Apologies for my absence

Real life has been getting a bit hectic with university reports to be written and the like. In the meantime I’ll post a cool quote from the small initiatives newsletter, SIDL.

When they say: “Why doesn’t your site look right on my (choose from the following relic platforms: Commodore VIC-20|Atari 800|Coleco Adam|Apple IIe) running (choose from the following relic clients: Spyglass Mosaic|Prodigy browser|Netscape 1.1N)?”

I wish I could say: Perception is reality. How do you know it doesn’t look exactly the way we wanted, just for you, while the rest of the world is the “graceful degrade”?

Installed Pie Menus in Mozilla

After using mouse gestures for a while and not finding them as well integrated as the implementation found in Opera I decided to try a different approach. The new pie menu add-in I installed seems to be somewhat more intuitive than the mouse gestures, time will tell if it is something I will persevere with or discard like mozilla mouse gestures. The problem I had with the mouse gestures was the interference with text selection, in the end it just frustrated me too much.

Get an ASP.net WebServer on the cheap

So you want to develop and test ASP.net web applications on a Windows XP Home machine. What do you do?

  1. Get WebMatrix [if you don’t have it already]
  2. Use WebMatrix for a bit until you despair at the crap HTML it turns out.
  3. Long for the utility of your favourite Text Editor [TextPad]
  4. Despair at having to boot up WebMatrix first just to set the WebMatrix WebServer running from the desired directory and port at the start of every session.
  5. Figure out how to improve the situation

Yes I have figured it out [pretty basic really].

  1. Find the WebServer.exe in the WebMatrix program folder
  2. Create a shortcut to the exe
  3. Add parameters for the directory and port number from which you wish to run the server
  4. Copy the Shortcut to the “Startup” folder
  5. Publish it on your personal website
  6. "C:Program FilesMicrosoft ASP.NET Web Matrixv0.5.464WebServer.exe" /port:8080 /path:"C:WebRoot" /vpath="/"

C#, Aggie and compilation

I managed to compile my first non trivial (read “hello World”) C# application today. The lucky application was the opensource news reader Aggie. So how did I do it? Quite simply if truth be told.

Steps to compiling Aggie (or just download thefunctioning application)

  • Get the source
  • Put it somewhere
  • Delete or move AggieCmd.cs (The command line source version)
  • Run the compiler, C:>csc /out:aggie.exe /target:winexe *.cs

As a first taste in compilation not too bad (after a few false starts caused by not having compiled C sharp before).

Why not just download the thing? Because I would have missed out on all the hacking I’m going to do with it. Successfully compiling from source was just the first step on my road to C# mastery. One of the main false starts was that I wasn’t sure which files needed to be compiled, including the AggieCmd.cs file caused namespace conflicts when running the compilation (I imagine because it is a substitute for Aggie.cs) anyway a quick look at using the micrososft disassembly tool, IL DASM, showed me what was in both of the files and I quickly realised how the different source files fitted together.

Thinking about Meta

I’ve been doing some thinking recently about the importance of meta data in my upcoming content management system and how best to implement my own meta data scheme. Given that I am interested in providing a RSS feeds something that is interoperable with that would be a good start. One particular focus has been to gain a broader understanding of the dublin core meta data schemes and their applications, An article I came across a while ago now can be found at ArsTechnica, it provides an interesting insight into different layers of metadata.

Pie Menus

There has been a bit of a buzz lately about Pie menus. This has been prompted by the availability of an mouse gestures add-in for Mozilla. My interest has been peaked because as a player of the Sims I have been using them quite a bit without realising it. I think it is interesting to note that my non-technical girlfriend got into playing the game very quickly and didn’t need guiding through any of the menu options. The ease with which they can be used by non-technical personnel leads me to believe that they may have an important role to play in future HCI development.

Mozilla Addons

After Mark Pilgrim mentioned an extension to Mozilla that allows “rich editing” of content in a text area I thought I should mention a few of my favourite Mozilla utilities.

  • Calendar – A nice calendar that is compatible with iCal files.
  • Annozilla – A useful utility that allows users to attach annotations to any webpage, useful demonstration of a w3c idea.
  • RSSzilla – Still needs work doing but should become an interesting project when it gets going.

One useful way to keep on top of your favourite projects is to point your news reader [Usenet news reader that is] tonews.mozdev.org for mozdev projects or the netscape.public.mozilla.* newsgroups for the core projects.

Chronicles of a CMS

I am currently developing a content management system for this website, you can read about how it is going by reading my short feature article about the CMS development, it begins by explaining the development process I am undertaking.

Why use a CMS? I guess I’m just bored of the cut and paste HTML editing I do on this personal site. I have recently changed my hosting provider to one with some scripting capability so I am finally going to be able to implement all the cool ideas I have floating around in my head, you can see the development of the system and read a little bit more about my reasoning in Chronicles of a CMS.

Top signs you’ve been scripting too much. see what the consensus was on a recent Usenet discussion.

Just a short note

Well If you’re reading this then you have been succesfully redirected to my new host! I’ve not posted the last couple of days while waiting for the DNS to fully propogate, In the meantime what have I been upto? Well getting back to university for a start, yes after another summer excursion into the realms of full-time employment I venture back into the rarefied aptmosphere of academic life. On the web front you may want to check out the new pheonix release from the Mozilla organisation, its not as fully featured as the real Mozilla releases but it is definately worth checking out as a lightweight browser, bear in mind though that it is only version 0.1 so problems are to be expected.

In the meantime I’ve been getting back into reading mode and I am currently working through a book, written by Garret Mattingly, about The Defeat of Spanish Armada, as I took geography as my “humanities” subject at school my historical knowledge of this subject is a little brief so I thought it best to educate myself concerning it. In the course og my reading I have encountered a new word,magniloquent. This caused me to reflect on how my learning of general vocabulary had seemed to diminish to a large extent, reading books from other disciplines has been a refreshing course of action for me.