After seeing Typo on a few high-profile blogs, I’m considering making the switch to a different blog engine.  I’m hoping this will help me post more often than I do.

Switching to a new blog system is tough when you consider the problem of legacy blog posts.  Thankfully, I can probably use mod_rewrite to archive my older posts without having to worry about importing them into the new blog system. 

With any luck, I’ll be able to jam my current site template into Typo and have a seamless switchover.

Read full post

Three spools of wire and CDN$ 470 later, I’ve got 1000 ft of Cat 5e and RG6 (both fire-rated) and 300 meters of 14 gauge fire-rated audio wiring. 

If anyone is considering a home wiring project, this is a good time.  Home Depot has some 10% off in-store coupons good ‘til the 17th.

Read full post

I love Slashdot comments:

Introverted, suspicious-looking people acting strange on public transportation. What a wonderful point in history to do this!

What it means is that in Canada the terrorists have not won.

Read full post

We’re building a new home and I’ve decided that I’m going to do the audio part of the structured wiring myself.  Some interesting things I’ve learning in my research:

  • Cable runs should all terminate in a single location.  This makes it easy to re-configure your audio system to do all sorts of nifty things.  Note that this applies equally well to ethernet/coax wiring.
  • Run conduit first, then run your wires within the conduit.  This makes it easier to add extra runs as necessary later.
  • Volume controls are expensive.  The cheapest ones I found were at Home Depot for $40, regular $80.  At Soundsaround, they run from $120-200+!
  • Home audio wiring in the walls should use fire-rated cabling.  This stuff won’t catch or carry a fire throughout your house.
  • RG6 coax should be adequate to carry 2.2 GHz signals, required for the DishProPlus “two satellite transponders on one wire” technology.  The ExpressVu boxes are supposed to have support for this built-in - it’s nice to cut the number of outside runs in half.

I found a good 300 m spool of 14 gauge, 2-conductor wire at Rona Revy for $189.00.  With any luck, this should give me enough cable to wire the whole house.

I’m still trying to find a good way to run a bunch of wires from the attic to the basement in the two level house.  There doesn’t seem to be a single wall that runs from top to bottom that I can hijack for a straight conduit run.  It might be easier to see this when the framing has started.  The audio wires are surprisingly thick - the 14 gauge wire seems to be nearly as thick as a standard cat5 cable.

Read full post

I’ve noticed that the quality of stuff being posted on IEBlog is so far below-par that it could be considered dangerous for the future of the web.  Strangely enough, this seems to be an epidemic in web-related Microsoft blogs.

Yesterday, IEBlog posted a link to an article on MSDN on how to add rounded corners to a box.  The methods suggested in the article, however, are the terrible, un-semantic techniques that people were using years ago!  Thankfully, some of the commenters have been calling them out on it:

This is news! People have been doing this for a while, but of course they’re always the extra markup that get’s really messy to manage for large projects. This kind of thing as been around for years. (in fact MSDN nicely outlined all the _wrong_ way’s to do this). You support a lot of things that aren’t in standards, like vbscript and activeX, why not support something that is at least planned and will be in the standards very soon?

Great job at innovation guys!

Dean Edwards (of IE7 fame), stated it well:

I can’t believe you’ve linked to this terrible article. In the days of semantic markup and CSS you are suggesting that web devs alter their data to get a visual effect. Astonishing. I hope that Mr Mielke won’t be allowed to blog again here.

Now, this isn’t the only offence that Microsoft’s web-related blogs have caused.  A number of the blogs have been pushing the mantra that “Javascript closures are harmful”.  The article often follows a pattern:

  • Javascript closures are harmful
  • This is what they do
  • This is the 1990’s way of attaching event handlers via strings
  • IE is buggy and leaks when certain closures are used

Check out this classic post in which the author realizes that power of Javascript closures, but trashes them because IE leaks memory!  Bear in mind that this is an IE-specific leak - no other browser leaks memory when using closures.

This is an extremely powerful functional language feature, but it is important to not misuse it. There are ways to cause memory-leak-like situations using closures.

Don’t use closures unless you really need closure semantics. In most cases, non-nested functions are the right way to go.

Microsoft wants web developers to cut their use of a very powerful development feature because they haven’t been able to fix it.  Contrary to the belief of the IE team, closures are useful in nearly every case that you need an event handler.  Thankfully we have Javascript libraries like the EventCache to clear this stuff up on page unload and prevent many leaks.

Don’t believe Microsoft’s message that closures are inherently buggy - hold their feet to the fire on this one!

Read full post