I’ve been using Plogger for about two and a half years now. This is a fantastic little PHP/MySQL gallery program, free and open source. It takes about five minutes to install and the templates are now fully customizable. It can also easily drop right into an existing site, which is a great feature.

This is a real no-brainer program for clients – getting new images into the DB is as easy as dropping them into an FTP folder, or you can choose single images right from your computer. You can have as many categories and albums as you like. It’s the easiest gallery to use that I’ve found so far and I’ve used it in a number of client sites.

Here’s the gallery from our recent vacation – I put this together in about one hour last night.

NOTE: This post has been replaced by a full-fledged tutorial – you can find that here. Please go there and don’t try what you see here; WordPress mangles my code snippets no matter how I try to get them displayed. The new tute is much better, I promise.

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This is a neat little trick that will allow you to create multiple clickable areas over any background image. This is easier, to me, than making image maps used to be.

Create a transparent box, absolutely positioned, that fits right over the top of the section of background image you want to make clickable. It’s easier to give this box a background-color while you’re getting it into position. The CSS looks like this:

Obviously you’ll change the ‘top’ and ‘left’ positions to line up with the top left corner of your background image’s clickable section, and adjust the ‘height’ and ‘width’ to fit.

Within the HTML, add an href link with the ID of your clickable box (WordPress won’t let me put this next link in here without screwing it up – remove the x from xhref):

Pretty simple, and you can create multiple clickable areas wherever you need them on your page.

I have so much work backed up now. Monday morning I had two longish meetings and in between them I went to the post office to pick up our mail.

Mistake. I didn’t think it would be that busy at 8:30 – but no. There were, typically, three employees at the windows but there were about 25 people in front of me when I got in line. 30 minutes later, I was on the way out the door with a big plastic bag full of mostly junk mail and I was thinking about the trip again.

While standing in line, I got to hear no fewer than three phone calls by other people – the lady beside me was discussing her daughter’s abusive boyfriend. The lady at the window was loudly telling her caller how long she’d been in line and that she couldn’t talk right now because she had finally gotten to a window.

It occurred to me that although we’d stood in a bunch of lines on vacation, in none of them had we been exposed to long, loud cell phone conversations. Not a one. Only when we got back to the Cancun airport did we see conspicuous usage, and even then it was light.

I really, really liked that.

I don’t have any interest in listening in on other’s private conversations even when they don’t mind sharing them with the world. I really don’t. It was extremely pleasant not to have to do that for a week.

And another thing I noticed today while I was running around trying to be on time to my appointments – when we got to our hotel, I took off my watch and put it in the safe. It stayed there for the better part of a week.

Now I don’t have any desire to move to Mexico or buy a timeshare there, but it sure was nice how incredibly relaxed everything was. Not a lot of pressure to be anywhere or do anything in a big hurry. It was a pleasant and unexpected benefit that perhaps will spill over now that I’m not there anymore. I’m going to keep that in mind.

I did notice that I avoided turning on the computers until midday Sunday. That’s quite unusual in itself…

So Saturday night we returned from our 8 days in the Riviera Maya development of Puerto Aventuras right in the middle of a Denver snowstorm.

Talk about a rude awakening. That morning, we’d had breakfast on the beach and did a final check of the gorgeous reef finish swimming around the tide pools in front of our hotel. It was 75 degrees and sunny, just like every other day.

We got to the airport and then sat in our plane at the gate for 2 hours and twenty minutes while they booted some people (and their luggage) off the plane so they could take on extra fuel in case they had to divert to Albuquerque because of the weather in Denver.

We started seeing heavy snow about half an hour before we were due to land. It was snowing so hard we couldn’t see any lights until we were almost on the runway. The jetway connector from the plane to the terminal was at a shocking 15 degrees (the people who’d opted to stay in shorts and sandals were reconsidering by then). Then after going through taxiing, customs, luggage, shuttle, digging out the car it took us well over two hours to drive home where it would normally take one.

It was nice to get home. It was nice to pick up our dogs and see them. But I think I was more affected by the trip than I suspected. More to come.