Christian Heilmann

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Archive for December, 2005

Things Web Developers can learn from craftsmen part 1

Saturday, December 31st, 2005

I spent Christmas at my parents’ and went through some of the old paperwork to see what can be ditched. One of the contracts I found dated 1996 and was my application to start a web design business.

I remember clearly that back then the government agency dealing with new businesses asking me if “web design” is a craft, and if what I am doing is weaving nets in a beautiful manner. While that left me speechless back then I realize now that there is a lot craftsmen and old trades can teach us as web developers.

I jobbed a lot as a bricklayer, painter and plumber amongst other things and learnt one thing pretty soon:
Although you think you are dead clever and the people you have to work with might not be your cup of tea when it comes to enlightenment about equality or politics – in their area of expertise you can learn a lot from them and you know less than they do. A lot of times higher school education leaves us with a lot of knowledge, but not much practical thinking. Simply by listening you can prevent making an idiot out of yourself or work hard without getting the job done. (more…)

Samorost – A wonderfully designed time waster

Saturday, December 24th, 2005

If you like puzzle games and want to see really cool rust/dirt/moss inspired designs with off-beat humour and a dash of drug induced ambient music check out Samorost and Samorost2. I spent the money on the full version and must say it really was worth it. I want more of their stuff!

Tips & Tricks

It seems that a lot of people end up here looking for tips on solving Samorost2. Well, I don’t want to spoil your fun, but here are some (I solved the whole game):

  • It seems that boiled poppy in water makes you sleep immediately and give up what you are holding. However, you cannot boil water someone else is drinking. You need to put a cork into it.
  • Lizards like eating bugs, although they might not agree with them. Flies, however, are happy to deal with the remains.
  • If there are colours on wheels, lining all of them up vertically (and really straight) gets you further
  • You cannot go through dark tunnels without a torch, although you might need to enter one to find one.
  • Flowers react with insects
  • There is nothing better to wake up a cabbie than a strong boiled coffee. Light bulbs get very hot.
  • Your dog is an odd creature, flowers don’t wilt when it pees on them, they grow.

Merry Christmas to the lot of you

Saturday, December 24th, 2005

Well, it is the 24th, and I am with my family celebrating Christmas. This year they managed to create the ultimate torture device: “We don’t give any big presents this year, so don’t bother getting some”. Of course everybody told me in secrecy about the massive presents they did buy for the others…

Happy fact: The first three chapters of the ten chapter book for Apress “Practical JavaScript for the Usable Web” are finished and it will be shipped in July. The other project I am involved in is scheduled a bit earlier and will feature one chapter on “Accessible JavaScript”.

Why is the end of the year always utter sh*t?

Tuesday, December 20th, 2005

I am on my first day of end of the year holiday now, and just went through all the mail, as I will be gone till the 3rd of January to visit my family and party with some friends over New Year’s in Munich. I was happy to have a fat, round 4 figure on my bank account which means I can spend something on my family – like taking the dog to the vet as father is too tight to pay “that much for a pooch” and mother is very concerned. Well, I was wrong. It seems the UK system cannot stand a person that lives on his own wage and never had an overdraft. (more…)

Automatic AJAX translator tool

Monday, December 19th, 2005

Just stumbled upon this Translator tool using AJAX which translates text you enter in realtime into other languages. My, I don’t want to see the traffic stats of this one.

Neat though.