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Prettier Flood Maps

I’ve been meaning to get rid of the awful chequerboard pattern on my flood tiles for ages. Today, I’ve finally done it. The flood maps should now look much better on LCD monitors, or when printed out.

Update! I reverted it.

I was overloading Google Maps’ getOpacity() to set the whole GTileLayerOverlay to 50% transparency. It did look a lot prettier, but it also ran much more slowly. I could drag the old chequerboard style maps around the screen as fast as the mouse would move. The new maps moved like molasses. The whole user experience felt awful. Only Safari bucked the trend – it managed to handle the alpha channel with ease.

I had another go. This time I changed the tiles so that they were inherently semi-transparent PNG files. That was quicker (but not as quick as before), but I couldn’t get it to work in IE6.

So, sadly, I’ve reverted the change. We’re back to the ugly chequerboard patterns, but at least it’s still quick and fun to play with.

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Why Safari Sucks: 3. Close Button on Every Tab

Don’t get me wrong. I like Safari. I use it almost every day. But some things about it just irritate me again and again and again…

Next, the close buttons on every tab.

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Easy Ajax Album

I’ve finished the first version of my easy online photo gallery software.

Easy Ajax Album is an open source PHP script that enables you to create an online photo album in seconds. Just copy the index.php file into the image directories on your web-server. That’s it! Download it here! [source]

Browse the example site to get an idea of what it looks like.

Features:

  • Simple to install.
  • Smooth modern user interface, using Ajax technology.
  • Slide show.
  • Captions.
  • EXIF data display.
  • Support for themes.

I’ve not yet implemented visitor comments, but that’s coming along.

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Flood Maps Upgraded

Google have just withdrawn the old version of their “Maps API”. That broke Flood Maps and sent me into a tizzy of reading up on the new version and recoding my JavaScript to use it.

The site was down for a few hours, but I’ve now restored it. The positive side-effect is that it now benefits from all of the improvements made to Google maps over the last year. The most obvious upgrade is that there are maps of the whole world, rather than just the USA, UK and Japan.

That makes the potential threat to the Netherlands (for example) all the more striking.

Thanks to Mike Pouy, who spotted the problem.

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EventCalendar 3.1

I’ve finally released the new version of EventCalendar. I’m really proud of it. It’s been updated, with better integration into WordPress and some cool new features.

Even more importantly, I’ve put loads of effort into making it easy to install and use. WordPress users aren’t always the most tech-savvy web-site owners, so it’s important that the plug-in should be as straightforward as possible. That helps the users, but it also helps me. EventCalendar is quite popular, I think there are probably about ten-thousand installations, so I get quite a few cries for help from confused bloggers. Every bit of extra usability means fewer support e-mails for me to deal with.

Many of the new features in this release have been implemented by Darrell Schulte. Without his enthusiasm, I’m not sure that version 3.1 would ever have made it.

Anyway, all the details are over on the EventCalendar blog.

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EventCalendar Blog

EventCalendar now has its very own website. It actually runs an example of the plugin running, and contains detailed documentation.

I’ve just released the first v3.1 release candidate.

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Timezones in PHP.

How do I convert timestamps between UTC (GMT) and an arbitrary timezone in PHP?

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EventCalendar 3.1 Beta

The first public beta release of EventCalendar 3.1 is now available. This is a significant re-write. Event dates are now kept in their own table, so they are seperate from the post date. There is a new Ajax interface on the post edit screen that allows you to set the event date.

Also:

  • Event dates are shown in their own little box at the beginning of event posts.
  • Multi-day events are now supported.

EventCalendar works fine with WordPress v1.5. From v3.1 it also works with WordPress 2. Read the rest of this entry »

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More about Flood Maps

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about my Flood Maps web-site. Here’s a compilation of all the thing’s I’ve had to say about them so far.

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Why Safari Sucks: 2. The URL Bar

Don’t get me wrong. I like Safari. I use it almost every day. But some things about it just irritate me again and again and again…

Next, the URL bar.

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