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Showing posts from August, 2018

No Icon Web Design

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In my current about me website I chose to go with a no icon based design for the site. This was mainly a product of how I went about creating the website and having limited amount of effort that I could put into the design and implementation. However after obsessing over the idea for the website one night and waking up to work on it, I really started to like the decision to not use icons.

So for example instead of requiring a hamburger icon for the menu, I used the current page title. Another example would be to instead of having an X icon on the top right of the mobile navigation, I added the word "close" to the bottom of the navigation links which closes the navigation menu. This latter example also fits in with the idea of having a bottom based navigation which is very common on mobile apps and should be more common in mobile web design.

This is not to say that you should just replace words and text in the same designs and locations that are meant to have icons. Rather, th…

The Roped Recovery: A D&D 5e Session Report

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Asuryan had the kobold king Yesdrel roped to the chair. Foot steps could be heard walking past the closed door. "What just happened?" he thought to himself. He had managed to get the kobold to the privacy of the inn room without being caught, having wrapped the small body in his cloak.
"We should let this thing go" Elwin said as he nervously stood by the door listening to the passing steps of the busy inn.
"This thing is our only chance to free Nim" Asuryan replied, "She's still in that citadel." He paced around the room. "I'm going to go and see if I can recruit any help. We need a kobold translator, and some battle proven adventurers before going back to rescue Nim."
Elwin stayed in the room. The kobold, Yesdrel, began to squirm in his chair before waking up. Elwin had gagged his mouth, knowing that he may be able to cast spells if allowed to speak. Elwin waited for Yesdrel to come to his senses before using his fire magic to…

Is there an Equality Between the Laws of Physics and Time?

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Disclaimer: I am a total laymen when it comes to physics. Everything I say should be first assumed to be more pseudoscience than real science unless I can put forth the effort to prove otherwise. This is mostly just some musings and honest questions.

I was listening to this What is Time? lecture from Sean Carroll. In it he explained how the laws of physics do no dictate changes over space, but rather changes over time. That is to say that just because a certain scenario exists in one location of space,  that does not dictate what scenario should exist in some nearby location of space. Sure, given time, nearby locations in space effect the surrounding space. However, given a single moment of time the laws of physics do not dictate what scenarios can or cannot exist with respect to an interval of space.

Time however, is very different. The laws of physics do indeed dictate what can or cannot exist over an interval of time. Given the details of a certain moment in time, the laws of phys…

Fire CMS as a Single Page Application

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In the previous post in this series I explained how to use the FirebaseHosting and the Firestore in order to define a multilingual content hierarchy for a website. Then we rendered this content using lit-html. Now I would like to demonstrate how to organize this into a component model, and then layer on the aspects of a Single Page Application (SPA) onto this scheme.

You will want to be familiar with the code snippets in the previous post as we will now be extending them.
Sample Data Before we get started, refer to the previous post for setting up sample data in the Firestore. Then extend that as is shown below. We will have three pages, each with a title, description, and path property, along with a content property that will be an array of content which we will use to build the content for each page. /en/us/hometitle (type: String)"The Home Page"description (type: String)"This is the home page"path (type: String)"/en/us/home"type (type: String)"hom…

The Wyrmling and The Poor Decision: A D&D 5e Session Report

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They continued deeper into the goblin territory in search of the wyrmling. Rasroth led them on at a quick pace against wiser council. The noise of the hulking dragonborn was not contained. One of the many doors they passed by opened. A goblin jumped forth, splitting the group in two. Asuryan deflected the goblin attack with his staff and returned the favor with a straight kick that launched the goblin into the door.
Before his companions had time to assist, two more goblins climbed over the body of the first. The twirling staff of the monk collided with one of the goblins as Asuryan spun, evading the thrusting sword of other. The goblin's head exploded in blood and brain matter.

The last goblin stood alone, surrounded by the five invaders. In a desperate frenzy it launched itself towards Asuryan as a series of fiery spells leapt from the hands of Nim and Kimora. Wounded, but still alive, the monk finished the job with an uppercut that put the goblin to the ground. Asuryan picked …

My About Me Website

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Recently I have created the website: about.alexlockhart.me. I wanted a place to list out a portfolio of work, have a live and up to date resume, but also be an archive of my projects that I have completed and am in progress on.

I have wanted a website like this for a while but never had the creative freedom to get past the problems I was facing in setting it up. One of my requirements was to not use a website building tool, as I had ideas around how to create a small scale content management system (CMS) and wanted to do both my own website and prove out this idea at the same time.

Firebase ended up being my hosting platform, and Firestore is what I used as a database for the beginnings of my CMS solution. In addition to this the website is a single page application (SPA), you can see this by clicking around on it's navigation and noticing that the page does not refresh. One problem with SPA's is deep linking, but I have design the solution to include deep linking to other page…

Let There Be Fire: a D&D 5e Session Report

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"Is their anything in the pool?" Rasroth asks timidly, safely peering from behind the stone corner. They happened upon a fountain in which their was a dragon statue extending from the wall, and a pool of water beneath it.

"Just some words carved into the stone, in draconic" replied Kimora, "It says: Nainaya!" Suddenly, grinding stone could be heard echoing throughout the chamber. Then, a red liquid poured out of the dragon statues mouth. At length, Kimora speaks up, "it seems to be safe, come forward."
Asuryan immediately pulls out empty flasks from his rucksack and captures some of the liquid.
"What are you doing?" asks Elwin.

"I have seen many potions and powerful substances" said Asuryan, "I don't know what this does, but it will be worth finding out later."

Rasroth stood guard near the open passage that led on into the depths, "We'll need to check these doors, the seems to be a series of storage room…

The Fire CMS Paradigm

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I have been interested in creating a minimalistic content management system for some time now. Content Management Systems (CMS) is what I do in my day to day job, and I felt like there are many opportunities in this area to use the modern web platform. I have seen and used some newer products in this area, but for a host of reasons I wanted to develop my own solution. In light of this I began doing a proof of concepts with Neo4j, and I developed out a host of CMS features built on this graph database.
The most interesting thing that Neo4j enabled was multiple interpretations of the data hierarchy, instead of having a single canonical hierarchy of data. This was made possible by two nodes in Neo4j being able to be connected by multiple edges. However I found that while there were many interesting opportunities in that area, I wanted to scale back and attempt a CMS in a single day of effort, and I was seeing that my plans with Neo4j, while powerful, would take months to get right.

This…