Welcome to my blog !

A blog devoted to all things geeky, including PHP, Web Development, Photography, Design, Gadgets and Gizmos.

August 31 2008

Yahoo Upcoming

Tagged Under : ,

Yahoo upcoming logoJust stumbled across yet another cool Yahoo project.  Yahoo Upcoming is a kind of social network mashed up with an events directory.  You can create a profile, add the events you are attending/interested in to your profile, add new events, as well as watching what other events other people attend.

An example of a pretty full events list is Robert Scobel’s: http://upcoming.yahoo.com/user/138148/
You can then export your calendar of events to iCal, Outlook, Google calendar etc.

Great app for promoting your own events and keeping track of what events are upcoming.  Only problem with the site is that there isn’t much in there for Australia just yet.  Worth bookmarking though!

August 27 2008

Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 Released

Tagged Under : ,

Hopefully this one will be much close to where Safari, Opera and Firefox 3 are in terms of complying to web standards.

I’m giving it a try in my virtual machine, looks interesting!
Download IE 8 Beta 2 now

Intitial impressions after playing with it for 20 minutes or so…

The Good:

  • Browsing seems fast
  • Uses webslices like safari (you can save a section of a page like an RSS feed).  Good to see MS copying good features from other browsers
  • Use quicktabs like Opera (Firefox needs this imo)
  • Has tab memory like Firefox
  • Has private browsing mode (aka Porn viewing mode) like Safari
  • Developer tools seem to be fully featured now, It does most of what web developer toolbar for firefox does.

The Bad

Well not much bad stuff found just yet (apart from the fact it took 5 minutes to install and the BETA killed my install of IE 7, wtf).  Feels snappy, IF the browser conforms to HTML/CSS/JS/DOM standards as much as Firefox/Safari/Opera already do, it looks like Microsoft might have caught up for browser software development.  If they have caught up with this, IE 9 could see them neck and neck with firefox.

August 27 2008

Why is mainstream media dying?

Tagged Under : ,

…Because their income from classifieds has been destroyed by online classified websites. Also the ownership of large media companies has gone into the hands of fewer and fewer people with vested interests so the quality of investigative reporting has died. The rise of media outlets like Fox news and the various tabloids has seen a lot of people switch off.

Mainstream media outlets regurgitating old news from the internet is also a big problem from them. There was a story about a week ago on Digg concerning an iphone owner receiving a new iphone containing images of a chinese iphone factory worker on it (a cute chinese girl no less).

A week later it appears as front page news on a mainstream newspaper in Australia. It is not cutting edge news, it is not front page news, they have simply regurgitated something the reporter read on the internet a WEEK later. They expect people to buy newspapers with this regurgitated news when it is available from numerous online sources for free?  No thanks.

August 27 2008

The IE Deathmarch!

Tagged Under : , ,

A friend sent me this link earlier today, http://iedeathmarch.org/.  Basically they’ve set a deadline for IE 6 to die, so to speak.  March 2009!  I really do hope the browser does die off soon because it is a constant thorn in the side of developers who create valid HTML and CSS only to see it break in Internet Explorer 6.
As they point out on the site…  IE 6 is OLD.

Internet Explorer 6 will be SEVEN years old on August 27th. It came out a few weeks before the Twin Towers fell. It came out before the Nintendo GameCube. It came out before the first iPod.

August 27 2008

HTML Semantic rich documents

Tagged Under : , ,

One of the key aspects of on-page SEO (which is often overlooked by HTML developers), is creating semantic rich documents.  It sounds like something complex, but quite simply, it is using HTML formatting appropriately.  That is using H1, H2, H3, B, UL tags in the correct fashion.

Some designers have a nasty habit of making a number of span tags which alter the text so the appearance is suitable for the page but the structure of the document is out of whack.  The H1 should describe the main subject of the page and only be used once per page.  Subsequent content sections should use H2 to establish what they are about, if there are subsections within the H2 topic, they should be H3 etc.

Search engines use semantic rich HTML to assist them in determining exactly what the page is about, so correctly using those titles (and making them narrowly defined keyphrases for your niche) will help you get sites indexed in the correct niche/category.

Tools for checking the semantic structure of you page:

Web Dev toolbar for firefox (after installing go to information > view document outline)
W3C semantic extractor

August 23 2008

100 Push Ups Challenge!

Tagged Under : ,

After reading this post by Kevin Rose, I decided to bump up my fitness regime and do some more strength training.  I’m doing plenty of cardio with mountain biking at the moment but my upper body strength is severely lacking.

One of the things he is doing is the 100 pushup challenge.  I remember doing 40-50 pushups when I was younger, but haven’t attempted to do them for quite a while…  I was shocked to find I could only do 9 pushups!  Starting the program tommorrow, will post my outcome!

August 22 2008

Google supports Enhanced Geothermal Systems

Tagged Under : , , ,

Google recently announced $10 million USD worth of investments and grants for Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS).  EGS is a subtly different process to traditional geothermal energy production.  EGS fractures hot rock, circulates water through the system, and uses the resulting steam to produce electricity in a conventional turbine.

I find it particularly interesting because Australia has a lot of hot rocks (geothermal hot spots), in South Australia.  There are some disadvantages to using EGS, but nothing compared to the current costs of using oil and coal as primary power sources.  It’s great to see Google supporting this technology, it’s one of the forms of ‘nearly’ renewables that will help solve the inevitable power crisis that will occur before long.

August 22 2008

Missing Web developer toolbar Firefox 3

Tagged Under : , ,

Just found a solution to my missing web developer toolbar in Firefox 3.  Web developer is one of the best tools for testing and developing sites on Firefox.  For some reason after the upgrade to the new firefox (and installing 15 or so plugins) the web dev toolbar was blank.

(Fix from this site)

  1. Right-click on the Toolbar and choose Customize’
  2. Drag any missing buttons from the Customize Toolbar’ window to the toolbar or simply click Restore Default Set’
  3. Click Done’.

I also dragged the web developer icon onto my google toolbar, that allows you to toggle the entire web dev toolbar with one click, great for making extra space.  I recently found a whole bunch of new plugins which are handy for SEO and web dev, I’ll post a full list soon!

August 22 2008

Matt Cutts of Google on Big Site Bans!

Tagged Under : , , , ,

This is an interesting video I found at the seo-space site over at blogspot.  It’s Matt Cutts of Google’s search engine development team talking about their removal or penalization of big sites who break Google’s ethical SEO rules.

One of the common beliefs in the SEO industry is that the big blokes get away with grey hat and black hat techniques without penalty because… well they are big players in their industry.  However according to Google, big names are not immune from penalties for using dubious promotion techniques.  After all Google banned the German BMW website for using blackhat techniques.

The SEO at the German BMW site was fired.  I have a feeling that the SEO was probably compelled to take such action because a manager somewhere in the German division wanted drastically higher results in a short period of time.  It’s possible the SEO was incompetent and used the techniques, ignorant of the potential penalty, but I don’t think an SEO working for a large company would be ignorant of Google penalties.

Anyway, the video!

August 19 2008

Highest skyscraper in the world near completion

These pictures kind of freak me out because I am slightly afraid of heights…  Images by David Hobcote, view them all here.  (click image for full size)