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Personal Blog

I was talking with a friend the other day there about the topic of limiting the frames per second (FPS) in a video game when playing on your PC. The argument didn't end with a much clearer understanding than was originally the case and neither side won the argument. 

Many people do not realise how important limiting the FPS in a video game can be for performance. Think about it this way, every piece of information a computer's graphics card needs to produce is more work for the computer. 

If a computer monitor refreshes at 60Hz (around about 60 frames per second) then running 120 frames means that 60 of those frames are wasted. This is, technically, how V-sync works as well. Limiting the FPS allows the GPU to work on the next few frames without filling the GPU doing overtime. 

So go on, try limiting your frames per second.

Posted by J B Balfour in Tech talk
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After having integrated push notifications into my website way back in early 2016, I'm now removing them from my website altogether. I think we can also agree, push notifications are quite an annoying thing these days and I've decided to remove them from my website - I never sent any for a while anyway.

From now on, the only push notifications that anyone will receive are from my blog. I intend to have an option to subscribe to these somewhere on my websites.

Posted by J B Balfour in Website news

As a web developer myself, I have been through a bunch of editors trying to find the right one and for the last few years at least the editor of choice to me has been set. 

Back in 2016, a friend at the time suggest that I use a different editor. I found that, at least for web development, Atom has been the editor of choice. I say this for many reasons.

The first is cross-platform. Whilst I was originally a Visual Studio user, when I moved to Mac OS and Linux machines as my main computers, Visual Studio wasn't cross-platform. This meant I needed to do something different when I switched computers to allow me to edit on both machines.

The second is the number of packages available for it. I use a terminal package that allows me to have an in built command line and same time as editing. I use an FTP package to allow me to upload in real time. 

I stand by Atom being my favourite, but it's a difficult call. Visual Studio Code is a definite close second for me, and over the years since I first used both it and Atom it's got a heck of a lot better. 

According to jscharting.com's blog, 95% of web developers asked in a survey actually use either Visual Studio Code, Atom, Sublime, WebStorm or VIM as their editor, meaning a huge number of people will be using either of those editors. 

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Chrome 76 is a big update. That is in my eyes it is. That's because it adds several new features that benefit a huge number of things on my own website and finally, dark mode is coming to Chrome just like Edge, Safari and Firefox. 

Another major feature coming to Chrome is that of background-filter: blur which allows the glass kind of effect from Windows Aero to come to the web - use cases for this kind of feature are quite limited in flat design but can be used when displaying a box above another, adding a bit of blur to the background helps make it more readable, sidebars that float over can definitely benefit from this feature and much more.

I use both features on my website for different purposes - but they are trivial and have fallback solutions so that older browsers do not miss out.

So in 9 days, according to the Platform Status page, Chrome 76 will launch and I hope that everyone gets their hands on it as soon as possible.

Posted by J B Balfour in Tech news
chrome 76

I was extremely pleased to see Alan Turing being put on the UK's new £50 note. What's more impressive, however, is the attention to detail in this note.

You see the binary string that is on the note that reads 1010111111110010110011000 actually converts to the binary number 23061912 which, believe it or not, is the date Alan Turing was born - 23rd of June 1912.

I found this out from a friend who sent me the following Tweet:

Posted by J B Balfour in Tech news
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Version 1.3 of BalfBar is here and it's is by far the cleanest, simplest and most beautiful version of the amazing responsive menu bar that I have developed to date.

A major new feature has now finally made it into it. So not only can you have dropdowns in the desktop mode, but you can now have what I call mega menus (previously content menus). These menus are able to contain more than just a list of items - they can contain anything, for example, a login form, a dropdown box - whatever you like. Further to that, to retain compatibility with existing implementations, the mega menu no longer requires the whole menu to follow that pattern and can be nicely mixed with existing dropdowns!

Posted by J B Balfour in BalfBar
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I've been planning on getting BalfComment up and running for a long time and now it's finally here. I'm close to adding this to my own website and will start with my own ZPE Documentation pages.

Once again, BalfComment is neutral to designs.

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I recently encountered an article that actually made me think about the way that BalfBar was designed. This article discussed how important it is for something such as BalfBar to be able to support a variety of different users such as those who don't use or permit JavaScript on their website.

Well, as of today, BalfBar supports those people. BalfBar also loads instantly now, so no longer do you need to wait whilst the JavaScript is loaded. If BalfBar hasn't fully loaded by the time the user starts using it because of the JavaScript not fully loading, the user will instead use a CSS version of the menu. 

This is not all I have brought to the menu that is now used on all of the websites I have developed. I have brought many new features to the SCSS file that include the ability to have the top items display differently to the internal items as was the case on my own website. There are other minor changes, mainly focused on the SCSS file to make it easier to tailor it to your website.

Also coming soon to BalfBar with BalfBar 1.3 is the megamenu. I have already got a few of these working how I'd like them to but need to add in an option for mobile before it is released.

Posted by J B Balfour in BalfBar
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So it's that time in my life where I change browser again, which seems to be a regular thing for me. So much so that in my bookmarks folder there is a folder called Imported from Firefox which contains a folder called From Google Chrome which contains a folder called Imported from Safari which contains a folder called Imported from IE. 😂

Chrome 76 is just around the corner, looking to a July 30th release this year, and it brings about a feature that the latest version of Firefox also includes. I speak of dark mode.

Dark mode is becoming a more and more popular thing with websites these days. And rightly so since developers like myself tend to be more drawn to the dark interfaces in the development programs (IDEs and text editors) that we use for the majority of our work. Well, now it's coming to browsers and Firefox already has it implemented. 

Twitter and Facebook etc all have their own dark modes, but they are not implemented how it should be. The dark mode should be based on the operating system - both Windows 10 and macOS implement a system-wide dark mode that applications should be implementing too. 

Chrome 76 Beta implements this. For those who follow me on my website, you may know that a few weeks ago I implemented my own version of dark mode that follows the operating system's dark mode preferences. If the browser has the feature it will turn dark too.

Here's my website in dark mode in Chrome 76:

Posted by J B Balfour in Web design
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ZPE 1.8.x might still be over six months before it's initial release following the 1 minor version per year system, but I always like to have my codenames for the versions lined up. So here's the list:

  • 1.8.1 - Quinn
  • 1.8.2 - Hunter
  • 1.8.3 - Reynolds
  • 1.8.4 - Evershed
  • 18.5 - Carter
  • 1.8.6 - Younis
  • 1.8.7 - Portman
  • 1.8.8 - Myres
  • 1.8.9 - James
  • 1.8.10 - Kaplan
  • 1.8.11 - North
  • 1.8.12 - Pearce

Now try and tell me where these names come from.