me if you happen by.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

FTTX News Template

Upon request, I have posted the template used in my Blogger Beta blog (see details here). I haven't worked on it in a while, but perhaps it will be of use to others.

Click here for the FTTX News template.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Wilkinsons on the Web bulletin board

Finally, after over a year lying fallow, the Wilkinsons on the Web portion of this domain has been updated. The most important addition is a bulletin board to take the place of the non-working guestbook scripts for Genealogy, Announcements, and Contacts.
Please enjoy the fancy new features.

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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Deconstructing Blogger Beta HTML Template Editing

I've been trying out Blogger Beta with a test blog at Today, Blogger turned on the ability to edit the raw templates. It's a new and wonderful world of strange tags and interesting operators.

For my own benefit, and perhaps the benifit of a few others, here's a deconstruction of my new Beta template.

[Update 09/01 around 2:30pm] This page has been (1) slashdotted and (2) innundated with comments that it is too hard to read. I have posted a large font version at for those who are having trouble reading this. You'll have to return here to post, though. Also, please link to this post directly, not to the large font version. That one might be moving around a bit.

Latest update: 9/5/2006

This post is very, very long, so I've hidden it behind a cloak of invisibility (may not work on all browsers). Click here to reveal the gory details.

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Blogger finally wakes up and lumbers forward

Of course, this means that all of the hacks that I spend hours implementing are about to become obsolete....


Monday, August 14, 2006

How'd You Do That? The Banana Stew Template

Been futzing with the template lately, as loyal reader(s) will have noticed. Beyond all of the pretty yellow colors (if they aren't pretty yellow, you need to fix your monitor), there have been some nifty new widgets added.

It's been a while since I lasted posted the links, and there are a lot of new ones, so here's a brand new list of the Banana Stew Template widgets.

I also recommend the large and growing list of Blogger hacks at the Blogger Hack Wiki.


Friday, January 27, 2006

Cleaning up the template

Too much stuff on the blog, what with the embedded video and list of 400+ classmate names.

To speed things up a bit, I've taken out the HaloScan trackback scripts and links to the TTLB ecosystem. They took too long to load and took up lots of extra space that was of little practical value.

So going forward, just assume that there are no trackbacks (I think I had one ... once) and that this website is a multicellular microorganism in the TTLB ecosystem (I made it up to flippery fish once - honest - but that was then and this is now).

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Saturday, December 31, 2005

No More Kumquats

Over the holidays, I received a missive from the monolith that automatically generates ... let's call them kumquats ... on this blog and most other websites. It appears that I had inadvertently broken a part of their agreement by drawing attention to the fact that kumquats exist on this site.

How was this attention drawn? With nearly illegible randomly appearing text in the upper right that every once in a while said something to the effect of "Only attractive people click on kumquats." Hard to believe that incited anyone to do any extra clicking, as evinced by the total of 6 (six) clicks for an earnings of $3.17 in the month of December off of the entirety of this blog. (For comparison, this is approximately equivalent to 0.0075 shares of stock in the kumquat distributor.)

In any case, all reference to kumquats has been removed from the site. Please do not feel any pressure to utilize the kumquats. This is not to be viewed as an endorsement of any particular kumquat that may or may not appear on this blog. No kumquats were harmed in the creation of this website. Long live the mighty kumquat.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Dang, gotta straighten the place up a bit. Boing-Boing posted another link and I'm expecting new guests to the blog any minute.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Destroy all Comment Spammers

I had to completely recover the Wilkinsons Genealogy Requests page this week due to the unwelcome scourge of comment spammers.

That page allows Wilkinson genealogy researchers to post their own requests for information (so that I don't have to), and it's been quite popular for several years. Only occasionally do I run across an inappropriate post, and most are along the lines of "look at me, my name is on the internet". There was a spate of posts last year from someone selling financial products or something, but those were realatively harmless (albeit annoying) and easily purged.

However, when I checked the page earlier this week, only one or two posts were displayed, then nothing. The page just ended. I've run into that problem with other automatic scripts when the page gets too massive, so I figured I'd just break up the page into bit-sized pieces and everything would be ok.

However, when I got into the html code, I discovered that the real problem was that some mouth-breathing, inbred, brain-deficient, foul-smelling, bug-eyed, cretin of a comment spammer (redundant, yes, I know) had copied some html code into their post and broken the page. This low-life, mange-ridden, horse-faced, ignoramous had actually coped the entire code from a web page - including all of the headers - into their post.

Anyway, the page is up and running again. While editing, I took the time to remove a few of the other "Hi Dude" messages and went ahead and broke the page up a little. I hope you all enjoy the new pages.

Wilkinsons Genealogy Requests Page
Wilkinsons Genealogy Requests Archive

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Thursday, May 05, 2005

Plaxon, Plaxoff

I've been getting occasional little messages for the last year or so from colleagues and obscure acquaintances that were mass-generated by the program "Plaxo". It's a deal that's supposed to automatically update your Outlook contacts whenever anyone changes address, phone number, job, favorite color, etc. If someone in your Contacts folder hasn't joined the Plaxo cult, the program sends them an email asking if their information is still current. Interesting concept.

I've never been able to get the thing to work behind the impenetrable Hitachi firewall, so I've been deleting the messages as an annoyance.

However, I got a few last week and decided to try again to use the tool. As expected, the impenetrable wall of fire denied access, but this time I forgot to remove the tool before I left for home. And when I booted up at home, it managed to get through.

Now I am converted. What a cool little deal. Many dozens of casual one-time acquaintances that I exchanged cards with at some minor trade show showed up in my Outlook Contacts folder complete with full address and title, even if they've exchanged jobs recently. And, wonder of wonders, once it contacted the mother ship one time from home, it found a way to re-connect through the impenetrable death wall at the office.

Very nice tool. Feel free to add my email address you your own Outlook Contacts folder and watch as my business address and phone number download. I will warn my admin to expect a flood of complimentary calls and requests for signed photos.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Trackback Testing

I've installed HaloScan's free Trackback code on the blog, and I'd be interested to see if it's working. Anyone want to give it a shot?

I will, of course, be going about pinging the sources that I've plagiarized.

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Friday, March 04, 2005

Wilkinson Genealogy Database Update

Amazing the things you can get done during long meetings and much longer plane rides.

When the Wilkinsons Genealogical Database was originally built back in the 90s, there were over 30 different contributed databases from other researchers. The database eventually got too big for my primary server and was moved to another server that went out of business a year or two ago. So, I started over with a different format - only the relevant names and ancestors are on-line and the GEDCOMs with the complete detail are available for download.

Rather than immediately put the old information back up, I tried to contact the contributors. Not a one still has a valid email address. So, I'm slowly going through each contribution, cleaning out living references, putting in a pointer to the contributor name, and merging it on-line.

I've completed two so far. About 30 more to go. Head over the main database page to watch how it all comes out.

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Thursday, February 17, 2005

Who are you and where did you come from?

I recently installed Site Meter on all of the pages in the Wilkinsons on the Web group. One of the neato-cool features is that it tells me where people came from to get to those pages. And if you came in from a web search, it tells me what you were searching for.

As expected, I suppose, most people are looking for someone named Wilkinson - probably themselves - in one of the major search engines. However, sometimes some odd results show up. Here's a few from the last couple of days.

Search for "Topless at the University of Oklahoma"
OK, I can understand why that results in the Famous Wilkinsons page. There's Bud Wilkinson (coach at the University of Oklahoma) and there's June Wilkinson (famous topless actress). By why oh why would a person searching that topic click on my link in the results?

Search for "Coat of Arms"
Tons of people are looking for this one. It's probably 50% of the referrers. The search itself isn't too odd, nor is the fact that the Wilkinson Coat of Arms site comes up in the results. What's odd is that anyone is still using HotBot to search.

Search for " which british member of parliament has won an olympic gold medal"
I looked through the results, and I can't tell if any ever have. I know my page didn't help.

Search for ""corduroy was invented in"
Oddly enough, the answer for this one is in the Hal Peterson letter. It was invented in Honley. Read the letter for details.

Search for ""famous criminals of the 70s"
Which goes to show why you should put quotes around your search phrases. On the Famous Wilkinsons page is a reference to a Wilkinson that worked to rehabilitate criminals plus a reference to a fictional Wilkinson on the TV program "That 70s Show". Probably not what the researcher was looking for.

Vanity Searches
Helen Wilkinson, Eva Wilkinson, Nichola Wilkinson, Caroline Wilkinson, Sarah Wilkinson, Robert Wilkinson, Bill Wilkinson, Jessica Wilkinson, Adam Wilkinson, Scott Wilkinson, Glenn Wilkinson, Nelda Wilkinson, Harold Wilkinson, John Wilkinson, Linda Wilkinson, Jason Wilkinson, Norman Wilkinson, Stan Wilkinson, Brad Wilkinson, Michelle Wilkinson, Mark Wilkinson, George Wilkinson, Harry Wilkinson, Delila Wilkinson, Kirk Wilkinson, Christopher Wilkinson, Edwin Wilkinson, Eliza Wilkinson, Jonathon [sic] Wilkinson, Ken Wilkinson, Gary Wilkinson, Louise Wilkinson, Benjamin Wilkinson, Glenn Wilkinson, Johnny Wilkinson, Phil Wilkinson (Australia), Jon Wilkinson, Bob Wilkinson (Cape Town), Randy Wilkinson, Michael Wilkinson, Signe Wilkinson, Bud Wilkinson, Brett Wilkinson, Stacy Christina Wilkinson, Joan Wilkinson, Ed Wilkinson, Karen Wilkinson, Linda Wilkinson (Nebraska), Jason Wilkinson, and more.

Search for ""
Surprisingly, this one shows up rather often. If you know the place you're going to, why search for it? The only reason I can think of is to find out who else is pointing to And why would anyone other than me care about that? It's a mystery.

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Friday, February 04, 2005

Wilkinson Website Updates

Lounging around, sick with a severe cold, I'm getting more updates completed. I'm now looking through emails that have been neglected for at least a year.

Added today:

Andrew Wilkinson
Wilko's Wargaming Emporium

Gordon Wilkinson (25)
The Wilkinsons of Hyde Park, South Australia. Only 25 names on-line, but lots of other resources for Australian Wilkinsons.

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Thursday, February 03, 2005

Wilkinson Website Updates

Finally getting through the email and updating the Wilkinsons on the Web site with requests for listings. The following sites were added today:

Michael Wilkinson home page
Mark Wilkinson home page
James Wilkinson home page
Wilkinson Services, a Wilkinson-related business apparently consisting of the three brothers listed above.

Their mother (Jeanne Wilkinson) runs Texas Woodcrafts.

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Wow, nothing like getting Boing-Boinged to run that counter up! Thanks for the mention, guys.

I suppose it's all downhill from here. BoingBoinged in the first week, forgotten by week two.

Update (2/7): The graph to the left shows the influence of being boing-boinged on a simple little blog. Over 800 hits in one day, then back to nothing.

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Monday, January 31, 2005


Welcome to Banana Stew.

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