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Dave's Law of Development

4 August 2011   |   Comments   |   development, humour

The moment a problem is observed by a second developer, the ease with which the problem is solved becomes inversely proportional to the time already spent trying to solve it.

Basic Linux Command Line Tips

18 March 2011   |   Comments   |   linux, tips

Learning your way around the command line is essential if you are developing with PHP (or Python, or a myriad of other languages most at home on Linux) and interacting with your server(s) with anything other than FTP and basic control panels. Here are some tips and tricks I've found useful.

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Importance and Priorities

6 October 2010   |   Comments

We've been arguing at work lately about important and priority levels. Our bug tracking system allows for virtually limitless options as far as categorisation goes, yet we're having trouble coming up with a system that works.

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The Vertical Mouse

16 August 2010   |   Comments   |   ergonomics, comfort, workspace, mouse

Evoluent Vertical Mouse

I've been using a computer daily since the early 1990s, and inevitably some parts of my body have reacted badly to this. My right wrist started hurting sometime in the 2000s, and last year that pain extended further up my arm. RSI had become a problem that I needed to deal with.

After a bit of digging around various ergonomics websites, I decided to try a new mouse. It was my mouse arm that was giving me grief, so that seemed to be a good place to start. On the recommendation of a fellow geek, I decided to try a Vertical Mouse from Evoluent. It's a weird looking contraption, that is basically a mouse on its side.

The idea is that you twist your forearm less with a vertical mouse. Your arm remains in a neutral, natural position when using it. I was dubious this would make any difference.

However, after a week using my first one at home, I bought a second for work. I've not had wrist or arm trouble since. It has changed my working life. I wouldn't go back to using a normal mouse.

Page Load Metrics

23 July 2010   |   Comments   |   ecommerce, performance

A recent client wanted some specific information about performance and load times for an ecommerce store. There are best practices, of course, and lots of factors that can affect load time, and most ecommerce shop managers also want lots of imagery, so a more detailed breakdown of load times and items was required.

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Dropbox is an excellent cross-platform freemium file synchronisation and online storage application. If that doesn't have you salivating already, it has a few more tricks up its sleeve.

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Cheat Sheet Formats

11 June 2010   |   Comments   |   cheat sheets

All of the cheat sheets are currently available in (passable) PNG and (not very well done) PDF. What would be your preferred format(s) for them, in order?

Options that spring immediately to mind include PNG, PDF, HTML, XML, SVG, JPG, DOC, ODF, mobile version and a hard copy, but feel free to add any others you'd like in the comments.

On Calendar Reform

10 June 2010   |   Comments

I enjoyed reading about Calendar Reform and the various interesting ideas involved recently. I especially like the World Calendar, which starts on the same day of the week every year - making calendars reusable.

Also worth thinking about was the idea that, one day, we will most likely ditch the BC/AD/BCE/CE year numbering systems in favour of a "Before First Contact" and "After First Contact" system.

Of course, changing calendars is always going to be tricky, especially with current technology, communications and global economy concerns. And it's only ever going to become more difficult as technology becomes more integrated with, well, everything.

But it did occur to me that we all already use two calendar systems concurrently - an absolute one (commonly Gregorian) and a relative one (e.g., such and such happened one year ago).

So maybe the idea isn't so far fetched after all ...

On Short Form

10 June 2010   |   Comments   |   added bytes

It's been quiet round these parts. I'm finding it hard to put the time into writing (more here).

I want to be able to jot thoughts down faster, while they're in my head. And not to feel guilty if I post something short.

The cure? Shorter form posts, like this one.

This handy PHP command line script for Ubuntu will switch your desktop wallpaper over whenever you like, generating you something new using letters you define and the fonts available on your system.

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