random thoughts to oil the mind

Month: March 2007 Page 1 of 4

Language Switcher Widget v1.01

After a little more research and experimentation, I’ve updated the little Language Switcher widget to enable the user to choose whether to display flags and/or names for the available languages when setting up the widget, and change the heading in the sidebar if required.

Click here to download Language Switcher Widget v1.01.

Language Switcher Widget

This certainly isn’t my area of expertise, but I’ve been trying to figure out a way to integrate the Language Switcher plugin with a widget-enabled theme. As this hasn’t yet been implemented, I copied wrote the simplest of Widgets which will list the available languages on your blog in the sidebar.

There really isn’t anything special here, but for people even more hesitant with code than I am, pop this file into the wp-content/plugins/ folder of your WordPress installation, and then enable it via the Plugins admin page. You should then find the Widget available in the Presentation -> Sidebar Widgets admin page. At the moment, the Widget will display your available languages listed only by name. I’m still learning how to allow this to be changed from within the Sidebar Widgets page.

Click here to download Language Switcher Widget v1.0.

A Few Funky Firefox Plugins

Firefox LogoHappily, one of the best things about the Mozilla Foundation’s flagship browser Firefox, is the sheer breadth of additional functionality provided by an active development community in the form of addons or plugins. There’s a great range in terms of ease-of-use, function and stability, some which are so useful as to almost warrant standard inclusion, others merely worth playing with from time to time. It should be noted of course that adding plugins can cause problems with Firefox’s stability and security, though many of those listed are fairly mature projects and should not pose much of a risk. Here are a few I’ve dabbled with from time to time:

Adblock or Adblock Plus – There’s fair advertising, and then there’s frankly unreasonable advertising. I can see the merits of allowing sites to earn funding through the placement of adverts related to their products, whether they come from Google or elsewhere, but some web adverts go too far. The popup plague of yesteryear might have been largely beaten back, but that doesn’t prevent wiley coders from placing wholly obtrusive flash adverts in every nook they can find. Unfortunately their actions can only serve to give web advertising a bad reputation, and drive people to finding ways of blocking adverts wholesale, obtrusive or otherwise. Of course there will always be a small minority of web users who cannot stand to see web adverts in any form, but for their purposes, and the folks seeking refuge from the advertising bombardment, Adblock/Adblock Plus will fulfil their every need.

To tell the truth, the history of these two projects confuses me, save to say that at one time or another one or both of these plugins has been under development. As I understand the current situation, Adblock Plus is the more highly recommended, as it’s more heavily featured, comes with some default filters to subscribe to which can get rid of most adverts with the minimum of fuss for the end user, and has a much reduced resource footprint to boot (pardon the pun).

Will Anyone Beat Australia?

Matthew Hayden

That might just be a taster of the final to come. And if it is, what a treat that will be! Australia met South Africa for dominance of Group A, both teams already through to the Super 8s round, with the points from this game carrying through to that stage of the competition.

Australia opened the batting and immediately made it clear they meant business, clearing 50 inside 5 overs. Matthew Hayden looked to be on stellar form as he scored the fastest century in World Cup Cricket, off just 66 balls, a dangerous omen for the other Super 8 sides. Despite immediately thereafter succumbing, for a total of 101, Hayden’s tally was bolstered by near centuries from Michael Clarke (92) and Ricky Ponting (91) as well as a sound 42 from opening partner Adam Gilchrist, for a total of 377 for 6.

An impressive total no doubt, but Australia have had a reputation of late for being unable to defend their targets. South Africa looked to be up for the challenge, with an impressive opening partnership between AB de Villiers and Graeme Smith for 160, stopped only by an extraordinary run out, thrown directly from the outfield. The run rate slowed visibly after de Villiers’ dismissal, and Smith eventually retired with cramp (albeit with a brief return to the field, only to be almost immediately caught behind in the later stages). Tait pulled an important haul for Australia to wrap some of the danger men, and put an end to any South African hopes of victory. But does anyone else wish he’d stop grunting?

If Hayden and co. can stay in the form they’re in, the latter stages of this competition can only go one way. South Africa are not out of it yet, of course, and both they and Australia will join the West Indies, Ireland, New Zealand, England, Sri Lanka and presumably Bangladesh for the Super 8s. A handy 2 points from this meeting will leave them in confident mood to face the hosts in Antigua next Tuesday.

Super 8s Stage Approaching

Cricket World Cup 2007With only a few more games to play in each of the four qualifying groups, the Super 8 stage of the Cricket World Cup is almost here. In some cases, positions are already decided, and New Zealand for example can already guarantee taking 2 points through to the next stage.

Having seen most of the teams of the tournament in action, it would appear to me that there is as yet no clear favourite. The Super 8s stage of the tournament requires each team to play all of the other qualifying teams, apart from the qualifier from their group (the result of this match is carried forward into the Super 8s stage). This means some of the important matches have already been played. Tomorrow South Africa and Australia will face each other in their final group games, having both been eased into the competition with perfunctory matches against the Netherlands and Scotland, a big game which might even be a preview of the final.

Nevertheless, even without this result I would wager that both of them will be in the top four of the Super 8s, probably to be joined by Sri Lanka, who have looked mighty in their opening games (the result against India pending), New Zealand, who qualified from their group with a clean sweep, or hosts the West Indies who currently face Ireland in their first Super 8 scoring game.

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