The Trickster

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Where on earth1 did I go? Well, the truth is that I was submerged in work. But that's more or less sorted now, so here we are again with another edition of The Trickster! Despite being crushed by an avalanche of college work, I have found time to do a couple of other things...

Christmas Time...

I know Christmas has been and gone, but I really want to write about a few of the things that I did over the winter break. Firstly, on the Saturday before Christmas, I went down to our local friendly music pub to see Chris TT play. I'm sure the more alternatively-minded of you will know of him... his most famous song is Injured Popstars, a delightful number about various popstars being horribly mutilated in a multitude of ways by a mystery figure (who is later revealed to be Michael Gambon). Also played was 100,000 Turkeys, which is brillance on a stick2: a song about a turkey revolution that results in the defeat of the army, the destruction of London and the sacrificial burning of Bernard Matthews. Genius.

Also playing were the Broken Family Band, a lovely mix of rock, country and comedy (who kept shouting out "The inlaws are in!!!" whenever they swore - which was quite a lot) with songs such as My Nextdoor Neighbour Is Stealing My Songs (lyrics unprintable on h2g2).

The third band playing were Fonda 500, a wonderful electro-rock-pop-punk group who rocked. Great fun, with the band throwing out T-shirts and sweets to the best dancers in the audience (I've never seen such spirited chimpanzee impressions).

LokuZ The Coder and the Website of Doom

I have been leasing out my website design skills, mainly in order to gain CAS points for my course. 150 CAS (Creativity, Action, Service) points are required to complete my IB diploma. Anyway, this is how I found myself volunteering to code a website for a school project that a group of GCSE students were working on...

Well, the project itself seemed very simple: the students would collect information for the site, write about it and give it to me, who, following their suggestions, would code a website to showcase their work.

It didn't work quite like that.

Last week, on Tuesday, having attended several of the group's meetings, but with nothing yet decided, I was told that the website had to be finished - and uploaded - by Monday. With no coding having been done (or even requested) yet, and no content having been sent my way, it didn't look promising.

I worked solidly in a two-hour CAS session to create the basic template code for the site, based upon the initial ideas from the planning sessions. With the opening HTML and CSS (the web page and the formatting code respectively) mostly prepared, I was ready to recieve the content.

Then it became clear: only five or so of the ten students had actually prepared any content. And none of them had much of an idea how to code. I left with them a hastily-typed information sheet on <P> <BR/> tags, and asked them to mark out where links and images were to go in the text.

Returning later, I found that a lot of what I had asked for had not been done. There were a couple of highly organised people working on it, but others weren't really bothering. It seemed hopeless. Also, the images were far too large, with long, disorganised filenames and varying formats.

Things were not looking good.

We had to get things sorted out. I worked with the more organised students, and together we compiled a list of images for articles, links and the like. Colours, fonts and image layout were decided on. Images were renamed, resized and relocated. Midi files were linked to, pages redesigned, re-ordered and generally cleaned up. And the deadline was growing closer, and closer, and closer...

I fixed images, thumbnails and links, copied, pasted and laid out text, recoded sections of HTML, and finally, after three hours or so, the whole thing was finished. We were triumphant!

Unfortunately, we were left with very little time for site testing, so I have no idea if it all works properly. I'm sure all my code is right, though, so it should be ok.

Anyway, now I can unofficially claim the title of Speed Coder. Whilst the site in no way compares to my other efforts, it was a great exercise in working under extreme pressure. It's definite proof that Crisis Psychology3 truly works!

Well, that's it for this week. I'll be back in a fortnight or so... bye for now.

# Lokuz

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1Or off it, for that matter2Pat. Pending3As featured in The Hitch-hiker radio series

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