I’ve finally gotten around to adding syndication support to my blog module in JAX. The feed should automatically update upon refresh, which makes it realtime. The major reason it took so long was that I’m lazy and that I couldn’t get dates working correctly in RSS. Evidently, the only way to get this working correctly (at least in Feedreader on Windows 2000) was to use the dc:date element found in the Dublin Core Metadata Element Set. Once I changed my pubDate (RSS) to dc:date everything worked fine.

I plan on adding RDF, which allows full articles to be syndicated, soon as well. If anyone out there is interested in another form of feed please let me know. Also, if you have any problems with the current feed please contact me ASAP.

F You Credit Cards!

Well after a long, protracted battle I have finally rid myself of all credit card debt (minus $4 and some change in finance charges). I was smart this time around and closed the accounts as I paid them off. I decided to keep the one with the lowest interest rate open for now since I’ve had trouble renting cars with debit cards in the past.

One site that was infinitely helpful with this adventure was Their newsletter on credit debt was stuffed full of helpful hints and advice from others who were in much worse situations that I was. Here are a few tips that helped me out quite a bit.

  1. Cut up the cards with the highest interest rates to help avoid the temptation to use those cards.
  2. Many credit card companies offer extremely low introductory rates on balance transfers. Those same companies will approve just about anyone who is willing to transfer money over when they open the credit card. The idea is to transfer your 20%+ cards onto 0% introductory rates and pay them off before the rates go up (usually 6 months to a year).
  3. Leave your credit cards at home when you go shopping.
  4. Many companies will offer you lower interest rates if you call up threatening to pay off your account and close out your card. Worst case scenario you are out the few minutes it takes to make the call.
  5. Pay more than the minimum each month! Most often the minimum is merely the monthly finance charge and a few bucks towards the principle.
  6. Close the accounts as you pay them off!

I hope that these tips help others get out of debt as well. I must say it feels damn good to not owe any money to credit cards anymore. I’ve lowered my monthly bills by over $100 (almost my car payment!). The odd thing about this is that I’ve probably actually *lowered* my credit rating. How is that possible you ask? Well most credit agencies look at how much credit is available to you as part of their decision to give you credit. For instance, bank A would be more apt to loan you money if you have a $10k credit line with no balance than a $3k credit line with no balance, which makes sense for the most part (the idea being that if you have $10k available to you that you earned it somewhere along the line).

Girls – always doing things backwards

Some might say my curiosity sometimes is a little too anal. I find small things that peek my interest and I can’t let go of them until I’ve found the answer. One thing that has always bugged me when I’m doing laundry is that the buttons on Lauren’s button-up shirts are on the opposite side of the shirt than they are on mine. While buttons are on the left side of men’s shirts they are on the right hand side of women’s shirts.

You may think I’m paying too much attention, but go into your girlfriend’s/wife’s closet and try to button one of her shirts on a hanger. It’s tricky when you have been programmed that buttons are on the left side your entire life.

Well it seems I’m not the only one who ponders such anomolies. A recent blurb on had the following to say about why the difference exists.

… in the 19th century, well-heeled Victorian women generally didn’t dress themselves, so their buttons were designed to be handled by right-handed servants. Although wealthy men may have had servants to lay out their clothes, they generally dressed themselves, and so the buttons on the right side of men’s garments made more sense.

I guess that makes sense. This, apparently isn’t the only theory. Other theories include the following excerpt from an article found in the Dallas Morning News.

… the first button jackets for men were modeled after the latching designs of armor, which were designed to stop a right-handed opponent from jamming a pike through the seam. He also suggests that the left-side buttons on women’s clothes may have been intended to facilitate nursing an infant on the side closest to the woman’s heart.

Well there ya go!

Site Re-Design/Re-Launch

Welcome to the newly re-launched digital home of Joe Stump. A couple of days worth of work has gone into the new site and I’m overjoyed at the results. Most of what has happened to the site you won’t notice, namely the upgrade to JAX 3.0. The new backend has tons of fun toys that the old one didn’t.

As you can see I’ve put together a new designe as well. The new design includes a completely tableless CSS design that, according to, is both valid CSS and valid XHTML 1.1. I’m just happy that the new site looks nice, is well formed and generally runs on better code now. For those of you not running either Mozilla or IE you may find problems. If you do please contact me.

For those of you interested, I relied heavily on CSS info found at as well as icons found at The new code that you see here allows me to use a WYSIWYG editor, edit my blog roll from a web interface as well as update my quick hits section via a web browser. Unfortunately, not everything is working. Namely photos and blog comments are not currently working. They should be up and running within the next few days. Also, I have not had a chance to port over my old entries (except for the About Me entry). This is going to be a long and tedious task as I plan on editing each one to make sure it’s XHTML 1.1 compliant. And, finally, the archives are not yet up.

Jared the Subway Guy

My recent battle to lose some weight has been somewhat successfully, but nowhere near as successful as others I know of. I saw my freshmen year college roommate lose about 80 pounds over the summer (which he attributed to my fat jokes – hey I’m a “motivational bully” of sorts – we’re still friends by the way). Another good example is Jerry the Subway Guy. He lost about 250lbs by just walking and eating Subway (veggie/turkey subs with no oil/mayo).

The funny part is how this regular guy has been thrust into the national spotlight as a pop icon of sorts. I love stories like this. A regular guy who sets out to achieve a personal goal and gets paid an assload of money to tell people about it.

Fogle said he’ll continue to be “Jared the Subway Guy” for as long as they keep sending the stretch limousine to pick him up for appearances. He’s also working on a book and thinks he might try motivational speaking.

Hell yah Jared! You can read the complete story here.

Yay for CSS

I have successfully moved to version 5.1, which includes NO TABLES! This was accomplished using XHTML 1.0 Strict and CSS2. If you look at the source of this page you will notice the lack of tables. I really dived into CSS this time and have to admit I enjoy working on it. For the most part Internet Explorer and Mozilla render the same when using well formed XHTML and CSS2, which is a shocker. For those of you who remember with pain the days when IE and Netscape wouldn’t render a page the same way to save your life, this is a godsend. One thing to note is that for the print version of the news it doesn’t modify the XHTML at all, thanks to the wonders of CSS. This voyage into XHTML/CSS has lead me to look into other protocols such as RSS and SOAP. I’m not sure yet what I plan on doing with them, but I can say that I am interested in doing something with them. Possible options include search integration with Google and Amazon, thanks to SOAP. Maybe I’ll create a SOAP backend for this site for fun letting you query my DB via a SOAP interface. Of course no one would ever use it, but it would still be fun to play with.

Non table CSS layouts

I’ve been searching all over the Internet to figure out how to use div and p tags as the sole form of layout. My dream is to one day banish tables from all of my HTML. So far it doesn’t look like this is possible. Most of what I see pertains to CSS2, which MSIE does not support and Mozilla only supports partially. Does anyone out there have any possible solutions? My dream is to have my pages consist of solely the div, p, and a tags with a few abbr tags here and there. If you do have solutions or insight please email me.

Tips on CSS success

I migrated to XHTML 1.0 Strict and CSS 1.0. The good news is that the actual site is fully compliant. I have yet to migrate all of my news postings and I may not ever get to that. But I do have a few pointers. First off a brief explanation on how to get &’s to validate as XHTML. Next you will want to install ZVON’s CSS and XHTML reference bars for Mozilla. Before you do that you might want to migrate to my browser of choice, Mozilla. If you’re not sure why you would want to do that you should read 101 things Mozilla can do that IE can’t. I have yet to migrate to my link management tool, but I plan on doing that soon. Also coming soon will be an RSS feed, search, and maybe the photo albums again. I may just link to iPhoto albums or something simple like that since I have WebDAV working on my server now.

CSS Coming Soon

Yes it’s taken me entirely way to long to join the 21st century. But, as far as I know, my website, for the most part, renders fine all the way back into Navigator 3.x series. I’m working on Version 5, yes I said five, of this site as we speak. The problem with moving to CSS is that I have to go through and migrate all of my anchor tags to include class definitions. I also have to do the same for other HTML present in my news postings (which is pretty much all of them). Considering I have 600’ish postings this will be quite an undertaking.