You know use your computer too much but now you can track exactly how much, and get statistics, with the mouse odometer. See how far you've moved your mouse, count the mouse clicks and key presses cumulatively by application, or in total.

Entry 688, Saturday, January 24th 2004, Filed In Stuff

A lot of interesting reading to do within the questions and answers of the Japan SAQ (SAQ = Seldom Asked Questions).

Entry 687, Saturday, January 24th 2004, Filed In Stuff
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Presenting website content with stylesheet positioning rather than using a million TABLE, TR and TD tags (not to mention the infamous 1 by 1 transparent 'spacer' gif) is now fashionable, but it's not just a trend, it's actually a more efficient way of doing things. Load times for pages improve, and updating a site's look and feel becomes a much easier task. Whatever, there's a strong likelihood that this is nothing you don't know already.

One of the things I do still use tables for is positioning content in the dead centre of the screen. Getting styles to position horizontally is easy, but I've never really got a handle on how to do the same vertically. So I was pleased to find a simple method of 'dead centre' postioning with styles; use your browser's view source option to see the styles, they're all embeded. I might take a look at retrospectively fitting this into the places where I've used tables before, but I'll certainly give it a go next time the requirement comes up. Hence the bookmark here - so I can find it!

BTW - for what's it's worth here's how to centrally postion text with tables. It's easy, but not fashionable!

  <table width="100%" height="100%" border=0>
      <td align="center" valign="middle">
        I'm in the Middle!
Use at your own risk, you might find the fashion police on your case. I'll say this for it though - it does work, including with older browsers where you'll find the styles don't.

Entry 686, Saturday, January 24th 2004, Filed In Stuff

Hey Ya, Charlie Brown
Go Peanuts for Outkast [at venisproductions].

Entry 685, Saturday, January 24th 2004, Filed In Stuff

This weekend the UK is bracing itself for a cold snap over the coming week. I don't mind too much, and I'd be really quite excited if I was going to be at home, but I'm meant to be at work and it almost certainly means I'll be facing yet more rail chaos as the trains struggle to get in to London. Ho hum.

So, a warning in advance - this could be a very lite week for blogging if I'm stuck on trains, waiting for trains, and freezing on the streets for much of the time. Alteratively if all the trains get cancelled it could be a very heavy blogging week (I'm crossing my fingers).

Anyway while checking the weather I was reminded of something I've been meaning to mention for a while. How fugly is the redesign of the BBC's weather pages? Generally the BBC's superb content is presented very well, especially for informative sections like the news. It's not the most ground breaking design, but it doesn't distract from the information, which is after all why you are there, and if anything helps you to navigate and understand the context of what you can see on the screen.

Up until recently this went for the weather too, but something seems to have now gone tragically wrong. The new icons are nice. The old ones weren't necessarily bad, but I definately prefer the new ones. More friendly somehow.

What I really object to are the colours. When the page loads you're forced to blink, double take, and ponder is this really what I want to see? When you should really be thinking "it looks like it's going to be cold this week". It's so distracting. Huge stripes (!) of orange, off-blue, pale-blue, murky-gold and brown. All with some kind of khaki-brown background.

It reminds me of the bizarre jumpers my mother always seemed to dress me in when I was a little kid in the 70's. For reasons I can't fathom they were always (and I mean ALWAYS - there must have been a law or something) striped and were always in tragic colour combinations.

The really odd thing is that the design doesn't fit in with anything else on the BBC site - thank god it's not a common stylesheet - I'm not sure why the weather has had such 'special' treatment. The only excuse I could think of was that all the different sections of the BBC site were going for their own branding with different colours, and there being so many sections, it meant that someone ended up getting the short straw with all the 'left-over' colours that no one else wanted. I've actually worked on a site that did this and was distressed to find myself working on the orange and purple sections.

But this is something else. It's so completely out of sync with the rest of the BBC site. I'm hoping it's some kind of experiment that will shortly be abandoned. At the moment despite the fact I like their weather service I'm actually considering looking elsewhere for on-line weather information as this really is so bad to look at. Please take note BBC. Please.

Entry 684, Saturday, January 24th 2004, Filed In Diary

Penguin Vrs Yeti
Judging by the number of dead sites I've encountered that did host this game, and the number of names it's already acquired (penguin &amp yeti, smack the pingu, and pingvin, amongst others) this is one popular piece of flash fun, but it is well worth trying to track down. Who knew trying to bash a penguin with a baseball bat would be sooo much fun :o) Anyway try this link, or this one which were working at the time of posting to play on-line, or I have a downloaded copy I could mail you if you have no luck (my mail address is at the bottom of page) [originally via hazel].

PS. My high score is 588.8, and Hazel's is a record 593.5. Is your's any better, and if so, what's your secret?

Update: Only 2 days later and the two original links I had for this game have already disappeared. I've updated them with 2 links that are working today (24/01/04) but obviously they may in turn disappear pretty soon. Good luck finding a copy of this game, and if don't have any luck I still have a downloaded version if you'd like me to mail it to you.

Update Again: I've re-updated the links as this games move around the web once more (26/01/04).

Official Update: Play the official version on-line. Thanks to genius Chris for the link - we're not worthy!

Entry 683, Thursday, January 22nd 2004, Filed In Games

I enjoyed mucking around with some different CSS and JavaScript for my 56K modem emulator a while back, but the most eye-opening thing about the whole experience has been the hits it's received. Quite a heads-up on how word spreads around the internet - the kind of thing you think think you understand until you see it in action.

As a born and bred Englishman and thinking the internet is predominantly English speaking (I think this is correct?) I always thought of internet distribution in those terms. But the emulator first made it big in Japan, so much so it almost broke my bandwidth limits, and it found some popularity in Holland and Germany too. Things had gone quiet recently but now it seems to have been picked up again in Denmark and Eastern Europe (Hungary, and the ex Czech republic mainly). Curiously, other than a few quite minor sites (in terms of hits to lazylaces anyway), and with the exception of a few Broadband specific bulletin boards, the English speaking community doesn't seem to have latched on to it. Odd. I would have never have seen it panning out like that.

Anyway as a result of tracking the stats I've seen some quite interesting referring sites, most of which I haven't understood even with the help of my trusty babelfish, but two have really stood out and joined my list of 'frequent destinations'.

Hanazuc's 'not wild style' is in Japanese (I think) and has a similar (once again I think) linklog style to lazylaces, with useful picture links for every post for plebs like me who don't understand the language. It would be awsome to understand some Japanese. I've already stolen a few links from this site, which I really should have credited, and I highly recommend a visit. Quite a nice design too.

Second up is which has a far more minimalist, almost retro, style, but has top quality, and very up to date content (try refreshing, it changes almost every couple of minutes). Also it wins my all time favourite domain name award. The site is collaborative and the content can cover almost anything, although techie links seemed to predominate whenever I browsed by. I haven't explicitly linked any of their content as yet, but here are a few interesting things I found:

The 2003 web design fashion trends in review. Some very interesting points here that you will have seen around. BIG background images and restrained colour schemes rang a lot of bells for me. Most interesting though was one of the things to watch for this year - using CSS for more than just recreating tabular layouts - something we're all (including, very much so, myself) guilty of. This really kicked me off on thinking of some redesigns for this site - TOTALLY forgetting tables, and the table-esque, opens up some interesting design possibilities.

The iCapture tool lets all us PC users see how all the Mac Safari users see our websites. The most eye opening thing for me was how much better my site font (Trebuchet MS by preference) looks on the Mac. I hope to become a dual Mac/PC household this year so I can enjoy this kind of effect, as my Mum & Dad are ditching their 15" iMac in favour of a self built PC. It suits their software needs and it more than suits my desire to have a varied web test/development bed at home.

Finally hiveware provides a very nice way of obscuring e-mail addresses on web pages. I have my own little script for doing this but it involves too much by-hand configuration so I don't always bother. Unfortunately that means when I'm in a rush I just post my addresses in clear test and I now have a whole heap of spam (in Russsian of all things) to testify what a bad idea that is. This is a very efficient obsucuring method and only takes a little typing to configure for any link with it's nice interface.

I'll post more on interesting referrers and their content as and when they arise.

Entry 682, Thursday, January 22nd 2004, Filed In Stuff

Apologies if you've experienced any problems accessing the site during the last couple of days my web host has been transferring servers, including an upgrade to Win2003. Behold the wonders of IIS 6.0. It all seems to be sorted on the web side now, but the e-mail still seems to be in a transition stage - so if you're expecting a reply from me from an address, sorry, I love you really, I'm just not getting your messages at the moment.

Entry 681, Thursday, January 22nd 2004, Filed In Diary
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Applaud even your smallest achievements and get a laugh at your weakest of jokes with the instant audience soundboard.

Entry 680, Thursday, January 22nd 2004, Filed In Stuff
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David Brent brought in to train Micro$oft staff? Be prepared for some serious dance moves from your local Micro$oft consultant. I can't wait to see Windows XP Brent Edition (Win XPBE) [via barnski].

Entry 679, Wednesday, January 21st 2004, Filed In Stuff

Do you fit the Mini Driver profile? That's Mini, not Minnie, Driver. Apparently I seek out winding hilly roads in my Mini, which would be true if I didn't have to go to work everyday which mainly involves taking the train with a very short, straight & flat drive to the station. Oh to be on a winding road, up a hill, in my Mini with Minnie in the passenger seat. Well I can dream anyway... [presented by op-pop].

Entry 678, Tuesday, January 20th 2004, Filed In Stuff
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Beautiful, original, but not for those prone to motion sickness, site navigation at sofake.

Entry 677, Tuesday, January 20th 2004, Filed In Stuff
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