Blah blah blah

A few more notes about the new design, and then I’ll stop yakking about it; I promise. I’ve now tested the site in Internet Explorer 6, Internet Explorer 7 (rc1), Firefox 1.5, Firefox 2 (rc2), Opera 9, and Safari 1.2. It passes with flying colors in all browsers, with the exception of IE6, where it doesn’t actually look half bad—the layout itself is fine but the PNG images puke big bluish blocks all over where they should be transparent. Sometime down the road I may decide to replace all the PNGs with something else in IE6 (using conditional comments or some other such hack), but IE7 is coming this month and will be a critical automatic update, so I’m not going to sweat about it too much.

Unbeknownst to me, the new design wasn’t at first valid XHTML and CSS. I took care of that this morning by properly closing a few <li> tags, fixing a few tag IDs, properly enclosing a couple of comment form elements inside a block level element, and fixing a few malformed CSS statements.

Last but not least, I should mention that the new design uses a couple of new fonts: Cambria and Calibri. Microsoft is releasing six new fonts with Windows Vista and many people (myself included) are hoping they become widely distributed enough to use them in web pages. If you don’t have these fonts, the new design properly degrades to using Georgia and Trebuchet MS instead, which I think looks pretty good, so you’re not missing out on much. To get the full effect, however, I recommend you download the new fonts if you can. They have been released unofficially to the public in the Vista betas and can be found on the web with a little effort.


The new design looks downright crappy in Internet Explorer 7 and even worse in Internet Explorer 6, but I’m working on that. Actually, I may not attempt to make it compatible with IE6 at all, preferring visitors upgrade to IE7. I can get away with that because I’m not trying to please anybody or make any money here.

I’ve got my bookmarks populating as regular entries and I’m working on getting my Flickr photosets to do the same. Toward that end, the Flickr Photo Album for WordPress plugin looks promising. I’m still working on a way to bring all my Foundation content over here. That’s going to be more complicated than I hoped. I may simply have to hold out for WordPress 2.1, which is supposed to have a fancy new export/import feature.

Anyway, all this to say that a lot of stuff is broken right now. Hold on to your shorts.

Update: I’ve managed to get the site looking good in Internet Explorer 7 with only minor tweaks to the code. Amazingly, it didn’t require any IE conditional comments (or any other hacks for that matter). The exact same code is working in Firefox, Opera, and IE7, and all three browsers actually render the page as intended. This has got to be one for the record books.

CSS Naked Day!

I’ve stripped off all my CSS for the day (and maybe a few more days). Why? It’s the first annual CSS Naked Day. Several of my favorite blogs have gone naked as well, including Adactio and Clagnut. There’s also a mention on The Web Standards Project.

The point is to expose the raw HTML of your site to see if it’s actually usable. The point of standards based design is to separate function and content as much as possible from layout and style. If a web designer has done his job right, the site should remain functional with no CSS whatsoever.

So, what do you think? Is the site still usable? I realize it isn’t pretty, but does it function? What could I add or remove so that my markup makes more sense? Remember, adding things to the markup won’t necessarily interfere with my layout because I can use CSS to completely hide elements. For instance, I’m already thinking of adding some kind of header before the four main navigation links (i.e. Blog, Archive, Info, and Contact) to set them apart from the section above them. My layout sets them apart prominently with positioning and visual appearance, but the markup itself doesn’t indicate what they are or that they are important. A header would fix that, and I could hide it using CSS so it doesn’t interfere with my layout.

What else could use a tweak? Let me know in the comments.

New Header Images

I’ve replaced the header images both on this blog and on my Foundation blog. I had to finagle a half-transparent box just to make the text readable on both sites, but I don’t think it looks half bad (note that I haven’t looked at it in IE yet). One down side is it breaks when you increase or decrease your text size. I’d love to rip this all down and start over, but I don’t have the time, and I think this small change will keep me satisfied with this layout for a few months more.

Continue reading


I know I haven’t posted much around here. It’s so much easier to simply post a link on my sidebar than to write a full post, and I’ve become a bit lazy of late.

I really like what my friend Jordan did over at He simply gave up on full posts and made his links the featured content. I’m thinking about doing that myself, but I’m not quite ready to give up on blogging. We’ll see how things go for the next month or so.

New Secret Weapon

Partly on the recommendation from a friend, and partly because I already knew what I had done was pretty drastic, I’ve decided to re-open commenting by unregistered users.

Instead, I’ve installed a new-fangled WordPress plugin called Spam Karma 2. It’s an extremely complex, but hopefully effective, spam management solution. I’ve already seen it eat several dozen spams, so I know it works. One of the things that sold me is that the author claims the program throws virtually no false-positives. We’ll see about that. Let me know if your comment gets eaten.

Self-registration is still enabled if you’re interested, and I’d recommend it since apparently Spam Karma goes easier on registered users.

Pest Control

Since I’ve been inundated with blog spam in recent months, I’ve disabled commenting from unregistered users and opened up my blog so anyone can register. To register, either click the “log in” link in the comments section of any post or the “log in” link on the sidebar under “Administration”.

If any registered users start posting spam comments, they’ll have their account deleted. This should keep one step between me and the blog spammers, and hopefully annoy them enough that they’ll leave me alone.

I was really hoping this would also give users the ability to edit their own comments, but it doesn’t seem WordPress is smart enough to keep track of that. I’ve seen at least one hack along those lines that I’d like to investigate further, so stay tuned.

Nudge, Nudge

I’ve installed the excellent “Spread Firefox WordPress plugin”: and I’m having a lot of fun with it. I’ve used it to add a fairly unobtrusive bar across the top of my site (it only appears in Internet Explorer) to alert IE users to the inferiority of their browser. It shouldn’t get in anyone’s way, though I hope it encourages a few folks to switch.

Testing Blog by Mail

I’m writing this blog entry in an email and sending it to my wordpress software via a secret mail account I’ve set up on my server.

I’m not sure why anyone would do this, since it seems less convenient than blogging by internet. The only place I can think of where I have email but not internet is on my cell phone, and how much blogging will I honestly do from my cell phone?

Nevertheless, I suppose this is an interesting feature.

Update @ 12:31 pm: Well, I thought I had email on my phone, but apparently I don’t. This feature is utterly useless to me.