The Pencil Guy: Hourann's illogical blog

Introducing Lichen

Tuesday 14 August 2007 at 8:51 pm

[screenshot of message list in Lichen] E-mail is something that’s fairly important to me, and I need to be able to check it from the Web. So when setting up a new mail server a few months ago, I looked around at the open-source webmail clients, hoping in particular for something with an AJAX interface. But none of the available options seemed good enough.

Thus, I enlisted Daniel‘s aid and we started to write our own.

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Fiddling with the mouse in TheBroth

Saturday 4 August 2007 at 11:35 pm

Screenshot of

So a few weeks ago I received an e-mail from Markus Weichselbaum, who runs a collaborative art site called TheBroth out of an office in Leederville. I’m surprised I didn’t hear about these guys sooner: their site is not half bad and their users make some very fancy pictures. There’s even a puzzle generator that scores as yet another pointless-but-entertaining way to burn time in a Web browser ;-)

The most geeky-cool part about the site’s technology is the extent to which it’s publicly documented on their blog — revealing, for instance, that they use amfphp for RPC and PHP-GD to generate images (just like my xkcd map mashup).

More impressive, though, is the community that the site’s got — it seems quite active and tight-knit on the level of a LiveJournal or a DeviantArt. And indeed that’s the direction in which I see the site developing over time (assuming no dramatic changes): building a not-enormous but enthralled niche user base.

At times the advertising feels a bit garish in comparison to the images, and it can take some determination to get stuck into one of the tile mosaics (that being the older of the two drawing styles they offer). Also, I’d love to see an embeddable game widget so y’all could contribute to a mosaic here on this page. But it still puts to shame lots of other online graphics services, like the little Facebook toy I recently put together (which focusses on communication rather than collaboration, and uses Apple’s canvas tag rather than Flash even though the latter is the better graphics platform).

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Annoying website of the day: Tiger Airways

Wednesday 30 May 2007 at 10:58 pm

'System Error' on a Tiger Airways payment page

Bloody incompetent tech staff. I mean, most airline websites aren’t good by any stretch, but I’m trying here to give you people money, and the best you can do is give me a nondescript error!