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I now have a public website status page!

My new status page! Just recently Uptime Robot (the awesome service that I use to monitor my server's uptime) have released a new feature: Public status pages! Status pages appear to be free (for now), so I've gone and set one up. Now all of you can see what's up with my website if it's down.

They even allow you to point a (sub)domain at it too. I did this too, so you can visit my status page at status.starbeamrainbowlabs.com.

SnoozeSquad.js - Finally a decent lazy image loader

It's been on my todo list for positively ages, but I've finally gotten around to replacing the existing lazy image loading on this website (not on the blog yet, sorry!) with a new one of my own devising.

Lazy image loading is a technique in which you only load images no a given webpage if they are near the user's field of view. This saves bandwidth by preventing images that are never seen from being downloaded.

Since I've been unable to find a good, solid, reliable lazy image loading script on the web, I thought it best to post about it here so that you can use it too.

Link: SnoozeSquad (Direct download)

This blog now has a mailing list!

I've been meaning to add a mailing list to my blog here for a while now, and I've finally gotten around to writing one. After an afternoon's work, you can now subscribe here. Once you have subscribed, my blog will email you every time it releases a new post. Because of the way that I've implemented it, you'll still get an email when I mess up the date on posts that I write and quickly fix them again, although I'll try really hard not to do this :)

Website Updates Feburary 2016: Syntax highlighting updates & more

I was going to do test some coursework, but I got distracted and ended up updating a few things around here instead. Here's the list:

  1. Rewrote build system for CSS / Javascript minification
  2. Replaced layzr.js with [be]Lazy.js
  3. Updated Prism the syntax highlighting library I use around here

The only change you should notice is the syntax highlighting here on my blog. All the other changes are behind the scenes (to take adventage of HTTP/2).

Prolog source code is highlighted now:

% Get the nth element
% From https://starbeamrainbowlabs.com/blog/article.php?article=posts%2F134-learning-prolog-lab-10.html
nthelement(0, [ Head | _ ], Head).
nthelement(N, [ _ | Tail ], Result) :-
    N > 0,
    NRecurse is N - 1,
    nthelement(NRecurse, Tail, Result).

There are some nice additions to the syntax highlighting algorithm, too! The most noticeable are the line numbers. There are also some extra tooltips:


html, body { font-size: 100%; }
body
{
    font-family: sans-serif;
    background: linear-gradient(45deg, #b81831, #1a0871);
    color: rgb(187, 28, 59);
}

#some-element
{
    transform: rotate(86deg);
    animation 3s ease-in-out slidein;
}

I will likely update this post a few more times as I continue to test the new configuration.

New Sharing Buttons! (and how to get your own)

The other day I was asked by someone to add some share buttons to my blog. After taking a little look into it, I found that it really wasn't that difficult to do. Now you'll find three share buttons at the bottom of each post. To start with I picked Twitter, Facebook and Evernote, but if you would like to see any other services just leave a comment down below.

The new sharing buttons are surprisingly simple. All they are is an image wrapped in a specially constructed hyperlink:

https://twitter.com/share?url=<url>&text=<text>&via=<via>
https://facebook.com/sharer/sharer.php?u=<url>
http://www.addtoany.com/add_to/evernote?linkurl=<url>

Simply replace <url> with your url, <text> with your text, and <via> with your twitter handle (without the @ sign). Don't forget to run everything through rawurlencode() though, otherwise some special character might sneak through and break the link.

PSA: Post Order

Recently the order of the posts on this blog seemed to go all strange - I have spent some time attempting to fix it. Hopefully things are back to normal now. Because of this, this week's ES6: Features post will be released tomorrow.

I now have a new tool that re-orders the posts on this blog - problems like this one shouldn't happen (as often!) in the future.

The Big Warehouse: A collection of Computer Science Related Links

Hello!

Today I was going to have the second tutorial in the XMPP: A Lost Protocol series, but asciinema, the terminal recording system I use, crashed when I absent mindedly resized my PuTTY window. I will try recording again soon.

Instead, I have a shorter post about a github project that I started a while ago called The Big Warehouse. Sadly it isn't a game but rather a collection of links organised into a number of Big Boxes. Each big box contains a collection of links about a particular programming language or system (e.g. Javascript, CSS, Version Control Systems, etc.).

Every time I find a good tutorial or library, I will add it to the appropriate big box. If you find a cool thing you think would fit in the warehouse, simply open an issue or submit a pull request. If you don't have a github account, comment on this post and I will add it that way (I get notified about all comments on this blog).

You can find it here: The Big Warehouse

Atom Feed Optimisations (and bugfixes)

Hello again!

I have made a few tweaks to this blog's feed that I think that you might want to know about.

Firstly, I fixed the bug with the named html entities breaking the feed. Apparently XML doesn't like named html entities much. This has involved a number of tweaks to atom.gen.php - You will see that the script is now ~30kb(!) - this is due to the inclusion of a named html entity to numeric html entity conversion table. You will now also see (?) if an unknown named html entity couldn't be converted successful.

Secondly, I have improved the performance of the feed by only showing the last 15 posts in the feed. I didn't notice at first, but this has been slowing the server down for some time because it been adding every post I have made so far (62 for those of you who are counting) to the feed, every time someone requests it.

Hopefully these changes don't have any unintended side-effects, but if they do please let me know in the comments below.

Protecting your Privacy Online: Reviewing which Advertisers Track your Interests

This is a different kind of post about privacy on the web.

The youronlinechoices.com website

Protecting your privacy whilst browsing online is important. Most if not all advertisers will track you and the websites you visit to try and work out what you are interested in - The amount of information that advertising networks can accumulate is astonishing! I currently have an AdBlocker installed with a tracking prevention list enabled, but that isn't always enough to stop all the advertising networks from tracking you all the time.

Recently I have come across a website called youronlinechoices.com - a website for people in the EU that allows you to review and control which out of 96(!) advertising networks are currently tracking you and your interests. I found that about two dozen advertisers were tracking me and was able to stop them.

The Internet needs adverts in order for it to stay free for all (disable your adblocker on the sites you want to support), but one also needs to prevent ones personal information from falling into the wrong hands.

Rob Miles has Linked to This Blog!

This is a quick post to say that Rob Miles has linked to this blog in his latest post. You can find that post here.

Art by Mythdael