June 29, 2006

Twice the fun!!!

I was sat using my laptop, and juggling applications as I like to 'massively multitask', then I suddenly realised. I had another monitor sat in the same room, and my laptop was capable of 'DualView'. I plugged him in and voila, twice the screen real estate. It makes so much difference, as I'm regularly using two applications at once, photoshop/dreamweaver, dreamweaver/FireFox, FireFox/FireFox. I think I may even have to invest in a cheap TFT screen for when I go back to uni. Having two screens saves so much time, and is so natural.
Screen shot:

Screen Grab

Other notes:

  • Yes, viral for MathSoc.
  • Photoshop and Dreamweaver are just the best, yes they cost a fortune, but they're so worth it. Photoshop allows me to get my ideas direct from my head onto screen, and everyday I find a little more of its power. Dreamweaver has become little more than a text editor for me, but its feature set is second to none, other programs seem to have lots of gradients on their menus etc. But with Dreamweaver, if it doesn't do something you want it to, you just write some javascript to change how the program works, its genius!
  • I'd prefer it if the start bar split across screens, that'd be far more intuitive.

June 21, 2006

USB teddy bear holds data, scares children

Writing about web page http://www.engadget.com/2006/06/18/usb-teddy-bear-holds-data-scares-children/

Genius, sheer genius:

Teddy separated

Teddy In Comp

Title shamelessly stolen from engadget.


June 06, 2006

The Holly Hack

Writing about web page http://www.communitymx.com/content/article.cfm?page=2&cid=C37E0

Tonight I’m getting my blog back to its roots.

First up, some background. I’m currently developing a website for a society that I belong to, and I’m being a very good boy and using semantic code, css and no tables (unless I have tabular data). I’d like to share with you the ‘Holly Hack’ for it is pure genius, and solved a problem I thought was intractable. You see its been a long while since I developed for the web properly, i.e. producing production code. In the mean time tables have become shunned in favour of divs, spans and tons of css. I’ve got myself past the ‘i know how to do it in tables, so how can i emulate that behaviour?’ stage and moved to a halfway house of ‘I’ve done it without tables, but it doesn’t quite work right, I wish I could use tables.’
The problem is, is that although css is amazing and very powerful it is rather dependent of the browser rendering the markup properly. Firefox is a joy, and things do what you want, but Internet Explorer, well shame on you.
One particular problem was that a container of floating elements without a specified width would not render the correct size, i.e. enough to contain them and no more. The solution to this problem came in the form of the ‘Holly Hack’ which was amusing to me because my housemates name is Holly. In any case the ‘Holly Hack’ is:

/* Hides from IE5-mac \ */
* html .somediv {height: 1%;}
/* End hide from IE5-mac */

It does a number of things, 1. only IE understands the CSS selector ’* html’, well in fact it has a rather strange implementation where html is not a ‘top level’ tag!
2. The height of the div is set to be too small for the content, but IE expands the container for us, and rather happily to the correct size!

It curious that the bugs in IE often ‘balance out’.

[Edit: the missing ‘slash’ has been inserted!]


May 30, 2006

Lost for words

Why is it that sometimes you can talk and talk and talk about seemingly anything, but then when you actually want to say something insightful, deep, perhaps even meaningful, you're lost for words.
The more you think about how you need to say something the more you can't think of anything, and you end up thinking about how you can't think of anything, which isn't helpful because that's boring to talk about and no one would listen.

May 22, 2006

Rainbows!

I meant to write this entry last friday, but went home instead, so here, slightly delayed, it is:

So most people have seen a rainbow, and know that they are an optical effect caused by light reflecting and refracting through raindrops. Here's a few things to look for when you see a rainbow next. Firstly, when you spot the bright, normally coloured rainbow, look outside it for a darker secondary rainbow, now notice the way colours are orientated on this rainbow. Then if you've found both rainbows, look at the brightness of the sky in–between the two arcs, it should be darker. The science behind rainbows is quite simple, but cool too, so if you want to know more, a cursory Google search will be fruitful I'm sure.


May 16, 2006

Some advice

Lesson thirty, defending against the club attack:
Should you have the misfortune of being attacked by someone wielding a club, the best course of action is to run.
There is no dishonour in running from a man with a lethal weapon.
This is merely good sense.
–Mint Royale

true.


May 14, 2006

Bikes, Blogs, Maths, you get the idea…

One of my housemates was talking to someone today, and happened to mention my name, he said "I know him!". The aforementioned housemate enquired as to how he knew me, and it turned out he knew me from my blog. This is both cool, and disturbing. Cool because it means people read my blog: Yey! Disturbing because it means people only know me from my blog, and what I tend to write is rather, well, crap. I'm always blogging about "Maths being cool", mushrooms or something. Well from now only top quality non–random non–mushroom based posts:

So my bike (The Missile) broke today. I'm not a happy man. The rear free–hub, now freewheels in both directions, if you don't know what this implies for the operational status of the bike do some research, trouble is its a rare wheelset and is going to be a bit of a bugger to get a replacement part for (clue: its not made by shimano.) And this comes only a week after the Missile was upgraded with GPS navigation.

Climbing! is going quite well at the moment, my arms are reaching the point where they can so something useful, like hold on while my legs do the work. I'm getting more confident in leading too, which is ace, that's real climbing, and infinitely more fun than top roping.

Mathematics (you knew it was coming) is still amazing, revision sucks but sometimes I get something that I didn't really grasp fulling in lectures, like the Implicit Function Theorem, how cool is that dude. After a brief scare, got registered for Number Theory, a huge thank you to the amazing staff at the Mathematics Dept, and the Academic Office.

That's all I have for now…


April 05, 2006

Live Blog: Smoking, ban thereof

With only two weeks until the Union's deadline to implement a smoking ban, which won't happen, I thought I'd offer my two cents:

Firstly, yes the majority of students want a no smoking union, it was passed at referenda after all!
Then exec decided that it wouldn't be possible, financially, to implement. They couldn't however go in to details for whatever reason, not explaining this was a huge mistake, As a student, even if we couldn't know all the details we deserved some explalination. It was almost as if exec decided that they wouldn't implement the ban, then went looking for a reason. I'm not suggesting thats what exec did, but thats how it looked to me.

In week ten of term two I attended the meeting of exec, a good chunk of it was about the smoking ban and a large part me that was in closed session, so I couldn't sit in on it. Thats a big problem with all this, the Union's own rules prevents it telling the students what it sometimes does! Anyway, exec were discussing the smoking and non-smoking areas of the union. What enforcement would be required etc, at this point I suggested a map at each entrance showing where the different are. I can't believe they hadn't thought of this before, it just so obvious.
So the start of the term approaches and we won't have a ban, and the union may even build areas to smoke in, I say, buy a dining shelter from B&Q, cost: about £100.


March 29, 2006

Live Blog: Work work work…

I started back at work last saturday, at the Grand Pier for those of you not in the know, which is an amusement arcade. I'm spending most me my time rather predictibly in the change box, its like i never left! It only took about half an hour before i met the first horrible person, smoking right in my face.

Other highlights include saying "They're behind you!" when asked on several occasions where the toilets were. Someone even managed to find the Disabled toilets before the able bodied ones, the ones with the huge neon sign.

Anyways I write all this because I'm very bored, you see there are about 10 customers, and I'm all alone in the changebox. At least I'm being paid!

I'll end with an amusing pier story: a man comes up to the changebox the guy was clearly of asian origin, he spoke with a learnt english accent, after giving him his change he said, in the most unaccented voice: "thats champion."

Well, i thought it was quite funny.


March 23, 2006

Live Blog: Upgrades

The FAIRTRADE entry i just wrote had to be reduced in size because the LiveBlog application on my phone couldn't deal with long entries. A few minutes later and a java vector, and now it supports entries of unlimited length!
I think that that is quite cool.

I was thinking a possible uses of LiveBlog, i could put live updates of council meetings direct to the council blog, how cool would that be! You could follow it in real time, but the room Council is held in has pants mobile reception, i need to fine a seat with a signal i guess.

I plan to do a kind of 'steven's day' thing where i blog every little thing i do for a day, as it happens.


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