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2006 » August MikeFitz with overflow bit set…

Archive for August, 2006

Microsoft meets The Office

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

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The term Microsoft Office no longer has the same meaning after I watched these Microsoft UK training videos featuring Ricky Gervais in his David Brent persona.  They’re LOL-funny.  Thanks, Dion.

Simple HTML for Formatting Blogger Comments

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006

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Sherdie, fellow Brisvegas blogger, has asked for some tips on adding styles to Blogger comments. Many bloggers have tools for adding formatting to their posts, but not their comments.  I thought I’d post my answer here so that other bloggers can benefit as well.

We’ll cover just simple stuff, bold, italics and hyperlinks.

[Note to advanced web developers and XHTML coders: Nothing to see here folks. Move along.  Corners (and some W3C XHTML validation rules) will be cut.]

When can we use formatting?

Good news: Usually  Bad news: Not always.

Blogger Comment FormSome blogging software and some blog owners can turn off HTML formatting. Sometimes you just won’t know until you try it. A good indication that you can use HTML formatting is if the comment form says something like…

You can use some HTML tags, such as <b>, <i>, <a>

What is a Tag?

Very simply, a tag is something enclosed in angle brackets <>.  For example, <b> is the tag for “Turn Bold On”.

When your readers’ browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, whatever) encounter tags that they recognize, they will replace these tags with formatting.

Don’t forget the End Tag.

Note that each of the tags we are using here, work in pairs. That is, there is a Begin Tag and a corresponding End Tag which starts with a slash /. For every <b> (bold on), there must be a corresponding </b> (bold off).  This is important.

Bold

Surround the text you want to appear in bold with <b> and </b> tags.  Example, type this into the comment box:
  Sometimes I just want to <b>shout</b>!

Readers will see this:
  Sometimes I just want to shout!

Italics

Enclose the text you want to appear in italics with <i> and </i> tags.  Example, type this into the comment box:
  I thought, <i>Hang on a minute, Defrag!</i>

Readers will see this:
  I thought, Hang on a minute, Defrag!

Hyperlinks

Including a Hyperlink in a comment is very similar to Bold and Italic. Hyperlinks use the <a> (for “Active”) tag.

Step one is to enclose the text you want to appear as a hyperlink with <a> and </a> tags.  Example, type this into the comment box:
  You should read <a>MikeFitz's post</a>

If you leave it at that, readers will see this. Note that the hyperlink doesn’t work yet:
  You should read MikeFitz’s post

Step two is to include the address that you want to link to in the opening <a> tag.  This is done by including href="" in the tag. Then place the address between the two "" characters.  (The address is the thing that starts with http://. You probably already know that you can copy the address from the address bar at the top of your browser.)

For example, here we have added the href="":
  You should read <a href="">MikeFitz's post</a>

Finally, here it is with the address placed between the two "" characters:

  You should read <a href="http://mike.brisgeek.com/2006/08/30/simple-html-for-formatting-blogger-comments/">MikeFitz's post</a>

And here’s what readers will see:
  You should read MikeFitz’s post

Bold and Italics (Walking and Chewing Gum)

Bold and Italics can be combined provided they are nested correctly.  Example:
  I shouted: <b><i>Look Out!</i></b>

Readers will see:
  I shouted: Look Out!

This is an example of incorrect nesting.  The </i> should come before the </b>  Don’t do this:
  I shouted: <b><i>Look Out!</b></i>

Bold, Italics and Hyperlinks (Walking, Chewing Gum and Talking to your Mother on your Mobile)

Here’s a more complex example where correct nesting is important:

  One of my favourite books is
<a href="http://www.awprofessional.com/bookstore/product.asp?isbn=0201633612&rl=1"
title="Addison-Wesley website">
<i><b>Design Patterns</b>
: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software</i>
 by Gamma, Helm, Johnson and Vlissides</a>.

Readers will see:
  One of my favourite books is Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software by Gamma, Helm, Johnson and Vlissides.

and Finally

Hopefully my fellow bloggers will find this information useful when commenting.

If you found it useful, please let me know or leave a comment. If you find an error, let me know about that too.

Happy Blog Commenting — Mike

Tagged by another Book meme

Tuesday, August 29th, 2006

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MadameBoffin tagged me with another book meme. No, not that book meme. Another one.

First, answer these 10 book-related questions.

  1. One book I’ve read more than once:
    I, Robot by Isaac Asimov. I devoured everything I could find by Isaac Asimov when I was a youngster. I was prompted to read it again when the Will Smith movie hit the screens in 2004.

  2. One book I would want on a desert island:
    Anything I haven’t read before.  Lots to choose from there.

  3. One book that made me laugh:
    Absurdistan by Eric Campbell.  This book made me watch Foreign Correspondent in a completely new light.  How those reporters get into those places and get those stories is amazing enough.  How they do it on an ABC budget is truly outstanding.

    I also enjoyed Bill Bryson’s travelogues (Notes from a Small Island, Notes from a Big Country, Down Under, etc)  And then there’s Hugh Lunn’s series, especially Working for Rupert which was laugh-out-loud funny.

  4. One book that made me cry:
    August 1914 by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
    I read this while working in Weipa for a year in the early 70’s.  After struggling through this epic as far as about page 846, the damn thing stopped in mid-sentence.  “What the…? This cannot be right.”  And then I realised what had happened. Have you noticed how paperbacks are bound in chunks of about 32 pages?  There had been a binding error and I was missing the final 32 pages.  Of nearly 900!

    That’s when I cried the first time.

    So here I was stuck in Weipa.  The nearest bookshop was in Cairns, about 800km away.  In those days, even Saturday’s Courier-Mail arrived on Tuesday afternoon.  I just had to suffer.

    Years later, I came across an intact copy of August 1914 and realised what a loss those 32 pages had been.  They contained an index of hundreds of (generally really long Russian) names.  Without this index, I had struggled to remember who was who.  These pages also contained several maps showing the terrain that was fought over, the location of the strategic railway lines and junctions which were so important to the movement of troops.  These maps would have made reading the book so much easier.

    That’s when I cried the second time.

    The faulty book had been given to me as I left Brisbane to go to Weipa by a good mate from Uni of Qld days, John Stirk, “friend of the workers” and now a partner in prominent Alice Springs law firm Povey Stirk.  Yeah, I’m not afraid to name names.

    I have often wondered whether John, ever the practical joker, tore out those 32 pages deliberately.  John, we haven’t spoken for 30 years but, if you are reading this, call me. I might be able to fix your crappy web site.

  5. One book I wish I’d written:
    The Constitution of Australia : States’ Rights
    This page intentionally left blank. © 1901, MikeFitz.

    Yep, I reckon it’s about time we started dismantling State governments, these vestiges of our colonial past.  All the important things they look after (health, education, transport, police, etc) should be the same for all Australians.  Health is in a shambles because of attempted cost-shifting between State and Commonwealth governments …  Don’t get me started.

  6. One book I wish had never been written:
    Eucalyptus by Murray Bail.  Shortlisted for The Age Book of the Year 1998; Winner of the Miles Franklin Award, 1999; Nominated for International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, 2000.

    You may recall Nicole Kidman came back to Australia to appear in a film version of Eucalyptus with Russell Crowe.  After many delays, the film was abandoned because of “Plot issues”.  I for one was not at all surprised.  This book has no motherf@*’n plot whatsoever.  Screenwriter after screenwriter must have recognised this poison chalice and run screaming into the night.  Some of them are probably still running.  It is a book for literary wankers and has unfortunately made me regard other award-winning books with suspicion.  I want a refund of the hours I wasted on it.

  7. One book I’m currently reading:
    MSDN2 Library. What do you expect from a geek?

  8. One book that I’ve been meaning to read:
    The Koran, followed by The Satanic Verses; gotta have balance.

    Also, I nearly got to read Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein.  My barracks room-mate in Mount Isa was reading it and had promised to lend it to me when he finished with it.  Unfortunately, he was badly injured in a Friday night pub brawl and was flown home unexpectedly.  I remember packing the book with his things.

  9. One book that changed my life:
    I’ve still got the same life I started with.  It ain’t broke.  No books needed to fix it.

  10. One book that made me think:
    Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software by Gamma, Helm, Johnson and Vlissides.  You first read it and think “WTF?” and then after a while you have one of those “Aha!” moments.

Then tag 5 people to do the same.
I don’t usually inflict this sort of thing on my mates.  So I’ll just say, “If you have read this far, consider yourself tagged.  You know who you are.”

Fraser Island vs Adam Cogan

Saturday, August 12th, 2006

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I was talking to Chuck Sterling last night about my next trip to my favourite place on the planet, Fraser Island.  It’s the largest sand island in the world.  I love its freshwater lakes, rainforest growing in sand, its world-heritage listing and the fact that 99.2% of the island is a national park. </shameless plug>.  I’m leaving in a few hours.

This time, it was a slightly tough decision to go. It means that I will miss the next QMSDNUG meeting. Adam Cogan, always an informative speaker, and Steve Herzberg from NRG Solutions are speaking on “How to earn more dollars per hour as a developer”. In view of my previous post, maybe I need this.

So what was it to be? Fraser Island? Adam Cogan? Fraser Island? Adam Cogan? In the end, the thought of sand in the toes won. Again.

Fraser Island’s southern tip is about 70km north of the Noosa River. Noosa is a resort area, very popular (too popular) with some less environmentally-conscious escapees from the larger cities down south.  Unfortunately every day, plastic bottles, plastic bags, fast food containers and worse are thrown, blown or washed into the Noosa River.  The prevailing currents then bring the rubbish north to the 90-mile long eastern beach of this pristine wilderness area.

choke

Cartoon by Stephanie McMillan

Today’s cartoon by Stephanie McMillan is a timely reminder to pack some extra garbage bags so we can clean up during our afternoon walks on the beach.

See more of Stephanie’s work at www.minimumsecurity.net.

Save Yourselves!

Tuesday, August 8th, 2006

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Anybody been in this IT business a while? Saved a few bikkies? Socked-away some Super? Don’t do what my wife and I did.

We entrusted the management of our superannuation and investment funds to this man.

He has lost us a 6-figure sum, mainly on WestPoint but also on other crazy investments. We’re not talking about under-performing investments; we’re talking complete capital loss. A loss we cannot even claim until about 2009 when the receivers finally declare “That’s all there is, kiddies!”

We’ve had to tip-toe around the issue because he still has a major chunk of our remaining funds tied up in another company; a company where he was on the board.

But it gets worse! Many of his other clients also have funds invested in this other company and are understandably clamoring for their money back. Any collapse of this other company would place even more of our superannuation fund’s assets at risk.

AAAAAAaaaarRRRGGH!

The “stick your money under the mattress” option is looking pretty good at the moment. In fact, we would have been better off burning half our money and then sticking the remainder under the mattress!

It’s OK. I’ll be calm now.