Archive for December, 2006

Small changes

Friday, December 29th, 2006

Today I decided to change the blog a bit.

  1. I added an OpenId header.
  2. I added a Pavatar header
  3. I removed the ‘Add to:’ bar below the posts
  4. I added a page for the Pingerator.
  5. I decided to test the text-ad services: Google AdSense, Text Link Ads and ToboAds.

I added OpenID because I think it’s a really good initiative. If you don’t know much about it go check Simon Willison’s screencast on how to use it and how to add it to your site. I found Pavatar on Brian Ellin’s blog and felt it’s a nice idea – I was thinking about what could replace Gravatar now that it’s down (as did Dave). I also went and removed the ‘Add to:’ links since I didn’t really like them and I just added them to see if they would have any influence on posts actually being bookmarked. The pingerator was added to increase its findability and the ad services will be tested to see how they work and if they work for me. If I get any money it will be invested in software and/or computer books.

Ethernet power on switch

Tuesday, December 26th, 2006

Dear internet,

After my laptop’s screen has died I’m looking for an ethernet power switch (one you plug into the ethernet port and uses wake-on-lan to turn on the computer). If you know where to buy one or you are capable of creating it please leave a comment.


UPDATE: It seems that wake-on-ring is much easier since you only need 5V between pin 5 (ground) and pin 9 (ring indicator) to wake the computer up. I got instructions from an expert (thanks!) and will now try to create a prototype.

There once was…

Tuesday, December 19th, 2006

A few years back there was this web agency that had a sister company that was into online advertising. At about the same time a lot of changes were happening in the advertising market and some innovations were needed. There was also a young web developer that was eager to create something impressive. Something cross-browser which wasn’t as easy then as it is today with YUI and others.

The developer took on a challenge of creating a new banner format that was already being used on some foreign sites. With a twist – the idea was to make it work on more than just the most popular browser. It was possible but some advance testing and expert “guessing” needed to be done. The challenge proved to be difficult but not unsolvable.

Since the script were to be used on advertising sites that already had their own JavaScript the functions needed to be ‘namespaced’ in order to avoid clashes. The developer wasn’t going to create an object but instead prefixed all his functions with an acronym. The acronym was chosen as an experiment – its meaning was hidden to see if others would just adopt it.

Every now and then I still get a floating banner to implement to a site. Not my primary focus anymore but still. And I always get a smile on my face when I see that the closing function is called “praHide” – “pra” is the acronym and it stands for “Parsek Rich Ad”. The code has changed since the first implementation and different agencies have different JavaScript functions. The name stayed the same though. I guess it became a sort of a standard. As has the 500×500 which we started using back in the day…

Dying out

Wednesday, December 13th, 2006

Today my laptop decided that it had enough of being carried around and working nicely as it should. The screen now displays a limited number of pixels so it seems the most fragile part of the computer – the only movable part – went sour. When the same happened to my last mobile phone I decided not to buy clamshell phones ever again. Unfortunately with laptops I have no such option.

Hopefully the hardware experts can extend the life of my loyal friend for a few months since this is not really the best time to buy a new one. Until then I’ll only be using the external monitor.

Fortunatelly I’ve been thinking ahead.

Designing for web on A4 paper

Wednesday, December 13th, 2006

Today’s talk about design was easily one of the most interesting talks we’ve had on Spletne urice ever. Žiga really thought about the problem and formed the whole talk as a big metaphor to explain his point. Even with all he said I’m still left with a bunch of thoughts floating around my mind that popped up during the talk. In the end we actually ended up realizing that developers and designers actually have a common ancestor and that we’re just on different branches of historic development.

What we consider to be design is not only the shape, the colors, the fonts. This means we might fall into a philosophic debate about what design really is and who designers actually are. And I’m not going there now. What I know is that as you divide the work between people in a team you can’t just have one designer – everybody has to be a part designer. The sooner we all get to acknowledge this the better. And we need to expect it too.

The panel

Monday, December 11th, 2006

My first panel – about authentication – went surprisingly well. Surprisingly because as many have told me before the panel (but after the announcement) the panelists were a bit “exotic”.

The panel consisted of a technical part and a non-technical part. The second part being there to point out that authentication is not really (just) a technical problem. The number of visitors was quite big – supporting both camps on stage. Starting off with a bit of personal thoughts about authentication and its meaning to the panelists we touched a few issues that could as well have gotten their own talks. The questions went well but in retrospect left me a bit disappointed.

I expected the non-technical part of the audience to address more questions to the technical part. What I didn’t expect was that the technical part of the audience would address no questions to the non-technical part. In a way I understand this but what I hoped for was a bit more sense that this is a trust issue that has very little to do with technology and a lot with the way we perceive security and the exchange of information.

Thanks to everybody who came to the panel, I hope you learned something new. If you didn’t I hope it was at least interesting to see what other people think about the issue. Thanks to the panelists for being great, for coming and for sharing their views and expertise.

As the moderator I learned a few things I might point out in a post somewhere in the future.