Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Needed: An Open-Protocol System for Commenting on the Web

One thing that many blogs have embraced is the trackback system for blogs to
shout out to other blogs that they’re linking to them or using their information.  This is a
wonderful idea, and a similar solution should be applied to comments.

Now, I’m not fully
up to speed with micro-formats and RDF, and such, but such a system should be easy to create and implement. 
The first thing we should do is extend RSS to include it.  We already have the <comments>
tag, which should obviously link to an RSS feed of comments for the item (using this new system, anyway.) 
So we need to add a <postComment> tag, yes?

This tag could go in either the
<channel> element (for Comment-Streams) or in the <item> element (for
news-streams and/or as a direct reply to other comments).  Lets break it down something like this:

style="border-bottom-style: none; text-align: left; padding-bottom: 0px; line-height: 12pt;
border-right-style: none; background-color: #f4f4f4; padding-left: 0px; width: 100%; padding-right: 0px;
font-family: 'Courier New', courier, monospace; direction: ltr; border-top-style: none;
color: black; font-size: 8pt; border-left-style: none; overflow: visible; padding-top: 0px" id="codeSnippet">
 1: <postComment             style="color: #ff0000">method="post"            style="color: #0000ff">>

 2: <link></            style="color: #800000">link>

 3: <input             style="color: #ff0000">type="hidden"

 4: <input             style="color: #ff0000">type="text"

 5: <input             style="color: #ff0000">type="text"

 6: <textarea             style="color: #ff0000">name="comment"

 7: <captcha            style="color: #0000ff">>

 8: <link></            style="color: #800000">link>

 9: <desc>How many kittens are in the picture?</            style="color: #800000">desc>

 10: </captcha            style="color: #0000ff">>

 11: </postComment            style="color: #0000ff">>

would allow a large amount of customization for systems that have different fields without too much change
needed.  Just an extension to the current RSS spec.  Essentially something similar could
be done.  What are your thoughts, improvements, and ideas for this?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Twitter gets new Following Block

New Twitter<br />            Follow Block

As seen in the image above, Twitter got a new following block to replace the small
button they had previously, mimicking the same look and feed on the following and followers

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Patterned Backgrounds & Background-Attachment

Something very crucial to most, if not every, website
layout is commonly overlooked by even some of the most experienced amateur web designers:  Using
Background-Attachment properly on Patterned Backgrounds.

When using a patterned
background, such as simple lines or a pattern, you generally don’t think about how it will affect the user’s
eyes or attention, but more so the way it will look, and generally you don’t specify anything more than a
background-image.  The default value for background-attachment
still exists, though – and it is scroll.

This is a bad thing for one major
reason.  A scrolling, patterned background distracts the user from the content of the
.  A person’s eyes follow movement.  It catches there attention and
pulls them in.  This technique is often used for form elements, such as buttons, or navigation. 
However, when using a patterned background, this is a bad thing.  Instead of being able to focus on
the content of the page, the user’s eyes will instead be distracted by the moving background images, making
it harder, and slightly  more painful to see.

Continue reading to see and
compare the differences of the two styles.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Japanese Mnemonic to memorize the first 20 Elements

Suihei riibe boku no fune. 
Nanamagaru shippusu kuraaku ka?

This special mnemonic is used by the Japanese to remember
the first 20 elements, in order.  Continue reading for a mapping and a brief explanation where the
reason might not be immediately understood.

Small Update: class::mp3Data v0.2

I just wanted to publish a small blog post letting you know that I have
updated the mp3Data class to version 0.2.

Change log:

  • Added function getArts() to retrieve ALL artwork embedded in ID3v2.  These
    function returns an ordered array of PHP Image Resources.

Hope that if you
use it, you enjoy the small change (not that it will be useful to many people)!

Code is
located at pastebin and retains the same usage
permissions as v0.1.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Apple Propaganda Takes a Stab at Nintendo

Apple reported today at it’s event that the iPod Touch was better
than the Nintendo DS for the following reasons: href=""> style="border-right-width: 0px; display: inline; border-top-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px;
margin-left: 0px; border-left-width: 0px; margin-right: 0px" title="no-multi-touch[1]"
src="" border="0" alt="no-multi-touch[1]"
width="244" height="159" align="right" />

  • No Multi-Touch User Interface

  • Games
    are Expensive

  • No App Store

  • No iPod

align="left">Now, If you don’t like to listen to me rant, It would probably be a safe bet that you’ll
want to skip this post, because I’m going to be going into great deal about what exactly is wrong with those
reasons.  If you’re willing to listen to me rant and rave, then just continue reading :)

PHP class mp3Data – Get ID3 Info from MP3

So recently, I submitted a bid on a project to make a lyrics website using
PHP.  I haven’t been contacted about whether or not I won the bid yet, but I decided that I might
as well start some preliminary work on backend coding – It’ll make my life easier, and deliver a faster and
better result to the client, so why not?

Why am I mentioning this, you ask? 
What does my personal life have to do with my tech blog?  Well, I’m getting to that!

almost immediately thought.  “Hey, wouldn’t it be really cool if the admin of the website could
simply upload an MP3 file and pull almost, if not all of the data from it to use on the site?” After which,
I quickly searched around for something that would allow me to do just that, to read the ID3 tags on an MP3

The first thing I came to, was the search result on the PHP website for “id3,” the
ID3 PECL Library
Unfortunately, after trying for a very long time on DreamHost, I not only couldn’t get it to install, but
had just wasted probably an hour in an attempt to.  Not only that, but the library was still in its
alpha stage.

Some quick internet searching took me to the href="">getid3 library, a robust library programmed to read ID3
data tags (and other types of metadata?) from almost any type of file.  I quickly set about to
using it, and found its internal structure complicated and confusing.  It didn’t even offer me a
quick and easy way to access the album artwork.

After a good period of time learning some
of the basic structure of ID3 and how the getid3 library worked, I set about to coding up a library of my
own to quickly interface with getid3 and retrieve the information I needed.

The result is
class::mp3Data.  A very, very simple library
built exclusively to interface with getid3 and retrieve basic information about an mp3 file while still
retaining more advanced information for coders who need it.  Take a look at some example code and
the licensing permissions after the break.

Creative Commons License src="" />

Overlooked: iTunes 9 & Windows 7 Make Sweet Love

I’m not much of an Apple fanboy, in fact I generally don’t care much for the
brand at all.  But today’s iTunes update has made even me smile in elated happiness just a little

Why is this, you ask?  Because Apple is making sweet, sweet love with
Windows 7.

iTunes9 with Preview src="" width="252" height="298" />

As you can see, iTunes has added the ability to pause and skip forward and backward in Windows 7, a
feature that (so far as I know) is only supported by Windows Media Player at this moment in time. 
But that isn’t all.  The application now loads up quicker, doesn’t usually give off that annoying
black background in place of UI elements, and even includes some Windows 7 Tasks!

align="center"> image src="" width="241" height="194" />

As you can see very plainly in this picture, iTunes 9 has added tasks involving the
iTunes store.

This is all of the secret love making I’ve found so far. 
Have you found any?  If so, please, post about it in the comments!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Connecting to Mac OS X via VNC

In the entirety of my house, I happen to be the only Windows user (and an Avid one at
that!  Macintosh can suck my Windows 7 Orb!), but for some occasions I too wish I could use the Macintosh. 
For such things as the local web server, and in the future possibly making iPhone applications.

I don’t like going downstairs to use the best non-laptop Macintosh.  Its hooked up to a High Definition
Projector system, and it is simply a burden to try to get anything code-wise with it done, without either
sitting up close to the screen, or using Apple+ to make it larger, so, I did what any geek would attempt to
do.  Get Apple’s Screen Sharing system working with my Windows Box.

href=""> alt="Mac vs. PC - Best of both Worlds?" width="500" height="313" />

I have
to be honest with you.  It was a hassle and it was definitely NOT worth it. 
Regardless of client side settings, VNC was incredibly slow over the Local Network.

as some of you may wish to try this yourself, I’ve included the instructions after the break.

Moved to Wordpress

Well, all that looks official.  It seems we’ve now officially moved
onto a Self-Hosted Wordpress Blog from our previous place at Blogger.  Don’t get me wrong, I love
Blogger and all, but I wanted a lot more control, and a lot more experience with Wordpress.

the new blog should be here to stay.  I’ve made it so that old links should continue to work. 
If you have any problems with them, please go ahead and post what they are here, and I’ll work my hardest to
fix them.

As for how awful the older posts look, I won’t be doing anything to rectify
them.  I’m sorry but its much too much work and I’m much too lazy to go through and fix things such
as bad images and the whole Digg button thing to make all the posts look the same.  They’ll be
buried in the archive soon enough.

Chrome’s Next Steps on Windows 7

Back in August, href="">Google
Chrome introduced the Jumplist in the Developer’s Version of Chrome; the Jumplist being a new
feature in Windows 7 that allows users to quickly and easily access tasks related to the program, as well as
quickly open recently opened, and pinned files with the app.  With its new version, Google Chrome had added
“Most Visited,” “Recently Opened,” and “Tasks” to its Jumplist.  Now, There are just a few more things
Google needs to add to its Chrome web browser before it fits right in with Windows 7.


border="0" alt="image" width="450" height="133" />

In order to better compete with
Microsoft’s new version of Internet Explorer 8 for Windows 7, Google needs to add previews for all open tabs
on the web browser, allowing a user to quickly select the tab they want right from the Windows taskbar.


border="0" alt="" width="64" height="44" align="left" /> When Google Chrome is running in the background
with that huge demo version of Adobe Premier Pro downloading, you really have no clue how far the download
has gone without checking up on your downloads bar.  A quick fix for this would be easily adding the status
in the Chrome icon like Windows Explorer does.

Other Things

else do you think Google Chrome needs to add in order to fit in with the Windows 7 Operating System that
will better improve its functionality?