Goodreads widget

I’m not sure where I can squeeze this onto my site since there’s so little room, but I stumbled across this widget on Goodreads that I like a lot. It shows a list of the twenty-four most recently published books I’ve read, in reverse order of publication. If I kept reliable records on the order in which I read books I could use those instead, but this is still a pretty good alternative. (And maybe more useful for visitors.) If you have JavaScript disabled in your browser you will see a static list that is current as of the date of this post.

Michael’s books

Leviathan Falls
The Trouble with Peace
Interlibrary Loan
Network Effect
Agency
Auberon
A Little Hatred
To Be Taught, If Fortunate
Tiamat's Wrath
The Raven Tower
The Very Best of the Best: 35 Years of the Year's Best Science Fiction
The Winter of the Witch
The Book of Magic
Exit Strategy
The Ravenmaster: My Life with the Ravens at the Tower of London
Rogue Protocol
Record of a Spaceborn Few
Spinning Silver
The Flowers of Vashnoi
Artificial Condition



Michael Horvath’s favorite books »

The book covers are centered with respect to each other, and are separated by 2 pixels. I also added a black background and a hover effect that changes the cover graphics to appear lighter and grayer. I couldn’t figure out how to style the extra link Goodreads places at the bottom of the grid, so I hid the link using the associated URL parameter that Goodreads provides. I had to manually add Flexbox styling to the widget since it does not include any by default, and the default styling conflicts with my website. The grid should be responsive, though I haven’t tested the widget on my phone yet.

Here is the custom CSS code:

div#gr_grid_widget_1615614778 {
  background-color: #000000;
  max-width: 600px;
  margin: auto;
}
div#gr_grid_widget_1615614778 h2 {
  display: inline-block;
  padding: 4px;
  margin: 0px;
}
div#gr_grid_widget_1615614778 h2 a {
  color: #ffffff;
}
div.gr_grid_container {
  /* customize grid container div here. eg: width: 500px; */
  display: flex;
  flex-wrap: wrap;
  align-items: center;
  justify-content: space-around;
  padding: 0px;
  margin: 0px;
}
div.gr_grid_container a {
}
div.gr_grid_book_container {
  /* customize book cover container div here */
  width: 98px;
  height: 160px;
  padding: 0px;
  margin: 0px;
  overflow: hidden;
}
div.gr_grid_book_container:hover {
  filter: grayscale(1) brightness(1.5);
}



Keyboard diagrams and file host

Over the last month or so I have been updating the keyboard binding diagrams. You now select the type of keyboard before selecting the style or game. I also combed through the CSS stylesheets, looking for and fixing errors. I also tweaked the dimensions of each keyboard to better match the most common physical keyboard layouts. See the log for more information.

Also, today I uploaded all my files to pCloud and edited all the links on this site to point to there instead of to MediaFire. I’m not going to delete the files from MediaFire, but eventually the files will get removed automatically by the company and the links will go dead.



Keyboard Hotkey Maps

Over the past several weeks I have been overhauling my Video Game Hotkey Maps tool. I made several changes to the underlying database structure, as well as to the styles and error detection. I also went ahead and created new PHP scripts that generate SVG versions of the maps. This makes it possible to upload maps to MediaWiki wikis, which is a major goal I set out to accomplish when I first created the PHP edition of the tool. I had created a MediaWiki template to accomplish the same thing, but the SVG images are a lot more convenient. I hope a lot of people get good use out of these scripts.


Media queries, CloudFlare and Pannellum

I’ve completed my optimizations for mobile browsers for the time being. I implemented CSS media queries to hide parts of the page when viewed on small screens, and narrowed the page a bit further to make the text more legible. My image galleries were also not wrapping properly on small screens, so I replaced the tables with uniformly sized DIV elements that float to the left. There are still a few pages that need to be reworked, such as my keyboard chart page, but mostly I am satisfied with how things turned out.

One task that required a lot of time and work was moving all my gallery images from PhotoBucket to my web host (and some to Flickr). PhotoBucket is simply a bad experience on mobile devices. In landscape mode the pages are filled with 75% advertisements, with only a tiny rectangle left for my image at the top. So, I copied, reorganized and renamed all my images to my web host, and updated all the URLs pointing to them. I also set up enabled CloudFlare on my account to act as a speed boost in case my images take too long to download.

Next, I switched to a different script for displaying my 360° panoramic renders. Previously, I was using PanoSalado, a Flash based viewer that does not work on all mobile browsers, and switched to Pannellum, a WebGL based viewer that should work on more browsers heading into the future. It performs a lot better and is easier to configure to boot. I am real happy with how this turned out, and am able to show off my Carriage House virtual tour once again using the new script. Note that the scene has hotspots that will take you to different rooms.

Lastly, I re-rendered some of my Lego model images using nicer POV-Ray settings. I performed several trials, and the radiosity settings in particular made the rendering a lengthy process. Here are some examples:

ldv_nice_high_tech_lab_new_10ldv_nice_yellow_castle_old_10

I still want to re-render my orthographic “heads” scene, as well as the panoramic Carriage House tour (the images are a bit washed out looking) in the future.


Brigl model viewer, mobile browsers

I finally was able to implement an online viewer for my LDraw models. It is an open source JavaScript app called Brigl, and can be seen in action on this page.

I’ve also begun taking steps toward making this site work better on mobile devices. You may notice that the sidebar on the far left of this page disappears when you make the browser window really small. This should happen automatically on mobile devices.

I am still resolving issues with font sizes being too small to be legible, however. Hopefully I will learn what is causing this in the next few days.


In other news…

In other news, I fixed my GeoGebra applets so they work again in browsers that no longer support Java, such as Google Chrome. View them here.

I’ve put a lot of work lately in my Colony Ship POV-Ray model. The latest version can be viewed at DeviantArt, here.

I’ve also updated several of my illustrations for Wikipedia. The switch from POV-Ray version 3.6 to version 3.7 required changes to how pigments are defined among other things.


Lastly, I updated ToEE d20 Inspector to fix some bugs related to how skill points are calculated and distributed. They should no longer be wildly inaccurate. You can find the program listed here.


Restoring old links to tutorials, working on my spinner scene

I noticed this week that some links to tutorials I had written a long time ago had gone dead, either because the websites they were hosted at went down, or because the websites they were hosted at transitioned to a new content management system or wiki. I fixed these links where I could, and re-wrote them and incorporated them into my website where I couldn’t. See my POV-Ray, Lego, GearHead and Geometry pages.

Today I also started working on a new panoramic scene for GearHead (now abandoned by its creator, judging by the game’s website) based on my previous Spinner Colony scene. Since I bought a new computer I am able to render them much faster in POV-Ray. Here’s a sneak peek:

[update]

Here are my latest two renders. I tried to render at a higher quality level, including atmospheric media and a nice area light, but it was simply taking too long. The source code can be found on my GearHead page.

 photo gh_scene_spinner_interior_22_zpsz7ux45lq.png photo gh_scene_spinner_cutaway_20_zpsjfw5duxe.png

(Click for larger views.)


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