Friday, July 23, 2004


So I'm a bit of a fan of enigma (at least, I loved the first three albums - MCMXC AD, The Cross of Changes and Le Roi Est Mort, Vive Le Roi were pretty good, The Screen Behind The Mirror was pretty bad, and I haven't heard the new one yet.)

So anyway, I'm listening to The Child In Us from Le Roi Est Mort, Vive Le Roi2, and there's a lyric that I keep hearing as:

You were the one
You were the reindeer welder's son

What a mental image. I can just see the scene in the little Scandinavian village:

- Where are you going, Dad?
- I'm off to the reindeer welding fields, son. That's my job, see, I weld reindeers.
- When will you be back, Dad?
- When all the reindeer are welded, son, and not a minute before.

That of course begs the question of how you would weld a reindeer, anyway. Weld them...together? Weld things to them? Weld their legs to their bodies? The possibilities are endful!

  1. Mondegreen: a mis-heard song lyric.
  2. For those of you who don't remember the French you did in school, that's "The King Is Dead, Long Live The King". For those of you who do remember the French you did in school, like me, I feel sorry for you.
    Lost In Translation renders this as "King To is INOPERATIVE, phase of enthusiastic desire the king!". Much more poetic.

Monday, July 19, 2004

iTunes always on top

I use iTunes as my primary music player on my winXP system. I used to use Winamp, and I still do use winamp when I'm on the road with my laptop, for the Flextouch plugin. I switched to iTunes because of the ease of use and the awesome playlist & song management.

About the only thing I missed from Winamp is the Always On Top mode - I used to have it sitting at the top of my screen, taking up the unused space in the title bar between the actual window title and the minimise/restore/close buttons. I got over having iTunes like this (it's just not possible) but I still wanted it to stay on top of my other windows in mini-player mode. Well, I finally got around to googling for a solution, and what do you know, one of the top links was to the iTunes On Top plugin. Worked straight away.

Wish I'd bothered googling for it earlier.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Evil Hax0rs!

Pure unadulterated gold.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Mozilla: Features of the future

Robert Accettura has a great post up about ideas for the future of mozilla products. He mentions some excellent ideas for new features in mozilla/thunderbird/firefox, but the two that really resonated with me were:

  • Patch updates: Make updating releases simpler (please!). This is a particular thing of mine, updating firefox and thunderbird releases is a pain. Firefox has a great new import feature in the installer that migrates pretty much everything across from other browsers; what it needs now is an installer that intelligently updates the parts of the program that have changed from the last release, or at worst, automatically deletes the old installed files from the firefox folder and installs the new version to the same location.
  • Calendar Integration: Self explanatory (Rob's comment was "This will be big. Really big", and I agree. Big). This is, in my opinion, the major barrier to thunderbird being a true Outlook replacement. The mozilla calendar is reasonably good for a pre-release; there's some niggling bugs still, and it'd be nice to see some polish work done on it, but it's certainly usable in its current state. I'd also like to see calendar given a higher priority on the Mozilla radar, get more people working on it.

I'd also like to see more integration between Firefox & Thunderbird if they are both installed and both are the default clients for their respective areas. Integration such as "open in new tab" in thunderbird (as Rob mentions), things like that. I'm not exactly sure what I want to see, but mozilla-the-suite feels like one product; I guess I'd like to see Firefox+Thunderbird "feel" a bit more like that, or something. Wow, could I get any more vague? ;-)

Friday, July 09, 2004

A Better Multi-Select Widget

This is very cool:

Uzilla, LLC presents a more usable way of allowing users to select multiple responses from a set of 5-40 options on the web.

In a recent usability test with non-information workers in an intranet application, we discovered that none of the users successfully selected multiple responses when presented in a HTML select element with multiple selection enabled. They simply did not know that control click existed.
This is definitely true in my experience as well - non-expert users never know to ctrl+click on select elements, and even when there's a clear message they don't do it.

The method they present uses a series of checkboxes that hide and display a summary of what was chosen. Checkboxes are definitely a better way to do multiple selects - maybe because people are more used to this paradigm in filling out pen-and-paper forms?

I'm not sure how well this method would scale to, say, 50 or 100 elements; maybe you could sort them alphabetically and break them up into groups? that would make the form processing scripts harder to write tho. But, that's a small price to pay for a more usable multiple-select mechanism, I reckon.

Check it out here.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

DJ Pico

My oldest brother Andrew put me onto this guy: DJ Pico, from slovakia or something (not that it's important where he comes from). The cool thing is, he offers full-length trance & progressive house mixes for download from His website, and they're really good. You need to email him to ask for access to his more recent stuff (details are on the website), but it's worth it. Check it out.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Brain Dump #2

How slack am I! I haven't posted for ages. When Jason tells me off, it's definitely time to extract the digit, as the saying goes. So, time for another brain dump, methinks!

  • While the cat's away, the mouse will play (xbox). Sarah's away with a bunch of friends in the Gold Coast until next Monday night; She left Sunday morning, and I miss her already. Why is so much of my happiness dependant on this one person? Anyway, The only difference for me so far, the aforementioned "mouse", has been that I'm somewhat lonelier, and thet I'm playing more xbox games.
  • Creamy xbox goodness. Speaking of xbox, I've just bought a couple of new games - GTA III and Max Payne. Haven't played much of Max Payne, but I've played through the demo on the PC and I liked it. Have played maybe an hour of GTA III, and am really enjoying it so far (I got into GTA 1 & 2 on PC, they were great. The amount of freedom to just do whatever you wanted was fantastic). Also, I've borrowed a heap of games from a friend; playing Splinter Cell - Pandorra Tomorrow a fair bit. It's fun even though I'm crap at it.
  • Farewell Firefly, we hardly knew ye. After reading post after post on other blogs etc, I finally got around to downloading and watching the whole season of Firefly, Joss Whedon's sci-fi TV series (and soon to be movie). Wow! it was really good, and I now join the ranks of people disappointed at the dubmness of Fox for cancelling the series. So yeah, give it a watch if you're a sci-fi fan; It's a bit weird at first, with its mixture of westerns and sci-fi, but it's got great characters and good stories.
  • On the road again. Steve and I are possibly looking at getting cars via our company, as a way of minimising tax; to this end, while Sarah was in her final exam on Saturday afternoon, we went down to United Motors and test drove a Liberty GT Premium (yummy) and a Impreza WRX. Both were awesome, but in different ways - the liberty was very refined, with the leather seats etc, and very quick (the sports mode auto was lots of fun), while the WRX was just pure quickness moulded into a car-shape. The WRX had a fairly terrible interior, which was a little surprising. It was just so much fun to drive though - when that turbo kicks in at 3000 rpm and you jump forward, it's just magic :) But, given the choice between the two, I'd probably get the Liberty; it was just a nicer all-round car to drive, and a lot more managable.
  • The quest for decent reception. So Dad and I have embarked on a quest to improve the crappy TV reception we get at our end of the house. Dad moved the formerly-unused second aerial to above our rooms, and we bought 30m of coax cable and some miscellaneous bits (splitter, terminators), and set about wiring up the antenna for some fuzz-free viewing. Well, of course nothing went to plan; first, we couldn't get the drill through the frame of my window - wasn't long enough - then when we finally did get all the cable up and installed, it made absolutely no difference (may actually have been worse). Bugger. So back to the drawing board; Dad wants to raise the aerial up a meter or so and/or get a new aerial, which would probably help. Then, after talking to a Grant at church (who does this kind of stuff for a living), I discovered that I'd totally stuffed up all the coax joins. I'd ignored the shielding and just stripped the cable back to the core wire for each join, which according to Grant stuffs up the...virtual ground plane, or something. I didn't really understand his technical explanation, but I did understand that I'd screwed up all the joins. So now, lucky me, I get to re-do all 9 joins in the cable. Yay.

Well, there it is, a bit of a long one. Hope that makes up for a little bit of my slackness over the, almost a fortnight. Didn't think it'd been that long ;-)