Archive for July, 2002
Talking of re-designs, anybody remember when I implemented the design before this one? At the time my dad was less than impressed. So, I've mailed him to let him know it's changed and to see what he thinks. Should be funny. You really have to have met him to understand.
I know I said I would take a break from blogging for a few days but I think I am addicted!
Thanks to Phil King for showing me how awful the new site looks in IE4. Woops. I was banking on it going out as gracefully as Netscape 4 where the site looks awful but at least all the content is there and in working order. Internet Explorer 4 is less friendly and there is no navigation at all. Not much I can do unfortunately.
Anybody who wishes that the site's navigation panel was fixed and scrolled with the page might like to take a look at it in Mozilla or NN6.
Today I made a great discovery. Having wished for ages that there were a way to get to sites that have been blocked by IT departments, I've finally found one. Whilst I agree that some sites should be restricted the system doesn't always get it right. Even my own site can fall prey. To get round it just find a site that runs the CGIProxy service and go from there. Here's one for starters. If you find that these sites start to get blocked as well then a quick search will finds plenty more. They'll have a job keeping up with that ;o)
Like an excited child at Christmas I just couldn't wait and had to get the new look live. Hope you like. If you see any teething problems mail them over...
Once again I want to thank everybody for their support over the weekend. Now, time to get your purses out ;o)
Predictably - version 5 - just to show that it's possible to use CSS and still keep the original design, almost. And then there's the version that I think is the one I am most happy with - version 6. This one is a compromise and takes in what some of you have been saying. Special thanks to Dave Meehan. So there you are. Getting a bit late to make any radical changes so if you have any preference or like anything in particular about each one then let me know...
The beauty of all this is that once I've done the majority of the work in switching my tables to divs, it's then a simple job to change the whole layout just by editing one CSS file.
Just been to buy a webcam so that you can keep an eye on me for the 24 hours and make sure I don't nod off. Having never used one, can somebody give me an overview of how it works. I'm assuming I can set it up to FTP the images to the server every 5 minutes or so, or something. Probably not that easy though is it?
The blogathon starts at 14:00 GMT. Be sure to come and say hello at some point. Going to get pretty lonely - all my flatmates have gone away for the weekend...
Did you know that today is SysAdmin Day?
Guess what! Version 4. In making all these tweaks I have become a huge fan of TopStyle 3. Not only because its creator has mailed me to say he prefers the better use of white-space in the new look but because TopStyle now does everything I could ever want from a HTML/CSS package, and more. My favourite feature is that the HTML tag inspector reminds you when you're using deprecated attributes. Slapped wrists all round. It will even turn your HTML in to XHTML.
If nothing else has come of this exercise I at least have a lot more respect for the power of CSS and I am just about getting an understanding of the syntax used for selectors. If you're like me and find yourself looking at something like "div
Thanks to Kethry for showing me how to create a room (channel) on an IRC server. For as long as I can keep it going I will have a room called
Having taken in what you're all saying there's now a version 3 with some tweaks lined up for version 4 tomorrow. If you can improve on the design, by my guest. I am open to any kind of criticism. Don't worry, you can't offend me.
Busy on Saturday/Sunday? If not and you are going to be on-line then why not send me some messages of support. Will probably be in need of some stimulating converstation to keep me awake for the duration. I will be logged in for the whole 24 hours and listening on ICQ: 30696498, MSN: JakeHowlett@hotmail.com and Yahoo: JakeHowlett@Yahoo.com. Might try and remind myself how to set up an IRC room as well. Anybody know how?
Yesterday I finished my latest tube-book. Definitely worth a read and full of amazing gems of knowledge like the story of how a British man invented what later became the basis of a multi-million pound company but was sworn to secrecy by the British government who didn't realise it could be patented. D'oh!
Feedback on the new look so far has been fairly mixed (remember this is only a rough draft!). Overall opinion seems to be that if the site looks good as it is why bother changing it. Good question. There are lots of reasons why but I'll try and explain my main objective.
Remember when you started coding and you hacked together any bits of code you could in order to solve a problem, just as long as it worked! I do. Then you get introduced to the concepts of best-practices when writing efficient and re-usable code. You start worrying that if your peers see your code they will laugh behind your back. As a "professional" you really want to improve your code and appear to know your stuff. After a few years you even start to appreciate why you're doing it...
Languages like Java have whole books dedicated to these best practices. So why doesn't web development? Think of your web page. Unlike most other programs you share with the world its source code is easily viewed by absolutely anybody. Why then do we use such deplorable acts as using tables for page-layout, leaving tags unclosed, not giving images any size attributes, etc, all allowing our peers to scoff at our work?
I want to be proud of my work and that includes the way I design the bits of sites that only my peers will bother to look at. That in itself is the main reason I am about to start a major overhaul of codestore. You can try and convince me otherwise if you like but you will have a job...
<!-- Puakma v0.53 Build:210 - 21 June 2002 -->
I like to think that when I say I will do something I will actually stick to my word. Even if it takes me an age. Back in February this year I appeared to stop talking about Puakma. Well, that doesn't mean it's dead. In fact it's very much alive and kicking and Brendon has finally released it in to the wilds.
As proof of his faith he is now running his company website on the same server and has made a start on puakma.net. Notice things like "?OpenPage" in the URL and maybe you're saying hello to the next Domino.
My job is to make the Puakma site look good. What can you do? Well, for starters, you can give it a good hammering. Do what you can to try and bring it to its knees! Break it!! That is what you meant isn't it Brendon?
This weekend I watched two films, both for the second time. Zoolander just to see the bit where Tod brings Mugato a foamy latté. This one scene has me in tears no matter how many times I rewind it (I'm smiling like an idiot just thinking about it). Then there's Amelie. If you've not seen it already you must get a copy. If you want to show your other-half your soft side this should do this trick ;o)
When you're used to using a monster like Domino Designer it's a breath of fresh air to use something like TopStyle 3. It's absolutely amazing and a joy to use. No, really!
So, a week to go. I've started some rough attempts at the re-design. Have a look and let me know of any thoughts, bugs or suggestions.
Two things already falling toward the cutting-room floor are the "Mail to a Friend" and "Printer Friendly" links. The former because it is rarely used and when it is it's usually people sending the link from work to home or vice versa. The latter because I am going to use CSS to do this instead.
If this sites becomes less accessible in the near future due to any changes I make and the out-dated browser you choose to use then please don't hold it against me.
Finally and especially for Eliseo - Gracias por su donación.
Hurrah! It worked. Looking back at what I wrote on Wednesday I see I am now numero uno Google result for Lotus Domion. Hmmm, what else do I want to rank up there for... did somebody say "skilled Lotus Domion developer".
Blogathon Update: Is your name in the Hall of Fame yet? If not then consider yourself in the Hall of Shame. Come on, sponsor me! We already have $6,274. There are 8 days left to get us as far as the 10K target... just think, the template to this site is yours for a mere $20...
Talking of misspellings (I was yesterday), there's a funny story doing the rounds about the wisdom of Yahoo and their approach to tackling hackers. I say funny only because I am not directly affected. All I can say is to those that are is that you get what you pay for. Thanks to Chris Bellamy for the link.
The trouble with Mozilla enthusiasts and the type is that they don't always share the greater sense of what looks nice. For example, this is ranked 2nd and this one 6th, whilst this much more tasteful example is 11th. Get yours entered Mr Marsh!
To me the appearance of software is almost equally as important as what it actually does. That's why, even though I don't use it that often, I keep upgrading BradSoft's TopStyle. Today I upgraded to v3. It looks amazing.
I am back. Miss me?
The trouble with taking time-out is that you return to a backlog of site admin. Last night I turned off the error-notification feature I mentioned last Sunday as it had generated about 3,000 mails in the last 9 days. Most of these are simply the mundane. People not using not properly in search strings and stuff like that. Links on LDD to articles I've since removed etc etc. One interesting thing I did notice was that I am up there as Google's number one result when you search for valdator. Using this I can easily become the number one result for things like "Lotus Domion" or other common misspellings by cunningly including these words in my blogs. Which I just did. Woops ;o)
Hope nobody is thinking that I am slipping in my duty as Webmaster. I am all too aware that it's been nearly a month since I published my last article. Stick with me guys....
To clear up a few more points about the donations. When you donate you will get an email receipt (assuming you do it online). If you want the template then you will need to send me this receipt (or other suitable proof of payment) after the re-design is complete and I will send you the link to the template. One other point is that the template will not be the new one.
Sometimes I wish I had stuck with one domain for this site. Instead there are now three - codestore.net, .org and .info. Which is the most popular? Well, for a long time it was .net but now it appears .org is up there at the top.
These stats represent the past 6 months, in which there have been a total of 2,718,873 hits, with an average of 15,186 a day. This compared to the six months leading up to 5th of February this year, when I last looked mentioned stats, where the average was 6,800 a day. Hence, twice as many visitors/Robots.
I've had quite a few emails concerning how this donation system is going to work. How you make your payment is up to you and down to where you are and how MSF operate in that country. It is probably best to deal with your local office, for tax reasons, but I assume you can make payments to any of them. I managed to find a page that lists all the international office. Hope this helps put minds at rest.
With my hat tipped in John Z Marshall's general direction I link to some amazing examples of using XSLT and SVG. Nice.
Today I am 27.5 years old. Maybe it's time I grew up and stopped plastering childish images all over my website...
I've got a lot to think about before doing this site's 24 hour re-design in two weeks time. Talking of which is there anybody reading this who has yet to sponsor me?? I know there is ;o) To re-cap: I am going to spend 24 hours re-designing this site and need you lot to sponsor me on behalf of my chosen charity. Oh, and anybody who sponsors $20 or more gets a copy of the template to this site!!!
Since I stopped mentioning it all a few weeks ago the pledges have all but stopped and the total is now just over half of the $10,000 target. So, in mentioning it again, I'm hoping that some of you yet to sponsor me will get on the case. Come on, it's for charateee mate.
Last year, walking down Oxford St, I stumbled in to this "art" exhibit. Like everybody else there I thought it was a load of old rubbish (pun intended) but couldn't helping being curious. Now I see somebody is doing something similar, but not quite as destructive, on the internet. Via Matt Clarke, here's the useless link of the day to help you pass some time...
Enough links for one day me thinks...
Is a graph better than a list? Am I the hub of the Notes Universe? The answer to both is probably not but the graph is pretty nice to look at and play with.
Reminds me of the first thing I saw on the internet that ever made me think "Wow! How the hell did they do that?".
Thanks to David Marsh for his inspired solution to my Mozilla complaint from last Friday. It's only a matter of time before I make the switch. Who's coming with?
Here at CodeStore it's all about you. What can we do for you today ;o)
Latest site addition to make your life that little bit easier is the Mozilla Sidebar. Ever wished you could have codestore's main navigation available to you no matter what site you were looking at? No? Oh well, you can now. If you're using Mozilla or Netscape 6+ then you can add codestore to your sideabars.
Consider this the beta version. Suggestions welcome. There is a whole load of other features I could try and squeeze in there. Obvious ones include the option to search other sites like The Forum and Mike G's site. Let me know if you can think of anything you want to have in there.
Come release 1.1 and we may even see a state-of-the-art XUL interface...
Total number of error-message emails received today - oooh, only about 120. Damn them robots. Need to add Novell's BorderManager to the list.
Something I've been planning on doing for a while now is to email myself everytime this site's $$ReturnGeneralError form is triggered. As much out of curiosity as for anything else. Doing it is pretty easy. Just have a Computed For Display field with a formula like:
summary:="Request: http://" +server_name + Path_Info +@NewLine+
"Error: " + MessageString;
@MailSend("[Notes Address]"; ""; ""; "ERROR: " + MessageString; Summary)
Well I did it a few hours ago and the inbox is suffering already. Who's to blame? Not me, obviously my code is faultless ;o) It's the Robots. IBM's Crawler trying to access things like /A55692/store.nsf/%5c. Gigabot trying to access URLs with two view names in it etc, etc. Then there are the strange ones like "?Cache" requests from browsers with names like DA 5.0. It's a strange old world (wide web).
If this is what happens on a Sunday then me thinks me is going to have to remove this feature in a day or so. In the mean time I have added a Robots file.
Just realised it's five years to the day since I graduated (7-7-97, all the sevens). How time flies. This bloke was my what-do-you-call-it for a year. Forgot how much he looked like Captain Kirk. Five years on and the degree that I thought would be the grounding for my future career is now in the "Other Achievements" section at the very bottom of my resumé.
I must be getting used to it or something. This time I was only mildly annoyed (hangover numbing my senses) to find that somebody else has ripped off my articles and tried to pass them as their own. Guilty this time is lotusrnext.net. A strange choice of domain and the most annoying right-click action I've ever seen.
The only thing that stops me from completely switching browser is that there's always some little thing that I miss too much. With IE it's the keyboard shortcuts. To go to a new website I can press Alt+D to take the cursor to the Address Bar, where I can type something like "isthisasite", press Ctrl+Enter, and off it goes to http://www.isthisasite.com. Hence no need to type all the other bits. With Mozilla I have to and it bores me. What would be really useful is a feature like the one I've tried to illustrate here. Hopefully it will make sense. Maybe I should patent it ;o)
Today I will be mostly using the Not really knowing what to expect when I started it, and now 3/4 of the way through, I can't help feeling I'm reading a badly-written tragi-comedy. I have no sympathy for the main duo at all. They come across as a pair of spoilt kids, used to getting their own way. Not only this, but every paragraph seems to have at least one shameless name-drop in it. For example, when talking about their newly purchased £1 Million Sun 'StarFire' server, they just can't help but mention that: And? This is the tone of the whole book so far. I can't help but smile as I read it knowing how it all ends. Still, it's worth reading as it is strangely fascinating.
... its [Sun's] president, Ed Zander, sporting a massive Rolex, dropped by our offfices to pay his respects
Not really knowing what to expect when I started it, and now 3/4 of the way through, I can't help feeling I'm reading a badly-written tragi-comedy. I have no sympathy for the main duo at all. They come across as a pair of spoilt kids, used to getting their own way. Not only this, but every paragraph seems to have at least one shameless name-drop in it. For example, when talking about their newly purchased £1 Million Sun 'StarFire' server, they just can't help but mention that:
And? This is the tone of the whole book so far. I can't help but smile as I read it knowing how it all ends. Still, it's worth reading as it is strangely fascinating.
If you got a mail today from the "Department of Corrections" asking whether you would like to r*pe a v*rgin then you have Cassetica to thank. Despite promising to report to you every time this happened I am as bored as you with it. Hence I am now going to redirect everything to that alias to their M.D. Game over.
I don't know how or why this site contains the information it does but I find this kind of stuff uselessly interesting.
Thanks to Jesse Ruderman for his mail. He has nothing to do with Domino but he does have a very nice collection of bookmarklets.
Today's strange conversation:
PC Magazine have had an advert for the past two months for Bose's MediaMate PC speakers. Needing a pair of speakers I thought I'd find out more about them. The full-page advert has no web address (Dear Mr Bose, bose.co.uk really needs looking at!!) and there was just a phone number which I called:
Me: Hi, I'm calling about some of your speakers I saw in a magazine.
Her: [Sounding confused] Okay, is it professional or domestic?
Her: Is it professional or domestic?
Me: Errr, domestic.
Me: Right well, it's the MediaMate speakers in this month's PC Magazine.
Her: I don't really know what adverts are in the magazines at the moment.
Her: Let me see if Customer Services are available....
Her: No, she's in a meeting. Can I take your number and get her to call you.
Me: [tell her my number]
Her: Okay, and it's about the MediaAce speakers in Maxim magazine.
Me: No, it's about.....
I am yet to recieve that call. Instead I went on the Bose.com site and on the MediaMate page I chose Products/Pricing and then selected United Kingdom, only to be told that it was 6:35AM and the American offices are closed.
Is is me or is the everybody else is in the world going mad??
If you received an email today from "Mister Andrey" offering "LOLITA DREAMS" it's from Cassetica again. Don't worry I shall forward it to them for their records. Call me anal but I'm not going to let them forget this.
This morning started with a strange conversation with the guy who's moved to sit opposite me at work. Went something like this:
Him: What's your name?
Him: (reaching for pen and paper) How do you spell that?
Me: (perplexed) J. A. K. E.
Me: (looking over to see that he really has written geek) Well, I am a geek, but it's Jake. (said really slowly)
Him: Oh right, what country are you from?
Me: This one.
Him: Oh, I thought maybe you were from New Zealand. It's the accent.
Me: I'm a northerner.
Jaap Steenis mailed me to ask what I though about Sash. Luckily he didn't mean the awful German DJ but a technology preview from IBM. Looks like it's worth a lot more air-time than the DJ as well...
Matt Clarke sent me a link to what looks like another contender for the Domino Graveyard - insidedomino.com.