The new website for the Henley Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society henleyoperatic.co.uk has now gone fully live. The new site features an exciting Joomla template which matches the fun character of the society. The site is easy to modify ensuring members can submit/change the content themselves. We have trained key personnel in the Society to modify the content.
It is URGENT - Reactos needs your pledge now - The only real alternative to the Windows operating system has a kickstarter project goal of $120,000 in donations that it needs to reach by Friday 21st Feb 2014. So far $11,000 dollars pledged and the kickstarter has only just started.
The idea is to raise enough money to allow development of Reactos as the force behind an iCloud solution for all our desktop and mobile needs. In short, your Windows desktop environment would sit on the internet running on ReactOS instead of locally on your old Windows PC. Your desktop would look like Windows, run like Windows, it would run all your Windows applications and it would be accessible on any device you choose. All your data and your operating system would sit on the net. This online project is known as 'Thorium'. The ReactOS team are going to develop this combined operating system and icloud solution and will need your donation to complete their goal.
The ReactOS operating system is already in an alpha stage, it boots in seconds, runs and looks just like Windows, it runs Windows applications. Work is required to complete the memory manager, provide device and support for alternative file systems, in short, to finish the thing off.
The remote access to ReactOS also needs to be built in order to complete Thorium but the end result will be an open source Windows compatible operating system that is completely free for you to install on any device that currently runs Windows.
Why is this good? Well, Windows costs actual real money, every desktop or laptop PC that you buy costs an extra $50 because it has copy of OEM Windows on it. A real set of Windows Professional installation discs can cost hundreds. With a free Windows compatible o/s you can have as many windows PCs as you like. Every few years or so Microsoft makes your operating system obsolete just so they can charge you more money for the new version, plus all the new software you will need. That will not happen with ReactOS, it will just keep on working. All your old software will just keep working. All your new software will work too!
When you buy a new o/s from microsoft do you really believe it is a brand new o/s? Of course not, it is the old o/s rehashed with a new GUI and some cosmetic changes. XP was NT, Vista was based upon XP with some additional junk and Windows 7 is Vista without all the Vista bad bits, you could call it XP+. Windows 8? well, at the moment it is a tablet o/s running on a desktop/laptop - which suggests it is an o/s to be avoided...
Windows is run by an organisation that needs to make money, that is why they make their o/s regularly obsolete. That is why they change the GUI mechanisms regularly so that everyone has to start from scratch and send lots of money to Microsoft for the privilege of doing so.
ReactOS won't do this - ReactOS could be the solution to all our o/s problems. I cannot recommend more strongly that you contribute something, anything to this kickstarter project. Do it to help the ReactOS team, do it to help yourself to a free o/s. Do it to help break Microsoft's unhealthy stranglehold on the Windows o/s market. Just do it.
I'm not sure why someone would choose Elxis as their default CMS. At first glance it seems to have great potential, based on Mambo 4.5 you'd imagine some compatibility with Mambo and Joomla 1.0.15, after all why would you create a CMS that does not have compatibility with all those hundreds, nay thousands of Joomla 1.0 extensions, templates &c. If I were creating a Mambo based CMS it would surely be my most important aim. You could attract so many ex-joomla 1.0 users with ease if you could guarantee future compatibility of components, modules, mambots. Imagine a fully supported Joomla 1.0 compatible CMS, what's not to like?
The component failed to install at all, generating errors with regard to a tmpr folder and with relation to incorrect information within the component XML files, the mambots installed one generating XML compatibility errors but when the page was refreshed the site was broken. The mambots added JSDK code required by Facebook and added the FB like button to the content area on each page.
The template installation succeeded but having failed three other installations I decided to bypass Elxis installation and install using a method I knew would work, just by simply FTP'ing the appropriate files to the templates folder. The JA_Fagus template installed and looked good but the in-built horizontal menu just appeared to put junk on the screen. A bit of investigation showed that all code that refers to menus needed to be language aware, checking the menu items, extracting the language code and comparing that to the system wide setting for the default language. Once this understood then I was able to create a good looking page using the JA_Fagus template.
I knew I now needed to research why my mambots had failed to function but then I realised with the sheer amount of work it would take to test install, debug and fix all the components, modules and mambots that are on my site that the work involved would be greater than a Joomla 1.5 migration/site rebuild. There is simply no point.
What the Elxis developers have done is create a world-class CMS that only a few people will be able to use. Elxis has an advanced built-in directory encompassing components, templates, modules and mambots. Unfortanately, the number of these extensions is a mere fraction of those available to Joomla 1.0.15 so anyone looking for extensions will soon realise the paucity of choice and will be deterred straight away. None of my familiar tools was available, none of the extensions that would be essential for a site migration to Elxis were there.
At the end of my analysis I came away disappointed, what a chance had been lost! The possibility of keeping my Joomla 1.0 sites up and running on a supported multi-lingual platform all blown away. Elsewhere, the Russian based Joostina team had at least kept Joomla 1.0 compatibility as one of their main strengths but had failed at the last hurdle due to their Russian-centric support and development teams abandoning the English language community that might have helped them survive. In comparison the Elxis team seems to have it all, a massive technical improvement on Mambo/Joomla 1.0, English language forums, continued support for the Mambo based CMS, what's not to like?. Well, the total lack of Joomla 1.0.15 compatibility.
What's the reason to choose Elxis as your next CMS? Elxis is Mambo based so it will be familar territory to you, it has advanced features such as in-built SQL database viewing tool, an embedded version of the Elxis JED, multi language support, an auto updating tool. Anti SQL injections tools built in. The underlying code that accesses the databse is heavily optimised making Elxis very quick, even without advanced cacheing. It even has built in SEF. Sounds great.
The trouble is that Elxis is not designed for Joomla 1.0 migration as nothing at all from Joomla is plug and play, significant effort is required to get each and every element of your site to work.
Conclusion - Elxis 2009 (Aphrodite) is a massive opportunity missed and is only useful as a new but familiar CMS. The developers have a new version of their CMS that is entirely new and has no Mambo compatibility whatsoever. What this shows me is where the developers hearts lie. I perceive they wish to abandon the Mambo legacy and work on newer more advanced CMS. This quite laudable but unfortunately it doesn't bode well for me and my Joomla 1.0 sites. Elxis just becomes another wannabee CMS and I have to say I wouldn't automatically jump into their camp. If Elxis had inherited Joomla 1.0.15 compatibility by default then I would have chosen it for any old Joomla 1.0 sites I would be asked to migrate.
For new sites, well it seems an interesting choice but due to the paucity of extensions and because the newer version is entirely unfamiliar to me it wouldn't be my first choice.
What has happened to the popularity of Joomla is very easy to explain.
Back in 2009 Joomla 1.0 was popular due to having complete
functionality, a friendly back end and plenty of stability through
regular upgrades. From Mambo to Joomla 1.0.15 it was a good CMS for
anything from simple to complex sites.
With 1.5 the Joomla team
wanted to dump the old mambo legacy and did so at the expense of
stability and continuity. This is the approach they used for all
upgrades from this point on. Each upgrade became a migration with a
virtual site rebuild from scratch. They abandoned and closed support for
the older product leaving those that could/would not upgrade in the
lurch. With each upgrade requiring a rebuild it became harder to justify
building a site in Joomla knowing you would have to tell your client
that he'd need to rebuild it in 18 months. This is a sure-fire way to
alienate even your most loyal adherents. Anyone looking to choose a
stable technology for a client would simply look at Joomla and say -
AVOID. You'd be sacked if you told them they'd have to migrate their
whole site in 18 months, in fact you wouldn't get the job in the first
If you were looking for a tool to build a quick site for a
small organisation, Joomla 1.0 was perfect as it was stable and easy to
build with future stability in mind. But that was all blown away. Would
I suggest building small sites with Joomla 2.5/3.0 - NO!. I hate to say
it, but I would choose wordpress.
The Joomla team
are a bunch of developers who work on the things they want to, and as a
result priorities are decided by individuals with the result there is no
corporate goal. That is why we only get piecemeal end user changes from
seemingly major structural upgrades. I personally have never
been asked by any client for any of the new features that have been
added since J1.0. Better categories and ACLS are really the only changes
that have made any external difference, the rest has just been
smoothing processes here and there and adding minor functionality. I
realise it has taken a lot of work to recode, rejig frameworks but
frankly the end result of all that means little to end users. If I log
in to a Joomla 2.5 site, then to a Joomla 1.0 site do I see major
improvements over the old system? The Joomla 1.0. site is snappy, much
quicker, easy to use, less corporate looking and is so much easier for a
the end result does not 'seem' to be that great.
The problem is
the development team who are very clever but caustic and opinionated
bunch whose presence on any other forum would have them named and shamed
as trolls. They have been far more involved in arguing incessantly (and
viciously) as to the best method of doing things, whereas it might have
been better to choose what was the best thing to do for the end user
and simply choose any method to achieve it. Anyone who browses the
support and development forums of the Joomla world will see that is a
deeply fractured and unhappy place to be. The dev forums are almost
Joomla will fail, it is failing now, strangely
Joomla is dying because of the developers involved who are doing most of
the work. The Joomla dev team has spent a lot of time achieving a lot.
The trouble is, it just isn't what anyone wanted.
Ladies and Gentleman, we present a complete steampunk makeover for your PC windows 7 system. Some of it will also apply to Mac OS/X, at least the Yahoo widget bit will. the end result is probably the bsusiest desktop you've ever seen. Enjoy the video created by Christophe Maanebarth.
If you enjoy the video do please open it on youtube and 'like' it.
Virtuemart can be one of the most painful shopping carts to configure, a
first time shop-builder would do well to consider starting elsewhere or
leaving it to a professional to set one up for you.Virtuemart throws up
problems from time to time that can stymie even a seasoned web
administrator. When I get an on-line cart just 'right' then I tend to
copy it and use it as a template for other web-shops. I also try to keep
things roughly the same - This way I do not have to encounter the pain
of regular new issues that can prevent Virtuemart from operating.
Virtuemart has problems with child products, producing blank screens
during shopping carts, confusion during setting up shipping options,
hard-to-find and illogically placed configuration controls, clunky
sign-in, failing to operate as expected with Joomla cacheing enabled,
can cause severe and unexpected errors when running themes. However, it
does have a good forum, it is free and it integrates very well with
Joomla, so I persist with it.
rather peculiar error in Virtuemart 1.1 is the failure of Virtuemart to
change the product display page when you have explicitly made changes
to the product flypage. FYI - the Virtuemart 'flypage' is the name that
Soeren the developer, applied to the product page template. You can
select a different flypage and refresh the cache any number of times and
what the site displays is entirely different to what you expect. I
experienced this a few years ago and had assumed that virtuemart had its
own internal cacheing mechanism that prevented the changes from being
shown, as shortly after, the flypage changes would appear. However,
regardless of any setting change I could not trigger them manually.
The default product flypage is defined in the Virtuemart configuration
and the confusing thing is that it is also set at product category level
in the product category configuration. It would seem that the product
flypage overrides the default flypage in every case so I am unsure as to
why there is a default flypage at all. Even changing these at category
level seems to have no effect.
A solution is to be found by changing four Virtuemart files (solution originally found on the VM forum). The change is simple, involving swapping a lowercase variable for an uppercase one.
Navigate to this directory within your Joomla installation:
Edit each and change the indicated instance of 'flypage' to 'FLYPAGE'
in upper case. Make sure that in your copy 'flypage' is not already in
uppercase (as in the example below) or your problem is most likely
I've just completed the Steampunk Volume XWidget and dropped it into my
gallery, submitted it to a few groups. Now time to sit back and see if
anyone likes it. It is a straight conversion from the Yahoo widget code
keeping the two as similar as possible so they can both be
updated/debugged in parallel. The code is remarkably similar and the two
widgets work in a very similar fashion, though the code I have written
is not necessarily the correct way of doing things for a Xwidget.
main problem seems to be that the Xwidgets lack any real documentation
so it is a real pain to figure out how to do things. Also a lot of nice
functionality is missing in Xwidgets that I am used to in the Yahoo
Widget Engine/Konfabulator. The GUI for Xwidgets is slick in parts and
bleedin' awful in others. I often found that the GUI simply got in the
way and I ended up using my text editor of choice 'Context' to make the
changes I needed. In my opinion the GUI has a long way to go before it
can be considered usable for serious development of widgets.
These are some things that Xwidget engine currently lacks the ability to do:
reality though, I am really impressed with the amount of work that the
two (?) developers have done. The product works - it creates real
desktop widgets and provides an environment in which to create them. The
list of functions that the language supports goes on and on, and you
critical but I am in awe of the quality of the product that they have
delivered. It is usable - it just needs a lot of tidying up.
Xwidget engine is under continuing development so it feels nice to be
working with a tool that isn't out-of-date and obsolete for a change.
My only concern with Xwidget development is that the documentation has been created as a an afterthought and due to this there are great big gaps in the user group's knowledge that can only be filled by getting responses from the developers. While the devs are out coding for new platforms they don't always have the time to answer all the many questions on the forums, often leaving us poor users in the lurch when we have questions to be answered... Hopefully things will improve here.
I recently created a Steampunk Magnifier Widget extracted from a War of
The Worlds desktop.
http://yereverluvinuncleber.deviantart.com/art/Magnifier-385201238 - It
is a fully functioning widget, ie. it can move, be resized, made
transparent, layered on the desktop and it can also be assigned a
command line function when it is double-clicked.
However, I want
it to do more. I can't currently think of a useful function for it. The
Yahoo widget engine has limitations, it can't determine which widget is
underneath it so it can't be used to analyse another widget by pointing
and clicking, it isn't really possible to dynamically magnify the
desktop beneath the glass as this would a ridiculous amount of resources
and some serious programming to accomplish it.
So, other than being a launcher for a search utility I can't really think of an appropriate function for it.
guess that leads the field open for more esoteric suggestions such as
recoding it for an engine that can do animation more efficiently, one
that can access the underlying desktop more easily.
A very good job I say...
The Steampunk Orrery requires the Plasmoids widget engine and the Marble Virtual Globe plugin is required for the widget to function. At the moment the instructions to install and operate are very sparse. Howver, if you are a linux user then you are generally more technically aware than a standard Windows user so hopefully you will be able to make this work for yourself. As I test the new widget (if I am able) I will create some documentation to allow more naive users to attempt the installation. Have a look at the widget instructions here. Download the widget from here.
The video is available to view here now at Vimeo : and at youtube
If any of you are Linux users and use the KDE desktop, please can you
help me test the recently published Steampunk Orrery Plasmoid?
me know how you get on and what you had to do to get the thing
installed. I have not yet been able to test as I am on my hols in the
sunny IoW and when I get back the only machine I have available to test
will be a Linux Mint 1ghz single core laptop. Such Unix/Linux skills
that I have are also very rusty...
This one's been around for a while (2006) but it does not diminish the slickness, the comedy and the professionalism as well as the sheer fun embodied in this creative steampunk masterpiece. This steampunk duel between an animated Englishman and his comedy French counterpart over a delightfully well-endowed female is fought out using weapons from a deeply-steampunk creative mind. Blur Studios were a small player in the CGI field but recently have been growing apace having created all the space sequences in James Cameron's 2009 blockbuster film Avatar.
Enjoy the full animated film now, very entertaining indeed. Have fun!
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Steampunk Yahoo Widget
How about something special for the weekend sir?
Lightquick have a nice little Yahoo widget for you to download. Click on the image above.