Tuesday, 20 December 2005

Rounded corners with tables

This is a test of creating rounded corners using tables. It took me ages but I figured out that I needed to define the first row even if it was 7 repititions of a 1 pixels block of the same colour. Browsers use that as a starting point for the rest of the table.

Basically what I've got here is a 3 by 3 table with each corner holding a 7 by 7 table with a nice progression that I worked out not so long ago whilst carrying out another project.

I've put it beneath but I think you'll be able to see the progression as being nice and consistent. I think so anyway.


This is just a test of the onChange thing for drop-down lists. It seems to work so far wink.

This is another way of doing it, from here:

Simple Corners

Four walls makes a house, four corners makes a rounded rectangle. That's all there is in this example.

Thursday, 15 December 2005

Cool buttons!


Created these with the amazing 80x15 Brilliant Button Maker. I had a nice txtdb one that is available on their site but I couldn't find one for MySQL, SQLite nor Ajax so I just had to make some. The MySQL one uses the colours from their logo. The SQLite one has the logos colour on the left and the default on the right. The Ajax one has the colour of the cleaning product logo, which is just red really wink! Excuse the table but that's the colour scheme on the old page where they were displayed and I wanted to do a nice mock-up of what I think they should look like. Except that the real page is residing on the server on my mac and the hosting here doesn't support SQLite and txtdb was so slow on here that I had to take it off sad...

The button maker is really cool and I'm well impressed. I found it as a result of messing around with the Stumbleupon plug-in for Firefox... I think that that is quite enough links for now!

I just couldn't resist this: drm

Friday, 9 December 2005

Slight Update

Updated Literature Review, (My tutor suggested that I password protect this, email me for access if you feel you really, really need to read it wink) gone back to Mellel as NeoOffice/J was sooooo slooooow it was painful! Besides, I figured out how to do foot-notes! And it produces pdf files as well! Not sure that I like foot-notes but they're not too bad an idea really.

Couple of nice icons which I've come accross as well, think they were from dA:


Also been using Inkscape on the good old Mac and I'm generally impressed. I used it to create the figures in the literature review and I like the mix of freehand stuff and the ability to get to grips with the underlying XML as well... particularly useful when you need to place things exactly in line and such like. I used to use it on the PC and used Sodipodi prior to that (I think Inkscape is a branch of the Sodipodi stuff...?), but now that it's available for the Mac I'm not looking back! Did crash a couple of times but you gets what you pays for and it's free wink!

Wednesday, 30 November 2005


What a really cool idea Oxfam Unwrapped is! There was a thing on radio 4 yesterday morning slagging it off but I think it is the bees knees. You can buy something for someone that'll do some good somewhere else! If it's the thought that counts then it is a pretty neat thought I think... but then again I guess I would wouldn't I wink

What I'm also doing at the minute (apart from justifying myself in a blog), is listening to computer science podcasts. They're brilliant and I'm enjoying 'em (the podcasts) as much as I did the first days of my course... if not a little bit more really.

I'm also getting to grips with NeoOffice/J for the mac as my tutor likes footnotes and Mellel just won't play with 'em I'm afraid. It's a crying shame as well as I love the program and it's as fast as lightening on my machine. I'm not overly happy with the complexity of NeoOffice as it seems to be as feature rich as Word... something I'm not overly pleased with really.

Friday, 18 November 2005


This is where my literature review is living at the minute. I'm aiming for about 3-4K words on the bugger as its worth about 25% of the mark for my dissertation. Enjoying it so far but will need to be done by Xmas. Will finish off the internet thing soon then going to have a look at the browser wars... then gonna have a squint at AJAX and look at the state of the literature there... I've finally managed to find some references for it but they're mostly in low grade sources such as .NET magazine. Not that .NET magazine is pants, quite the opposite really as I get it nigh on every month, it's just that it's not exactly an academic journal.

There are a fair few references in newspapers as well but mostly we'll be looking at blogs and podcasts (Still need to look at how to reference a podcast wink.)

Tuesday, 15 November 2005

1st bit of literature review

No discussion of the provenance of Asynchronous Javascript and XML techniques (henceforth to be known as AJAX) would be complete without looking at the internet and its development over the past few years.

Licklider is credited with being the "father of the internet". He discussed the concept of the "Galactic Network" in 1962 in a series of memos where he envisioned a globally interconnected set of computers through which users might access data and programs from any machine (Liener & Cerf et al, 2003). Licklider was made the head of the computer research program at the U.S. Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) soon after and it was here that he promoted, and subsequently encouraged his successors to promote, an all-encompassing computer network when he left in 1964. DARPA itself had been created by President Eisenhower in 1958 as a line item in an Air Force appropriations bill in order to pursue research and development of technologies which might be of benefit to the military. It is believed that its creation was a direct response to the launching of the Sputnik satellite by the USSR. Eisenhower later made comments warning about the rising economic, political and spiritual power of what he coined the "military-industrial complex". In a speech he gave before leaving office he listed technological issues as being one of the gravest threats facing the USA, on the one hand he warned about scholars being manipulated by the financial power of the "military-industrial complex", while he was also conscious of "the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite" (1961, 1035-1040).

While Licklider provided the concept of the internet, three teams were working concurrently on the technologies which made the internet possible. Kleinrock had published the first paper on packet switching technology in 1961 (Klienrock, 1961) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he continued to work on the technology until 1967. About the same time (1962-1965) the RAND Corporation, sponsored by the United States Air Force, was funding Baran who came up with the concept of robust communications networks through a distributed network rather than the centralized or decentralized networks models popular at the time. Primarily he was concerned with "a communication network which will allow several hundred major communications stations to talk with one another after an enemy attack" (Baran, 1962). He also worked on packet switching techniques. Packet switching was also worked on independently by Davies of the UK's National Physical Lab between 1964 and 1967.

Roberts (convinced by Klienrock's theories about packet switching) succeeded in creating the first ever network of 2 machines over a telephone line at MIT in 1965. In 1966 Roberts was recruited by DARPA and within a year put together a plan for the ARPANET which he presented at the ACM Symposium on Operating Systems Principles conference (Roberts, 1967). There, Davies and his team made him aware of the work of Baran. In 1968 the theories of the three teams were refined into a final specification for the ARPANET which was commissioned by the USA Department of Defense in 1969 for research into networking (PBS Online, 1998) . However, it has been suggested that ARPANET was originally conceived of as a way for DARPA contractors to share computing resources (Griffin, 2000).

More and more computers were added, and more and more networks were connected to ARPANET, making the first internet, or network of networks. It was eventually decommissioned in 1990 but not before many of the protocols which make up the modern internet were tested upon it. ARPANET was demonstrated to the public in 1972 at which time work commenced on a second generation of network protocols based upon the packet switching ideas developed by the three teams above. By 1982 a family of new protocols had been developed. The Transmission Control Protocol - responsible for host communications, and the Internet Protocol - responsible for routing and addressing (more commonly known as TCP/IP) were by far the two most prominent members of this family (Davidson, 1988). TCP/IP has the benefit of being operating system agnostic and though originally developed for large systems it was demonstrated by Clarke that it enabled workstations to be networked as well as the large systems. Asleson and Schutta (2005) see the development of TCP/IP and the personal computing revolution of the 1980s and 1990s as another significant step along the way to the networked world in which we reside today. We can see that the impetus for the creation of the internet came from Licklider, that its architecture was primarily the responsibility of Baran, that the protocols used upon it were developed by Roberts, Davies and Baran, but the final contributer towards todays Internet and World Wide Web is Berners-Lee.

Berners-Lee believes the concept of the internet predated the work of Licklider and notes that Vannevar Bush wrote about a machine called the Memex in 1945, and Ted Nelson wrote of 'Literary Machines' in 1965 (Berners-Lee, 1999). Nelson's machines, once networked, would allow users to share information as equals using a process he termed hypertext. Hypertext was also the basis of a collaborative workspace called On Line System developed in the 1960s by Doug Engelbart at Stanford. But their contributions, while visionary, didn't come to fruition in the way that Licklider's did. Berners-Lee is also conscious of the element of timing in the success of his work. He states, "I happened to come along with time, and the right interest and inclination, after hypertext and the Internet had come of age. The task left to me was to marry them together" (Berners-Lee, 1999, p7).

Handley and Crowcroft (1995) are amongst many who credit Berners-Lee with the creation of the World Wide Web. Berners-Lee used the idea of hypertext as developed by Nelson and Engelbart to link documents together. In much the same way as an academic paper has references to other academic papers Berners-Lee thought that it might be appropriate for references in electronic resources to link to other electronic resources using an addressing scheme. This would allow the reader to directly access the referenced resource by clicking on a link in the document. Initially these links were called URNs (Universal Resource Name), later they were known as URLs (Universal resource Locator), and more recently they are called URIs (Uniform Resource Identifier). More colloquially they are known as web addresses. Berners-Lee wasn't alone in his enthusiasm for hypertext but he was initially alone in his belief in the possibilities of placing hypertext on the internet. After looking at already available hypertext products he decided that a simplified subset of Standardized General Markup Language (SGML) which he called Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) would, combined with a protocol called Hypertext Transport Protocol (HTTP), provide a mechanism by which scientists working on diverse hardware platforms would be able to share data in a universally accessible format over the infant internet.

Charles Goldfarb, the creator of SGML, saw its development as result of the work of a number of individuals active in the late 1960s whose main concern was the presentation of printed material (Goldfarb, 1990). A number of people proposed splitting the data contained in documents from the formatting of documents; the formatting would then be described in specific ways. Goldfarb took these ideas, and with his colleagues at IBM in 1969, created GML in order to allow text-editing, formatting and information retrieval subsystems to share documents in an integrated law office information system.

Goldfarb continued to work with markup languages (Goldfarb & Prescod, 2001) and designed SGML to have: Common data representation allowing different hardware/software combinations to read and write the same document; flexibility to be able to work with any of the myriad different types of document; Rules for the creation of a formal description of documents of the same type.

While Goldfarb started work on SGML almost immediately after his work on GML, it wasn't until 1974 that SGML was properly proven. This was when Goldfarb proved that software could check the validity of a document against its document type definition. SGML was ratified as a standard in 1986, though it had been in use for some time prior to this in industry.

Eisenhower D (1960) "Farewell Radio and Television Address to the American People" (January 17, 1961) IN Public Papers of the Presidents, p. 1035-1040 Washington: GPO Also [WWW] http://millercenter.virginia.edu/scripps/diglibrary/prezspeeches/eisenhower/dde_1961_0116.html
Leiner B & Cerf V et al (2003) A Brief History of the Internet, version 3.32 [WWW] http://www.isoc.org/internet/history/brief.shtml
Klienrock L (1961) Information Flow in Large Communication Nets RLE Quarterly Progress Report
Baran P (1964) Rand Memoranda on Distributed Communication [WWW] http://www.rand.org/publications/RM/RM3420/
Griffin S (2000) Internet Pioneers [WWW] http://www.ibiblio.org/pioneers/index.html
Roberts L (1967) Multiple computer networks and intercomputer communication Proceedings of the first ACM symposium on Operating System Principles
PBS Online (1998) Nerds 2.0.1. Timeline [WWW] http://www.pbs.org/opb/nerds2.0.1/timeline/index.html
Davidson J (1988) An Introduction to TCP/IP New York: Springer-Verlag
Berners-Lee T (1999) Weaving The Web The Past, Present and Future of the World Wide Web by its Inventor London: Orion Business Books
Asleson R & Schutta N (2005) Foundations of Ajax Berkeley: Apress
Handley M & Crowcroft J (1995) The World Wide Web Beneath the Surf London: UCL Press
Goldfarb C (1990) SGML HISTORY [WWW] http://xml.coverpages.org/sgmlhist0.html
Goldfarb C & Prescod P (2001) THE XML HANDBOOK 3rd Ed. Prentice Hall

Friday, 11 November 2005

Interesting comic

Came across an interesting web comic... I really need to spend time writing my dissertation but this is only a little thing... here are the pages so far: 00, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47(?), 48, 49, 50, 51, 52,53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94.

It is by ~MySweetPhantom but I'm not sure what happened to page 47...?

Perhaps we'll get it at a later date... or perhaps the numbering just got messed up...?

This is well cool too!

Friday, 4 November 2005

Dissertation Title

Now got the title of my dissertation, it's taken a while but I think I'm there and it sounds okay... I think it does anyway. You ready for it? Really? Okay, here goes:

Little Bits of Changes:

Comparing traditional web applications with applications built using the AJAX paradigm in the context of a module choice milieu within an academic community.

What do you reckon to that then?

Pretty cool I think, I particularly like the use of the word "milieu", definitely one to watch that, that's the one and only time I'll use the word... ever I think wink.

Monday, 17 October 2005

Listen to your Dad

Bloody great big hole. These pictures were taken after it rained, rained lots! We were on our way back from school and the heavens opened, putting down so much water that the poor drains on Riverside couldn't cope. The water pressure forced the drain cover up, I'm thinking, and gravity pushed it back down into the hole that was left.

You can see the drain cover in the last image, under the water.

My poor youngest ended up falling in, number 2 rode over it and shredded his back wheel but number 3 couldn't control his bike (hardly surprising really - if it weren't for my avoiding puddles like the plague I'd have lost control too!) and he ended up half-submerged in the drain... poor mite!

The bike is there both for scale and to warn other road users of the danger... you wouldn't have believed the number of people who got nasty about us blocking the road, guess we should have made out merry way home and let the daft buggers fall in...?

1st image:

2nd image:

3rd image:

Here's a lesson for you kids: If'n your old man says don't ride in the puddles; listen to the old codger wink!

This picture was taken around about the same time on my way into work around about the Beehive Centre... Red sky at night and all that!

Friday, 7 October 2005

A cool book and DVD

Brought my lovely boat back today from being painted. I'm grateful for the use of a house for a week or 3 but I've gotta say I'm happy to be back in my own home, and it's a lovely colour now too! Black on the sides and light-grey on the top... wonder what the hex values are of those? Finally finished Anil's site and caught the beautiful Appleseed on DVD... had a busy old time of things really.

Finished a cool book as well, The Risen Empire by Scott Westerfield. It really is excellent and proper space opera fare, sounds a lot like the review of Serenity I heard on Radio 4 earlier today that. There's an excellent write up on the back of the book talking about, "the precision of a surgeon's scalpel and the wild abandon of a machete", from Wil McCarthy. Couldn't agree more really, an excellent read full-stop.

Next week I'll get back to my dissertation... honest!

Monday, 3 October 2005

Been busy

Sorry for not writing anything for a while but I've been busy with a project or two.

Firstly I'm getting to grips with my dissertation - and thoroughly enjoying it too.

Secondly I've been doing some design work for an architect chap by the name of Anil Barnes.

It is lovely being able to mess around and I've managed to cobble together a script which did what I wanted in terms of an image slideshows, and what have you, for his site. I keep getting back to having a site on a page and the address not altering but the content being dynamic in terms of what's pressed on the page. I like that a lot but it'll kill the back button on bigger sites I guess...? Perhaps I don't care wink?

Anyway, the address is here and the original address used for development is here.

Saturday, 17 September 2005

Backgammon on Mac

Backgammon is my game... it's a lovely combination of skill and chance and offers an almost mystical experience. I really do love the game (unless I'm losing, thankfully I don't do that that often though wink), thing is I was looking for a nice game to play on my Mac and came across BGBlitz and I think I've made a new friend. Give the demo a go and by all means shell out the piddling amount for a Player licence... it's well worth it!

Sunday, 4 September 2005

How odd

My trusty PC must be feeling a bit left out at the minute, a bit neglected really. It's not it's fault really, it's just that I've fallen for mac in such a big way that it really doesn't have look in anymore. I've pulled it up today (The PC that is.) and tried to do stuff but I'm left thinking of something a mate said when they learnt how to drive in France... was something along the lines of being able to drive badly in both place, non of the keys are in the right place and the short cuts are all different.

My mac is slow but it's got apache already installed and has PHP and MySQL all easily installable - and you know I've installed them too - and I'm developing stuff on that quick as a flash... mainly because it's just so nice to use I think.

Anyway, enough of this, it's time to get back to some work again.

As an extra nugget of data purely for my own benifit:

I've come to understand where my somewhat mystical bent came from after coming across The Complete Adventures of Robin of Sherwood from the popular TV series by Richard Carpenter with Robin May and Anthony Horowitz (ISBN 0-14-034450-0) at work. I'd forgotten about the series staring Jason Connery until I came across this and then all I could hear afterwards was the music by Clannad in my head. It was a cracking bit of telly and no mistake and I can remember being well naffed off when it ended... ahh well.

Needless to say I'll be plowing through it (along with all the other books I'm in the process of reading at the minute).

Saturday, 27 August 2005

More cool links for AJAX

Found these via a story on slashdot.

This has some nice illustrations that'll have to get borrowed for my stuff.

This is probably repeated somewhere, but what the hell!

This is a very quick tutorial.

Wednesday, 17 August 2005

33 today!

Well, it's nigh on half-past midnight so I guess that I'm officially 33 now...? 33 and bald as a very bald thing too!

When they say on a bottle of Immac that it's not to be used anywhere else other than legs they're not messing about, when they say that you're not to use it on broken skin they're not talking rot either!

To sum up: Putting the best part of a bottle of hair-removal cream on your head as a radical cure for near-terminal dandruff isn't a good idea. You leave it the prescribed 5 minutes and your hair doesn't come away nicely with the applicator thingy... it turns into some sort of strange rubbery goo and you pray that you've not put some on your eyebrows by accident, and you're left rubbing the remainder off like you did when you were at school and you purposefully covered your hands in glue just so you could rub it off when it dried... or maybe that was just me? That and the stinging isn't to be recommended, I can tell you.

Still, live and learn ehh...? wink

Sunday, 31 July 2005

To Mac or not to Mac

Well, after many, many, many expensive upgrades I've fanally got Mac OS X running on a graphite clamshell iBook. Goodness me it looks lovely too wink. It's only Panther but anything more modern won't work I'm afraid... ahh well.

I keep getting pestered to join the .Mac thing and have an iDisk on the interweb or something but I'm not too sure about that really as it seems a bit of a faff. May well be worth it for online storage but I've got my website and ftp access for that anyway... we'll see ehh?

I do like Macs though and it almost feels like I've actually got Linux running on a laptop when I play with the lovely little bugger. Cost an arm and a leg and took bloody ages too, so I guess it's almost like getting Linux running on a laptop really wink. Could do with upgrading the HDD as it's only 6 and a bit GB... small ehh? Remember when that'd seem like tonnes? Just had to upgrade my external HDD solution to 50GB so that I've enough space... we'll be drowning in storage soon! Would like my own server really but that'll just have to wait for a bit wink.

In terms of the other stuff that I was talking about in my previous post it seems as though the consequences of the lie aren't all that bad really. Was getting all ready to change my life and making plans up to here but now I'm going back to normal... can't help but think of it as something of an anti-climax really *shrug*.

Nice picture to be getting on with though!

likkle swans

...and a battery on it's way to the dump:


Take it easy until next time...

Thursday, 7 July 2005

Interactive Lock

Well I managed to finish the SVG lock I mentioned in my last post and it's here, like I put in my last post wink. I had a devil of a time getting the logic of the thing worked out but it all seems to work properly now.

This is a png of the image for those without the Adobe SVG viewer plugin:


For those without the plugin be aware that the image uses specific Adobe script constructs I'm afraid as I borrowed heavily from the work of Kevin Lindsey.

I put the link there as it was originally done for my youngest as he's doing a project on water at school and in the adsence of a working engine I couldn't take him through a lock but I wanted him to be able to see how one works. I figured that the address would be more school friendly rather than camshag... my fault for buying a domain name when I'm so tired I guess wink.

I'm interested in what people think about the buttons on the right, I've made them a little more user friendly by making animated arrows appear when the mouse goes over a functioning one but I'm still not overly sure that it works well enough for a kid to understand... please let me know using the link on the page if'n you can think of any way to improve the GUI.

Wednesday, 29 June 2005

Been a while

Seems like I should be getting paid by the city council to catch all the flies in Cambridge as I get off my bike after cycling to work and I'm covered in the buggers.

Went to the Midsummer fair (Been going 800 years... or so I was told...?) last weekend and had loads of fun... just a shame there seems to be bad blood between the travellers and the boaters on the Cam. Loads of boats ended moving from the common after all the nastiness last year.

Got a new canopy at long last:


Which means that I can sit out and read and see the ducks:


Still not got anywhere fast in terms of my dissertation but I'm working on an SVG canal lock, which should be cool as my youngest is doing a project on water... the link to it will appear here when I've finished.

Monday, 13 June 2005

Bruce Cahillane R.I.P.

So, farewell Bruce. It's always hard, I guess, not to resort to platitudes when someone you know dies... but sometimes platitudes are all that are left.

I liked Bruce and thought of him as my friend and I'll miss him. I only knew him at work and there I valued his presence on the ward and the times when his compassion would put me to shame.

Bruce cahillane

I know he had a rough time of things at times, and I think that that wasn't anything new really, but he always showed courage and sought with a vigour that puts many to shame to put things right again. I enjoyed chatting with him during the night - and I generally don't like talking to my fellow staff at all wink.

Tuesday, 7 June 2005

Strawberry Fair Spin

Well it was Strawberry Fair this past weekend and it was top-hole. Not quite so good as previous years and thankfully we left before it got too busy as it seemed to be a real crush after lunch-time.

This is a cracking picture, unfortunately it's a little blurred but it's taken from my phone so what can you expect ehh?

Strawberry fair spin

I think he's enjoying himself, at least that's what he said wink.

Thursday, 26 May 2005

A shed load of links from slashdot

Most of these were gathered from here, I do so love slashdot!.

Cool pictures here, I think I've probably made use of this link before but there you go ehh?

Looks cool this.

This I'm not too sure of, though it might be of use...?

This looks bloody good and I'll have a better look in a bit.

More on AJAX.

And more.

Monday, 2 May 2005

Verse by Norma Anne Peymani

The Fairy Oath

I believe in fairies
I believe it true
That fairies bring joy to the world
and heaps of happiness too
They may not look for gratitude
their spirit will not allow
A fairy to take credit
a fairy to take the bow
They live their lives in secret
their aim to make us see
That by living together contentedly
happy we will be

Saturday, 30 April 2005

New layout

+-----------------+       +-----------------+
+-----+-----+-----+ +--------+--------+
+--+--+--+--+--+--| +--------+--------+
| I|II| I|II| I|II| | YEAR 1 |
+--+--+--+--+--+--| +--------+--------+
|01|07| 12 | | | | 01 | 07 |
+--+--+--+--+23|29| +--------+--------+
|02|08| | | | | | 02 | 08 |
+--+--+13|18+--+--| +--------+--------+
|03| | | |24|30| | 03 | |
+--+09+--+--+--+--+ +--------+ 09 |
|04| |14|19|25|31| | 04 | |
+--+--+--+--+--+--+ +--------+--------+
|05|10|15|20|26|32| | 05 | 10 |
|--+--+--+--+--+--+ +--------+--------+
|06|11|16|21|27|33| | 06 | 11 |
+--+--+--+--+--+--+ +--------+--------+
| |17|22|28|34| | YEAR 2 |
+-----+--+--+--+--+ +--------+--------+
+-----------------+ +--------+--------+
| 13 | 18 |
| 14 | 19 |
| 15 | 20 |
| 16 | 21 |
| 17 | 22 |
| YEAR 3 |
| 23 | 28 |
| 24 | 29 |
| 25 | 30 |
| 26 | 31 |
| 27 | 32 |

So I altered the layout of the module selection page in the early dissertation stuff to avoid lots and lots of scrolling across, as it's nasty and inefficient. Hopefully this is a little more logical. I'm also thinking that the page can submit to itself rather than having to pass the variables to another page... I'll have to see how that works once I get it all sorted out properly wink.

Friday, 29 April 2005

New plan

So I got a lift back home with a mate and came up with the final plan for my dissertation. Bugger SVG; I'm gonna play with XMLHttpRequest!

I've come up with an introduction and it'll be on here soon enough. I think It's jolly exciting and will compare and contrast dynamic sites using a combination of PHP, PHP Text DB API, MySQL, JSON and AJAX. Should be nice to do and will be based on stuff that I did as a research assistant at APU.

Wednesday, 20 April 2005

Ratatouille... made from 100% pure rats

1 huge aubergine
3 huge courgettes
4 ripe tomatoes
1 red pepper
1 big red onion
Olive oil
Salt & pepper
Mixed herbs
Tomato puree

1. Sprinkle salt on sliced aubergine and leave to stand for half an hour (This takes the bitterness away... apparently Wink)

2. Wash salt off and fry with the rest of the vegetables in a big wok until things look like they're "getting there".

3. Add everything else and a bit of water, cover and simmer for 20 mins.

4. Scoff the lot right quick!

Tuesday, 22 March 2005

Where did XML come from?

Seems I might have been wrong about the roots of XML according to an interview with one of it's creators. Ho Hum.

2 B or not C of E

So I went to this excellent talk last night about the future of the Church for the next few years (Was originally going to be 10 but then got changed to 10-20 years) at the Blue Lion in Hardwick... nevermind!

The bloke doing the speaking was lovely, buggered if'n I can remember his name, he was taking over a Church after spending some time teaching priests - or so I gathered. He talked at some length about how the Church was actually growing in the context of the wider world but shrinking within Western Europe. Thing was, it was a proper C of E thing. Lovely for being so too, I think.

I love the C of E, I really do, it's the Church that our society needs and wants, it'll fall over if someone blows hard at it and get lost in committee for years over silly arguments and will absolutely refuse to take a stand... except that now it's getting involved in the whole nasty abortion question... a mistake in my opinion, a rather nasty mistake too!

Now don't get me wrong, I'm as averse to killing things as the next man (I'm a vegetarian after all... though I've got to make an exception to fish!) but if some 13 year old lass has been raped by her Dad and was too scared to see a medic until it was near 24 weeks then I'd be all for her not having to bear a possibly monstrous mewling infant that'll remind her of a crappy period forever more. Get the kid adopted, I hear you say? Well there are all sorts of consequences to breaking that genetic taboo, that's why it's a taboo after all...

There are all sorts of valid reasons for not changing the legislation, not least of which is that if there is a requirement for late abortions then someone will provide them, I'd prefer them to be done in a hospital rather than in an alley somewhere with a rusty knitting needle.

I just came across this while checking the 24 weeks thing I said above: "British Conservative Party leader Michael Howard said he would push to change the abortion restriction from the current 24 months gestation limit down to 20 weeks if elected Prime Minister in the next election.". Now, don't get me wrong but are they really saying that we can abort our children some year and a quarter after they are born Wink? A perfect reason to not vote conservative in my opinion.

Tuesday, 15 March 2005

Progress... sort of ;-)

Did lots of interesting things last night, got to grip with the calculator function of google and also did some heavy duty (for me) math with triangles. I quite liked that bit actually wink.

Doing the math I realized that I needed to draw over a series of images that I'd cobbled together into a table so I used the excellent JavaScript Graphics Library from the divine Walter Zorn, that man is just a wiz! And with that I was able to put a transparent div over the top of the table with the images in and so overlay a vector over a bitmap image, cool ehh? The page I made can be found here and details a lovely walk I took on Saturday last (Though I did get very knackered and I'm still recovering really).

Sunday, 13 March 2005

SVG Beating Heart

The ancestor of the ASCII Heart (Of course, being SVG it might not work in YOUR browser):

Friday, 25 February 2005

Pretty ASCII heart

             XXXXXXXXX              XXXXXXXXX
XXXX| |XXX\ \ \X/ /\ /XXXXX
XX| |XXX/ | \ /XXX| \XXX
XX| \ /\ /XXX/ /XXX

For some strange reason I've got well into ascii art... again... actually I know why it is: I came across some ascii animations of spiderman while browsing a forum and was so caught up with the possibilities that I thought I'd have to have a try. The above is from a beating heart animation available here.

I've submitted an animated gif of the webpage to dA and you can find it here, I used a similar technique on a piece of knotwork and you can find the deviantArt link here and the original here.

Well I was talking about XML a while ago...

The article in the Guardian that I quoted from some time ago seemed to say that XML came about from work done on SGML and HTML but that isn't strictly true...

What actually happened was that XML was developed from the same route language as HTML, namely SGML, so it's relationship to the other two languages is more like the illustration below:

| SGML |
| |
+--+---+ +-----------+-------------+
| | | XML |
| | +-------------------------+
| |
| HTML |
| |
| |
| |

SGML was used by Tim Berners-Lee as a basis for the development of HTML (HyperText Markup Language) while he worked at CERN and was looking for a way in which scientists working on diverse hardware platforms would be able to share data in a universally accessible format over the infant internet. HTML represents a subset of SGML but it shares only the first feature of SGML - in that it allows the same documents to be read on different systems. It is not formally extensible and it does not enforce specific rules. To some extent it might be said that SGML is the father of both HTML and XML but while HTML represents a subset of SGML, XML represents a simplified version of SGML.

Thursday, 24 February 2005

XML's Birthday

Well the Guardian IT supplement announced that XML was having it's 7th birthday on 10.02.05... which is nice. What is also nice is how they're talking about everything being based on XML!

We know this because of SVG, a graphics format based using XML. I love SVG!

They (Simon Bisson) did get it a little wrong when they talked about the development of XML, "building on the work done with SGML (Standard Generalised Markup Language) and the web's HTML (HyperText Markup Language), XML was intended to be a common platform for data exchange accross the rapidly growing internet and become the lingua franca of the connected world."

Here's a link to the article.