Archive for the ‘Geekery’ Category

The truth about sleeping patterns

Monday, May 26th, 2008

Jeremy needs sleep

A couple of weeks ago I promised to myself that I would stay awake until my I.T. coursework was finished.  I ended up working from 6 p.m. , way past midnight, had a break for some munchies about 4 a.m., ran a final spell-check at about 9.30 a.m., printed it, and was in college for 10.30 a.m.  I had a 10 minute nap during a free in the afternoon, was rudely awakened by the head of year, and remained awake until 9.30 p.m.  All in all I was awake for around 38 hours.  Why wasn’t I tired? (more…)

Comments back online

Monday, March 31st, 2008

Just a general notice:  my commenting system is back!

For a couple of months now I’ve been getting some weirdass bugs with it… for instance, the submit button would jump away if you moved your mouse near it.  Quite funny to watch, but not very practical.

I just re-wrote it pretty much from the ground up, and it seems to be working OK so far.  For now.  For the time being all that I’m aware of is a cosmetic issue with the submit button overlapping the text area in IE7 – if you notice any bugs on other browsers then drop me a line in the comments.

See those cool little avatars next to peoples’ comments down below?  Those are called Gravatars, and they’re basically little display pictures that follow you round the internet on Gravatar-enabled sites based on your email.   They’re free.  The latest release of WordPress, the platform behind, has Gravatar support built-in.  If you don’t have a Gravatar already then they’re about to take off so now could be a good time to make yourself one.

Next step is to re-write the footer and sidebar to actually be useful.  But more on that later.

Cleaning my processor

Friday, September 14th, 2007

Comet salesmen recently all had to undertake training for new ‘Comet on Call’ call-out technician packages. One of the briefs sounds something like the following: “over time, dust can build up inside your computer and slow things down. The dust particles cause your computer’s internal hardware to overheat and become sluggish, or even become permanently damaged”.

I read in a computer magazine some years ago that compressed air is excellent for removing dust from hard-to-reach places. I noticed whilst installing my second hard-drive a month or two ago that my processor fan had become clogged with dust. I managed to find some ‘compressed air canisters’ floating around on ebay and decided that perhaps they would help shift the dust and thereby reduce the maddening volume of my processor fan, which does seem to be getting louder and more strained each week.

The fan system above the processor in my computer was pretty dusty, but also pretty hot, so I decided to wait for it to cool before spraying the compressed air. Lucky I did really: it gave me a chance to read the label properly, and as it turns out, the ‘compressed air’ is actually a chemical mix that is highly flammable. I decided to do a quick spark-check on the residue that I presume shouldn’t really be evident from compressed air, but was being produced in copious amounts from my canister.


Effortless to-do lists with Todoist

Thursday, May 31st, 2007


Today I discovered an amazing tool for creating to-do lists – Todoist.  It’s similar to the other 5000 to-do-list apps out there with an important difference – it’s usable.

Unlike most widget apps, it’s fast and accessible from anywhere. Unlike most other Web 2.0 organization apps, it is completely free of bloat and a pleasure to use. It is ridiculously light and doesn’t require a mouse for operation.

Go on, sign up for an account. Try out some of the great hotkeys – like ‘a’ for a new item, ‘ctrl – left/right’ for indents, and the tab key actually works in a useful order – from the name field to the date field, to add and then to cancel. The date field is smart, too – it recognises dates such as ‘tomorrow’, ‘in a week’ and so on.

Just the thing for those end-of-project checklists, work deadlines and lists of blogs you simply must write.

Surviving DiDA SPBs

Thursday, February 22nd, 2007

The deadline for DiDA module d204 is almost upon us (at LFC, anyway), so now seems an appropriate time to share some wisdom that I have acquired over the past 3 units.

1. Organize yourself!

This has got to be the single most important thing to get right to pass a DiDA SPB – you must be organized. I don’t mean by turning up to lessons on time and managing to use some primary sources – I mean that your entire mindset in the DiDA project must be impeccable order.

For the d201 and d202 SPBs, I managed to lose practically every scrap of feedback I managed to get down on paper – and the feedback that I did get wasn’t even that good anyway. I didn’t bother to print anything off from the SPBs, so everything was a mad rush at crunch-time when it transpired that I wasn’t meeting the criteria.

Go to WHSmiths or Wilkos tomorrow and buy yourself a ringbinder, some coloured dividers with tabs and as many poly-wallets as you can afford. Group together all of your printed off bits of paper – and if you’re working correctly you should have a fair few of them – and slip them in to poly-wallets together. For example, I group all completed feedback for a particular product in a poly-wallet, and all of my completed feedback under one divider. (more…)

Quick fix for strange CSS link behavior

Tuesday, February 13th, 2007

Posts on GTD and photography for Scenes and Emos in the pipeline, but just a quick update – something that I discovered working on a website for a school project earlier. If you’re not into webdesign, give this one a miss.

If you’ve any experience in semantic webdesign/xHTML+CSS, you will know how… well, frankly what an arse IE is to code for. One of my pet hates is the way that it handles the :hover pseudo class. Firstly, it only works on links, and secondly, I personally have encountered a large number of seemingly unexplainable errors that occur after the link has been followed.

First, some background theory.  The order of a CSS document is important – if two styles for an element exist, the last property will always win. Because of this, it is important to put your pseudo classes in the right order. This order is:

  1. :link
  2. :visited
  3. :hover
  4. :active

It is easy to remember this if you remember that you will have a love/hate relationship with pseudo classes – that’s link visited hover active.

This is fair enough, but sometimes certain properties won’t work after the link has been followed in IE<7.

OK. So, the solution?

Leave off the :link pseudo class. Your styles will work (as far as I can tell) just fine, without the strange, seemingly random errors. If in doubt, add a blank and pseudo-classed selector for each link.