All 14 entries tagged Computery Stuff

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February 19, 2007

Maths Society Website

Writing about web page

I reworked the Warwick Mathematics Society wesbite a few months ago, and made it look way better than it did before, and made it much more flexible. I choose Drupal as my content management system, and found it to be very, very powerful.

I'm bored by the current look of the site though, and since content has been separated from presentation I can easily change the theme. A lot of the site works well, but some bits don't work quite how I wanted them to, but that's because they were added on top, instead of being designed in from the start, and the theme turned out to be not particularly extensible.

Apparently people really like the idea that it changes colour, so I might keep that feature whilst making the site 'look better'. I really want to make the top header section smaller, so that more content can fit on the screen. 

Fixed, fluid or elastic? hmmm...

The Union's Website

Writing about web page

Is it just me or is the design of the Students' Union website a little crap.

When I'm logged in I count 21 main navigation buttons! Have they ever heard of a sub-menu? 

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

Genius, sheer genius:

Teddy separated

Teddy In Comp

Title shamelessly stolen from engadget.

June 06, 2006

The Holly Hack

Writing about web page

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!]

January 13, 2006

Mathematical Rigour

I claim to be a Mathematician which means that I get pedantic about use of theorems and definitions, maths should be very precise. Imagine, if you will, my horror as in a computer science lecture a discrete function was differentiated to prove a Theorem. Now I realise it is just a Computer Science lecture, but it had the word "Proof" written above that statement, and it was a mathematical statement, albeit a false one. Now you could claim that its easier to assume that the function is defined on the reals, and then prove it, but I have proved the discrete case and its just as easy. So there really isn't a reason to give untrue proofs.

Rigour people, Rigour.

December 10, 2005

Odds and Ends

An odd post of some things, but I can't be bothered to split them up!

1. Right so I've been working on a java application for my phone (K750i), more specifically a scientific calculator. There are so many times that I need a calculator, and I only have my phone on me, and the built in calc sucks, it really does. So I've loosely implemented casio's SVPAM system using a recursive descent parser and some clever tricks. Also I've had to make provisions for soft buttons, as the phone doesn't have a sin key. I have places for all the buttons to go, its just making the images that takes the time. Also working within the j2me framework is really difficult, its very crippled. You can't, for example call Math.pow it doesn't exist in the j2me framework, you have to write your own routines for lots of things. Formatting the result of calculations (strictly a decimal at the moment, may add fractions) was a challenge as there is no built in routine, that part took a good hour to write.
But seeing the almost–finished result working on my phone is such a great feeling, there's not much else like it, but it works in really neat ways. I tend to put very cool but frivolous features into most of my programs, but in this app they really are cool, you'll just have to wait and see!
I only need to add error handling and then add all the little soft buttons so I should have a working calculator before long!

2. I've found a place that will repair my fleece, but it'll cost at least £15 for a new zip, rubbish. I only need the actual zipper, which probably costs 50p to produce.

3. Got back into politics this week, and managed to see PMQs, so good, go Cameron, he seems like he will provide some opposition, even if he is policy light at the moment.

4. My housemate gave me a Christmas present, which I opened early :–), that was a musical compact disc type device round thing. But seriously, he'd tried to pick out music that I'd like, but had failed many times in the past, but he got it so right this time.
Sigur Rós
There are two words I'd use to describe them,
Beautifully hunting,
and their transposition (kind of),
hauntingly beautiful.
I got their untitled album, and its stunning. The music sounds so familiar, but so fresh and different, it sounds great. And the singing isn't even in English! Even better, as its all about the sound the voice makes, not the words.
Thank you Tom.

5. I can't quite believe there's only 15 days 'till crimbo, and I haven't bought any presents, well except one, but that was because I needed to give it before I left cov. I have ideas for some people, but others are so hard, the quit smoking book didn't go down too well with my brother last year :)

6. That's enough ramblings methinks, get back to whatever you were doing, go on, stop reading.

don't you ever listen?

December 07, 2005

Grammar and Parsing

Today I got interested in the parsing of computer languages. I stumbled upon the definitons of LL(k) and such like things, and was very interested. Then and idea for a parser hit me, so I designed a LL(1) grammar, which was quite easy, and not unlike writing mathematics. Then, I wrote a recursive descent parser to do the parsing of my grammar. Its really sweet, and I have plans to integrate it into a slightly bigger project.
I'm quite proud of the parser since its bitchin' fast and very lightweight, as it will need to be for where I plan to deploy it, oh did I mention I did all this in my least favourite language, java?

September 15, 2005

End of Days…

well, days at work, for now at least. Yes today was my last day at my summer job, and like most days, I was stitched up like a woolly jumper. Freed, unwillingly from the burden of running the shore, I was back in the changebox (the cage). Without music, without books, I had only to provide my own entertainment, I came up with two rather good programs for my new mobile, and worked out some clever mathematics for one of them. But, if you've read this far, maybe you can help me. I'm after a very lightweight simple recursive descent parser, written in java, I'd rather not have to write my own, it took me ages when I did one in delphi a few months back.
Anyways, if you know of a good one, please comment with details.

September 01, 2005


Writing about web page

W3Schools is an invaluable resource for any web-developer, the excellent tutorials and guide will help any beginnner, while the clear reference sections are very useful to an advanced coder who just needs to look something up. The site covers most aspects of web development, from simple HTML coding, to more modern XHTML, XML and XSL too. It also covers scripting, both client side and server side, javascript, sql, asp and php are covered.

The site has a clearly microsoft slant to it, for example the php section shows you how to connect to an odbc database, but not mysql.

The layout of the site is clean and quick to navigate, article titles are descriptive and clear. Usually if you want to know more about a specific feature of a language you can find it quite easily.

As stated a great resource for beginner and advanced coders alike, so well worth a look.

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