Archive for August, 2006

An OS in your browser

These day there’s a new web application everyday. The latest is YouOS, an operating system that loads inside your web browser. Go check it out, it’s pretty amazing and scary to see what some programmers can do!

Perhaps just as interesting is Paul Boutin’s article, Where’s my Google PC?, about YouOS and the possibility of a Google Web OS.

August 29th, 2006 Comments Off

Recipe for a cool holiday

A while ago me and some friends went on a mini backpacking trip to the East Coast. I’ve never been there before, and I didn’t know what to expect. We didn’t really have any plans other than to relax and enjoy doing as little as possible. Usually I plan everything and this kind of non existent planning along with a tight budget brought images of me and my friends spending the next 3 nights in a range of different unsavoury places like, 1. we’re all alone in a dark isolated camp site with nothing but the daily headlines to keep our minds at rest, 2. we’re in a trailer park with a couple of mal fed looking permanent residents or 3. we spend the night in a bed & breakfast with mouldy carpets and peculiarly greasy doorknobs.

That is until someone took out a little book that will set any travelers mind at ease, The Coast to Coast – The definitive Backpackers guide to South Africa. This little book contains detailed information about all the Backpackers in South Africa, the better the Backpackers the more info about it. So all you have to do is decide on a general area where you would like to spend the night. Read up on all the different Backpackers in the area and choose the best one.

We stayed over at 2 Backpackers, both of them were excellent quality and only a stones throw from the beach.

The first night we spent at Angel Rock Backpackers in Warner Beach, where I spent most of the next day lying in the best hammock in the world. The second and third night we stayed over at The Spot Backpackers just outside of Port Shepstone. Here I suffered a short lived yet intense table tennis addiction!

Both of these Backpackers were very reasonably priced, clean, had free pool and cool travelers from all over the world. Well they could have been from all over the world, except they weren’t. For some reason most of them were either from Germany or they could speak German.

Next time you want to go somewhere but you don’t know where to stay, read the Coast to Coast and go to a Backpackers that sounds nice. Trust me, all Backpackers are not as unpleasant to the touch as the standard youth hostel that you’ll find in London, UK!

August 27th, 2006 Comments Off

Bamboo is the new carbon

New materials such as carbon are continuously being developed and improved to make more durable sports equipment like for instance mountain bikes, but it turns out the perfect material for building a very durable mountain bike has been growing under our backyards all along… bamboo. Check out this super cool mountain bike built out of bamboo.

By the way if anybody knows of a good bamboo supplier in the Pretoria or Johannesburg area, let me know. I have a less ambitious bamboo project of my own.

August 22nd, 2006 Comments Off

A picture speaks a thousand words

Found this photo on flickr today.

August 22nd, 2006 Comments Off

Learn CSS from the pro’s

When I started developing for the web again about a year and a half ago, I found myself messing around with tables and frames. These were the presentation tools which I remembered from way back in 1995 when I first delved into the world of html and web development. I didn’t really know where to start, when it came to the presentation of my sites. Before long I got frustrated with the presentation of my first couple of pages I built for my blog. Then my friend Daan mentioned the magic acronym… CSS. Cascading style sheets are a standards compliant way to handle the presentation of your web pages, not only does it save bandwidth because the presentation is separated from your html, but it also simplifies a site redesign immensely.

The problem I had when I first heard about CSS was, how does it work and where can I find useful resources to help me learn css. As it turns out the best css tutorials are all around us. Go to any modern standards compliant website (My favourites were www.apple.com, www.kottke.org), and view the pages source of the site. Near the top of the html you will most likely find 1 or more lines with the following text,

<link rel=“stylesheet” 
href=“/css/sitestyle.css” 
type=“text/css”/>

All you have to do is copy the filename (in this case /css/sitestyle.css) and paste it into you browser after the site url (e.g. http://www.somesite.com/css/sitestyle.css) and the css for the site will open in your browser [1]. Now you can analyse [2] the css along with the xhtml of the site to learn exactly how the site presentation of the site is achieved. After analysing a couple of sites you like, you will be ready to start writing your own css and xhtml to develop the presentation you want for your site.

[1] Some sites protect their css, but there are more than enough well designed sites out there to find useful css.

[2] Note that I say analyse the css, not steal the css.

August 6th, 2006 Comments Off

8 hours is a lot of time to be pissed off!

Why do you work? Obviously to earn money and stay alive, but 8 hours of every week day is a lot of time wasted if you don’t enjoy your job. My previous job sucked and this article by Paul Graham, How to do what you love, summed up how I felt before I knew exactly how I felt about work and how I want to spend my 8 hours every day.

This article should be read by everybody with a crappy job!

August 2nd, 2006 Comments Off

c c c cold weather

Yesterday it started raining. This is a bit funny because it’s not suppose to rain in Pretoria at this time of the year. The rain also brouhgt some other welcome and not so welcome guests, including freezing temperatures, clean air, power failures and snow in Johannesburg and other areas???

August 2nd, 2006 Comments Off

My own radio station

A while ago my brother introduced me to a pretty cool radio station that plays only music that I like. The radio station can be found at www.pandora.com. All you have to do to start listening is type in one of your favourite artists or songs and Pandora will play you songs from artists who make similar music. Pandora is created by the Music Genome Project, which is a project aimed at analysing music in order to discover the essence of every song and find attributes (melody, harmony and rhythm, to instrumentation, orchestration, arrangement, lyrics etc.) that connect different songs to each other. If you have the bandwidth, Pandora will keep you happy all day long at work!

August 1st, 2006 Comments Off