Category Archives: Computing

The Brick Painter, for all master builders

The Brick Painter is a little web application that converts any image you feed into it (within reason) into blocks. Specify the height or width in blocks, choose the colour set, and it generates the brickified image for you.

It then tells you which colours of bricks are needed to build the image, and in which quantities. This allows you to then (if you are crazy enough) build it after ordering the relevant bricks (if you don’t have them in stock).

The Brick Painter is also released under a BY-NC-SA Creative Commons licence, so if you are into coding you can download the entire package here and improve it as you please. Hopefully the minimal comments in the code help.

Update: read more on the build process on the follow-up post, Brick Painting: build your own LEGO-based reproductions.

Janssens-Quidam redesign

Now that I’m working with a new law firm (Liedekerke, or Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick in full), it was high time I redesigned the Cat Hat / Janssens-Quidam e-reputation website.

For the uninitiated, this website presents the fictional tale of Janssens-Quidam SA/NV, presenting practical guidance on the legal implications of building and defending one’s e-reputation.

The design is less heavy and more in line with the feel of another project I’m hoping to unveil soon.

Content updates are also planned for Janssens-Quidam, due to legislative consolidation at a Belgian level (the Belgian Business Law Code or Code de droit économique / Wetboek van Economisch Recht). More on that when the updates are ready.

Paint frenzy

It’s no secret that since I thought up the design for the Cat Hat e-reputation website, I have kind of fallen in love with paint splotches. [I’ll soon have to start creating real-life ones, but that’s another story entirely.]

Some two weeks ago, I felt it was time for me to come up with yet another redesign idea. Unlike the N previous ideas, I ended up really liking the end-result.

What better way to start summer than with bright colours?

Continue reading Paint frenzy

Closing 2012 with new web tools

Sorry to the Maya people, but 2012 is really the beginning, not the end. For me, that is, and particularly with respect to the web.

Together with Sandrine Kinart, I launched the website (a.k.a. to accompany the publication of an article on building and defending one’s e-reputation. It tells the tale of a fictional company (Janssens-Quidam) and its very trendy product (the Cat Hat, “too cute to wear”) and is meant as a practical guide, so we’ve tried to make legalese understandable and useful. Even if you’re not part of a Belgian company, it’s worth at least a good, long look. And it’s available in English, French and Dutch. And for different devices.

In addition, De Boeck Professionals, a major publisher (certainly in the Belgian legal world), agreed to integrate an Interest Calculator I wrote into their legal database, StradaLex. I’m hoping that lawyers, in-house counsel and other legal practitioners across Belgium will find in the Interest Calculator a useful tool to take away the daunting aspect of computing interest. Now obviously, the world will come to an end if computing interest becomes “fun”, so I’ve tried to stick to making it “easy”.

I also cooked up a few other (more random) web tools, such as a law-related URL shortener that I used in the e-reputation article and on the e-reputation website. It’s definitely not “production-grade”, but I’m now in the mindset where if I think “Things would be easier with …”, chances are my next thought will be “I wonder whether I can make a web app for that”.

All in all, things are exciting. 2013 may turn out to be a very good year!

Timekeeping with one click

At work, we (currently) use a piece of software that is very complex. The problem is that it isn’t easy to switch from one item to the next, which is a problem if you have to work on ten different things per hour. Although I don’t encounter such an acute problem every day, it has happened, and I found our tools to be somewhat lacking.

Consequently, I figured I might as well deal with it. When you know a bit of code, it isn’t too hard to patch together a PHP file to deal with this kind of a problem.

I therefore present… the Timekeeper!
The idea is simple: one giant button per timer. Click on “start” to, well, start, and “pause/continue” afterwards depending on what you require. If something new comes up, just hit “New timer”, and the previously running timer will automatically pause while a new one starts.

[There’s plenty of good software for this (I know OfficeTime and Billings are very good at that), but my needs were such that I wanted a web app that I could use, without having to go through the hassle of installing paid-for software on my computer at work.]

For those who want to take a look at the code behind it, you may download the PHP file (all zipped up). I’m sure it can be improved.
And yes, it’s released under a BY-NC-SA Creative Commons licence.

Legal Implications of Internet Filtering

Five years, eleven months and some 5 days or so after my very first lecture on law, I have handed in my final contribution to my six years of legal studies. As it is a work of some importance, both academically and personally, I publish it here.

Here’s the non-legal intro to show you what it’s all about. Or you can omit reading it here, and read it in the document itself: Legal Implications of Internet Filtering.

Continue reading Legal Implications of Internet Filtering

Tutorial: Multi-page, multi-column web pages

At some point in the redesign process of, I started to consider the idea of a “book-like” feel, where the content would be presented in two columns, and users could flip to the next page of content seamlessly.

The way I see it, this is something that has so far only been done using Flash, so it may be of interest to web designers & developers to see how they can achieve this without Flash, in a cross-browser compatible manner.

Continue reading Tutorial: Multi-page, multi-column web pages design refresh

As 2010 kicks off, it is time for me to unveil a new website design on which I have been working for a few months. It was a long process, involving several radically different ideas and long hours getting it all to work (especially on Internet Explorer), but here we are, finally.

I recommend trying things out, to find the hidden easter eggs and so on, to get used to the new functionality.
[Tested in Firefox 2-3, Safari 4, Google Chrome 4, Opera 9-10, Internet Explorer 7-8]

But to truly understand the design, I think a more extensive portrayal of the design process is in order.

Continue reading design refresh

Big cats and themes

As of yesterday (Thursday) evening, my MacBook runs Snow Leopard, the latest version of Mac OS X. I’m very pleased of the functionality changes, even though I was saddened to see that the user interface hasn’t changed one bit.

There had been rumours of the “Marble” interface, but nothing (I repeat: nothing) has changed visually as regards the general interface (bar a few luminosity adjustments and the changes required by the new functionality). Icons, scrollbars, list headers, the “traffic lights”, …, everything with which Mac OS X themes generally deal, it’s all unchanged.

Except that Apple decided to change a couple of things in the structure of its theme files, which means that a) we can’t simply copy our theme files from Leopard to Snow Leopard, and b) we haven’t a clue how to decode one of the core UI files, “SArtFile.bin”. Hopefully there will be a decoder soon.

In the meantime, I’ll be using my external drive every now and again to boot under Leopard, because the only theming tool we can use (Themepark 4) works only under Leopard.
If you are an iTunesque user, expect a bunch of new packs for Snow Leopard in the coming days/weeks.

Edit: many iTunesque packages are now available. See the iTunesque page for more details.