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We have just created a site for New Venture Products for their anti-climb paint product here. The new site features the standard navigation and menu layout of all NVP's websites. The Joomla 1.0 site will have search engine optimisation tools installed to ensure it has a high Google page ranking.
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Steampunk WOTW Thunderchild Desktop Render PDF Print
(7 votes)

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An imagined steampunk desktop. This uses a new image created by my alter-self Orlok, the image is the Torpedo Ram Thunderchild from HG Wells' marvellous book "War of the Worlds" plus a few typical desktop items to create a theme of sorts.

steampunk-desk-500.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

   

 

 

 

 

You can download this here at Rocketdock:

## LIKE THIS ! I SAY CHAPS DO CLICK ON THE FB BUTTON IF YOU LIKE THIS ONE !!! ##

The protaganist's desktop is covered with items that indicate that he is about to flee. The necessary money is to hand and reports of the Martians indicate that their technology is superior - and that they are winning the War.

The Thunderchild image is taken from a forthcoming CGI rendered video that will be ready to display soon. Imagine, if you will, the scene zooming in upon the photograph and the thunderchild coming to life in the photo frame. Zooming further in we are transported into the actual battle itself.

You can see a quick 'n dirty render here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_ixIQuj1qg

or simply click on the youtube play button below:

 There will be updates soon so keep an eye on the same channel.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 17 December 2013 )
 
Some out of the box testing of Joomla Facebook plugins PDF Print
(4 votes)

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Just doing some out-of-the box-testing on a few joomla extensions, namely plugins to implement facebook "like this" functionality on Joomla 1.5. There is more to it than just installing an extension because there is some hidden 'extra' stuff that needs to be done under strange-facebook-icon.pngthe hood. This involves implementing open graph functionality that supports the FB 'like'. You can see the FB like plugin working here, top right. To allow the FB look to work properly you need to have various "og" tags defined as follows:

<meta property="og:type" content="website" />
<meta property="og:site_name" content="Lightquick Web Design - High Quality, Low Cost" />
<meta property="og:description" content="Lightquick" />
<meta property="og:title" content="LightQuick Web Design" />
<meta property="og:url" content="http://lightquick.co.uk/lightquick-web-design.html?Itemid=" />
<meta property="og:image" content="http://lightquick.co.uk/images/stories/step1.png" />

These tags define what FB will do with the 'like' when it is presented. If the og:image tag is defined then FB will display the image that you provide, if you don't define it then it will simply take what it can find on your website and that image may not be appropriate. By defining these tags correctly you have the chance to ensure that FB displays the information correctly on each FB link across. There are other og: tags that can be defined, each relaying a pertinent bit of information relating to the subject of the article/page. Other FB tags can be defined that connect your website to a related Facebook API key. This API allows other FB functionality that you might care to implement, such as logging in using a Facebook id. This tag allows the API connection to be identified.

<meta property="fb:app_id" content="284396941601658" />

A site that has Facebook "like this" functionality is signigicantly enhanced if these tags are defined, so you'll need a plugin or two to achieve this. I have written a Joomla 1.0 plugin to do exactly this on this site and a few others and I was prepared to rewrite it in Joomla 1.5 but I didn't really have the time so it was time to have a look at a few pre-done plugins from the JED. A quick out of the box review of a few plugins follows, firstly a plugin that purports to be the ultimate Facebook Like Button.

Ultimate Facebook Like Content Button

facebook03-167.pngThe plugin is easy to configure and use. The version I had previously downloaded stopped working altogether due to a change at Facebook where a spurious 'width' parameter stopped the thing from displaying anything leaving a mere empty space where the FB 'like' should be. I blame Facebook for this, not the dev. as clearly FB had changed something at their end causing the previously good plugin to fail, although the devs slightly crap code had allowed the problem to manifest itself... Note: just one simple error in the code provided to Facebook can stop FB from working - I must remember that. I fixed this myself by removing the offending width code. I tried the dev's site to report the problem and to get an update but it is a little impenetrable if you can't understand Greek, even his translate button still gives you a page full of Greek. If not for these two problems it would have had a 4 star rating.The Dev responds that he does have a support area, all you need to do is to open a ticket at web-expert.gr/clients/index.php to report the issue (I don't need to as my fix means it is now working).

N-System Facebook OpenGraph

strange-facebook-icon-126.pngThe old version of this plugin created incorrect meta name tags and the new version 1.4 supposedly fixed this. Unfortunately it still does not create meta property tags as it should, they are still meta name tags... I cannot report this problem to the dev. as his site has no contact nor support area and is entirely in German (nothing wrong with that, but it means that it is harder for me to navigate as mein Deutsch ist nicht gut). Can't recommend this until the problem is actually fixed.

 





MBV Open Graph

round-screen-handles-126.pngI tested almost all the non-commercial plugins to generate open graph meta tags and almost none worked. This was the first to do the job, it generates "meta property" tags whereas all the others create "meta name" tags which are incorrect. Not sure if this plugin generates all the meta tags you will need. Test it out yourself to see if it does the job for you.

 

   


AutoOpenGraph

facebook02-126.pngTesting out of the box did not go well. Installed it, enabled it and my site died immediately due to a PHP error. Not a lot of reason to allow the test to go further, so I simply removed the plugin and the site worked again. Not the best experience for an out-of-the-box test. I checked and confirmed that the plugin was compatible with Joomla 1.5 and it was... I have no idea what caused the error as I had no time to check it and fix, I was merely testing. I cannot recommend this plugin for your site but it may well work on yours. If I were you I would test it on a less important site first.

 

 

 

 

 

 


strange-icon1-126.pngTesting out of the box and the plugin installed was enabled and immediately started generating og tags. Unfortunately it does not create the correct "meta property" tags, instead creating "meta name" tags. Not the best experience for an out-of-the-box test. Needs some changes to replace the appropriate text on a page "after render". The developer states that it definitely does create the "meta property" tags, but I did not see this on my test.



 

 


iBualoy OpenGraph

facebook01-126.pngI tested a few of the plugins in this category of the JED. Almost all incorrectly generated open graph meta tags of the type "meta name" when they should be "meta property" tags. In a small pit of despair I was going to convert my old 1.0 mambot to do the job when I found these two plugins from this rather good developer. They do the job exactly as expected. The two plugins generate the correct meta tags for article pages, main page &c. They will become my main Open Graph plugins for all my 1.5 sites. they do offer the opportunity to create a few 'extra' og tags such as the following:

<meta property="og:locality" content="Wallingford" />
<meta property="og:region" content="Oxfordshire" />
<meta property="og:postal-code" content="postcode" />
<meta property="og:country-name" content="GB" />
<meta property="og:email" content="email@lightquick.co.uk" />
<meta property="og:phone_number" content="tel.no.here" />


Facebook does not really use these and regards them as spurious tags so I am not really sure why they are options in this developers offering. Otherwise very good indeed.

 

Finally a review of a non-Facebook related plugin :

Googlemaps Plugin


stonehaven-map.png I've used this plugin for years with the old google maps API no problems whatsoever. Since installing the new version of the plugin and since the old (and simple) google maps API has been deprecated I find that getting this plugin and the Google API information together are just far too complicated. I tried and tried and failed miserably to get this plugin to do anything at all, no errors but nothing. I do NOT blame the developer, I blame Google. Mr. Reumer, the developer gets four stars for the way the plugin has worked over the years. Loses one star for the way it interfaces with the new google map API. I have simply abandoned Google maps. The developer is a friendly chap though and I am sure he will assist in getting it going for you. As this is an out-of-the-box test.

 

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 01 January 2013 )
 
On the Night Boat to Cairo PDF Print
(2 votes)

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I needed cheering up and this did it for me, perhaps it will do the same for you. Some Madness is always good for the soul especially when it dresses up so well.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 18 December 2013 )
 
Professor Elemental says Thankyou! PDF Print
(4 votes)

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On the 26th of April 2012 The Chronicles of Professor Elemental goes into production thanks to the goodwill and generosity of fans and professor-elem2.pngfantastic organisations who have sponsored the Professor! The Chronicles of Professor Elemental will be released very shortly - we hope... but for the moment here's a little something from the Professor.

 

 

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 18 December 2013 )
 
A Mention in Steampunk Dispatches PDF Print
(2 votes)

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Just drawing your attention to a couple of recent mentions that our widgets have solicited from other parties, in particular these two sites:

The Traveler's Steampunk Blog

Regardless of being spelt incorrectly (traveller's being the accepted English usage, so the site must be of Yank-persuasion) the site is generally very good. They certainly rave about our widgets describing them as virtual jewels. I ask you to please visit their site in return of their kindness.

travellers-blog.jpg

Gaslight and Gilt Blogspot

Another site that has been good enough to mention us is owned by a new friend by the name of Rhissana who runs the http://gaslightandgilt.blogspot.co.uk/. She has been kind enough to write another article about my latest icons here

banner-for-gg.jpg

Please take some time to visit Rhissana's site. It is eclectic and interesting as all steampunk blogs should be.

 bg-bar.png

Noupe

We also received a mention here at Noupe's Showcase of Unique Steampunk Web Design & Resources, she mentions our site and some of the stuff we offer such as our widgets. Thanks Noupe! Please visit their site here :

If you are wondering what thet tree thing is above, well, it is the closest we could get to finding a steampunk image that related to their site. Couldn't find anything so a bit of wood will have to do.

Last Updated ( Friday, 24 August 2012 )
 
The Chronicles of Professor Elemental PDF Print
(5 votes)

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Professor Elemental is returning with "The Chronicles of Professor Elemental". What are the chronicles all about? No-one is really sure and I'm pretty certain that regardless of any guessing, in the end we will all be very surprised.  Professor Elemental tells us that the new video skit professor-group.jpgwill contain cybernetic space pirates, car chases, adventure, horror, comedy, space dogfights and of course monkeys (well, some of those). Professor Elemental describes "The Chronicles of Professor Elemental" as being a cross between Sherlock Holmes, Flight of the Concorde, Jayzee and a badger in a hat. I'll let you determine your own mind having watched the video.

 

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 18 December 2013 )
 
Windows and MAC steampunk themes using Yahoo widgets PDF Print
(11 votes)

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It seems as if my widgets are doing very well within the steampunk community. Several 'skinners' or windows-themers are using my widgets as centrepieces for their customisation. Here you can see my weather and orrery widget being used in combination with a fractal background forming a very impressive wallpaper. The second is a mechanical contrivance that works equally well with the orrery widget. The final screenshot brings a more cyberpunk feel to the desktop but the widgets fit in here quite well too.

 my_steampunk_desktop_by_gen.png

A lovely desktop by GeneralDurandal using most of my main widgets and icons - gorgeous...
http://yahoowidgeteers.deviantart.com/art/My-Steampunk-Desktop-359713035

 my_desktop__steampunk_space.jpgr

 and another by Darcykalaw here: http://darcykalaw.deviantart.com/art/My-desktop-steampunk-space-theme-354807599

picture-mac-500.png

The above screenshot shows the steampunk clock/calendar widget running on a MAC.

Some more...

 http://customize.org/thumbnails/medium/99143.jpg

A gorgeous fractal desktop with a link to the original.

 http://customize.org/thumbnails/medium/99047.jpg

Another gorgeous desktop by the same person using a few of my widgets, with a link to the original.http://customize.org/thumbnails/medium/98199.jpg

A much more steampunk background by Resobrain - the widgets fit in beautifully. The original can be found here:
http://www.deviantart.com/art/Windows-7-Steampunk-306314508  The original wallpaper is here: 

 screenshot01.jpg

  My own desktop with most of my widgets displayed.

screenshot01.jpg

  Another steampunk affair on windows 7- linked.

screenshot01.jpg

This desktop thoroughly themed used skins for the menu bar, winamp and just one of my widgets.

desktop6-500.jpg

  A very calm and serene desktop

desktop7-500.jpg

  Windows 7 again with a 3rd party dock and widgets

screenshot-500.jpg

This is the desktop of my Linux Mint laptop, partly steampunked with the same background as my Windows systems, same icons. Fonts not yet loaded. Uses Avant Window Manager as the dock, it is the best dock for icons of variable sizes:

 steam-linux-500-01.jpg

 Another Linux Kubuntu steampunk desktop using the timekeeper orrery plasmoid as the centrepiece.

steampc00-500.jpg

 A very nice Windows 7 steampunk desktop with all the widgets and a brass feel to the task bar.

 computer_emporium-500.jpg

 A recent Windows 8 desktop by Rochdale on DeviantArt.

daniel-kubuntu-screenshot-6.jpg
This Daniel Cartron's desktop which is Linux, Kubuntu with KDE Plasmoids. These are in development now. This is largely a test shot.
We will see more of my widgets on Linux soon I hope.

mac-steampunk-screen.jpg

The steampunk widgets are running on Mac os/x this time, natively, no kludging required.

screenshot01.jpg

Someone else with a steampunk theme to their Windows system, this image is linked to a larger version.

my-current-desktop-500.jpg

My current desktop with a few modified widgets under test.

desktop-with-orrey.jpg

A beautiful one this using a heavily modified image of Budapest- a stunning Mac os/x desktop

steampunkdesktop-no2-500.png

One from the Steampunk Empire by Dr. Sebastion Ebenezer Davenport at http://www.thesteampunkempire.com/photo/steampunk-desktop-2


steampunk_desktop_by_madkit.jpg

This madkittykat's desktop from DeviantArt you can find it here: http://madkittykat84.deviantart.com/art/Steampunk-Desktop-279228254

new-steampunk-desktop-with-.jpg

  Another gorgeous one by Mike Cope which you can see here: http://thegentlemantimetraveler.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/steampunk-desktop.html

my own desktop

A desktop I created - all these items can be obtained as widgets 

butfortherain01.jpg
butfortherain02.jpg
 butfortherain02.jpg  butfortherain02.jpg
Gorgeous Galaxy Note Screenshots by
butfortherain at Brassgoggles
 More here:
 hntr-230.jpg  
I won't be linking to this chap as he refuses~
to credit me for my work, he thinks it is OK
to steal imagery without acknowledging the
owner of the image.
 

 

clockj-600.jpg

 An unknown desktop I found on google somewhere which uses my steampunk orrery as the centrepiece.

 bill-600.jpg

 This is Bill Walton's desktop.This is a Windows 8 desktop.

jellyfrog-600.jpg

Another I found on Deviantart somewhere - DA user jellyfrog

All the widgets can be downloaded here :

 linux-timekeeper-600.jpg

  Unknown KDE desktop found on a Google image search

linux-timekeeper2-600.jpg

 Unknown found on a Google image search

 linux-timekeeper3-600.jpg

  Steampunk KDE desktop by Victorhck

resobrain-600.jpg

  Dream Catcher by Resobrain - http://resobrain.deviantart.com/art/Dream-Catcher-Steampunk-346065840

 Jose-Luis-Gnojski-600.jpg

Steampunk KDE desktop by Jose Luis Gnojski

 Virgilio-Cesar-600.jpg

  Steampunk KDE desktop by Virgilio César

 zcat_image3-600.jpg

An unknown image found on a Google image search

  -oOo-

Remember, these are just screenshots of desktops that I found on the internet. I don't provide the underlying wallpapers the above customisers have used as they are not my property to distribute. If you really want one you'll need to follow the links when provided or find the original images on Google.

The following video is by Karoonchai - shows the use of my steampunk orrery widget on an iphone theme.



The music is a little non-steampunk but the theme seems to mostly work.

iphone-theme-500.png
The same iphone theme as it looks on an actual iphone.



A Raimeter desktop by jay42 - rather gorgeous too I think.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 05 February 2014 )
 
Joomla css unspecified property value inherited from a different template? PDF Print
(1 vote)

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One of my sites started acting strangely a day or so after some changes had been made, at first glance it appeared that the bug was impossible to explain. The site has several pages and the look and feel of each is handled by one of six separate css templates. What happened is that we made changes to one template that was used only on one page but after a day or so the same change started to percolate onto the other pages.

The page heading was made up of two divs which were suddenly appearing on two separate lines causing all the content below to appear as if pushed down the page. This was a very important client's site so it was a poor show to have it appearing so completely broken.

gill-spider.pngInitially I was at a loss as to explain why it was occurring though some digging eventually came up with the solution, I guessed it was caused by the way Joomla uses CSS to style pages. It wasn't, it was me...

When the problem occurred I checked the file creation dates and none had been changed, all template file dates were the same as when the site went live, so it had to be something simple or more fundamental than I was initially unable to divine.

When I had made my earlier changes I had made them to one template alone, template no. 6. I had simply added a float:left and changed the default content heading spans to divs so I could style them better.

What I was now seeing seemed technically impossible as each page has it's own individual template which prevents changes to one affecting another. However, I was seeing exactly that, ie. it was as if the css changes on one page were cascading down or being stored in some way by the browser. Simply, this was technically just not possible - but I confirmed it was what we were seeing, so I had to find the reason why.

I initially suspected a o/s or browser update but that was soon disproved. The formatting problem we saw was not confined to a single browser but occurred on IE, safari, opera, chrome and FF on Windows and when it was confirmed on Linux too it was time to admit it was definitely site based.

To recap - the facts were that no templates had been changed except for no.6 which was the news template (I checked modification dates to confirm). We know that the templates do not interact and they are exclusive to a page or group of pages. However as nothing had changed except the news page change (and all other pages were tested subsequently and nothing looked wrong) something, somewhere caused it and I was determined to find the culprit.

What seems to have occurred is that some implied positioning had been over-ridden by the changes we made to template 6 but they only showed their face in the days between. This was possibly due to a cache clearing itself.

SOLUTION - It seems that the pages affected had implied positioning of certain elements by the dint of certain properties not being explicitly defined, specifically the float property. So prior to the change they all worked in their default position.

When the sixth (news) template was changed the content headings were given explicit definitions to the float attribute to float:left which determined how the two headings positioned themselves in relation to each other. Unfortunately site and browser caches were still in place when the changes were tested. When the caches expired and were cleared, the next subsequent visit to the affected pages meant that the formatting problems started to occur.

The fact that I made a change to the content headings, changing them from a <span> to a <div> meant that the float property was no longer being inherited on the pages affected. The first cache expirration showed the formatting errors to the world. What a tosser I was. However, the solution was easy to implement and I fixed it quickly.

Lessons learnt - clear the caches and test on the test environment first. Why have I written this little article? Well, sometimes it is good to document your errors so that they don't happen again. Sometimes it is good to tell others so that they don't make the same mistakes. Sometimes it is good to punish yourself for being a tosser.
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 10 July 2012 )
 
Coconet version 1.0 - SSI Colonial Conquest is back! PDF Print
(16 votes)

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There is a new version of the old Atari 520 ST game, Colonial Conquest, this time though it runs under Windows, no emulator required!

The game was originally released by SSI (Strategic Simulations Inc) in 1985 and functioned  mainly on the Atari computer although a version ran on both the Apple II and the Commodore64. Consider the game as being a serious upgrade to 'Risk'. If you've played and enjoyed Risk you'll love Colonial Conquest. It uses similar methodology to Risk in that you use your armies and fleets to gain colonies and when at war with a 'great power' you then use them to advance into enemy-held territory. As you expand you gain the ability to build more troops/ships and your power increases. The main differences to Risk are the existence of areas of production where your ships/men are manufactured or trained. Loss of these quickly ends your war... Ships exist to transport your troops across the seas or can act as offensive weapons in their own right. The main differences of the new version of Colonial Conquest are AI, network play, custom games and the ability to play the game on Windows.

The coconet big map - click to view

 

 

 

 

 

 

The highly developed AI in the new version of the game gives very good and aggressive competition handling up to five computer players each with nine levels of difficulty. The AI is no push-over (try playing Russia with the AI as Germany at level 9).

The coconet foyer - click to view

 

 

 

Network play is a fine addition to the game in that you may now play remotely over the internet or on multiple local PCs on your lan. A brand new feature in version 1.0 is the ability to create custom maps. You are no longer limited to a map of the world as before and you may design your own. A new bundled map is the land of Elora.

The coconet custom map - click to view

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gameplay is as good as ever, a lot of fun from a 1980s game that is just as much fun today as it was then. If you haven't tried retro games then this is a good place to start as it is really one of the best. If like me, you remember staying up late to play CC on your Atari 512ST with your teenage mates then try Kroah's downloads page and grab yourself some nostalgia. The colonial Conquest download is here, the forum is here, the other Atari ST downloads are here.

The coconet console - click to 
view 

 

 

 

 

Version 1.0 includes the following changes:

Fixed: Many bug-fixes
New: Enhanced network engine
New: Enhanced lobby
New: Check for new version on startup
New: Map information window (lobby & ingame)
New: Finishing a turn triggers a sound to other players
New: Moves can be canceled
New: Area tooltip displays the attacking major
New: MetaServer keeps data of old games
New: Left click interface option
New: Mute sound option
New: Disable memorizing statistics option
New: Custom map support
New: Custom map is downloaded when joining a game
New: Custom map format and integrity checks on load
New: Custom map editor
New: Custom map patterns/flags/boats/factory sprites support

 

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 18 December 2013 )
 
New Steampunk Icons based upon Eric Gill's 1924 design PDF Print
(7 votes)

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We have just created some gorgeous new icons for your desktop. Based upon the Eric Gill designs for a new stamp for the British Empire Exhibition of 1924, the icons are decidedly steampunk in their nature but will lend themselves very well to any retro application. The icons are available as PNG files for use in conjunction with dock applications such as Rocketdock, Objectdock, Stardock, Avant Window Manager &c. There are 20 of these icons at the moment and more will come. These steampunk icons will leave your Windows or Mac desktop looking absolutely spiffing. There is a whole set of the little thingies and I must say they do look very steampunk indeed! They really are a suitable replacement for the boring old default icons that come with your operating system. This icon and the others like it will spruce up your desktop and give it a bit of Victorian class. Compatible with MobyDock, RK Launcher and your default Windows icons. We have recreated Eric Gill's penny hal'penny stamp design using Photoshop and have used this as a basis for the collection. We hope to make more stamp denominations based upon Erisc Gill's single penny hal'penny stamp design. So expect more here soon. Suitable images are then combined with the stamp to make something that is truly more as a whole than when viewed merely as individual images. We do hope you like them. Get them here:
http://rocketdock.com/images/screenshots/thumbnails http://rocketdock.com/images/screenshots/thumbnails 
http://rocketdock.com/images/screenshots/thumbnails/magnifier2.png http://rocketdock.com/images/screenshots/thumbnails/photoshop2.png
Last Updated ( Saturday, 01 September 2012 )
 
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