Party Conference Blogging

13 September 2005

Over at the New Statesman we’ve just launched our Party Conference Blog, which will run for the duration of the political conference season. The TUC conference is currently in progress, and the Conservatives annual conference ends in the beginning of October, so it’s worth keeping an eye on for a few weeks. It should be good – we’ve got a nice selection of writers lined up.

If the design looks familiar, well, it should; it’s my own adaptation of the WordPress theme (which is entitled IKB) that currently – and temporarily – skins infovore . I’m hopefully going to release the theme publically – it’ll be my first “generic” theme, so I’m trying to cover all bases with it. It works pretty well for the NS, I feel.

EBay to buy Skype

12 September 2005

Woah. Ebay to buy Skype for $2.6bn. That’s a whole lotta cash, and not necessarily coming from who I might have expected. I’m still mulling on the significance of this.

Quark rebrand

12 September 2005

So whilst everyone’s been talking about the Guardian‘s brand new look, a far less significant relaunch almost slipped under the radar. Fortunately, my work email tells me that Quark have rebranded and redesigned their site. All looks a bit shiny to me; quite like the new “Q” logotype, the site’s pretty enough, but I’m not a fan of the pale grass-green at all. Is the whole lot just too futuristic for the slightly cranky product? We’ll see. The preview of Quark 7 essentially suggests it’s playing serious catchup to Indesign CS2 (at long last).

iPod Nano

07 September 2005

OK, so Apple have gone completely bonkers with the naming of their new iPod Nano. I’ll let that one go. I can also let go the complete axing of the iPod Mini as a line, as it never really mattered that much to me. What I can’t forgive is whichever lunatic thought that the bottom edge of an audio device was the best place for the headphone socket. That’s before you consider that it comes in black, of all the non-Apple colours in the world. Not that impressed, really – smaller, less space, same money, more whizz-bang. Sticking to my 3G 20gig, then.

(Also, I’m not convinced by this new “streamlined look” for iTunes 5, and will let others download the first stone, as it were – but you heard the prospect of it being “rubbish” here first).

A few days I linked to Dema’s tagging mixin for Rails. In, well, about half an hour over the past two days I implemented it into a project I was working on – first into the models, then into visualisation. The interface will come last (though of course, that doesn’t mean it’s not getting a lot of thought right now).

One problem I ran into was that whilst I could tag away with new tags, adding an already-extant tag to a data object didn’t work – it threw an exception error. In the end, I found this was down to my join table – the tags_things table that assigns tags to thing objects. The thing was, as with most of my tables, I stuck an auto-incrementing id column into it. This was really a stupid idea and not in any way necessary (though in all the other tables, it is fairly appropriate). The moment I just left it with two columns, tag_id and thing_id, it all worked fine.

It’s a nice mixin, by the way – makes searching by tag dead easy and it’s fairly lean. Saved me reinventing the wheel, that’s for sure.

Serious games modding

06 September 2005

Pasta and Vinegar links to this entry in the Serious Games Summit programme about modding Half-Life 2 as a visualisation tool. Absolutely fascinating.

Django/Rails meetup

05 September 2005

I’m hoping to be at the Django and Rails meetup for a few hours tonight. I’ve begun working in Rails on something, well, moderately big and moderately complicated, but I’ve been greatly enjoying the experience. If you’re there too, do say hi; it’d be good to chat. You might even be able to help me with my login controller…