Monthly Archives: March 2008


Back to basics

Have you ever considered how bewildering the world would seem to a baby, with so much unexplained? That’s how I feel right now.

Having finally got round to trying something, anything, on my Red Hat box, I decided that I should install Python. As if learning one new thing isn’t hard enough, I wanted to learn by doing something else I had no idea how to do. Great idea. I had forgotten that there was once a day that I didn’t know DOS commands until the LINUX terminal was in front of me and I had to navigate to a folder, now I know how my parents feel.


Free 5GB web space

Continuing their ‘if you can’t beat them, shamelessly copy them’ policy, Microsoft have released SkyDrive, a free to use 5GB web based storage facility. It’s actually not bad, which won’t surprise you if you get on as well with the newer version of Hotmail as I do.

So what does it do? Well, it allows you to upload data in 50MB chunks (so sharing larger files is awkward). Your data can be stored in a variety of folder types: personal, shared and public. I’m sure those names are fairly self explanatory, but I’m going to drone on about them anyway.

Personal folders are accessible only by you. There are four by default, rather unsurprisingly called Documents, Music, Pictures and Videos, but you can create as many custom folders as you like. More interesting are the other two types. Shared folders are open to your MSN friends, either one, a selection or all, and each friend can be set as a reader or an editor. Public folders are viewable by anyone, either by link or by embedding in a web page.

The uploading itself seems fairly swift on a 1MB up line, and there’s even a bouncy ball game to play while you wait. Cute.

Browsers Random

FireShot Firefox Extension

Looking through Firefox extensions always causes me to install something, and often not what I was originally looking for. That was the case with FireShot, a nifty little tool that captures your current browser viewport, or the entire page, and lets you perform various actions with the resulting image.

You can just save your grab as a jpg, png, bmp or compressed file, but before you do that you might want to edit it, adding text and graphics. Alternatively you can copy it, upload it, mail it or open it in a pre-selected editor of your choice.

The built in editor seems pretty well featured at a glance, the only obvious omission being an option to resize. I can see this getting a lot of use.

ActionScript Tutorial

I’ve been published!

Well, kind of.

Last weekend I wrote a tutorial on an AS2 sliding tile puzzle game I wrote a little while ago. It was my first attempt at writing coherent instructions for others to follow, so I was very pleased when it was accepted by the wonderful folks at</>. Thanks to Chris et al!

For anyone who isn’t familiar, DIC is a large community of programmers and web developers who are very helpful and knowledgeable on a huge range of technologies.

Here’s the direct link to the tutorial:



CSS3 Compatibility

Following on from the last post, but worthy of it’s own, Daniel Glazman has created a test of CSS3 selector support. Top marks to the latest build of Opera for passing every test!

You can read Daniel Glazman’s blog here.


CSS3 Selectors

While trying to answer a question on a forum today I found myself browsing the range of selectors available for CSS3. I’m late to the CSS3 party, having being bogged down in projects and due to my majority of my work audience using IE, but I like what I have found and feel good about the future.

In particular, I am cheered by the discovery of the first-child and last-child selectors:


Something I find myself doing very often is creating a list to contain navigation elements of page footer logos, and using padding to space these elements. I will then have to apply a class to the last element of a list (or sometimes the first) to cancel it’s padding. Consider this example:



Without the “last” class applied on the final list item, the list would be too wide for the container div and bad things would happen. Now it’s not going to to be a huge problem to add in this class, but I don’t like it for several reasons:

  1. It adds extra markup to the html.
  2. If the list is being populated dynamically, you have to an extra logic to ensure the class is added to the last item.
  3. If you want to add elements to the list on the fly, with AJAX for example, you have to move the class attribute.

Happily, the first-child and last-child selectors will make this small bug-bear a thing of the past, and I look forward to the day when CSS3 is widely supported enough for me to start using it. Come on IE, quickly now.


Hello world

So, I have a blog. And this is my first post. Fun so far.  I wonder how many people’s first post is called Hello World…

Please bear with the appearance of this site for a little while, I have barely had time to add the blog application, never mind attempt a re-design. I will do it eventually.

I don’t seriously expect many people to read this blog, but it gives me somewhere to stick some links, and hopefully I will also use the space to document all the neat little things that I encounter during a day at the computer. I feel I should do this mainly so I don’t immediately forget them again, but who knows, maybe someone else will find something here useful or interesting too.

If I remember to fill it of course.