October 2005 in the Life of Ben (Blog)

  1. January
  2. February
  3. March
  4. April
  5. May
  6. June
  7. July
  8. August
  9. September
  10. October
  11. November
  12. December

GTAForums Downtime and Bugs (30th October 2005)

On 2005-10-17 the forums were taken offline due to a hard drive failing in the server. It was a really old drive which wasn’t really designed for server use, so a proper replacement had to be ordered. The database was backed up, the new drive was fitted and everything was back up and running on 2005-10-23. Well, nearly everything. Some of the forum sections would not work in some skins, so I told illspirit. He replaced the skin folder with a fresh upload and everything worked again.

I don’t know of anything else which got broken during the downtime.

Website Design Customer (30th October 2005)

On 2005-10-11 I sent an e-mail to my former secondary school to see if they would like their current website rebuilt to a modern, professional standard. The response was very positive and I met with their Head of ICT about on 2004-10-14. We thought the meeting would only last about half an hour but we were developing ideas for nearly three hours!

The existing website has been created by the Head of ICT in his spare time, creating hundreds of pages over the past couple of years. The school was recently given special status in the fields of Computing and Mathematics and the facilities have recieved many updates and expansions since I studied there. Helping them to upgrade their current website will be part of their long term strategy to become a leader in secondary education.

The development project is currently at a very preliminary stage. I am really looking forward to giving something back to my old school, though.

Program Revisions (30th October 2005)

Now that the Apps section is up and running with one page per project, I have spent some time refining the programs. All of them have had minor updates to improve the way they work and they are all available for download. At the moment the only versions include the program and the source code. I’ll make a second package for each program which doesn’t include the source code, so you won’t end up with as much clutter when you extract them to a folder.

Apps Section Upgraded (23rd October 2005)

The Apps section has now been changed, with each project given its own page. All links to the old pages should get redirected to the new pages - if you find any broken links, please contact me so I can fix them. All the programs in there are now available for download, apart from TextStudio.

Eventually, each program will be available in two versions:

All the program pages have at least one screenshot, along with information about what features the programs have and how to use them.

Minor Tweaks to Project Cerbera Design (23rd October 2005)

I have been fiddling with the colours used by the site and have found a slightly more pleasent combination. The background colours now have more subtle differences between the primary colour channels. The link colours have remained the same. I have hidden the logo from the header because it doesn’t match the new colours and I think the header looks better with it.

I’ve added a tagline to the header which explains basically what the site is about. This is partly to solve a little CSS positioning quirk which made the navigation seperate from the header. Most of the traffic to this site is from people doing Web searches for car names because the GTAVC section has amazing search engine rankings. It is yet more proof (if proof were needed) that clean, meaningful markup on a stable website beats the data spam of unethical SEO.

Downtime for GTAForums (19th October 2005)

Due to a hard driving failing, GTAForums has been taken offline for a while. I have spoken to illspirit and Delfi and they don’t think any data has been damaged. A new hard drive is being sourced and fitted, which should take a week or less. Best of luck to the staff who are sorting this out!

In Conversation with Jig (19th October 2005)

Jig and I have been talking more regularly over the past week, which brings some welcome entertainment into my day. And hopefully to hers as well. :-)

Apps Section is Changing (19th October 2005)

At the moment, the Apps section is divided into categories with several projects on some pages. I am changing this so that every project will have its own page so that I can write a bit more information about them and include a couple of screenshots for each program instead of just one.

I have split the pages and figured out the layout I want to use. It will take me a while to write the information, take relevant screenshots and so on. I will set up some redirects in the server configuration so that links to the old project entries will redirect to the new project pages. Links to the categories will redirect to the Apps Index so that they don’t generate a 404 Not Found error.

End of Jobseeker Program (12th October 2005)

I signed off from the working benefits entitled to me here in the UK today. I am now self-employed, just need to phone the Inland Renvenue so that all the paperwork is in order. My business is website development and the website is SiteSurgeon.co.uk.

Website Updates (1st October 2005)

The Project Cerbera homepage now has a complete list of the projects I am working on. The templates listed on the Apps > Resources page have had a News Template added. The Site Map has been updated with the new pages and the News Archive has been updated to list all the pages in this section.

Autumn’s Arrival? (1st October 2005)

The days are getting shorter and the nights are getting colder, so it seems that Summer is on the way out for this year. I should have spent more time outside!

Enriched Formatting (1st October 2005)

Over the past couple of weeks I have been adding <code> tags around references to file paths, parameter values and mission script commands. This makes it a bit easier to see which things are code and which are normal text. I have started using <strong> tags for parameter names, program menu titles and stuff like that to make those clearer as well. The tags in this paragraph are being presented as code.

I have not finished this yet, so there are some pages of the site not using these formatting.

Link Validation (1st October 2005)

I have been going through the site with the excellent W3C Link Checker service. Takes a long time to check each section of links but I am making progress. Fixed a lot of links to Sin5k4’s work in the GTAVC pages and some of the permanent links in the old news articles were broken. I have not finished going through the entire site yet, so there may be some links which are not fixed until the next update.

If you find a broken link then please contact me with the details so I can fix it. I have also been revising the .htaccess file to set file permissions and redirects. If you get error pages which don’t seem to make sense, please send the details to me.

MultiSlayer Revival (1st October 2005)

I am now going through the last stages of testing my MultiSlayer level for GTA2. I will be tidying up the printable map image so that it matches the updates I have made to the landscape. I will create one version of the map with the zone names in and a second version with weapon locations and respawns marked on. Not sure when I will get this finished.

I recommend using Sektor’s GTA2 Game Hunter to find players. I helped with the interface and there are normally a few people signed in with it.