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Something on my mind

When I was young, each choice was a sacrifice.
Now that I am older, each sacrifice is made by choice.

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Carnaval in Halle

Candy. In huuuuge quantities (at least for a 3 year old) generously distributed by advertising cars with big, powerful soundboxes.

Big, rotating whatsamacallit polyester ufo beasts spinning round and round forever being pulled by an aging tractor covered up in painted plywood and polyester while children go aaaah and ooooh.

Children dressed up as tigers, elephants, crocodiles, rabbits, clowns, vampires. Whole teenager school classes participating in the stately ‘stoet’ going down the street, dressed up as tables, violins, cave people. Old people dressed up as young people, young people as old.

Brass bands (with majorettes), sometimes from the next city, some from as far Hamburg or Rotterdam.

And a bit later and a bit further down in the city, the consuming of large quantities of alcohol and greasy food.

Excellent !

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Quicksilver Beta (Mac OS X)

I’ve been using QuickSilver beta35 for some time now, and it is simply excellent. However, you do need some time to switch your thinking caps over to using it. I’ll clarify some more…

On the website it is described as a Framework for launching applications – for now. However, even in it’s current form it is already very useful. Basically it is a search engine that indexes user-selected parts of your harddisks (or all of your disks) and lets you use keyboard commands to select ‘stuff’ and ‘do things with it and to it’.

For example, you can do the ‘ctrl’+’space’ key combination (the default way to activate QS) and up pops a small window, you type the first few letters of the application you want to start, and it’ll show you – as you type – the results. Hit ‘enter’ and QuickSilver will launch the application, simply as that. Very handy to quickly launch an application if you know it’s name, which you often do. Takes you all of 3 seconds.

Now, just by letting you use the keyboard for this the application is already useful, however it allows you to do much more : if you hit ‘tab’ once you select something, you get an additional menu that allows you to do things TO the selected item.

Let me give you an example : ‘ctrl’ + ‘space’, type the first letters of a document you have on your hard disk, ‘tab’ to open the second menu, start typing ‘mail’, arrow down the list to select ’email SEND’ , type the name of a person in your address book you want to send it to, hit enter, and boom, you’ve send a mail with the file attached to the person.
Time used : 7 seconds.

I admit it takes time to remember that you can do it this way, and I don’t always think of using it like that, but heck, yo have to admit it is a very intuitive way of working, it’s all those years of working the wrong way that are making it hard to switch over.

In order to do some of these extra things, however, it needs plugins – this allows it to be infinitely adaptable – you install only those plugins you need, or all of them. You can install an iTunes plugin so your songs show up, or a Safari plugin so your bookmarks are indexed as well, there are several others.

My only wish : QuickSilver for PC…

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New Maps for Counter-Strike:Source

Valve entertainment just released 2 new maps for Counter-Strike: Source as well as some bugfixes. I’ve started playing CS:S about 2 months ago, after I finished Half-life 2, and despite the many times I’ve cursed it, it’s very addictive.
I did like HL2 Deathmatch a lot more early on, but in the end, CS:S is much more rewarding when you think things through. I’ve noticed some new behaviour in my game playing style : I tend to rush less (erm, sometimes), and I try to aim better for the parts that count. And I don’t do foot shots (that automagically become headshots, due to a bug). And just this last week I noticed that I’m bettering my scores (from time to time). Depends on the map though, sometimes I’m still worth nothing. Slowly but surely I’m making it out of n00bdom.

I also think CS:S makes you think longer about what you do than HL2 DM : in CS:S once you’re dead, you’re out for the round, and have to sit it out. In HL2 DM, you die only to be respawned somewhere else immediately. Like most similar online games, really.

Sometimes I wonder if kids don’t take the wrong lesson from these games and become callous in real life : in real life, you often only get one chance to do something right (or wrong). After that, you can make amends, but there is no ‘respawn’ or ‘undo’ button.

Oh well, I guess they will learn from their errors as I did (and still do).

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Plugin Problems

The last 3 days, I had some plugin problems which caused me some pain in managing my site. After installing a plugin (my bad, I think it was for the previous version of WordPress), I got lots and lots of ‘wrong valuetype’ errors in wp_settings.php and wp_plugins.php.

The blog site itself worked without a hitch (oef !) but the admin site was full of the above errors.

I put out a request for help in the WordPress forums, but had no response. At all. I read everywhere that the community is very friendly, but nada on my first query. Perhaps I was not factual enough. I did notice that a lot requests are in those forums, though, mine got swamped almost immediately in other posts.

In the end I found it myself : I had to edit both files, adding (array) to some variables on the offending line numbers (at least the errors also tell you at which line number things went haywire), and clearing the ‘active_plugins’ field in my db to get the plugins working again. It had the value ‘Array’ which I think is just a placeholder.
After doing this, everything worked again, I could Activate and DeActive plugins again, and the active_plugins field got filled with the list of active plugins.

Note to self : before next plugin essay, backup both php files AND do a database dump.

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Gallery Integration

There’s actually two posts here to do with gallery :
– how to get gallery to integrate with WordPress
– how to get images from Gallery into WordPress

I’ve been busy trying to integrate the Gallery Photo application with WordPress.

Since I’ve only just discovered both applications, there is a lot to learn. Gallery does provide some integration for PHP Nuke and some other CMSses, but not (yet) for WordPress.

I managed to find a bit more information on what to hack from the ScatteredThought website, but their information seems to be a mix of setting it up for the old 1.2 WordPress and the new version – for example, I don’t have a wp-layout.css file !

A few of the problems I encountered following the instructions :

    1. No wp-layout.css file : in WordPress 1.5 this has apparently been replaced by the styles.css file that is particular for each theme. So, simply edit the /wp-content/themes/default/style.css file to add the new class and you are good to go. Of course, you might want to back this file up first !
    2. The code to edit the wrapper.header.default file is not entirely correct : as a consequence of point 1, you need to edit the wrapper.header.default file to point not to the wp-layout.css file, but to the theme directory for the images.

Results are, hmmm, how to say this, encouraging but not succesful. I now have my logo on top of my photo application, with the background from the WordPress blog, but not in the correct size.

Actually, I would like to make the whole blog site take up the complete screen, or close to. On my 19 inch screen, there’s a enormous amount of space that’s not being used by my blog.

Update :
Found a plugin for WP called wp-gallery : It allows you to put (thumbnail) pictures from your gallery in your post. Excellent !

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WordPress update

Apparently, without even knowing it, I got the very, very latest version of WordPress installed, version 1.5, which wasn’t even out officially until sometime today.

It has impressed me a lot – it has multiple user management, the default theme is very clear (though I can’t wait to start modifying at least some stuff so I can differentiate it abit) and the management interface is amazing, and all this free. Incredible !

I have some pictures up as well, will be setting up an image gallery and trying to tie it into WP. But that will have to wait for another day, I’m tired and have a nasty cold.

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Previous Posts

My previous posts were all done in another content system called Bloxsom.

I’ve made a static page of those posts, you can find it here and I’ll be creating a page in the side bar to keep them.

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Hello (again) world!

I just upgraded my hosting solution to use a mysql database. Bloxsom was a nice solution when you don’t have a mysql database handy, but I just couldn’t configure it to do what I wanted (this might be me more than bloxsom).

So out with Bloxsom, in with WordPress.

I’ve been keeping tabs on wordpress for some months now, and it seems to be really, really good. So far the install was done in half an hour, and I am busy learning more about it.

Time will tell.

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Tom is 3 jaar oud.

Our son Tom, 3 years old. Amazing how fast your live becomes once you have one or more children. Also amazing : that family feeling you get…
Gelukkige Verjaardag, Tom !