Aug 25 2005

Deal: Barcelona to Pisa

Jeffrey Larson

The other night Sarah and I were talking about how we were going to get from Spain to Italy. Our original idea was to catch a ferry from Barcelona, Spain to Genova, Italy. It seemed expensive but the expense made sense.

Well, Sarah just happened to look for cheap flights and found one from Girona (near Barcelona) to Pisa (near Florence) for 10 €. Seriously! “How can we -not- book this??” So we’re travelling from Spain to Italy for less than $40 each (including taxes, etc.) at almost exactly the halfway point of our trip. Flying! In a real plane, 737 to be exact…

Nice!


Aug 15 2005

Summer Trips

Jeffrey Larson

August 15 Update: Added Milk River
July 18 Update: Created map, Added Heart Mountain and Crypt Lake

Sarah and I have been on a number of hikes trips lately. I have decided to show you almost exactly where we hiked went using Google Maps. I’m going to continue to update this posting as we complete more hikes trips.

The trips are sorted in reverse chronological order. Click a hike trip title to show it on the map:

  1. Milk River – Canoe (NEW!)
  2. Crypt Lake (Waterton Park) – Hike
  3. Heart Mountain – Scramble

The interface used here is actually Google Maps. You can zoom in/out by using the +/- buttons on the map and you can also pan by grabbing the map and pulling it in any direction.

Please note that the path taken for each trip has been approximated.


Aug 11 2005

Intuitive User Interfaces

Jeffrey Larson

I’m struggling, at the moment, to create a really simple user interface for a CMS I’ve developed for a missionary website.

Take a look at HillsofJapan.com – Praising and Praying. I’m attempting to create an administration page that allows my client to edit the contents of these postings. The admin page needs to be simply layed out and preferably look very similar to the public page.

I’ve played around with the idea of WYSIWYG Editors. The problem with this is that I can’t find an editor which is light-weight enough… most of the ones I’ve tried are slow-loading Javascript apps. I did see one editor (XStandard) that was quicker and lighter (because it was a browser plug-in and not Javascript) but the full version which includes support for image insertion is way too expensive! Another problem is that each posting would be split into sections, and each section would require its own editor… multiple instances of an already too heavy/sluggish javascript isn’t going to work.
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Aug 8 2005

The Island

Jeffrey Larson

So, I decided to start a new category, ‘Movies’.

Sarah, Ruth and I saw The Island at Eau Claire on Saturday evening. I have to say that I quite liked it.

For the first time in a long time, it was a movie that I knew nothing about before sitting down in the theatre. Sarah and Ruth really wanted to see it, and I found no objection in the title The Island so I decided to be in. I often watch online movie trailers or see short teasers on TV ads for the movies I go to see. It is quite refreshing watching a movie unfold and view absolutely everything in the film for the first time, altogether. And that is exactly what happened with The Island.

I’m not going to say anything here that will spoil this movie for you, but if you’d like to experience this show the same way I did, then the rest of this article probably isn’t for you… at least not until you’ve seen the picture.


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Aug 6 2005

Flash MP3 Player

Jeffrey Larson

In certain cases, playing music on websites can be good. I know that some people think that adding a soundtrack to your personal website gives it that little bit of extra distinction… but when I come across those sites I usually end up turning off the sound because it gets annoying.

Since websites are about communicating content to viewer, some of that content could be sound bytes or music. A band’s website for instance, should probably have some way to allow the users to hear their latest track.

The most common way to ’embed’ music into a website is by using Macromedia Flash (I won’t go near the alternatives). Flash is mainstream, it comes installed in almost all web browsers, so it makes compatibility easy.

Flash supports a couple of different ways to play audio: embedding the audio files right in the ‘swf’ files as well as playing external files. There are a few Flash based MP3 players which use an external XML file to load the audio from a (possibly dynamic) list of tracks. I found a pretty cool player that Jeroen Wijering has created.
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