Monthly Archives: June 2006

Less PS/2, more USB

While looking across the latest stack of nVidia nForce 500 series motherboards that support AMD’s AM2, I was surprised to see all of them featuring PS/2 ports. Isn’t this about time this twenty year old port got deprecated in favour of USB?

Most of the motherboards only have four USB ports. If two are taken up by the keyboard and mouse, then that only leaves two others. I currently use eight USB ports in total, and as my Dell only has five on the back I need a four port hub, which is messy and unnecessary. I see no reason why the extra USB ports couldn’t be provided. It’s certainly not space, there’s plenty of room left on the back, and it’s definatly possible at very little cost, so why don’t we have it? I’d like to see is a move forwards towards providing ten USB ports as standard.

All this Link Boost, King of Ping, Dual Net and Media Shield crap isn’t what I want. I just a USB controller that provides ten ports out of the box! Not much to ask for is it?

Man turns apartment into USS Enterprise

Some men spend their money on women after they break up, but others like to transform their apartments into the Starship Enterprise D.

Shopify launches

Shopify launches, in what could be the best hosted e-shop around, if you can stomach the 3% charge. One to watch out for.

Flockstar

The new Flock 0.7 (beta 1) release is damn fast! It’s much more usable than when I last tried it in its 0.5.x state. Infact, I’m going to give it a stint as my main browser. and I’m posting this from Flock itself, just a shame it doesn’t support tagging with UTW.

PhotoIllusion

Look at the dot in this picture for thirty seconds. Make sure your mouse isn’t hovered over the picture. After thirty seconds, hover your mouse over the picture, it will appear in colour until you move your eyes, so keep them steady on the dot! Best-optical-illusion-ever.

Opacity: no flow

The majority of blogs have a “river of posts” style on their front page, where the newest post is at the top and previous posts are below it in order of their date. I just never thought this worked well for the majority of visitor. If you’re a new visitor, you get presented with huge amount of information on one page that wouldn’t make much sense. If you’re a returning visitor, you get presented with a lot of repeat information that isn’t required. I mean, its not the end of the world, many successful blogs run that format, but I needed something else that worked better for me.

Ejecutive only posts to two categories, articles and digressions. It’s almost two seperate blogs, with articles being longer posts usually discussing a topic, and digressions being short asides usually about other articles and news I’ve found.

So, I’ve decided to just show the excerpt to the newest article on the main page, and then show a list of the next articles with just their titles, date and number of comments. This shows the last ten articles in a very short amount of space, and when it was written.

This will be quite an interesting experiment, see how many visitors stay for longer with the newer design, or just leave much quicker because they find it more difficult to navigate. Hopefully it’s the former, but either way this format is here to stay!

Another hidden feature

Try this: Create a shortcut on the desktop, make it point to something such as calc, but name it www.microsoft.com. Then fire up Internet Explorer and navigate to www.microsoft.com. Enjoy!

Opacity: browser compatability

I set out for Opacity to have complete browser support across all current platforms with a single stylesheet. However over time it’s become apparent that Internet Explorer is going to need some gentle coaxing of it’s own, in the form of an IE specific stylesheet.

I’m glad that the folks at Microsoft decided to put in conditional comments for Internet Explorer, it’s as if they knew that designers were having trouble with IE’s rendering and needed some hacks.

In any case, heres a list of currently supported browsers:

  • Mozilla Firefox 1.5
  • Opera 9 Beta 2
  • Safari 2
  • Camino 1.1

If you’re on Windows, you have two chances of having a supported browser, two if you’re on OS X, and three if you’re using Linux (assume Safari was replaced by Konqueror).

However over 50% of my current readership is still on Internet Explorer and Windows. I’m not trying to alienate you, I just want you to know what a bitch it is to develop for that browser, and that it’ll take a bit longer for all the kinks to be smoothed out.

Screenreaders

Now, lest us not forget in our haste screenreaders. I don’t know how many of my readers use screenreaders (I suspect very few), but designing a site that is read well by screenreaders means designing a site semantically well, which is what every designer should strive for. I consider Opacity to be coded semantically, and most of the pages should be valid XHTML 1.0 Strict. None of that transitional bullshit!

If you do see any errors in the support browser list, do please comment. In fact, if you see errors in any browser please do comment, the more compatability I get the better!

Introducing Opacity

For it’s entire life, Ejecutive has never had its own design. It’s switched from one design to another, but they were all templates for WordPress made by someone else. But finally it’s getting its own personality.

Theres nothing wrong with using another template. Kubrick and K2 are/were the most advanced and stylish designs around. However there comes a time when a site needs its own personality and structure, something that fits the style of the site more than a generic template would. Of course, I can do what many people have done and create a modified theme for K2, which serves a great base. However I felt that Ejecutive’s structure needed a more specific style that would be more suited to it, so I present, Opacity.

As is popular currently, this release is a beta release. Theres definately some rough corners currently, such as the lack of navigation links, the lack of an archives page and the lack of a search page. Well, it lacks a lot really. However I want to get this out of the door and live. I’ve been working on Opacity for six months, and the temptation to continually tweak is incredibly tempting which is why it’s taken such a long time.

I wanted to get a logo finished before I released Opacity, but I just don’t have the skill nor the time to design one at the moment, so that’ll have to wait until I gain some more Photoshop/Firework skills and get some more free time.

In the next few posts, I’m going to explain some details about Opacity and the choices I made in designing it. However for now I’m just going to relish in the fact that it’s finally out the door and I can start getting feedback on it, so please comment about what you think, and do expect the design to mature over time.

Back for an encore

The U2 iPod is back for an encore, lets see how many people pay extra for an ugly colour scheme just ‘coz Steve Jobs likes that band.

M600 failure

If anyone was thinking about getting a SPV M600 smartphone from Orange, you’re out of luck for a few weeks as I’ve heard that the latest batch of phones failed testing and had to be sent back. It’s a shame as my contract renewal is due right now and that is the perfect phone.

PowerBook for sale

I’m whacking the PowerBook on eBay incase anyone want’s a great condition G4 TiBook. I don’t really need it anymore once I start my job so someone else should get some good use out of it! It’s also a good excuse to buy a new MacBook, but we’ll have to see about that! The eBay auction doesn’t start until Sunday so if anyone here gives me a decent offer then I’ll probably accept it.

Edit: sold!

css.php