I've updated our forum to the latest gallery version. This should fix a few niggly bugs that you might have seen.
I've also rebuilt the search indexes at the same time. Please report any issues on the usual areas of the forum.
Some of our members were not getting forum digest emails. This has now been fixed by Invision. Sadly it was a bug that was discovered by us and then reported to Invision that turned out to be an issue that affected all deployments of the new software. Our board have now been fixed with a patch, this will have resulted in quite a few emails going out as the backlog of digests went out.
As of now all forum digests should be going out on time and as expected. The patch has been rolled out to the next version of the forum software and this should mean that the issue no long affects anyone again.
Firstly I'm going to try to document forum updates and other work completed to the site here in my forum blog. This will keep all the forum related updates in one place.
I've completed several updates to the forums today. We're now running the latest IPS versions for Gallery and Blog. There should be several bug fixes and feature adjustments with these new versions; I don't get a list I'm afraid or I'd publish it.
I've also taken comments on the trading system on board and we now have a feedback system installed for people to rate traders. I'm also inviting comment on whether we should update the sales system entirely or stick with topic based trading.
If there are bugs, problems or you just have an idea or input you'd like to see considered please do use the suggestion area to tell us!
You can find a topic covering these updates here.
I keep mentioning that I'm busy, but thankfully I do get a fair amount of time to myself between shifts, so I can pop on here to post. I remembered that I've not updated my own blog for a bit, so here I am.
In some news of interst to me, Futurama is back (I spotted the link over at Epicycle.org.uk) : http://www.nypost.com/entertainment/back_t..._don_kaplan.htm
Anyway, back to updating my iPod content for the car before I head out.
Well Doom the movie is out ( http://imdb.com/title/tt0419706/ ), and I've had a chance to watch it. The film instantly came across as one that was set out in a very similar way to the first Resident Evil film.
The film stars "The Rock" as a rather dull muscle bound character with a gun and a short haircut, sadly not a patch on the performances he can give when given the hance (those in Scorpion King or Walking Tall were pretty decent). The rest of the actors were pretty much unknown to me, save Dexter Fletcher who made an unusual appearance.
I won't spoil it for anyone (although to be fair I don't know what I could give away), but sadly a lot of the plots that could have been used aren't there, and essentially it boils down to the standard, guns/zombies/guns/hero/heroine film. There's no great motivation for much that's going on, even to the point where it'd make more sense to hear the creatures calling out "brrrraaaaiiinsss..." as they appeared. To compound matters if you're not watching closely the details of who is where, what the "Ark" is and where various people physically are and on what planet can get a bit difficult to follow. Given that I'd normally class his film as a 3 or 4 pinter suitable for running at around 2AM when it appears on DVD it may make the first 30 minutes of the film a little beyond the average watcher.
I wouldn't go so far as to say I dislike the film, nor is it the worst thing I've ever seen, but it does deserve a place on my shelf somewhere in the area of the Aliens and Resident Evil shelf. I'd buy it when it's out on disc, but given that I'll do anything to avoid watching Lost on TV that's not saying much.
Resident Evil had a better plot and at least a set of sequels I found interesting and actors playing characters you actually might have cared slightly about. To me Doom was a large waste of a potential goldmine in film revenue, it's what Aliens Vs Predator was instead of what Aliens is. It wasn't at all scary, didn't have a single scene in it that made you jump and various scenes must have been filmed by the drunk guy with a fisheye handicam that was fired off the set of NYPD Blue for moving the camera too much. If you suffer from motion sickness, strap yourself down for this one.
I thought we might have had some redeeming action scenes when they went off to go and get some toys from the new armoury, instead we get a few shots of the newly created BFG and a few shots of a gun rack sporting firearms with bits of plastic stuck to them.
The cover for the film shows off a P90 lookalike which had absolutely nothing to do with the film, and a lot of the gear in the film was pretty standard prop kit bashes (checkout the still shots attached). Again given the amount of material that was available to base the film from the props lacked creativity, although to be fair the prop master and concept artist look to be rather new to the scene. I'm guessing that the prop budget wasn't huge and thus left in the hands of new and as yet undeveloped talent. Whatever the explanation a lot of the stuff looked like it was the result of a BluePeter project with guns, black spray paint, loo rolls and sticky back plastic.
The creatures were pretty dull, and the CGI ruined some of the scenes that would have been better left to real life prosthetics.
In short, it's pretty average bit a good distraction for an hour or so. I was doing some work at the same time as I watched the film, so I can't say that the time was wasted really
I'd give it a 4/10 on the watchability scale, and a pint rating of 4 with an o-dark-thirty recommended viewing time.
They should have slapped an 18 rating on this one and worked it into a decent hell based thriller. If they'd taken inspiration from the pages of the Hellraiser series, the action scenes and effects from Aliens, and then incorporated a plot that had some bearing on something... (preferably with a view to 2-3 sequels) they'd have got somewhere with this one.
Well I spent a good it of time last night coding the output code to produce files in the right format for TomTom navigator.
Not that it has got anything to do with with the fact that I finished wiring in my GPS unit into my bike.
Anyway, I added the news to the front page but still have a bit more work to do. Apparently TomTom throws a wobbly if you have more than 100 points in one file, so requires you to encode thigns in an optimised b-tree. That's great, but the SDK from TomTom themselves lacks any description as to how they do this.
Nothing like working from scratch to stretch the brain...
The next episode of SouthPark aired yesterday and if you weren't able to see it you can find details of the episode up over at MrTwig (here: http://mrtwig.net/ep/909.html ).
Oh here's some random links to keep folks entertained:
- If Fox news were around since the year dot: http://mysite.verizon.net/vze1ldyn/id2.html
- The Onion randomness http://www.theonion.com/content/node/41676
- Scary shouty insane woman http://www.killsometime.com/Video/video.asp?ID=346
- another KST vid, but darn funny http://www.killsometime.com/video/video.asp?ID=349
Well after much messing around (I hate code upgrades) the Review Database site code has been updated. It now shows a calendar on the RHS so you can see reviews/products posted on any particular day.
It was a bit of an *albartroth* to get it all working, but it's now done.. I can go grab a coffee now.
Someone reported that the review stats weren't correct and were infact showing more reviews that were present for some products, thus incorrect product stats/ratings. I've corrected the problem, but am still investigating how it happened. I think it was down to more than one admin/mod authorising the same review when it was submitted, but that's just my best guess. I'll fix it when I spot the error
I tend to use Dreamweaver 7.01 (MX, 2000 something-or-other.. they keep changing the version numbers and product name) various online projects around the 'net. It uses a handy interface that makes handling lots of files much easier. It makes life easy for me to search through multiple files at once, and to do global updates on a series of files if one image or page is moved.
Of late Macromedia chose to update their product to version 8. Now I was waiting for this release myself as there's several bugs that bugged me (sorry bad pun), and as Macromedia have a nasty habit of releasing new versions rather than updating their software set with fixes I was left to wait for the new version to see if things were fixed.
Well version 8 was launched just before I went on me hols and I took a moment to give it a whirl (you can grab demo's off them for free).
The things that bothered me in version 7.01 were:
when uploading a file the entire system locks up and you can't do anything else in DW until it's finished sending that file online.
if you selected some text and then went to make a link, keyboard cursor movement sortcuts (like CRTL+left) moved the cursor in the design window, rather than the cursor in the URL box you were editing (that really annoys me).
if the page is stretched by inserting a large image and that image is removed the page still stay the size it was stretched to and refuses to shrink. You have to toggle a refresh or hit F4 twice to get around this. (& still not fixed in 8)
inserting and removing images in table layout annoyingly results in the view window jumping to the bottom of the table for some operations (particuarly if the table has been forced to resize). (& still not fixed in 8)
Other than some annoying rendering issues (it's not great with some PHP pages and hard CSS) it was something I could live with.
Now comes version 8, with a new and improved upload feature and numberous fixes (note most of them were bug fixes.. not feature enhancements).
All goes well until I drag and drop a set of images from Windows Explorer onto a page I'm designing. I do this a million times in 7, you create an image, or find the one you need then drop it in the window.
If you drag a single image onto the window with 8 it seems to drop it into the HTML code somewhere it feels like (normally at the top). Okay so you think.. I can live with that. Then I noticed what happens if you drop a number of files in at once (again this always used to work). What happens is that the first image is dumped in randomly, then the next image of the collection is rendered over the top, replacing it, and so on and so forth until you have the last image inset. You are then left with the last image of the selection dropped in shown, and all the rest overwritten. If you do a CTRL-Z to undo things you can even step backwards through the history to see how the god-awful program code has done things. You might think that dragging multiple images from DW's own file explorer onto a design page would work, but no - you can only rag one file at a time.
When the bug was put on the DW support lists, the suggestion was simply "not to do it". Great.
Overall DW 8 performs more like DW7.2 beta. There's new features sure, but they are not in my opinion worty of a new version number. Lots of the features are just fixes that many of us have been waiting for for the past year, and the now broken image inset method renders it pretty useless for me to do design work in.
I do like Dreamweaver, but that's a bit like me saying I'd prefer to be shot in the leg than stabbed in the chest. I don't get on with Microsoft's Frontpage, and the offering from Adobe has yet to make the grade in my books. As for th rest of the world there's not much else out there at the moment that I've seen that really comes close to what I need/like. I'm not upgrading yet, as there's no sign from Macromedia that they plan on competantly fixing the reported issues in the new version (more than just the bug I found), so why purchase a half-bodged version?
This is really getting on my nerves at the moment (I'll leave names out so that I don't offend anyone). In my efforts to get the weblinks section up to date I keep coming across Airsoft retail outlets who have a website, and believe it or not they don't have primary contact details on their site anywhere where they are easy to find. In a lot of cases they don't even bother adding a link to Mapquest or Multimap. Sure a map link isn't needed but it takes 30 seconds to sort and add a link to your own webpage and can make the world of difference to a potential punter.
If you run a business and run a companion website, why would you not go out of your way to show people where you are? Say I search for a store local to me and find your website address and decide I'd like to visit. If I can't find your something like a contact telephone number, email address, store address, or a map of some sort I'm going to loose interest pretty quick.
If I was a potential buyer I'd loose interest pretty quick if I couldn't find an easy to read "About Us" or "Contact Us" page with some valid contact/location details on it.
My apologies for the brief rant, but I'm still dumbfounded by the number of retail businesses that hide themselves from their walk-in customers.
The chaps at 858Airsoft have posted a review of the Marushin M500 8mm Shotgun. I'll leave you to read the review, but my reason for posting it here is that they've highlighted the issue that I also came across with one of the pivot points breaking after only light use.
This happened to me on two of my own 8mm M500s, and on a further two that I know of myself. Sadly it looks to be a manufacturing flaw and affects pretty much every 8mm M500 at some stage in their lives. Initially I thought it might have been down to overstress from excessive pumping, or use of propane gas, but it doesn't look that way.
I chatted to the guys at RedWolf about the issue a while back, and they find it impossible to get spares for any Marushin gear.
Well I had a chance to get some light reading done while I was on holiday and thought that a few of the highlights were worth a mention. Stephen Ambrose's books are a darn good read. Everyone's heard of Band of Brothers, so I'll skip that one (it's the book that the series came from).
Wild Blue is a book that follows the life of 741 Squadron during WW2. It's well documented and referenced. Like BoB it mainly follows the story of a singular crew as they get to grips with the war, the B24s and the astonishing casualty rate.
Ambrose quotes several other authors' works and material including such gems as:
(ref: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/019...4334764-2427004 )
<a href="http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1840189746" target="_blank" hspace="4"><img src="http://images-eu.amazon.com/images/P/1840189746.02._PE20_SCMZZZZZZZ_.jpg" align="right" border="0"></a>The book that takes the biscuit though is Weekend Warrior: A Territorial Soldier's War in Iraq . I can't recommend this book highly enough. It was written after Op Telic and recounts the author's adventures in Iraq. As a member of the Territorial Army Kevin is somewhat surprised to be called upon to go to war...
<blockquote><i>Kevin J. Mervin was one of 2,351 British Territorial Army soldiers called up for Operation Telic in February 2003 to fight Saddam Hussein's regime alongside the British regulars and US troops. Like the other TA soldiers, this was the first time Mervin was to experience real fighting rather than the weekend training he would normally undertake. During his time in Iraq, Mervin kept a day-to-day diary of his movements and noted the daily events taking place elsewhere in the war, and this diary forms the backbone of his dramatic account. Weekend Warrior reflects the traumas, trials and tribulations that Mervin and colleagues endured while carrying out their work, including situations in which they literally had to fight for their lives. It is a personal story of the conflict in Iraq from a 'part-time' soldier's point of view. Mervin reveals how he and his companions dealt with the horrific sights, sounds and realities of war. Thrust unexpectedly into the middle of a dangerous conflict, his memoirs emphasise that the war was not the pushover many journalists portrayed it to be. As the battle continued, all Mervin wanted was his life back, including the opportunity to return to his civilian job. Unfortunately, both were to prove out of the question: his outlook on life in general was immensely affected by his experiences, while his manager sacked him for being absent due to his call out. Weekend Warrior paints a startlingly vivid picture of fear and confusion on the front line and the long-term mental scars inflicted upon the author as a result.</i></blockquote>
If you've got a few quid to spare grab this book now! I won't spoil the tales, but the recollection of the handgrenades, the "armoured" Land Rover escort, and their accidental invasion across the border (GPS was working, but the radio was dead) is priceless. The chap lost his job after he returned from the war so I truly hope the guy makes a mint from the sales of this book.
I don't know how many people use Winamp, but if you use the latest version to listen to online music while you work as I do, the continual "browser" popup every time you change stations can be really annoying. I did a bit of hunting and found this natty little addon:
Does what it says on the tin "Kills all known Winamp popups.. dead". Just installed and I'm now free, freeee from those 'orrible popups.
I've also recently launched the new mapping system ( http://arniesairsoft.co.uk/?filnavn=/links...soft_cached.php ). I've been meaning to do something like this for ages and wrote a few tests ages before Google Map appeared, but I always stumbled at the point of finding decent maps to plot the data on, and finding a system that was flexible and easy to expand (correlating lat/longitude to a printed map isn't easy at the outset). Google's new mapping system and 'Earth' is just amazing. You give it a file of XML data, or co-ords and it just does the rest. Gradually information is getting gathered, although there's a few snags:
- Google doesn't have a map for HK and a lot of the EU yet!!?
- Multimap.com's attempt at plotting US addresses is amazingly bad (stick in an address in Multimap, then compare the output to Mapquest). One address I looked up on Multimap was a clear 25miles away from Mapquest's correct output.
- Mapquest.com really rocks in producing accurate data for the USA, it plots things dead on. Sadly though it won't output a lat/longitude for you.
- I've yet to find any resource on the planet that allows me to look up a Japanese address. This is most likely down to the fact that I'm not Japanese and all the resources are in Japanese and therefore well out of my reach.
- Do you know how many people run real companies (sites and retail shops) around the world, but completely fail to put a valid address, contact details or even a map/directions to them on their website? It's unreal the number of people that either hide this information somewhere where it can't be readily found or just don't supply it.
A big thanks go to those that have helped send me valid data so far. It's very much appreciated.
I've to update the Google Earth listings to use different icons for each placemark point group (one for sites and one for players etc). Depending on how big the data file gets I might split it down so that you can display one continent or area at a time. Oh then there's the facility to provide a singular link that will display the map, and then zoom in to the chosen shop/store/point and pop their bubble up. As ever more to do, but I'm not in a coding mood at the moment.
If anyone in Japan or HK has a GPS device (well anywhere really), please do take it when you next visit your local store or playing field!
Well after spending hours working on various web projects site updates and email replies I still don't feel like I've got anywhere, and it still feels like I've got mountains to get through. Ah well, there's always tomorrow.
The new mapping system is live, it's all driven off GoogleMaps which is a pretty nifty API to get used to. There's loads more I could do with it.. but lets face it, it doesn't have to do everything.
...right I wonder if I should get some sleep?
Southpark series 9 is back, with <a href="http://mrtwig.net/ep.php?e=908" target="_blank">episode eight of series 9</a>, <a href="http://mrtwig.net/ep.php?e=908" target="_blank">"Two Days Before The Day After Tomorrow"</a> airing last night, and blooming good it was too!
"A global warming state of emergency is declared in South Park. The world's largest beaver dam breaks and floods the adjacent town of Beaverton. As the victims wait for help to arrive, everyone in South Park tackles priority number one: who is to blame? Only Stan and Cartman know who's really at fault."</blockquote>
If you miss the irony of the episode you must have missed the news over the past few months. A happy distraction for 30 minutes or so.
Sadly it's not on here in the UK in any form that I know of, but you can see it over at MrTwig.net ( http://mrtwig.net/ ).
Oh, for the latest news, checkout the SouthPark production crew's own blog here:
Well my flight touched down last night, and I've not had much of a chance to clear up my email and get through all the updates I need to do, but I'm getting there. Two weeks in the sun... yummmeh.
Completely randomly, I thought I'd add a few links to a glorious horror that I've been reminded of after running some updates.
I'm currently being nagged every 10 minutes to reboot my machine by the update service. Oh how I hate XP most the time: ( http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000294.html )
Apparently the solution to the problem is:
..well there ya go
On the subject of air travel though, I LOVE Exeter Airport, no really. There's nothing quite like arriving for your charter to be told that it's all going swimmingly. "Do you have any sharp objects in your baggage sir? Did you pack it yourself? We'll be flying from Cardiff today sir. Have you been in control of your baggage since you packed it?...."
"Eh? Cardiff? This is Exeter!". Fate would seem had determined I needed a bus trip to Cardiff Airport to get the flight and a free lunch from the Airline. 'Lunch' is a bit strong though (biohazard health risk, is a closer description), I'd have preferred a rat pack over the stuff they gave me in that food bag.
Enjoyable trip though. Useless fact, Cardiff Airport isn't anywhere near Cardiff at all, it's actually closer to Barry in Wales.
I've just set the blog system to go live. For those wondering Blogs aren't just handed out to anyone and are instead given out to people that I think can write something that's of interest to other users. Think of the system more as a "contributing author" section rather than just a casual blog area. I've got a bit more work to do with everything yet, but it's pretty workable at the moment.
My blog is a bit of a testing ground for the new system at the moment, so apologies that it's a bit of a mess.
Apparently the smoke created from the burning of laurel leaves is not pleasant and contains, amongst other things, cyanide compounds, more specifically cyanogenic glycoside (ref: http://www.kits...poisonous_plants.htm).
Hmm.. probably would have been nice to know that before I lit the bonfire after trimming the hedge out back.