Rails, Simile Timeline and Pocket IE

Following on from earlier, I ran into another problem with my little test application but, thankfully, it ended up being easy to fix.

In the application I make use of Timeline. Including it in the application is simple enough. I just include this:

"http://simile.mit.edu/timeline/api/timeline-api.js" )
in the html.erb file and the Timeline is available for use (I'll probably go with a local version at some point soon, I've just not got around to sorting that out yet).

The problem I ran into is that Pocket IE on my Pocket PC (a Dell Axim X50) doesn't seem to like this and throws an "Object Error". This was easy enough to solve in the end. I simply added this:
# Test if the request came from Pocket IE.
def pocket_ie?( request )
request.env[ "HTTP_USER_AGENT" ][ /MSIE.*Windows CE/ ]
to my ApplicationHelper class and then, in the html.erb file, simply said:
unless pocket_ie?( request )
"http://simile.mit.edu/timeline/api/timeline-api.js" )
Combined with a handheld specific stylesheet to hide the div that contains the timeline I end up with a version of the page that works in Pocket IE with no problems.

Okay, I guess it's a little kludgy, but it works and solves the problem at hand.

Ruby on Rails (and some WAP)

I'm quite a fan of ruby and have been for many years. In the last year or so I've been meaning to get to grips with rails but, every time I've tried, we've ended up having a falling out.

Most of the reasons have tended to be based around the (it seems to me) amazing lack of useful documentation. Sure, there's lots of stuff out there that documents the framework, but the sort of documentation that helps ease you into the learning process seems very thin on the ground.

Not too long back, at the suggestion of Rich Daley, I invested in a copy of Agile Web Development With Rails. This was just the sort of thing I was looking for and it's been a huge help (and also a huge source of frustration in itself seeing as how it's aimed at an earlier version of rails than the one I've got installed, but I've managed to get over that hump — it also seems that there's a third edition on the way).

Even with that book I still had a couple of aborted attempts to get to know rails better. As often happens with me the problem really came down to not having a goal to work to, a problem to solve, an application to build. Finally, last week, I devised a problem to solve and set to work.

And it worked, and it's been enjoyable. So far I'm impressed.

For me a good development system is one where my needs have been anticipated and, up until now, rails seems to deliver. A good example happened very recently. After having "finished" my little test application I thought it might be fun to add some simple WAP support. I imagined it would be easy enough using respond_to. Something like this:

def index
respond_to do |format|
However, that didn't work. rails didn't know what to do with a "wml". A quick Google search later (see, the online docs are fine once you know what you're doing) and I found that all I needed to do was to edit my config/environment.rb to add the following:
Mime::Type.register "text/vnd.wap.wml", :wml
A restart of the server later and everything was fine. All I then needed to do was to create a index.wml.builder along the lines of this:
xml.instruct! :xml, :version => "1.0"

xml.wml "xml:lang" => "en-gb" do

xml.card :title => "My title here" do

xml.p "Something interesting here"
xml.p "Something else interesting here."


and I was done (and testing was easy enough thanks to the wmlbrowser add-on for Firefox).

I think I'm going to like rails. Now to find a real problem that needs solving...


More Fuji Provia 100F Results

Having had enjoyable results with my first roll I decided to put a second roll of Fuji Provia 100F through the Lubitel 166B.

I finished the roll off the other weekend, while at Belton House, and last Monday I posted it for processing and scanning by my friendly Scottish landscape photographer (thanks Tim!). I got the results back on Saturday and have processed them all over the weekend. The results are as follows:

Mareham Lane Rapeseed

Lone Pylon


Lubitel at Belton House

Lubitel at Belton House - Train Not OperatingLubitel at Belton House - Wild Corner (Lubitel)
Lubitel at Belton House - Lubitel Cricket #1Lubitel at Belton House - Lubitel Cricket #2
Lubitel at Belton House - ClearingLubitel at Belton House - Four
Lubitel at Belton House - Five LayersLubitel at Belton House - The Orangery
Lubitel at Belton House - Fountain

I did suffer some light leakage this time around, especially on the first three frames. The second frame (Lone Pylon) suffered the most, hence the reason I turned it into black and white. Other than that I'm very pleased with the results.

As it turns out, I was so happy with the way that Lone Pylon turned out I've made it available as a print (as part of my series Against the Sky) on RedBubble:


RedBubble Art Manager for Windows v1.4.0.0 Released

Earlier today I released a new version of my RedBubble art manager application (that was v1.3.0.0).

The main change in that release was the addition of a "Preview" button to the promotion code dialog:

When you use this a new window will appear that shows a preview of the image that is generated, like this:

Also, as per a suggestion from shawhouse, I added size parameters to the laminated and framed prints. This makes a subtle difference to the final image.

Just as I was making the release I got a message from reflexio to say that they'd discovered that RBArtMan failed to download an art list if you've only got a single page of art. This was a very easy fix.

So, later on in the day I released v1.4.0.0.

As well as fixing that bug I added a profile promotion code generator dialog:

It generates code that creates a banner for your profile just like you can find in your promote tab here on RedBubble. The main difference is that it'll do Textile code (used as the markup language on RedBubble) and BBCode as well as HTML.

The result is that you get little banners like this:


RedBubble Art Manager for Windows v1.2.0.0 Released

I've just uploaded a new version of my RedBubble art manager application (this is v1.2.0.0). You can get it from here.

The main change in this release is to enhance the "promote a work" dialog as per Julie Langford's suggestion. Whereas before it simply let you promote with a simple image it now lets you promote with a simple image or one of the various product previews:

The result of something like that being:

Another change is that I've added a command that takes you directly to a work's edit page on RedBubble, something I thought of after reading a comment made by Shelley Heath.


RedBubble Art Manager v1.1.0.0 Released

I've released a quick update to my RedBubble Art Manager application, it can be downloaded from over here.

The main change in this release is to implement an idea suggested by Julie Langford. There's now a command that lets you generate simple "promotion codes" for individual works which can be used elsewhere:

You simply pick the style of code you want (Textile for use on RedBubble itself, BBCode for use on sites that use BBCode and some simple HTML that might be useful in blogs and the like) and the style and size of image you want and then copy the result to your clipboard.


RedBubble Art Manager

Ever since I wrote a ruby script for exporting a list of your art on RedBubble I've been toying with the idea of writing a variation on that theme that might be useful to people who aren't in the habit of getting "down and dirty" on their Windows machines, people who prefer not to install software they don't know about and who don't fancy running command line scripts.

Last week I finally cracked and started work on something:

You can read some more about it over here.


Belton House

Yesterday, given that it was hot and sunny, we decided to spend the day in the grounds of Belton House. I took the Canon PowerShot G9 and the Lomo Lubitel 166B with me.

I managed to run off a small set of photographs with the G9 and also finished off a roll of Fuji Provia 100F in the Lubitel. I'll be sending that off for processing some time today.


Spalding and Flag Fen

This last weekend I managed to get a fair bit of photography done. On Saturday I headed over to Spalding and took some photographs while watching the Spalding Flower Parade. Getting a good position to actually see the parade itself, let alone photograph it, was tricky. As it was I ended up generally photographing everything that was going on around me.

On Sunday I headed down to Flag Fen to see (and photograph) their Romans vs Saxons themed weekend. That was a fantastic day out. The stalls, displays and talks were interesting enough but the show battle towards the end of the day was excellent. If you ever get the chance to get to Flag Fen for such an event, do so, well worth the money.

Fuji Provia 100F Results

I've finally uploaded the results of the first roll of Fuji Provia 100F that I've put through the Lubitel 166B. Overall I'm pleased with the results. Out of the 12 images on the roll only 2 didn't turn out as I'd hoped (and both were down to a metering cock-up on my part, both images show a scene, they just don't show the scene how I wanted it to appear).

The uploaded images are:

Lubitel at Fulletby:

Normanton Church Museum:

Spring Clouds:

Towards Threekingham:

Storm Near Stow: