All 7 entries tagged Ramblings And Rants

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June 19, 2005

Hot or Spiders?

With the curtains open all the spiders come in, but the air makes it cooler… With them closed there's fewer spiders but it's hot!

It's not that I'm not scared of spiders. I don't like them in here that much, but I'll happily pick them up and put them outside… but I don't think I can cope with two dozen of them on the ceiling right above my bed! - 19th

June 03, 2005

CSS & XHTML: A Nice Idea…

Follow-up to css Zen Garden: The Beauty in CSS Design from Dave's Blog

Category: Ramblings and Rants. You have been warned.

Having seen what's possible with CSS I decided to use XHTML and CSS for my intranet site. While the XHTML code is unquestionably simpler, therefore better for mobile devices, screen readers, etc., the number of hacks (workarounds) necessary just to cope with all the different browser implementations is horrendous!

I have a page with a background, a title, 7 main links, 3 sidebar headings and 8 sidebar links. My initial thought was to put the title and headings in H1 and H2s, and all the links in ULs, with DIVs where necessary for styling, then use CSS to position them and replace the text with images. For my purposes I don't need the text versions, but I wanted to see if this was possible for my other sites as well.

There are lots of text-to-image replacement methods available, and all have their limitations. I got it working in IE without too much trouble, but FireFox refused to hide the text. So I put the text in a SPAN and hid that instead, but then IE positioned everything wrong. It just looked completely wrong in Opera.

Better idea: use proper IMGs for the images, put ALT attributes for accessibility and TITLE="" attributes to prevent them showing as tooltips. This method works, although because I decided to use PNG for multi-level transparency (easier to move things around later) I have to have CSS 'filter's that hide the image and use DXImageTransform.Microsoft.AlphaImageLoader to place the image in the parent tag (H1, H2 or LI) instead. Since other browsers ignore the filter tag this has no side-effects like the previous method.

Next problem: Now the images display properly, but because they are in H2 tags in the sidebar (as per W3C recommendations for page structure) they refuse to align right in FireFox and Opera, but display fine in IE. Both CSS text-align and XHTML align do nothing, so either I change to DIVs or use float:right and clear:both to force them to the right. But this changes the layout slightly, and slightly different for each of the three browsers. Not a big problem for now because the intranet is very simple and the background is solid, but not useful on a real site where a few pixels out means the edges don't line up.

The last thing should be to style the text links in the sidebar. I've just spent about half an hour trying every combination of CSS attributes I can think of, and I still can't get them to position consistently. IE and Firefox show about 1 line space between each item (at 10px font size) but Opera shows about 2px. Any changes seem to be relative to these.

At this point I'm giving up and going back to tables! They may be out-dated now, and less accessible (sorry about that) but at least they're consistent without requiring different workarounds for every browser.

As a final note, I started using MediaWiki recently, on another part of my intranet, and the default skin (Monobook) has the following files:

  • IE50Fixes.css
  • IE55Fixes.css
  • IE60Fixes.css
  • IEMacFixes.css
  • KHTMLFixes.css
  • Opera6Fixes.css
  • Opera7Fixes.css

in addition to main.css. I have neither the software nor the patience to implement workarounds for all of the browsers! - 3rd

April 22, 2005

Nessie The Little Dragon

Writing about web page|-3498839470723646230/168428332/6/8301/8301/8302/8302/8301/-1&keywords=Nessie+The+Little+Dragon&image=1751736&display=overview&displayname=Nessie+The+Little+Dragon


When will the madness stop?! I can't even watch Friends on E4 any more!!! - 22nd

April 11, 2005

MSN Screen Names


Recognisable Name: 8 (Thank you!)
Cryptic Name: 4 (Better than nothing)
Without Name: 6 (WHY?!!!)

The worst one, who prompted me to write this, is Jonny Rose, who has two messages in his screen name and another two in his personal message* so together they even fill up the tooltip and push the email address off the end! It takes at least two clicks to find out who he is!** (He says he doesn't care.)

* MSN 7 feature, for those who haven't upgraded yet
** (1 when he's offline) - 11th

April 07, 2005

Fixing Things

Edit: Extremely boring - moving to the Ramblings category. You've been warned.

1. My Dad's PC
It's only a few months old but it was crashing after playing Fifa or Tiger Woods Golf for anywhere between a few seconds and an hour. First I ran a few memory tests, and tried all the driver versions I could. No luck. Then I tried adding extra case fans. After it worked fine for a while with the case still off I put it all back together, only to find it broke in a few seconds the next time I tried. So then I tried changing the graphics card, since it's only in graphics-intensive games that it crashes. It still crashed in a few seconds the first time I tried it. Then I took both out, put the old stuff back and moved the RAM chip from slot 1 to slot 2. It ran for 4 games of Fifa before I decided I'd had enough of it – it seems to be working, but only time will tell. The random problems are the worst!

2. My Router
After it's been used for a while, the wireless signal drops and the router needs resetting. I read that this is because of bad design, with hot components placed under the wireless module. So all day I've had a fan pointing at it. When everyone else went to bed I switched the fan off and came upstairs. Within minutes the signal dropped! Unfortunately I have no way of knowing if it was just chance or not. - 7th

April 02, 2005



When I read something (factual, not a fiction book or something), I want it to get straight to the point so I can get on with what I was doing.

I'd like to be able to do the same when I write, but with 1-sentence essay titles to stretch out into 1500 word answers I don't see how this is possible!

I've finally finished the first draft of my CS122 essay, which I'll edit in the morning afternoon, and it mainly consists of information about the technological advances of CCTV and how the Data Protection Act should protect us. There's not much else I can think of to go into detail about!

I decided the ID Cards debate would be worse as there's a lot of anti-ID Card propaganda available and very few concrete reasons given for the introduction of them!

Thank you, I'm done now! - 2nd

March 01, 2005


Welcome to the new 'Ramblings' category!

At the moment I feel like I am always either bored or working, or just bored of working. For longer than I can remember I've spent every day on the computer, and for the last few (6+) years that's been programming and web design. But now that I'm here doing a CS course, programming is a chore, and I have no escape from it. I don't dislike it or anything, but until this year my escape from work was programming.

I went to Top B tonight for the first time, but I think I've spent too long in front of computers and now social interaction is a distant dream. I left after 2 hours.

PS Sorry if this bored you! - 1st

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