Honey Is Made From Dead Bees

… and other insights into the world from Daftspaniel

Archive for the ‘Web’ Category

HTML5 – Generate Landscapes with Canvas

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I have been hacking away at the HTML5 canvas again and have moved away from the building block look of previous efforts. I did venture to Java and back to Javascript which means I need a less intensive way to generate the landscape. Thankfully I turned up some good ideas and even pseudocode on a few games forums. I have not decided yet on a platform for this program and each prototype iteration has been a move. Python/Pygame would be nice, .Net has potential (Xbox?), Java (web, Android) – right now the portability of HTML5 is very tempting though getting worker threads running has issues and a few other vital features are a little immature. Most platforms have enough drawing primitives to support it (though alpha channels on Java in Linux are really slow). Hmm bit of ramble there but any suggestions appreciated 🙂

Anyway, here’s a screenshot of the current HTML5 output which renders near instantly at page load. The clouds are a recent addition and are slightly alpha blended.

When sufficiently mature I’ll add some buttons and pop it up here again. Not likely to be this side of Christimas though maybe before 2011.

Written by daftspaniel

December 23, 2010 at 10:25 pm

Posted in 2011, Android, ChromeOS, Web

25 (Free) 3D Modeling Applications You Should Not Miss

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This an extensive list of useful 3D software – bound to be one that suits your needs!

25 (Free) 3D Modeling Applications You Should Not Miss.

Written by daftspaniel

November 25, 2010 at 4:08 pm

Posted in Web

Daft World – The Follow Up

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This is a follow up post now that I have tidied up the code enough to put Daft World online.

Please let me know what you think. Any ideas/code for improvement greatly appreciated!

Written by daftspaniel

October 5, 2010 at 8:56 pm

Posted in Web

Daft World – Adventures in HTML5

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IE9, Chrome, Safari, Firefox and Opera are throwing out newer and fancier web browsers than ever and I thought it would be fun to revisit HTML5 as it finally appears to be maturing into reality years after the canvas tag first appeared. To see how your browser scores, got to HTML5test and get your score. Chrome scores around 230 depending on the version.

The canvas tag allows for simple graphic primitives to be drawn on the page dynamically. This appeared to be a good chance to write a program I have wanted to do for a long time – a landscape generator. I have spent a lot of time playing with fractals, fault line graphics etc and doing that on a web page would be awesome!

Here’s a static screenshot of my ‘Daft World’ – looking like it is made of Lego! A live demo should appear as soon as I tidy up the code a bit. It’s pretty simple and only taps the potential of HTML5 but as these cutting edge browsers become the norm the web should get even more interesting.

Written by daftspaniel

September 28, 2010 at 9:14 pm

Posted in Web

Top Thirty Security Tips

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As as software developer, I have spent a good part of each project I have been on considering and implement security. I realised looking after an on-line life is in some ways more complex than writing the security for business critical software packages! So I sat down with the intention of writing a ‘Top Ten’ of tops to share. I was soon at 12 and reaching 30 was not too difficult. These tips are in no particular order and are a mix of good practice, software and technical tips.
Final word before the tips, do not be too afraid of using a computer! The internet is a great resource and should be used and enjoyed by everyone. The reward is well worth the risk.
  1. Turn the firewall in your router to ON if it has one. You may need to look at the manual for how to do this but this will protect all devices on your network (games consoles, laptops, pcs, phones, tablets, iPods etc).
  2. Ensure that each computer you use online has a firewall up and running. Windows has a built-in firewall which is non-intrusive and effective.
  3. Use LastPass to manage and generate your online Passwords.
  4. Listen to the Security Now podcast and keep up to date.
  5. Windows Users can install Microsoft Security Essentials for free. This is a complete virus scanner and much less annoying and intrusive than other free systems. The webpage includes a video tutorial.
  6. Use PSI to inspect your system and keep all your software up to date.
  7. Install software updates when possible – for most people this will be Windows Update.
  8. Stay away from questionable sites where malicious software lives (pirated and cracked software, ‘warez’, porn, pirated media).
  9. Use software installed from trusted sources only e.g. Snapfiles.
  10. Ensure all User accounts on your PC have good passwords that are not in the dictionary or easily guessed.
  11. Do not open strange email attachments – especially viral jokes. You can live the rest of your life without seeing that funny monkey or some crazy photographs.
  12. Backup your system with an automatic online service such a Dropbox.
  13. Ensure your home wireless network requires a key to join.
  14. Never ever give your password to anyone no matter how convincing the email, telephone call or person at the door. If you give the password to anyone ( even a trusted repair professional), change the password afterwards.
  15. Take care of USB sticks that travel around – ensure they are scanned regularly.
  16. Use Paypal so that your credit card information is not exposed to multiple websites.
  17. Cover your webcam physically if not is use – more cases of voyeuristic spying are being reported. This includes software that secretly turns your camera on. Even it the little light is off, it may be taking an image.
  18. Do not share passwords between purposes e.g. email and a shopping account as this makes it easier to break in if one is discovered.
  19. Be aware of scams that suggest you need to pay for a fix for Virus or Malware on your PC – no legitimate security company works this way.
  20. Use OpenDNS which is free, speeds up your web access and protects from harmful sites (plus has a configurable Family Shield filter).
  21. Consider keeping business and home PCs separate. If a computer does not need to be connected to the Internet then it is much safer. Similarly if information does not need stored on a networked computer or device, then do not put it there.
  22. If any website is asking for personal information, ensure the address bar says ‘https://’.
  23. Log out and Switch off if your computer is not being used – the less exposure, the less risk.
  24. Buy an external hard driver (or NAS drive) to back up your files. Even if you have online storage, a local backup is still a good idea.
  25. You have little control over Public Computers such as in a library or cafe. Do not enter any login information unless you have to and ensure you log out before you leave.
  26. Do not connect to a wireless network if you do not know who it belongs to. Be especially suspicious if it does not require a password.
  27. If you use web mail, ensure you can access it using a ‘https://’ secure web address – check the address bar.
  28. Consider the web browser you are using – many consider Firefox or Chrome to be more secure.
  29. Always ensure children are supervised when online and keep computers in a shared public space.
  30. If using a laptop or other device in a public place (e.g. Hotels, Airports or Cafes) ensure that is is up to date and your chosen security software is enabled.

Do you have any tech tips or just some common sense advice? Please leave a comment!

Written by daftspaniel

July 31, 2010 at 8:05 am

Building a Local website

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Last year, with an online buddy, we launched a community website for our local town Carnoustie – OurCarnoustie.co.uk using Google Sites. It is simple technically but has proven popular over the past few months.

Many local websites have been attempted but often fail due to being out of date or losing momentum. Two things that have helped Our Carnoustie stay fresh are actively collecting news and even information and secondly being connected to social media. Twitter and Facebook have proven valuable for making connections. We have carried out some offline publicity in the form of business cards but turning up at events and chatting to people has been most effective. It’s rewarding to hear people being positive about the site and the town. Also nice to meet some people who use the site who don’t post comments etc.

We have been making plans for the future of the site which is a community project run by 2 people. It may be inevitable that a formal group is required. Essential though is keeping the project fun. It is a good testing ground for ideas – we ran a chatroom one night at a few hours notice and had 20 participants who kept going until midnight!

Written by daftspaniel

July 4, 2010 at 9:57 am

Posted in Scotland, Web