No MMORPG at the present

Well, after (carelessly) letting my Eve-Online subscription lapse, by not putting enough cash into my VISA account, I’m without a MMORPG. I loved playing WoW when I did, although I miss it a little, I’m not really about to get back into it. I really don’t know if I’ll renew/reactivate Eve, since I only ever really played it a little bit. Probably wasn’t getting my money’s worth out of it. I may download the WoW expansion, but it’s a fairly hefty 3.5GB, and then I only get a 10 day trial, with characters limited to 1XP below Level 61. If I had a really speedy connection, and limitless data transfer, then I would do it. I might see if any kids from school have downloaded it. Although, realistically, that would be the PC version, and I’m really loving OS X at the moment. Perhaps that’s one reason I haven’t been playing Eve much lately. No Mac version, although it does work with Cross Over Office, although not on my Dell for some reason. As soon as I get my MBP, I might give it another go.

AJAX website

I’ve just finished developing a fully-AJAX website. It’s somewhat static in the sense there is little interaction, but I’ve used XMLHttpRequest instead of links for the pages. You can see it at http://jaquiehagan.com. Basically, the home page is the only one that needs to be loaded. If you click on any of the dropdown menus (done with CSS, rather than JS, to make it more compatible; this includes using csshover.htc for IE, since they aren’t simple A tags), it loads the side menu from the server. Choosing an item from this side menu loads the final menu, and the image(s) that need to be displayed. This final menu swaps out the different images in the main image pane. Why do this using JS? It might make a difference to the bandwidth used, although I probably overcompensate for this in that I preload images rather than wait on the user to click on them. More importantly, and if you turn off JavaScript and load the page, you will see the effect I had to remove. This site uses hidden-frame forwarding to allow a nice URL to remain in the address bar, even though it is hosted on a different server. By doing this, on a refresh the frame turns grey before loading, which causes a flash of grey, which is unnerving. I guess more than this it was a proof of concept that I could build a site that uses JavaScript for navigation, making it more like a multimedia site than a plain website. It does break one usability guide, which I am still working on. If you click on the back button in your browser, it will take you out of the site. Finally, it degrades nicely if a user doesn’t have JavaScript turned on. The required pages are all there (and generated from the list of images and menus), and are used by older browsers.

The Awakening [Mellow Mix]YorkThe Chillout Session

New MacBook Pro

As I sit here, home from work with a back issue (funny story about that: remember how teachers always told students off about pulling out a chair from behind someone as they are about to sit down is dangerous? I can confirm that indeed it is. One of my students did it to me on Monday, and my back, including bits which are nowhere near the impact points, is totally screwed. And I’ve got State selections this weekend… but I digress), at least I have a light shining at the end of the tunnel. MacBook Pro, 15“; 2.16GHz/2GB/200GB On order now. My first laptop computer. Not a moment too soon. OS X on a Dell is better than Windows, but there are still some issues (random application crashes, inability to run VMWare Fusion and CrossOver Office properly, Missing Sync doesn’t run at all).

The Key The Secret (Glamourously Developed Edit)Urban Cookie CollectiveThe Key : The Secret ★★

Boom Swagger Boom

Boom Swagger Boom:
Firefox Mac OS X Native Form Controls Preview
Now, there’s really only one reason I use Firefox, other than the fact I can then use the same browser on Windows. Okay, I guess there are two then… I’ll try again: There’s one big reason I use Firefox on Mac over Safari or Camino. Simply, I’m not that big of a fan of the Aqua controls. Sure, they are okay as part of an application, but, when building web sites, and viewing them, it’s kind of nice to be able to change the appearance of buttons and other form controls. Admittedly, Safari using the new WebKit builds works, as seen here: Firefox: screenshot Safari: screenshot Camino: screenshot WebKit: screenshot Minefield: screenshot Now, as can also be seen, Minefield, the Firefox linked to above, also supports restyling buttons. So, this looks okay from my point of view. It defaults to the Aqua buttons, but if savvy web designers re-style controls, they are displayed as such. So, that leaves my big complaint about Firefox. It doesn’t access any of the cool OS X features, like Keychain, and better integration with the system. Camino and Safari both will share saved passwords and the like, as they are all stored in this Keychain. Meaning it is easier to test stuff in multiple browsers, I don’t have to keep remembering site passwords and the like. Apparently this is coming in a future version of Firefox.

ObsessionSugababesTaller In More Ways [Mutya Version]

Teaching Humour

Most of what comes up on xkcd.com is nerdy humour. Nice to see something teaching-related: Certainty on xkcd.com I have other reasons for considering alternative careers to teaching, but this one counts a bit too!

Slow DownMorcheebaCharango (Instrumental) ★★★½

wxPython

Maybe I’m just being crazy, but I’m not really finding wxPython particularly pythonic. For instance, I’m trying to make a fairly simple application that has a SplitterWindow, and I seem to have to do a whole lot of sub-classing to actually get it to work. Feels more like Java than Python. Which I’m really not keen on doing.

NoticeGomezChillout Sessions 9

Getting Finder Comments in different languages

bash: mdls filename | grep FinderComment AppleScript: tell application "Finder"     comment of file end tell python: #!/usr/bin/pythonw from appscript import * path = '/Users/NAME/your/path/here' comment = app('Finder').items[path.replace('/', ':')].comment.get()

NSLU2 and USB 2.0 Hubs

Having more than two USB drives with an NSLU2 is possible, if you are using a firmware other than the original Linksys rubbish. Some people report having gotten some hubs to work fine. I originally had both drives working using a spare 1.0 hub I had lying around, but it was dog slow. So I bought a 2.0 hub. This worked for the first couple of gigs it copied across from another disk, but then reported errors. It appeared the device just decided to unmount and remount in a different place. I went and bought another hub today, from a different shop. Same problems. I think they are actually the same hub in different packaging, but another 2.0 hub I have lying about fails worse - the drives don’t even mount to begin with. So I went for plan D. It seems that the USB controller chip used can drive up to 5 USB ports, so I cut a USB extension cable, and wired it onto the board in the correct locations. Didn’t work. Disconnecting made it work again. Finally, I was able to get it to work by not using the power connections on the other port, but the +5V and GND locations elsewhere on the board. This was the only way I was able to get the NSLU2 to still boot with the extra port connected. I may have been able to use unpowered ports. That might be cooler. I just thought that the PSU might not be +5V, in which case stuff could go badly wrong. Better check…

Eve Online login window CPU hog

Eve Online has a daily system restart, and when this happens, I sometimes leave the login window open, so I can keep checking and log back in as soon as downtime finishes. However, I’ve noticed that the login screen seems to consume a heck of a lot more CPU cycles than the application itself. Interesting.

USB1.0 is s...l...o...w

Man, 12 Mbit/s is slow. I’ve got a USB 1.0 “full-speed” hub, and tried to copy across 60GB of files. In about 18 hours, that was only about 3GB copied… So I bought a USB 2.0 hub, and that is much faster.