The ISA-Bus

One blog to bind them all.

Monthly Archives: September 2011

Keep order in your style sheets

Just noticed again: the order in which you place the instructions in a style sheet is important, since they are parsed from top to bottom and newer rules override older ones. If you want to specify a “hover” color for links, you must put it after a:link and a:visited, or it won’t work.

Download Central is one year old

Today it is exactly one year ago that I officially launched Download Central. Just as six months ago, I’m quite happy with the way it has grown, even though the growth was a lot slower in the last three months. With nearly 1,500 downloads, I considered it not so much a work in progress any more, but as something that is fine as it is, even though it will of course grow further.

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It’s a pity with pop-ups…

…that they’ve been abused so much. They are actually quite useful.

Back in 2000, when I was new to the whole HTML thing, I used them a lot. Now, when I look at what I did then, I still like the effects. Here is my old bookshelf. At the top of the page, a few poems are linked. For the shorter ones, you get the option “JavaScript version.” They will then load in a window of an exactly fitting size. I originally designed it so that the windows would have no tool bars at all, but newer browsers add an address field anyway.

Or take this German computer history. If you scroll down to the years 1977–81, you will find links labeled Tandy TRS-80, Commodore Pet, and IBM-PC. Each will open a little window with an image. The images are so small that there was no real reason not to inline them, but I liked this way better (and remember, 640×480 desktops were not uncommon then). You have these images on your screen, you can push them around, arrange them as you want, close them or leave them open when you’ve already left the article itself.

Compare on the other hand these scripts that have become so popular nowadays, where you click on an image link, your whole browser window grows dark or pale and the image is plastered right over the article, you have to close the image to continue reading. Now that’s annoying. I like my old pop-up solution a lot better.

How useful is Twitter really?

Just wondering. I have a Twitter account for seven months now, I’m tweeting pretty much every update, I have less than 30 followers, and get maybe a dozen hits from Twitter. On the other hand, some of my RSS sheets are downloaded twenty, thirty times a day. So, how useful is Twitter really?

The further rise of Thu Nguyen’s Caro


Today, Thu Nguyen’s Caro made it into the top twelve downloads. So late in the month, this is quite remarkable.

Using fonts on websites

Okay…it’s a bad idea to spend too much time offline. You lose touch. When I wrote this article I wasn’t aware that font embedding (@font-face) is actually a generally supported standard since summer 2009. Sorry. Most of this post is true nevertheless, so I’ll leave it as it is.—

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Graphic headers for The Orchard

After discovering FlamingText and blogging about it (I described it in my previous post) I simply had to try it out somehow. The best candidate for a header makeover turned out to be The Orchard, my old Macintosh site that hasn’t received all that many updates since April 2004. So I gave each page a graphic header (no flaming text of course, not even animated), checked all the links, removed the obsolete buttons, and brushed up the homepage a bit.

I hardly ever mess around with Macs any more. It was mainly two years of my life, from spring 2003 to spring 2005, that I was really interested. That was the time I built up my collection and took screenshots of all the Macintosh games you can download from Astoria. In December 2007 I activated some of my Macs again, but it didn’t last very long. Though the whole Macintosh culture has always fascinated me, I never got along with the machines themselves very well. I know they are supposed to be easier to use, but for me they never were. For me, they were always awfully complicated.

I’ll probably update the Orchard a bit more regularly now. There is stuff that still needs to be done, the link list isn’t particularly useful as it is now. A lot of this stuff is old, it makes more sense now to tell the story instead of just listing a few links. I might change the graphic headers again as well, I don’t know if I’ve really picked the best. But I sure do like the idea of graphic headers as such, it’s what’s going to motivate me to start working on Astoria again.

Here be flaming text

I googled “flaming text” and lo and behold, this search returned 16.8 million results. It’s obviously (still?) quite a catchphrase, there are Photoshop tutorials, WordPress plugins, and numerous tools. I won’t go into a rant or historical musings now (I leave that for another post), I’ll just present a few of the services I found.

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The increasingly increasing speed of Internet connections

In all the twelve years I’ve been on the Internet, I’ve never changed providers. I have chello broadband, now owned by UPC, which was then the only cable connection you could get in Vienna. I still think it’s the best thing you can get around here in most cases. For twelve years, my fees have stayed the same, but the speed of my connection has steadily increased.

I remember that back in 2000, when Napster was the big thing, it took me about the same time to download a song as to play it, that is, I could download about 1MB per minute. Nowadays I can download 1MB in one second. Now I find upon reviewing my Van Buren page, that in April 2007 it took me 40 minutes to download the 240MB tech demo, that’s 6MB per minute or 10 seconds for 1MB.

So the speed first increased sixfold in seven years, and now tenfold in four years. Not only do Internet connections get faster, they get faster faster!

Blackberries and the sudden popularity of Caro

I’ve written before how the popularity of games always surprises me, how I never know in advance if a game I upload will be downloaded a lot, little or not at all. After a certain time the number of downloads usually stays fairly constant. If a game that has been up for years suddenly gets a boost in popularity, there is usually a specific reason, just as now with Thu Nguyen’s Caro.

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