Archive for December, 2005

Internet Explorer

Posted in Web Publishing on December 12th, 2005 at 12:34:24

Internet Explorer is kind of like a spooked horse. You have to talk to it *very* slowly… And if you move too fast, it’ll run.

I can just imagine someone tossing some CSS3 selectors at IE and having it go run and cower in a corner…

Isn’t it a bit warm in here?

Posted in Web Hosting on December 11th, 2005 at 06:36:50

Recently, my hosted server – which runs this site, as well as a number of others – has been experiencing numerous mysterious restarts. I asked the hosting company why this was happening, and they did a diagnostic this morning, which is why you might have seen the site be down for about 3 hours.

The reply?

“Your server has been returned to service at this time. There was another heat issue with your server, frankly I’m not sure how it continued to operate (temps of 218 F or roughly 100 C. We have replaced both the cpu and heatsink and the server has been testing under load at a much more reasonable 42 C at this time. Please let us know if you continue to have any problems with this server.”

Yeah, I guess that might have an effect.

Graphical Headers

Posted in Web Publishing on December 10th, 2005 at 14:05:38

Given: The set of fonts which is available in the browser across all platforms is small.
Given: Having seen enough web pages, the fonts on all web pages tends to look the same.
Given: Navigation is often not noticed or ignored when first visiting a webpage.
Given: Different fonts draw attention to the page, changing the look, and attracing more attention in general to the area where these fonts are.

Conclusion: In order to create attractive, unique navigation systems for websites, in some cases, it may be useful to render the headers in graphics, rather than in text. Assuming that proper alternate text which matches the navigation system, there is no concern as far as disabilities limiting persons from having access to the text in the image. Assuming you generate the images with software rather than manually in photoshop or something, adjusting the navigation is simple if you change your mind later on, so there’s no maintenance concern.

As nice as the available fonts may be – Arial, Verdana, etc. – sometimes you need something a bit different. Graphical headers can draw the user’s eye, and with proper image generation, many of the concerns regarding using images for navigation can be avoided.


Posted in RDF on December 10th, 2005 at 12:07:49

RDF: Resource Description Framework or Reality Distortion Field?

Interactive Worlds

Posted in Social on December 7th, 2005 at 09:17:22

Recently, as part of the attempt to expand the realm of the full Swhack Cultural Forum experience, we’ve been investigating the possibilities for creating a virtual world. Yesterday, on the advice of Yoz, I set up a LambdaMoo based on enCore.

enCore is a nifty extension to LambdaMOO which includes a complete web interface for interacting with the MOO. This allows for object creation without learning tons of specialized commands. It makes interactions with the moo a bit easier for beginners, while still allowing “old hands” to do what they would have done in the past, via the telnet interface.

However, part of the goal of the interactive fiction aspect of the task was to have automatic interactions – without anyone else. LambdaMOO provides the equivilant of IRC+World Building, but aside from scripted tasks, there isn’t any “Quest” or other similar aspects. This makes LambdaMOO unsuitable for the task at hand, although it provides an excellent platform for initial world building, which can be used to come up with the platform for our IF world before we actually have to implement it.

However, that leaves me wondering what *is* out there for something that’s more “adventure” based. I know that Rivers Of Mud (ROM) based MUDs have this kind of functionality, but I’m not sure if they’re easy to build on. I don’t know what other kind of MUDs are out there, how hard they are to work with, or anything else about them.

Does anyone here run a MUD? Anyone know which ones would be easy to set up and allow for interactive building, while still supporting a relatively wide range of pre-built stuff so that we don’t have to do everything ourselves? Monsters, Questing, and similar abilities would be nifty, as would some pre-built world areas so that the initial environment isn’t *totally* empty.

I’m completely inexperienced in the field, but would love to hear from other people.