Archive for April, 2005

Apr 29 2005

Application Design & Plugins

Published by under .NET

I’m currently starting to design a new application in VB.NET. Well, actually its a re-working of a previous application I’ve created, MojaviBuilder. This time, however, I’m actually taking the time to design the application before I start writing it. The previous version sort-of evolved as I was writing it and as a result the code is a bit chaotic.

One thing I would like I the new version is to have a plugin architecture so that users can extend the functionality of the application, e.g. add a code editor to change the file template. The trouble I have though, is that at this point in the design I can’t see which areas of the application will need to be extended with plugins.

It would be nice to be able to have different object models for the different Mojavi versions as plugins, however I see that as being rather central to the application. This quandry has left me with three possible solutions:

  1. I leave out the plugin architecure at this time and re-work it into the application at a later date.
  2. I try and second guess how users might want to use plugins in the future and do a best guess architecture from the beginning.
  3. I say “to hell with it”, create the application as a plugin controller and write the actual workings as plugins for the controller.

My initial thoughts were to go with option 2 and try to second guess what the users would want. I can think of a couple of possible plugins but don’t want to have that functionality in the main application, therefore I could write an architecture to facilitate those plugins.

I am now, however swinging towards the central plugin controller option. This I fear may take a large amount of time to create and optimise so that it runs efficiently, so I think I am therefore being driven towards option 1: write MojaviBuilder as I think that average user would require it, look back at it in the future to see how a plugin architecture could be retro-fitted. Whilst following option 1 I would also be looking at how the plugin-controller could be created.

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Apr 28 2005

Safari Passes The Acid2 Test

Published by under Technology

Following detection of bugs in the Acid2 test by Dave Hyatt, the Web Standards Project released version 1.1 of the Acid2 test.

Now, Dave Hyatt has finsihed fixing Safari so that it complies the standards used in the Acid2 test and correctly renders the Acid2 test. Apart from a 1 pixel glitch around the nose (possibly caused by anti-aliasing) his work is complete.

Because Safari is based on KHTML rendering engine the fixes that Dave Hyatt has made should also go some way to fixing other KHTML based browsers (such as Konquerer). Unfortunately there aren’t any working ports of the KHTML engine to the Windows platform that I know of.

See also: Do You Pass The Acid2 Test?

2 responses so far

Apr 26 2005

More Repairs Required

Published by under GSX-R750

Once again my bike is in the garage being fixed. This time it is the oil return pipe that has given up the ghost. Friday even I noticed that it was leaving oil marks on the wet road but assumed this was because the heavy rain was washing some of the old oil off the engine block. After riding it Saturday morning I noticed that the occasional drip had become more frequent, so I called the Millard & Co. for some advice (and to order some new tyres).

I was advised to take the bike there immediately to be checked out. Upon arriving at Millards I was greated with a “How the hell didn’t you come off your bike?!?!?”. It seems that the dripping of oil hard turned into a torrent and the engine must have been running virtually dry.

It turns out that the Header Cooler Oil Hose had split meaning that the oil that should have been going to the top of the cylinder headers to cool the engine was in fact spewing out over the engine which isn’t so effective for cooling. Not only that, but the oil that the bike had been loosing was also all over the back tyre (luckily I’m getting new tyres) which could have resulted in a nastey accident.

I have decided that following my trip to Norway this summer I shall be selling my bike and getting a new one, I’m thinking either a street bike like a Bandit or a big (200cc) vespa scooter. If anyone is interested in buying my GSX-R I’m open to offers and can be got at aidy at gringod dot com.

Update: I found out that a friend of my sister is selling her bike for 2500 for a (I think) 2004 bike. I may ask if I can have a look at it as that is in my post-Norway budget range for a new bike.

2 responses so far

Apr 26 2005

Racing on Thursday?

Published by under Sailing

Thursday nights are now being taken over by Club Racing at the Guernsey Yacht Club and this year I’m determind to learn more about the weather and the tides. I’ve found that so often when we go out racing nobody on the boat has any clear direction on tactics concerning the general conditions so I’m taking upon myself to learn as much as possible about local racing conditions.

I’ve already noticed (from last Thursdays race) that its no good following the Admiralty Charts tidal diamond for the Russel when racing. The racing marks in the Russel are all on the edges where the tide does wierd things. On Thursday I predicted that the tide wouldn’t start turning until about 9:30pm, however when we got to Anfre, inshore on the west side of the Russel, the tide had already turned south and within 15 minutes was running quite strongly.

If I had the time and the resources I would like to be able to put out data loggers to measure the tidal flow around each of the racing marks. Unfortunately, although I have worked out how to build the data logger I don’t have the resources to make and deploy them. So I’ll just have to try to record my observations during races.

Thursday night, however, looks like its going to be a bit windy. For once both Metcheck.com and the BBC Weather agree on that so there may not be a race on Thursday, or if there is its going to be a wet one.

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Apr 25 2005

Half Arsed at the Boathouse

Published by under Sailing

Seeing as how Shane and Leigh have posted about this topic I thought I’d better add my 5 cents worth, as it seems that neither of them has explained exactly what happened.

The morning started with the cancellation of the sailing race that was due to be held. Everyone else started the day preparing for the race but I got there a little late. It was (almost)unanimously decided that we would go to the Guernsey Yacht Club for a coffee followed by breakfast at the Boathouse braserie.

The order was quite simple three Full English breakfasts, one without egg, and two beans on toast. The drinks order was four orange juices, two earl grey teas and one black coffee. When I ordered my Full English I tried asking for it without the egg but was initial virtually told to shut up as she’d finished taking my order.

The drinks arrived first, all apart from milk for the tea and an orange juice. It took three requests before we finally received the orange juice and the milk and it wasn’t like they were terribly busy at the time, I think there may have been two waitresses and a manager serving three tables.

When the breakfasts finally arrived we had two beans on toast (as requested) and three Full English… all with eggs. I tried pointing out to the waitress that I had request no egg with my Full English, at this point she seemed very confused and grabbed the other waitress who also couldn’t quite grasp the fact that I had request to not have a egg with my breakfast and had to call over the manager. He started going off on one about how not having an egg wouldn’t reduce the price of the breakfast. Do I look like I’m broke? Is it so inconveicable that I didn’t want the egg because I really don’t like egg?

Apart from the setting that must be one of the worst sunday morning fry-ups I’ve had in a long time. For the quality of the food and the service the Boathouse was hugely over priced. I fully agree with Shane and Leigh decision to never voluntarily go there again. We have got a list of other posssible places to go, including the Half Moon, Friar Tucks and the White Rock.

7 responses so far

Apr 22 2005

10Mb File Limit For GMail Drive

Published by under General

I posted an article a while back about the GMail Drive shell extension for Windows that allows users to use their Google GMail account as an “online” disc drive.

Since then I have had a few search engine hits for “GMail Drive” 10MB. I can only assume that they are searching for a reason as to why they can only store files of up to 10Mb given that they have 2+Gb of storage capacity on GMail.

This is quite simply because GMail has a self-impossed limit of 10Mb per email, therefore, because the GMail Drive extension stores the files on GMail as emails it can on store files of up to 10Mb. For more information on this you should check out Google maximum attachment size FAQ.

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Apr 22 2005

My Current Pet Hate

Published by under Technology

I’m really getting fed up with inconsistencies in software.

Two pieces of software which I have running permanently on my computer are Microsoft Outlook 2003 and Microsoft MSN Messenger 7 (Beta). Both of these programs have a capability of being minimised to the system tray in order to save on task bar real-estate., which is great, it means I can still get notifications of events and still have ten other programs open without having those damn collapsed program groups on the task bar.

Outlook 2003The is a problem, however, with Microsofts approach to minimising to the system tray. In Outlook 2003, when you want to minimise the program to the system tray you simply press the minimize button at the top of the window, which I personally think is the logical way of doing it – I’ve specified that I want the program minimised to the system tray therefore that is where it should be minimised to.

MSN MessengerMicrosoft MSN Messenger on the other hand you have to click the close button. Hang on a minute! The close button? But I don’t want to close the application, I want to minimise it to the system tray! So you see, not only is the mechanism for the same action different in the two applications, the logic of the action in MSN messenger is also flawed.

One of the main problems that I have with software in general, since I’ve been working with Damien, is with inconsistent user interfaces. More and more I have noticed that the same company will do the same thing but in different ways in their different applications. And its really starting to annoy me now.

One response so far

Apr 21 2005

metcheck.com Goes OTT

Published by under General

For some time now I have been using metcheck.com as my prefered website for weather information. As far as I can tell their information is pretty accurate forecasts and historic data, even on the free sections of the site.

I have always liked reading the more far out bits of the site, such as the rest of the winter forecast (it’s been taken down now as the winter is over) and the rest of 2005 forecast. Its obvious that these are complete guesses based on previous years but it makes interesting reading non-the-less.

metcheck.com has, in my view, just hit new levels of wierdness. I’ve just noticed that they’ve added a BBQ Index to help you whether or not you should have that BBQ on Saturday or if you should wait until the Bank Holiday Monday because the weather would be more suitable. They have also added a Drying Time to help you decided whether you should hang the washing outside for that fresh spring breeze smell or just stick it in the tumble dryer.

2 responses so far

Apr 19 2005

Winter Sailing

Published by under Sailing

I have recently been asked by people when I’ll be starting sailing again this year, to which I generally reply: “Start sailing? I’ve been sailing thoughout the winter!”. This generally get a shocked response along the lines of: “Are you insane?!?!”.

I guess the answer to that you probably be a resounding YES but there is another answer which goes something like this:

Winter sailing is quite easy:

  1. You get dressed up nice and warm
  2. Put more clothes one
  3. Put on thick all-season sailing water-proofs
  4. Have a nice hot cup of coffee
  5. Head out for the sail, all the time thinking “This will be over soon, this will be over soon, this will…..”
  6. When you get back to shore have a nice hot cup of coffee
  7. Go home and get back into bed!

No responses yet

Apr 14 2005

Do You Pass The Acid2 Test?

Published by under Technology

Yesterday the Web Standards Project (WaSP) announced the release of their Acid2 browser test. The Acid2 test is designed to test browser compliance with the standards for HTML4, CSS1, PNG image rendering and Data URLs.

The test gives the user a reference rendering so that they can see what their browser should be rendering.

Acid2 Reference
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4 responses so far

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