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Flash and HTML

Posted by admin on Feb 18, 2011 in Misc. Challenges

As I’ve written about recently, I’ve started a new business called Linguisticator, designed to teach people how to learn foreign languages. I built a website using Flash and was really pleased with how it looked. It was designed to be a temporary site so that I had some kind of storefront and I planned to build a more extensive HTML site down the road, perhaps in 6–8 months. The Flash site didn’t allow for much flexibility in terms of adding content, and I’m not that comfortable in Flash, but as I say, I thought it looked cool.

Apparently, however, many people have trouble viewing Flash sites, and mine was no exception. Perhaps the file didn’t load, or it loaded slowly; perhaps the fonts came up pixelated or unclear. Whatever it was, it was not good, and enough of these complaints had come in the other day that I decided to just build a new site immediately and have done with it.

Because I liked the look of the Flash site, I built an HTML site modeled on the Flash one—same colors, fonts, layout, etc. And it looked like crap! The Flash animations had added enough flair to an otherwise simple site for it to look sophisticated. But without the animations, the site just looked dull. So then I decided to create a homepage where people could choose whether to enter the Flash site or the HTML site. And that looked like crap!

After about 8 or 9 hours of messing around with this on Wednesday, I decided to scrap the whole thing entirely and start from scratch. I opened up a new blank document in Dreamweaver and began to create. The final result:

I’m much happier with this than either of the other two sites I created. It’s quite plain at the moment, but I’ll be adding more content and images over the next couple of weeks. And hopefully a video, too. I need to take some images of my language books for the site. I was thinking a stack with Mandarin, Classical Japanese, Egyptian, Xhosa, and Hungarian might look pretty fly.

Wednesday ended up being a 16 hour day in front of the computer. I began at 8am and finished at midnight. Brutal day, and I was completely shot yesterday, but I’m glad to have fixed the issues with the Flash site. For a business that will rely heavily on the internet, it’s important to have a good site.

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Jetboil Stove: Getting Fuel in Iceland

Posted by admin on Jan 2, 2011 in Gear Reviews, Iceland

I received an email this morning from someone who will be traveling to Iceland and wanted to know about bringing fuel for a Jetboil stove.  The main question was: bring it, or get it there?  I thought I’d post a general answer since other people might be interested in the information here.

The Jetboil stove is well worth it in my opinion.  I was concerned about fuel arrangements, too, but don’t worry, there are plenty of places to get it in Iceland.  I didn’t bring any fuel with me because of the restrictions on flights and I wouldn’t recommend it.  If you put a canister of fuel in your Jetboil for the flight, they could confiscate your stove or (possibly) destroy your bag. Not something I’d risk, especially considering how cheap fuel is and how easily you can get it in Iceland.

There are a number of outdoor stores in Reykjavik, and I saw Jetboil stoves for sale in at least one of them along Laugavegur, the main shopping street in Reykjavik.  Apart from that, you can usually pick up gas canisters at most gas stations around the country.  Gas stations usually double as supermarkets and hardware stores, and they are often prepared for tourists who will be camping. Many gas stations are also restaurants and ice cream stands.  You’ll find horseshoes stocked next to the milk and skýr.  This past summer, I was in a small town called Reykholt in the South (not to be confused with the Reykholt where Snorri Sturluson lived), and I was able to get a butane canister there that worked on the Jetboil without problem.  They cost about 1000 kr. or $8.70 for a large canister.

I will say, though, that as all-purpose as these stores are, they tended to stock fewer gas canisters at the end of the summer when tourist season drew to a close.  So, if you’re heading out into the Icelandic countryside, it’s not a bad idea to take a stroll down Laugavegur first and pick up a gas canister just so you’re sure you have one, but getting gas for camp stoves or getting other supplies is not difficult.  Larger towns like Selfoss will have them without problem.

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