Crystal Palace dinosaurs

I didn’t know it, but there are model dinosaurs in Crystal Palace park. When I say models, they are pretty much full-size replicas of what they decided dinosaurs looked like back in the 1850’s. They’re pretty good, it has to be said, and the park setting’s good for a stroll.

A panoramic view of the dinosaurs:
Panoramic view of the dinosaurs

This dinosaur looks like it’s got a walking stick:
An old dinosaur with a walking stick

A fairly convincing one:
Another dinosaur in the park

More information on the dinosaurs
The dinosaurs in Crystal Palace are located about here
London Borough of Bromley: Crystal Palace Park Dinosaurs

We’re not singing any more: Leyton 1-4 Rochdale

Leyton 1-4 Rochdale

It was a good start to the season with 3 wins out of 3, but now reality has hit and we’re only on 3 wins out of 4 having lost 4-1 to Rochdale. 9 points from 4 games still isn’t bad at this level where the whole league is more-or-less on the same level. The disappointing thing from this match, though, is that the O’s played pretty well and certainly didn’t deserve the goal difference. Rochdale, however, were just much more incisive when it came to goal action, a lot of this coming from the size and strength of most of their team. Man for man they had a good two inches on every Orient player. Steele played solidly, but Tudor’s runs from midfield and Mackie’s defensive duties were definitely high points in the side.

So some disappointment that the dream run didn’t continue, but there’s encouragement to be had from the way the team played and I’m sure most Orient fans would have settled for 2nd after 4 games had they been asked at the start of the season.

There is some consolation from the weekend,though, in that Spurs are now top of the Premiership! (If only on goal difference…)

BBC SPORT | Football | League Two | Leyton Orient v Rochdale

BBC SPORT | Football | Premiership | Tottenham 2-0 Middlesbrough

Freecycle London

Darren pointed me towards the London Freecycle Group. It’s a straightforward mailing list where people (in London) post stuff they want to get rid of, the only condition being that it has to be free. It’s also possible to make a request for something although the rules around this are a bit tighter. There’s a lot of interesting things going through, and in the day I’ve been a member I’ve seen such things as:

  • An old Dyson
  • Some household doors
  • Old videos (with and without films on)
  • Some ‘hardly used’ felt tip pents
  • A payphone.

It’s quite high traffic but an excellent way of getting rid of something that you no longer want but someone else might.

London Freecycle Group
The main Freecycle site

Tottenham admit interest in Kuyt

Spurs seem to have quite a bit of money to spend this season, with apparently interested in Dirk Kuyt for in the region of £12m and possibly Jermaine Jenas for £13m. I can’t believe that Sir Alan Sugar was paid enough for The Apprentice that he can afford to compete with Roman Abramovich in the buying stakes. Still, Spurs are one place above Chelsea at the moment (okay, first game of the season, and only on goals scored so it won’t last).

With Defoe, Keane, Mido and one other good striker Spurs really look like they’re trying to break into the top few this season, though. There isn’t much room between Chelsea, Man Utd and Arsenal and that only leaves one other Champions League place which is going to be fiercely contested (with Liverpool probably being the main contender). It’s early days but Spurs must be hoping for a UEFA cup place this year after coming so close last season.

BBC SPORT | Football | My Club | Tottenham Hotspur | Tottenham admit interest in Kuyt
BBC SPORT | Football | My Club | Newcastle United | Spurs quiet on Jenas speculation

Minimal MSN communication

I’m not sure if it’s just me, the technology reducing our attention spans or (most likely) a combination of both, but I’ve developed an increasingly terse response style for conversations on instant messenger. I get much more curt the better I know someone too. As an example:

Tim says:
as I know you're not busy
Tim says:
want to test something for bugs for me?
Karl says:
Tim says:
he he he

Hardly the best chat ever.

Motorbike hire in London (again)

I usually hire motorbikes from Raceways, Surrey Quays and they treat me pretty well. Now they know me and I obviously spend enough money with them they’re more likely to give me a good deal on hiring the extras at the same time as the bike, or making sure I get one of the newer models if I’ve booked in time.

Around busy times, though, they might be fully booked, so I’ve been pointed towards Riverside Motorbike Hire. Riverside are based in Bow, just off the Blackwall Tunnel Approach (East London) so are actually a bit nearer to me by road, but not so easy to get to by public transport. They seem to be about the same price as Raceways, and a similar range of bikes. It does look like you’re able to take all their models into Europe, though, so I think I may be trying them out sometime in the future.

Raceways motorbike hire, Surrey Quays
Riverside Motorbike Hire

Already addicted to ‘Lost’

‘Lost’ has only just started on Channel 4 and E4 and I’m already addicted. I watched the first three episodes back-to-back last Sunday and still wanted more. I was expecting something Survivor-like i.e. people marooned with some ensuing drama, but there’s a lot more action than that with the introduction of what seem to be strange creatures that give it a bit of a Jurassic Park feel. I can see what I’m going to be watching for the rest of the year.

The Lost site on Channel 4

JavaScript solution to PNG alpha transparency in IE

Solutions to the problem of PNG alpha transparency in IE6 have been around for a while, as exemplified by this post on Cross-Browser Variable Opacity with PNG on A List Apart. This solution uses script to write in the correct html, or to pass variables to a script and set a property of an object. Other solutions involve using server-side browser sniffing to serve different CSS depending on the browser.

The crux of the problem is that IE6 doesn’t support the Alpha channel of PNG files used as an image. The solution is to take advantage of one of the proprietary DirectX filters built into Internet Explorer (for Windows) and to use this instead of the background image. The important point to note is that it is an ‘either/or’ solution – the PNG is used as a background image for the other browsers, and as a filter source in IE. Including both in IE means the PNG appears but with a nasty grey where all the transparency should be.

I’ve come up with the JavaScript below as an instant fix solution which means no rewriting of existing code is necessary. The CSS file will contain the background image as supported by Firefox and the other (non IE) modern browsers. (IE 7 is supposed to fix this, by the way.) The JavaScript runs through the stylesheet and replaces all of the background images with DirectX filters. The script should be placed in the head of the page just after the stylesheet tags and works automatically (although I haven’t yet tested it in older browsers).

You’ll need to remove some of the linebreaks which I’ve marked with a \n.

 var stylesheets=document.styleSheets;
 for(var i=0;i0)){

The way this works is to loop through each stylesheet, then each rule in the stylesheet, looking for any one with the backgroundImage property set. If it’s set it takes the image name from it (stripping out the url(”) bit) and sets that as the source of a DXImageTransform CSS filter. It then removes the backgroundImage property.

A new design for this blog

It’s taken a few evenings and bits of the weekend, but last night saw the launch of a new design for this blog. What with the categorisation I’d added recently, the right hand column with all the navigation in it was getting a bit cluttered so I’ve now gone 3 column and hopefully everything fits at an even height on the screen a bit better.

The main thing of note is the large background image, though, which is randomised so you should get a new one each time you view the site (the current image is stored in a session cookie) – close down your browser window and launch the blog again and it should give you a new image. The images in the library will grow over time as they’re just being pulled randomly out of a single directory. Alternatively you can click on this link to get a new image. At some point I’ll add a button to the site to do that.

Change the background image