Michaël Duerinckx


Music to listen to loudly with eyes closed

While I listen to music more or less all day while work and whatnot, I infrequently like to pick out some of my favourite songs, turn up the volume and just sit back and close my eyes, focussing only on the music.

There are some tracks which have the amazing quality to completely take over your awareness as you really get into them. Here are some that do that for me. They range from old hits to obscure stuff, from chill-out to hard rock, and are in no particular order.

1. The Extreme – Daydream

This wonderful chill-out tune has a deep bass-line that instantly drew me in the first time I heard it on Digitally Imported’s Chill-out channel channel. The lush instrumentation accompanied by a perfectly fitting break beat later on takes you through a dreamland of relaxation. It is all over the place in a big mess of harmony.
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JavaScript forEach Object, Array and String

In many programming languages, you have a simple for each construct available to quickly go over the contents of just about anything iterable. In JavaScript it isn’t so straightforward. To rectify this, I’ve written up a function that provides a single interface to iterate over the elements of an array, the values in an object, and “even” the characters in a string.

It works with a callback function that takes index/key and value as parameters. This callback function is executed for every item in the collection passed.

The benefit of using this is that you have very readable code; most programmers will intuitively know how it works because of the familiar collection, index and value interface.

To the code!

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Selectbox / dropdown replacements

The <select> element is hard to style properly and is something that easily ruins sleek designs. Many people have already realised this, which is why there are a couple of JavaScript replacements out there.

Here’s a quick list of those that I’m aware of—in no particular order.

This post is mostly as a reference, so I don’t need to look up all the options (no pun intended) every time this situation arises. I hope it can help you quickly select (pun definitely intended this time) which one’s best for you.

Update 05 April 2014: Removed “jQuery SelectBox plugin” as both links had died.

New hosting!

Although you may not see any difference, this site is now hosted elsewhere. It’s taken over a week to get all the administration dealt with, but now it seems to work all okay.

Michhimself.com used to be hosted by one.com, the first web host I ever paid for, which I registered with in 2009. Back then, the simple PHP/MySQL hosting with FTP access was great, but I’ve since moved on.  Since it was so-called ‘shared hosting’, it meant that multiple websites would run on the same server; meaning that the performance of my site would depend on the load caused by others.

Now I’ve moved on to a VPS (Virtual Private Server) at linode.com, where I get full root access over the machine. You know what that means: a LOT more freedom to play with. I got to install the web server software myself, as well as PHP, MySQL and a bunch of other things. I’m even running an IRC bot on the thing. Needless to say, I no longer need to use FTP to access the files on this server; I just use SSH, which is more secure, and seemingly faster as well. Have I mentioned that Linode is fabulous?

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Moving forward with my photography

Something that I may not have mentioned here is that one of my hobbies is photography. I got a little more seriously into it after buying a friend’s Nikon Coolpix 8700 back in 2010. That camera was a pretty good one, even though it wasn’t a DSLR or anything fancy, it gave me quite a bit of freedom to play, compared to your regular little compact camera.

Last week however, I purchased my first DSLR after trying and getting outbid on ebay for about a week. I now have a Nikon D40 with the kit 18-55mm lens, and I’m loving it. Compared to the Coolpix 8700, it is orders of magnitude better at guessing settings for correct exposures.  Since it doesn’t have to move out a lens on start-up, it’s instantly ready to shoot, and doesn’t waste energy on motors (other than the auto-focus motor in the lens). I love how it takes your photo the moment you press the shutter button down, rather than half a second after. It makes me feel much more confident to go for certain shots than I normally would be.

The camera automatically goes in stand-by mode if you’re idle for a while, but is instantly ready to go for it again. This makes it fun to walk through the city with the camera just on all the time, ready to shoot anything you see.

In conclusion, it seems like I’m going to have a lot of fun experimenting with what this camera will let me do. Eventually I’ll most likely try some other lenses as well, which is something I’ve been looking forward to with this kind of cameras.

Here’s a little set of photos I’ve taken around Southampton, by day and by night.

Escape the wavesWest QuayLong exposure with cars, Itchen Bridge

You can view the full set on Flickr.