Introducing “Blocks 2015”

blocksYesterday, I blogged about the 5k Awards. I mentioned that I managed to find the “Blocks” project that Wouter de Jong and I entered, but that it didn’t work in modern day browsers. Of course, that was rather unsatisfactory.

So today, with the help of, I spent some time fixing the javascript code, removing 20th century browser checks, and coverting upper case HTML tags to lowercase. The result is a working version of the original project. It may not look like much now, but 15 years ago, it did really well in the 5k Awards, reaching the top 5 in all categories.

Like the 2000 version, it lacks some basic HTML things – like a doctype declaration – to keep the file size down. It’s functionally and visually identical to the old version, but it now works in recent versions of Chrome, Firefox and IE. And thanks to modern day minifiers, the whole thing is now under 4 kilobytes.

Check it out here:

Roy | May 22, 2015 | Design,English,Internet,Programming,Web design | Comments Off on Introducing “Blocks 2015”
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It’s been 15 years since “The 5K”

Yesterday, Jeffrey Zeldman posted an article on the A List Apart blog about the 5K Awards. I actually entered this competition in 2000, so this post brought back memories. Fond memories of a competition that would be as relevant today as it was back then. Also, it’s not every day that you interact with both @zeldman and @stewart in a single Twitter thread :). So I thought I’d recap.
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Roy | May 21, 2015 | Design,English,Internet,Web design | Comments Off on It’s been 15 years since “The 5K”
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29,788,871 dots, 1929 baffles, one hell of a ceiling


Yesterday, I was invited to visit the new railway station in Delft, which is currently under construction. This new building by Mecanoo architects features a spectacular curved ceiling, constructed out of 1,929 so-called “baffles”. Both side of these elements are covered by a 7700 m2 city map depicting Delft in the year 1876. This map was converted to a pattern of nearly 30 million “delft’s blauw” (blue) dots using software written specifically for the project by Hjalmar Snoep. The ceiling print itself was designed by my friend Martijn Geerdes.
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Roy | December 18, 2014 | English | Comments Off on 29,788,871 dots, 1929 baffles, one hell of a ceiling
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Dear Microsoft, please hire this guy!

That’s assuming “Sputnik8” is a guy. A couple of days ago, he (or she) posted a series of Windows UI concept designs on The Verge. They’re chock-full of elegant new interface ideas, yet they clearly build on existing Microsoft design conventions, most notably “Metro“. Despite (possibly unintentionally) using Ubuntu’s default color scheme, they show a possible direction for Windows. And I love it.

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Roy | February 27, 2012 | English,Software | Comments (12)
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Custom Post Features could make WordPress even more flexible

One of the biggest, and most useful additions to WordPress in recent years has been the introduction of Custom Post Types. Before CPTs, all the content in your site needed to either be in pages or in blog posts. If your site needed a lot of different types of data, you’d typically use categories (or even tags) to tell them apart. I’ve seen (and probably built) examples where “products” and “news” were post categories, and the site’s front-end would continuously filter out one of the two. In hindsight: madness.

Since the introduction of Custom Post Types, it makes sense to declare separate types for different types of data. When doing so, there’s a crucial argument (passed to the register_post_type function) called “supports”. This argument tells WordPress which post features should be available for the new post type. This allows you to mix and match various features. No need for an excerpt? Require a “featured image”? Need custom fields? No problem. But there’s a catch.
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Dear Asus, are you flipping mad?

For as long as I’ve been using PCs, I’ve loved Asus products. My very first motherboard was the now-famousAsus P55T2P4, I’ve got two Eee-PCs, and my laptop is also from the mythical flying horse brand. But recently, I’ve come across an issue with said laptop that’s making me question Asus’s sanity. Turns out that the webcam in my UL30A is mounted upside down.
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Roy | August 18, 2011 | English,Gadgets | Comments (6)
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Don’t let your disks topple over!

I know they look good, but placing your external hard drive vertically (as many are intended these days) is actually a data security risk. Models like the Lacie pictured here, many WD models and countless others may be easier to fit onto your desk than horizontal designs, but you can knock them over. It happened to a friend of mine yesterday, and it looks like he’ll have to pay a lot of money to get his data recovered, or consider it lost.

This also adds a reason to why RAID1 drives (with two disks that store data twice) are safer. Typically, those type of devices have a wider base and are much less inclined to topple over. But anyway, if your drive is the kind that can be placed flat on your desk, I’d recommend doing so.

Roy | August 12, 2010 | English,Gadgets | Comments Off on Don’t let your disks topple over!
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Was Google’s Nexus One switched at birth?

If you’ve not been living under a rock these last few days (or weeks, even), you’ll know that Google has just announced (and released) its first ever mobile phone. Called the Nexus One, it represents Google’s vision of what an Android phone should be. And I’m pretty sure the sotfware is OK. It’s just that I find myself not liking the phone exterior design. I know I’ve dismissed Apple products as ‘style over substance’ in the past, but this thing looks like the HTC Touch from 2007. It might look a little better in real life, but the official stills look decidedly unexciting to me.

At the same time, HTC, who make the Nexus One, have a phone in their portfolio that looks a lot more like what I’d expect from a Google Phone. Its HD2 is a very sexy device that coincidentally has pretty much identical specs compared to the Nexus. It looks nothing like HTC’s other phones, yet runs boring old Windows Mobile. I’m telling you, these two devices were switched a birth. Somewhere deep inside HTC’s Taiwan development labs, a very sexy, top secret new Google Phone was designed, but delivered to the wrong software department. Meanwhile, the next boring Windows device was handed to the Android people.

Despite its bland looks, I’ll probably still get a Nexus One. I’ve been putting off getting an Android phone for way too long, and this is the new king of hill. But I’ll probably regret the terrible mixup for as long as I have it…

So, are you an Apple, Microsoft or Google fan?

There are three corporate giants that dominate tech news. All of them have recently made headlines with innovative new products, and all of them have a dedicated following among tech fans, and are hated intensely by just as many. Time to gather pros and cons for Google, Microsoft and Apple and decide who truly deserves your devotion. Please feel free to add yours in the comments.
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Why do I still not love GDGT?

GDGT logoWhen I first heard about, I thought the startup founded by Peter Rojas and Ryan Block was terribly clever, and right up my alley. The idea of having gadget freaks keep “had”, “have” and “want” lists makes sense both from a user’s perspective and from an advertiser’s. When the website opened to the public I was quick to register and started adding things to my lists. Some stuff that wasn’t in there yet. It was amazing to see how much stuff was entered by users.

But I don’t buy a new gadget every day, so keeping the lists up-to-date doesn’t require me to visit GDGT daily. Considering how Rojas and Block were also involved in Engadget and Gizmodo, I was hoping their new effort would replace both those blogs and become a one-stop shop for technology enthusiasts. So far, at least for me, it hasn’t.
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