Blog » This website

9 Oct 2005

Launching new websites

Filed under: Technology and science,This website,WordPress — paulcook @ 11:47 pm

This past week has been one of breakthroughs in my research, but it’s also been one of launching new websites. Some of them are quite preliminary, but it’s been interesting to see how the latest technologies can make things so much easier.

Warning: Parts of this post will be technical. Parental guidance … um … probably best avoided, I suspect.

18 Mar 2005

Website changes

Filed under: This website — paulcook @ 7:21 pm

Two small changes to this website: Firstly, the seperation of the blog into four main categories is a little more developed. When you view an individual post, you can now use the links just below the post to view the next or previous post within each of the main categories. There is also a description of the categories here.

Secondly, on the homepage (click the “Home” link above), I have added a “Pun of the Day” section, entitled PUNishment. I don’t want to punt it too hard, but it would be a shame if you were to miss your daily ray of punshine.

Submissions of other puns to be added to the list are welcome, either as comments below, or by email.

20 Feb 2005

I HATE Internet Explorer

Filed under: This website — paulcook @ 4:17 pm

Those of you who have trawled through the home page of this website will know that I mention that this site looks best in anything other than Internet Explorer. Up to now, all that meant is that my pop-up backgrounds under the links at the top of the page popped-up a lot more slowly for Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE), but they did eventually work (which, I might add, took a lot of effort, thanks to IE’s really bad implementation of CSS standards).

Now I’ve started adding a button to the top right of the image at the top of the page, as well as a page title “Langabi.name”, on another light green background that blends in to the image. Clearly, blending in to the image requires variable transparency (or, in jargon, an alpha channel). My previous blended background, behind the menu bar, was added to each image seperately, but this time I wanted to do things a little better. So I fired up Jasc’s Paint Shop Pro, and created the images as PNG’s, which support alpha channels, and provide great compression. Piece of cake, open it up in Mozilla’s Firefox, looks great, smooth functionality.

But not in IE.

Those of you who are using IE will notice just a huge light green blob across the top of the image. That’s because, alone amongst the whole world, IE does NOT support alpha channels in PNGs. That’s right, no variable transparency. So after all that, if I want IE support I’m going to have to manually edit each of my page top images, and add that colour blend in.

Moral of the story? If you’re using IE, get Firefox.

19 Feb 2005

Blog relocated AND upgraded

Filed under: This website — paulcook @ 6:43 pm

Since the last time I posted, I have not only upgraded to WordPress 1.5, but have also moved the blog onto a different server, moved the database from its different server to the same one as the new blog server, and changed the database management system from PostgreSQL to MySQL.

So, basically, nothing is the same anymore. Except how everything looks, that’s much the same. So why do it all then? Well, you’ve probably noticed that it’s a lot faster now that the webserver and database server are the same machine, rather than being on opposite sides of the US.

And why change database? My opinion is still that PostgreSQL is still a superior database, in virtually every respect. WordPress, however, is written for MySQL, and while there exists a port to PostgreSQL, it’s just more of a nuisance. So I’ve been forced to compromise. Rather like running Windows XP on my laptop…

6 Feb 2005

The best free DNS service. Ever.

Filed under: This website — paulcook @ 11:13 pm

As some people will know, I am constantly amused by the American habit of declaring something that I would call “pretty good” as “the best thing ever”.

So that should place my comments on ZoneEdit.com in perspective. It’s a commerical DNS service (ie. serves domain names, like langabi.name). But they allow five “zones” for free, with unlimited subdomains within those zones.

Add juicy things like EmailForward (forwards all email to that zone, to a give address, thereby relieving one of the need to run a mail server), and even rotating DNS between mutliple identical servers, and you have winner.

Together with Tektonic.net, which provides the private virtual server (ie. I have root access to a virtual machine, on a shared server, for a great price), it’s what makes this site run.

21 Jan 2005

“alt” vs “title” tags for HTML images

Filed under: This website — paulcook @ 1:32 am

Turns out I’ve been using the standards on alternate text for images (<img src=””> tags) incorrectly my wrong life. But then I’m in good company, as most browsers do too.

The “alt” tag turns out to be ONLY for displaying when the image is not displayed — for the use of blind or low bandwidth people.

The “title” tag is for extra information about the image, typically rendered as a tooltip.

In its usual pioneering way, Firefox does NOT display “alt” tags as tooltips — thus doing its little bit to force webdesigners to use alt text actually as a replacement for the picture — say an alt text of “[Send]” for an image that is a button with the word send on it, as opposed to something to be displayed as a tooltip.

It has, however, “broken” a number of older sites, and caused endless controversy on the Firefox bugzilla site:

Bug 25537 – (Warning 56k) Alt text is not displayed as a tooltip over <img> (image)

Well, it leaves me with a little editing to do to get up to standards level again…

8 Jan 2005

LaTeX support now available

Filed under: This website — paulcook @ 3:44 pm

Thanks to the great plugin system of WordPress, one can now use LaTeX code in posts and comments, to get across just exactly what you do mean by

A = \int_{-\infty}^{\infty} f(x_1, x_2) dx_1 dx_2

Just enclose the desired \LaTeX in [tex] and [/tex] tags.

7 Jan 2005

Blog up and running!

Filed under: This website — paulcook @ 6:26 pm

Well, this is the first post to my new blog system, running on WordPress. It is going to be a little slow at first, both in posts as I get the styles and stuff right, as well as in performance, as the database (but not the webserver) is currently in my apartment. Long story about database versions. Suffice it to say that it’s the only solution I could get working.

germany04/Frankfurt_Weihnachtsmarkt_and_churchAnd here’s a test of a picture from my gallery.