Archives for August 2012

August 2012 (11)
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Quick cartoon

A couple of weeks back, we went to the Pasta in the Park gala evening for TESSA , a charity that provides help for victims of domestic and sexual abuse here in Colorado Springs. Taste testing of pasta sauces by sponsors, silent auctions, raise the paddle auctions, drinking, eating, and supporting a great cause. There in the middle, for an extra donation to TESSA, was Bill Crowley who does some great cartoon caricatures. One folded bill in the jug, some time in the model’s chair, and I was presented...

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PCPlus 312: Dynamic exposures

A photography topic this time: HDR photos. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range and is a set of algorithms that attempt to widen the range of detail in a photo from the darkest shadows to the brightest highlights to more closely mimic what the human eye can see. Here’s an example I created from our last trip to England: It’s a photo of Long Meg, the keystone of a large neolithic stone circle in the Pennines. Notice the artificiality of the lighting. The problem is that the screen you are using to view...

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Implementing Takuzu (part three)

After part one (generating the board) and part two (hooking up some basic mouse handlers), it’s time to refine the interactions. Specifically last time I noted that, as written, it was possible to change the preset 0s and 1s of the initial game, and it was all too simple to select the 0s and 1s as we navigate around the board. Let’s fix those issues right now. For the first one, I’m going to declare another class for the initial preset cells: fixedcell . Since this means I’ll be altering the CSS...

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PCPlus 311: Website security

Possibly a rather lightweight topic this one, but at the time (and frankly since) it was certainly in the news. The topic? Websites getting hacked, having customer data downloaded, including passwords. Sometimes the hacks are really simple, and I talk about a couple in the article: SQL Injection (which, even after all this time, is still one of the primary ways to hack a website) and XSS (cross-site scripting). Sometimes users bring the problems upon themselves by, say, having the same passwords...

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Implementing Takuzu (part two)

In part one of this series, I coded up a basic 8×8 Tazuku board as a web page and populated it with an initial game. Time now to make the board interactive: I want to allow the user to alter cells with their guesses (or rather, “logically deduced answers”). To make it easy, rather than have the user type a 0 or a 1 in the cell, let’s capture a mouse click on the cell (and, of course, since you may guess I’ll be making this into a game you can play on your phone, capture a touch event) and automatically...

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PCPlus 310: How your phone betrays your location

I’d have to say this article is perhaps the most satisfying of all the articles I’ve written for PC Plus. For a start, it did not even start out as an article but as some research I did to help my wife with a case (she’s a prosecutor). Some of the cases she prosecutes involve computers, and some involve some kind of techy knowledge she has to understand in order to present it to a jury. Seeing as I’m a kind of captive techy guy at home: I get asked questions about hashes, about deleted files, about...

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Implementing Takuzu (part one)

When I described my newfound fondness for Takuzu , or the binary puzzle , I had in mind writing some code to implement it as a playable game. Because I’m into JavaScript these days, I decided to attack the project as a web page. So, first of all: the web page as an HTML5 document: <! DOCTYPE html > < html > < head > < meta charset ="UTF-8" /> < title > Binary puzzle </ title > < link rel ="stylesheet" type ="text/css" media ="all"...

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PCPlus 309: JavaScript uncovered

An article detailing the history of JavaScript, as well as a discussion about its major functionality. I’m going to guess I was late on this deadline, because I probably wrote it in my sleep, the topic was so familiar. Still it’s a pretty good overview of what JavaScript is and where it came from, so if you’re not sure what makes the guts of a “Rich Internet Application” (RIA) work, it’s a quick read. Almost sounds like the intro chapter to a possible JavaScript programming book… This article first...

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PCPlus 308: Understanding SSDs

A quick article about what SSDs (solid state drives) are and one that necessarily talks about NAND-flash, SLC (single-level cell) and MLC (multi-level cells), wear-leveling, TRIM, and all those other acronyms and jargon that crop up with them. I also detail the main difference between SSDs and USB thumb drives (the former will perform some kind of wear-leveling, the latter won’t). All in all, quite a fascinating article to research and to read. I will say that, having upgraded two of my laptops to...

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Using Data Replicator 3 on a Synology DS212 – don’t

As mentioned in this post , I bought a Synology DS212 NAS for our home network, especially as our Acer WHS had a minor hiccup from overheating during the Waldo Canyon fire (we had to keep the windows shut from the smoke on some of the hottest days of the year). Since Synology have a recommended backup app (it’s called Data Replicator 3) for their NAS boxes, I decided to try it. Once our new router was configured and my laptop was connected to it via a wired connection (and hence running at 100Mbps...

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