I started a story in the new Selfies app (made by colleagues of mine at Automattic) showing of the shirt I was wearing. After 5 days it was still being updated and added to by other people which is pretty fun. Users have a solid collection of shirts.
The other day I came across an old iBook laptop from 2004 in a box in my office. I remembered it was very sluggish last time I used it, and booting it up confirmed my recollections. So I started thinking how I could repurpose this old piece of hardware. I wanted to do something with Linux because leaving OS X 10.5 on that slow machine was not going to be at all beneficial.
My initial thought was a dedicated media server. I’ve been running Plex on my jailbroken AppleTV for a while now (previously running XBMC). It’s a fantastic solution for streaming all types of video files without the need to convert them for iTunes compatibility. My current Plex Media Server is running on a laptop that often leaves the house, which makes it tough to watch anything when my wife takes it to a coffee shop to do some writing.
But it turns out Plex Media Server is not compatible with PowerPC chipsets, so scratch that.
Why not a web server?
After some quick searching I found that it should be relatively easy to set up a LAMP server. I headed over to Ubuntu and downloaded, burned a disc of Ubuntu server. I figured I don’t necessarily need the desktop version as that would unnecessarily use more hardware resources.
So I’ve got all the parts up and running for my very own web server, complete with Apache, MySQL, and PHP. The next step is to enter the world of DNS management and get the server accessible outside of my home network. If all goes well maybe I can cut out my monthly web hosting costs since I rarely use it.
It’s been fun so far playing around with a no-GUI version of Linux. I’m trolling Craigslist for old, unwanted windows machines I can repurpose for that dedicated media server. Let me know if you have anything I could use.
After I redesigned the “How Does Akismet Work” page, I realized the spam sorter graphic was just itching to be animated. Converting the main machine box into a gif with some flashing lights was easy enough. The conveyor belt is what gave me some trouble. I’m posting my solution here because the bug I came across was something so simple to fix and I just didn’t see it.
This should be easy
The effect was to have the comment bubbles move left to right as if they’re going through the machine. Since this entire graphic is composed of empty divs with background images in the HTML (this was done in order to make the conveyor belt repeatable and expand to the edge of the browser regardless of size), making them move was a simple matter of changing the background-position.
Easy, I’ll just use a simple
.animate() on the comment bubbles.
Perfect! Now to do some cross-browser testing.
Uh oh, Firefox
Next step was to jump over to Firefox to make sure it worked before committing the changes. Here’s where I ran into the problem, it didn’t work in Firefox. I racked my brain and did some searching to figure out why it would work perfectly in Chrome but not in Firefox.
It turns out (and I think I knew this already at some point) Firefox doesn’t support
background-position-y. So I was trying to animate a property that couldn’t be animated.
The solution was simple. Just remove
-x from the background-position property and viola. My final code:
Why not use CSS transitions?
I was originally going to go the route of using CSS transitions, but I wanted more browser support, particularly IE9. If you want to use CSS transitions instead of the jQuery
.animate() function here’s what I was using.
Say hello to Akisbot. He’s a friendly robot who takes joy in finding and destroying spambots for Akismet. I’ve been refining and improving this illustration for a little while now and I really like how it has improved. He’s a lot friendlier looking than the original version, which is certainly what he should be.
We visited the gorgeous Union Station in Kansas City on a walking food/history tour. This 850,000 square foot building, with original architectural details, is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. The Grand Hall is stunning with 95-foot high ceilings, three 3500-pound chandeliers, and a 6-foot wide clock hanging in the archway.
It also has a rich and interesting history. The notorious Charles Arthur “Pretty Boy” Floyd was accused of taking part in the Kansas City Massacre, in which FBI agents were killed by outlaws attempting to free their friend from federal custody.
If you ever find yourself in Kansas City, you should definitely check it out. It’s a beautiful building and I’m glad the governments of both Kansas and Missouri saved it from demolition.