Archive for April, 2006
The latest Farrelly Brothers comedy movie, The Ringer, opened here in Australia last night.
The basic plot outline is that the main character’s only option to erase a really bad debt is to rig the Special Olympics by posing as a contestant. Straight away you can imagine all the major movie-makers running away from that script!
We won’t be able to get out to see the movie for a while yet, but as soon as our babysitters are back from their holiday we definitely will!
April 28th, 2006
Check out this great video clip, telling a vignette about a young man with Down syndrome just trying to fit in: Garth Brooks – Standing Outside The Fire.
OK, it’s not a new video, but I hadn’t seen it before and it’s kinda cool.
April 27th, 2006
PureText by Steve Miller is awesome for pasting stuff into CityDesk (and other HTML editors, rich text editors, formatted emails, Word docs, spreadsheets, etc).
You just paste using Windows-V instead of Ctrl-V, and it’ll strip out all the formatting. It’s like doing Edit -> Paste Without Formatting or pasting into Notepad, copying, and pasting into your destination window, but without the hassle of either of those methods.
Try it out – you’ll love it.
April 23rd, 2006
I found a couple of cool OS X applications this week:
- Onyx – System configuration, optimisation, maintenance, log file viewing and cleanup, cache and temporary file cleanup, etc. Freeware.
- Sticky Windows – Drag any window to the sides or bottom of the screen, and it becomes a tab and the window is hidden. Great for getting applications out of the way temporarily, when you don’t want to close and relaunch them. Shareware.
April 14th, 2006
I’ve just installed a neat image display tool called Lightbox JS v2.0.
Lightbox is really easy to install – you just upload the scripts to your server and add a little bit of CSS to your site template’s header. Full instructions are included in the link above.
I really like the way Lightbox can group images into ‘sets’, so visitors can click through a gallery of images using Previous and Next arrows. You can see the set feature in action on this post. The script even pre-loads the next image in the set before you click on Next, giving much faster apparent speed for dialup visitors.
Displaying images on an overlay like this means I can now start posting larger images, since they no longer have to fit in with the navigation and other layout elements of my web site template. Displaying images on a dark background also gives them more ‘pop’, increasing the apparent contrast and colour saturation.
Let me know if you have any problems.
April 11th, 2006
This web site was originally created and maintained using CityDesk from Fog Creek Software. CityDesk is a great tool for the job, but it only runs on Windows and I’ve moved to the Mac, so maintaining the site was becoming a pain.
I was looking for a server-based content management system, and WordPress was the most suitable one I could find for my needs. It’s not perfect, but it’s easy, convenient, and very good. And it’s free.
When I set WordPress up, I installed it into the /dacollins/ subdirectory (i.e. http://www.pool-room.com/dacollins/). This was a convenient way to spend time tailoring things, setting up my templates and plugins, importing content, etc without impacting my main site. All the changes were confined to a single subdirectory, and it wasn’t publicised much so I didn’t have to worry about breaking links as I played around and reorganised things.
Finally, after 2 or 3 months of on-again-off-again tinkering, I got everything just how I wanted it and was ready to copy WordPress to my site’s root (i.e. http://www.pool-room.com/).
The WordPress web site has some good instructions detailing how to move your site, and it worked exactly as advertised for me. The only thing I added was a line in .htaccess to redirect requests for the /dacollins/ subdirectory to the root directory – so if someone clicked on their bookmark for http://www.pool-room.com/dacollins/category/family/, they’d be automatically redirected to http://www.pool-room.com/category/family/ instead of encountering a 404 error. Click on the links to see how it works.
Assuming you’ve got mod_rewrite turned on, the line to add to .htaccess is:
RewriteRule ^dacollins/(.*)$ $1 [L,redirect=permanent]
This basically just strips the ‘dacollins/’ out of the URL.
I’ve left all the original CityDesk files where they were. You can still see pages from the old web site here for example. This makes sure that any pages that were indexed by search engines or linked to by other sites are still online, but new visitors will only see the new site.
April 10th, 2006
This seems to be a recurring problem among my friends and workmates. You’ve got a phone, PDA, iPod, GPS, USB stick, keys, wallet, and more. Even cargo pants have a limited number of pockets, and they don’t go very well with a jacket and tie. You don’t want to look like a complete nerd and wear a utility belt. So, what to do?
The Satchel Pages offers some solutions.
They’ll be devoting this whole week to the topic of concealed man-purses, so follow along!
April 5th, 2006
I just discovered a cool feature in Quicksilver on the Mac. It has iTunes integration.
In Quicksilver’s preferences, click on the iTunes pane. Make sure you’ve selected ‘Show Artwork’, ‘Monitor Recent Tracks’ and ‘Display Track Notifications’. Now, whenever the song changes you’ll get a popup showing you the name of the new song and the album artwork associated with it. Very cool.
Also, in Quicksilver’s Triggers pane, you can set up some keyboard shortcuts to control iTunes. I’ve got mine set up to map Command-Option-Space to pause/play, Command-Option-Right Arrow to ‘Play Next Track’, Command-Option-Left Arrow to ‘Play Previous Track’, and Command-Option-Up Arrow to display the current track. I also mapped Command-Option-Plus to increase the current song’s rating, and Command-Option-Minus to decrease the current song’s rating.
Little things like this make a huge difference to the usability of your computer. No more fumbling for the iTunes window when you want to pause the music or skip to the next song. I really, really wish I had something similar in Windows at work!
April 4th, 2006