Monday, 30 June 2008

In, Out, Zoom It All About

So upgrading to Firefox 3, then. Very nice, lots of spiffy features, faster page load times, better rendering, etc. The world and his wife have blogged about it, no need to say any more here - but wait!

Something is not quite right. Why does the...when I...what the? Could they possibly have reversed the directions of the handy Ctrl+ScrollWheel zoom in/out feature?


And that does not bode well for the muscle memory of long-term users of the aforementioned feature like what I am. Still, about:config to the rescue; make the following change (default value is 1):
mousewheel.withcontrolkey.numlines = -1
More riveting debate on this issue here: Mozilla Bug #141476

I am in total agreement with the last commenter:
Pulling the mousewheel DOWN is like PULLING the page toward you. Pushing the mousewheel UP is like PUSHING the page away from you. Think of how a fishing reel or a pulley works.
Er, yes. Carry on :)

Thursday, 26 June 2008

All Seeing iPlayer

I really love the BBC iPlayer; knocks Channel 4's feeble IE6+7 only(!) VOD thing into a cocked hat - and so it should: licence fee money, public responsibility, blah blah blah. However, I see they are about to launch an updated version with combined TV/Radio, easier to navigate user console, ability to resume playback later, a series link style function on your personalised homepage, RSS feeds allowing for mashup potential (yeah!) and a 25% bigger screen. More details:

BBC Internet Blog: iPlayer 2.0

Anyone want to buy a telly? :)

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Give It Some Tap

Bloody hell, what were they bowling at him, meat pies?

Awesome Napier shatters records
"Graham Napier rewrote the record books by hitting the most sixes in a Twenty20 innings on his way to the highest individual score in the Twenty20 Cup. The Essex batsman hit 16 sixes as he blazed his way to an astonishing 152 not out off just 58 deliveries."
GRACC members take note for our Inaugural International Twenty20 Challenge on Saturday...

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Zattoo Much For You?

Telly being hogged by kids addicted to Boogie Beebies and 64 Zoo Lane? No bother, just install Zattoo and enjoy live streaming terrestrial channels on your PC. Apparently, due a copyright loophole, this is a legal P2P service (albeit in a grey area to do with the uninterrupted re-transmission of 'public service' broadcasting) and it works incredibly well:

Bring on the French Grand Prix at lunchtime (I'll be in the garden...)

UPDATE: screenshot from Ubuntu about 5 mins ago with Zattoo in action alongside Firefox and IRC (yes, I got madwifi for Atheros working eventually):

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Block The Doors*

Oooh, this is just the greatesty thing:

With 'minifigs'...

* and hope they don't have blasters...

Friday, 13 June 2008

Blistering Paste Of Change

Back in the long distant past, possibly some time just after Mafeking was relieved, we bought two rolls of rather nice Laura Ashley wallpaper to cover up the hideous peach abomination left in our bedroom by the clearly colour- and taste-blind previous owners.

Due to a not inconsiderable (and, in my view, perfectly justified) fear of making a complete and utter balls of it, these rolls of doom have laid (lain? lied? layeth?) under the bed for months, taunting me from their prone position in the shadows into questioning my very existence as husband, father, son and life member of 'the mens' club. Finally, I could take no more and called my Dad on the electric telling-phone:
Me: "Excuse me, oh good and great Pater of mine, how tricky is that wallpapering thing like what I have heard so much about, then?"

Dad: "Pfft, nothing to it. You remember I once papered the walls and ceiling of the house in Deramore Drive in York with hessian...??"
Pausing only to painfully recall what it was like to be a nine year old boy living inside what was to all intents and purposes a semi-detached coconut, I invited him to come down from t'Dales and pass on the requisite dad-skills. Ten days and one quick trip to Wickes later ("What do you mean you don't own a pasting table?!"), we were all set.

I can happily admit here in this very public forum that measuring, cutting and pasting that first piece of very expensive paper took me nearly an hour. An HOUR. I've never been so nervous in all my life* - especially as it turned out we were on the absolute limit of drops-per-roll for the size of wall and could not afford even a single torn piece (the event of which would mean having to down tools and head for the nearest Laura Ashley in a desperate attempt to find a roll with the right batch number - not fun).

Gradually, despite the best efforts of the somewhat wonky Victorian bedroom walls and ceiling (cue much "Oh, thou wantest a right angle Squire Blythe? Ho ho, that's a good 'un, did you hear that, stap me vitals" etc and so on) I just about got into a rhythm - measure drop, measure paper, measure paper again, cut paper, paste paper, paste wall, hang, slide, match, brush (top > sides > bottom), brush excess out, trim ends, sponge wall, drink tea - and roughly half the job was done in not much over two hours. I was actually starting (almost) to enjoy it when suddenly...
Me: " what do I do about these here electrical sockets and that?"

Dad: "You cut like what is called an 'ole in it, son"

Me: "I do ... WTF?"
In fact, despite the nervous wielding of extremely sharp scissors (thanks, Wickes!) this was not as bad as it sounded and, whilst remembering we had absolutely no slack on spare paper, I papered right over the socket (that felt insane) then cut an 'X' to feed the socket through, and trimmed the triangular bits once it was tucked behind. Screw the socket back on et voilá! Perfection (steady on now - Bravado Ed.)

And suddenly, if suddenly can be applied to what was for some parties a slightly sticky three-hour tea drinking marathon, we were at the last drop:

More observant readers will have noted the casual stance adopted above - perhaps as if one were leaning on a lamp-post at the corner of the street until a certain little lady comes by, rather than desperately pushing a particularly stubborn air bubble to the side of the wall for the umpteeenth time.

Still. It is done. And if anyone is still reading after this incredibly boring and self-indulgent post (is there any other kind of blog?) then here is the wall as it currently looks:

But wait - there is a faint purpose to this nonsense. Yes, with this Sunday being 'Father's Day' (and you can put that apostrophe where the hell you please, my fellow pedant-o-bots) I would finally like to propose a toast:

Thanks Dad, for putting up with my cack-handed DIY skills and general procrastination for some 37.5 years. Here's to you. Cheers!!

* perhaps apart from my Grade 8 flute exam, opening the batting on the 1990 Old Woodleighans XI tour of Durham** and a Lewisham midwife handing me a very tiny Freyja.

** I got a third-ball duck, since you ask.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Overheard #46

Tales from the bleeding edge of nu meejah:
"He is basically the world's most unanimated Flash developer."

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Twitter And Bisted

How very true:

(click to enlarge)

Copper Load Of That

Very nicely done:

"This is Police Constable Brian Plectrum. He is the world's largest policeman. He is 66 feet tall. PC Plectrum often stands in the centre of London looking out for criminals. Sometimes a police helicopter will arrive to deliver sandwiches and wave hello."

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Overheard #45

What goes in Vegas, stays in Vegas:
"So Mindy? If I'm standing, I'm drinking..."

Monday, 2 June 2008

Preparing The Desktop

So I have taken the plunge and got a new laptop, an Asus X51RL. Decent spec for a nice price, top job, well done

Anyway, it comes with Windows Vista, so in the interests of science and fair investigation, I have unboxed and fired it up (don't worry, the Ubuntu disc is standing by...)

At present, I have been bewitched by the following helpful messages, for literally minutes at a time:
Vista is checking your computer to determine its capabilities
Preparing your personalised desktop - please wait...
Vista needs your permission to continue*
Your computer must be restarted now
Configuring updates...
This is a pre-installed operating system! What happened to open the box, detect the nearest wireless network and off you go? It does seem to be a bit of a Vistastrophe so far...

So far, Vista looks very pretty (having seemingly nicked as much of the eye candy as possible from Mac OS-X and Google Desktop) but as for getting anything done? I'll tell you later. Much later. Perhaps "Windows Vista: Ultimate Paranoia (Are You Sure?) Edition (Y/N?)" might be the next version. I eventually had to fire up the Eee to write this post :)

* oh, this one has got very annoying already...


Much as I would like 'friv' to become the insult of choice for a new generation ("Oh, you complete and utter friv, Fortesque-Smythe") it also happens to be a portal to just about every excellent Flash game released on t'internet:


There goes the afternoon...