Posted by sh1mmer on Jan 31, 2007 in General
So here is a sneak peak at a concept I’ve been working on for a new site. It’s still a work in progress but it’s going to be very cool when it’s finished. “Tube Guru” is my code name.
The idea for this project is that when you use the tube a lot you start to learn little tricks that make your journey faster from A to B. The right place on the platform to stand to get off at the best exit and the station you are going to. The places most likely you are going to get a seat. All this stuff is local knowledge.
The idea of Tube Guru is to share this knowledge. For the stations I have used to commute between, I know a number of shortcuts which made my journey a bit quicker, for every other station it’s my best guess. Tube guru would give me access to the knowledge of people who do commute those stations.
The mock-up diagram above shows two stations each of which has a picture of a tube train in it. Station landmarks to help the traveller navigate are shown. Things such as stairwells, signs and other things which can be used to indicate where to stand to be right in front of the doors of the train.
It also shows where the best places to board are to exit faster at the station the traveller is going to. This allows the traveller to get board the train at a place which will make it more convenient when they exit. Furthermore, it also shows the best places to get a seat.
While I’m getting stuff mocked-up I would welcome thoughts, ideas, and stuff people might want from such a site.
Web Development, tube, london, tfl
Posted by sh1mmer on Jan 30, 2007 in General
I don’t think I’ve posted about a show before. However, The Wire produced by HBO is one of the most compelling bits of TV I’ve watched in ages. Although it’s set in the projects of Baltimore it’s not the average cops and robbers show. Gritty, with great acting it’s well worth a look. Do be warned though, HBO shows are restricted, so some of this stuff isn’t for the faint of heart.
tv, hbo, the wire
Posted by sh1mmer on Jan 30, 2007 in Accessibility
I’m writing some accessibility training for us to use at Yahoo!, and I’m wondering if people have had some great training in they would like to share ideas about. What kinds of things made training really work for you? Is there any material that I should look at if I am writing training?
Company permitting I would also like to make some of our training material pubic. So, what things do you think are missing from the ranks of accessibility training? What would you like to see that we might be able to rustle up for you?
Please let me know and I’ll do my best to work in suggestions and create things to fit your needs.
Web Development, Accessibility, training
Posted by sh1mmer on Jan 30, 2007 in Personal
Recently I’ve had cause to be upset with a company that I get a service from. I’m not going to name names, but I am wondering what stance I should take. This company has managed to loose or not act on 4 letters. When they finally did process my request they managed to not only fail to use my new address but change it to a completely different and wrong address that I’ve never had or used. They did that 4 times too.
I have asked to make a complaint before, but was told the customer services line was busy, someone would call me back. Obviously they didn’t. It’s not that anyone has ever been anything but pleasant and helpful (sounding anyway) to me on the phone, it’s more that this has been going on for months.
I really wonder what I have to do to get myself heard. How and what must I do to finally get acceptable service?
Posted by sh1mmer on Jan 30, 2007 in General
So I’m browsing Amazon, and there is a link in the computer books section referring to “hardcore web developers”.
I would like to imagine I am “hardcore web developer” so I click the link to
People wonder why web developers aren’t all that when this is the top books for the field on Amazon. I feel dirty.
Web Development, books
Posted by sh1mmer on Jan 29, 2007 in General
For a while one of my big bug bears has been that Apple’s Bluetooth file exchange app doesn’t support Applescript. I’ve been meaning to do something about it since there is some pretty decent documentation for the Bluetooth parts of Cocoa.
I’ve been looking at the documentation for the OBEXFileTransferServices class. It looks pretty straight forward to my programmer brain. It provides simple FTP style services serialised over the bluetooth connection. This isn’t rocket science.
However, trying to dip into Cocoa reminds me why I like languages like python so damn much. It’s not that I don’t understand the concepts, I have a 1st class Computer Science degrees for christsakes, it’s more that I have no patience to faff around with the machinery of the language. It seems like XCode is yet another IDE which requires coaxing into getting the environment perfect for compiling.
So, right now I’m tired and I sound like a whiney old mare, but help me out. Someone point me at some resources or books which will get me into Cocoa development fast.
Mac, cocoa, bluetooth
Posted by sh1mmer on Jan 28, 2007 in Personal
Went to the Tate Modern today with the Mrs. We mostly wanted to experience Carston Höller’s slides. We also bumped into Matt and his friend Mel, and later Jimmy. The vote was still unanimous, the slides are hella arty fun.
There may be some photos on Flickr later, and possibly I video.
If you are in London, you really should go visit this free exhibit before it finishes mid-April.
Posted by sh1mmer on Jan 27, 2007 in General
I feel like I’m on crack. I noticed this evening I’ve been checking my feed reader more often than it refreshes. It does that every 30 minutes. Since I got rid of Boing Boing, Digg and /. from my blogroll and built it back up from the ground I feel like the information is more relevant to me. However, I’m now in a position when I wish that more stuff would come through more often so that I can continue to consume.
It’s pretty obvious I need to find a nice way to separate my consumer and producer hats. I think I might limit my RSS usage to 3 times a day.
blogroll, feeds, rss
AJAX and AHAH are two of the corner stones of the technology for “Web 2.0″. While most implementations of AHAH are done using AJAX to make them more robust I see them as two differing models. In essence AHAH requires the minimum of client side processing whereas AJAX uses the client for processing as well as rendering.
The reason I find this interesting is because of a conversation we had a my work about how to optimise some AJAX by using either an XML data source or a JSON one. The discussion about the best way to deal with parse trees in the browser made me wonder if most of the “Web 2.0″ site really need it at all.
The implementation of AHAH I like is one which wraps some HTML in a JSON object along with a status code. The application then requests data to render, using the status code to define how it renders it, either as a valid return or as an error. This minimal logic approach avoids the parsing and speed issues on the client, and instead makes the optimisation barrier the HTTP request and the server response time.
I would say that in all but the most hyper-functional of applications the amount of interaction a user does, with the amount of data the server can return in a given request means that this option is most preferable. Really only the spreadsheet, datagrid, etc type application can anticipate the data the user will need next and in volumes to justify using AJAX in it’s purest form.
Posted by sh1mmer on Jan 25, 2007 in Personal
I was chatting with Steve today about the moments in our lives when we have really distinguished ourselves. The moments when we got breaks, you could say. Steve said “when he got lucky” until we looked a bit closer.
The thing that occurred to me, was that when we both talked about something great that had happened to us, it was mostly as a result of our own hard work. Steve has written 8 books, and is writing number 9. He said he got asked he first got asked to write a couple of chapters for a book because he was answering user questions on a Flash forum. His own efforts enamoured him to his publisher.
Myself, I was looking back at when I worked on Plone. Plone is a free open source content management system. By giving up my time to work on open source software, I ended up doing a web site for NASA as well as becoming an invited expert to the W3C.
More than just our own hard work, what I also see commonly in both Steve and my turning points was our desire to do something for others. Steve was helping other people with their problems, and I was providing services to the community, and improving the lives of people with disabilities on the web.
I really honestly genuinely believe the altruism was a key part of our success. In working for others we did more than we would do for ourselves. We shone brighter than we felt we could shine brighter because we had the need.
So my challenge to you, dear reader, find something that you can do. Find something that will take your heart and soul and let you shine for others, but therein also for yourself.
Productivity, selfimprovement, succeeding