June 2010 in the Life of Ben (Blog)

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Cycled for over 2 Hours (26th June 2010)

In the evening I went out, riding various tracks on the summit and surroundings of Beacon Hill. Was out from 6:30pm to about 8:40pm! Saw lots of slopes, tracks and erosion patterns which I could use in the desert location for Jailbreak. Also saw several hot air balloons.

Played around the dry ditch near Basingborne Park, then rode past The Verne and all the way along Sandy Lane. Turned right at the roundabout for the long approach to Beacon Hill and took the first major fire track on the left.

Noticed a lot of smoke ahead, so turned right through woodland. Ended up on a parallel track, which I had exited the woodland from last time.

Lots of fun tracks and a cool but very difficult parabola-shaped erosion channel on the side of a sandy hillock.

  1. Stalled
  2. Fell. (Nearly saved it then bailed to avoid injury in a spectacular way!)
  3. Mudguard came off.
  4. Nailed it perfectly.

Took some long, fast downhills and got quite chilled. Had gone out in just some shorts and trainers in order to catch some Sun. Felt thoroughly exercised with no aches or pains…plus quite a considerable appetite!

Further Information

Made a lot of short notes while I rode. Decided not to add them here because every one of them could do with being expanded on. Would take ages.

Had driven to pick up my sister, had Father’s Day, then took her back before going out for this ride.

Metaphors for URLs and Accessibility (24th June 2010)

A couple of somewhat left-field analogies whilst my midn was wandering on my week-long Summer holiday.


As we know, these are like physical addresses. Except that a physical address:

Contrasting each of those points with URLs:

A block of flats somewhat fits the URL model, from the perspective of the building’s owner. Here’s the breakdown for the way URL segments correspond to addresses within a block of flats:

Postcode and everything else up to the whole building’s location.
Domain name:
The building’s location. (The owner chose where to build or where to buy.)
Path segments:
Parts of the building, becoming more specific with each level:
  1. Floor number.
  2. Corridor name, number or letter
  3. Flat number and/or letter.
  4. Room name.
Fragment identifier:
Items of furniture with that part of the building.

It’s well worth getting these right. They are literally the location of that resource on the web.

Technology Stack for Widespread Accessibility

A Jenga tower is a stack of blocks used in the game, Jenga. Players take turns removing blocks from lower levels and placing them on higher levels until the tower topples.

Toppling is equivalent to inaccessibility. The unfair distribution of weight is equivalent to a layer of the technology stack having to do more than is fair or viable. Such as requiring individual web authors to add text sizing widgets to each and every page of every website they create. Or requiring assistive technologies to develop a sci-fi level of AI to heuristically deduce the semantics of pages using presentational markup.

We can see what the balance should be. Making that happen is the next and ongoing challenge.

Cycled to Pondtail (22nd June 2010)

Got chased by a small but very noisy dog through Basingborne Park. Gentle ride to the tracks out past Pondtail, made very smooth by oiling all moving parts. Removed rear mudguard as it got broken during a crash last time. Was a glorious evening.

Jailbreak Idea for GTA2 (13th June 2010)

Players must escape across the border from a maximum-security prison in an American desert. Just an idea for now. The more I scribbled ideas and plans for it while watching Le Mans 24 Hours, the more I wanted to make it!

There’s an island prison in the South-West of Residential District (2nd level, uses the ste.* files). Being arrested, becoming an inmate, then starting a riot to escape it is a memorable single-player mission. Could that be translated to multiplayer?

Jailbreak Preview is my exploration of this, with help from other modders.

General Sequence of Stages

  1. Prison cells (start point and respawn points).
  2. Police armoury to get weapons.
  3. Areas for exercise, eating and entertainment.
  4. Breach inner walls.
  5. Army garrison is alerted.
  6. Breach outer walls via controls in army garrison.
  7. Police, FBI and Army at outer gates.
  8. Desert roads towards border with FBI wanted level of 5, high and low routes.
  9. Desert café, maybe an old mining village.
  10. Heavily defended border gates.
  11. Safehouse with all players together ends the level.


Will Probably use ste.sty textures for the Redneck area (shown below) and Prison (shown above):


Further Research

TextStudio Keyboard Architecture (12th June 2010)

Making my shabby, homebrew HTML editor work right is a pet project. Especially as I’m a bit of a keyboard junkie. The changes have improved nearly every aspect. I’l release them when they are “good and ready”.

The event architecture and centralising code are the main changes. I can now use Ctrl+Tab to switch between files while the Find/Replace Panel has focus. Shift+Alt+S to Save All now works in both those contexts as well. (The VB6 Menu Editor doesn’t support complex shortcuts, so I use the central keyboard handler for them.)

The architecture maintains state and tracks focus in a different way than before. There are a few bugs and regressions to iron out, such as a few keyboard shortcuts fire twice. A few of convenience features have to be re-implemented, such as copying the selected text to the Find box when focus is moved to it via Ctrl+F.

Keyboard Shortcuts in TextStudio

One of the interesting (well, interesting to me) aspects of this was documenting all of they keyboard shortcuts the application actually had. As these may change, I’ve decided to capture the whole lot as they stand this week.

Menu accelerators are not included since there’s a big Format menu with various submenus for producing HTML.

Tab Native Next Control
Del Selection Delete
Properties Context Context Menu
F1 Menu Help > About
F5 Menu Insert Date
F3 Virtual Edit > Find Next
F6 Virtual Next Pane
Shift+F3 Virtual Edit > Find Previous
Shift+F4 Menu File > Close All
Shift+F5 Menu Window > Cascade
Shift+F6 Virtual Next Pane (not implemented)
Shift+F7 Menu Window > Tile Vertically
Shift+F8 Menu Window > Tile Horizontally
Shift+F9 Menu Window > Arrange Icons
Alt+Space Native Control Box
Alt+- Native MDI Child Control Box (unsupported?)
Alt+A Virtual Replace All
Alt+C Virtual Replace (Textbox)
Alt+D Virtual Find (Textbox)
Alt+G Virtual Go To Line
Alt+D Virtual Find (Textbox)
Alt+L Virtual Line (Textbox)
Alt+M Virtual Column (Textbox)
Alt+N Virtual Find Next
Alt+P Virtual Options (not implemented)
Alt+R Virtual Replace
Alt+S Virtual Find Previous
Alt+T Virtual Apply To
Shift+Alt+S Menu File > Save All
Ctrl+A Context Menu Extended Edit > Select All
Ctrl+B Menu View > Status Bar
Ctrl+C Menu Edit > Copy
Ctrl+D Menu File > Duplicate
Ctrl+F Menu Edit > Find/Replace
Ctrl+G Menu Edit > Go To Line
Ctrl+M Menu File > Open Many
Ctrl+N Menu File > New
Ctrl+O Menu File > Open
Ctrl+R Menu File > Reload
Ctrl+S Menu File > Save
Ctrl+T Menu View > Toolbar
Ctrl+W Menu Extended File > Close
Ctrl+V Menu Edit > Paste
Ctrl+X Menu Edit > Cut
Ctrl+Y Menu Edit > Delete Line
Ctrl+Z Native Undo
Ctrl+` Menu Extended View > Files Sidebar
Ctrl+Tab Native Extended Next Window
Ctrl+F3 Selection Edit > Find Next (not implemented)
Ctrl+F5 Menu Window > Restore
Ctrl+F6 Native Extended Next Window
Ctrl+F7 Menu Window > Minimise
Ctrl+F8 Menu Window > Maximise
Ctrl+Shift+A Context Menu Extended Invert Selection
Ctrl+Shift+S Menu Extended File > Save As
Ctrl+Shift+Tab Native Extended Previous Window
Ctrl+Shift+F6 Native Extended Previous Window

Suppressed RichText32 Shortcuts

Shopping at Tesco (1st June 2010)

Took about 40 minutes from leaving the house to getting back. About 20 minutes before that to check remaining food, write the new list, get wallet, some spare carrier bags and so on. (So 1 hour to buy 2 weeks of supplies.)

Polite, Helpful & Pretty Shopper (13th June 2010)

While finding the shortest checkout queue, I noticed one which was half-full. Went to it and noticed the woman still had a third of her shopping left to put on the conveyor. Still, this was the shortest one within pouncing distance so I queued behind her.

She noticed I had just a handful of items and offered to let me go in front. After a solid second of surprise, her genourosity dawned on me and I took the place, thanking her duely.

After stumbling through my shopping and paying, I took the bag and trundled off. About halfway towards the door, someone scampered up to my shoulder and told me I’d left my shopping. It was the woman and after my initial bemusement, realised that the bag she carried was indeed my bag of cake bars.

I again thanked her and quickly felt there should be some way I could repay her attentiveness. But we had automatically parted ways, back towards the different stages of the errand we were each running.

While driving to the supermarked I had given way to lots of traffic. Many cars were parked on the roads, I guess many people were visiting each other for parties and family stuff. Made me think about Karma, which I disbelief at a spiritual level. Might people subliminally sense when another has done good deeds, then feel more inclined towards help?

Or perhaps she was just a really good person. Perhaps I should have made more of the situation?