December, 2003

31
Dec 03

Holiday season

Christmas has been and gone and Hogmanay has creeped up quickly as usual. On Christmas eve, the only night you actually want to go out in Haddington, I went to the pub and met up with loads of the folk I went to school with which was pretty fun. Christmas Day and Boxing Day were mostly spent with my family, which was also fun. Boxing Day night I met up with Kate and Peter – I only see Kate once or twice a year now and it was cool to catch up. We went to the ReZurection – the Rez was a monthly(?) Happy Hardcore rave that was on when I was at school and stopped just a year or two before I could get to any. I’ve wanted to go to something like that since I started clubbing, and it was as good as I expected. It was full of neds and Altern8, QFX, Ultra Sonic and Bass Generator were all playing live. Wicked fun.

Not sure what to do tonight, Boxing Day aside, I’ve been pretty much bored with clubbing recently and really want to have a break so I’ll be avoiding the clubs and techno parties. There are a few other parties that I can go to but I’m not sure I’m in the mood right now. I quite fancy going for a walk up the hills and watch the Edinburgh fireworks from a distance, but I’m not sure I can convince anyone else that it’s a good idea.

I’ll be glad when it’s 2004, the last five months have been shite – some family stuff that’s not very good, somehow walked away from a mad car crash, then “the Tiree incident” (actually 3 incidents!), followed by breaking my back and spending four months waiting for it to get a bit better. Pretty mental to say the least. Fitness is starting to come together though and I’m really looking forward to getting back out on my bike in a few weeks. Ack, it’ll be time to go kiting again before I know it!

I’m off for my last swim of the year.


24
Dec 03

Winter Kiting

Found jRoo the other day which is an interesting looking blog. There’s a post and photo review of the new Frenzy 04 which is pretty interesting. On the kite forums there’s plenty of talk about snowkiting as expected. John and I had loads of snow kiting plans for this year, shame. I’m starting to think about next winter though. Current idea is to head to France or Canada for a couple of months snow kiting but, as usual, this would be helped by finding someone that wants to come. I’ll go on my own if I have to, but I’m getting sick of going on trips without any mates. I must know someone that want to go and play in the snow for a couple of months, surely…

Back in my world things tick over slowly. Going swimming again today, fitness is creeping back in. I’m dying to get back on a bike, hopefully January sometime. Right now I’m working on coding the Visual Output web site (will be www.visualoutput.com when it’s done) – at the moment I’m developing a stylesheet switcher that uses JavaScript if available but falls back onto PHP if not.

Have a top Christmas everyone!


19
Dec 03

Swimming again

Been swimming again today, the fourth time since taking the brace off and probably the fourth time since stopping triathlon five years ago! Starting to feel a wee bit better in the pool, even went for some structured training today with timed sets and rests. Swimming about 1600m a session just now and starting to build some pace into my swimming again. Hopefully I’ll be swimming 6km a week in the new year. I’ve really enjoyed swimming recently, not had this sort of satisfaction out of it for about ten years!

Since recoding the Wind Things home page I’ve really changed my opinion about JavaScript and have been learning stuff about it, especially unobtrusive (inobtrusive?) DHTML as demonstrated in this Sitepoint article. There are some really cool features I’m looking forward to implementing for JavaScript enabled browsers when we release SC3. Right, I’m off to Edinburgh to get pissed.


16
Dec 03

Wind Things re-code

I’m so bored I’ve just re-coded (now offline – it was only some XHTML and CSS!) the Wind Things home page in XHTML and CSS. It only took a couple of hours (most of which was on the left menu – I’ve never really used JavaScript before and was just hacking) so it’s not very optimised or fine tuned, but was an interesting wee experiment. IE, Opera EDIT – Opera 7.5 preview has sorted this and is now spot on – and Firebird all make good efforts at getting it right – the most noticable problem is IE missing the ::s on the top menu because of it’s lack of support for the pseudo selector :after. There’re probably loads of other bugs too, but the point wasn’t to get it perfect.

This isn’t meant to knock Wind Things (they’re shit hot, they sponsor me!) or anything like that just something for me to practice on. I managed to reduce the file size of the page from 20k to 7k, (plus there’s a 4k CSS file and a 2k JavaScript file, both of which would be cached after getting downloaded for the first time). Not to mention the forward compatibility web standards provide…

Mike – would be interesting to see what this looks like on the Mac browsers.


11
Dec 03

Exercise at last

My delayed appointment in January still stands, but today I was x-rayed and examined in Edenhall hospital, Musselburgh. The news was way better than I expected – my back all looks like it should (the x-rays are very cool!) and I can start to do some excercise at long last. Only swimming and gym work just now, adding cycling and running in a month or two, but still loads better than waiting until the end of January to do anything.

I didn’t waste any time and got straight to the pool for the most tiring swim session of my life. I could only manage a feeble 8×100m sets (a warm-up!) but that’s probably to be expected all things considered. Right, time to get fit again then.


4
Dec 03

Kiteloops

When I was at the St Andrews kite day at the weekend I had a chat with someone about kiteloops. There seems to be a lot of confusion over kiteloops so, for anyone who cares, I’ll explain kitelooping as I see it. I’m talking generally, not just about kiteloops on a mountain board, snow or water.

In a normal jump the kite is kept overhead and is redirected in the direction of travel sometime during the jump to land softly. With a kiteloop the kite is not kept overhead but looped, either direction, in mid-air obviously generating lots more forward pull. This is where things start to get a bit fuzzy: only rarely will the kite manage a complete loop and with bigger kites it’s simply not possible to do a full rotation. You quickly realise that it’s much easier, and less sore(!), to loop the kite while on the land/water/snow than in the air. So how far round does the kite need to go before you land to be a kiteloop? My basic rule of thumb is that the kite must be pointing towards the sky rather than the land/water/snow. This means that most of the kite’s loop must have been completed in the air, it’s a mid-air kiteloop after all.

You can loop the kite either way: backwards (opposite to the direction of travel) is easiest as the kite has less distance to travel – it’s already done some of the loop as part of the jump. Forwards requires a bigger jump because the kite needs to move back over the top of the window and then loop. As I found out at the weekend it seems some people are claiming kiteloops as normal jumps then just downturning the kite on landing and heading off in the other direction. This isn’t the same thing at all in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong these are nice moves to pull but they aren’t kiteloops.

Chris Calthrop distinguishes further by calling kiteloops done with de-powerable kites ‘de-powerable kite loops’ and loops with brake-turned foils (like a Blade with a cross-over kit) ‘kite-spins’.

“(Note on Kite Loops: As the sport evolves into this new era it
is important to understand the differences in kites to judge the manoeuvre. The more inside itself a kite turns the easier a kite loop is. The more dynamically powerful the kite, the harder a kite loop is. For example: If a kite just rotates 360dgs directly above a rider’s head, it is just a ‘kite spin’; but if it carves a massive powered arc close to the water line with rider airborne, then that is surely a real ‘kite loop’ or ‘power loop’. If the kite is de-powerable in the middle of that manoeuvre the skill level required is reduced, as with all manoeuvres of course.”

He’s right of course, it is easier on a de-powerable kite, but I don’t think I’d bother going that far, anyone can choose a de-powerable kite after all. I like the idea that I’ve done ‘power loops’ though :0).


1
Dec 03

Mike Lauder, romantic consultant

Just been looking through November’s site stats and it looks like Mike’s blog, No Visual Output, is currently number one in a google search for “ways of chatting up a girl”, quite cool.

I like looking at web stats, probably because I’m sad. In September someone got to ScottishClimbs via a search for “how to fuck properly” and I’m sure I remember there being another classic to do with shagging. ScottishClimbs has nearly doubled it’s traffic in the last year, which is very cool, and I’m glad we got our extra bandwidth for the last month or two. Not much of our traffic comes from search engines, possibly because we don’t appear very highly in search results. This is hopefully set to change when we put some real effort into getting linked to.


1
Dec 03

First day with no brace

Had my back brace off for 15 minutes for the first time this morning. Back felt super weak (no shit!) and I don’t think I looked too relaxed walking about. I’ve got my brace back on now and my back is really starting to hurt. Think I’ll take it off for another quarter of an hour just now, I’m deperate to get stronger. Getting there…