Pete visited again, with innumerable printouts of new pages of his horse shelter web site. He wanted to know why the sidebar was so low. Ask the people who wrote Internet Explorer. It goes in the proper place in Firefox or any Mozilla browser, and in Opera and Safari. When IE7 appears, it will work in that as well, at least if the Microsofties have fixed all the bugs they have listed in their IE blog.
Besides, the site is totally liquid. Who cares where the stuff goes? If you make your viewpoint narrow enough it is likely to display as one long column, sidebar underneath. I think I might remove the fonts too, as well as the font size, except for hinting the sidebar should be sans-serif at 80%. That way if someone has set a nice font in their browser they get to read in their own favourite font.
I think Pete is more pissed off because whenever he prints a page (who ever heard of printing a web page - I never tried that), it always spills over onto the next page. I guess I'll try to find a better set of instructions for how to print to fit from IE. Maybe even use the printer shrink to fit, if his printer driver has it. I think Pete needs print instructions rather than a verbal guide. I must admit my verbal instructions are pretty vague, because even when I did have Windows, I had removed Internet Explorer. I thought Internet Exploder far too dangerous to use.
Well, maybe I should do a media print style sheet for the site. Then I can specify a reasonable serif printer font, sizes in pixels, and maybe do some nice stuff with the line spacing and letter spacing. Plus turn off the sidebar and navigation so they don't print at all. However I think people get confused when what prints isn't even remotely like what is on the screen, so I am not sure that is a good method. I do not like the idea of duplicating the entire site as a printable version. I am sure Google and other search engines penalise that.
Meanwhile Pete has figured out how I feel about framed and table based sites. Not going to happen.
It can't be bargained with! It can't be reasoned with! It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead! OK, maybe that is a little excessive. After all, it is only web standards.
I was already in a bad mood. Safari had started crashing frequently, like once every few days (side effect of something I haven't tracked down), mostly at times when I had 20 windows and 80 or 90 tabs open. That seriously disrupts my work flow. Mind you, I probably should fix methods.
The Teflon furniture glides on my recliner chair had ripped apart. That make it hard to drag the chair from computer elsewhere, which I do a few times ago. Probably explains why two sets of Teflon glides had destroyed themselves in six months. Why can't I buy a comfortable recliner chair with proper roller wheels, and a swivel base? Just what is so weird with wanting lounge room comfort and office chair mobility?
The ANZAPA mailing deadline was upon me. I should have had plenty of time, but I had let myself be distracted by reading up on web site stuff (thus the crashing browser problem). In fact, it had to go in the mail today. So just before lunch I dumped the file into the publishing program Pages, and got it ready to print. Then I decided it was so hot I had better print, get it ready to mail, and take it to the post office before collecting something for lunch.
You can all see this coming, can't you? Plugged the printer in and powered it up. First side of the printing went through the Hewlett Packard LaserJet 2550L. Second side started printing blanks. Grinding noises, but blank pages. Tried powering down and up again. No better. Found a step stool high enough for me to see the top of the printer (it is on a high shelf in a the closet, for lack of space elsewhere). Four lights on! Didn't seem normal. Now where has the manual gone? Turned things upside down seeking the missing manual. I'll add that I had a previous HP and the manual stayed reachable and never got lost for around 10 years. Maybe the confounded new manual was tiny?
So I looked it up on the web (the HP site navigation is pretty logical). The trend to prettiness has gone way too far. Pictures dimly indicating which buttons are lit are not nearly as quick to access as a table. Eventually I saw it said I didn't have any toner cartridges. Given I had just been printing, this was bullshit. Has HP quality dropped to the point where 30 degrees C working conditions kill off the printer after the heat builds up from printing a mere 90 pages. Seems weird. Humidity was high, so I'm inclined to think condensation had a hand.
I sure wasn't happy about not being able to do the second side of my printing. A pause of 30 minutes with the printer off dropped the temperature somewhat. Got 32 pages done, then 13 of the next set. Another pause for about 45 minutes let me finish the last of the 190 pages. But I was a very unhappy camper as I took my printing to the post office (and collected lunch) around 4 p.m.
I hate the way newspapers keep rabbiting on about exercise. Way too much work.
Step test, with 30cm step, alternating feet on a steady four beat pace for three minutes. While standing measure heart rate for one minute. 79 to 103 is above average depending on age.
Push-ups, hands and toes, chin touches ground, no stops, continue until exhausted. 30 to 56, according to age is good.
Sit-ups in one minute. Knees bent feet flat, hands on thighs. Raise enough for hands to touch knees. Keep lower back on floor. 28 to 49 is good. If I tried that my feet would instantly come off the ground.
Squats sit down on a chair, touch lightly then stand back up. Continue until fatigued. 28 to 49 is good. These people have to be kidding!
Jean returned today, arriving at the airport just before five. I wonder whether I ever wrote down where she went to?
An addiction to dead men's brains I am trying to break. I thought about storage elsewhere, but that seems like giving up. I am sneaky. If a book can be read on the internet, then obviously I don't need a copy. Jean gave books away to a University library, however I fear the libraries are now all filled up. Most seem to be casting aside their collections, for lack of space. Mind you, so far I am really only talking about dumping books, not actually doing it.
Spent a month or so attempting and failing to find any sort of HTML editor that solved the problems of making web pages. Any such editor is fine for writing a web page, if you already know what you want to do. However if you already know what you want to do, then any editor, HTML oriented or not, is fine. For example, I am writing this in TextEdit, not in any of the almost 30 editors I evaluated.
The major result is that I now know that I really do need a web site content generation and content management system. One obvious approach is to use an existing blogging package. Blog software tends to offer multiple tools, for which I mostly can't see any purpose.
Some blogs seem to work on the six degrees of separation idea, like Friendster and Orkut. I wouldn't belong to any club that would have me as a member, said Groucho. I think he was right. Fraudulent terms of service are another thing. Orkut tries to own everything you post, so I would never use it.
Plus central control. I have a long term dislike for Yahoo, dating back to when they took over eGroups. I have seen nothing to change my mind since, so I don't use Yahoo or any of its affiliates. This dislike carries over to all centralised blogs. Eventually they have to go commercial, or start running advertising, or do something else annoying. Or they abruptly disappear.
Jean wanted to cook turkey for Xmas, on the basis that we hadn't liked the pre-cooked versions of the past few years. Leonards were charging around A$20 per kilogram for turkey, when it finally arrived (scheduled for the week before Xmas). USA prices for frozen premium turkeys on sale for 37 cents per Lb which results in a cost of $7.40 for a 20 Lb turkey.
Eventually I found a comparative list of blogging software by John Hiler. Dated back to 2002, but enough to at least work out the types of blog software available. In particular it made the distinction between weblog publishing (static pages) like Blogger and Moveable Type, and weblog communities with personalised dynamic pages (like Slash and LiveJournal). John then distinguished between install and no install, and then further divided these to get 8 categories, all of them covered in detail.
None of them really did what I wanted, although Blosxom looked close. Needs to run on a web server, rather than entirely static, so its install is slanted that way.
We have all seen this one coming, with cheap GPS chips headed for PDAs and phone, triangulated location in cheap cell phones, even cheaper RFID headed towards replacing bar codes on products. Trucking companies track trucks. You can track your children. There is even a book about ambient findability by Peter Morville.
Bruce Sterling on Blobjects at Siggraph welcomes spimes, and spime wranglers. Gizmos so advanced we never learn all their capabilities. Although they are willing to teach you, because spime wranglers add value for the companies that make premium price spimes. Like geolocation enthusiasts adding value to Google.
However running on the server isn't really what I wanted. Nor am I at all sure I want a blog as such. Seems an invitation to spammers these days. Plus various people have pointed me to expression engine instead, on the basis of it being more mature. I like the idea of xslt, but think the needed tech levels are too high (I'm lazy).
I found a simple template system with PHP by Wil Rushmer. Not keen on yet another language, but PHP is intended for web pages, and at least it isn't Perl.
Will 2006 or 2007 be the year web sites meet their Year 2000 crisis? Anyone following the web browser programmer blogs will probably be aware that there is not much support for any more fixes to Quirks mode. Everyone will preserve Quirks mode unchanged for compatibility with broken web sites.
Quirks mode is when a browser attempts to allow for every bug and problem that has ever occurred in every web site, and in every other browser. All the features supported by any browser that have now been dropped. As you can imagine, it is impossible to know what needs to be actually coded in Quirks mode, as there is no standard to follow. A browser goes into Quirks mode when it encounters most web pages. The exception is when a browser finds a web page containing a Strict Doctype.
When a web page uses a Strict Doctype, a web browser goes into Standards mode. Standards mode is not at all the same thing as using an XML parser. It just means that the usual tag soup parser is no longer trying to match every bug ever seen in a browser or web page since they existed. It tries to follow a set of standards.
This is what the Internet Explorer 7 programming team say on IEBlog.
It has been our policy since IE6 that under quirks doctype we will not make any behavioral changes so that existing pages will continue to render unmodified, but under the strict doctype we want to change behavior to be as compliant as possible with the web standards.
If you are using IE7 you may notice major sites breaking due to the use of CSS hacks and the strict doctype.
In IE7, we will fix as many of the worst bugs that web developers hit as we can, and we will add the critical most-requested features from the standards as well. ...
I want to be clear that our intent is to build a platform that fully complies with the appropriate web standards, in particular CSS 2. ... See the IEBlog for a list of bug fixes, plus a list of newly supported features.
A lot of web authors are going to leap with glee at being able to write standards based HTML for the web, if IE7 really does handle it well enough. You can't just drop the old stuff, because IE6 has about 80% of the market for PC installed browsers. But what about all the browsers on Playstations and games machines, set top boxes, Web TV, PDAs and phones? Already more than half of my web site visitors use unidentified browsers.
Personally, when I get around to rewriting this site, I plan to drop all the older browsers. If it handles HTML, a browser will be fine. If it handles CSS1 (and ignores CSS2) it will be fine. If it pretends to handle CSS1 but does not, then it will break. I declare this your problem, not my problem. The obvious exception will be IE6, due to market share. I'll do a style sheet for that, very plain, and serve it via a conditional comment. I'm not wasting my time catering to a broken browser.
I think a lot of people will take much that decision when it is time to update sites.
The super yacht we saw at Abell Point marina was SY Georgia from Antibes France. We could see the mast as we drove to Cannonvale, and so made a point of walking past the marina. The 48.5 metre yacht is the third largest sloop in the world, and has a 60 metre mast. Someone was being hauled up it to do work on the rigging.
I believe demographer Bernard Salt is responsible for way too many of these. I list them here so I know what on earth other people are talking about.
The hypocrisy of the Victorian government over renewable energy is astonishing. Charge the public extra for renewable energy to meet some mythical requirement straight after allowing the continued use of brown coal (the most filthy fuel on earth) in its power stations!
If not when the government is rolling in money, then when? So, the GST went in, and killed off marginal businesses. However it forced survivors to look at cash flows and business expenses. However what has the government done about taxes since then? Handing back a cut of bracket creep is not reform. Our taxes are way too high. When you hire a skilled worker, tax, superannuation and payroll on costs are 50% of their cash in hand.
Results are clear. People who can command high prices move overseas to get them. Or, once overseas, are reluctant to move back. Of the very good computer people I knew, most are now working overseas.
Much lower margin rates of tax are needed, so working poor are not punished for earning a little more as they are at present. That includes people on superannuation, who might otherwise do some work. Lower taxes on savings, to encourage savings rather than discourage it.
Tax reform does not need to be revenue neutral, and it should redistribute money. Reform that doesn't hurt someone (and help someone else) isn't a reform. What needs to be decided is who is going to gain, who will lose, and whether that will be better overall. Governments are there to make the best choice amongst many hard choices. Not to sit on their hands and say it is all just too hard for them.
Should we encourage young people to marry and have families? Should we encourage everyone to work? Should we encourage everyone to go to university, or should we encourage them to learn a trade. Money is intended to send signals.
At present the best investment most people can make is to try to find a tax deduction. This is just plain stupid government policy.
Governments just don't appear to understand technology, and specifically Telstra. There is basically no reasonable way to reconcile being a growth oriented corporation with universal service obligations. Either Telstra is a corporation (in which case country wide phone service charges increase astronomically), or it is a government owned service providing universal access to the unconditioned local loop line. The government should forget about selling all of Telstra, split it into the local loop operation, and the rest, and sell off the rest. The local loop operation will obviously need subsidies in country areas if expansion is desired there. People have been saying this for at least five years, and probably ten.
Meanwhile, Trujillo is simply not going to waste money expanding landline facilities. Not while shareholders are expecting 80% of income and more to be spent on dividends.
Back in 1999 Ziggy tried a media play for Telstra, to bust it out of being a dividend stock and into being a growth stock. Failed miserably, lost money. Now new head Trujillo wants to try the same thing. Just like everyone else. Much the same reason, there isn't much choice except to make money from content. If your phone line costs go too high, people use a mobile. I'd think about half of all apartment dwellers here only have a mobile, and no land line. The only purpose I can think of for a land line is to provide a DSL connection.
Cable is a substitute. For an apartment block, one person buys a phone line, and then uses a router and WiFi to share with a bunch of neighbours. Too many end runs around the twisted pair copper wire monopoly these days. So you can't raise your prices too high. Plus today no-one needs a second line for their internet or fax. One line does it all. Despite population increases, for the first time in a century, the number of fixed line phones is decreasing.
I think Telstra is a walking corpse. They won't get monopoly position on broadband (except in country areas where the cost of laying alternate wire will defeat competitors). They will get increasing challenges in heavily built up areas. Plus new technologies will eat away in almost all areas. If the share price ever gets back up a bit, I'll sell, because I don't think they can sustain even dividends for much longer.
If you figure 168 hours in a week, sleep and eat 10 hours a day, you have 98 hours left. So a 40 hour work week is part time. We haven't had that much leisure since we devised agriculture.
There are about 10 million people working in Australia, about half the population. 45% are full time male workers. 45% are women workers, part and full time. About 8% are men part time workers. Part time work stands up better than full time when a recession hits, and women full time workers have not increased. Plus men full time workers have declined.
I guess everyone is seeing that the disenchanted workers will be former full time workers who can now find only part time or seasonal work, and don't like that.
I ran the online link tester from WDG htmlhelp in an attempt to stem the linkrot problem. I have tried several, and this is one of the better free ones. Before my site exceeded the recursion depth of the link tester, I (eventually) generated an enormous collection of tested links (good) and broken links (bad). The 500 class (gone) links are fine in one way. I can just remove my link entirely. Maybe leave a stub so if someone wants to use the wayback machine to trace the contents, they have a starting point.
The 400 class missing links are not too bad. It may just be a page that has moved elsewhere in the same site. If the site still exists, I can just change the link to point to the site. Anyone wanting to find the specific material will have to search, but at least I provide a starting point. Problems here are when a site name is taken over by someone selling site names. I can't automate the changes, because even when a site exists, it may now be a totally incorrect site or some sort of spam redirect.
As foreshadowed two weeks ago, Jean found a suitable 2.2kg turkey at Leonards. Peace at last.
I sometimes think that the very worst redirects are the 300 class. Most web pages used to be at sensible, short and memorable locations, and have a file name correctly ending in .html (or if you were stuck with msdos like I was for so long, with .htm). Now the file name can have almost any meaningless extension. Plus the name is just as likely to be a long string of crap from some database scheme. Finally, to add injury to difficulty of access, the file name is now likely to include characters that can NOT be legally used in web names. If you don't understand enough to do legal file names, how about looking up the rules for once?
Bah, humbug. I can tell it is near Christmas, because I'm always in a bad mood around Xmas. This is because I work on my web pages around Xmas. Bah, humbug again!
If some place puts illegal characters in a URL, I am no longer providing a link. The choice is that I rewrite any incorrect entities in your URL, or I stop treating it as a URL. So not treating it as a URL is how I am handling badly written (but working) links. I'm sorry for people trying to find your company, but I am sick and tired of having broken links in my pages.
Is there anyone who thinks sedition laws are a good idea, except for the wankers in government? Communist Party general secretary Lance Sharkey went to trial, for saying the workers would welcome Soviet troops. That was in 1949. He was jailed.
Papua New Guinea public servant Brian Cooper said the natives demand independence (they did and had independence ten years later). He killed himself while awaiting appeal. That was in 1960.
So the only reasonable purpose for sedition laws when last used was against political views. What a wonderful precedence!
Privacy legislation exists to protect the public from unreasonable record keeping by other interested private parties. So when you get some badly targeted mail from your local politician, can you tell see what mis-information they have, or get your name removed?
Political parties are exempt from privacy legislation, so it is tough luck for you. They can spam you all they like. Can you use Freedom of Information laws to check what they are doing? Well, hell no, they are a private organisation, so that doesn't apply.
Jean started to cook the turkey, as foreshadowed two weeks ago. Despite being the smallest (2.2kg) we could find, it wouldn't fit in the stove. Jean kept wondering if our neighbour Jim had a larger stove (he was out of town).
I took refuge in the champagne ... sorry, make that sparkling wine. Can't have French winemakers mad at us for use names from their country. As if anyone will mistake the Australian version for the French. The difference is obvious. The French can make a nicer sparkling wine, but at more than five times the price. Meanwhile, I'll settle for helping drink the glut of great wine currently sloshing around Australia are really attractive prices.
You expected some sense from me over Xmas? Between over eating and over indulging, I didn't get a lot of other work done. Didn't even read my email. Jean ended up with most of the turkey (seemed only fair). It cooked up a lot nicer than the pre-cooked commercial turkey we had mostly given up on in previous years.
It took most of the break to clean up most of my internet links. I should be looking at some more automated system for link checking. If it were not for the fake redirects I'd do that. I can't think of any general solution.
Well, I can think of one partial solution. Cut way back on links to the types of organisations that have a history of frequent link changes and frequent link rot. If a link has already been in place for five years, it is probably more likely to stay put than a link only five months old.
It would be nice if search engines could also include the modification date of a link, and how long the link has existed at that location. For some things you want new links, for others old are better.
What events do people wish to see when they happen? Sports, and breaking news. I think CNN has the latter covered, so that leaves sports. So what happens to prime time for TV viewing, and the heavy premium charged advertisers? We know the diary survey system is junk. Electronic monitoring of viewer habits is far more accurate (especially when the choice is between the morally uplifting and outright sleeze).
For most viewers, they want to see movies and shows when they wish, not when the stations want to show them. The cable channels compensated for lousy bandwidth with frequent repeats of movies, so they never needed the promised any time, any show access. In Australia at least the cable companies have been struggling with red ink for a decade. With the death of Kerry Packer, I wonder if there is anyone left who cares about the content of free to air TV?
Maybe we are seeing the start of the decline right now. If DVDs of movies start turning up at the same time as theatre release, and you can buy the TV show from last night on iTunes, then I think that signals the end of premium advertising prices on TV. Advertisers are slow to move to new media, but move they will.
We have been terrible about Xmas Cards. Various people kindly sent some to us. Due to the distance we live from cities, most arrived after Xmas. Merv and Helena Binns, Bob and Margaret Riep, Graham Sale, Paul and Cas Skelton, Gerald Smith.
I started deleting HTML editors from my Macintosh. Despite my best intentions regarding thorough tests, I found the overheads of getting used to a new editor out weighted any possible advantage. At least, that was the case with the editors with 30 day trials. Typically I'd start with them on the first day or two. Then I would need to get something done in a rush, and revert to using the free TextEdit I was used to, despite it having no HTML facilities at all. Then a few days before my trial period ended, I'd notice the other editor, and have another go. But by then my time would invariably be too tight to do a good check.
I'd think trial software that let you use it on say 15 days, over any time span, would have a much better chance of selling. No pressure to evaluate. If you actually got around to using it for 15 days, you would have a pretty good idea of whether it works for you. The annoying little glitches would be understood and accepted, or workarounds found.
Lots of editors deleted today. EXMLite just didn't seem to be on the same wavelength as me, despite many interesting features. EWord Lite wasn't really relevant to HTML. Freeway 4 seemed way too large and complex, and I wasn't sure I could play with the resulting code easily. HyperEdit seemed to be driving me nuts, and I can't really say why. SKEdit had expired, plus it was giving weird warnings. SubEthaEdit seemed more aimed at collaborative editing. TacoEdit crashed when I tried the spelling checker, plus it looks to support mostly the Transitional Doctype.
The fire alarm at the Whitsunday Terraces resort went off again just before 10. I just love the way the government see these faulty gadgets being the solution to fire deaths. No-one pays any attention to them at all.
Competition policy will require Telstra (which built all this stuff with taxpayer money) to onsell access to its exchanges and copper network to any competitor. Same as other networks, like electricity, gas, rail. However Telstra don't want to do this, so they will drag their feet wherever possible.
Telstra will spend the billions it takes to get optical fibre close to your home (although they don't need it). It will fight every council on the way so it can put its boxes in the streets, like those pad mounted power transformer that squat all around this town.
They will sell fast access to the new network at prices significantly higher than competitors on copper, but it will be fast access. If competitors want to offer fast access, they will need to install their own DSLAM into Telstra exchanges. Telstra will delay that all the way.
When ACCC complain, Telstra will point out it is a new network, and competitors have got access to the old network. They will stall access forever. If they work it right, the competitors will go broke trying while waiting.
When it is all over, Telsta will keep putting up prices and get monopoly rents on their equipment. Mind you, technology may double cross them, and allow an end run around their connection. I can sure see that happening in built up areas. And in some close in country areas.
Some design features show no common sense, or are outright dumb or dangerous. Drop down desks are almost certain to drop down on you sometime. Collapsible tables almost certainly will.
Impractical designs abound. Things like a printer shelf between your knees, or set so you can't easily clear a paper jam. Designs where you can't get to plugs at the back of things. Lack of cable access and cable routing facilities.
Does the furniture fit the equipment? Measure it all around. How well will it cope with changes of equipment. What is the weight of all the equipment? Will your furniture handle the weight? Will doors open or will something be in the way? Can you make more use of vertical space?
Will you drop food or drink into keyboards or more expensive equipment. Can you easily get replacements if you do?
How much computer equipment do you have? How much will it expand over the years? How much access does each need? New gadgets keep turning up.
I have a little list.