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

March 01 2009

Speed dial in Firefox 3

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The release of Safari 4 public beta saw another browser move towards using a starting page with a panel of ’screens’ showing you your most popular sites. It’s a cool feature and one which other browsers like Opera have had for a while. I’m still sticking with firefox, so I had a search around for similar functionality and found this: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/4810 “Speed dial” for Firefox. Basically replicates the functionality and is pretty handy! gogo!

February 10 2009

iPhone is a dick!!

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Saw this video this morning from college humor.  Who knew iPhone was such as arsehole. My favourite line: “Dialing up brain tumors left and right”

January 19 2009

Webkit Javascript Debugger

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202px-webkit_logoWhen I have to work with Javascript I prefer to use jquery. When I do AJAX aspects with Jquery I occaisionally find myself with bugs either caused by syntax problems or poor planning. That’s when I turn on Firebug and can usually find the problem pretty quickly thanks to its comprehensive debugging options.

However, for me, Firefox is sometimes slow, crashy and a pretty poor choice for general browsing. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great browser, but I have stacked in so many great plugins, I think they adversely affect its performance (and I am on a Mac, which is renowned for have the poor cousin port of Firefox). So I often use Safari or Webkit for everyday browsing. But when using that I didn’t have quick access to JS/DOM debugging if I was curious about a page behaving badly.

Well I just met Drosera, a JS debugger and utility knife for Webkit. If you haven’t heard of it, check it out. So far all good and if I didn’t have all of my bookmarks in Foxmarks it might be the final straw for me moving to webkit permanently (I might have to start using delicious again so I’m not pinned down to Firefox for bookmark management).

January 12 2009

Flashback: Ballmer on the iPhone

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I stumbled across an interesting post on appleinsider website the other day, which mentioned that there would be no Zune phone from Microsoft (despite rumors).  The post had an interesting couple of quotes from Steve Ballmer of Microsoft circa 2007.  From the article:

Shortly after the iPhone was announced at Macworld 2007, Ballmer lambasted the Apple handset as the “most expensive phone in the world” while noting that Microsoft sells “millions and millions and millions of phones a year” while “Apple sells zero.”

“I’d prefer to have our software in 60 percent or 70 percent or 80 percent of [mobile phones], than I would to have 2 percent or 3 percent, which is what Apple might get,” he said. And just this past September, the Microsoft headman predicted that the iPhone’s tight integration with all things Apple would cause it to “lose out” in the long run.

Could Ballmer have been more off the mark?   Phone users embraced the iPhone, and compared to the dying windows mobile, the operating system of the iPhone is a thing of beauty.   Ballmers prediction of “60 or 70 or 80 percent”  of smartphones running Windows mobile is actually 13.6% in 2008 and decreasing and developers abandon the platform.

Inline with the traditional windows marketing strategy, windows mobile only offers touchscreen capabilities on the ‘professional’ version of the software.  Meanwhile Google’s android and iPhone (OS X) have 1 version which does everything.  Also funny that Ballmer cites Apple’s tight integration with all things Apple as a problem for the company - considering Microsoft is one of the most proprietary driven and closed box companies in the IT sector.

October 23 2008

Slow SSH to Dreamhost on OS X

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For some strange reason I had been getting delays when connecting to Dreamhost via SSH.  Basically after typing in my password I’d be looking at 30-45 seconds waiting, then after typing a first command..,.  say ls -al, I’d have to wait 30-500 seconds for anything to appear.  After running a few commands, it would start to speed up and function normally.

Very annoying when I wanted to quickly log in and change 1-2 things on a file.  After some investigations, I think I have found the solution (I believe it is related to stored ssh private keys).

rm ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.terminal.plist

To remove your terminal preferences (in case you have some funky preference causing issues, you may or may not need to do this).  Then:

rm ~/.ssh

September 14 2008

Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates Ad Part 2

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Ok this advertising campaign is getting weirder still.  Again I got a few chuckles over the absurdity of the situation Gates/Seinfeld are in, however I’m not sure it will do anything for Microsoft’s products or image.  MS need to release a new feature rich and fast operating system with medium hardware requirements (not the buggy intrusive mess that is Vista).  OS X and linux distros are continually ripping away market share and this ad campaign doesn’t assure me MS will hit back with good products.

August 13 2008

Inspiration - Randy Pausch’s last lecture

I recently stumbled upon a blog which had some inspirational videos from youtube.  Randy Pausch’s video struck me particularly.  Randy was a Carnegie Mellon professor who was diagnosed with terminal cancer.  He went about fulfilling his childhood dreams, and gave some great lectures about it.

He was particularly funny and insightful, and only passed away last month (July 2008).  I love the fact that Randy said his only deathbed conversion was from PC to Mac, hilarious guy.

August 06 2008

iPhone and iPod Touch hints…

I just realised that there are quite a few functions that are accessed by holding your finger down on the iPhone. For example, hold it down on urls/text to zoom in and place the cursor in the right place. Hold it down on the ‘.’ key on the keyboard and get access to .com, .net etc. In fact holding your finger on keyboard characters gives a whole bunch of alternative characters.

Instructions are somewhat sparse with iPhones, but they are so intuitive so it doesn’t matter so much. But there are a few tidbits floating around that most users miss. Also holding the bottom (home) button then pressing the top (sleep) button takes a screenshot! Do the same thing to images in safari to save them, makes it easy to set/get iphone wallpapers.

July 18 2008

Templating Drupal 6

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I’m finding Drupal 6 easier to template after a small initial learning curve. There are a couple of gotchas however. For example:

With Drupal 6 you can copy .tpl.php files from core Drupal modules into your theme directory and you can customise that .tpl.php. For example if you wish to customise the Drupal search, copy the search templates from the core search module in drupal (/modules/search/search-block-form.tplp and search-theme-form.tpl.php) to your theme directory.

Here is where gotcha 1 got me. Drupal 6 has a theme registry, which needs to be cleared before it starts using the search templates in your theme folder. So either clear the cache (/admin/settings/performance page and ‘clear cached data’) OR add -

<?php drupal_rebuild_theme_registry(); ?> to your page.tpl.php

I probably spent 20 minutes in error wondering why chages weren’t happening with my theme updates, then realised I needed to clear the theme registry.
There are actually instructions in the search-block-form.tpl.php as to how you can modify the $search_form variable. Its basically a multidimensional array with $search["search_theme_form"] $search["hidden"] $search["submit"]

To do something simple like replacing the submit button with an image submit I just did:

$search["submit"] = ‘<button><img src=”‘.$base_path.’themes/themename/images/search-btn.png” alt=”" /></button>’;

and voila, an image submit button…  To replace the generic form title (change it from ‘Search this site’ to ‘Search’) you could use this:

$search["search_theme_form"] = str_replace(” this site”, “”, $search["search_theme_form"]);

Some core module sections cannot be modified so easily just yet, for example the login block requires some PHP in the template.php file in the theme, however huge chunks of the core modules can now be easily re-shaped.

June 18 2008

Apple Store Opens in Australia

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Well its finally here!  The brand new apple store opened today in George Street, Sydney.  I’m a huge Apple fan since getting my macbook pro in June of last year.  I think my first mac purchase was an ipod so I’m not what you would call a long time user.

I bought an ipod touch earlier this year (32gb) and love the little beast.  Its a blast to use, great interface and hopefully some great new apps come July 11.  My next purchase will probably be a mac pro or a 24″ imac.

Apple store sydney