July 2006 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

Added Lost Cars by Sin5k4 (31st July 2006)

After a lot of hunting through GTA modding sites and Google’s cache of old forum topics, twelve of the fifteen cars by Sin5k4 have been recovered with the handling setup I made for them. Three handling setups have been lost and I can’t find them anywhere but I did find the model, texture and readme.txt for them all.

You can find the cars in these areas:

There have been quite a lot of e-mails about these lost cars. I’m glad Sin and I were able to find them and make them available again. c{:¬)

Visit from Fliss (31st July 2006)

From 2006-07-19 to 2006-07-22 Fliss stayed at my house with me for the first time. We did loads of cycling, had a midnight walk to the little parish church and had a milestone conversation in the graveyard about our hopes and faults and dreams and ambitions. We also watched the Red Arrows practising for the Farnborough Air Show and lots of other planes doing displays.

I cooked a different type of dish for each meal apart from breakfast, figured out all the bussing we needed to do to get Fliss from Farnborough to here. I hardly even thought about computers for the whole time!

All in all, it was like having a wonderful holiday and I’m really glad to have a friend like Fliss.

Taking Care of Business (31st July 2006)

The past two weeks have seen my freelance website services really step up. I was working on four websites at one point:

In each case I’m doing all the markup, stylesheets and some functional aspects of the design and organisation.

Fliss to Visit on Wednesday (18th July 2006)

Although I’d pencilled in Fliss’ visit as being from Saturday 16th to Tuesday 18th, we rescheduled to being from Wednesday 19th until Friday 21st so she could sort out some other things.

It’s been scoorching hot the past few days but I have a desk fan and a pedestal fan which can shift a lot of air if needed.

Speedy Gonepigez! (18th July 2006)

Yesterday evening was pretty dramatic. One of our young guinea pigs escaped in our back garden and it took two hours to catch it again. It wriggled out of my hand when I was moving it to a spare cage to clean it out then scampered off. Ungrateful or what!

It ran behind the cages and wriggled underneath the fence when I approached it. Luckily it didn’t go far while I ran around to my neightbour to ask his permission to look in his back garden. It was completely obscured in some plants and it took me about quarter of an hour to find it. It scampered up towards the house and darted away every time I got close enough to catch it.

I felt really worried because there are a lot of cats around here and if I couldn’t catch it, they would! It was already dusk so I asked my neighbour if he could help herd it my way. However, it scrambled back under the fence and it was now quite dark. I ran back to my house and returned with a torch, which I gave to our neighbour while I approached the guinea pig again.

The guinea pig had hidden underneath the bottom cage and I tried to herd it out using a plastic spade. Eventually I decided to move the bottom cage but by the time I’d moved it the guinea pig had gone. I frantically looked around while my neighbour checked his side of the fence. Eventually I heard a shuffling behind a paving slab lent against the house. This was my chance to capture it!

There were some metal dividers nearby so I carefully slid these up to cover the gap at either end of the slab as best I could. I asked my neigbour to come around to this side to help block one end. I slowly moved the top of the slab away from the wall and saw the guinea pig in the light of the torch. I gently edged the bottom of the slab nearer the wall so the guinea pig couldn’t turn around and tried to reach it. Somehow it wriggled out of one end but my foot was in the way. I quickly reached down as it tried to scamper past and managed to grab it with one hand. The poor thing was still wriggling like crazy so I put my other hand around it and lifted it up off the ground. It stopped wriggling once lifted up.

I thanked my neighbour for all his help and petted the guinea pig to calm it down, talking to it gently. It seemed to settle down and relaxed in my hand. The cage I was moving it to had no divider across the front and I didn’t want to risk it escaping again so I put it in a tall plastic bucket with some grass. I then cleaned out its cage and put in fresh bedding. After this I tipped the bucket directly into the cage so it had no chance of escape. It started frolicking around in the fresh straw as if nothing had happened, bless it!

I don’t think this one has a name, but I’ll always remember it as “Speedy Gonpigez”. I’m very relieved that I caught it before any cats did.

Irrepressible: Protest Against Internet Censorship (18th July 2006)

A great initiative from Amnesty International I came across recently aims to combat government censorship of websites in nations like China, Iran and elsewhere. The initiative is called Irrepressible and it allows ordinary people to take action using the Internet in two ways.

Lobby Governments and Companies

Sign the pledge like I and tens of thousands of others have done. Irrepressible say this about the pledge:

“In November 2006, governments and companies from all over the world will attend a UN conference to discuss the future of the Internet. You can help us send a clear message to them that people everywhere believe the Internet should be a force for political freedom, not repression.

“We will present the total number at the conference. The more people who sign up, the louder our voice.”

Undermine Censorship

Add censored content to your website or blog. I’ve done this beneath the main navigation. The censored content is just a sentence or two carefully extracted from a website which has been censored purely because of the political or social opinions it carries.

Summer Cleaning (13th July 2006)

After much scrubbing, moving of furniture, tidying of clutter, clearing of rubbish and vaccuming of dust, my room is now much neater than it was yesterday. This is in preperation for Fliss coming over tomorrow until Tuesday 18th July. The carpet has visibly changed colour in some of the nooks and crannies since a layer of dust has been removed from it!

I’ve been meaning to clean my room for months and now I have, it’s a nicer place to be. c{:¬)

Experiments with rel (13th July 2006)

The rel and rev attributes can be used on <link> and <a> elements to indicate a relationships between documents. For example:

<link rel="home" title="W3C" href="/">
<a rel="home" href="/">W3C</a>

Both of these are equivalent, each meaning that the document at href is the homepage for the current document. The <a> version is a bit smaller and is visible to all users, while the <link> version is bigger and only visible in devices which implement a special mechanism to display it.

You can read more about how these links are implemented in various browsers and extensions in my Navigation Using rel review.

Search Problems Fixed (8th July 2006)

The search page has not been providing good results for quite a while. After some investigation, I noticed this in my markup on that page:

  <input type="hidden" name="domains" value="www.projectcerbera.com">
  <input type="hidden" name="sitesearch" value="www.projectcerbera.com">

These tell Google which sites it should search based on their domain name. They are including the www. portion of the URL, but I recently Simplified my URLs, removing the www. portion. Looks like Google doesn’t realise that www.projectcerbera.com is the same website as projectcerbera.com!

I tried altering the markup to this:

  <input type="hidden" name="domains" value="projectcerbera.com">
  <input type="hidden" name="sitesearch" value="projectcerbera.com">

It now works again. Hopefully this will make it easier for people to find things on this website again.

Late June Visit to Fliss’s (1st July 2006)

Got back from visiting Fliss in the evening on 2006-06-30. I arrived there on 2006-06-28, the day after my birthday which is also Fliss’ birthday. She had a quiet but very memorable birthday with her mum.

Fliss bought me a bar of Galaxy chocoloate (yum!) and a perfect birthday card. The title on the front was “Internut” and the caption inside was www.HappyBirthday.com. I had meant to get her a card and present but with Calthorpe’s website entering an active phase and negotating with a possible new client, I ended up leaving it too late.

While we were in town on the Thursday she found a dress which was white with little black polkadots, in a very 1950’s style. When we got home I said that to make up for not brining a present (or even a card) for her, I could by that dress for her. This really cheered her up and the next day we went back to the shop. She tried on the dress, loved it and I bought it for her. It only cost £17 and she looks great in it. :-)

Buried Under Projects (1st July 2006)

Although this is normally the case, it seems to be more so than usual at the moment. Thankfully I am making good progress and I’ve already scribbled out the way I’ll be completing each task. Still, there are even more things than normal all going on at once which is pretty hectic! I do like to keep busy, though. Nice to see each task getting ticked off...gives me a sense of accomplishment.

Tidying of Project Cerbera (1st July 2006)

Over the past couple of months the float method used on pages like the GTA Vice City Handling Overhaul has been getting updated. Many pages were accidentally left half-fixed during this process (i.e. broken) but it should be cleared up now.

You might need to use Ctrl+F5 to get the updated versions of these pages. I don’t intend any major reworkings of Project Cerbera until I make it into a PHP driven website.