:Archive Of May 2003:

Saturday, May 31, 2003 - 9:49 PM -


Wednesday, May 21, 2003 - 3:08 PM -

This is important: the petition for Proper PNG Support in Internet Explorer for Windows.

MSIE is the number one problem for web standards. But people should understand how big Microsoft is: it's not that they don't have people who know how to build a browser, it's that they have a lot of people in a lot of departments that vie for attention at meetings. Final products like MSIE are the botched children of the internal politics of a huge corporation.

As much as I like to yell at Microsoft, and as much as they deserve it, it's not a lot of help because Microsoft has grown a real thick skin over the years. Start criticizing and you can very quickly get ignored as being rabid anti-microsoft. Then you're just another weirdo protestor throwing bottles at some rally. You don't get heard, and 'web standards' starts to get associated with unreasonable bottle tossing by some of the people in these meetings. It's a bad loop.

The people in Microsoft who do know how to make a browser, and who do know why standards are important, need to be able to back up their arguments at meetings with things that pointy-haired management and marketing can understand. This sort of petition is good for that purpose. Have a look.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003 - 2:13 AM -

Kuramata's restroom for Lucchino Bar, from 3dcg_gallery.

Friday, May 16, 2003 - 1:24 PM -

(Does this design make me look fat?)

Sez Frank, "It's also a question of impression management, which Goffman talks about it in terms of frontstage and backstage. What is the image you have of yourself, what is the image you want to project, what are the social and cultural tools you have or choose for that, and very importantly, what are the technical tools and expertise you can draw on?"

Yes, and it's also a question what's intended impression management. That's a classification that hopeful clarifiers need consider. Some of these lab rats know you're looking. It puts a real spin on the other classes, and it is not necessarily On or Off; all the variety of infinite monkeys with keyboards is available. Which bits of these personas are the considered ones, and how deeply?

Say, Frank, are you doing anything like Bacon's table of more or less? Where you look for aspects that increase or decrease together and so indicate a relationship and thus help you make and refine classifications?

And although it's useful to consider rooms in a house for different web pages, keep in mind that any metaphor based on fashion objects will do. Where there is choice, you find style.

Something little observed outside of engineering is that pre-globalization, machinery had cultural accents. You could tell if you were working on something that was American, British, French, or Japanese. Science is science, but where you have choices available for achieving an end, cultural intonations will come through.

Thursday, May 15, 2003 - 6:50 PM -

Ruby Slippers:

Says Frank, "Speaking of classification: are weblogs a particular type of home page?"

Yes. Except when they're not.

Classification is like modelling; useful up to a point.

A blog tends to be your kitchen table. More personal, more casual. Rolled sleeves, relaxed talk. Coffee cup rings, ashtrays, and tangents. A home page tends to be more kin to the parlor and front step, and is kept tidy as such.


<Tangent> I don't like permalinks that take you to a blog post on its own page. I much prefer linking back to the original in the contextual flow, however individual a post may be.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003 - 6:50 PM -

Aw pookies..

I took the plunge and cobbed together a second adaptor to try dual monitors. I figured it'd be fun, and it'd be really useful for some editors with palettes. But what's knocking me out is I'm using full screen mode for regular browsing, not just occasional enjoyment, now that mail, bookmarks, etc is off to the side. And it's glorious. It's the web as I've always wanted it. Uncaged, big screen, corner to corner design. Fab.

And, what the heck, it gives me a backwards way around the scroll problem to using Opera 7. The scroll mouseware never worked in full screen, which is forgivable since it's actually Projection mode, and I'm used to using the arrow keys in that because something about not seeing a scrollbar keeps me from futilely trying so scroll with the mouse. Hence there's no frustration factor. Figure I'll give up and get a wheelmouse even. On to Opera 7 for me! At last.

But a couple of sites looked funny. Oh yeah... projection mode. You're fine if the CSS is served for All, but a lot of developers, myself included, use Screen for the main CSS in order to serve a separate Print stylesheet. Opera hasn't been terribly picky about this before. Just a few sites were serving things like unstyled fonts, reflecting a complex mix of linked stylesheets. Plain old Screen worked okay for Opera in Projection, which may not have been precisely correct, but was certainly sensible where no Projection stylesheet was specified, and the bulk of the web looked fine.

But not Opera 7. Opera tightened things up for 7 and if there's no Projection CSS, then you get squat style. Oh dear. Can't blame them. This is squarely a developer responsibility, myself included. Where we're using "Screen", we should be using "Screen, Projection". And I'll bet we're not going to catch up to that realization real soon.

Floobie. Just how badly did I want to use Opera 7 again?

I really feel I'm doomed to be running multiple browsers. "Would you like that site with styles, with javascript, or as full screen? No combinations."

Tuesday, May 13, 2003 - 12:28 PM -

Google is my true web browser. It's usually faster than digging into my bookmarks, and it's machine independent. Need pinouts? Bang, Pinouts for various connectors in Real Life(tm).

I'm looking forward to wireless tablets/PDAs replacing the beige box so I don't have to walk over here from the bench, and I'll be happy enough for a middle ground where they're inexpensive short range terminals running through a common server in the closet. (And I'll be delighted to find a sort of PCAnywhere application that lets us convert our old laptops into those terminals. Surely a colour lcd with keyboard and hdd and a 486 processor can be repurposed into such a simple thing. They're a turing machine, after all.)

But today's small mirth is the adventure that is Apple. I've got four old macs with three different monitor output connectors. Whatever for? They all go to the same monitor on the other end. Mysteries.

I've never understood the Apple attraction, though I try. They're often cute, and I still want an old trackball 180 Powerbook as a design classic, but things like opening a desktop unit to replace a drive are just silly complex. You'd best have the manual open because each box is its own plastic-tab puzzle by an industrial designer who seemed to be trying for an award.

I like exotica, I like fun, I like clever, I even enjoy mechanics as a sport, but if you're going to do elaborate thinking about hardware, your solution should be a better than the sensibly placed machine screws of the common x86 box. Otherwise it just comes off as a Dilbert cartoon.

Saturday, May 10, 2003 - 1:56 PM -

Well, pook. No announcement on the front page, but I noticed there's a new Opera 7.11 in the ftp section. And scrolling still doesn't work... I'm getting the bad feeling that this is just not going to get fixed.

What I believe is going on is Opera, like Moz, went to non-native scroll bars to make cross-platform coding easier. Hence my third party scroll software doesn't work, even though it's essentially just sending a refined signal of the Up and Down arrow keys. Mozilla, however, fixed the problem for third party scrollware, so it can be fixed, yet Opera hasn't. It's never worked in any version 7.

Hence a few schmucks like me are still using Opera 6 and lacking all the highly overdue capabilities of Opera 7, which we've waited for since version 5 like a child waits for Christmas. You see, Opera's interface rocks, and if you like it then you probably can't stand Moz's interface, which is exactly my situation.

I don't know if Opera is aware of this or if they have any priority for fixing it. Opera does not maintain a Known Bug List.

Opera makes me feel like I imagine Mac users must feel. You love the thing, but you keep getting slapped around and disappointed. It's mostly so good. I want to believe....

Man. After all this time, Opera is still like owning an MGB. It's absolutely wonderful to drive, but the roof leaks.

Oh, and there's a 7.11 beta2 in the Linux ftp section. It's not like they don't work hard at Opera, it's just that there always seems to be something that stops it from being the greatest browser. Will all the pieces ever come together?

>>full archive>>