December 2005 in the Life of Ben (Blog)

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  12. December

Conventional Windows Media Player Skin (26th December 2005)

For a long time I have wanted to update this little project to create a compact, resizable but fully featured media player skin. Today I did so, making the slider resize to suit the width of the main window. I tidied up the code a little and thought about adding some extra features. However, I’ve got so many other projects on the go that I don’t think I can justify spending any more time on this.

The media player skin page has been updated and the new version can be downloaded from there.

Xmas! (26th December 2005)

My mum, dad and sister were all here from 2005-12-24 to today. We had a lovely dinner yesterday and opened all our presents together in the living room. Things I received:

When I shortlisted those albums I wasn’t 100% that I really wanted them, but now I’ve had a couple of days of listening to them I’m really glad they were bought for me. The reviews I read for the Howl album said it was a radical departure for BRMC which wasn’t like anything they did before. To me, it seems like they've become a lot more bold with the style they had and their music has matured, creating a surprising and unique album which I’m really getting into.

A new graphics card for this machine has been a real stress for my parents to try and get hold of as this machine is fairly old (built in 2001). I installed the card this morning but it is drawing the textures of GTA San Andreas vehicles flourescant orange and I’ve got no idea why. I’ve written a more detailed message on GTAForums in the thread where my Mum was getting advice from other forum members about what card would be most suitable.

Tutorials Update (17th December 2005)

Somehow, despite having loads of other projects going on at the moment, I’ve updated a couple of my GTA handling tutorials. Two of them have seen big changes:

I have made some minor changes to page styling and given ID values to more of the page headings.

New GTAmodding Wiki Released by GTAnet (17th December 2005)

If you don’t know what a Wiki is, it is like a public magazine or blog where anyone can write articles. However, anyone can edit articles which have already been written and the whole thing is overseen by a group of administrators and editors. This leads to articles which have been reviewed and refined by thousands of people. The Wikipedia Project have been using this system to build a great encyclopedia from public contributions.

The GTAmodding Wiki has been created so that people who have registered at the very popular GTA Forums website can contribute thier knowledge. All editions of GTA are covered and new categories will be created when new editions are announced. As the name suggests, this Wiki is only for file format documentation, modding tutorials and stuff like that.

I’ve created a Referring to GTA Versions article so that all the contributors can settle on one full title and one shortened title for each edition in the series. This will make it easier to understand exactly which edition a certain file format is for, which versions cannot connect with each other for multiplayer mods and so on.

There are already dozens of articles which have been started and the project will eventually contain everything the community knows about modding this series of games. Please be very careful about making changes or creating new documents and try to write in an unbiassed manner and use the same notation as the rest of the pages. Wikis are only helpful to people when they are used responsibly.

GTAForums Xmas Updates (7th December 2005)

Knife has been redeveloping Datalord’s on Christmas skin for the forums. I’ve been helping Knife with CSS tips, tracking down background colour problems in the templates and some other little things.

The most recent version of my Conventional forum skins will be made available fairly soon. They use the general style of the GTAnet styles but in a much more efficient and resizable layout. This makes them excellent for people who want an easier browsing experience and are not using Internet Explorer maximised on a 1024 × 768 desktop. They even work well on handheld devices and games consoles. c{;¬)

Calthorpe Park School Website (7th December 2005)

My former secondary school already has a website of its own but there is only one member of staff who is able to work on it. He is the Assistant Headteacher and Head of ICT, so he doesn’t really have time to create content, code and generally maintain a professional website.

I have been in discussions with him since 2005-10-11 (the first half of September this year) about helping the school move the site forward. I have been working with him to create a new site design which would not need to be changed for several years. This means a radical rebuild of the site from scratch, right down to renaming files and folders, into which the existing content will be placed.

I have a draft of the new site together and we are in general agreement about the direction it is taking. I am currently converting more of the content from the existing website to the new design in order to get a better feel for how it will perform. There is a great deal of content on the school website, so the information architecture and navigation will need to be made very carefully.

Tony’s Map Editor (MEd) Alpha Release (7th December 2005)

A fairly new member at GTAForums has been developing a new map editor. It will become a modern version of MooMapper and KEd and will support GTA 3, GTA Vice City and GTA San Andreas. He is running a development topic for MEd and you can download the most recent version from its entry on GTA Garage.

The program is still very early in development, hence this is only an alpha release. I have been assisting Tony with interface improvements and he has invited me to redesign the dialogue windows. I’m really glad to be helping out with this editor since it is becoming a really professional tool.

Project Cerbera Updates (7th December 2005)

Not much has changed here recently due to me having so many other projects going on. You can view the projects list on the homepage to see exactly what I’m up to. Some of my projects don’t get listed there, so I’ve normally got even more to do!