Supersonic Man

October 23, 2011

crab cove

Filed under: birds,Photo — Supersonic Man @ 11:16 pm

Bagged four new species. A greater yellowlegs:

a long-billed curlew (two of them):

some dunlins — I’ve probably been mistaking them for peeps all along:

and up in Tilden, a Hutton’s vireo.

October 20, 2011

IIS Express

Filed under: Hobbyism and Nerdry — Supersonic Man @ 12:02 am

An addendum about the little web app I made: how to serve local web pages on your home system with IIS Express. It’s much lighter weight than real IIS, and is meant to serve only a single user, so you don’t have to worry all that much about securing yourself against outside access to your system via browser.

(more…)

October 19, 2011

my phonebook app… CSS+JavaScript for multicolumn layout

Filed under: Hobbyism and Nerdry — Supersonic Man @ 5:03 pm

I used to have a little Access database of contacts — people’s addresses and phone numbers and the like.  I had a little Access data entry form, and designed a report that listed the important names in tiny print that I could fold up and carry in my wallet.

When I got my current computer, “Knuckles”, I didn’t have MS Office on it. I tried to make do with Open Office.  The Word and Excel replacements work pretty well (except for file format issues), but the Access substitute, “Base”, is hopeless.  After endless struggling I was never able to load my phonebook and edit it, let alone replace the report layout I had.

But recently I installed Visual Stupido 2010, in case I had to take work-at-home jobs to get any employment.  And to re-familiarize myself with my slightly rusty asp.net skills, I made a little web app which accesses that phonebook.  Copying the data into Sql Server Express was way easier than trying to get it into OOo Base.  It didn’t take long to make a web form that let me modify records, and I even made a page that, with stringent CSS, lays out the small-print report for wallet-sized printing.

Now this report layout requires the items to flow in multiple columns like a newspaper article.  This is notoriously not well supported in HTML.  But I got it to happen… it turns out that CSS 3 includes column-flow features, and both Firefox and Chrome now have provisional support for it in place.

But IE doesn’t.  Nor do most out-of-date browser versions.

Fortunately, a guy named Cédric Savarese found a way to do it in JavaScript.  So I downloaded his big ol’ script and tried it.  Disaster — he’d never tested anything remotely like the case I was using. His script made a hopeless mess.

So I fixed it, and added features.  Here it is.  And here is his original page about how it works.  This code is redistributable under LGPL.

So thanks to Cédric and I, if you want to have newspaper-like flowing columns on your website, now you can.

October 11, 2011

genetic engineering

Filed under: Rantation and Politicizing — Supersonic Man @ 12:00 am

When genetic modification was new, the hurdles that it had to pass to get into any kind of mass production, such as for food products, were high.  We were cautious.  Though the risks, at that time, were pretty low.

Over time, the perception of risk with this technology is inevitably going to decrease.  As we gain experience and ability and see successes begin to pile up, we’ll feel safer and more confident, and gradually see less and less need for caution.  But while the perception of risk goes down, the actual risk is going nowhere but up, as projects get more complex and ambitious.

The result of plotting these two trends is clear to see: unless one or the other is interrupted, it is completely 100% inevitable that sooner or later, we will create a catastrophe through genetic engineering.

Hell, we may have done it already.

October 5, 2011

collared-dove seen (sigh)

Filed under: birds,Photo — Supersonic Man @ 5:22 pm

a new bird I was hoping to not add any time soon: the Eurasian Collared-Dove.

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