KillerLight improvements

If you haven’t noticed already, I’ve made a few improvements to the KillerLight theme.

  • There is now a JavaScript-driven header animation, which has the ability to detect a slow computer and disable itself. You can turn it on and off manually with the button at the top-right.
  • A few more icons have been added here and there
  • The ‘read more’ link is now styled
  • The footer can expand vertically instead of being fixed height

I’ve taken a look at it in IE6, and it’s not as badly broken as I feared. At the moment the animated header screws things up royally, and the top horizontal navigation doesn’t display horizontally. I hope to at least get things looking reasonably presentable soon, by disabling the animated header for IE6 and changing the way the top nav is styled.

As for a future release of the theme, it’s all planned out in my head. A non-branded version of the header images will be included, so anyone can have that fading animation. The name of the blog will be overlayed in standard text.

I also have a few ideas for spin-off themes, which are a slightly different take (new graphics) on the same structure. Watch this space!

Computational Heating

This morning I really struggled to get out of bed. Being very tired still, in a nice warm bed while outside it was -7 C and my room probably wasn’t far off that, it took some convincing that I really did need to go to work. While laying there, between drifting in and out of consciousness, I got to wondering if I could make my room a little warmer without changing the central heating settings or adding another heater. I had the idea that I could set up my computers to respond to temperature.

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Acer Aspire One L150 mini-review

Acer Aspire One L150

A few months ago we were given a couple of old laptops by some relatives. I cleaned both of them up, gave one a fresh install of XP Home and the other Ubuntu. The former has now become the family PC and the latter is sitting on top of some draws in my room unused because the power supply connector is nearly unusable.

Being the lazy person I am, wanting to be able to watch TV and surf from the comfort of my bed, I decided I needed a laptop that actually works. When someone on the UKHA mailing list pointed to an offer on Amazon for an Acer Aspire One L150 (white) for 199, I decided I had to go for it. I wasn’t too keen on the white netbook though, so I paid a little more for a lovely blue number.

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2009 Goals

Inspired by my friend David’s own post, this is my brief review of 2008 and my goals for 2009.

There hasn’t been any major change in my life through 2008 (that I can reveal on here, anyway), but I’ve managed to do plenty of interesting things at work. I think the thing that 2008 will be remembered for is the dramatic downturn in the world economy, though fortunately I’ve not been touched by it so far other than seen dramatic interest rate cuts on my savings.

For 2009 I hope to:

  • Become a Microsoft Certified Professional
  • Complete a software project I’m working on, and sell it
  • Buy a house/flat
  • Get more exercise
  • Push for a revival of socialising at work (it’s died off over the last year)
  • Have another great holiday somewhere with friends from uni
  • Do more non-C# coding, to revive the broadness of my programming skills base – specifically PHP

No plans to move abroad, though moving somewhere else in the UK isn’t out of the question – depends on the circumstances and the incentives.

Let’s hope that 2009 brings a more promising outlook for the economy.

Power monitoring with CurrentCost

CurrentCost monitor

The CurrentCost power monitor has become very popular amongst amateur home automators and those technically-savvy who want to keep an eye on how much electricity they are using (and ultimately how much they are going to have to pay in bills). A couple of months ago I purchased the CurrentCost device and a USB cable to connect it to a computer from eBay. Having just seen their eBay store, it looks like they’ve got a fantastic new model on the way, but this article is about the older version.

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KillerLight: A new WordPress theme

KillerLight screenshot

It’s been a long time coming, but I have finally produced my own design for this site.

KillerLight is based on the theme of ‘illumination’. I wanted it to give the impression that things have been illuminated by artificial means, and I looked to a few existing WordPress themes for an idea of what needed doing.

It’s taken about 3 days to put together, just in time for the new year. It was created using a mix of Photoshop, Eclipse (with PHPEclipse) and Notepad++ (for CSS editing). This is my first WordPress theme, and the first serious bit of web design I’ve done in a while.

I also did a little bit in Flash, attempting to have the header rainbow stuff animated and fading between different colours, but there were too many issues so I’ve put that idea on hold for the moment. You can view my attempt if you like by sticking the querystring ‘?animate=true’ on the end of the URL. I know that it doesn’t work in FF on Ubuntu, probably because the Flash player implementation for Linux is a little different.

I don’t have IE 6 at home, so I’ve not been able to test in that. However I assume it will be quite broken, so for anyone unfortunate enough to still be using < IE 7, they will be warned that things won’t look nice and be advised to upgrade or get a different browser. Seems to work fine in FF 3 and Safari (Windows) though.

This theme is not by any means perfect, and there’s plenty more work to do on some of the bits that aren’t commonly accessed. With that in mind, if you spot any issues, please report them in the comments of this post.