We have just created a site for Stonehaven Beer Festival. The site is built using Joomla 1.0.15 featuring a modern and stylish design and a simple navigation and menu layout. The site aims to serve as an information portal for this brand new festival bringing all of Scotlands real ales under one roof for the very first time.
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!
Another from the Steamanufactory, this time in the guise of a game on the PS4. The latest consoles boast hardware capabilities that exceed top end gaming PC by a suggested factor of between two and five, leading to some pretty good graphics. Here is an example of the sort of graphics that are coming out of the studios that are developing titles for the PS4 - The Order 1886.
Unlike most game trailers, the cinematics are generated from the game itself... The studio representative stated:
"Our game models and our cinematic models are one and the same, and
everything is rendered real time in the engine as you play the game. The
trailer we presented is a great example of that. What you saw is
running in-engine, in-game with no gimmicks. These visuals are what you
can expect of the final game when you play it.
In the latest Steampunk Weather Widget, version 1.0.7 the following
changes have been made: main features are full Romanian(!) translation (as an example) the
ability to add ICAO metar codes manually so if you know your own ICAO
location just type in the code. You can increase the size of the widget,
lots of bugs fixed, reskinned the location selection box, added many new graphical elements, reduced the overhead of running the widget, improved the code in general and documented it with full online help.
// .07 location selection background - added cogs and wheels to the underside to make it more 'real'
// .07 corrected the help text on the glass cover
// .07 change the font on the location finder
// .07 moved the location menu from the top of the page (windows) to the top of the pushbutton
// .07 add method for handling language files that aren't handled by the YWE! by default
// .07 create language files for Romanian
// .07 create language files for English
// .07 added language option to preferences
// .07 improve the clarity of the numbers on the mini gauges
// .07 organise and sort the code, remove unwanted functions
// .07 fix the romanian translation bug on tooltips
// .07 sort the % on macs bunching, changed it to a popup
// .07 fix missing resizing of two elements
// .07 added the option to increase the size of the widget
// .07 sort the language text on the prefs
// .07 use an additional input box to select the alternative language file
// .07 sort the language text on the prefs
// .07 rejigged the main context menu to allow translation to occur
// .07 allow meta codes to be typed in directly
// .07 add slider switching from codes to locations
// .07 add final translations
// .07 images on the groups in the preferences
// .07 Added uppercasing to the ICAO code input
// .07 fix the double run of get-metar-data
// .07 add delay to preferences save and restart to help fix mac crash
Please, if you like the new widget, leave a comment, it is really appreciated.
Instructions for use
The weather indicators and controls of your widget are as shown above.
The widget has a number of graphical controls. You can identify the
function of each working component by hovering the mouse over each. A
pop-up will show giving you a description.
Choosing the Metar data location
you select to change your location a pop-up will appear giving you the
option to type your location. Choose a location near to you that will be
providing METAR weather data. For example in the South Coast of the UK
you might choose Gatwick Airport. If you choose a local airport or
aerodrome you are most likely to find a METAR weather feed.
If you know your nearest ICAO code then flick the location/ICAO switch
to allow you to enter the four-letter code manually. Once you are done
click the SET switch to close the location selector.
The problem with joomla development nowadays is that is in the hands of developers. Before Joomla, its predecessor CMS was named Mambo - and it was in the hands of a commercial organisation whose first aim was to create a usable CMS that they could sell, hence the friendly "look and feel" and big, kiddie-like back end icons. A newbie could simply dive into the back end without being put off by a scary GUI. It also had stability, ie. it didn't change much except for security releases.
With Joomla 1.5 the back end tried to 'grow up' a little and throw off the shackles of its mambo past. New business-like icons, more corporate colours made it appear different from its mambo predecessor. At heart though, the Mambo legacy was still there in the way the CMS operated.
With j1.6/1.7++ there were some fundamental changes, mostly under the hood. Joomla 2.5 progressed even further with even more under-the-bonnet changes with regard to the underlying framework and with bootstrap as the new interface design. The trouble was that the new version of Joomla is both designed and built by devs - which is not always a good idea. To have a successful project you need to have a business case and a target audience that defines what the application will look and act like. Without it, the design will lack focus and be too complex and could please no-one. Joomla is now designed by the people that want to add code, they simply add what they are personally interested in. If you build software using this approach it will always lack a business focus. The latest version of Joomla - 3.5 - under development now seems a case in hand.
Idon't want to be too critical as I have a strong fondness for Joomla. In particular Mambo/Joomla 1.0, its stability and simplicity, the fact that you could accomplish a lot, that only simple programming skills were required, that it was lightweight and very quick to run, had lots of available extensions that simply accomplished what was required. With joomla 1.0 you could easily build a 'nice' site or a full-blown CMS.
Since then it seems a lot of change has occurred but not a whole lot of benefit for the end user. 'Framework' this and 'bootstrap' that, but honestly I have not ever received a single call for any of the stuff that has been recently introduced. Categories have been sorted and ACLs added but that's about it. OK, the categories needed sorting but on most of my sites ACLs are simply switched off. So what has all the change achieved? From my point of view the drive to keep up with other CMS has been at the expense of backward compatibility, a lack of platform stability due to frequent upgrade migrations. The result is an over-engineered product that does not seem to offer the normal end user much more that the original Joomla 1.0. It seems that the Joomla CMS is being targetted towards potential higher-end users whilst the day-to-day users that might have knocked up a 'site' have been forgotten.
My old J1.0 sites are as good and functional as many of the more recent Joomla sites but they are a darn sight quicker. All my recent Joomla sites are slow to operate, need faster servers and more resources but still aren't as fast. The clients complain and I start looking around for something lighter/faster/leaner.
What am I looking for? For me it is stability, performance and security all of which are so much more important than underlying frameworks and using the correct coding methodologies.
Due to the continual changes requiring migration upon migration from one version of Joomla to another I decided to maintain the J1.0 sites on PHP 5.3 and build only J1.5 until the direction for Joomla was decided upon and I saw some stability. With the devs in charge I've seen little in the way of stability and not enough to entice me onto the latest version. I've even released some recent joomla 1.0 extensions, can you believe that? I might upgrade them to J1.5 but to later versions of Joomla? Nope! the effort of recoding them to J1.6, J1.7, 2.5 and 3.5 is too great (as well as being boring!)
What about the security of having the latest and greatest version? - Pah! - All security issues I've ever encountered have been due to using the newest version of Joomla with security holes, my J1.0 sites do NOT get hacked.
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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.