Wednesday, May 14, 2003

hi again

I haven't used this weblog for quite some time - and indeed had just about forgotten of its existence. Then I noticed that someone had been this way in order to get to dave2002, so I thought I'd look back to see what I'd been doing.

The blogging months have been quite interesting, and I will probably keep going, though not necessarily keep all the blogs going, so some will eventually wither. What I'd like to do is to gather all the entries together - there's no reason really why there shouldn't be a "blog of blogs" - after all, one view is simply of a a large database of hypertext entries. However, compared with wikis, there are some differences. Note that searching a weblog generally does a search on each hypertext page, and depending on the search engine does not necessarily locate the relevant text in the whole structure. Searching a wiki can also give different results depending on the wiki system used, but generally wiki searches locate hypertext nodes within the overall structure, so they can be more useful.

Monday, February 03, 2003

after columbia

nasa has announced the inquiry into the sad loss of the columbia, but at the same time russian astronauts are heading on out to the international space station. Let's wish them luck, and hope that they don't have to wait an undue length of time before they are able to return to ground. It's possible that someone may have to make a decision to launch another shuttle even before a assessment is made, if at some future time that would be the best option for these guys to get back home. I have no idea at the present whether there is any other way - the old idea of sitting in a space capsule and coming back that way may have been superseded by the use of shuttle vehicles. Still, it looks as though they should be able to stay up for at least
140 days
without too many problems. A couple of methods for re-entry without using the shuttles have been proposed, but I don't think they'll have enough time to wait for the X38 to be developed, though. Some comfort can be obtained from the knowledge that the ard has been tested, and perhaps that could be used for re-entry purposes, though again, I'm not sure what the status of that is today.

All of this is likely to put the development of the iss back a bit, but that's very much to be expected.

Could anything else have been done? It seems unlikely, though perhaps time will tell whether nasa should have had alternative strategies, or whether it even realised the extent of the risks involved for columbia.

In the meantime, william gibson has been writing some wistful thoughts about space exploration.

Sunday, February 02, 2003

It's February 2nd today, and I'm still trying to figure out how to do the archiving of the Pitas file over at dave2002.

It's not in principle difficult to do, but it seems to be impossible to edit archived material, so slightly reluctant to do this until some problems have been fixed.
A few fairly obvious problems are that:

  1. Some of the entries became out of order recently - I'm checking up why this happened!
  2. The labels for some of the recent entries are somewhat out of alighment - these need to be checked carefully.
  3. There are still ongoing problems with the template, so as many should be fixed as possible. The main problem
    concerns the width of the page, but there may be others.
  4. I may have to do something with the calendar routines to allow for future entries - will check as I update the archive etc.
    I think my previous view was that archiving would freeze everything, and there wouldn't actually be a problem.

There are actually problems with the template which are nothing to do with me. When I chose a near "virgin" template in the
dtest3 testblog, there were over 50 reported warnings using Tidy in HTML Kit".


I hope to have the problems regarding dave2002 sorted today, or at least in another couple of days.

OK - using w.bloggar to post this - w.bloggar is succeeding with the posting, but not the publishing. Something problematic seems to be happening.
What a pain!

Thursday, January 30, 2003

A new post, after quite a gap. Not sure if it is really worth doing two weblogs, but might try to get this one tarted up a bit more. Came across a trick idea today at andy's gesture page. The only problem is that I couldn't get it to work too well - I tried it in several browsers, including IE, Netscape 7 and Opera, and "flicking" the mouse turned out to be rather difficult. It probably needs some parameters tweaking.

Tuesday, January 07, 2003

Comments: 2003 = 103?
w.bloggar has been playing up - it allows me to generate text, but does not then post and publish it satisfactorily.

Today I have spent doing several things, but one activity was the correction of some problems with the calendar routines for the pitas site. The "today" highlighting did not work for Netscape, Mozilla and Opera - this turned out to be because the date handling routines in the different browsers do not return the same year for today - IE returns 2003, while the others return 103. It also seems that earlier versions (5.0 and perhaps earlier) also returned 103.

I had to modify the code to make it browser specific, and I think it now works for most browsers.

I also took the opportunity to "improve" the calendar appearance, which now has coloured headings.

One outstanding problem concerns the font size in the calendar. I changed the font size in the rest of the template using a font size = "-1" instruction, but I have not been able to change the size of, or the font size of the calendar. This is a mystery, and at present I have no idea why this should be so. I also took the opportunity to restructure the template, and I noticed that there is quite a big upsurge of interest in the site.

Monday, January 06, 2003

2003 = 103?
Amazing to discover that different browsers have different javascript routines, which actually behave differently. In Netscape and Mozilla, the getDate() function returns the current year minus 1900 which is 103, while in Internet Explorer the same function returns 2003, which at least seems more logical. The effect on the calendar routines was quite considerable, and as originally written they worked in IE, but not in the other browsers. Now the code has been modified to detect each browser, though some still don't work properly - maybe there's some other value which is also equal to 103 or 2003?

Sunday, January 05, 2003

I've spent almost all the day creating and testing calendar routines for use with the dave2002 site on Since pitas is quite a simple weblog site, I decided to use javascript, and embed the routines in the template.

It didn't take too long (about 2 hours) to get something which worked, but it then took another 2 hours to redesign the code so that it worked more correctly, and perhaps a further 2-3 hours of tweaking to overcome some problems. There are still outstanding problems - mostly relating to the size of the fonts in different browsers, and one more elephant trap - the code I tested using HTML Kit highlighted some text using a bluish background, but of course most of the site at dave2002 uses a very similar colour as a background, so it looks as though the highlighting is not working properly. Anyway, mostly it works, and it's probably better to have something working than nothing at all.

Now let's see if that generates any interest from other punters!