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October 31, 2005

Halloween Pictures

I’ve uploaded some pictures and a video of Riley’s Halloween costume this year. (Everyone that saw him thought that he was just the cutest thing ever!) I even included a couple pictures of the pumpkins that Sanni and I carved for Halloween. (I previously wrote about where I got the cool stencils, in case you want to try a neat design next year.)

Posted at 10:19 PM in Family

October 22, 2005

DHTML JavaScript Calendar

I’m currently working on a web application at work that needed to allow the user to input the start and end date of an event. A couple of text input boxes would work, but they would require additional instructions informing the user how to properly format the date—not a very user friendly approach. So the obvious alternative then, was to provide the user with some sort of calendar widget from which they could easily select the dates. But as you know, there is no HTML calendar form widget and I didn’t have time to write a custom widget…

I’ve been reading DHTML Utopia: Modern Web Design Using JavaScript & DOM and happened to have just recently read about a free, standards compliant JavaScript calendar so I decided to check it out and see if it would fit the bill.

I won’t go into a lot of detail other than to just say that I was very impressed with this calendar widget. It is easily configurable and can either pop-up a calendar in another window when the user clicks a link or a button, or it can be a “flat” calendar that always shows on the page. The calendar can be easily “skinned” through CSS style sheets to match the look and feel of your web site. It also allows multiple date selections and date/time selections.

This calendar turned out to be perfect for my application and did exactly what I was looking for! Thank you, Dynarch, for providing such a high quality component available to web developers for free.

Posted at 8:05 PM in Web Development

October 17, 2005

Pumpkin Carving Stencils

Halloween is fast approaching. For the last couple of years, I've turned to the internet to help me with my pumpkin carvings. There are many free stencils or patterns available for download that make it relatively easy to create a memorable Jack-O-Lantern that will impress your neighbors and friends.

This year my searching unearthed a pumpkin carver's goldmine: Zombie Pumpkins. This beautifully designed site contains over 100 high quality stencils grouped in several categories available for download. While they are not free, a small fee ($2 to $20–you decide) gives you access to the complete set. So if you're looking to carve a unique pumpkin this year, you won't want to miss this site. UPDATE: Last night I carved my pumpkin for Halloween. I chose the "Dragon Flight" stencil and it took me about three or four hours to clean out the pumpkin and complete the carving. But as you can see, it turned out quite excellent, don't you agree?


Posted at 10:28 PM in Miscellaneous | Comments (2)

October 8, 2005

PortlandMaps Advanced Search

One of my first projects as a web developer for the City of Portland was recently launched. The project was to redesign the advanced search page of the PortlandMaps web site.

This search tool allows you to search the city’s property data according to various criteria such as address, property ID, sale date, and market value. It was an exciting project for me as I was able to integrate a variety of technologies to create a really useful and interesting web application.

The search results are integrated with Google Maps and Google Earth. When you perform a search, not only do you get a table showing data about the matching properties, but a Google Map is also populated with markers showing the location of the matching properties. Each marker contains additional information about the specific property, along with a link to a detailed page with more information about the property. Should you prefer Google Earth instead of Google Maps, it is also possible to export the results into this program, again with detailed markers placed at the location of each search result.

The integration with Google Maps and Google Earth provide the user with a very engaging and interactive experience. Due credit should be given to Google for providing such easily extensible mapping applications. This is a perfect example of how “Web 2.0” technologies allow individual components to be integrated together to create rich web applications.

Posted at 3:55 PM in Web Development | TrackBack


I’ve been a big fan of Dean Edward’s IE7 standards compliance patch for Internet Explorer ever since I discovered it about six months ago. Recently I discovered another invaluable tool written by this same genius. It’s called cssQuery and it provides increased flexibility for accessing elements in JavaScript. Think of it as getElementsByTagName on steroids—LOTS of steroids! I can’t wait to try it out on one of my future projects.

Posted at 2:16 PM in Web Development

Really Slick Screensavers

Are you tired of the default screensavers that come installed with Windows? Then try Really Slick Screensavers, a collection of free OpenGL screensavers. They’re sure to spice up your computer with some really slick graphical effects!

Posted at 1:41 PM in Computers

October 2, 2005

Riley walking and talking video

I’ve posted another video of Riley. This video has more walking (in case the last one left you with the impression that all he does is fall) and just some good ol’ fashioned cuteness. There is a hi-res and a low-res version.

Posted at 9:27 PM in Family