Useful time waster is a web application that claims to emulate different browsers from the original line mode browser from 1991, through NCSA Mosaic, beta Netscape, Netscape 1.0, IE 2.0, and HotJava. I’m pleased to report that my page is quite readable and almost looks like it was designed for all those browsers—if you ignore the fact that all my navigation links show up at the bottom of the page.

Blog roundup

Quick and necessarily incomplete keiretsu check-in:

Scripting News Awards: Dave fesses up

Dave is going to do the Scripting News Awards again. In the process, he fesses up about something that’s puzzled me: how I got in the running last year:

“It’s quite interesting to look at the lists a year later. For example, the scripting category has boomed. Last year it was hard to find any weblogs about scripting.”

Which explains both why I was one of the four and why I didn’t get that many votes. It was just a small pool.

Playing with CSS again

It’s always driven me nuts that the month links didn’t line up properly underneath my site calendar. I figured it had something to do with the way I had defined the div around the calendar, but I didn’t have time to look at it until this afternoon.

The problem was that the div was defined to start at 70% of the page width and take the rest of the space on the page, but the content was centered in the div. For some reason, the table had a different center than the line following it, which caused the month links to show up askew.

Easy fix, right? Just recode the width of the calendar div. Except that it turns out not to be simple with CSS. Basically, what I want the calendar to do is this:

  • Hug the right hand side of the page, most of the time
  • If the window is too narrow to put the calendar to the right of the logo and still be visible, either:
    • wrap the calendar to the next line, or
    • scroll the calendar off the page to the right.

I don’t know a way to manage all of those things at once. I currently have changed it so that the calendar hugs the right hand side (for what it’s worth, I changed the width to 190px, the same as the min-width; eliminated the left attribute; and set the right attribute to 0). But if you shrink the browser window too far, the calendar overprints the site logo.

Actually, this isn’t the biggest problem, since the content starts to run into the nav bar before this happens… This is all because there’s no concept of “min-left,” the minimum left distance from the left hand bounding box that an element needs to respect.


Pilgrim: XHTML no replacement for RSS

Mark Pilgrim surveys a crop of new postings that contrast RSS for syndication vs. semantic coding in the first place and sez they’re all wet. In doing so, he draws a useful line between XHTML theory and blogging practice:

…this latest XHTML-as-syndication movement seems to be based on the principle that “syndication is so incredibly important that you must immediately stop whatever you’re doing with your web pages, upgrade to XHTML, validate your markup, restructure your home page to include all and only the content you’re willing to syndicate, and by the way, would you please unlearn that ugly nasty presentational page layout language you’ve been using for years and learn this wonderful happy structured semantic markup language instead?”

It should be obvious to any rational observer that this will go nowhere fast. A syndication format that requires valid semantic XHTML markup? Spare me. 9 out of 10 bloggers can’t even spell XHTML.

Between user resistance, bandwidth issues, sites that don’t want to syndicate their entire content, Pilgrim goes on to coin an important principle: “Syndication is not publication….It’s something else, a different medium.” Right on. The iCal to RSS experiments alone should tip off most intelligent observers that there’s value in a standalone syndication format, and real power in separating syndication from publication.

Catching up with the keiretsu

Greg has started calling our group of connected blogs a keiretsu, after the Japanese cross-industrial conglomerate. I guess that’s the only way to describe that circle: a programming MBA deep in the software world (me), two Southern Democratic political bloggers, and a financial analyst and poet. It’s too bad the era of corporate megamergers gave “synergy” a bad name, because you’d hope there would be some in that random combination of assets.

Anyway, looking out over my keiretsu to catch up:

Me? I still have a cold and I need sleep. I was at work until 9:30 tonight and I have a long day tomorrow. Talk amongst yourselves. 🙂

Remedying: Happy b-day, Tony

Correcting a long-standing omission, I’m adding Tony Pierce’s Busblog to my blogroll. This is not only in recognition of Tony’s coolness but also in honor of his birthday.

Tony is not only funnier than I am, he’s also more likely to be seen in the company of hot, barely legal women. So he says. Here’s hoping he gets his birthday wish:

…that’s one thing i’d like for my birthday. i’d like everyone to put aside all their bullshit fears surrounding good for just one day. real good. like everyone, if they want to eat cake that day, say the hell with the damn diet that theyve been on for half their life. eat a piece of damn cake.

right on!

and if you want to say hi to that pretty girl on the third floor, march up there and say hi. get her number even. quit listening to that same old stale voice that tells us that the things that we want somehow are either wrong, impossible, or in someway threats to our stable, miserable lives.

preach, preacha!

i have a dream, holiday gourds.

that we can all live together in peace?

no. that people can kiss each other at bars and in night clubs and their hearts flutter and their blood pressure goes up and they don’t need so much booze any more. i have a dream, my friends.