Computing

Testing Newsflash

2007-08-23: site updated to Newsflash 0.12 : the Helvetica selector is gone, which means some of the content of this post no longer applies.

newsflash screendump in Opera, Firefox and MSIEI've just given this blog a facelist using the Roople NewsFlash theme, and I'm somehow dubitative about it:

  • on the plus side
    • the 3 "user" blocks above content and the 3 other ones below content are a neat feature
    • the color balance feels good to me, in either of the 3 predefined colors
    • overall, it works way better than my "nested" theme a few months ago
  • on the minus side
    • although I tried various content layouts using the 3 user blocks, I couldn't get anything fit properly in them: it seems these will be specifically useful when a site has snippets of equivalent size to fill in them. This could probably be news (the theme isn't called Newsflash for nothing) or ads
    • on my screen at least, the text appears blurry, especially in Firefox
    • generally speaking, it seems bold font is used too much, with essentially the same character sizes for title, tags, and various links. I think some more gradation in font effects would be welcome
    • the site slogan is incorrectly positioned in MSIE
    • in Opera and Firefox, the site slogan ascenders collides with the site name descenders
    • the logo display code is wrong (relative URLs); I had to tweak it in page.tpl.php to accomodate the site folder structure
    • the logo setting doesn't apply properly

Floating menu in Mediawiki 1.7

Just a quick note about Mediawiki today, because I noticed I hadn't been writing about software for quite some time. I just installed Mediawiki 1.7 on a server, and was annoyed by its table of contents (TOC) being in the normal HTML flow under the default "Monobook" skin, unlike Dokuwiki, for which the default skin neatly places the TOC on the top right of the main area. Of course, you can always use per-page directives to define this, like {{TOCright}}, but this is tedious to do on every page. After considering alternative skins, I figured it might not be that much to tweak, and indeed it is quite simple once you know where rules are located. so here we go:

Customizing the Internet Keyboard 350 multimedia player key

After drowning my faithful old keyboard with my morning coffee, I had to replace it and, after taking some time to find a corded keyboard without a zillion useless keys, without shiny platic, with cursor keys in their standard location, and a reasonable touch feeling, I bought an OEM version of the Logitech Internet Keyboard 350 USB and am indeed quite satisfied with the keyboard look and touch.

No driver

Now, minimal though that keyboard is, it still has these small multimedia keys on top, and under XP they're handled by default. Most choices were just fine, but the media player defaulting to RealPlayer didn't fit my wishes: I'd rather run VLC in these cases to show FreeTV. But the keyboard isn't supplied with a driver, and installing Logitech's setpoint™ actually removes functionality to these keys when compared with the XP default driver. So exit SetPoint and back to the default driver.

Lookup foreign keys in Interbase/Firebird

The Paradox form system has an interesting peculiarity: any field which happens to be constrained by a foreign key within a native .DB Paradox data model automatically gets lookup values available for the user, but this is not available other database formats, whether they be natively supported within the BDE, or accessed using ODBC, so lookups have to be added in code.

Browser market shares, revisited

A few days ago, the designer working on our sites asked me stats about the browsers visiting the sites. She already had the general data available, but this time what she wanted was the info about the "other" browsers.

Which is quite true: once a site has been designed to standards and the quirks of the two or three major choices, work has to be spent on the non-standard non-mainstream ones. But to what extent ? Here are the data.

Getting up to speed with Drupal

As I've been working with Drupal since last august, a recent discussion with the designer for our new sites made me wonder how the cost of time was distributed during a project like this one. What portion of the time has been spent getting up to speed on Drupal itself, on developing/maintaining Open Source modules, on creating the value-added private code, on miscellaneous tools and integration tasks, and eventually on the content itself. Here are the results: