Texas Megahighways

As discussed on Slashdot, and reported by the AP, Governor Perry wants to build “megahighways” across the state of Texas:
> The Trans-Texas Corridor project, as envisioned by Republican Gov. Rick Perry in 2002, would be a 4,000-mile transportation network costing an awesome $175 billion over 50 years, financed mostly if not entirely with private money. The builders would then charge motorists tolls.
> But these would not be mere highways. Proving anew that everything’s big in Texas, they would be megahighways — corridors up to a quarter-mile across, consisting of as many as six lanes for cars and four for trucks, plus railroad tracks, oil and gas pipelines, water and other utility lines, even broadband transmission cables.

This should prove to be an interesting issue for Texas politics, as conservatives and liberals alike will take issue with many parts of the plan. Environmentalists are concerned about the impact to the land surrounding the “megahighway” and those concerned about property rights (including Gov. Perry’s own part) are worried about the effects on farmers and ranchers.

SilverSpider Play List 1.1 Released

Just a quick note to let everyone know that a new version of SilverSpider Play List is available.


The first big change is the ability to choose the size of the album cover, which was requested by two people on the same day! So, you can now use any of the following sizes:

  • Small (50 x 50)
  • Medium (130 x 130)
  • Large (300 x 300)

The second big change is the addition of six new formats, bringing the total to 12. These new six are variants on the same basic layout, the image is placed in it’s own div and is encased within a link. A second div contains the information (song name, album name and artist name), with the first listed item acting as a link.

I have also added examples of the output for every format within the documentation so you can see what it actually produces. A full version history is available within the documentation.


I had to make changes to the config file, so make sure you back yours up before you overwrite it. Also, with the introduction of the new sizes, you will need to create two new missing album cover graphics if you want to use the larger sizes.

Download SSPL 1.1 (64K zip)

As always, let me know if you have questions or suggestions. I will do my best to respond quickly, but I have friends and family in town for the next week, so please forgive me if it takes a bit more time.


From the developers of WordPress comes bbPress, a new, light weight forum package that follows five key principles (as taken from their site):
> 1. Open Source, always and forever
> 2. Less (code) is more
> 3. Simplicity is a feature
> 4. Speed and security are the foundation of any good user experience
> 5. Put the user first
> Every line of code is written with these principles in mind..

bbPress can be seen in action in the WordPress Support area, so check that area out for a demonstration of what it can do. For those who have visited the WordPress Support area in the past, you will be pleased with the fact that the forums are much faster.


FotoBuzz “lets you annotate your digital images and share the stories in your pictures.

With the FotoBuzz Viewlet you can easily integrate this functionality to any existing website or weblog and let your visitors add comments too!”

Testing PHP

Testing PHP – “The Perl community has embraced testing as a key component of a developer’s skillset, whereas the PHP community still relies heavily upon echo and manual testing with a browser. Since Geoff is a Perl guy, I’m a PHP guy, and we happen to be good friends, we decided to create a way to let PHP developers benefit from Perl’s mature testing tools and methodologies. Since Geoff is really a mod_perl guy and interested in all things Apache, he is a big fan of the Apache-Test framework. This seemed like a great tool to provide to PHP developers, so we proposed a talk about it. Once the talk was accepted, we had to deliver.”

Metal Rubber

Technology Review brings word of a newly developed “material that can extend to three times its original length and conduct electricity as well as a bar of steel”. Another breakthrough from the young molecular self-assembly industry. We move another step closer to a Gibsonian (William, not Mel) future.

Hat tip to Engadget for the link.

Two Background Images

Jeff Croft pointed out a discovery by UrbanDude: how to use two background images on a Web page. The concept is so simple, that it is easily overlooked: apply a background image to the html tag in addition to the background image you would apply to the body tag. “When setting both an HTML and BODY background, the HTML applies to the entire browser window, but BODY only applies to the content within the BODY tags.” This may have been noted before, but I haven’t seen mention of it. The provided examples do a great job of demonstrating the power of the concept.

This idea opens up many possibilities, while cutting down on the need for extra containers that are used purely for layout elements. One more step down the road of separating markup from presentation.

Now…to find the right project to test the concept…