Author Archives: Stephen Dunn

Hard Drive Sustainability

Your hard drive with very important family pictures has just failed, and now all data is lost forever. Could you have prevented this from happening? This article is a quick walk though of how to detect hard drive errors before the disk is unusable.

Stephen Dunn
Stephen Dunn

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Neatly clean up your CSS layout

Recently I started to use a more minimally-responsive CSS framework called Neat, since I was unhappy with the total offerings of so many others. This article will explain how to start using the basics of Neat in order to better understand how the framework works before using it in projects.

Stephen Dunn
Stephen Dunn

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Simple SVG Graphing

Graphing is a great way to visualize a bunch of data. In this article we will talk about a simple way to make graphs for modern web browsers. We will be using dimple.js that is powered by D3. Here I will explain everything that you need to know in order to get a jump start in making SVG charts.

Stephen Dunn
Stephen Dunn

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Unlearning jQuery

jq-logo

Now that you have already learned jQuery, let’s unlearn it and get back to the basics. In this article, we will quickly go over the most common things that jQuery is currently used for and convert them to pure javascript.

jQuery is a great tool and contains polyfills that are beneficial. However, more often than not, I see it being abused and used for everything just for the sake of code simplicity. For example a webpage that is only using some basic javascript might not need jQuery at all, but a better understanding of javascript. Let’s take some of the basic things I have seen and convert them directly to javascript, in order to unlearn jQuery.

Stephen Dunn
Stephen Dunn

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Dry up your CSS

As we start to build websites with mobile first in mind, our stylesheets can get messy really quick. In this article, we’ll talk about making your stylesheets more functional and easier to read at the same time. We will take a quick peek into SASS, and the benefits that it will have over your stylesheets. The focus will be about a common problem that I typically see regarding media queries. At the end of this article I hope that you have a better understanding about making your stylesheets easier to read using SASS. 

Stephen Dunn
Stephen Dunn

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Put the grunt work behind you

gulp-grunt

Gulp is quickly becoming the the leading task runner over grunt. If you are currently using Grunt or even worse, an ant task, then I highly recommend this topic for you. In this write up, we will quickly discuss Grunt, Gulp, and Gulp syntax. 

Stephen Dunn
Stephen Dunn

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Automated Plant Watering System

Taking care of indoor plants can be work, especially if you have many of them.  As you know water plays a major role in the health of plants, so lets automate it!  Automation of watering plants can be cheap, fun and rewarding. 

Stephen Dunn
Stephen Dunn

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SphinxSearch | Full Text Searching

This article explains how to use SphinxSE, Sphinx real time indexing, and set up Sphinx in order to improve search query performance.   First some background about issues surrounding full-text search.

Stephen Dunn
Stephen Dunn

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A Basic Canvas

Over the weekend I decided to play around with the new html5 element canvas.  The canvas allows you to paint images in the browser that previously was done with flash.  Canvas is fairly straight forward and only requires a basic knowledge of html and javascript.

I decided a good start would be to try and make a thunderstorm in order to show the animation bit of canvas.  In this article I will describe what I did and the issues that I had along the way.  Finally at the end I will provide a working example with all of the code.
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IRC Reporter

Recently I was asked to make a bot for a local user group.  The bot would simply report new events into the topic of an IRC channel.  After the bot was created I decided to write an article about it and publish the code.  The code and article  can be found here: http://www.dsmwebgeeks.com/2012/09/creating-an-irc-bot-stephen-dunn/

Basically the bot will constantly check the sites rss feed and then see if there are any valid changes for the topic.  If a valid change is found then it will quickly update the topic.  I used the TCL scripting language since it is allowed by an eggdrop bot.  I hope that you read it and find it useful.