Website Blogs


Blogs about what's going on with this site. Provides information about changes and larger entries.

(This page showing the last 10 entries. To see all Website Blogs go to Website Blog Archives)


2015 NASCAR Race Game Open To Register

(Posted 17:53:33 on 8th February 2015)
Roll up, roll up! It's time to create your team for the 2015 NASCAR Race Game. When most people are looking for to a valentines day with their sweetheart, I'm going to be watching the Sprint Unlimited race which is the precursor to the 2015 Season.

Register for the 2015 NASCAR Race Game.

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NASCAR 2014 Race Game now open for registration

(Posted 10:27:33 on 8th February 2014)
The 2014 NASCAR season is almost upon us. It's time to start thinking about who your favorite drivers are and get ready to position them in order of where you'll think they finish in each race. Registration for the 2014 NASCAR Race Game is now open. You can register your team name and get ready for the season to begin. Emails will be sent when the drivers are ready to be selected each week.

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New look Graffiti Wall

(Posted 18:27:39 on 2nd April 2012)
One of the oldest elements of EastBayRag has just been given a face lift. The Graffiti Wall has been cleaned and is waiting for you to spray some new slogans or quotes. Actually, it hasn't been cleaned - if you were one of the few who actually entered something there, it still exists for all to see. All I've done is taken advantage of some of the new features in HTML 5 to have the wall look more like a wall with lots of graffiti scrunched together as opposed to having to scroll down to see the next bit of writing.

If you have an old browser, it won't display and you'll be taken to the old wall. Well, sort of. If you have an old IE browser you'll be taken to the old wall. I've sort of made the assumption that anyone using a different browser will have updated to the latest version and will be able to view HTML 5. If not ... tough!

Anyway, enjoy the new Graffiti Wall. Take a look and have a go.

Oh! It updates every time you load the page, so if it's showing something in a bad color and you can't read it, hit F5 and it'll be displayed differently.

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2012 NASCAR Race Game is Here

(Posted 12:06:13 on 17th February 2012)
It's that time of year again when the NASCAR season starts. This weekend marks the start of the NASCAR season with the Budweiser Shoot Out and then the race competition starts with the Daytona 500 the following week. If you want to participate, you must be a member of this website.

To register for this competition click here. You can then logon to enter your picks for the first race of the competition (the Daytona 500).

To find out more details about the competition click here.

If you are not a member of this site and need to register first click here.

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(Posted 20:04:32 on 20th January 2012)
This is a div!
So, I'm like a kid in the proverbial candy store. I have all the toys I need and they are well and truly inside the pram and I'm not about to toss them out. I've discovered HTML 5. “What is that?” I hear you say. Well, I'm not really sure and it's pretty difficult to explain. HTML 5 is really just the latest standards for hypertext markup language which is really not that exciting until you combine it with the latest standards for cascading style sheets (CSS) and JavaScript. None the wiser are you really? Just felt I needed to add some kind of description, but if you really want to know, you should probably read the details on another site.

Well, why am I so excited? I'm not really sure about that either, but I am. Basically, it allows you to develop and design stuff much easier and faster. You can also make things do things with less code, for example the rotating div that you can see. What a div is is pretty irrelevant to the readers of this blog, it's simply an object that you can apply attributes to and change those attributes dynamically through the use of some simple scripting. You can apply these same attributes to more or less any object on a web page, I just started pratting about with divs because they tend to be the most convenient to prat about with.

This is another div!
So what's going to change with this site? Actually, it's already done! I converted the entire site from XHTML to HTML 5 last night. Now, I know what you're thinking. If I did it in a night, it can't be that big of a deal. For the most part I would agree, but it does mean updating code in over a 1,000 documents. Ordinarily a big task, but I built my own tool to do this kind of stuff a while back and given that I've kept fairly strict patterns (not really standards) in my coding, it wasn't that difficult. I have added some of the new tags throughout, but these are mostly invisible to the users. One change where you may notice something is in the video section if you try to play a video online. The site was embedding Microsoft's Media Player which, I found last night was not actually working in Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 (worked fine in 6, 7 & 8, but seemed to not work in the latest version). Anyway, the site now uses the new <video> tag which works in all new browsers including mobile.

This means we're making a statement. We've gone for cross platform compatibility at the expense of legacy support. I can't be bothered to code in support for anyone on an older browser. Upgrade or ... well, fuck off really. It might be nostalgic of you to have some obscure version of an obsolete Netscape browser and more power to you. There's a place for everyone, but the place for you ain't here.

Div behind a div
Yet another div!

The thing is, the initial excitement I got when I started reading about HTML 5 (and yes, I know I'm over a year behind, but I do have a day job you know) was all the wonderful things it could do more easily. The problem, I find as I start doing my little examples is that the specific coding and support is different for each browser, so you have to write something different for Mozilla's Firefox to Microsoft's Internet Explorer to Apple's Safari to Google's Chrome to Opera. This is painful enough without then having to figure out what version of said browser you're using and adding code for that. If I can do my bit and code for each of these, you can do your bit and upgrade to the latest version.

Not a div. Fooled Ya!
Rather odd that it's called a “standard” when there are so many interpretations of it.

I will take the time to add my bragging rights in that I have my video working under this new model ... in one night .... and Google's still working on getting YouTube up to date. They're beta testing an HTML 5 site to get the same level of functionality I have. Which just goes to show one thing ... they have a hell of a lot more videos to convert than I do. As I mentioned above, although you can use the same tag to invoke a video player, each browser requires the file to be provided in a different format. Not each browser, but you have to provide a version of the video in .mp4, .webm and .ogg. a quick plug to Miro Video Converter that I found very handy for the job. The thing that makes me laugh in that sad thing that passes as my mind is that I sat there and converted about 20 videos one at a time, three times each, watching a green progress bar go up and then a couple of clicks and onto the next. (I was actually working working whilst I was doing this ... such a multi-tasker!). The one at a time is on the basis that the free software I'm using doesn't have a multi-file selection option. I just have this image that somewhere in the YouTube offices there was a meeting to figure out the best way to decide how to convert a gazillion videos. And you just know someone wrote on a flip chart the options of getting someone to develop a script versus hiring a bunch of interns to do the job one at a time.

And the next day, someone was tasked with renting premises to house a thousand interns whist they sit there day after day watching green progress bars.
This div spins me right round baby.


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Mr O
23rd January 2012
I obviously had to test the video theory and randomly picked hoghorn, I presume this is now installed on the boat?
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NASCAR Race Game is here again

(Posted 13:39:05 on 13th February 2011)
Back by popular demand. Well, popular in the sense that at least two people want to play. The race game is here again. We're set to run for the 2011 NASCAR season. You need to register for the event first (this is a one time thing) and then you need to logon to make your picks and play the game.

Remember, you only need to make picks in the first week as they copy forward each week. You can make changes to your selections up to two hours prior to the start of each race.

Quick word of warning, I have noticed that the up and down arrows on the selection page are not necessarily doing what they're supposed to. I'm out of town for about 3 weeks, and I'll fix that when I get back. For now, just select from the drop down box.

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I am not a number, I'm a free man

(Posted 22:03:56 on 10th June 2009)
Yes! We want information .... information ....

Well, what normally takes a team of developers hundreds of hours, I've achieved in a lunchtime and evening. Yep, I've developed another dashboard. Not satisfied with the initial dashboard, it came to me over lunch that I could create another one that provides yet more irrelevant information. It's like when I was diagnosed with Crohn's - you just don't know when the crap's going to stop coming.

So this is to make amends for the initial country pie chart that was basically a colored circle for one country. Now, we've gone totally the other way and found an excessive amount of data so that it plots to the pie chart and makes it unreadable because there can be too many segments.

This dashboard is accessed from the places selection page that allows you to select a location and see what pictures were taken there. Noting that there can be multiple tracks per location as well as multiple pictures. The overkill is that it plots the number of pictures taken of each species of animal, so if you pick a location like Las Gallinas that has a lot of animals, the pie chart is very difficult to decipher. If you want a head start, the chart starts plotting at 3 O' clock and goes clockwise.

As with the initial dashboard, this one is also linked from the photos home page.

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(Posted 19:48:16 on 9th June 2009)
Billions of dollars are being spent in the corporate world creating dashboards for management reporting. The need to get real time online information on performance against key metrics and all that good stuff.

Well, keen to follow the rat race, I thought it was time I introduced this concept to East Bay Rag. Now, not only have I created a dashboard, but it's an interactive dashboard with drill-down. Only the best will do here.

Now, as with the management reports that the billions of dollars are chasing, the only minor setback is that the information is completely and utterly meaningless. My dashboard reports on animal photos I've taken. Go to the initial animal statistics selection page and select the animal of your choice. (Noting that you can sort the list by the number of photos taken of each animal - ooooooh!) This takes you to the dashboard that provides lots of irrelevant information about the number of photos taken of that animal and allows you to drill further and do all kinds of fun things.

My personal favorite is the pie chart that shows how many photos have been taken of the animal in different countries. For the most part, this is just a complete circle with one country representing 100% of the photos - as I said, completely meaningless ..... but very functional. If you want to test the pie chart, I know that deer, mallard, European starling and greylag goose have been photographed in more than one country.

If you need to find this from the main menus, the animal statistics can be found on the photos home page.

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Where in the world?

(Posted 22:14:26 on 31st May 2009)
I've been messing around with geotagged images for a while (images that have their longitude and latitude associated with them). After much playing I've created my own interface with Google maps so that I can display these images on a map.

I got to thinking, wouldn't it be great if you could pick from selections and see where the photos have been taken? To that end, I set to work producing a few scripts that would parse the xml files where the geotag information is stored and display them on a map to see where they were taken. I've created a basic option that allows you to search by track and display each track on a map. In addition, you can search by animal and display where each animal photo was taken on a map.

These two options are also available on the photos home page.

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Now With Added Comment

(Posted 18:21:06 on 24th January 2009)
Followers of the photographs on this site will have noticed that I added geotracking to the last set of photos and displayed them on a map at the foot of the page. If you missed this, it's these birding photos. (The photos themselves are not that good, it was really a test run for the geotagging to see if I could assign the geotags to the photos and then show them on the map. The idea being that this will allow people to follow us as we travel across the US on our road trip at the end of February. (More to come on this).

Anyway, in my ever increasing desire to create things of no use whatsoever, I decided that it may be useful to open the photo pages up for comment. Possibly if someone actually stumbles onto this site and knows what the birds in the photos really are or if someone just wants to comment on whether they think a particular set of photos is good or bad.

Completely pointless as I doubt that anyone will actually bother given this sites world-wide viewing audience of 3. But you never know ....

The bad news is that the weather's pretty bad at the minute so I'm not going to get out to take any photos this weekend. So, if you're really keen to make a comment, you'll have to wait until I get the chance to get back out or go back and comment on some historic pictures.

Given that the weather's bad I decided to have a quick fiddle with the site and have also added a quick tag photo search page that is found from the photos home page. This sort of provides a middle ground between the photo categories and the photo database. It doesn't give you the full search capability of the photo database, e.g. you can't search on a specific bird, but it is quicker to use if you want to search on a broader category like a NASCAR race or a family member.

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