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Kingsholm for the Rugby

This post does not relate to any other topics

I finally made my first trip, in 26 years of living in the area, to Kingsholm last night to watch the Cherry and Whites! The Wizard had acquired seats in the grandstand from his parents who had decided to trade their season tickets for the warmth of Sky Sports. Despite a well contested match in which Gloucester maintained considerable possesion, the Wasps stronger defense and penetrating attack gave them a 27 - 17 victory. The atmosphere was electrifying in the sold out 13,000 seat stadium, with the roar from The Shed making Dallaglio, Dawson, Greening, Shaw and co less than welcome.

Almost made me want to pick up a rugby ball again…!?

Posted on Nov 13, 2004 at 14:58:57. [Comments for Kingsholm for the Rugby- 0]

Seven Wonders of the West

Also relates to Surfing

A couple of weeks ago I was pleased to hear that our local surf break had been shortlisted for the forthcoming BBC's Seven Wonders of the West. Of course, the Severn Bore is more than just a surf break, it is the spiritual soul of the local area and the most impressive of many tidal bores scattered around the British Isles. As a surfer I always feel very priveleged to have the opportunity to ride on the bore tide.

The northern arm of the Severn Horseshoe Bend with a swollen river the day prior to the spring tides. With the river almost swollen to bursting point at Gloucester, our expectations had been low until the impending change in weather was predicted early this week. So, with Steve's usual boat skipper unavailable I chose to substitute my board for the helm to guide the film crew around the Severn Horseshoe Bend while Steve rode the most powerful tide of the year, propelled by the surge created from the intense depression off Ireland - my barometer had fallen by 30 millibars in 24 hours.

Over an inaccessible stretch of the river we captured footage of the bore ranging from three to six feet, while I managed to keep the cameraman, Joules, and presenter, Amanda, relatively dry - even when we got trapped behind the head of the tide with a looming 4 foot whelp close to breaching the stern!

I followed up the next morning with a relaxing two and half mile surf to wrap up what has been a surprisingly good year of tidal bore surfing in which I may have come close (or possible breached - no logs to confirm this) the 100 mile mark for the first time in 8 years! The current form suggests there may be further tides in November, but from experience this is the flooded month. Still, there is plenty to look forward to in 2005 as the confluence between perigee and syzygy get back on track.

The Severn Wonders of the West will be going out on regional television on Sunday November 28th.

Posted on Oct 30, 2004 at 20:50:29. [Comments for Seven Wonders of the West- 0]

Wayback When?

Also relates to Web Standards and CSS Design

My first steps into the world of web development came in 1997 during my time studying philosophy (and other inter-curricular activities!) at Leeds University. Initially this involved the utilisation of Tripod's online web builder tools. Then, my first big breakthrough came on discovering the view source button and my technique rapidly evolved from simple cut and paste to raw coding HTML. From then on web development became a past-time that I dabbled in when occasion allowed as I added first Javascript and then CSS to my arsenal. The target of my experimentation were two websites: Still Stoked Longboard Skates, which first appeared in late 1997; and the Bore Riders Club which arrived in spring 1998.

The current versions of both these sites, initially revamped in Spring 2002, are built to Web Standards on the front-end with content delivery powered by PHP and MySQL. Still Stoked was enhanced for improved accessibility in Autumn 2003, while the currently Flash intensive BRC site is on a long to do list. Now, thanks to the internet archive Wayback Machine, snapshots of some of the earlier incarnations of both these sites are still available to peruse!

Content Warning! All these snapshots demonstrate poor design practice for today's web. Expect explicit use of font tags, multiple table nesting, Javascript rollovers, extensive unmaintainable code and prolonged download duration (especially on 56K Dial Up)!

Still Stoked has actually been through 5 major redesigns and several minor reworkings over the past 7 years before arriving at the current longboard skates for surfers website.

  1. 28th August 1999 Snapshot - full redesign, original build date unknown
  2. 23rd October 2001 Snapshot - full redesign, original build date early 2000

The Bore Riders website has seen 2 major redesigns in its lifetime prior to the current Severn Bore surfing website.

  1. 16th November 1999 Snapshot - original build date unknown
  2. 7th June 2000 Snapshot - minor colour changes including rather cheesy Javascript powered rainbow text!
  3. 17th December 2001 Snapshot - full redesign completed sometime in 2000

While these relics of a pre-standards web (at least from my perspective - standards have been around a lot longer than these archives) show how not to approach web design and development, I still feel quite proud of what I achieved in those years when I dedicated a weekend here or there to coding. It also acts as an indicator of what I have personally achieved since then in the time I have worked full time in this industry. Also these snapshots ignite memories, especially Pegasus (productions), of my past and the evolution of both Still Stoked and the Bore Riders Club, both well established entities today. Thanks to Wayback for keeping alive these dinosaurs that should have been made extinct a long time ago ;)

Posted on Oct 16, 2004 at 22:46:54. [Comments for Wayback When?- 0]

One Year, One Weblog Later

Also relates to SEO

June 2003 Web Server Logs

Total Pages
Total Visits

June 2004 Web Server Logs

Total Pages
Total Visits

(Logs for www.severnsolutions.co.uk and its subdirectories. Un-adjusted for searchbots.)

Incontrovertible evidence for Standards Based development leading to improved SEO and accessibility. Oh, and the expansive presence generated by a pseudo-weblog archive system.

Posted on Jul 10, 2004 at 17:56:20. [Comments for One Year, One Weblog Later- 0]

Webmail Management Bookmarklet

Also relates to DOM Scripting

The age old problem - spam! While I patiently wait for that elusive Gmail invite, I am still running a couple of old webmail accounts that have been active for several years. I would be content to disable them except for the occassional critical email I receive. So once every 5 or 10 days I will log into the accounts and spend the best part of half an hour selecting and deleting anywhere from 1000 to 2000 spam emails just to find those few important messages. Fortunately the Inbox can display 1000 messages on a page and, accompanied by the select all button, this speeds up the process slightly, but I still have to deselect all the archived messages. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to write a boomarklet to speed things up a bit.

Of course this bookmarklet is proprietary with the DOM navigation specific (and quite cumbersome!) to the layout of my Webmail Inbox, but perhaps you may find it useful for editing to your requirements?

  var a = confirm(%22Do you wish to select?%22);
  var rn = prompt(%22Enter range of cells to %22 + 
                 ((a) ? %22select%22 : %22deselect%22)); 
  var r = rn.split('-'); 
  var rows = window.frames[3].document. _
             getElementsByTagName('table'). _
  var min = parseInt(r[0]) + 2, max; 
  max = (r.length == 1) ? rows.length : parseInt(r[1]) + 3; 
  for (i = min; i < max; i++) {
   rows.item(i).getElementsByTagName(%22a%22).item(0). _
    nextSibling.checked = a;

Note, the _ character is just a line continuation. Has made my webmail routine that bit easier, more efficient and fulfilling :)

Posted on Jul 10, 2004 at 17:42:59. [Comments for Webmail Management Bookmarklet- 0]

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