But, most importantly, this project needs you. It’s very easy for you to help.
I’ve recently made a switch from a free web hosting company to paid hosting with Dreamhost, following several days of complete frustration. For some reason (and very likely not the fault of the free web hosting company) I was unable to reach my blog for over a week; either by connecting from my computer at home or even using my phone. Strangely, though, I seemed able to reach it from work just fine. What could be wrong? The story I have to tell is one worth reading by anyone torn between free web hosting and a modest outlay for a paid host. Along the way, perhaps I can explain a few things about how the Internet works, too.
Breadcrumbs are a handy way to make navigating your blog easier. A breadcrumb trail is simply a list of links showing where the current page is in the blog structure. Readers may easily move up and down your blog to discover related content. But including a breadcrumb trail on your site not only makes it easier for visitors to navigate. It also allows search engines to better explore your blog and include extra information in search results. Many breadcrumb plugins exist, but normally need theme editing or a custom theme that uses the breadcrumb function. Often, there is some further styling to make the breadcrumb trail match the overall ‘look’ of the site. I found this a challenge when trying to add breadcrumbs to the TwentyFourteen theme that ships with WordPress 3.8. I really wanted ‘responsive’ additions that hide under a button when viewed on smaller screens. Since the breadcrumbs are a navigation aid, why not place them in the navigation menu itself? Instant Breadcrumbs adds a breadcrumb trail to your WordPress blog’s primary navigation menu. No theme editing required!
October 21 to 27, 2013 is Open Access Week, an international campaign now entering its sixth year. OAW promotes free, immediate, online access to research results, and the rights to reuse that information. The modern Web has brought about an unprecedented access to information, but along with it come the technicalities of whether a reader has the rights to apply that information in their own work and research. The open access movement strives to rectify that. As much data as possible should be available to everyone, and useable by all. However, we are a long way from that ideal, and there are still many obstacles to overcome. Continue reading
Few people perhaps realize that Nintendo® have been around for a very long time. The company was originally founded back in 1889 in Kyoto, Japan and manufactured playing cards for decades before trying more diverse business ventures in the 1960’s. Nintendo experimented with taxi services, a chain of “love hotels”, instant rice and a TV network; all failed. They were more successful with moves into the toy industry in 1966, including some early electronic games – but Game and Watch in 1980, and Donkey Kong in 1981, saw the company become the video game giant it is known as today. Long-time Nintendo employee Gunpei Yokoi was the creator of Game and Watch, and the highly successful Game Boy, and invented the ubiquitous “D-pad” direction controller. In his spare time, Yokoi also invented the Ten Billion Barrel puzzle. It is one of the most difficult puzzles of its kind. With the aid of a computer algebra system, can an efficient solution be found? Continue reading
So, you’ve decided to start a self-hosted WordPress blog, confident in the knowledge that there’s a wealth of plugins out there that will enable you to customize your site. Getting this blog started has not been without a few ups and downs. There has been a fair amount of experimentation, plenty of learning, and a few false starts as well. After the first week or so of twiddling with the available settings, it’s time to get serious. Here’s my list of essential WordPress plugins that no startup site should be without. Continue reading
I’ll freely admit it; I’m addicted to Puzzle & Dragons, and I’m certainly not the only one. I have clocked up my 211th consecutive day playing what reviewers have described as “portable crack“, and I’m surprised at that. There have been plenty of casual gaming titles that have kept me interested briefly, but nothing has come close to 211 consecutive days of logging on, without fail. When I needed to replace my phone, my PAD game state was the only thing I worried about backing up. How has it managed to keep me interested? By consistently and successfully applying principles of “intermittent positive reinforcement”.
Recently I’ve been implementing an animated user interface where the animations are defined in a proprietary file format. When the interface is brought up on Android™, the file gets walked and all the View objects created; when an animation takes place, the definitions in the file are converted into Android key frames. Everything seemed to work well… until I imported a file with what seemed like a harmless optimization.
Several buttons in the user interface incorporated a “glowing” effect, basically by having the glow defined in an image file and animating its alpha transparency. The same image file was in use at several locations on the screen, just scaled to match the button. I decided to cache the Android Drawable, creating just one for each image and attaching it to multiple ImageView objects as necessary. As I loaded the file, the repeated copies of the glow image appeared in several places on the screen. Surely this would be more efficient?
Somewhere in the widget area of this site, you should now see a Creative Commons license. This touches on a subject I feel very strongly about; the idea of attribution, of giving credit where it is due. This affects not just the writing on this blog, but equally to the code I produce as a software developer, whether it be as part of a company or even tools I develop for myself.
l never learned to type “properly” with a standard QWERTY keyboard. Oh, I gave it a try, getting hold of the Mavis Beacon software, circa 1992, and getting thoroughly frustrated typing nonsense like “fff jjj fjfj jjff” over and over again, never feeling like I was getting anywhere. Over the years, I’ve been able to achieve a respectable forty or fifty words per minute with two-fingered hunt and peck, although there hasn’t been a lot of hunting needed for years. “Eagle Finger” has sounded more appropriate. It never seemed likely I could get close enough to that kind of speed with disheartening touch typing exercises, and I never felt I needed to.