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J.B. Churchill's blog

Google Search, and Google Maps APIs

I just added a Google search function to my home page. It should search content from this site but it doesn't seem to work. Paul Boag's recent podcast mentioned ways to add “ajax-y” things (google maps) to your website without having to learn very much code. I plan to check it out and see what I can do with this. Perhaps a good google map will come in handy whenever explaining something with a spatial component.

Theming White-Belt

I keep hearing the Lullabot guys referring to people as “Theming Ninjas”. I had some help from my local ninja recently. The shinobi master (some know him as Eric) helped me write my first ever php script (actually he wrote it and I watched). It added the little comment icon at the end of every post where it says “add new comment”. I further modified it tonight so that icons are automatically assigned for every category that I've included so far. I feel that I have earned my White-Belt. Learning PHP seems like a good idea. Perhaps I can soon work my way up to a Yellow-Belt.

Crash Course - Image Optimization

I've been reading a lot about Image Optimization for the web over the past couple of weeks. This is something I can no longer ignore since wait times (while images are loading) lead to frustrated readers. I've improved some of my old Image Magick scripts (Perl). mogrify -geometry $size convert -density 72x72 -filter lanczos -compress JPEG -quality 80 $fntn
where $size is a x value and $fntn is the filename variable (both are passed in as arguments). The density is essentially the dpi. The lanczos filter is an effective compression algorithm. Perhaps the most interesting fact is that Image Quality is NOT a percentage. In fact it is somewhat meaningless in that it varies from program to program. It is a good idea to test the level of quality in an image to find the maximum quality reduction (which is positively correlated to byte size reduction) that doesn't visibly degrade the appearance of the image. That isn't as easy to automate.

CSS Rounded Corners

The Rounded Corners effect. This article describes the process very nicely and succinctly. Kudos to Adam Kalsey. Nicely done!
The Article Link

Tizag Tutorials

I came across this site the other day while looking for a PHP tutorial. I found a good one here that was very basic and easy to understand. They have scads of great tutorials on css, html, perl, xml, javascript, ajax etc. Its a site worth knowing about.
Tizag Web Tutorials

XML (Google ?) weirdness

I've had an RSS feed now for a while (a couple of months ?). I thought it was working fine until recently when I noticed that it was showing items that I've manually deleted and not showing items that I've added. I normally like to blog from here with cool stuff that I've found that may be of use to someone. This time I'm hoping someone can help me. I can hit my feed directly with my browser ( and it shows the correct items. It doesn't show up correctly in my google ig page or when added to the google reader. I asked a co-worker to try to add it to his BlogLines and it read the file correctly. So I'm left with the idea that somehow google is the culprit (and they say they aren't evil !??!). I'd believe that was the only problem except my Drupal aggregator (left panel) is showing the same incorrect crap that the Google readers show. Anyone have any ideas ?

More tabbed navigation (sliding doors)

I made some cool page navigation tabs based on an article at The article is by Douglas Bowman from stopdesign. I think they are very cool. Future site redesign ?

My Tabs  -   The article

Loving those Google Tabs

Didja notice the tabs in the Google Personalized Page ? They are very cool. I was wondering how I could keep so many RSS widgets straight on one page. Now I can subdivide by topics. I wish I could re-order the tabs and change colors. I managed to get rid of the sickly green color by creating a new tab (after green and red they all go back to blue) and dumping everything from the green tab into the new tab. See the attached screen shots. I made tabs for Home, News, Tech, and My Stuff.

Screen shots

Tetris with jquery

I used to spend countless hours playing Tetris on the Nintendo box with my buddy James. Tonight I was finally checking out jquery ... a javascript library that is finding its way into the next major rollout of Drupal. One of the demos was a Tetris game. Pretty cool and very much like the original !

The WTF Internet category

Two of the most bizarre (and pointless) sites on the internet. Warning ... don't waste much time on these pages lest you become brain dead.
Can it really be ... the end of the internet ? ... where anything is possible. Whatever !??!


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