Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Help to get rid of daylight saving in Western Australia

We are subjected again to daylight saving here in Western Australia and nobody I know is in favour of it.

The image to left says it all- a blazing sun that you wish would just disappear at the end of a long hot day.
The best part of the day here in WA in the summer is the early morning and you will find literally thousands of poeple up and about early walking. exercising etc before work.
Daylight saving just reduces that opportunity by removing an hour of time before people have to get to work. The urge to jump on the civil disobedience boat and refuse to wind the clock forward must be so tempting.
It is just not a sensible idea in a state that is so hot and already has more sunlight in the day than other parts of Australia.

The opposition leader here in West Australia is due to lodge a private members bill to have a referendum due after a three year daylight saving trial brought forward.
You can indicate your support for this bill by going to the following address.

This is what I said:

"I am a resident of Albany and I am writing to offer my support for your private member's bill to force an earlier referendum on daylight saving.
I, and many, many people I have spoken to, are vociferously against daylight saving and are appalled at the thought that we may have to suffer for another two summers before we have the opportunity to yet again vote "No"."

If you agree with the sentiment of this post:

I would urge you to send it to other people on your network so as they can also lodge their support for the referendum being brought forward and the likelyhood of daylight saving ever occurring in West Australia again removed with a resounding "No" vote!

This is the 100th post on this blog!

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Using an open document format .odt to extract an image from a Microsoft Word .doc

I am currently developing a website for an architectural client and I had asked them to email images of themselves and information relating to their qualifications and details relating to projects they have completed. I received 2 Microsoft Word documents with their images embedded which was not quite what I was after.
So how to get the images out?

Now I know you can copy an image from Microsoft Word to Microsoft photo editor or Coreldraw and then resave it as a file in it's own right but I reckon the following method using Open Office is more elegant.
  1. Open the Word document up in Open Office and resave it as an .odt (open document text) file.
  2. Navigate to where you saved the .odt file, right click on it and and rename the file extension from .odt to .zip.
  3. Extract the zip file and open the resulting folder.
    Amazing - All the components of your text file are there for you to access!

4. Open the Pictures folder and there you will find the original image for you to use as you wish! Brilliant!

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Wubi - Automated Ubuntu install!

I am a great fan of Ubuntu, generally running the KDE version Kubuntu.
Although it is not that difficult to install on a Windows machine, anything that makes it easier for interested folks to try out this brilliant and free GNU/Linux OS with loads of accompanying software is welcome.

Although still in beta, Wubi does just that, and what I particularly like about this software is that it allows you to uninstall Ubuntu (which is not an easy thing to do normally) using the Windows add or remove programs tool. If you decide you want to install Ubuntu permanently you can use a tool called LVPM to move the Wubi install to it's own partition! How good is that?

Wubi is Safe

It does not require you to modify the partitions of your PC, or to use a different bootloader.

Wubi is Simple

Just run the installer, no need to burn a CD.

Wubi is Discrete

Wubi keeps most of the files in one folder, and If you do not like, you can simply uninstall it.

Wubi is Free

Wubi (like Ubuntu) is free as in beer and as in freedom. You will get this part later on, the important thing now is that it cost absolutely nothing, it is our gift to you...

Ya just gotta give Ubuntu a try out now!

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

WAMP and PHP Designer

I have been doing some web application development for a Uni assignment this semester using PHP and MYSQL which has been interesting and challenging particularly as we were unable to connect to MySQL on the Uni server until recently which made things a little difficult.
So prior to this issue being sorted, I resorted to setting up my laptop with what I needed and went through the process of downloading and installing Apache, PHP and MySQL. All to easy you say - well not really couldn't get MySQL to talk to PHP! As is my habit I went Stumbling for a bit of light relief from my efforts and blow me down I stumbled across a great little PHP video tutorial site by another Aussie called Leighmac.
And the first tutorial was.........Yep, you guessed it WAMP Installation which included PHP Designer installation also!

Well WAMP makes setting up an web application development environment brilliantly easy and provides a fantastic control panel providing access to configuration files, turning services on and off. Apache modules, you name it is there. Fantastic!

And pairing this with PHP designer, a very good IDE providing comprehensive assistance just makes the work a pleasure.
It provides the following features for a very low price.

Designed to boost your productivity and simplify complex coding projects through intelligent set of editing tools that includes full support for PHP 5.2, work with any PHP framework, syntax highlighters, intelligent nested code completion and code tip that are displayed as you type, so you do not need to look into documentation to see classes and function attributes, project manager, code snippets, the large built-in code-libraries, highlights (un)matching brackets and tags and numerous tools and wizards to speed of your development.

The strength in PHP lies in the ability to embed it into- and together with other web-languages and technologies. Therefore, does phpDesigner 2007 Professional not only support PHP but also other web-languages as HTML, MySQL, XML, CSS, JavaScript, VBScript, Java, C#, Perl, Python and Ruby!

Support for WAMP/LAMP and AJAX developers through the intelligent syntax highlighting that automatically switches between syntax highlighters for PHP, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript dependant on your position in the document and dims the rest of the code.

So there you go what are you waiting for get WAMP/PHP Designer today and develop that brilliant application!

Friday, 12 October 2007


Just had to blog about this when I came across it. Yep that is a screenshot of GIMP not Photoshop!

I have been using GIMP on and off for sometime now and have been able to do most of what I needed to do using it. I have recommended it to other people that were not in a position to obtain Photoshop but the clunky GUI puts them off which is a shame.
But along came Scott Moschella with GIMPshop and voila! a much more recognisable GUI and it retains all the extra GIMP stuff you are used to.
Scott has chucked everything in one window and reorganised all the menus etc so as they mimic Photoshop making it far easier for users who have probably played with Photoshop to get along with GIMP. This also means that it is easier to follow photoshop tutorials too which is great!

There are two Windows versions and the one I recommend has the Dewierdifyer plugin that creates the Photoshop style GUI. Click on the image above to download it.
It is still in Beta so there is still probably the odd bug but well worth a look all the same.

450 Database Models

I have been doing databasing this semester at Uni and apart from all the theory and learning SQL etc, I have spent a fair bit of time rummaging around images such as the one to the left to try and come up with database designs.

It takes a little time to get used to doing this and one has to develop one's own method and part of that for me is rummaging around in amongst other ER diagrams that solve a similar scenario. In reality there are only so many possibilities I think, and I have heard there are 7 (correct me if I am wrong) so it is not such a crazy idea. Personally I think the processes and language used throughout a course such as the one I am doing goes a long way to confusing the design process!
I have found a great resource Database Answers created by Barry Williams in London which has around 450 database models which can be used as a starting point for any database project.