My Kung Fu has Rust on Its Rust

Metaphor One: Kung Fu


The Lone Gunmen: (L to R) Langly, Frohike and Byers
image from xxxevilgrinxxx on

Back in the previous millennium (before they had their own short-lived series, and before that other momentarily topical and slightly longer running spin-off ), I used to really enjoy whenever The Lone Gunmen showed up on The X-files. Whereas Mulder and Scully were the often serious FBI suits that ran around chasing monsters-of-the-week, aliens, The Cancer Man, black oil, and all those other wonders, the trio of Langly, Frohike and Byers added both comedic relief and some great fleshing out of the whole Conspiracy theory theme within the show.

They were also the go-to guys for anything that had to do with computers.

One of the most lasting Lone Gunmen memories I have (aside from being continually thrown by how much Dean Haglund‘s character Langly resembled singer/bassist Geddy Lee from Rush) is of some back-and-forth banter that couched expression of the their relative coding skills in terms of Kung Fu.

“My Kung Fu is better than your Kung Fu.”

“Your Kung Fu might be better than mine, but Frohike’s is better than yours.”

“No way, mine is better than Frohike’s …”

And on it went. I need to find that actual exchange somewhere…

You see, my Kung Fu has become rusty. 

Metaphor Two: Rust

My Kung Fu is so rusty … (How rusty is it?) …  My Kung Fu is so rusty, the rust has rust on it.

Metaphor Three: Cooking

Rust on rust, as a metaphor doesn’t really get me far, in fact, in explaining myself, so I’ve decided to switch metaphors yet again, and talk using a cooking metaphor.

[That should help to make the purpose of this post even clearer.  (Least you wonder too much, this is a digitally-told story, after all, about computer stuff and coding, and framed with a historical reference to a truly great science-fiction TV show and some geeky characters, and built around ds106radio, so indulge me …)]

So here goes.  See if you can follow.

While preparing a very small aperitif, it was necessary to re-acquaint my palate with the nuances and characteristics of some marvellous raw ingredients (Javascript and PHP) and update the white sauce which I was using from a base of older HTML to a newer exciting XHTML and CSS blend. I’d used that sauce before, but my original chef skills were old school, and old habits die harder than newer ones. So I had to consult the cookbook.

My main goal was to really explore the flavouring of a long-running inquiry into a recipe of HTML5 (and a dash of Flash) but also wanted to be able to serve the dish on a bed of Safari, FireFox, and Chrome at the dinner table, or during a stand-up cocktail party on iOS and other fancy dress events. And of course, all the while the intent has been to find a way to keep the glasses of all guests (and especially newcomers) full with a fine stream of a most excellent .mp3 vintage.

All told, this little culinary adventure has kept this particular chef consulting the cookbooks and continually sampling the product to see if it looks good on each plate and with the full flavour of the delicious ds106radio bouquet —

And, of course, right at the last moment, after a few evenings of unofficial guest openings, and getting the decor in the dining room just right in preparation, on the evening of the intended Grand Opening, FINALLY a shipment of a long-desired and previously-unavailable ingredient arrived. Given that the whole enterprise has been wanting to use this ingredient as the central showpiece of the new restaurant, and thus precipitating the need to renovate the kitchen AT THE LAST MINUTE for a new cooker  and shelf space for some new crockery to suit le nouveau specialité de la maison, the opening has been pushed back. Just a little bit.


Seeking one ring to rule them all, and in the brightness illuminate (them) (yet another mixed-in metaphor), just as I finally decided to go with two different audio players and managed to sort out the feature-based differentiation code for the various browsers (kudos to John Johnston  for his help there), I found a functional javascript with really nice fall-back to Flash that seems to work everywhere we want, and now it just need to look nice on the page.

So hang tight while a new little exercise regimen strengthens my long-lost Fu.

What are you talking about?

The Can You Hear Me Now? experiment page now serves up a single functional in-browser ds106radio player, based on your browser’s happiness with HTML5.

However, the new-found code will provide a single and simpler implementation, which I hope to put in place once I make it look a little friendlier, with a nice matching ds106radio skin.

Stand by, ds106. The rust-free, tasty golden ring of Kung Fu -enhanced Unity will soon be on the menu.