stirman.net

stirman.net is a page I came across a couple of weeks ago thanks to
Natalie Jost, one of my regular reads, it actually is a very close demonstration of an idea I have been thinking about lately. I’ve wanted to setup a page that tells me a few items of news (from the bbc website), who has blogged recently (the feeds from my regular reads portion of my feed reader) and maybe some twitter streams of my friends (except I don’t know or have many friends, who use Twitter). I also wanted to include a Google search bar on my site, I guess it’s kind of like the personalised home pages, but with a greater focus on what it is I want, and of course, presented nicely. Now sadly I don’t think I have the know-how to set something like this up. I hope to mock it up soon though, but til then I’m considering giving this a test run to see how it works!

Beyond Safari

I was going to apologise for this post being a bit off topic, but then I decided it wasn’t! Mainly because my blog is for me and is meant to reflect me, so this post is reflecting the geeky/tech side of me, hehe! Anyway, I had a couple of friends who recently switched to OS X ask me for a few tips with Safari, so I set out to find the free answers I had discovered for myself and make note of the solutions for my friends(and anyone else who needs them). As I’m a student and funds are sparse, these solutions are free, and unlike other Safari enhancement posts, this one doesn’t cover the regular extensions like Saft, PithHelmet and SafariStand which I found to either cost me money or be very confusing! Either way I hope you find this helpful, if something isn’t clear or if you think I missed something, drop a comment.

These first two items started off with a couple of pet peeves I had about the browser. The main one was tackled with a well known plugin called Inquisitor.

My peeve was that the search box used Google.com and there was no preference to switch it to Google.co.uk. I had seen Inquisitor around while it was Shareware, but with the release of the beta version for Inquisitor 3 it was made free, of course I jumped on the bandwagon but had I realised how much I would use it the chances are I would pay for it. As well as giving me the opportunity to customise where I search, Google, Yahoo, Wikipedia, Amazon, Flickr among others, it gives me the chance to livesearch the interweb. As a result it has kind of changed the way I use the search function. I now tend to use it to launch sites I just discovered but am unsure whether they are worthy of a bookmark. It’s little counter that tells me how many times I have used that search and chosen the site, let me judge just how much I’m using it. It’s kind of like a QuickSilver or Spotlight for the web and has the eyecandy to match!

The second issue I had invovled tabs, windows and accidental apple-w’s (thats close tab/window) or apple-q’s (which quits Safari). I was forever accidently closing windows or tabs, so I hunted out a little exteniosn called ForgetMeNot which gave me the option to restore tabs and windows. It even remembers what tabs were open when I quit Safari, so long as there is no re-boot inbetween! It’s very useful and effective in what it aims to do. It adds an undo-tab function under the edit menu and an UnClose Window option under the file menu.

The third issue that I wanted to solve was the lack of an Ad-Block feature, specifically for flash/animated adverts. The first extension I tried was SafariBlock, which had a decent go at things, gradually it built up a list to block, but it was manual input and I had to right click on an advert and tell it to be blocked. The drawback was when it came to flash adverts, right clicking these only brought up the flash contextual menu, which meant I was unable to block the ad’s, so I had to seek out an alternative. This led me to SafariPlus. As an ad-blocker it is extremely effective. It blocks flash content on the site under the settings I have, which can be a drawback when it comes to watching YOUtube video’s, it also blocks moving images and freezes them, they still display, but in a combination with SafariBlock it can gradually remove adverts from websites. SafariPlus also does a lot more, but this is mainly what I use it for.

So that’s the main issues I had with Safari that developed from general browsing, and ones which I hope will be tackled in the next version of Safari, along with the option to re-arrange tabs from drag ‘n’ drop (if anyone knows of an extension for this that is effective and free, drop a comment).

These next two extensions came about through a later issue I had when wanting to syncronise my Safari bookmarks between iMac and iBook. The first one, which the second derives from, is meant to to tackle this. The first of these extensions, SafariDepot gives .Mac style syncing to Safari. You need your own piece of webspace to upload your bookmarks too, but it’s not a very big file so can easily be achieved with free hosting (like orgfree).

If you couple this with the SafariScripts enhancement, it gives you easy sync options for Safari. SafariScript adds a small AppleScript icon to the menu bar of Safari, and lets you store various scripts within it. Adding the two default scripts that come with SafariDepot means that you can easily sync the bookmarks of the browsers on laptops and work/home computers.

Note: At present, there appears to be an error with SafariDepot if your ftp username contains an @ sign. I contacted the developer for help as the small app wasn’t working for me, continually giving the same error, he responded asking if my username had an @sign. but hasn’t replied since. It’s fixed and works very well. Big thanks to the developer KarlHeinz for the quick work!

It’s fun to blog!

The last few days of blogging have been very enjoyable! Very enjoyable indeed!

I want to thank a few people for making it so fun over the last few days. It’s not just been through interaction here, although that has been a big part in why I have enjoyed it so much, but it’s also been through interacting with those same people on other peoples blogs. I want to thank Nick, Ben, Aidan, Shawn and Derek for contributing here. But I also want to thank those people for the little community of bloggers that feels like its building here and on their sites. It’s been a fun few days conversing with you all on various topics and hearing(reading) what you have to say about things.

You may have guessed that I’ve been enjoying blogging more over the last few weeks by the volume of posting thats been taking place. There are many reasons for that, the introduction of my “Blog it!” button in my bookmarks which has allowed for me to use my notes more and keep the content flowing.blogit But whilst the content has been flowing the people visiting an commenting have also contributed tot he fun. I do however, get the feeling that two are so closely linked that were I to stop posting the whole thing would collapse. I guess that means I will be posting more and more, and as I have some interesting things in the pipeline it looks like 2007 could be a fun year for blogging!

Twitterfied

Yup, I’m now on Twitter. The idea was to have my status show up in the sidebar of my blog, but I seem to be having some feed issues and it’s not displaying. I’m using Twitterrific to update my status, if you are a twitterer then please feel free to add me.

Nearly there! ›

I’m nearly at my 100th comment here on Electric Weekend. It’s taken a while but the site is really starting to get some people more involved, it’s making for a much more enjoyable blogging experience. If you visit and don’t say much, please do say hello, I always like meeting people!

EDIT: One more to go! I would’ve replied to Shawns comment but I don’t want to be the person to get the 100th comment!

Rolf Harris

The other day, Sunday I think it was, I watched “Rolf Harris: A Life Time In Painting”. I’ve always been a bit of a Rolf Harris fan, at least where his art was concerned, and it was a really interesting program to watch. I have always found his artwork really interesting and, well just downright amazing, but waht really struck me was his enthusiasm. The guy was so full of it, he loved it. You could say he actually lived, drank, ate Art. I’m not going to say much more but just leave you with some of his paintings, cos well, they do all the talking needed!

Self Portrait - Rolf HarrisSelf Portrait – Rolf Harris Hosted on Zooomr
Blue Horzons - Rolf HarrisBlue Horzons – Rolf Harris Hosted on Zooomr
Ghost City In The Gums - Rolf HarrisGhost City In The Gums – Rolf Harris Hosted on Zooomr

Graphic Inspiration: Derek Punsalan

So as I’m studying Graphic Design at University, one of the big things for me whilst surfing the web is finding sites I think are either: great design or designs I find inspiring (which I suppose covers the first one as well). I decided since I enjoy looking at these sites and find them inspiring design wise (although content wise as well sometimes) I would start to feature some of those designs here at Electric Weekend. So in my new category of Graphics, I bring you a series of posts called “Graphic Inspiration”.

So I give you the first of my “Graphic Inspiration” series, Derek Punsalan.

It’s the front page to his latest web domain and is acting as a portfolio site. I have found the designs for 5thirtyone Derek’s blog, very inspiring for a long time, so it’s no surprise that his new site is the first one I’ve posted, if not the site to inspire these series of posts.

Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

So last night I had the pleasure of playing on a Wii. Man they are so fun! And I mean REALLY fun! It successfully put something back into playing computer games that I have felt has been missing for a while now. Yep you guessed it that 3 letter word, fun.

At Uni, the guys here tend to chill out together with the PS2 and Pro Evo 6 but recently I’ve not been enjoying it so much. The fun has left the game to a certain extent, and has been replaced with competition. Now a certain amount of competition is good and healthy, but when it gets to the extent it is on Evo now, the fun just vanishes and it gets personal.

Now the Wii, was just fun. We only had 2 Wiimotes, but boy was it fun. We were boxing, playing tennis, baseball, racing cows, great fun. The girls were joining in as well, whereas normally when the console goes on they all vanish from the room by half time of the first game. This time we had Sarah playing golf, Jen boxing, and everyone laughing, just great fun. Basically these things are living up to the hype, it will depend what single player usage you can get out of it, but the Wii is gonna be huge. Whats worse is I now have two things I’m saving up for, a Wii and an iPhone!

Tweaking, turning into a Re-design?

I know, I said it wouldn’t be but it seems to have turned into one. I spent a bit of time having a break from uni work mocking up the homepage and I’m really happy with it. I won’t show you what it will look like, but I have a feeling I may have finally settled on a piece of design for my blog that I like and can code myself. It will be based on K2 and will be a little more sympathetic compared to the current tweaks I made to K2, so keep your eyes out, it will be small changes as I don’t have a lot of time at the moment, but it will happen.