Web Dev Log

Reverse chronological order ...

29 Nov 05 - Added a book review for Lev Grossmans 'Codex', an excellent mix of the historic and modern in a surreal thriller

28 Nov 05 - Finally created the Books review page and added the review for Andy McNabs Aggresor as a first review.

8 Nov 05 - Created a profile on myspace.com and posted some of the stuff from this site.

8 Nov 05 - This Site: Added the Survey thing which is a bit of fun

7 Nov 05 - iReview: Re Wrote the Serenity review for the 3rd time

4 Nov 05 - iWrite: Deciphering The New Testament

31 Oct 05 - iWrite: An instance or two of predestination.

31 Oct 05 - LOTR: The Two Towers Review migrated from the old website.

27 Oct 2005 - Pride and Prejudice Review

27 Oct 05 - Updated Serenity Review

25 Oct 05 - New Movie Review design

23 Oct 05 - Added 'Stick Fighters' to Techno

23 Oct 05 - Added 'Hannibal Flash' to Techno

23 Oct 05 - Added 'Christmas Card' to Techno

20 Oct 05 - Added 'Rollover Buttons' to Techno

20 Oct 05 - Created Techno Section

14 Oct 05 - Updated movie introduction

12/ Oct 05 - Serenity Review

11 Oct 05 - iRobot DVD review

Tuesday 25 October 2005
Completed the redesign of the movies page which included adding pictures of marketing posters, movie credits including boxoffice takings and adding a bit of color to headers. All of which will provide lots of juicy info for web bots, hopefully.

A lot of work.

Monday 24 October 2005
Added the sitemap for google bots which is an ommission I discovered by chance, I had wondered why only the front page appeared on google. To say I added a sitemap completely underestimates the work involved of course. About 4 hours just for a simple outline with correct links and proper titles for each link for the bots to decipher.

Sunday 23 October 2005
Finished adding the archive iLearn stuff from the old website into the techno section of this website. I started this last friday and is now completed. I am not totally sure about making the techno section look graphically different, as in a retro look, but thats how it is right now and its staying like that. All the stuff that was listed in the old ilearn is now here, I plan on adding newer tech stuff i have done soon.

Tuesday 18 October 2005
Finally, I added the 'recently' bar to the main page, so the casual browser can see and click ot the most recently created added stuff.

Friday 14 October 2005
Changed the movie review introduction. Got rid of the pizza two for one story (its better living in my mind) and padded the thought process on how movies effect the uneducated/educated mind. Much better.

Wednesday 12 October 2005
Amended the Mission statement to reflect that there is no swearing on this site. This has been the case since the get go but has never really been part of the mission statement. It is now. Its not because I am puritan or higher, its because swearing can over simplify expression and this site is mainly about writing.

Added in reviews for Serenity, finished the review for Man on Fire

Sunday 17 April 2005

Adapted the original review of the Red Dragon and posted

Adapted the original review of xXx and Attack of the Clones and posted

Created the introduction and ratings section to the movie page from the original 'Flicks' front page and ratings section

Managed to find a descent star using google for the movie ratings. To manipulate I needed one in a PNG file. I made the background transparent and added a drop shadow and made small. This really has been a major quandry to me through all the time of this website as none of the fonts I have contain a descent star and GIF ones were a pain.

Adapted the old Top Blokes front page into the 'On Men iWrite' article and posted.

Saturday 16 April 2005
Wrote a review for the Manchurian Candidate, added the FAQ section to 'This Site' and added a placeholder for the 2005 diary.

Populated the 2002, 2003 and 2004 diary pages with all the diary entries for those years but will need to add in many of the entries from the 'Whats Happening Section' sometime.

With the basic structure for the site now completed and no broken URLS have uplaoded the complete new site to johniebg.net

Wrote a review for 'Welcome to the Jungle' and adapted the 2002 review of 'The Bourne Identity', posted both.

15 April 2005
Created the main menu 'This Site' section, which replaces 'Welcome', which in turn is now a sub menu of 'This Site'. Populated the Welcome and Mission Statement sub sections from existing content from the live site. Created the 'Web Dev Log' (this page) and the 'About this Site' section (both new to the site), although the web log pulls in a lot of the historic entries from 'Whats Happening'

Was not to happy about the photograph in 'About this Site' but really wanted this section to be in the same style as the author profiles you get in books complete with cheesy picture.

Created the 'Arry section and populated with existing content from live site, but dropped the pictures at this time, will re-add when I can make them look a bit saucier.

Created the iReview section and populated 'Movies' with existing content from the old Cutting Floor section. Worked on the Movies content menu and used this to create a template for the review sections; Audio, Places and Books which are in place as placeholders. I will need to add some sort of site search function in the future. Created a placeholder for Gadget reviews as well.

13 April 2005
Restarted development. Took existing background, created new header logo for main page and new sidebar menu. Menus had previously been under the header.

Migrated the front page diary content from the live website and fully integrated the iWrite section.

Deleted the old website @ johniebg.net and uploaded the new content. Now have fully functional front page and all of iwrite.

12 April 2005
Although these are just digital characters produced on your screen in mere miliseconds, it really has been nearly 20 months since the last serious log entry below, which directly corelates to the last time I did anything worthwhile to this site.

This is not to say that I havent spent time developing, in fact if the number of hours spent working on the site directly corelated to the quality of the interface and content, I would be up for some sort of small glass award.

Sadly though it is possible to witter away countless hours designing technically excellent but functionally impractical website interfaces, in fact I am thinking about writing a book on the subject. I feel qualified.

Fortunatly my desire to say what needs to be heard and release the valve of self expression is out weighing my desire to witter away hours on disfunctional web interfaces as mentioned above.

As such I have now mentally decided on a compromise interface which I expect to be busily creating and migrating existing 'live' content to over the next few days.

Next time I say something like;

"I have been working on this websites first anniversary celebrations which involve a top down redesign of the site including interfaces"

... someone hit me hard

Tuesday 23 September 2003
I havent disapeared off the face of the earth, I just been busy.

Firstly I have been working on this websites first anniversary celebrations which involve a top down redesign of the site including interfaces to try and give some indication how far it has come in the first year. This is also going to be the template for its future implementation as a PHP driven website.

Additionally, the front page will also come more inline with traditional blogger interfaces. I found out this month that the idea for this website, although original to me is actually a popular concept on the web and I am one of two million peps know as bloggers because the record logs of their lives of the web. My house is now on the market with all work now completed despite that the lino people managed to put down the wrong lino ... real shame,although it looks good its just not what I ordered but cant be bothered to get it all ripped up.

So, bare with me, pleease, normal service will resume when the nights are darker and its warmer inside than out.

Tuesday 29 July 2003
Am deep down the eDirectory rabbit hole and being tutored in the ways of this particular world by a true master in the art. Its no easy I can tell you, feel a bit like Jean Claude Van Damme in Kickboxer; I'm sure that one day I'll be able to kick major directory booty but in the meantime i'm in a whole world of pain.

On the website I couldnt do what I wanted to do with the calender thingy but really wanted to get the diary stuff up and out there for my peace of mind, just to get it somewhere, ordered. Well, The Potter Diaries are up and out there, at least the diaries for last year.

Am pretty pleased with the diary interface I have to say and whats even better is all the links from the original diary pages are there and the content intact, so its easy to see in one place when content was added to the site and to be able to view that content within its timeline. December 2002 was prolific!

I still want to do the whiz calender interface but its on the back burner now this is up and out there. Will do the 2003 diaries on the next week or so.

Sunday 27 July 2003
AAHHHG! Somebody let me out! Lots of ideas I have had for this site have just popped to the surface the now and as I can't do much with the house till the kitchen is done then I might as well occupy my mind while it is receptive to such things. Have added a new drop down menu titled 'Whats New' so you can have quick access to anything thats been added new to the site without having to trawl through the 'Whats Happening' Diary.

The dates listed in the drop down menu correspond to the dates they were originally listed in Whats Happening so all you gotta do is locate the correct date and the update will be explained if you so desire or just click on the link and you will be taken to the new content.

In the case of updates to Top Birds I understand that my more discerning readers, I.e. females, will generally not appreciate clicking on links and being dumped in a page containing scantily clad women. So to that end any updates to Top Birds accessed from the drop down will only dump you in the Front menu for that section. If you find yourself there by mistake you can click on the top menu to switch back to this page or another section.

The diary archive is something I have been planning on for a long while and some way off finished so not accessable yet. Read about the plan's here in an update to 'Whats Coming'.

As you can possibly see I have also been fiddling with the front menu here, now you understand why Black and White was such a good idea originally as colors are a whole new ballgame. Bare with me.

Saturday 26 July 2003
Not sure whats got into me just lately, but I just cant keep away from DreamWeaver. As a result of watching The Hulk I felt compelled to write my first movie review since December 2002 which then resulted in me getting all arty, designing a special style sheet for the review, a special Flash animation for the review and finally creating rollover links buttons for the Flicks front Page. If your not not sure what i'm blethering about?, then either click the 'Flicks' link above or click here. Once you have taken in the glory of the buttons, click the Hulk button for the latest review.

Monday 21 July 2003
After a lot of pressure from geezers, mostly up north, I have added another Top Bird. I did this saturday afternoon but lost the will to live doing all the links for the buttons and sidepanels (different button links for each page). Her name is Greta Milos and she is quite extraordinarily good looking. There will be one other Top Bird this year so chose well young padwaens! Click Here.

Saturday 19 July 2003
I was in Dusseldorf Germany this week studying Clustering, which was fantastic with a capital F. Went from knowing very little to doing all sorts of stuff and now trying to set up a three node cluster in VMWware. Am doing Advanced NDS Tools and Diagnostics next week, all week, i Reading and then head down for some serious study before me exam in two weeks time.

I also came up with a cool idea for a story/book that I am going to write and post on this website in chunks. It will also contain a form for feedback. The story is about a bloke that loses his wife in a plane crash and his attempts to deal with it while trying to find her! Hold on to your seats as the first chapter should be done end of July early August and a chapter should be out once a month thereafter.

Saturday 12 July 2003
I finished an article today that I started writing months ago. Its one of my favourite todate, not least cos it's a jaunt down memory lane. Its posted in iWrite and can also be seen by clicking here.

Friday 11 July 2003
Well I find myself reporting to you from the delayed 7:25 from Ipswich that appears at this early stage, as we jolt slowly forward to be increasingly delayed. Caught three trains so far this week and each one has been late.

As I havent been doing a lot of web design and therefore not updating this page much then I have decided to leave all the months mixed in as one for the time being.

Have been working on an intro Flash presentation on and off for some time which you should have seen by now, if you havent I would urge you to go back and check it out. I wanted two things from the intro, some matrixy style text effects (OK the text is green and thats about as close as it gets! but its difficult man, I tell you!) and stuff bouncing around the screen that showcased the content, sort of. The other thing I wanted was a loader, which I always think is cool. So there you have it.

At work I have now upgraded my CNE to 6 which means nothing really other than that its a requirement for me Certified Directory Engineer, CDE which I have also passed a non-technical exam for, and only now need to pass the practicum which is what it sounds like, a practical exam where they put you in a room full of stuff thats broke and give you about two hours to fix it, cool.

In the website I am trying to work on some background graphics for this page, wait and see.

Wednesday 18 June 2003
Web Dev is on hold for the now as I'm now deep into revision for me new job. Fantastic stuff, catching up on me NetWare 6 which is no as boring as it sounds with loads of new eDirectory functionality to come to terms with as well as a sparkly new web interface replacing the classic text console management systems, and thats before I get to iFolder and iPrint.

Next week its comparing directory solutions and the week after Clustering and the week after that eDirectory Troubleshooting.

Sad but true!

In order to commemorate potters new start at the ultimate network IT company the interface has changed for a random period of time. I had planned on updating the whole interface which would have been no problem in Swish, just change the background color on the SWF files to #E10000 and re-export them, but me Swish conveniently decided not to load with a memory error despite swearing at it a lot, which means the menu and flash animations are still black and white. Will figure out why it wouldnae load when I get home (in Reading the now) but suspect spanning across monitors has something to do with it.

Wednesday 4 June 2003
Technically nothing has happened but I have been working with a good project manager for a change over the last week or so, the final of this contract and it's been an education. Sometimes you learn, in the most unlikely of situations.

Wednesday 28 May 2003
Funny how things go ain't it? One minute I'm sitting here minding me own business browsing download.com in the wee hours of the mornin, looking for a descent diary come contact manager come scheduler come organise the un-organised software package when my most rescently acquired software package, a nice and simple email client pops up and informs me there is new mail.

One quick click and its an email from a colleague that should have been in bed with his horlicks long before the now, but instead has returned home from watching Matrix Reloaded and felt compelled to do what I havent done for a whole bunch of time and that of course, is to write a movie review.

Funny how a simple little event like that can stimulate the juices of creativity and before you know it your feeling motivated and compelled to be inventive and even fire up DreamWeaver for the first time in god knows how long. Funny old World.

Not that I havent been busy of course, I have, but the old web mojo been a bit elusive lately with one thing and another, but tonight its nailed to the side of the monitor and it aint going anywhere,

So you probably been wonderin what has that pesky little Potter been upto then since he last updated the website late March? Well, I been rolling out, at least trying to rollout stuff around the country but got bogged down by manager type geezers getting their XL nickers in a twist over what really is on the rollout menu and how the menu should look! The topside to that is I have spent the time working and socialising with a couple of interesting young fella's that know twice as much as I thought I did at their age and as a result been busy tweaking all sorts of good stuff.

What had been a sagging XP Professional install, pain in the ass Word install and all round disatisfaction with the world of Microsoft Desktops (dont even start me on their server technologies!) has turned into a funky Matrix desktop complete with XP style, shades of green and cool piccy of Neo watching over me keyboard. XP now shifts like a little bullet, albeit silenced, so we're talking subsonic, but hey the last time I had a Microsoft OS run this fast without crashing was DOS 6.22, so things are on the lookup! The best thing is the loader screen comes up as MAC OS X, makes me smile no matter what time of the morning it is.

Managed to tweak Word and learn alot about how to make it work rather than fight against it which mostly revolved around dedicated templates and not touching normal.dot and turning just about everything in word off.

I ditched Outlook, weight off my shoulders, it may be pretty but it just dont bloody do what it says on the tin. Replaced it with Incredimail, on trial at least, which although slightly gimmicky does everything I wanted out of a email client without the overhead of all the other stuff Outlook weighs you down with. Most importantly it runs quietly in the taskbar and monitors your email accounts for new mail without the full wieght of the whole client leaning on your precious ram or pagefile. So far so good.

I also put me whole DVD collection into a database which was a lot easier than I thought. Got hold of a package that goes off to DVD sellers and downloads all the DVD info inc, cast, directors, dvd extras, features and front cover picture so that all you have to do is make sure you got the right film and almost eveyrthing is entered for you, you can use IMBD.COM to fill in any gaps. The other cool feature is that there are seperate fields to allow you to record if the DVD has been loaned, who to and when ... coool. It also has a special feature so that, should you own any porn DVD's you can catalogue them in a seperate database, which is a good idea cos the last thing you need when impressing the bird on the desk opposite with the full extent of your movie collection database is for the front cover of 'Rocco does Prague #4' to pop up. Fortunatly not a dilema I have to deal with anyway, there's a big bloke with glasses sits oppostie me.

Whats else I been upta on me replace awfully weighty Microsoft Software with lean efficient shareware software written by genuinely keen people looking to make an HONEST living, drive? Lots!

Keep tuned, PS I start my first fulltime Job middle of June for the first time since April 1996. See across the page.

Sunday 30 March 2003
Ummn .. Okay so theres a few bugs wid the new interface. Not with the interface but in hyperlinks and some pages not behaving exactly how they should. I've been through and sorted most of them, that I could find but please forgive any anomolies for now should be sorted by the end of next week.

Got the date wrong in my last entry but thats just because my mind usually takes till the midnight hour to build up enough inventive juices to actually put down cohesive words.

You may notice that some of the pages despite not having anything to do with movies come up with a little hover bar saying 'Welcome to the Movies'. This is down to some menu's incorporating java that I did for FLICKS at the beginning, which has since been re-used across the site. Its been a real pain tracking down the offending text but i'm getting there.

April here already. This interface has really sapped my will to do stuff on this site especially having to go through every page and make sure it worked in a 800x600 screen, but its done now and there should soon be some serious PHP dev. Brace ursel, johniebg's BACK!

Thursday 28 March 2003
Who would have guessed it would be the middle of March before I got to update this site since the end of February. Its because of a number of reasons but mostly because I lost me web mojo. Don't know why, but as documented last month I finished the nitty gritty of the new menu a while back, did a load of written stuff to compliment it and then one of the best bits of writing I have so far produced (jbg released in July as 'Hey TV Child'), for my mind, and then it was gone. My www mojo had up and left me. Since then every time I have picked up me keyboard to do something all that has come out is lachrymose codswollap.

But I think its on the mend now as I have at least managed to get through this without contemplating some maudlin event in the world. Almost.

Oh by the way, the second menu is here, dum de dum as you will probably have discovered. Want to read all about it click here. If you want to avoid choosing each time then select the interface you like and then add it to your favourites (jbg the new interface was originally a choise on the front page alongside the original tree menu which is now no more). I will add something that does it automatically for you but thats outwith the realm of my capabilities the now. Anyway enjoy.

Thursday 24 March 2003
March and almost all done although the first entry for March has only just appeared. Is all my fault, as usual. Dunno why, but I finished the new interface as detailed in February, wrote loads including one essay that I was well chuffed about (jbg this would eventually be posted in July and be known as 'Hey TV Child, Look into my eyes') and then .. I lost it. By lost it I mean ma web mojo. It just left me and after which I couldnt, do stuff that is.

The alternate menu is, has been finished for nearly two weeks now but just havent had time to implement it properly. Am not totally happy with the text in the front end but it will have to do.
In the meantime, the side menu has changed (jbg alas the side menu is no more, techies loved it, everyone else hated it!), I have ditched 'The Game' and 'iThink' and merged them all into one section named 'iWrite', which is what its all about basically. There is a new piece, the first of three which is supposed to be a wry look at commuting, which is something I have had the opportunity to do recently. You can check it out here or by selecting from 'iWrite' in the menu.

Wednesday 5 February 2003
So! I have to admit I havent done a tang on this website for over a week. Somewhat disillusioned with my efforts at a top down interface I have been doing other stuff. But its now February and Potters back with vim and vigor and with an idea for a top down menu system that will actually work. Hey it might even be available soon.

There's a review for Two Towers now posted which can be accessed from Flicks or from here, Not that you would ever need to read stuff writen by me to decide whether to watch it or not. If you think all that fantasy stuff is a load of ballony, so does the director, so watch it and don't judge till you have fact's upon which to base your opinion.

Oh! and the Disclaimer in Top Birds has now changed. Its is the front end for top birds that will be available in the Top Down menu but as it looks and for my mind reads better than the disclaimer, its now called 'Concerning Birds' and the disclaimer is no more.

Oh! again, there is also a new heading section to 'Flicks' called 'Concerning Movies' surprisingly enough, which wil also serve as the front end to Flicks in the top down menu system. There are no buttons like there is in birds because I havent had time to create them, but there are links to the reviews and some extra speel about movies, the reviews and the rating system.


Thursday 30 January 2003
As the world waits with baited breath for the forthcoming release of johniebg's alternate front end, poor johnie labours away in the bowels of Potter Towers with only his MP3's and an occassional backrub from Joanna of Top Birds fame to keep motivation humming along.

Well what a pleasant fiction that would have been! Alas, work on the alternate front end stuttered saturday in the AM and came to a grinding halt Saturday late in the PM. Mostly this was due to realising the header menu that I had laboured over for some time looked really naff in an 800x600 wide screen.

With Explorers multiple menu bars and my header you could only actually see about 3 lines of actual content, not what I had in mind at all! Additionally as the Java drop downs wouldnt work I have had to create introduction screens with links to all relevant content which is no problem but I wanted to alternate the style a little and make the content of the front screens a good read as they would potetentially be one of the first items a new browser would read. Needed to get them hooked.

Am kinda pleased with the fronts but as with most of my writting I sit down and just empty my mind in one go and then revisit and edit, which usually takes a while but does end up with something a little creative instead of editing on the fly where I tend to forget the often thin thread of what I'm trying to say!

The editing is taking a while and coming up with something original for the item specific content within the bounderies of my abilities has also been interesting, but its getting there, and should be there for all to behold on the </?php @randomdate_future>.

Thursday 23 January 2003
Amazing how time flies. Have been busy for more than a week or so working on an alternate front end for users with screens 800x600 or just prefer a simple top down front-end without any jiggly side menu's.

The trouble is I want them both to run alongside each other, so the content remains the same and only the loader or method you interface with to select whichever content you want changes.

Thought I had this cracked with a two horizontal frame setup where the smaller of the frames at the top was the heading with logo and buttons with the bottom and larger frame being the content. Buttons in the header when clicked produce a drop down menu from which you select you flavour, however, the java that does the drop down menu only overlay's within the frame and not the screen so the drop downs would only partially be visible up to the bottom of the header frame, and would not overlay down onto the bottom content frame.

Frustrating. I have toyed with Flash menu's and all sorts but looks that with my present capabilities a compromise will have to be sought. :(

I could do it all so that both work via PHP but that would require a major change of the content to make it INCLUDE into the master PHP pages, and could possibly be weeks of swearing and stubbing my toes on table legs while I try to make code that should work, work.

I have tried Flash, or rather Swish so that when you press a button, the top buttons move out and then content buttons move in, but I cant seem to get the button actions to jump to different scenes, that would be logical to me but there must be another way, would be groovy cos I could make the header do all sorts of funky stuff when you click a button but feel that ones going to be for the future.

So it looks like there will be major content buttons in the header and I will create topic related front pages that wlll load and then you will select your flavour from the front page. I should have a sample ready by the close of the weekend as I am still alcohol free which has resulted in a serious curtailing of my social activities and lots of time to do learning stuff.

Tuesday 14 January 2003
Well, do you remember sometime early December last year I had a mad evening of writing stuff, of which only the Attack of the Clones review has so far been seen.

Well the other bit is now finished. Its been a bit of a labour of love if I am to be honest. Originally it was to be a quick witty look at ordering stuff online, your probably wondering how that could be witty, but I giggled, at first anyway.

Unfortunately I fell victim to getting sidetracked into writing a eulogy on the evils of Microsoft which bloated out the text and it all went pearshaped. Ultimately I lost interest. I picked it up last night with a clearer idea and got shot of the rambling, which left only the waffling, so it should be almost bearable.

I had the funky idea of creating rollover buttons, as is my want these days, to link to anchors (links within the page) rather than create multiple pages. I had lots of problems with the buttons and the rollover image being to big in same cases, so I ended up doing them again. I wanted to try a different type of rollover as well rather than just bigger text or a rotating square, they kinda work. I am however pretty pleased with the title Flash image. Altogether, not perfect but a worthwhile lesson in writing and presentation. Oh, its in the iThink section or can be accessed here.

Friday 10 January 2003
As I'm off alcohol and my pool partner was AWOL the night I decided to sit in and debug all the nasty things that went wrong with the website after I changed the directory structure around last night. I also archived off december diary, as you can probably see, really pleased with the Flash title, been trying to do that for ages (jbg Sorry that isnt here anymore as it was to big to fit at the top of this page, I might try and fit in sometime). I also made a footnote change to the Rollever section of iLearn, as I discovered that you can easily edit the URL's of the source code, add the URL and then insert to multiple pages, which something I couldn't do when I wrote the original piece.

Thursday 9 January 2003
Created buttons for each of the sections for the earlier movie reviews I did, where the world of rollovers had not been revealed to me, makes them a lot more intuitive to navigate. Also worked the file structure of the web-site to make it easier to maintain.

I re-wrote the first part of 'Arry over Christmas and its now re-posted. Just goes into more detail about the time period, the photo's will be viewable as pop-up images come the weekend, but as I dont have them on me can't do it the now

Tuesday 7 January 2003
Updated this page and added a couple of new sections to iLearn which explains how the christmas card was created and how to do rollover buttons like what you seen hereabouts, least I forget how to do them. Click iLearn from the menu or go there from here for the rollovers or here for the crimbo card.