Archive for June, 2009

Continuing frustration

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

Hurrah. It’s now gone ten on Sunday and I’ve just spent most of the weekend getting nothing done because I’ve been looking for a decent captcha tutorial. They’re all either rubbish or built for wordpress. Very annoying. I’m beginning to wonder what the best course of action is.

On a brighter note, I found a word cloud that seems to work quite well. It’s called dynacloud.js and it’s pretty simple. So that’s there as and when I need it. Good.

Buttons

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

I’ve been investigating how to make buttons that will give me a different kind of interactivity. Kenji’s shown me a few things. I’m undecided about the idea though. The whole point of the questionnaire (to my mind) has always been that in filling it out people will have a chance to think about the questions. That won’t happen if it’s just a case of hitting buttons. The process of thinking through an answer and typing it out is integral to the project.

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Frustration

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

I’ve been trying to implement two things for my questionnaire. One is a tag cloud which comes back after the user has filled in their answer. This will give them two entry points in to all of these words.

Now I come to write this I’m considering the value of having the tag cloud at all. Is it any more than a trick? Will it help people to reflect on the questionnaire. I’m actually inclined to think that the best things here will be the simplest. People will want to read other people’s answers. They’ll definitely want to do that. Who wouldn’t?

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CAPTCHA

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

One issue with my questionnaire is spam. Any online text form is open to a lot of spam. I need a way of protecting myself against it. The most common way is the CAPTCHA (stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart). I hate these things. I think most people do. You know the things where you have to type in a mash of letters and half the time they’re impossible to see and if they’re not, at best they ruin the pleasant flow of the navigation. I really don’t want that. They’re fine for Yahoo! but not for this. I don’t want one of those CAPTCHAs coming near my questionnaire. There’s also a useful page on the accessibility issues associated with CAPTCHAs on the W3C website.

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Ajax polling system

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

NB – Please note that I wrote most of this post about a week ago but didn’t feel like it was finished for some reason. By rights the date on this ought to be 18th of June.

I’ve found an ajax polling system that takes one closed question, adds it to a database and serves back the results for the poll immediately. Exactly what I need. I had some trouble getting it to work but the basic problems I didn’t figure out myself were solved on this useful ubuntu forum discussion.

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Some brief thoughts about professional practice

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

Ellie Rees’ visit was interesting earlier today. One thing she said that I found useful was that she makes very little of her living through selling her work. Most of it comes from teaching, residencies and so on. I think I’m going to make all of my online work available on creative commons from now on, meaning it won’t really be that sellable, even if there was a significant market for online work.

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deadline video

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

This reminds me of one of the mesmerising films Andy showed earlier. I’m more taken by it for other more pressing reasons. I can definitely relate to the way this guy feels. I got the link for it at fontfeed.com. Here’s the creator’s own comment: “Where my idea comes from is that every time when I am busy, I feel that I am not fighting with my works, I am fighting with those post-it notes and deadline”.

PS – many thanks to Brian for pointing out that the final show website has issues in Internet Explorer 7. I’ve just spent a while fixing most of them but now my housemate’s computer seems to have got stuck on it at one state and it’s still not showing the menu. I can’t disable the cache on it either. Aargh! I will fix it in the morning. Honestly, I marvel at the attitude of a company who respond the poor quality of their product by giving its key users the tools to fix their product’s inadequacies by giving them a conditional statement for css. The frustrating thing is that I checked it a few times in IE, but now I come to think of it the later occasions were in IE8. Crap.

Clay Shirky talking man

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

This kind of thing is exactly what I’m talking about when I say I’m excited about the possibilities of my humjam website. I want to draw links between what this guy’s talking about and things happening in art and beyond.

I don’t want to talk about it in too much depth here as I’d need thousands of words and this is not the time for that. In brief, he’s talking about the power of social media and the way it’s dog-gone blowing everything we know and hold dear to small pieces.

databases and poll scripts

Saturday, June 13th, 2009

I’ve been testing a simple poll script that has a few advantages. These include cookies that stop people from filling out the questionnaire twice, a pie chart that gives results immediately after filling the form out (which is linked to the Google API) and a simple form based admin process that means I can create a questionnaire in ten minutes.

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Modal windows

Friday, June 12th, 2009

I think I want my questionnaire to appear on humjam in a modal window. This is a window that floats over the top of the main page of a website. My reason for wanting this is that I’m inclined to think the questionnaire should have its own space on the website. With a modal window the rest of the site is displayed behind a semi transparent background over which the modal window content hovers. This is great because the modal window contents are the only thing the user can see, ie – the questionnaire and not the humjam logo and links. At the same time, it’s easy to get back to the main site.

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Rejigging wordpress themes and other rambling

Friday, June 12th, 2009

I just spent the evening trying to get the linoluna wordpress theme to fit in with the rest of the humjam design I’m doing. I’m not sure how that’s going to come out. As it stands, I can’t get it to look right. I can’t see it ever feeling really consistent with the rest of the site. There’s also a most popular post widget on the side that I can’t seem to get rid of. Hmm. Problem. I think at some stage I’m going to have to learn WordPress inside out and make my own theme. That sounds weirdly like fun. One for August and September though, I think. I might also have another bash at linoluna as a stop gap tomorrow.

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Pixelated backgrounds for humjam.com

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

One thing I liked in earlier experiments was the pixelated photographs I used in the background of my prototype questionnaire. I have decided to use these as background images on my humjam website. Each time someone goes to a different page or refreshes there will be a different, random pixelated image. Some of them are rather nice and I’m going to put them here as things in their own right.

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Final show website

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

The final show website is now done. Everyone who’s seen it seems quite happy with it. Here’s the link: http://mada2009.madigitalarts.co.uk. Please click on the images for bigger versions.

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Symposium reboot

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

I made a better version of my symposium video. It’s a bit edited and has some colours.

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