Recent learnings – mostly technology related

Been a while since I posted anything here, but these are sitting in my notes waiting to get stored somewhere better, and the pile got to a size where I might as well put them here.

Skype and Growl

How often when watching a presentation, have you seen the little pop-ups telling you so-and-so went on or off-line?
Well, that is because the person was probably using Growl, and forgot to sign out of skype. I think that this is due to the fact that the owner of the laptop has *two* places to turn off and/or tune notification – in both Skype and Growl.

Speaking of Growl, turns out they have finally started to charge for the software, but only via Apple’s App store (means using iTunes, which I never do).
As the earlier version had been release under an open source license, someone has tidied it up and fixed some Lion specific bugs, and put it out there for the world. You can find it here

Web development:

As part of my new job I have been on a bit of a learning sprint around HTML and CSS.
I understood the basics, but having no reason to have to experiment with things had not tested that knowledge. Other people had always stepped up much faster, and I always enjoy watching others work, and saw no reason to compete with people 🙂

CSS – Fundamentals

If it starts with a dot is a class i.e it is something which might occur multiple times on a page.
If it starts with a hash/pound it is an ID, i.e. something which can occur only once on a page

To get things set correctly use either Opera, Chrome or Firebug (for Firefox and Safari).
Opera and Chrome are easier as they have the option to right click on anything and “Inspect Element”. Once the inspector window is open, you can change or add CSS properties and see what it does to the web page. This is very useful.

Testing Web pages in IE on Apple Macs

Oh, and speaking of useful, when doing web-developement, it turns out that there are still people using IE.
Minor problem if you work on a Apple Mac, as there is no version available.
Luckily, Microsoft makes some Virtual-PC images available for zero cost specifically for this purpose. But, you can’t run Virtual-PC on a Mac, but you can run VMware Fusion or VirtualBox. VirtualBox currently being cost free, is often preferred, but VirtualBox can not read/start these images.
After much searching, I found a post that describes how to convert Virtual-PC images to VirtualBox ones. It does this via a shell script that does all of the heavy lifting for you.
My testing has so far been limited to starting the VM, and it does boot, and you can click round in it, but as it only has 256MB RAM allocated, it is s-l-o-w 😦

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