Archive: May, 2005

The New [Media] Meme

Yet another meme… so soon after the Musical Baton?! Yeah, thanks a bunch, Pete!

Anyway, why is this a “literary stick”? It's a meme by him. Maybe this should be a media meme? Maybe I should start an @media meme to entice people into the pre-conference networking opportunities that lie in wait on the @media 2005 Flickr group. Maybe not.

Random five songs

The first five songs played when I put my entire digital music collection through Winamp on random:

  1. Searching (Erykah Badu – Baduizm live)
  2. Days Like This (Van Morrison – Days Like This)
  3. Another Place To Fall (KT Tunstall – Eye to the Telescope)
  4. Like Suicide (Soundgarden – Superunknown)
  5. Dynamite: I Am Your Animal (Gong – Camembert Electrique)

Current book I'm reading (or pretending to read)

The Design of Everyday Things by Donald A. Norman (currently on loan from the kind Mr Urmston).

Last movie seen in a cinema

The Hitchhicker's Guide to the Galaxy (at Vue, York).

Five people to hit with a big, knobbly media stick

  1. Tommy Olsson, the new face of accessibility. (Another Baton)
  2. Matthew Bookworm Pennell (Me, me, meme)
  3. Kate Monkey, Monkey, Monkey… (And my favourite colour is, like, totally fuschia…)
  4. Karl Moggy
  5. The permanently tangential Rich Pedley

Update, 03.06.2005

Hmm, there's a Meme-o-meter for this one.

Mac in a Box

Guess what arrived at my front door at half nine this morning!

I had just been checking out Apple’s order tracking when the doorbell went. Bloody hell! It was my Mac Mini – the order tracking said it was still at Leeds airport. So, much a boyish unpacking commenced and a photo opportunity was taken.

Mac boxes: Mac Mini, wireless keyboard and wireless mouse.

I decided to go wireless. I had considered getting a DVI KVM switch to make it easy for me to use the Mac with my existing keyboard, mouse and beautiful new ViewSonic flat screen monitor, but having seen how much the switches cost, I settled for dual inputs on my monitor, stylish Mac keyboard and mouse and wirelessness.

The excitement hasn’t quite kicked in. I’ve been so busy so far this week and it’s likely to be the weekend before I get time to play. Hmmm, looking forward to getting some Tiger lovin’. Grrrr.

Welcome to Tiger, Mac OS X v10.4.

Anyway, Jo seems to have taken a liking to the new addition to the November 5th team… she says she’s going to take it to work with her.

The Mac Mini lunchbox.

So, does this officially make me a Web Design geek? I guess not – I don’t yet have an iBook that I can sit in hallways with.

Musical Baton

I've been passed a musical baton by Tommy, and I've been meaning to post about music for ages, so here goes nothing.

Total volume of music files on my computer is…

14.5 Gb, if you don't include my own raw recordings (17Gb if you do).

The last CD I bought was…

“Hypertension” by Jon Gomm.

Song playing right now…

“Please” by Nine Inch Nails (good job I'm not writing this in a couple of minutes time).

Five songs I listen to a lot, or that mean a lot to me…

  1. “Disolution (The Clouds Disperse)” by Ozric Tentacles
  2. “Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry
  3. “Ramble On” by Led Zeppelin
  4. “Karmageddon” by Nick Harper
  5. “Disarm” by Smashing Pumpkins

Five people to whom I'm passing the baton…

  1. FairyJo
  2. Patrick H. Lauke
  3. Pixeldiva
  4. Meryl
  5. mogplayer

My apologies if you've already been “batoned”.

Grab Firefox Tabs for Offline Use

If you are simply looking to bookmark all the tabs you have open in Firefox, latest versions of the browser have a “Bookmark All Tabs” option in the Bookmarks menu.

Ever since reading a comment by Derek Featherstone some time ago on Roger Johansson’s blog I have been using the ScrapBook extension for Firefox for various tasks from knocking together blog posts to saving useful pages for my latest projects. I highly recommend it.

While doing a bit of research a couple of days ago, I wanted to save several tabs to ScrapBook, just like you would for bookmarking a set of tabs. I figured that ScrapBook must be able to do this… and it does. Here’s a helping hand.

Grabbing multiple URLs with ScrapBook

Since version 0.14.1 of ScrapBook (available since February 2005), you can use the “Capture Multiple URLs“ to save several pages at a time for offline use. Once you’ve got ScrapBook installed in Firefox, follow these steps:

  1. When you’ve got a load of tabs you want to save opened up, bring up ScrapBook (default keyboard shortcut is Alt+K).
  2. Find the “Tools” menu and go to “Capture Multiple URLs“.
  3. In the dialog that pops up, you can type in the URLs of pages you want to capture. Just hit the “Capture” button once you’ve typed them in.

Grabbing open tabs with ScrapBook

I don’t find this as useful as saving all open tabs to ScrapBook. In steps the handy “URL Detector”. Open up a load of tabs you want to save to ScrapBook and then try this:

  1. In the “Capture Multiple URLs“ tool, find the “URL Detector” and select “All Open Tabs in the Window”.
  2. ScrapBook will now have automatically put the URLs of your open tabs into the capture tool. You can then remove any pages you don’t actually want and select the ScrapBook folder to which you want to capture. Bear in mind that the default folder in the drop-down menu is Root – I’d find it more useful if currently highlighted folder in the ScrapBook sidebar was the default). You can also create a new folder to capture to.
  3. Hit the “Capture” button and let ScrapBook do its thing!

What else?

If you don’t save your captured pages to a specific folder and they end up in the Root folder, you can select multiple captures and move them to the folder you want from “Manage” in the “Tools” menu.

Of course, you can manage things how you like, organising resources, references, research for articles, blog posts or whatever. You can also create totally separate notes in a ScrapBook folder.

Also, for those not so familiar with ScrapBook, you can also edit your captured pages by loading up a captured page and hitting the “Edit” button that appears in the status bar. This can help you to save on the size that your ScrapBook takes up by removing any parts of pages that you don’t need. You can also highlight selections and add inline comments on pages. Bear in mind that your edits are not saved until you hit the “Save Changes” button (it looks like a disk)!

Car Park Fine Update

Those bureaucratic, money-grabbing halfwits have missed the point again and have started making excuses.

For those who haven’t read my Too Conscious of Colour? rant, I visited my home town back at the beginning of April and got lumbered with a parking ticket. Nobody likes getting fined for stuff, but this was ridiculous. Sunday evening in a car park that’s always been free in the evenings with no apparent signage to tell me otherwise. I went back the next day after being told there was a blatant sign and found a small, white sign on the corner by the car park entrance.

The council have written back to me saying that the “small sign [I] refer to is in fact 1200mm x 1200mm and 2100mm high facing the entrance road in yellow, blue and orange. It is not insignificant and is a permanent fixture.” Well, that’s nice, but I was talking about the small sign and not the 2-metre-high sign. The sign that they’re on about doesn’t even mention the evening charges, so I guess I should be let off?

*thunk* Ouch!

They also mention that the lighting in the car park meets with BSI standards, which is nice. However, you still don’t see the sign which tells you about the car park charges do you?

Anyway, I’m fed up with the bureaucracy and the excuses. Maybe it’s time to let this one go.

Update, 11.07.2005

I ended up writing back to these people and made a further complaint to the council about the guy who I was handling my complaints. I received a letter back saying that they believed the signs were visible and adequate and that I was not entitled to my money back.

However, they were in agreement that the language and tone of the correspondence I received was inappropriate and not up to standard. I got a written apology and was told that a series of professional training programs had been propsed to improve correspondence skills. Whether this training will ever happen or not, I guess I’ll never know.

New November 5th Design

My design skills have improved a lot (I think) since I designed the first incarnation of my business site over a year and a half ago – a redesign has been long-overdue. And now, it’s here!

The new site launched today. There are a few issues with it that I know about and will be addressing over the coming days, but I’m open to further criticism. =)

Brief To Do List

  • Make main navigation more obvious.
  • Get hover/focus states working on the main navigation in IE.
  • Sort out skip link focus.
  • Fix a couple of broken bits in IE/Mac.
  • Add some more interesting and supportive images.
  • Sort print style sheet.
  • Do something different with the black news links.

Now, back to some proper work. And then maybe a redesign of my blog… finally!

Free Personal/Project Management Tools

Following on from my last post on the Manage-Do Flipbook, I thought I’d also post a few links to free personal/project management tools that I use from time to time. Feel free to add to the list.

  • FreeMind – A free mind mapping application that allows you to organise things as you would in a spider diagram, only it’s a little more flexible. Requires Java. Article about FreeMind.
  • Open Workbench – An open source alternative to Microsoft Project. Requires Java.
  • OpenOffice – An open source suite of office applications. Makes a good alternative to the Microsoft Office suite.
  • EssentialPIM – Free software that you can use to keep notes and contacts as well as organising tasks.
  • Sunbird Free calendar software from the nice people who bring you Firefox.
  • ScrapBook – One of the most useful Firefox extensions around, ScrapBook allows you to accurately save Web pages to your hard drive, organise them, make notes…

Anyone use or know of any other good ones? I know about the useful online tools that 37signals provide, but have never got around to trying them out.