Archive for July, 2006

Word press plugin

July 30, 2006

I was talking to a friend tonight, the discussion of which sparked this blog post:

http://halcyon.wordpress.com/2006/07/30/a-good-idea/

What we thought would be a good idea was if the first page on a blog was full text, then the following where cut down to 4 or so lines using the <!–more–> tag. I’m not sure if such a plugin exists but it would be a pretty straightforward thing to do ­čÖé

MSDN Library for free download!

July 30, 2006

I’m surprised it hasn’t been available sooner as its always been available online, nevertheless Microsoft have released their MSDN Libary for free public download (no subscription to MSDN required). From the webiste:

MSDN Library provides access to essential programming information, including technical white papers, software development kits and code samples necessary to develop web services and applications. This is an updated version of the MSDN Library for Visual Studio® 2005.

The downloads are available as CD-ROM image files so will need to be burnt to CD or mounted.

Interestingly Microsoft have an unsupport iso mounting application available, although I havn’t tried it.

I’ve been using the web based version a huge amount recently for the project I’m working on and can see the advantage of having a local copy. For general reference the online version with google search is proberly the best bet!

NetObjects: Fusion

July 30, 2006

NetObjects Fusion is a WYSIWYG website development package that never seems to get much recognition. After NotePad it (Fusion 6?) was the first package I ever created a website in and although the website never went live I found the site management and editing features were much above what I had tried previously and in general I found it a much more powerful environment than the FrontPage and Netscape Composer’s of the time, the other tools I had tired. Read the rest of this entry »

TUX digital magazine no longer free

July 26, 2006

I recieved an email today regarding my subscription to TUX:

This week you’ll notice a change in TUX. It will move from being a
free digital magazine to a paid one. Your current complimentary
subscription will be extended for 6 issues (expiring after the
January 2007 issue). That being said, this is just a note to let you
know what’s happening — there’s nothing at all you need to do
today. Your free subscription will continue to be delivered to you
as you had originally requested.

I’ve always supported this digital magazine (delivered via email in PDF) I must admit I have been a bit slack in reading them (I have a few unread issues in my archives). I’d be interested in a subscription depending on pricing. Especially considering their generous extension, will be good for evaluation.

Word document revision trails

July 22, 2006

An interesting tip I found over at lifehacker.com:

As recent news events have shown, leaving active revision trails in your MS Word documents can prove embarrassing; particularly when you’re trying to cover up criminal wrong-doing.

To avoid this tricky and embarrassing situation, make sure to remove revision tracking. Before distribution, choose Tools -> Track Changes -> Accept or Reject Changes. An interactive dialog box opens.

Select Accept All. When prompted, accept your changes and then save your work to disk.

A reader also commented that Microsoft has an add-in to remove this are more hidden data. This is available at Microsoft.com (hover for full link)

This is something I don’t think many people consider when sending Doc files (including myself) but when sending an important file it’s a very good idea to cover up your markup history!

Essential Software

July 22, 2006

I’m still yet to format my hard-drive , but I’ve made a list of my most commonly used Windows applications. Mostly so I know what to reinstall as well as to see what I may be missing and to share the apps I find most useful. Here they are (in no order): Read the rest of this entry »

DumpIT!

July 20, 2006

Following on from my original post on the application I have been developing to simply manage my files, I have completed BETA 1 of my application currently named DumpIT!

dumpappdiagram

From original post: Read the rest of this entry »

Productivity

July 19, 2006

I started my project today, I have my own desk with a view and all the software resources I need so I am very happy! I’m working with .NET and .NET components so I have spent the day researching how it all fits together and I have a good understanding, Next week I will continue to do the same and it shouldn’t be long until I move into the analysis phase of the application I will be making, followed by development.

I have recently become a little addicted to lifehacker.com, a resource filled with tips of being productive with technology as well as various other ‘life hacks’ needless to say my del.icio.us account has been getting quite a hammering!

I’ve downloaded and installed foobar2000 to see how I like it as a primary MP3 player.

I’ve also been briefly looking for a vi alternative for windows, well there are a few vi commands that I’d like in a text editor and I’m thinking of starting to make my own as a small project just for fun.

Tomorow I am definately going to tidy up my deploy application to take command line parameters for the source and destination directiory. A problem I have identifed is if there is a file with no ‘tag’ in the dump directory, currently when the application is run the file textfile.txt would be moved to a folder called textfile and named txt. Not too ideal! I am going to add a simple condition that will first check to see if a file has more than one ‘.‘ in it. This way assignment.textfile.txt will be moved to assignment/textfile.txt and textfile.txt will just be moved to the destination directory.

I also read today that IE7 will not support Windows2000? I’ll have to look that up but surely Microsoft can’t turn their back on all the Windows 2000 based workstations? Then again , anyone using Microsoft projects will be well aware they need to be using the latest products.

Another thing I need to do is find a nice simple and free standalone RSS feed reader. I’ll be looking at these and FireFox RSS extensions tomorow as well.

Something of my own, Tag clouds and Gaim

July 15, 2006

I’ve been having a good play with some wordpress themes lately and have installed a few to try out. I still love the K2 variants and have found a couple of others I like alot, but I have made the decision; I will be making my own theme. All the themes I have come across have one or two changes that need to be made for me to be happy and if I am going to be modding something I’d rather just start from scratch. That way I can say I did it all.

I have a design currently that I am very happy with, still needs a little work but it is simple and effective, will suit a tumblelog format well I think (looks much better in the browser):

blog design

I used the sketch I posted as a bit of a guide but the Flickr photos will not be where I had planned and I’m a little unsure if I love or hate tag clouds. I like the fact that they display the tags in a creative way and using fonts and colours give a good indication of usage , although I do feel they are a little over done and can look ‘tacky’.

Rounded corners is another issue, currently my header has rounded edges as well as the content. The footer will not be (although its the same colour as the background anyway) and the navigation will not be. Hopefuly this will still give it a sharp look and draw the eye to the left side first?

Will post a progress pic when I have made a few changes. I hoping to have it done in two weeks or so, working on it bits at a time.

I have also been connecting to MSN via Gaim at the moment. Windows Live was getting a little annoying with all its features people seem to love and Gaim looked like a nice alternative. As well as the fact it runs on multi platforms and a disk drive. Features that I will be finding useful soon!

Finally RE: YouOS and browser based desktops , There has been quite a bit of debate on the term OS (Operating System) in relation to what they provide. Ok , YouOS is not an operating system as it requires a browser to run and does not provide the basic tasks of an operating system. I don’t think the name is too misleading as it will help with marketing and works well as a proof of concept for the browser based desktop concept. It’ll be interesting to see where this heads but I am starting to favour browser based remote desktop type applications more (why reinvent the wheel?). This is of course just my opinion.

My original RSS (type) idea 7 years ago

July 10, 2006

I was in bed last night when it occured to me, I thought up an RSS type idea 7 years ago! I was 13 or so and had a southpark website with a collection of various media (all credited of course :)) and regularly checked the top southpark websites. There was a very good community and many of the top sites were friends with eachother.

I liked the idea (and still do) of having a website built based on seperate files (side bar, header etc) and after using frames for a bit I realised I could use an external javascript file with a series of document.write() statements. Frameless pages with seperated content! (I didnt know about server side scripting then!).

I then had an idea, what if all the major websites had a javascript file on their server with a standard name/location and made the location publically available? This file would contain document.write statements with a decription of the latest content. A website could place a series of these to show their visitors what the other sites are upto. I thought I could make a webpage designed for this purpose (a portal).

I never actually did this or looked into it much further, sadly. Now that we have XML this is exactly what is being done with RSS, I had the concept just not the greatest implementation!

Edit:

I recieved a comment on my digg submission which I found very informative and thought I should mention it here to ensure I have expressed my idea correctly!

The comment is as follows:

“I hate to break it to you, but RSS is over seven years old and the general concept is about a decade old. Your idea was not new or original in any way, in fact it came *after* the whole “push” fad had died down. I specifically remember that I was automatically downloading news, website updates and rich media (a.k.a. podcasts and videocasts in all but name) with Pointcast ten years ago.

http://www.tnl.net/who/bibliography/pointcast/

http://goatee.net/2003/rss-history.html

The current RSS hype is at least the third time this sort of thing has been popular. Internet Explorer 4 had CDF built in, which was very similar to RSS and could be displayed on Windows 98’s “Active Desktop” in much the same way lots of Apple Dashboard widgets display RSS and Atom feeds these days.” Jim

In direct response I would like to say the following:

I completely forgot about those services and feel very silly for not considering this! In my defense I’d like to point out I wasn’t a heavy power user back then and I didn’t really know about those features at the time. This was more my interpretation of what would be a good service (too bad it had been done!). I’ll read those links with great interest thanks for putting me right!

While XML syndication was available then it was still not widely used by many websites in the form it is now, and not with the ease my initial concept would have provided. RSS feeds for websites were not common.

Just to clear things up I was not trying to say my idea pre-dated XML syndication or anything just that without knowledge of this I came up with a concept that is similar to the RSS feeds that have grown hugely in popularity recently.

Now that we have XML this is exactly what is being done with RSS

Should have read, now the XML has become more common place