Renovation Search and Rescue

I have few (OK, no) skills at doing home renovations. That’s why I’m always a bit cagey about talking to my friend Colin, who, whenever I meet him on the weekend, is invariably either adding a new storey onto his house, or helping someone else to erect their own small Taj Mahal. I struggle to justify my own policy of letting the experts do their job well. I weakly point to my wallpapering job on the front foyer. But when I’m honest, I have to admit that I’ve let other people build, paint, clean and mow for me. Shame.
Fact is, I’d prefer to spend more time modelling our house on the computer in 3D (last weekend), so we can preview some new landscaping for the workers who will actually be getting their hands dirty.
In any case, to restore my self-respect (and my manhood), I sat down at the computer tonight to build a new room on my virtual home here at fairding.com. Without help. Without borrowing from other people’s script libraries. Just like the old days, I’ll build something from scratch, just to make myself feel better. And I did, in a few hours. I’m feeling pretty chuffed.
I’ve been planning this addition for a while. I’ve looked at Rod’s blog and thought that the ‘What I’m Reading’ section is pretty nifty – you know what he’s into at the moment, and if you’re into the same thing, you have something to talk about. That’s what a web page should be about. Not just your past experiences, but what you’re into right now.
Now, know that Rod probably manually updates that every so often when he gets a chance. Fact is, with all the web page editing and double-checking and errors, it’s a fairly complicated job for what it produces. I thought that there would be scope to make the task a little easier by hooking into amazon.com and just by indicating the reference number, you could have them fill in the blanks, provide a picture, and, if someone trusts my judgement enough, a link to be able to buy it. The task was to assemble a fully-formatted ‘flavour of the month’ page, with a smaller version for the front page, simply by having a single file to update.
If you look on the main page, and here at ‘flavour of the month‘; that’s the result. The website has a single data file to read, which contains the ID number for the book/film/record, who recommended it, and a few notes about it. Everything else, the picture, the link, and a few other items of information, is supplied by digging into the back-end of amazon.com and yanking it out. (Let me know if you’re interested in if for your site.)
In the end, yeah, I’m still relying on someone else doing the leg-work for me, but I’ve re-established my self-respect. I may not be able to thow a hammer around the place, but I’m handy with moulding chunks of web code.

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