:Archive Of March 2001:

Saturday, March 31, 2001 - 5:11 PM -

Box lesson now has part one of Opera's fixed background image issues added

Friday, March 30, 2001 - 5:30 PM -

Box lesson just got a heap of mac problems added, with depressingly few solutions. I'll work on that later tonight. Also I screwed up the code a little in the 4 box example, but strangely the browsers didn't notice. I'll review the spec to find out why, then correct and retest that page.

- 2:40 PM -

A month ago we had the earthquake. (Just a tremor here, thank you. Only threatened to tip my monitors.) But I find I'm still aware of any vibration, until I can hear the traffic that's causing it. I'm glad I live in a wood frame building, I'm glad my suite is along the concrete firewall that spans the complex. I no longer wish to live or work in any brick structure. And my earthquake kit now sits beside my door, not in the closet. A quake gets your attention. The ground isn't supposed to move. Even Rushdie didn't manage to communicate what it feels like.

- 1:54 PM -

I just realized I look forward to the weekend because I can get uninterrupted work done. That didn't used to be normal, did it?

Tuesday, March 27, 2001 - 11:38 PM -

There's a revised 'box lesson' up. I need mac folk to test it on their Netscape, Explorer, and Opera, then once that's sorted I'll expand into the nasty content placement problems. There's some gems there. But let's start with getting a useful set of box workarounds so we know what to code to get these sitting right on all browsers.

Right now this is what I know does (and doesn't) work on ie5win, ie5.5win, n6.01win, and o5.02win.

Monday, March 26, 2001 - 7:54 PM -

I had forgotten about that.

It's dark outside the window. I don't remember what the weather was when it was light. I have spent the day debugging css boxes trying to get this demo set posted so you can all attack it with your own browser and box combinations and perhaps, maybe, we can make a good set of workarounds so that together we can move on to 1996. I have also spent considerable time installing and reinstalling and reinstalling the cable connection between my computers to ease the load of testing four browsers onto two monitors. This was never was designed well and today it's being abnormally jumpy. But I, at the moment, over my seized neck and back, sore bottom, aching hands and coffee encrusted stomach, believe that by morning I may finally have a decent version one box set to contribute.

What I forgot is that the IE6 beta is released tomorrow.

Piff! Bring it on anyway Bill. I shall shake off your latest assault like so much snow from my parka hood. I feel good regardless.

See you all in the morning.

Saturday, March 25, 2001 - 7:14 PM -

And where, you might reasonably ask, is the css box example set? I'm still working on it. The depth of incompetence displayed by all three browser makers is beyond belief. We may in fact, in 2001, be still stuck with abusing tables for layout. Every time I turn around I find another idiocy, have to strip and rebuild a style sheet to isolate exactly what is causing the problem, and then try to discover a legal workaround.

Keep in mind that Microsoft / TimesWarnerAOLNetscape / Opera isn't paying me a dime for this. It's a very good thing that the WaSP is being the bridge-building voice of reason between developers and browser companies because I can't manage a civil tone anymore.

I mean my god, I want to be building web pages! Not be spending my time debugging this dreck put out by those overpaid anthropoids.

Friday, March 23, 2001 - 3:09 PM -

The importance of user testing: I was just having lunch with Dad. Among other things in the net related discussion, he asked, "Why, when I select 'Print Screen', does it print the entire web page instead of just the part I've scrolled to on my screen?" Good point. It doesn't say 'Print Page'.

Monday, March 19, 2001

-(permalink)  12:08 AM

"I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that."

I'm not sure how I feel about this. This site is no longer powered by Blogger. It's not that big a deal for me to fire up an editor and ftp a post. The only extra step is a quick copy'n'paste to the archive page at the same time. No delays, no lost posts. And it eases the load on Pyra's server. Still feel like I'm letting them down, though.

Sunday, March 18, 2001

- 6:53 PM -

Oh my god. If you take the 4 box demo, you can align the right box correctly at zero in Opera. Now start reducing the content of the boxes. Once you get just less than enough to touch the bottom of the window, the gap on the right appears.

Yup. That's it entirely. I just checked against the original simple demo. If I reduce the browser window height till it touches the content, the gap disappears. Doesn't matter if you use floats or absolute position. The gap seems to act like a reserved area for the vertical scroll bar. When it's not there, the page doesn't resize to take up the pixels, just fills the area with the background colour. There is no workaround for this. Thanks Opera.

- 5:36 PM -

No, that's not it either. And Blogger still won't let me edit posts. [It's been what, a week now? Poor Pyra.]

Here's the deal. On my 4 box demo with the tinkertoy airplane, I can right align the right box up against the window. In a very similar, simpler, test box, I get a gap. Only in Opera. Even using the 4 box demo's css, and after carefully going through the simple test box's html, I get the gap. I've been methodically removing and comparing and merging the two pages, trying to find what's causing this and I'm not finding it.

- 3:23 PM -

Right. Looks like Opera cannot be made to float a box against the right side of the browser window, but absolute positioning works fine.

Saturday, March 17, 2001

- 7:19 PM -

Germany kicks out MS.

This is important. More countries need to do this. It'll balkanize things a bit, and get used for economic protectionist policies, but it will also shine focus on what kind of software is being produced now. You have no privacy, no security -- by design. Not because the net is an open forum, but to make it a forum with built-in-to-the-fabric listening stations with enormous data analyzing engines that are not open.

Maybe we need a name for these systems so people can think about them. Right now they just seem a nebulous possible collection of things that seem to have something to do with banner ads and junk mail and napster.

Listening engines. That has distinct ring. "The FBI listening engine, Carnivore." "The Double Click listening engine." Any or any combination of hardware, software, and agreements used to collect information on people at large and profile them.

Thursday, March 15, 2001

- 5:45 PM -

Aw crap... I can't believe I've found another Opera bug. Go to Y-H Chang Heavy Industries. Play the Flash file The Stuggle Continues, then Samsung. See all that text? Looks like Opera has a limit on how much it can handle within comment tags, and when that's reached, everything goes on screen. Augh. Flash by default includes the text within a movie in a comment tag in the HTML.

Opera doesn't play well with Blogger either. The edit window comes out 40px by 120px.

I really wanted to like this browser.

Wednesday, March 14, 2001

- 5:19 PM -

Just occurred to me you'd probably like this.

Fifty year old military training videos. Interesting to see how different directors approached the idea, and to watch how charts, images, and rate of information delivery are handled. You probably don't know how to fly an airplane, but can you follow what is being said in advanced training anyway? That's what a new user to a website feels like. This resource is a good usability study set.

And some of them are dolled up in hilariously camp attempts to engage with story or personality. That's instructive too. Watch what doesn't work.

Tuesday, March 13, 2001

- 1:32 PM -

Excellent. Two CSS layout resources have entered the net. Eric's CSS Layout Techniques and BlueRobot's Layout Reservoir.

Saturday, March 10, 2001

- 10:38 PM -

And from my own non-artistic angst tonight, why the Zark can't I get 11px verdana text? Set for 11 or 10 and you get 9 on the page? What is that? Does this have anything to do with installed font's range? (Then why would the enormous sizes seem to scale properly?) I gotta start getting some solid answers on this stuff. Life ain't all snowmobile repair, y'know.

- 10:12 PM -

I don't get a lot of abstract painting. I have some suspicion of abstract painters. But then I listen to some of the music I listen to, and it's the same damn thing. Music is just where my eye is open.

"Trumpets! I can hear trumpets!"

Meanwhile, as usual, I utterly fail to make a distinction between fine art, commercial art, design, and personal handwriting.

It all has so much to say. Which is probably why I'm often drawn to the collage, musically and visually.


Many years ago, I made a list of madatory items for the young writer. In order,

Coffee Maker
Solid Dictionary
A Fireplace To Burn Things In

I haven't a computer version (also anyone using a computer for just text has only found the tail of his elephant) but it includes headphones.


So, Laurie Anderson and Bruce Mau. Different? I can't think how.

- 2:07 PM -

I'd planned on putting up a nice little collection of css box samples today, with notes on the few fudges needed to deal with browser shortcomings.

Well, in going back through my template set and rechecking with consistent border/padding/margin of 5/10/15px, I'm finding more bugs. Like on a simple fixed-width left float box, with no padding/margin in body, ie5win puts a 30px margin on the left, yet 15px at the top...

So I'm gutting, rewriting, and retesting everything. This is going to take a while.

Friday, March 09, 2001

- 1:37 PM -

re CSS: Will have to get back to this tomorrow. But go keep an eye on Eric.

Thursday, March 08, 2001

- 11:59 PM -

I need mac people. I just got an ie5mac screenshot of the box lesson that shows left and middle box separated by one pixel. But both appear to be in line with the top image. The left box got compressed? Will update autopsy tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 07, 2001

- 11:56 PM -

Wow. That's really odd. Re Nick's Ozybug -- on his short pages in the archives, Ozy shows up fine. As you get to pages that creep past your window height, Ozy gets pushed down below the window edge, and because he's position fixed you can't scroll down to him. So Opera seems to be misinterpreting bottom to mean page bottom instead of window bottom, and then the image gets fixed down there. Okay, then center wouldn't work on those long pages either.

Also on the August archive page when my cursor goes over the archive links Ozy's image appears though the text lines. Why only on August? Never mind Why at all?

- 8:19 PM -

Schroedinger's Opera: Nick over at Blanketfort found his beloved cat, Ozymandias, would not appear when viewed with Opera5.02Win. Ozy is set to stay in the bottom left of your browser when you scroll. He's in the body. Opera doesn't handle background-attachment: fixed when background-position is center or bottom. Handles top-left, -center, -right just fine. Yet seems all works correctly when placed within a box.

- 1:39 PM -

Interested in 3 column CSS? The unstoppable Eric Costello is grouping all the projects together. Check it out.

Monday, March 05, 2001

- 1:44 AM -

Still don't know what to do about the IE4.5Mac problem. Posted the screenshot to the autopsy

Sunday, March 04, 2001

- 11:19 AM -

I said I'm not up to making a tutorial, and I'm not. But years ago I owed my sanity to generous souls who put up homebrewed web tutorials. And how hard is it to put my code comments in the sample page anyway? Here's the tutorial, should anybody need it.

Update: It all breaks down in IE4.5Mac. I'll post info and a screenshot later. It's messy. I've got to get a mac I can test on.

Saturday, March 03, 2001

- 2:56 PM -

Well, almost. There was a glitch. I fixed it, but I'm not sure why it happened. Take a look at the ongoing css autopsy for details. What, exactly, is going on here?

- 1:00 AM -

Nothing can withstand the combined forces of time and coffee.

I got it right this time. I took Neale's three column css apart and then simplified it a bit to go with my simpler understanding of stylesheets. Then I decided to figure out how to add a panel that goes all the way across the top. With IE5/Win's incorrect box interpretation, that took some doing. Comments in the css file, but sorry, it's not a tutorial. I'm not up to that. Hopefully in another week the experts will have had time and tutorials will abound.

Thursday, March 01, 2001

- 1:47 PM -

Oh .. crap. My elegant kludge completely falls apart when the floats are shorter than the middle. Should have realized that. Sorry. Move along. Nothing to see here. Neale's version still looks good though.

- 12:58 PM -

Neale's made a second attempt at three columns and it looks like he got it this time. Different approach than mine, and may be better. I'm just playing with his code now to see what it can and can't do.

- 12:14 PM -

Bingo! You can build a three column page in CSS without tables and have it look exactly the same in WinIE5. Check it out. Comments are in the css file.

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