Back online

22 June 2005

A day early, too. Broadband reconnected in my house – and the wireless even stretches to the study. Superb. One less thing to have to worry about.

I’ll be the first to admit my Javascript is pretty lowly. Today I boosted it from “not really very existant” to “working and bodgeable”. My PHP is OK, my XHTML is very good, and my Javascript sucks. Anyhow, I was working on some basic arithmetic stuff and tearing my hair out.

So, I was trying to add some variables – variables I had already successfully multiplied – but they kept on concatenating. How irksome. So I investigated how to change the type of variables. Now, I appreciate the benefits of weak typing and all, but the first article I ran across said “the great thing about Javascript is that it’s not typed at all!“. Which didn’t help a lot. Eventually I found a way of doing it (that wasn’t subtracting the inverse); it was the delightful Number() function. Which doesn’t appear to be much of a function at all.

That was sentence number one. I didn’t think it could get worse, but oh, it did.

So I want to make sure we’re only dealing with integers in this web page. So I investigate how to convert any number to an integer (which will happen onKeyup or onKeydown). And the first (vaguely) helpful article I find says: “Javascript doesn’t have integers. It just has Numbers“. The article went on to explain that you should either round Numbers down or up to turn them into integers. At this point I could have cried.

Still, I got the application working in the end. I’m going to learn more (if only to take advantage of way more DOM scripting and Ajax), but I’m going to have to take it in small doses. Or else I won’t have much hair left.

Fuss over nothing

20 June 2005

So Flickr is moving from Canada (which is like the Wales of North America) to California (which is like the California of North America). This is fundamentally a good thing, simply because Flickr got bought by Yahoo who have lots more money and that means more servers and therefore less massages, not to mention it’s good when good projects get bought by companies. Especially be companies who seem to be reacquiring their sense of clue.

Now, obviously there’ll be some downtime. And there’ll be some griping. But the main source of a lot of the griping in this Flickrhelp thread is “I don’t want my data in America“. Now, for one reason or another, many people have an objection to the USA.

My objection to this ridiculous whinging is that they didn’t sign up with Flickr in the first placve because it was Canadian, but because it was cool and online. And online is everywhere, right? If it started in the US, I doubt that there’d have been this outcry to begin with. Things like Terms of Service are relatively complex beasts, and just because they’ll change in future doesn’t mean that anything else will change as a result – or that that change is for the worst. It’s a bit of fuss over nothing, really.

My best advice? Don’t listen to the whingers. People, especially dependents, hate change. Their hatred tends to be irrational and, essentially, wrong. If I’m proved wrong in future, then I’ll eat the first available hat, of course. As it stands: I chose Flickr because it was part of a digital world, not a single country. And I’m still happy to use it – and indeed, proud to use such a kickass service. (Hence all the links to Flickr in this post; it’s Pagerank as a sign of respect..).

More trumpet-blowing

20 June 2005

Just launched last week: the New Statesman/Pfizer Policy Forum on Health. Not the normal sort of thing I’d link on Infovore, but the design and build (as well as a fair bit of the PHP development) was carried out by my good self. Very pleased with it, all-told – especially the “white-grid” and quite how tidy the markup is. Yes, I know it’s not valid XHTML Transitional. I blame legacy CMSes and unencoded ampersands.

The BT guy came this morning. In a rare display of enthusiasm and good service, he said he’d arrive between 8am and 1pm… and woke me by banging on the door at 8.01am. Bit under two hours later, and I have a working landline; very impressed. I’ve now ordered the broadband, and in the meantime am discovering the joys of dialup.

It’s ages since I’ve been on dialup – took a long while to get off 56k (and I spent a fair while before that on 28.8). Then I got spoiled at University with Janet and its crazy-fast charms. Having had ADSL (and wireless to boot), it’s strange to be tied to the corner of the living room with a piece of string and this slow connection. It’s not bad, but I can’t wait for sweet, sweet 1mb ADSL to start working. It’ll make research a lot easier, that’s for sure.

Originally uploaded by Bees.

Cal Flickrd some of his old photos of blogmeets, and lo and behold, a photo of a slightly-chubby looking eighteen-year-old Tom, with Robyn, and most definitely without a beard. Spooky.

I look a bit less chubby these days.


09 June 2005

I’m a little out of the loop right now. The move went OK, but now comes the hard part: putting everything away. The new furniture arrived yesterday; tonight I will mostly be building bookshelves. Once bookshelves are built, they can be filled, and we’ll be nearly there. It’s mainly about working out where things should go. Slowly but surely, we get there; the kitchen and bedroom are essentially done, and we’re halfway there with the living room.

The only glitch so far is no phone line. BT are sending an engineer out next Wednesday to fix it. I think the flat was on NTL at one point, which could be the problem, but BT have a record of the last occupant being with them at some point. With any luck, that’ll sort out the phone line, and then I can sort out ADSL. As it is, I’m grabbing email via webmail and doing my best to stay on top of things. It’s a nice break, in a way, and I’m looking forward to radically restructuring my digital lifestyle once I’ve settled down into the flat.

At the same time, the prospect of not having a phone line is slightly distubring me, so I’m crossing lots of fingers. Moving is as nerve-wracking as they say. It also takes longer than you expect. Pretty sure it’s worth it, though.


09 June 2005

The XGameStation Micro – a homebrew games console for learning hardware development on. Graphics are similar to an Atari 2600; the processor is more powerful; it takes standard nine-pin joysticks and comes with documentation and emulators for development. Really nifty – not sure I could spend that much given limited programming skills, but it’s a fantastic idea: giving developers a limited (but functional) platform that harks back to old 8-bit systems. I’ll be keeping an eye on their upcoming projects.

…which is why I’ve been quieter than I’d like. Not because I’ve been spending all my time packing, more because I’ve been worrying about packing. Which is why I haven’t published my notes on Spain. Or on Pat Kane’s The Play Ethic. Stuff like that. The new flat has a study and everything – I’m hoping we’ll fit into it OK – and so I should be a bit more relaxed about productivity there. It’ll be a while before I get broadband set up – I’m praying there are no hitches, ntl-branded phone sockets are everywhere but I’m praying I can get BT and ADSL up quickly – so I’ll probably be dumping stuff up here in my lunch hour at work.

Looking forward to it all, I think. Just all a bit hairy – and not the ideal way to spend one’s weekend. Next weekend will be spent with flat-pack furniture and GTA: San Andreas, most likely.