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 2002.02.20

the W3C has released three more CSS level 3 working drafts. please note: these are works in progress, comments are welcome, but don't expect your browser to implement this stuff tomorrow morning.

cascading and inheritance by håkon wium lie covers the mechanisms of cascading and inheritance, which make possible one of the fundamental design principles of CSS, namely that both users and authors can influence how a document is presented.

backgrounds by bert bos and tim boland extends the functionality of backgrounds with the addition of five new properties. these are: background-clip, background-size, background-quantity, background-spacing and background-origin.

color by tantek çelik and chris liley introduces RGBA colours (RGB with alpha channel transparency/opacity) and HSL colours(hue/saturation/lightness, also with alpha channel transparency HSLA) which would be more intuitive to use and make it easier to create matching color sets. They even provide a neat little algorithm for doing conversions from RGB to HSL in ABC. there are also new mechanisms for using alternate ICC color profiles(for images), and a simple but powerful opacity property that can be applied to all elements in a document.

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 2002.02.18

“we wound up with 20 concepts. some are successful designs but don't say what we want to say, but i like to show a range of things to producers, because people love to kill things. we don't, however, include things that are bad, because they will often be picked.”

drew hodges, creative director of spotco, on creating a poster for edward albee's new play, “the goat or who is sylvia?.” from the nytimes magazine. (registration required)

zeldman continues to amaze me with his prodigious output. the latest is his better living through xhtml at a list apart. read it.

i neglected to mention this last week, so now that i'm on a new york roll i'll just stick it in here. rosencranz of the mornig news posted a short note in which he declared weblogs to be “often vain, self-absorbed, and horribly written.” needless to say this generated a small torrent of feedback, some of which was quite funny.

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 2002.02.15

the other day slashdot pointed out a good overview of .net in which dr pizza of arstechnica cuts through the fog of microspeak and media hype to reveal the true nature of the beast.

opera has delivered minor upgrades to its browser for the mac and windows. mostly minor repairs, other things remain broken.

w3c has announced the creation of the multimodal interaction activity.

“extending the web user interface to allow multiple modes of interaction, offering users the choice of using their voice, or the use of a key pad, keyboard, mouse, stylus or other input device. for output, users will be able to listen to spoken prompts and audio, and to view information on graphical displays. the working group is developing markup specifications for synchronization across multiple modalities and devices. the specifications should be implementable on a royalty-free basis.”

hmm.... whenever i try to go to google.com, i now get sent to http://www.google.ca/

kinda stinks for people who have turned off automatic redirects. oh well, i can still find out whether or not there are large numbers of web pages with spelling mistakes. answer: definately.

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 2002.02.12

dean allen celebrates a year of textism with the bad textism contest.

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 2002.02.09

we have seen signs. here they come.

the wasp — opens in browsers worldwide early 2002. get ready. { additional link added feb 10 }

greenspun on the sale of arsdigita to redhat, with links to more on the story.

oh yes, for those who wanted to know, the answer is no — the recent modest redesign of this page does not actually work right in any browser. but some do better than others.

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 2002.02.08

today i'm reading monoculture considered harmful over at first monday and author-generated dublin core metadata for web resources from the journal of digital information.

while reading the jodi article(see above) i was thinking how great it would be to have a little floating toolbar that i could pop up and use it to alter the user style sheet for my browser. you know, add some padding, change the font values in order to make such attrociously styled things a bit more readable on the fly.

a popular theme over at css-discuss seems to be the desire to style all the widgets that one can incorporate into a web document. i can understand this to an extent, and i've even done it myself {he points to the snazzy drop down archive menu}. one thing i don't see being mentioned in these discussions is the fact that the widgets themselves are not properly part of the document tree but are instead a part of the user interface. and the user interface belongs to the browser designers.

that you can style some of these things today has a high gee-whiz neat-o factor, but who can say what a select box or a scroll bar might look like on the next generation of browsers. do you really want to spend your valuable time styling something that you really have no control over? something that is not part of an open set of standards, but rather someone else's bit of property?

here's another way to look at it: imagine you are an artist and you insist that the gallery change all it's doorknobs so that your piece of work might look it's very best. the gallery might go for it if they thought it was to their advantage, but next month they decide to install automatic sliding doors which provide all the functionality of doors but alas have no doorknobs. does your work still hold up? was your time spent arguing over doorknobs time well spent?

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 2002.02.07

here's a couple of great new finds, related only by the fact that they can be accessed over the internet. first, i just found out about the guardian's new world news guide. being a bit of a news junky, this looks to me like a fantastic directory, with over a thousand choice links to news and government sources from around the globe.

the second item is the brilliant ascii telnet version of star wars episode IV, from some whacked dutch hardware geek, who should not to be confused with some german hacker collective's project called blinkenlights. the star wars link comes to us via erik, who won the horseradish challenge.

now for a bit of synchronicity. tonight, i surfed over to eatonweb and found out that brig had found the tree climbing episode to be more entertaining than the what can we make erik eat business. i'm glad she pointed to it, because i hadn't seen it yet. brig's been writing more these days and i'm glad about that; i missed her thoughtful ramblings while she was off doing battle in some infinite darkness. one thing that she's writting a lot about recently is her ongoing struggle with epilepsy and that she is experiencing symptoms of depression these days.

just before visiting brig's site i had been at eric's to see what juicy things he's linked to today. eric (not to be confused with erik) has been linking up a storm recently, hitting on all sorts of great stuff. css, dhtml, web tools, bookmarklets and today a reevaluation of the relationship between psychiatric diagnosis and chemical imbalances.

i had a nice long chat with my friend nancy yesterday(before all this surfing around), a good part of which was taken up with a discussion of depression, something which she used to struggle with and i still do(though not right now). we talked about the pros and cons of medication and the benefits of doing other things like sleeping right and counting your steps while taking walks outdoors. right now i am enjoying the days, and was amused by all the overlapping-interconnected-related links/thoughts and the completely unrelated eric/eriks. it all adds up to...oh i don't know. just some blinkenthoughts.

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 2002.02.05

from the observer, two of the angries break their silence.

the reason the story of the angry brigade has never fully been told is that none of the main protagonists have ever spoken about what really happened all those years ago. a collective vow of silence was taken by those involved in the trial. that same agreement was also honoured by the defendants that were acquitted and the substantial network of friends that made up the stoke newington eight defence committee. now, for the first time, one of them has broken that wall of silence. hilary creek, who was 22 at the time of her arrest, believes the time has come to scotch some of the more lurid myths that surrounded them.

robert fulford sings the praises of arts & letters daily, a long time favourite of mine. a&l daily is a veritable fount of links to high quality reading material on the web, fresh six day of the week. can't believe i haven't placed a link for it in the go box. i still type the url into the address bar whenever i go there. old habits, hmm? i'll fix that pronto.

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 2002.02.01

that's better.  still kinda klunky, but it does the job.  the default browser on most of our machines at work is netscape 4.08, and even though IE 5.5 is installed on most of those boxes, most of the team still surfs with netscape.  developing this little portal for the clerk team gives me the chance to learn a lot about what does and doesn't work in an older browser.  fun?  you betcha.

after the snow yesterday, we got a good dose of freezing rain, followed by warmer temperatures and heavy winds today.  while shovelling out the driveway yesterday the rain was coming down and forming a layer of ice on top of the fresh snow.  i remember the fun we had when the forces of nature combined this way and i was still a young boy in the sault.

the snow was deeper up there, and i was much shorter back then.  because it was colder up there, it was rare to get freezing rain on top of the snow.  but what fun when it happened!  we would make our way carefully onto the ice and snow covered lawn.  sudden movement might cause the ice layer to crack.  if it did we would end up waist deep in the powder.  once we were out in the middle of the lawn the match would begin.  the goal was to get your opponent to move in such a way that he/she would break the ice layer and fall through into the snow.  without going through yourself of course.

as the ice became broken, we would pick up great slabs of it and smash it over our enemy's head.  great stunts would be acted out.  any slopes or hills became slides; down we would go on our backs, with our slippery nylon parkas and snowsuits making great low-friction surfing material.

after a short while the area would be all smashed up and we would mosey on to the neighbour's property or maybe the island in the middle of our crescent shaped street, leaving a trail of destruction behind us.

eventually the cold would force us back inside, where we would strip off our now soaking wet and snow encrusted boots, scarves, jackets, hats, mitts, sweaters and the extra pair of socks; down to our long johns and t-shirts.  an enormous amount of colourful clothing having been strewn about the vetibule, we would race through the house, still revved up, not short an ounce of energy even after such long battles and adventures outdoors.  and sometimes there was even some cocoa and a fire to help us warm up.

happy bon soo to you all.

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dylanfoleyª†sympatico.ca
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