undyingking: (Default)
It seems to be impossible to build a selection from a non-contiguous block, eg. I want to make a chart from the data that would in Excel be a1:a6,c1:c6, but Google just interprets that as a1:c6. Which is a bit of a pain. Surely that's not too abstruse a requirement? I can understand them not letting me build a non-contiguous selection by using ctrl-click as in Excel, but not to be able even to type one seems a bit harsh.

I would like to be able to use Google Docs generally for more stuff, but it often seems that once you get beyond the very simplest of operations, it's still somewhat lacking.

[Poll #1674584]
undyingking: (Default)
It seems to be impossible to build a selection from a non-contiguous block, eg. I want to make a chart from the data that would in Excel be a1:a6,c1:c6, but Google just interprets that as a1:c6. Which is a bit of a pain. Surely that's not too abstruse a requirement? I can understand them not letting me build a non-contiguous selection by using ctrl-click as in Excel, but not to be able even to type one seems a bit harsh.

I would like to be able to use Google Docs generally for more stuff, but it often seems that once you get beyond the very simplest of operations, it's still somewhat lacking.

[Poll #1674584]

Search me

Oct. 22nd, 2010 10:43 am
undyingking: (Default)
One annoying feature about Windows 7 is that it now only uses (what used to be called) Windows Desktop Search, and has ditched the perfectly fine file search included in XP. (This change may have alredy been made in Vista, I never used that.)

Although in theory more powerful, in practice it has some very irritating features. Boolean logic allows you to combine search terms -- good. But there is no way to escape some of the various operators etc as string literals. So if you want to eg. search for a file whose name includes the string "(1)", it will return all files that match "1", as parentheses are used in the syntax to combine search terms. You can escape the operators which are words by using quotes, eg. ""fish and chips"" will return differently to "fish and chips". But that doesn't work for the punctuational and mathematical symbols.

I spent far too long searching Microsoft's own help, and experimenting with various possible escape characters, before I gave up and Googled for the answer. It turns out that what you need is a search like "name:~"*(1)*"" which does the job perfectly.

(I scarcely need add that neither the tilde nor the asterisk are documented anywhere by MS, afaics.)

(Note: comments along the lines of "serves you right for using Windoze" are probably unnecessary :-)

Search me

Oct. 22nd, 2010 10:43 am
undyingking: (Default)
One annoying feature about Windows 7 is that it now only uses (what used to be called) Windows Desktop Search, and has ditched the perfectly fine file search included in XP. (This change may have alredy been made in Vista, I never used that.)

Although in theory more powerful, in practice it has some very irritating features. Boolean logic allows you to combine search terms -- good. But there is no way to escape some of the various operators etc as string literals. So if you want to eg. search for a file whose name includes the string "(1)", it will return all files that match "1", as parentheses are used in the syntax to combine search terms. You can escape the operators which are words by using quotes, eg. ""fish and chips"" will return differently to "fish and chips". But that doesn't work for the punctuational and mathematical symbols.

I spent far too long searching Microsoft's own help, and experimenting with various possible escape characters, before I gave up and Googled for the answer. It turns out that what you need is a search like "name:~"*(1)*"" which does the job perfectly.

(I scarcely need add that neither the tilde nor the asterisk are documented anywhere by MS, afaics.)

(Note: comments along the lines of "serves you right for using Windoze" are probably unnecessary :-)
undyingking: (Default)
I could easily spend hours playing with this, and I don't even have kids. Very neat, friendly interface to the morass of data out there about various English school performance indicators.

(Via infosthetics, like many such good things.)
undyingking: (Default)
I could easily spend hours playing with this, and I don't even have kids. Very neat, friendly interface to the morass of data out there about various English school performance indicators.

(Via infosthetics, like many such good things.)
undyingking: (Default)
Interesting article on Smashing Magazine about localStorage. In summary, it's a JavaScript object that provides an improved alternative to cookies, for storing data on the user's computer. Looks extremely usable and powerful, but also there has to be a certain yikes! factor I think, about the way it can be used to get round users' cookie-storage privacy preferences.

It's not universally supported, but one of the comments says "this is supported by Firefox 3.5 up, IE8 up, Safari 4, and Chrome 4 up" – which would cover almost all of our users.

Another comment points out that you can do the same thing in Flash. Yes, but probably more users have Flash blocked than have JS blocked?
undyingking: (Default)
Interesting article on Smashing Magazine about localStorage. In summary, it's a JavaScript object that provides an improved alternative to cookies, for storing data on the user's computer. Looks extremely usable and powerful, but also there has to be a certain yikes! factor I think, about the way it can be used to get round users' cookie-storage privacy preferences.

It's not universally supported, but one of the comments says "this is supported by Firefox 3.5 up, IE8 up, Safari 4, and Chrome 4 up" – which would cover almost all of our users.

Another comment points out that you can do the same thing in Flash. Yes, but probably more users have Flash blocked than have JS blocked?
undyingking: (Default)
Has anyone used the web developer tools that come with Chrome? Are they any good, how do they compare with eg. the Firefox Web Developer extension? And what about any relevant Chrome extensions?
undyingking: (Default)
Has anyone used the web developer tools that come with Chrome? Are they any good, how do they compare with eg. the Firefox Web Developer extension? And what about any relevant Chrome extensions?
undyingking: (Default)
Since my last Firefox update (to 3.0.12) my browser history hasn't been working. The History display is completely empty, and when I navigate away from a page, the Back button doesn't work. I checked the Options to see if it had magically turned itself off, but no, the "Keep my history" box is still ticked.

Anyone else seeing / seen this?

Evil JS?

Sep. 25th, 2008 02:35 pm
undyingking: (Default)
I wondered whether anyone else was seeing what I'm seeing on this page:

http://www.energyhelpline.com

It's to do (I think) with the JavaScript news ticker thingy to the upper left. Viewing it in Firefox 3, the process sucks up all the CPU it can get, up to 90% or so and annoyingly prioritizing it over other apps. In Chrome, with its useful Task Manager, that shows this tab taking consistently around 20% of CPU when available; in Opera 9, it makes the Opera process as a whole take around 40%. In IE 7, though, it doesn't have any strange CPU effect.

Do any of you see this peculiar and unpleasant behaviour?
undyingking: (Default)
Just a quick one: those of you who use Firefox as your browser, have you upgraded to 3 yet? If so, what do you think compared with 2?

[Poll #1239211]
undyingking: (Default)
I think this is really terrific, I can forgive Google all sorts of evils if they keep coming up with cool ways for people to make each others' lives easier like this. (Basically, it allows the generation of all manner of cool charts, maps, etc for online use, from spreadsheet-type data, using formats and designs contributed by users.)

I know you could probably do it all with GD and a bunch of Perl modules, but most people wouldn't bother doing so. OK, hooking into the Google API isn't exactly a job for complete non-techies, but there's a whole big stratum of people who are too lazy / busy to do such tasks from scratch as a programmer would, but are savvy enough to understand how to use this.

Call them Goldilocks users -- sandwiched between the contempt of techies and the incomprehension of non-techies, but happy in their medium. I am one myself, for a lot of purposes.
undyingking: (Default)
Just a few things that have caught my eye lately.
  • You may think you did well to write a book in a month last November. But this guy writes upwards of 3000 books a month. "He says it takes about 20 minutes to write one." And they sound like gripping reads, too. Let me know if any of you own a copy.
  • Online dating with algorithmic matching is increasingly popular. But the science involved may be questionable. Particuarly when unsemly rows break out between the rival companies. Here's a neat summary -- "eHarmony asked the Better Business Bureau to stop Chemistry.com from claiming its algorithm had been scientifically validated". You'll need to log in to see this one, I think.
  • Google run an internal prediction market, whereby staff make predictiosn about how various business indicators are going to move. Well, they would, wouldn't they: but here's an brief analysis of some of the interesting weaknesses they've found in their market -- "this research changed my mind about the importance of open-plan seating".
undyingking: (Default)
What software do you use on your XP PC (if you have one, and do so) to play MP3s?

Do you recommend / disrecommend it?

I've been using Windows Media Player out of laziness default, but it's pretty crashy on my system, so probably about time I changed. In the past I've used RealPlayer and not much liked it, but that was many years ago so it might be better now...

I'm only interested in playing MP3s, not other media or stuff. None of my stuff is DRMed. And I'm not bothered about skins, whizzy animations, or other chrome. Or being able to rip / burn / tag / anything other than play.

And I have quite a lot of files (which may have something to do wth the crashiness), so good capabilities to sort / select / navigate are important.
undyingking: (Default)
I have a wee problem in a current project. My code uses the XML::Parser module, and it needs to be a recent version. So I've uploaded this to the server and am adding it to the include path with the help of a use lib in the normal sort of way.

Unfortunately, elsewhere on the server there seems to be an old version of the module, and it seems to be using this one in preference to my nice shiny new one.

Is there any way I can, at run-time, compel it to look for the module only in my preferred part of the include path? Maybe by monkeying with whatever environment variable it is that controls the said path?

I thought of renaming the version of the module that I uploaded, and using it under the new name, but that seems a bit drastic. But maybe it's not really.
undyingking: (Default)
Google may be increasingly evil, but now they allow you to generate a chart simply by passing a bunch of url parameters. How potenitally useful is that? (Very.)

To show what I mean, suppose I want to include a little pie chart in this post. Rather than go off and prepare it in some sort of charting application, I can just write it as an image tag like this:

<img src="http://chart.apis.google.com/chart?cht=p3&chd=s:hW&chs=250x100&chl=Tasty|Pie">

which comes out like:



Of course this is even more powerful if you're using it programmatically to display interactively-generated data. As well as pie charts, you can do line, bar, Venn diagrams and scatter plots. And of course you can specify colour, fill pattern and all that sort of gubbins. All in the url parameters!

I now need to think of lots of exciting ways to use this facility. But, alas, just now I'm too busy to.
undyingking: (Default)
Does anyone out there use Altova's XMLspy?

I'm wondering about what seems a weirdity in the new version I've just installed, but it may be I just need to change some new setting or something.

Mac Mail

Oct. 26th, 2007 07:16 pm
undyingking: (Default)
Does anyone out there use Mac Mail, and could help me with (a) some information and (b) a test?

Profile

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