14 Jun 2006

quake-like console for mac os x

alcor, the man behind quicksilver has released a SIMBL plugin for terminal that allows it to emulate the quake-like console on macosx. the code is in svn and is inspired from this discussion thread here, and i've got to say that it works beautifully! check out visor's wiki page.

Visor Basic

i bound my hot key to ctrl+` (backtick) -- because i'm just used to quake key bindings :)

(via tao of mac)

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14 Jun 2006

plotkit 0.9 released

I'm pleased to announce the new release of PlotKit 0.9. This is a incremental release, but also marks the introduction of a convenience wrapper (EasyPlot) around PlotKit that allows one line graph plotting with AJAX support. Changes are as follows:

* Bug fixes with clear() on canvas renderers.
* Replacing IECanvas.htc with ExplorerCanvas.
* Added Packed (PlotKit_Packed.js) and Auto Import (PlotKit.js) wrapper versions.
* Added horizontal bar chart option.
* Added prototype.js awareness and compatibility mode to work around prototype.js problems.
* Added EasyPlot convenience wrapper.

More information from the PlotKit page and the documentation. As always, please ask questions on the PlotKit mailing list. Enjoy!

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14 Jun 2006

slow start for the favourites

as usual, many of the big name countries have played some disappointing football. last night saw brazil vs croatia and france vs switzerland. granted that both croatia and switzerland were tough defensive teams, both france and brazil failed to create any real chances.

in the france game, even with the likes of viera, henry, zidane and wiltord, they didn't manage to score at all. henry was lacking any sort of support playing as a lone striker with no wingers running at the defence to stop them.

in the brazil game, they were lucky with a 1-0 win. anyone who watched it would probably say croatia had been unlucky to come out with a draw. however, the amazing thing with brazil is that every one of their players is capable of holding the ball confidently, even if they are prone to make mistakes (yes, i'm looking at roberto carlos.) croatia stifled any sort of threat from ronaldinho by committing a quadruple marking of him as soon as he gets the ball. must be frustrating to be the top player in the world.

 Media Images 41762000 Jpg  41762624 Ron416

ronaldo hardly even moved. maybe he was jealous that ronaldinho (which means little ronaldo) was grabbing all the attention! the fact they so concentrated on ronaldihno meant that players like kaka were finding space easier, but that is all relative when a team plays 9 in defense.

then there was the england game a couple of days ago. again, not much attacking threat at all. they could blame everything and anything, but they need to sort out their delivery from midfield to the strikers.

now that nearly all the teams have played apart from the group with spain, i'd say we have a pretty clear look at where the upsets are going to be.

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13 Jun 2006

google releases google maps geocoding api

google has finally made official their geocoding api to compete with yahoo's geocoding api! that is great news, and probably answers nearly half of all the questions on the google-maps-api mailing list!

although there are still many parts of the world that you're unable to search, so you'll still have to use many cool free services out there like geonames for that.

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12 Jun 2006

australia 3 - 1 japan!

australia wins!! 3 goals in the last 8 minutes. although they were lucky to get away with a clear penalty on the other end when the score was at 1-1.

brazil v australia is going to be a great game! now i need to find out what colour australia is going to by playing in, since they have exactly the same home and away colours as brazil!

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10 Jun 2006

world cup 2006

yes, the world cup is upon us. starting from today, they'll probably be a month of entertaining soccer. i'm lucky enough to be going to germany at the end of next week to watch brazil v australia. that will be awesome and i can't wait.

honestly, that is the first football game i'm going to watch in europe, or pretty much anywhere in the world. i've made it my goal to attend at least one major sporting event while i'm here in europe. i missed out on the olympics and the euro 2004 by being in america, and of all places, who don't appreciate football (or saa-kur.)

although on the flip side of things, some english people here don't appreciate it either. it does not seem like people are as mad as they look like on tv and what the british press would have you believe.

lucky for us here, all the games will be on free-to-air tv, shared between BBC and ITV. timesonline has a schedule of the games and who will get the broadcast it. i believe ITV will take most of the games of the latest stage while BBC will take most of the games in the group stages.

if you're in a country that doesn't have the world cup on free-to-air, you will be able to see it on CCTV-1 on ppstream. basically, that is the mainland china tv channel who has the rights to the world cup. the other channel on ppstream that you can get hold of games is the guangzhou sports channel (广东体育). i talked about how to get ppstream up and running previously, but there's also a bit more information on the net.

who am i supporting?

let's get my allegiances right here. here's who i'll be supporting:

australia - do you really have to ask?
japan - ganbare-nippon!
holland - i love orange!
england - do i have a choice?
brazil - they play beautiful football
sweden - they're scandinavian!
france - well, only just. they have henry and he plays great football.

here are the teams that i won't be supporting

germany - just never liked them tactically, they play boring football
argentina - they're quite a dirty side
italy - a bunch of divers

other teams i'm feeling pretty neutral about.

my predictions

in the group stages, upset with australia going out in group f, argentina going out in group c, and czech going out of group e with on goal difference.

the last four in the finals will be holland, england, spain and brazil.

all this non-scientific and based on a narrow view of the world :)

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06 Jun 2006

imagine a world filled with these

i'm struggling for any content to blog about since my life has become mundane, monotonous and boring. i made a comment yesterday lunch time about how i'm really struggling to find things to waste my time with, which also means i'm struggling to find anything interesting to write about.

anyway, so i was going thru some old bookmarks and stumbled across my sister's blog. she doesn't update it as religiously as i do with mine, but it is an interesting read nevertheless. found this funny photo of a crashing ATM in sydney:

 Albums V246 Coldv Dsc00379S

just a small comment about this, since it is such a common sight, why doesn't microsoft allow users to customize their error screens so they don't look like such a fool? surely that picture there wouldn't really even register if it just said "out of order!" but because we see that dialog box around every day on our computer screens, we are instantly amused when someone as sophisticated as a bank would run into the same problems a regular person does at home.

what we've learnt today: if you're going to fail, don't fail like everyone else. by being different, you blend into the background.

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05 Jun 2006

prototype.js is the web developer's internet explorer

i'll let that sink in for a minute. prototype.js is probably the most popular ajax javascript library on the net in 2005-2006. it does some evil things that many people have blogged about endlessly.

the problem is that it aggressively extends the base javascript Object and the Array object adding around 10 or so functions that allow it to behave as an iterator and allow subclassing. those additions are nice to have, but it means it does not play well with any other javascript libraries unless they explicitly work within the new walls it puts up. the walls it puts up refers to the fact you cannot use associative arrays nicely like this as it will print out the extra prototype.js methods:

var anArray = {1: "a", 2: "b", 3:"c"};
for (var aKey in anArray) {
i personally prefer MochiKit's unobtrusive behaviour which makes it much better to use when you're gluing different javascript libraries together.

just like how you cannot avoid considering internet explorer when designing a web page, same goes with having to consider prototype.js when doing anything with javascript. probably the most often complained about bug with plotkit is that it does not work with prototype.js.

i've started to work around this broken behaviour by making my own wrappers around MochiKit's functional programming constructs like "map" to check for prototype.js' meddling and add an extra check to strip out all the functions it adds. it's an ugly stopgap measure, but at least it will make plotkit work with prototype.js, albeit unwillingly. it's the best compromise i can think of to keep the readability of the code. here's to hope that people will see the light and stop using prototype.js unless they want to live in their walled garden. although i doubt it will happen because so much is invested in that javascript library. really cool things like scriptaculous, lightbox and rubyonrails all depend on it, so it's not going away in the near future.

prototype.js 1.5 is rumoured to remove Array.prototype poisoning, but i suspect existing libraries will take their time migrating to this new version. hence the parallel between ie6 and ie7 with prototype.js 1.4.x and prototype 1.5 respectively. things may get fixed in the future versions, but it's still broken and too popular at the moment to ignore.

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04 Jun 2006

chinese songs on itunes music store

i just discovered a whole bunch of chinese and cantonese songs on the itunes music store, but seriously, i have no idea where these songs are from except for one of them which i can tell is 林一峰 (Chet Lam). they seem to be some sort of cantonese indie label who have some how ended being distributed in the states. some of them have pretty outrageous titles:

best of chinese pop 2005


what? best of chinese pop of 2005? hahaha .. there's only one song i recognise in there and it wasn't from 2005. the song titles aren't at all inspiring, for example, "mouse loves rice" and "song of pigs".

neo acoustic movement vol 1.

the problem with these chinese albums is that i can't figure out what the song name is because it's written in pinyin (phonetics), and it doesn't help that they don't name the artist. however, there is one song in there that i recognise the artist, otherwise, they're all unknowns to me.

wo bian kuai le liao (i become happy)


with such an inspiring title, i'm sure you'll pick it up straight away. it's a cantonese album, and i seem to remember that name from somewhere, but i don't have any of her songs, or heard of her from anywhere. so i have to assume this is some indie release. the songs aren't half bad, but just really typical hkpop.

judging from some of the other albums, i reckon it is some sort of guangzhou music label or something.

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04 Jun 2006

hay fever and what i did to distract myself

just when i got really motivated to do work over the weekend, weather turns good in cambridge and puts hay fever season in full swing for me. i've been sneezing and sniffing non-stop today, killing any opportunity to concentrate and do any meaningful work.

so i just ended up watching england thrash jamaica 6-0 in a pre-world cup friendly. its crazy but the world cup is going to start in 6 days time.

 Radio1 Jowhiley Live Lounge Nelly Furtado Gallery 1

other thing that i'm hooked on today is the nelly furtado cover of the gnarls barkley "crazy", featured on bbc radio 1 live lounge. it is a really different interpretation of the song, and i like both the original and the nelly furtado acoustic live version, but if i had to choose, i'd prefer the acoustic version.

and for aussie entertainment, rove from rove live will be filling in at merrick and rosso for next week according to what they said on their thursday podcast. can't wait to hear that. hamish from the hamish and andy show appeared on thank god you're here episode 9 which was hilarious!

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