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Using a bit of my lunchbreak (edit: and afternoon no-coffee break) to sneakily finish an LJ post I started last night... I thought I'd talk about gaming. Specifically roleplaying. Partly because it's always been an activity close to my heart, but also because I've actually done some of it again for the first time in... far too long. For somebody who still identifies himself as a roleplayer, I've done precious little actual playing lately.

[ profile] nishatalitha has been going to the London Indie RPG Meetup for a while, and I decided that I'd skip out of another regular SF meet I go to (it's annoying that they clash, but what can I do!) to give it a shot. I'm extremely glad I did, as I got a chance to not only play a rather cool new game, but I also got a chance to try out my first go at a GM-less RPG.

Read more... )
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I've been vaguely trying to get to a BarCampLondon for a couple of years, but somehow never quite managed it. Either the timing wasn't right and I had a schedule clash, or I just didn't find out about the ticket releases until after they'd happened. This year, though, the stars aligned and not only did I hear about it in advance, but the event itself was on a weekend when I was available.

True to form, circumstances had a serious go at keeping me away - the company I work for was bought, with the deal closing the day before BarCampLondon 7. The result - I'd spent the previous weeks buried in work and uncertainty, and was expecting to spend the following week buried as well. With this in mind, I decided not to actually stay over as I felt that getting proper sleep was an urgent requirement.

But I was determined to go along, and I'm very, very glad that I did.

The event itself )
the_eggwhite: (Default)
This article has some cool examples of how an end user (or mashup site) can take a page which has had it's information enriched with microformats, parse that information and present it in different ways...

It's stuff like this that reminds me why I like microformats!
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My VM irked me once too often, and so has been replaced. The new one is more reliable, less troublesome and considerably more pliable. The old one is now on death row and will be taken outside and discreetly shot in the head in the very near future.

Disobedience, creativity and freedom of expression will not be tolerated amongst the VM population!
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So... I'm once again butting heads with IE6. If it would die the death it so richly deserves then it would be much easier for web designers to provide the functionality that people keep asking for. But as it is, IE6 still makes up around 30% of the browser market, and so we're hobbled. 30% of the market uses a browser that's more than six years old, and expects technologies that were invented in the past year and half to work.

So I'm going to ask a general "all my friends list and beyond" type question. As many answers as I can get will be greatly appreciated - so encourage other folks to stick their oars in as well.

The question is as follows:
"What web browser do you use, and why do you use it?"

I'll try to keep the browser evangelism to a minimum (and expect others to do the same). The exception will be to provide people with ways to avoid using the trainwreck that is IE6, or to escape from it's clutches or fix it a bit if you're stuck with it. My general opinion is that people should use whatever browser is best for them, but also that IE6 is rarely best for anybody.

my own answers )
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It was bad enough that the @page rule in CSS2 got implemented by exactly nobody. The fact that most of the things beneath it have been deprecated in CSS2.1 just adds insult to injury. It looks like it'll be coming back in CSS3, but the sun is likely to go out before that happens!

Rah! Geek Rage!
the_eggwhite: (Default)
The original toaster (my 10 year old toshiba laptop) lives once more.

I bit the bullet and spent the morning working out how to get the damned thing open, then take all the boards out, resolder the power connector and then put it all back together.

As is traditional, I have one screw left over. The laptop doesn't seem to mind. It's still temperamental as hell, but it's more reliable than it was. Now I'm just looking for an appropriately weenie OS that I can put on it that will still let me make use of the machine.

the_eggwhite: (Default)
My new PC & monitor have just arrived. Trying to work out exactly how to handle the changeover, but the new monitor just looks *nice* so far. The PC ought to be none too shabby, too, but at the moment it's just a standard tower case that's being a glorified doorstop.
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I've just implemented the hCard and the hCalendar microformats in a site. Okay, so it's only a prototype, but hey... They'll probably carry over to other things too.

I'm at the stage where I can get the firefox operator add-on to pick them properly, and if I use Technorati's converter tools I can import them into Outlook. If I don't use the converters, well, I can do whatever operator does.

For hCard contacts this means I can download a vCard import it into my address book of choice.
For hCalendar this means I can add it to my google calendar.

Microformats will start springing up more and more, I think. They're supremely cool, easy to implement and incredibly useful when they exist and you have the tools to support them. I expect many, many browsers to support them natively in the near future.

Edit: There's also a bookmarklet here:
Make it a bookmark and stick it on a toolbar. Click it and it'll tell you if your current page has any microformat stuff in it.
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I started to rebuild Otto (our front room server) today, only to find that the problem is hardware based rather than software. I've even isolated it to one of two DIMMs of memory - one 128meg and one 64meg. In other words, I pulled out all the RAM and tried each one until I got one that worked without BSODing on me mid-install.

Irritatingly, the first one worked, so I'm currently letting the machine install itself with only 64meg of RAM. It's not exactly being swift, as I'm sure you'd expect. Still, when it's done I'll bung the others back in one at a time and run some tests to see what's borked. I'm going to guess it'll be the 128meg DIMM, which would leave the machine with only 128meg in total. Not great.
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I'm thinking of rebuilding "Otto" - you know, the PC that sits in the corner sharing files across our network and keeping people awake? This means I'll be putting everything we want to keep elsewhere for a bit, reformatting its hard drive and starting again.

If I was to do this, what software do we actually need on it? I'll probably make it an XP machine again and stick Word & Excel on there... it'll obviously have winamp and media player on it, along with a couple of other video players that require a little less oomph to run. I'll be sticking RPGSoundMixer on it again because it's too cool to leave off...

But what else would be handy? The machine's a bit of a cranky old bugger these days, and isn't really much cop for fancy multimedia things beyond playing music, although the rebuild should pick it up a bit.

planned software list )
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I have just ended up looking at a wikipedia page for a variety of reasons. The page in question contains the most fantastic graph I have ever seen... to the point that I had to check I wasn't looking at the uncyclopedia instead of wikipedia. But it's actually a sensible graph. It has meaning and purpose - which just makes it even better! That such a graph could actually present meaningful information rather than being a joke is just astounding!

The page in question can be found here. You should be able to work out which graph I am referring to without too much effort.
the_eggwhite: (Default)
So, I've just upgraded my browser from Opera 9 Technology Preview 2 to Opera 9 Beta. I wasn't expecting much of a change, but they've tweaked the UI a bit, and smoothed off a fair few rough edges, which is nice. It's also sped up a little, I think - or more likely it's just not slowing down as much. Still has built in bittorrent too, which is nice to see, even if I'm not using it for that at the moment.
the_eggwhite: (Default)
This amuses me.

I reckon I could write something that'd fool it (see below), but it would be processor intensive enough that the people with reasons to need to fool it probably wouldn't want to bother.

How to fool it:
a) MLP using spread-sample colourvalue inputs. Train with feline/non-feline images with correct classifications provided for desired outputs. When presented with new images would categorize into feline/non-feline results.
b) MLP trained using spread-sample colourvalue inputs, Train with feline images only, using input pattern for desired outputs. When presented with new images, feline images would produce an output similar to input, non feline would produce an output very different from input.
c) Kohonen using spread-sample colourvalue inputs trained with a sample of feline images. When presented with subsequent images, error vector would be of lower magnitude for feline images, higher magnitude for non feline.

There are probably easier or more appropriate ways, but these are the ones that leap to my mind.
the_eggwhite: (Default)
So, I'm now experimenting with the current preview of the Opera 9 browser. It's striking me as being rather similar to Opera 8 so far, but I know it's got some fairly significant extras under the bonnet.

I've not played with them yet, but I like the look of the following features particularly:

  • BitTorrent
  • A widget engine (like Konfabulator / Yahoo Widget Engine)
  • Site specific preferences (want to use different preferences for the odd site? Do so!)

More blurb can be found here.

Hopefully the release version will crop up soon.
the_eggwhite: (Default)
This looks interesting.
the_eggwhite: (Default)
...that I quite like this server-side XSLT malarkey. Never really played with it before... now that I'm playing with it I'm thinking "why the hell didn't we do it this way before".

I'm training myself to use it by doing a mockup rebuild of one of our existing XML/ASP based systems using XSLT. So far I've done almost the whole system in less than 2 hours.

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