Archives for December 2008

December 2008 (19)
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Always give yourself an Xmas present

...And mine arrived this afternoon. Just stunningly beautiful, and the picture does it no justice whatsoever. You have to hold one in your hands, weigh its heft, feel the clicks as you wind the handle, peer at the little digits. Yes, it's a Curta Type I mechanical calculator, affectionately known as the peppermill. This one is probably from April 1964 (there's a whole lore about how to date one of these little beauties — I used the Curta, for practice) and if electronic calculators killed the slide...

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Twitter notification broken with Graffiti 1.2?

Nope, but, boy, was it a coincidence! I use Scott Watermasysk's Graffiti Plug-in library to add Twitter notifications when I add new posts to this blog. Well, the weekend before last, I upgraded to Graffiti CMS 1.2 and blogged about it. The plug-in duly tweeted it. No problem. The next post I made, on 23-Dec about Dell XPS support , wasn't. I eventually noticed, and wrote a fake manual tweet, resolving to work out what the issue was. Ditto for the next few blogs — it seems my resolutions don...

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Fun with multipart equations in Word 2007

In my latest article for PCPlus, I had to replicate an equation with several clauses, like this one from Wikipedia : I fired up Word 2007 to use its new Equation Editor, since it's the best tool I have for this kind of work. The "sgn x" bit I did via the Function menu, selecting "sin", and modifying the name of the function. Adding the brace was fine — there's a "structure" for it (as EE calls them). But that's only one block to type anything in. I messed around...

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Dipping my dev toe in the iPhone water

If you follow me on Twitter, you'll know I've been costing up what it would take to become an iPhone developer (especially given my penchant for Windows PCs and development and hence no Apple hardware). I've got a vague idea for an app, but then realize I'm just not thinking along the right lines... iPhone fart app pulls in nearly $10,000 a day Apple’s App Store is currently experiencing a plague of fart applications. Last week, I detailed one day in which at least 14 new fart apps were accepted...

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Windows 7 installed

Back at PDC this year in LA, the attendees got a pre-CTP of Windows 7. Finally, I found the time to install it on my little Dell XPS M1210, using the disk I'd been using as a trash disk for my wife's PC during its travails. So far, all I've done is install it, download and install the NVDIA Vista drivers for the video adapter on board, and play around with the beta of IE8 that comes with it. (Needless to say, this site doesn't render well in IE8 beta, sigh.) It's nice that Vista drivers work just...

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Avatars configured for comments

A minor but quick change: I've included the ability for comments to show an avatar. Essentially sign up at gravatar.com , upload an image that "represents" you, and it'll then appear here if you comment. For the Graffiti freaks out there, here's the line of code in my comments.view file (this is a file loaded by my post.view file that displays all the comments, plus the add-a-comment form): $macros.gravatar($comment.Email, $comment.Username, $comment.IPAddress, "%{size ='60'}"...

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Dell XPS Tech Support...

...rocks. OK, quick recap. I now have 3 Dell XPS laptops. An M1210 (my ex-laptop), an M1330 (my wife's machine), and an M1530 (my main laptop). For all three I went for the three-year at-home warranty, plus the usual XPS tech support line. I've now had to use the XPS tech support twice, and let me tell you it rocks. First was the WiFi card in the M1210: it just died one day. No connection to the router. I was on a trip to Microsoft to top it all, so I bought a USB WiFi from the local Fry's to tide...

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Now running Graffiti CMS 1.2

In the gap in between two shows, after posting the last blog, I downloaded Graffiti CMS 1.2 and upgraded this site. Using the shared WiFi in the theatre it took a little while, but that was all upload and download times. The actual "upgrade" was practically instantaneous ("copy these new files over the existing ones"). So, now running the latest bits...

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It's scammy letter day!

It must be my birthday or something for, in opening up all the mail that came while I was away in the office in California (my wife doesn't open junk mail or bills), I came across two letters that are deceitful to the n th degree and borderline scams in my opinion. Ooh, let's see! The first is from Internet Corporation Listing Service, ICLS. Man, this is a doozy: it looks like a bill, and just like a bill, it has a tear-off portion at the bottom so you can mail in your check (no ability to use credit...

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Quickie Chalk extension for the tags issue

I mentioned in my previous blog post that the workaround I had for displaying the tags for a post vertically, rather than as a horizontal, comma-separated list, was flawed. There are in fact two issues at play. First of all here's a magnified view of the tag list in Firefox 3.0: As you can see, the biggest problem is that the clever CSS hackery I used means that the commas are still displayed in a line after the title, like an ellipsis with tails. At normal size this isn't really visible, but it...

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