Ian Hoar – Passion for Technology – Geeking Out - Technology, Web, Toys, Games, Design, Entertainment, Gadgets, & Geeking Out

A new passion and a new blog

Over the summer I discovered a new passion and hobby; sailing. This filled many of my weekends and some of my evenings for the last two and a half months of summer. I think I can say I have truly been bitten by the sailing bug, and once that happens there’s turning back.

So what’s a new geeky sailor like me to do with all this new found experience and information? Well, share it all on a blog of course, so about two weeks ago I got to work on setting up my new blog. The domain name was the first thing I needed to secure and wow did I get a good one. I don’t know if you have ever tried securing a good domain, but searching for one quickly becomes frustrating. What’s worse is the fact that there’s lots of great domain names out there just being squatted. Put it this way, something as obscure as imhMedia was taken for the .com and I had to register the .net for my personal portfolio site. You can imagine how surprised I was when I looked up windandsail.com and found it was available. It’s a blog about what it’s like to be a new sailor and everything I learn along the way. So without further ado I welcome you to my new blog Wind and Sail.

Wind and Sail

Two geeks in the woods

What happens when two geeks go on a canoe trip for a long weekend? Well, they talk about geeky things for a few days and enjoy the spectacular outdoors. Mike is a good friend of mine and fellow Geek; he also runs the site Geeks In Training and his personal outdoors blog A Word in the Woods. Last weekend we took a four day canoe trip to the beautiful Algonquin Provincial Park, which covers 7630 square kilometers of pristine wilderness in Ontario, Canada. We got as far away from the city and our gadgets as we could, well everything except our iphones and camping gear, but more on that later.

Keep Reading 

Blog redesign, take 2

It’s finally up, and I am pretty happy with it so far. My new blog design has been in the works for well over a month now.

Blog version 1If you forgot what the old one looked like or had never even seen it, here is a shot of it. The old designed served it’s purpose, but now I want to make my site more accessible, and I’ve started with the Featured Topics on the side. Eventually I would like to get some free stuff on here, and possibly even a WordPress plugin I have been toying about for awhile. I will also release the old template for anyone who wants it in the near future, I just have to round up the PSD files and clean it up a bit.

I also must say that Internet Explorer never ceases to amaze me with how incredibly bad it is. I spend at least one full day battling IE7 bugs. As it stands I still have random disappearing backgrounds every now and then, so there is still a bit of tweaking to be done. While I was working on the redesign I found this incredibly huge list of IE bugs. One of the bugs even makes IE7 crash! So far there are 134 bugs listed here. Some of the blog quotes are fantastic, they are interspersed throughout the list.

Anyway, I hope everyone enjoys the redesign.

How to center Google AdSense ads

It took me awhile to figure out how to center Google AdSense ads. Searches showed that many other people were running into the same issue, so I thought I would share my method for centering.

At first I tried things like margin:auto, center and padding in a <div> wrapped around the ad, but nothing seemed to work. The reason for this is the AdSense box is absolutely positioned. The easy fix for this is to create a CSS class or inline style as shown below.

CSS class

.adSenseCenter {

Container <div>

<div class="adSenseCenter">
	adSense code goes here

Or quick and dirty inlines style.

<div style="position:relative; width:120px; margin:auto;">
	adSense code goes here

Don’t forget that the width of the <div> must equal the width of the adSense ad. Now you can center your ads.

Top 10 geek sites of 2007

Here is my personal top 10 geek sites of 2007. Behold…

  1. Wikipedia wikipedia.org
    I find myself spending way too much time on this site. I would go so far to say that next to Google this could possibly be one of the most important sites on the web today.
  2. Gametrailers www.gametrailers.com
    This site has basically single-handedly become my number one gaming site. HD game video’s daily. Nothing says you’re a geek like “WOAH Gametrailers has the new Grand Theft Auto trailer up, I think I wet myself”.
  3. A List Apartwww.alistapart.com
    With a tag line like “For people who make websites”, you know they have to be hard core purists.
  4. Slashdotwww.slashdot.org
    This list would be incomplete without Slashdot. Need to get bent out of shape about something, you can do it here.
  5. del.icio.usdel.icio.us
    The best online bookmarking / sharing site. It’s ugly, but it works great.
  6. Gizmodo www.gizmodo.com
    Fairly new on my list of frequently visited sites, but there is just so much cool “Stuff” on this site.
  7. Science Fiction Writer Robert J. Sawyer www.sfwriter.com
    Probably the best Canadian Science fiction writer at the moment. I’ve read almost every book he’s ever written and his site has a load of interesting reading. He also actively posts to his blog. Not a great looking sight, but content is king right?
  8. Bokardo Social Web Designbokardo.com
    Lots of insights into usability and social web design. Always an interesting read.
  9. Google Earthearth.google.com & maps.google.com
    About once every three to six months I end up downloading an upgrade for this incredible free software and it just keeps getting better. This is Google Earth, and it’s time well wasted. When you can’t be running Google Earth, there is always the slimed down Google Maps.
  10. Neatorama www.neatorama.com
    Another fairly new one on my list of frequently visited sites, this site is just loaded with the kind of things you forward to friends. Every day it has more neat stuff.

The World Without Us

I was out picking up some clothes last night when I saw a large billboard with an advertisement for The World Without US. The ad really struck a chord with me and I walked up the street to the bookstore and bought it. This was so unlike me and even though I work on communications and advertisement media all day, I usually feel that they have little effect on ones decision to buy, at least with people like me. I guess this one worked, and I know that we are all affected by advertisements, some more so than others, but for me I usually tune out ads and I read a lot so I miss the billboards and bus ads.

Anyway, the book sounds great, but since I have not read it yet I will reserve comment until later. I hope to read it over my vacation next week.

Blog redesign

I spent the day creating a new theme for my WordPress install. It wasn’t quite as easy as I thought it would be, but still pretty straight forward considering. I probably still have a few bugs to iron out though. All total it took about one day from start to finish.

Anyway, I know it’s not a very techy type design, but I figured I wanted something new and different, since I can’t usually do that, and what a better place then here. Hope you like the new design.

First post

My first post. Although I have not got around to updating my website in many years, I decided to give WordPress a try. I plan on customizing it with my own look and feel, but so far I am very impressed with it. I have been trying out several open source software projects, mostly to further my knowledge of PHP.