August 2006 in the Life of Ben (Blog)

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Calthorpe Park School PHP Version (29th August 2006)

Over the school’s Summer holidays I’ve been moving the site from being lots of static pages to using PHP’s include() system. The first step was easy; stripping all the pages so they only contained the content markup and a couple of include statements.

I’ve since made the PHP scripts which generate the markup which is brought in by the pages, which is fairly complicated. Delinking the current page, using <strong> around the current section, creating appropriate rel attributes took a lot of head scratching to get right.

But now it’s gone live, so you can check out Calthorpe Park School 2.0. I’ll probably do the same to this website after I’ve neatened up the PHP some more. c{:¬)

Cycling to Fleet Pond (29th August 2006)

When Fliss last came over we went cycling South along the towpath of the local canal, then meandered out through the countryside. I’ve since noticed that we both punctured the front tyre of the bicycles we used. A couple of days ago got out the puncture repair kit and, after a lot of struggling, managed to get the tyre and inner tube off the wheel. It was completely flat, so I put a little air in it so it kept its shape.

Dad found our puncture repair kits and I filled a tub with water so I could find exactly where the puncture was. After locating the hole I roughed the surface with sandpaper until it lost its shine, which was taking ages because the sandpaper was blunt. I managed to find a newer piece and it was a breeze to prepare the surface. I applied the adhesive, let it dry, then carefully (but firmly) applied the patch. Held it in place for a couple of minutes, then put it back in the garage and had dinner.

Yesterday I went back to the garage and the repair had held. After a similar amount of struggling I got the tyre and inner tube back on the wheel without any twists. Put a bit more air in it and massaged the tyre to make sure the inner tube was seated properly. All seemed well, so I wriggled the wheel between the brake callipers and bolted the axle into the frame. I filled the tyre up the rest of the way (it wouldn’t have gone past the brakes fully inflated) and took it out for a ride.

I decided to head North this time and ride all the way across Fleet, which is about 2 miles. The town stops quite abruptly and woodland starts immediately due to it being protected by some organisation or law or something. There’s lots of public paths through it and cycling is allowed, so I decided to explore some tracks I hadn’t ridden before. I found some really neat routes and ended up in an area I knew from cycling with my friends when we were at senior school.

I came back before I reached the pond, but I’ve found some new places to cycle with Fliss next time she comes over. I’ll be visiting her tomorrow.

Myriad Islands for Grand Theft Auto San Andreas (MISA) (29th August 2006)

Connecting illSTA to illCOM is proving to be quite a contenious issue. The simplest way would be to run a four lane bridge over the Southern platform of Snow Racer’s Marina, and we have his permission to do this. However, several other MI contributors have objected to this because it involves altering an existing lot. The annoying thing is their alternative proposals involve altering even more existing lots!

Furthermore, some proposals have been made with no idea where they will go, or even if they will fit into the existing landscape. And yet my original idea has a location, it has the author’s permission and will slot directly into the current plans for illSTA.

After lots of lengthy forum messages, there are four main proposals:

Another annoying thing is how deeply unrealistic some of the proposals are. Some intend to have the 4-lane road on illCOM suddenly break up into several levels, with one or two of its middle lanes being used as exit ramps. This is contrary to so many basic principles of Western road networks that it’s staggering people are suggesting we make them.

It’s also extremely frustrating when people insist these crazy designs are fine because it’s for a game. We aren’t making this for Mario Kart; it’s for the immersive and atmospheric environment of GTA. The biggest strength of the GTA series is that you have incredibly realistic cityscapes for such a big computer game, in which you can do extraordinary things.

I’m now talking with the various people who’ve put forward designs via instant messaging to see if we can agree on something which will work.

Calthorpe Progress Resumes (18th August 2006)

I’ll now be refocussing my work at Calthorpe Park School. I want to use PHP’s include system to make the website easier to manage and update. I’ve done some PHP scripted pages on their server to test what I can do and it looks like this could save an awful lot of long-term maintenance.

I’ll probably move Project Cerbera over to using this include system afterwards. That will probably be during October or November, depending how busy the start of the new school year is for Calthorpe’s website.

Dave Bateman’s Two Websites Finished (18th August 2006)

Both D & S Hosting and Dave’s Website are now just about complete and have gone live. We agreed £50 for the work and free hosting for me for 10 years.

Meeting with Fliss (18th August 2006)

The weather has been really nice the past week and I’ve really missed enjoying it with Fliss. Now that I’ve completed the three freelance websites, hopefully we can arrange to meet up soon.

Solas Critique Created (18th August 2006)

Phil Smears has created a review thread for Solas Associates. A few niggles have been found here and there which Phil is valiantly squashing one by one.

Solas Associates Payment (7th August 2006)

I’ve now received the £350 pounds for my Solas Associates markup and stylesheet. The graphics on that are rough because they were drafts sent to me by the website’s graphic designer, Phil Smears of S Design 1.

Looks like I’ll be able to make a decent living from professional website design if I can keep getting jobs like this coming my way!