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September 2006 Archives

Architecting CSS

When a single CSS file isn’t enough anymore.

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lastRSS

Simple PHP method of putting RSS feeds on your website.

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Better Verbs

Options on Facebook.comFacebook opens to the world.

Among the standard options like searching for folks you might know, you can “poke” them. I’m not the expert of sexual innuendos or anything, but even I get this one, courtesy of the rather contaminated minds I am forced to mingle with at work.

Bam

5 minutes ago, the flu bug hit me like a ton of bricks falling off the Empire State and unto my sorry excuse of a nose. Attended a 2-day course where 4 lawyers took turns to attend a half-day each, on a single pass. Could’ve sworn all of them had the sniffles, and one of them told me that their entire office was suffering from a bad case of the flu.

Having 4 of them definitely ensured that the passing of the baton was certain.

Hi-Res Harry Potter 5 Photos

As expected, Hermione’s still smoking. Potter looks tubby in the group photo.

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Top 10 Web 2.0 Losers

I’m still hoping Sixapart pulls themselves out of the rut and release something earthshattering.

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Cephalopod vs. Dementia

Breakdance duke out.

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Foolish

The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’

‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ (Matthew 25:8-9)

You cannot distil reality from historical fact alone. Reality is to be lived in the present. No amount of fact, however irrefutable, can ever bridge the gap of having known and knowing, of having tasted and tasting.

Basing your entire faith because a man once crucified, died and rose again is to hang the very basis of your existence on a fine thread that upon close inspection isn’t actually there. The resurrection has to be here and now, mostly because of how quickly we forget.

I need a new life bad.

Chicken and Egg

In the Forbes article Secrets of the Self-Made, 14 self-made members of the Forbes 400 were asked a bunch of interesting questions. I found one particularly intriguing.

“What is more important: the idea or the execution?”

For starters, the grammar of the question is erm…in question. But I digress.

While some of the entrepreneurs took the middle ground saying that one without the other is worthless, the statements of those who took one over the other were quite insightful.

Those that chose execution over ideas assumed that there was an abundance of ideas. Those that chose ideas seemed to have no problem finding people who could bring it to fruition. Or they’d say that an idea without execution is worth nothing. Alternatively, there is no execution without the initial idea.

Personally I think that what defines a good idea is when it lends itself to solid, compact execution. Ideas are aplenty, but good ideas - ideas that are simple and earth-shattering at the same time - are few and far between. It is impossible to perfectly execute an idea if it is vague and its benefits ethereal. I’m sure you can relate to having been involved in projects where the only benefit it provided anyone would come from its completion and quiet death.

Jorge Perez sums it up best when he answered, “The idea is more fun and stimulating but the devil is in the details”. The line between idea and execution is a fine one. If I have a great idea, then proceed to sit down and elaborate on it a little, would that still be part of the idea or its execution?

Oh and by the way, if the guys at Forbes.com are reading this, putting all the questions on a slideshow is terrible execution of a bad idea.

Why Top Employees Quit

Money, underchallenged, overchallenged.

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7 out of 10 developers use open source

Are you one of the 3 who don’t?

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How to Code HTML Email Newsletters

When the day job demands that you spam everyone else’s mailbox.

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Optimal width for 1024px resolution?

How wide is too wide?

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DDR Super Star

Video of a guy doing 2 player DDR alone. He has mad moves.

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A Giant Leap

You’ve spent your whole life jumping over puddles. More often than not, the puddles are easily cleared with a good hop. There’ve been times when you did not get the lift you needed; sometimes it was because you slipped just before you leapt, or the continual rain falling on your face distracted you. Your pair of white canvas school shoes, streaked grey, tell of those times.

The rain produces a multitude of small puddles, but it’s the huge one in the middle that catches your eye. You want to jump it just to see if you can, because you’re not quite sure. You don’t even know how deep it is, and whether it’d just be your shoes that get wet should you fail.

You prime yourself for a running start, but stop short just before the edge. You now remember the weight of the schoolbag on your shoulders. Much as you’d like to put the bag down to give yourself a chance, placing the bag on the sodden ground would most certainly land you a whipping when you get home.

You glance at the large puddle one more time and a nagging thought crosses your mind: can you jump over the puddle, schoolbag and all? The dichotomy between the hope of flight, however fleeting and momentary, and the constant burden on your shoulders tires you.

You turn and head home; the mundanity of gravity has won today.

Mobiles put the web in your hands

The mobile web is just around the corner.

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Can you say anything if you just ask?

One of the best Jon Stewart segments on the use of the question mark on news channels.

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When 1000 Words Aren't Necessary

One of the more awkward tasks at work is having to choose photos for web content because the default CMS template demands one. It is not always easy to depict information pictorially, especially when the visuals are confined to photography available in your media bank.

It’s nice to know the media heavyweights face the same problem.

BBC's irrelevant photo of Iran's nuclear programmeBBC’s article on “US Iran report branded dishonest” was about how the International Atomic Agency found the US’ report on Iran’s nuclear programme inaccurate. The photo shows a bunch of middle-eastern men dressed in scrubs looking over a silver platter, with the caption “Iran insists its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes”.

Looks more like glue sniffing to me, but who am I to say anything. There’ve been equally irrelevant photos put up on sites I’ve managed simply because a photo had to be there.

CSS tips and tricks at The Blog Herald

Pretty good CSS notes.

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Court Denies Target Corp. Request to Dismiss Suit

The visually disabled deserve the web too.

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Overtime, Overdrive

I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about work: how different aspects of the website we manage could be made better: both frontend and back, human and computer processes, the acquisition of tools and the training of skills required to use those tools.

It’s not that there’s an award up for grabs or anything. The problem is simply this: I do not know how to turn it off or put it on sleep mode.

I carry a sketchbook almost everywhere I go, logging down ideas on the commute, at my desk, while shopping. I’ve caught myself crawling out of bed to scribble a thought from a dream, and they usually turn out to be solutions to problems I never could solve while conscious. I wish there were more hours in a day, because there are so many ideas to try out and so little time.

Some people have pointed out that I work too hard - and that it isn’t as if I were still running my own business and that I should relax. But I find myself with no tolerance for mediocrity or lack of trying.

If there is something worth doing, some improvement that can be made, some problem that can be solved; if there is excellence to be attained, there is no reason why we should not expend our energies to do so.

The nagging spiritual question here is, where does God’s desire for us to take care of what we are entrusted with end (Genesis 2:15) and the pride of Babel (Genesis 11:4) begin?

A Field Guide to Developers

Are we really that easy to figure out?

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Programming Quotations

“Computers are good at following instructions, but not at reading your mind.”

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What end-users can't stand about you

For anyone in IT, please take note.

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The Advent of the Professional Blogger

Wait a minute, they’ve been around for ages, you say.

Yes we have the Dooces, Kottkes and Andrew Sullivans, but blogging isn’t a mainstream occupation. Yet.

I do foresee it becoming a “real” job in the very near future.

First off, bloggers need to realise that no one in their right minds will ever pay you to write whatever you want. Companies and organisations will only pay you to write what they want. It’s very simple, but somehow this message gets lots in the whole “but this is my blog” argument. The guy who pays the bills calls the shots.

This era of online publishing has empowered even the technologically clueless, giving them the power to reach the masses. Where it used to take a medium-sized agency to produce a publication that would reach a significant audience, a small team or even an individual is now able to do so.

The blogger for hire will be an option for companies who need to reach the masses, or who are currently paying too much for too little. Depending on your budget, you will be able to employ a blogger who is able to write, take photographs, create videos, soundbites, design webpages or work a layout for a print publication. The cost of mass communication has fallen, and the selling point these days is immediacy and honesty.

Advertisers are mercenary folks who consider selling ice to eskimos the highest compliment they can give their peers. Evangelists are advertisers who drank your company’s kool-aid. They believe in your product and endorse the values of your company. Evangelists are the best advertisers you can ever have, especially the ones not on your payroll.

How does all this tie in? Where once you needed a large enough group of evangelists to make a difference (think Apple), now you just need a small group skilled enough to herd the masses. The tipping point has shifted and is now more accessible, especially to smaller companies who live by their product and not their annual advertising budget.

New Media Anne-alogy

Anne at BreakfastFaith, Anne and I were having breakfast downstairs this morning. After a few mouthfuls of toast and a few spoonfuls of soft-boiled egg Anne decides to grab a spoon and help herself to the egg. She’s not really making great progress, but manages to smear her face with egg. Things get a little messy and we end up using half a pack of tissue paper to clean up the mess.

A train of thought ensued:

  1. Maybe we should buy toy utensils so Anne could play with them and practice feeding herself without the mess of splattered food.
  2. What if she associates all utensils with play? That’d make a heck of a scene in a restaurant.
  3. Should we stop her from playing with utensils altogether?
  4. But it’s a necessary skill that comes with growing up.
  5. Maybe she already is old enough to feed herself real food, and there’s no need for the plastic toys.

This was, in my own opinion, a perfect analogy of the decisions the Singapore government have before them with regards to online publishing. Are they going to take a sandbox approach? They would have to realise that online publishing has and will continue to step into mainstream media. Will they clamp down on it with an iron fist? This would definitely stifle the maturity of Singaporeans and cause a mass exodus of the slightly more intellectually adventurous.

But the big question is, are we mature enough we feed ourselves?

Anne, with a face full of egg, thinks she is.

No I in Team

Greece defeats the US in World Basketball Championships! WIth no NBA players in its roster, the Greeks defeat the all-star bling bling US basketball team.

I think the US team had the right attitude coming into the tournament, but the wrong roster makeup. Only Michael Redd can be considered a pure shooter, which is something the US team needs if it wants to play the international game.

How to serve website from an old computer

I have tons of old computers I could put to use.

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Personal wikis: Three small, simple alternatives

For the times you don’t need to construct a wikipedia scale wiki.

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The Extreme Sport of Origami

Insane, mad mad skills.

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Turning visitors into users

How to stop and make heads turn.

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