DHTML Lemmings

Some may suspect I’m a bit nostalgic when it comes to old, classic games, on the grounds of what I wrote about Pirates! not long ago. And that may be true. Another game I have enjoyed in previous times, is Lemmings – these cute, suicidal creatures which you have to guide safely home. This game is now recreated – if not all levels and not completely – with the use of Javascript.

So, wether you’re a nostalgic or have no idea what I’m talking about, go have a try yourself at DHTML Lemmings.

No smoking?

As Norway got its smoking ban in places where people work – like restaurants, pubs and so on – there were an outcry from unhappy smokers, who had to go outside to smoke. Claims were heard that in no other country such strict laws were found. Well – at least not nationwide.

That claim can now definitely not be made anymore. The kingdom of Bhutan now has a ban on sale of tobacco products – with severe penalties for those who don’t comply.

Who’s next? Maybe smokers should be happy they’re allowed to smoke at all?

Switching from IE

Why are people switching from IE, Arve Bersvendsen asks in his blog. Personally I use the alternatives because all of them offer more and just plainly are much better. But I recently asked a similar question on an online forum (norwegian, for women): Which browser have they tried, and what are the experiences?

I have more or less made the claim that anyone who tries an alternative – really tries, and not give up afte the first button which looks different – will never go back to IE. So far it looks like it holds true.

OK, it’s not always easy to get the interesting details in the answers, but with one exception everyone was happy, whether they used, Mozilla, Firefox, Opera or Safari. And that exception didn’t state for how long she had tried. (But she’s under constant pressure on the home front to use Linux ;-))

The reasons mentioned includes the tabbed browsing (or really, an effect of this: Only one entry on the start bar when browing many pages,) faster, more stable, that you continued where you left off, and how much you can configure and change the look of the browser (Opera) to suit yourself.

There were a couple of comments I enjoyed particulary; one, because she stated Opera even had the functions she didn’t know she missed – and probably even more. The second, because a couple of weeks ago I convinced one who was a bit “afraid” to install a new browser (“Isn’t it difficult?”) to try Opera. I guided her through the process (“Download, double click to install, answer ‘yes’ to set it as your default browser, and start using. It’s that simple.”) and now she’s quite happy with it. She will not go back to IE.

So, while there haven’t been much details as for why they’re happy with the alternatives, it’s been clear that IE is abandoned.

Flashify it.

Is there a word called flashify? If not, maybe there should be…

I’m thinking of the process of turning a web page og web site in (X)HTML/XML into a site using Macromedia Flash. And the reason I’m thinking of that process, is the possibility of doing it myself. OK, not completely; just some elements – flashify light, maybe.

The part I’m pondering if I’ll change is one important part of this site: The “moon base menu” on the main page, which is the entrance point to the different areas. It needs to be updated in some way no matter what.

I know, there is the question of accessibility, too – and I won’t sacrifice that aspect on the altar of fanciness. There are three possibilities as I see it now:

  1. Directing flash-users to a page with the flash menu, and the rest getting a text or javascript menu as it is now.
  2. Include the flash menu on the page for the flash users, and text/javascript for the rest
  3. Just have a fancy flash menu – and a simpler text-menu in addition. Styled with CSS, of course.

Just sending people a flash-menu just because they’re able to see it, doesn’t mean they prefer it. So there must be a choice – and to avoid having them choose every time, utilise a cookie. (Hopefully they’ll accept cookies.) I’ll probably go for the second method – including the menu in the page – should I go for that solution and offer two different versions.

But I’m also tempted to just offer both flash and text. Doing it right, it doesn’t need to get an unneccessary double-up feeling. While the text links would offer a quick wayto just get where they want, flash could offer descriptions and details of the various choices – and maybe even extra bits, like flash animations. Or something.

To be honest, at the moment the latter option seems most attractive to me. I’ll have to give this some thought.

All I want for Christmas…

…is a dish washer. I mention it just in case one of you readers should feel very generous.

Anyway, the Christmas cards are now made, printed out, and sent. At least those which should be sent half way over the globe. A few more should be written and sent to friends closer to home, but there’s still some time to do that. And to send them by email to a few more.

Also, there’s the fun in going around and shopping Christmas gifts. Yes, it can be a bit difficult, too, but this year I’ve got more time for looking around than I’ve had in a while – and it’s wonderful. And when there’s three nephews to buy for, I get the chance to try out some toys too – I’m not too old to play and have fun. 😉

Sid Meiers Pirates!

When I heard Pirates should come out in a new and updated version for the PC, I thought: That’s a game I shall have.

When I read the first previews of the game, I thought: That’s a game I shall have.

When I read the first reviews of the finished game, they were nice and positive. I thought: That’s a game I shall have.

When I read some more reviews later, they weren’t all that praising. Graphics were updated, and you could even dance this time – but it soon got a bit repetitive. Especially the music. I thought: Oooops!

Well – I’ve got the game, and tested it briefly. I’ve also thought a bit: The game was just as repetitive on the C64 when I played it there, but I enjoyed it a lot still. Sail around in the same area all the time, visit the various towns, attack pirates and the enemies. Get promoted, get rich, get famous. Find your lost family members, find treasures, find a nice town to take over and install a new governor in. Deal with a happy crew – or a mutinous crew. And a bit more.

Yes – it was a bit repetitive on the C64, too, but it was fun. It was playable. And from my brief test with this new version, that’s all still there. And a bit more. I mentioned dancing – not the easiest thing to do. When you sneak into towns now, you really sneak into towns, going (sneaking) through the streets, climbing walls, and knocking down guards. No longer choosing a menu option and cross your fingers. And swordfighting is more fun, looking good with some nice touches.

And still, I’ve just barely tested it yet. Who knows if I’ll find more later on? The thing that can become a bit too repetitive, is the music – but when I tire of it I’ll just turn it off. It’s easy to do, and I’m not a difficult guy.

Well – just a taste, and while it’s too early to say anything definite, I don’t think I had a reason to think “ooops” up above. But I’ll find out in time. 😉


“Yoohoo,” he said. The sarcasm in his tone was biting. “Just started up and gone public, and lots of comments to my posts before 24 hours have passed. Gee, I’m popular.”

The downside to this popularity is of course the random nonsense the comments were spewing. And this lack of intelligence is supposed to draw people to their gambling sites?

A few comments managed to get posted before I got the spam filter adjusted – maybe I should bill them for the advertising? Because I don’t do free advertising.

Lots of time…

Phew. I thought I should be early this year and make my advent calendar ready in good time before advent, so that I didn’t have to think about that these days. It’s a busy enough period as it is. Unfortunately, this is something I didn’t do – I have to make the content ready in time, competing with the calendar and the clock for a while yet. In addition to the stuff I have to prioritise before the calendar (shocking news as it is.)

I did finish the first day today, ready to be enjoyed tomorrow. So, I was quick enough – unless you live some time zones east of me. Whoops. Well – cross your fingers and hope I’ll finish the rest in good time before the first ones open the ‘presents’ straight after midnight in the following days. It’s going to be hard, but – it has to be done, and I’m the one who must do it, so wish me luck.

Why Internet Explorer?

Sometimes I have to think long and hard to find reasons for why things are like they are, and sometimes I can’t find any sensible reasons no matter how long and hard I think. One of the questions that have roamed around in my head is why people continue to use Internet Explorer. That question belongs in the latter category.

Sometimes I have to think long and hard to find reasons for why things are like they are, and sometimes I can’t find any sensible reasons no matter how long and hard I think. One of the questions that have roamed around in my head is why people continue to use Internet Explorer. That question belongs in the latter category.

OK, I know it is straight forward and hasslefree to start using – after all, it’s already installed and ready to be used. There also still exist some sites that for some reason is coded to need IE. That’s two reasons in favour of IE, but is it enough to stay with that browser, and not switch to another? Will switching bring more hassle than staying with IE?

What is involved in switching? Well, there is the downloading part. This is a painless operation, both for Opera and FireFox, two of the most popular alternative browsers on the Windows platform. Installing? Just doubleclick on the downloaded file icon, and off you go, easy as a breeze. The most hassle involved in this switching operation, would be to get the finger out and just do it. It’s not hard. Of course, I must admit that it is a little bit more hassle than not doing anything, so this far IE may be at the top of preferred browsers.

Let’s start using this alternative browser we’ve downloaded – what can we expect? It depends. FireFox looks more familiar to IE users than Opera do, which can be an advantage to FireFox, but Opera can be configured to change appearance more than FireFox (unless I’ve missed something) so that it can suit your needs as you want. Both of them support tabbed browsing, popup-killers, and much more. Opera has some features that FireFox don’t and vice versa. Both of them have many more features than IE has.

Personally, I would at this point place both alternatives ahead of IE, just because of the extra features. However, if you haven’t tried these and not realised how useful many of them are, you may not look at them as advantages. IE still works well and do what you want, right?

So how does the browsers hold up against each other when actually browsing net sites? Well, there still exist some sites that require IE to be used, but these are luckily fewer and fewer in between. But don’t be too hasty in giving the points to IE here – more and more sites are beginning to utilise the capabilities CSS gives them, allowing every browser to access the content, but older browsers will get a visually downgraded version. IE belongs now in that category – it is an older browser, and is beginning to lose out at new sites. As widely used it is, many will do as much as possible to give IE users the same experience as the rest – but it’s not always possible, or wanted. At this point, the alternatives are ahead of IE, without doubt. For the rare sites where IE is required – well, IE is still installed, right? It can be used as a last resort, if those sites are important enough.

Some may want to wait for an update to IE, to keep what they’re familiar with. It will be a long wait: MS has said that there will no longer be any updates to the browser. Not as a standalone, downloadable program – only as part of future Windows (Longhorn.) Updating to a free browser now is cheaper and faster than waiting for Longhorn to come out.