It's more than a house. It's an adventure.

Monday, January 20, 2003

Better forms

Here it is, very crude but it demonstrates what I was thinking about. Requires JavaScript.

Address 1:
Address 2:
ZIP Code: -

Making order forms better

I've filled out serveral order/registration forms online lately and they got me to thinking about the proceess. In the US, every ZIP code maps back to a city or town. Yet I have to fill out both the ZIP code and City/State portion of the form. Why not one or the other? In many cases the server validates that I have the right ZIP code, so they're checking it anyway. Why not eliminate it altogether? I'll post a sample later tonight to see if we can make this type of form a little cleaner.

Thanks, NiMo

Time to pay some bills and I'm about to start using NiMo's online bill pay system. Except all I get is HTTP/1.1 Server Too Busy. And I don't think I get the paper bill anymore.

Update: Got in after an hour of trying. Now it's time to struggle with Verizon's system sending me in circles after Step 2 - I go back to Step 1!

Sunday, January 12, 2003

Ground Control to...

Track the ISS! The shuttle is also available when it's up there. But why is Mir still even a link?

Steve Case leaving AOL

Reuters by way of Yahoo News is reporting that Steve Case is stepping down. He'll still be there, but in the background. What's next for AOL - taking off the blinders for its users? Dumping their proxies? No more extra image compression? Less SPAM?

Mozilla Extensions

I promised them earlier, so here's a roundup of the Mozilla extensions I'm using.

  • Leech - Pull down all the files on one page or even a whole site in one shot. Makes getting that big page of photos from the last car show real easy.
  • Preferences Toolbar - Quick access to key preferences, plus UA-spoofing and lots more.
  • Tabbrowser Extensions - Mozilla's tabs are great on their own. This brings a ton of extra power and functionality to them. Per-tab permissions, highlighted tab groups (all tabs opened from one page have the same color), the ability to reorder tabs, and much, much more. I hope a lot of this finds its way into the main Mozilla build
  • Adblock - Makes short work of annoying ads. You can use wildcards in your filters to slam large numbers of ads or sites in one swoop. And in most cases, Adblock will close up the space used by those ads to get more of what you do want on the screen. The filters I'm using so far:
    • **
    • *adserver*
    • **
    • *sponsorbar*
    • *buttonxch*
    • **
    • http://ad*
    • *adbutler*
    • http://adfarm*
    • http://**
    I think Adblock does still download the ads, however. Mozilla's built-in "block images from this server" won't but doesn't have the granularity Adblock has and only stops image files (ignoring Flash ads), so you get some unintended side-effects. Each has a purpose though, and I use them together.
  • livehttpheaders - Wondering what's going on between Mozilla and the server? This guy will show them all to you in streaming goodness. Quite helpful when trying to debug.
  • Checky - Quick access to 18 validators/checkers for your web pages. Another huge help in debugging.

Another nice site layout

Geek Ramblings. At first the color scheme seems weird, but it works well. It's just not "normal".

Is this the way to fight linkrot?

And God Said: Let there be no more Linkrot explains how to use Apache to redirect users to pages after they've been moved. Noble idea, and I hate seeing dropped links after a site redesign/reorg, but this seems like an awful lot to have to do for each page that's moved.

I wonder if there's a better way. Maintain an index of old pages and their coresponding new names, and set up a custom 404 page to check that index and send an HTTP 301 pointing to the new page. Similar idea, but a couple advantages:

  • A lot more user-friendly for the people managing the site (content managers) who may not neccessarily want to deal with .htaccess.
  • Help the server admins by keeping people out of configuration files.
  • Adaptable to any web server environment, not just Apache

Go get your CD money!

A friend pointed me to this story on about the settlement reached between record companies and 41 states.

Anyone who bought a CD, cassette tape or vinyl record at a retail store between 1995 and 2000 is eligible.
Now go get your $20!

DOM, Level 2

The W3C pushed forward last week and issued DOM2 as an official standard. Now we just have to wait a few years for IE to catch up and we can stop writing browser sniffs. Which we've been saying for a couple years already.

Saturday, January 11, 2003

Plans for the day

In the kitchen

I'll probably just order from Pizza Hut

Around the house

Haven't decided what the weekend project will be yet. Maybe get some posters framed & hung up. Gotta do some cleaning too.

On the blog

More stuff to post from the past week. Plus a roundup of what I'm doing with Mozilla extensions and the places I've been hanging out online lately.


As it's been covered a lot all over blogdom already, I won't get into Safari too much here. I grabbed it and installed on the Mac at work. It's fast. It's still beta. It rendered my pages nicely. I don't care really that they didn't choose Gecko, in fact I'm sort of happy they put another brrowser out there to press the compatibility and standards angle.

We used to code for Netscape and IE. Then it became IE and maybe make it work with IE. Had Apple chosen Gecko, we might have been back to "Gecko and IE" but Safari gives me some hope that we'll see folks coding to the standards (assuming standards support is cleaned up on Safari) and then hacking to make it work with IE. Now we've got a "Linux browser" on a new OS (Safari is built around KHTML, which is part of Konqueror, which is part of KDE.

Probably the best place to keep abreast of the news & reactions is at David Hyatt's blog - he's a Mozilla member who has been working for Apple for quite some time on Safari (thus the hopes/rumors/expecctations that safari would be built around Gecko).

This one too

shaver's blog is pretty good too. Clean, simple, easy to read. And the hover effects, while subtle, add a lot.

I like this layout

Danial Glazman's blog is really slick-looking. His home page is even wilder, very innovative.


I offer a US $ or € reward of 500 for somebody fixing the bug.
From the comments of Bug 134492. Now there's some incentive! Found on Stephen's Blog

Anything I can can't?

Neil points to an updated list of 101 things that the Mozilla browser can do that IE cannot. Looks like he's answered some of the previous criticisms of the list and added/updated a couple.

My first bug

Just filed my first Mozilla bug. All I wanted to do was buy tickets for the Rollins show at the end of the month. Had to use IE instead. Ugh.

This is the one I want!

I think? Searching for a good univeral remote is a major pain. Especially if I might be replacing or augmenting some of my other equipment soon.

I forgot how fun Usenet can be

I spent a good chunk of time reading this thread in comp.infosystems.www.authoring.html. Wow. Some people just don't get it. <b> is different from <strong>

On a related note, I am really enjoying this and similar newgroups, getting different perspectives on these issues. You don't get this much exposure just in the office, or just from reading books or a couple blogs.

Tracking the Gecko

Tracking Gecko Browser Statistics from Netscape DevEdge outlines how to properly track the new breed of Gecko-based browsers. Web stat software vendors, get cracking! There's a lot of software identifying itself as "Netscape 6" as far as you people are concerned - we need better numbers for our users. The package we have at work can't even pick AOL users out separate from regular IE.

Getting the word out

Now that I am actually starting to keep this up regularly, I'm trying to find ways to grow publicity. I've found that someone already got here via a link on Technorati by way of my linking to Brian Buck. BlogStreet seems to be ignoring me. Need to figure out how to get Blogrolling and RSS set up here.

For the car that has everything

RockNobs! Replace that old knob on your 5-speed with a stylin' hunk of...rock.

Web dev: OS X browser compatibility

Found on (I think) Mozillazine's forums a page listing the various browsers for MacOS X which outlines compatibility and standards support in each. Helpful for those of us without a Mac handy all the time.

Wednesday, January 08, 2003


Busy this week. Much to post, little time. Hopefully this weekend I can post my backlog.

In the kitchen

Last night was just some real nice steaks marinated, with mashed potatoes and corn.

Monday, January 06, 2003

Hey, he took my idea!

MIchael at Aldoblog is doing a "home improvement" project every day this year. I'm doing it every weekend, but same idea. So far his are all computer tasks but I'm sure that'll turn around.

CSS themes?

Scriptygoddess has a link to a batch of CSS themes. I was hoping that there'd be a large variety here but they're really just 10 small variations on the same theme.

Saturday, January 04, 2003

Computers in the classroom

CNN has an article on Mississippi being the first state to have a PC in every public school classroom. I'm really not sure what this is supposed to provide for the students. A computer is just a tool, and like any other tool it can be misused easily. Worse still, if no one knows what to do with it, it won't get used, and you've just wasted a lot of time and money.

Now that the computers are in place, the schools will have to train teachers to use them and pay for maintenance, upgrades and connections, Sewell said. Some of the costs can be eased with federal education programs and by training students to fix computers, he added.
25 kids per classroom, one PC per classroom. I don't really see each individual student getting the amount of time they need to get comfortable with the computer, assuming the other resources they need to make that happen are even available.

Older stuff on Wired's redesign

Brian Buck has a link to a Netscape Devedge article/interview about Wired's redesign in October of 2002. For those just checking in, Wired converted to a pure CSS-based layout, taking a giant leap forward as far as major sites finally embracing technology we should have been using years ago.

Flying the friendly skies

boingboing picked up a story about Penn Gillette, the talkative half of Penn & Teller, getting a pretty thorough security check in Las Vegas. Glad to see someone's challenging some of the absurd airport security people. My favorite part of the story:

The cop says, "Your guy grabbed his crank. That ain't right."

Mozblog problems

I wrote previously about my troubles with Mozblog. Looks like I'm not alone - Anthony Davis of the Mozilla project has also been having trouble. Wish I could find an address for him so I can talk to him about it.

Plans for the weekend

  • More cleanup and organization.
  • Maybe buy some bookshelves (see above).
  • Do some reading.
  • Do some project planning.
  • Come up with better stuff to post here.
  • Figure out what I'm cooking for the next week.

But it's already noon on Saturday. Time's a-wasting!

I can print!

I finally broke down and picked up a Lexmark Z22 printer for $30. I thought these things were supposed to be easy to set up, but I needed 2 reboots for it! I installed the drivers, then plugged it in, because that's how I thought USB devices were supposed to be done. Not so. The installer looks for the printer at the end, but since it's not plugged in, it can't find it. So then I did turn it on and PnP wanted to set it up while the drivers were installing!

I did finally get it set up. Now I need to get paper for it. Small detail.

Not so universal

I got a Radio Shack 5-in-1 Universal Remote for Christmas but it doesn't seem to play nice with my Magnavox reciever. It has some of the codes but not all of them. Now I'm eyeing the HTM MX-500

More snow

Got a ton more snow this week. Actually, Wednesday was sleet and ice followed by a few inches of snow. That was not fun to drive through. Then Thursday night and into this morning we got another foot or so. I'm running out of food very quickly around the house, I may have to just bite the bullet and brave the elements.

Simple pleasures

Taking off your socks

Every have one of those days where your feet are killing you, you get home, and those first couple minutes after removing your socks & shoes are the best minutes of your day?

Fresh socks

Try it sometime. Just put on a fresh pair of socks. Warms you right up in the winter and refreshes.

Something keeping you warm

Last night Jade crawled under the covers with me when I got in bed. Kept me nice and warm. When I woke up, my legs were immobilized; she had crawled out from under and she and Juniper were on either side of my legs on the comforter