Archive for the ‘Website’ Category

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New Theme

I finally updated the theme on my blog. Please take a look and try various things (in different browsers, if possible) and report any bugs in the comments section. Suggestions welcome, as well. Demands can go elsewhere… (you know who you are!) 🙂

This theme isn’t 100% done, but it’s functional and I wanted to get it up. The only thing I really miss is the turtle. But he could come back. Or something else….

If I was just writing a theme for Gecko-based browsers (Firefox, Mozilla, Epiphany, etc) I would have been done ages ago. And if I do more wordpress theme stuff in the future, I vow to follow the KISS principle at all times. Would have saved me much time! Rather than try and figure out what’s wrong and how to fix it, just do something simpler! Maybe my next theme will be plain text. 😛 Probably not, though… I’m a sucker for tinkering.

Update: I forgot to mention, my goal with the theme on IE was simply getting it to display reasonably well (no giant bugs, and can be viewed). It will, in fact, look and feel better on Firefox. (I have been using ies4linux to test it for IE 6 on on my computer.) 🙂

Blogging with images and WordPress

One things that WordPress is sorely missing is basic image handling. Blogging with images should be fast. Previously, I had gone as far as writing a script that would take all images in a directory, resize them, create thumbnails, and output the required html that I would then paste into the editor. Before that, I used a plugin that would would automatically generate thumbs, and it was great for a while. Until I upgraded, and didn’t enable the plugin… if you go see those old pages, you’ll notice they’re broken. So WP either needs a plugin that doesn’t break when you don’t have it installed, or a default will-always-be-supported image plugin. Since the latter doesn’t exist, I looked for the former. I’ve been using Flexible Upload for a while now, and it’s made posting pictures WAY less painful. Un-installing the plugin won’t affect any pages, because it just generates static content. So that’s what I use and recommend for uploading a couple pictures to a personal WordPress blog. Any other suggestions?

Screenshots follow:

This plugin sits in the Upload area….

This plugin sits in the Upload area….
After uploading an image…

After uploading an image…
Clicking Send to editor

Clicking Send to editor

Free Games and Entertainment


So for the last month or so… some friends (one, in particular) have been nagging me to get UFO 2000 to work. If you’re not familiar with XCOM: UFO Defence or XCOM: Terror From the Deep, they’re really awesome turn-based strategy/simulation games originally released by Microprose in 1993, for the PC. My friends and I would huddle around a 15″ CRT and play hotseat with this single-player game by naming and customizing our squad. We would control our own dudes, watch them improve and get better equipment, then plead for the game to be loaded when a favourite takes one for the team. (That got ridiculous, and we eventually had to agree that we would do no loading of saved games for that purpose.) Anyway, UFO 2000 is an open source project based on X-COM, and currently (only) supports 2 player multiplayer. Each player builds a squad according to set rules and money allowed, then places their their team on a randomly generated map, and go at it, exploratory style. The UI is atrocious, and unless you’re running Windows or Gentoo the setup might be a pain, but the game’s pretty awesome.

I documented the steps I went through to get it working on Ubuntu Feisty in the site’s forums here. However, I wasn’t able to see my friend on the server, so I still haven’t been able to play! :'(

Point and Click Adventures

If you’re into dry sarcastic humour and point-and-click adventure games, you might want to check out these (also 100% free!):

I tried using WINE to run them, but the performance wasn’t acceptable, and there was no sound. 🙁 Damn. Even so, I played the first bit of Spooks and it seems well written. I’ve played King’s Quest before and they’re pretty fun. 🙂 Space Quest was my favourite Sierra Adventure game, though….

Some videos

I found these videos entertainingly simple and accurate:


I did take a quick look at a modified kubrick theme I had been working on a while back. One of the main changes is the menu on the right, and when I looked at what I had done in IE… wow, do I have some work to do! hah. Wait, that’s not funny….

blog updates

I know I said I’d try to blog every 2-3 days…. Well, does silently updating backend stuff count? Not much, but I set up Feedburner, Technorati, and upgraded to the latest WordPress (2.1.3). At this rate, maybe I’ll even hook into Facebook and other social sites. Look out 2001, here I come.

Also played with iGoogle a bit – Google’s answer to a personalized homepage. Since I use a few of Google’s online services, it may prove useful for me. Currently, I have Google Calendar, Gmail, a couple world clocks (Vancouver/Japan/Sao Paulo), the weather, Google Reader, and Google Docs.

Cool. The new WordPress auto-saves posts. 🙂 I’m tired. I sleep now.

short term past/present/future


Had a nice get-together with the gifu-crew, on Sunday. Chinese-Taiwanese-Japanese fusion hot-pot shabu shabu. 😮 The pot was courtesy of Shirley (thanks!), despite her not being able to make it. Unfortunately, I don’t think there were are any pictures captured in the digital medium to show. But it was good times!

Ubuntu Feisty

My Desktop PC was not able to complete a dist-upgrade of Ubuntu from Dapper to Feisty, and consequently has trouble booting. Yes, I tried skipping Edgy, and I advise you not to do the same. I’ve decided I’m just going to start with a fresh install, because my system was very cluttered with stuff I don’t use or need. So I started going about backing stuff up, from a live CD boot onto my external USB drive… it was becoming very apparent that this would be painfully time consuming, as I was quickly running out of space. Easiest solution? Get another hard drive. I did that and am now running Feisty. Most of my settings and everything have been transferred and I must say I’m very impressed with the latest Ubuntu. Videos seem to “just work” on Gstreamer Totem, and many things seem much snappier. It will be making its way to my laptop soon, as well.


When my computers are all back and healthy, I plan on regulating a few short-term goals:

  • Reading a chapter a day in my Python book, Dive into Python. I think I’m on Chapter 6 or something, at the moment.
  • Blogging every 2-3 days. I don’t need to have earth shattering news to report (do I ever?), but if I can’t say a little something every few days, then I’m certainly not doing enough with my time.
  • Update blog aesthetics. ’nuff said.
  • Enjoy the sunshine, when it comes.

I was planning on making a nautilus extension for easy image resizing, but someone beat me to the punch. It uses ImageMagick, is pretty much what I had in mind, and seems to work great. 🙂 I just tested it out with my meal from the Cloud 9 rotating restaurant, on March 8th. (I went there to take advantage of their extended Dine out Vancouver with a couple friends.) I now demand that you become hungry, with pictures of FOOD!

links of the day

Almost 2, going on 4

Technical diagram of technicalness

I renewed my domain name for another two years. For some reason, I felt inclined to make this:

Some random links

I want to make ramen

My Laptop! Got my laptop back, on Thursday. Amazing, it was almost exactly 2 weeks after I dropped it off that they called and said I could pick it up – exactly what they predicted. Turns out the PCMCIA was just loose, so they just fit it back into place and everything works again. New machine would have been better, but this is fine w/me. 🙂 Goodbye warrenty. 🙁

Visited Ben & Mayu after work, on Friday. Had a relaxing evening of wine, sushi, and the food network. I should stop by more often, they’re practically on my way home from work. Oh, and Ben lent me Tanpopo. I’ve wanted to see this movie ever since we were given a 5 minute teaser scene at the Co-Op Japan orientation at UVic (3 years ago?). Its uniqueness drew me in, and I couldn’t stop. What initially started as a 10 minute “I’ll just see what it’s like” session, turned into a 2 hour “I must completely consume this movie” session. Yeah, a little bit of a pun (the movie’s all about food); I’m allowed one.

TV Stuff

24. After fervently getting through the first season, I understood why everyone liked it. Currently awaiting the completion of the 2nd and 3rd seasons. Oh marathon, here we come. And House is one I got interested in during its 2nd season, so now I’m watching the first. Awesome show. The main character is constantly playing psychological games with his staff and patients. Plus, he has a DS.

The DS

Metroid Hunters looks pretty awesome. Wireless handheld classic Deathmatch. Yummy. And I haven’t actually tried playing it, but the control looks like it is much closer to mouse aiming than analog sticks. And the new DS (Lite) looks way better. Nintendo’s gone and sexed it up some good. I’m not sure how popular the DS is in North America, but I had no idea it was so popular in Japan… so popular that some retailers are actually “buying units back from customers to support the shortage.

Also… Zelda DS (check the vid – music gets me pumped every time) and the New Mario Bros. DS look pretty sweet. Couldn’t find a good (recent) video of Mario DS….

Lastly, I must pimp Lux and mention that I’m now on book 7 of WoT. (Holy crap, when will this monster end?!)

Oh yeah, 8 comments needing moderation since adding that “kindergarten” question, nearly 2 weeks ago. Well, off to bed. Another week begins.

jibber jabber

First, some links:

Made a small change to my blog. You now have to answer an incredibly difficult skill testing question when making comments. The idea was to reduce comment spam. I made the change a couple (or maybe it was only one?) days ago, and I’ve only received one comment spam since (versus 10-20/day), so it seems to be working. yay.

I’ve been super tired, recently. Waking up later. Getting to work later. Staying at work later. Getting back later. Eating later. … It’s a vicious cycle. I finished WoT book 6 on my way home, today. Good stuff. Now, I think I’d like to fool around w/my Zaurus a little… try a different environment while I’m in between books (since that’s mostly what I use it for – reading). Side note: holy crap it was cold outside! Not a good night to miss the bus and have to wait 1/2 an hour!

Now, about that sleep….

Yes, that was a long time between posts. I’ve been… busy (killing time). I haven’t felt so motivated to bother doing the alt-tab mouse input thing in Metacity (the official window manager for GNOME), as other things which seem to eclipse it are being developed:

  • Gimmie (which looks awesome!)

3D is on it’s way to the Linux desktop. 3D cards – This has always bothered me. Put aside the fact that the drivers are not open. ATI cards always looked nice, to me, and they’re a Canadian company, so I would choose to support them given a choice of NVidia or ATI. However, ATI clearly does not offer competent drivers for Linux to support their nice cards. If I want any kind of performance, there’s no choice, really: NVidia. Since I’m not playing intensive games all the time, however (I did enjoy the Doom3 demo, though), I would be willing to go with a card that is backed by an OSS supporting company. Not sure what my options would be then.

The USB flash card reader I got is working awesome. Yes, it’s pretty small w/a short cable for using on your PC, but it’s got GREAT portability. Doesn’t need any extra drivers for Linux or Windows (the reader is cross platform!) heh. I’m ecstatic with it for $9. I almost bought a second when I saw them on sale again at NCIX.

Google Page Creator got slashdotted, so I didn’t get a chance to try it. Oh well.

And after watching a wicked sweet 30 minute gameplay video (140MB) of Spore, I’m not sure if I can resist setting up a windows box that can run it. I mean… Oh My God. Best game evah!~

I should upload some pix. So behind on pix it’s ridiculous. I thought about flickr… but i’m convinced there is a better personal solution, if I don’t care about the communities (that much). Maybe take a look at WordPress Gallery2 when I have time.

Oh yeah… I was working on a new blog design (like I said I would) and things were going ok. Then I stopped for a while (a week?) and wanted to work on it again after. But.. I couldn’t find it!! I thought I had accidentally deleted it in my clensing! I was pretty irritated with myself. Luckily, I only moved it… and I found it just today.

Oh man, stupid-me number two (far outdoes the first): I was keeping my laptop on the floor of my bedroom, near my bed. You know, for easy access to porn… on my bed. Anyways, when I stepped closer to my mirror to examine a couple odd hairs on my head (what else?), I felt something bend under my foot, and looked down. FUCK! My wireless card that was poking out of the pcmcia slot in my laptop! :'( I now present it dead. RIP 1000yen wireless card. Anyone know where I can get a cheap wireless card? Laptop’s pretty useless without it. And a cheap CF wireless card, for that matter… would be nice for my zaurus.


On second inspection, the PCMCIA slots are totally shot. One doesn’t work at all, and the other never successfully registers a card… (BEEP beep). I’ve tried both my wireless card and a regular CF adapter. So possibly in addition to my 1000yen wireless card, I have to do something about my $2000 laptop. *sigh* Guess I’ll be heading to Futureshop again… I hope they don’t remember me. 😐 Damnit, this sucks.

Library Books

Coming off of a nice family dinner very satiated, so I’m in a good position to do an update. I upgraded to WordPress 2.0 a while ago, but this is my first post since. Quite nice, from the admin side of things. 🙂 It’s even got a WYSIWYG editor, and a nice dialogue for inserting images. The file upload has been merged into the write post section, which makes good sense, but it’s still pretty limiting. As far as I’m concerned, good image handling is WordPress’ greatest weakness. I’d like to upload my image and not care about resizing it before I upload it, or link to it with a certain style, etc. I just want to do it and have it work. Maybe, I’ll look into some PHP sometime soon…. (probably not). Oh, almost forgot to mention, they finally got a real preview! Wow. Bout time. 🙂

So, I’ve been taking advantage of the lovely public library, recently. A while back, I wrote a “purchase recommendation” to the Vancouver Public Library, for The Official Gnome 2 Developer’s Guide. My argument must have been compelling, because they emailed a while later me saying they had the book on hold for me. Sweet! Unfortunately, this was over the holidays, and I was kind of occupied with other things, so I didn’t get much chance to read the book. It seemed quite good, though – definitely another C workout. (I’m not so sure about GObjects, tho. I’ll likely be using the C++ wrapper for most stuff.) Normally, I would have just extended my borrow-time, but someone else also had the book on request! I now await my time til the book is returned. They also have an ebook resource, so if you have a VPL card, you can read the book online. But if you go to check it out, be sure to click on “Electronic Resources” from the main page – the link from the book’s catalogue page doesn’t work.

When I returned my book, I picked up an XML book, but I haven’t read much of that to comment on, yet.

Holding true to my recent declaration of doing something new with my blog, I recently got a CSS book from the local library. Now, a good CSS book is really hard to come by, at the library, because CSS is a relatively new thing. The big library, downtown, has some decent looking CSS books, but they’re deemed “popular,” so you can only take them out for 1 week at a time. And each day late is a buck! Ouch… Anyways, I don’t have enough spare time in a typical week to burrow through one of those, so I haven’t picked one up, yet. But I noticed CSS Web Design For Dummies at my local library, and I’ve been reading that for the last couple of weeks.

I’ve never read a more Microsoft centric reference. The author even recommends Visual Studio for websites! What the…! At the beginning of the book, it’s made very clear that it will mostly consider IE. It’s stated that the “Browser wars are over” and “IE won.” It also has a useless chapter (which I skipped) on IE transitions! Ew…. Almost all of the script was done in VBScript… Hey, if you’re already using VisualStudio, I guess you might as well…. So it wasn’t doing a good job of impressing me, but I kept in mind that it was a For Dummies book, and most people reading it would probably be quite happy with the conclusions drawn. And perhaps, some of them, would even like the IE transitions. My expectations were extremely low, but I figured I’d be able to glean something. In truth, I’ve never formally learned CSS or read any book on CSS, so there were lots of holes to fill in my knowledge. But I’m almost done reading the book, and foresee many holes remaining. That’s not to say I haven’t learned anything. I have. And I’m glad I read it. But I would not recommend buying it. Borrowing it from the library is fine, though! 🙂