Posts for 01/2008

29 January 2008 - 12:55

Why bother about writing compliant code?

Of course I’m advocating it during my courses : writing good, validated, semantic, compliant code…
But why bother was a question I got this week ... because it doesn’t solve issues between browsers, it’s passing through main browsers anyway, and it’s taking up time ! And we’ve always done it like that and it worked fine ...

It seems a typical reaction here in Belgium in many companies and organisations - CSS has yet a long, long way to go, and definitely so the idea of writing validated, compliant code.
At many decision and hierarchical levels the idea that building a web page and web sites is just a question of some clicks and a bit of copy/pasting hasn’t taken place yet for a more profound debate and consideration.

In the mean time I’m posting this valuable contribution and resource page on the matter by Lorelle Van Fossen on her Wordpress blog.

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27 January 2008 - 17:02

MS Project Quick Guide

MS Project Quick Guide - download +/- 1,5MB

This is a guide I once wrote for some training course - it has some good tips and quick overviews on:

  1. Setup for your project
  2. Creation of your project plan
  3. Tracking your schedule
  4. Communication
  5. 10 basic insights to better master MS Project

The screenshot are from MS Project 2007, but the guide works for any version of this software basically.
In my experience the basic insights are really helpful in getting started with this project management tool.

Enjoy !

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26 January 2008 - 15:52

The survival of the “Flashiest”

Well I don’t want to go into the debate as to well or not use Flash ...
I’m going to admit immediately that I’m probably a rather old fashioned web developer stamped by the beginning times of the internet with its bliss created by the ability of being able to share static content worldwide.
I mean this was just great ! As great as throwing Tipex out of the window a decade earlier, when memory driven machines started making life easier. 
And I must say that I’ve also rather quickly embraced the idea and always growing possibilities of managing and publishing content ‘dynamically’.
I love it !  Although I never got any technical training, I even got this wonderful occasion of exchanging the magic of sprinkling some CSS on PHP driven Includes forming the building blocks of MySql driven text blocks....

However there’s something about this call for Flash which I’m not getting. OK I admit I’ve never been attracted to it, although I do see and acknowledge the greatness of it in publishing low-weight video driven content. 
But why is it and what is it that drives people sometimes… well ‘Flashy’ in wanting it cost what cost for their website and their online presence?

Two cases taken out of real life situations this month which seem to “subscribe”, if not fully then surely partially, to the definition of ‘Flashy’ as given by The Free Dictionary:

  1. Cheap and showy
  2. Giving a momentary or superficial impression of brilliance

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18 January 2008 - 03:49

Doors of Perception

Every day is a special day.
Every day is what we make out of it - whether what surrounds us is the best or the worst, or just ordinary. Actually, especially in the case it seem ordinary.

Since many years I’ve been observing this astonishing phenomenon of cropcircles - there’s many sites around and the Crop Circle Connector has lots of material. 
This is the one which got my special attention last year: Doors of perception.  The title says it all.

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13 January 2008 - 08:29

Zeitgeist

A couple of months ago someone sent me a link to an intriguing video on our Zeitgeist - actually three parts on the link between Christian Xmas symbolism, on whats really beyond 9/11 in the US and the world and about how some people and institutions determine financial and world affairs.
If you didn’t knew the whole birth story of Jesus from Nazareth is not original, but was taken over from other religions and sources, and is also intensely linked up with astronomy and astrology, then you have a good reason to have a look.
If you didn’t knew the twin towers were deliberately blasted, and actually also another building and the pentagon where no aircraft actually hit the constructions, then this could be an eye opener.
And if you’re curious how the system of debt and interest is a deliberate controlling mechanism, you should definitely consider watching this.

Watched it again and although it’s a bit harsh and of course somehow ‘us - American’ coloured, an interesting, fascinating and deep documentary to better understand the call of time and how we need to use our own discernment - you need a good dose of inner resources though to be able to put things in perspective when you look at such information sources and to be able to transcend into a positive and constructive personal transformation.

The direct site-link is http://zeitgeistmovie.com/ - From the site, you can download the film as well and/or watch it on full screen.

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08 January 2008 - 07:30

Clear Thinking - Self respect

One of the secrets and magical ingredients of life consists in the fact that when you’re opening up for exploration of the truths ‘beyond’ matter - beyond the physical -, you automatically get into contact with resources and people pointing you - in subtle or sometimes very obvious ways - which road to take.
I’ve been fortunate to meet and work with one of the most inspiring lecturers and authors, dedicating his life exactly to this ‘science of the truths beyond’ and the clarification of its ‘laws’ and ‘variables’ in a very concise, comprehensible and adapted way.  His name is Mike George, based in the UK but traveling the world.
If two of his sites Relax7.com and Spiritualintelligenceunit.com offer already all kind of interesting roadmaps, his books even more.  He organises Awareness Retreats, and he also has a weekly ezine entitled ‘Clear Thinking - Weekly Reflections on Living with Love, Light and Power’, in which he ‘dares’ to speak out on topics which are actually close to everyone’s ‘inner’ being, but often wrapped up in all kinds of ‘stuff’.

I’m just copy/pasting the latest edition of ‘Clear Thinking’ here - there are more on his website - if you like it, just with a subscription reference to ‘Clarity of Thinking’ in the subject. Happy inspiration!

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07 January 2008 - 10:11

The validation attitude

Just as with pondering about semantic code has its benefits, the habit, or should I say -attitude- of validation is one with many benefits.
Well attitude is actually more referring to a personality trait - like it’s generally considered wise and respectful to check or even double check e.g. whether you properly understood what someone was trying to say during a meeting, before reacting.  And isn’t it a real sign of strength to have the humility to ask for a second opinion as you can ‘always learn’ or to include someone in your ‘gaining of success’ and enjoying success together always tastes much sweeter than just on your own?
You probably wondering whether I don’t get side tracked - I probably do - but isn’t taking that little extra step and effort to check the code you produces against web standards an act of ‘including’, of saying that you’re not doing it all on ‘your own’, that you can always ‘learn’, that you are ‘open’ and ‘willing’ to go deeper?

Anyhow, besides all kind of other benefits, I just wanted to highlight that indeed you just learn so much by just ... validation your code.  I generally do that by HTML Tidy - a firefox plugin or Total Validator, but you might also want to link up to the W3C validation page straight away.
Actually using different tools will already teach something about the differences there are in the validation process as such - but I’ll leave that for now.

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05 January 2008 - 06:46

<sup> element distorting line-height

Ever had to confront a <sup> element, when using footnotes e.g., that insisted in distorting the line-height?
I didn’t actually concentrated on the matter, but as it was coming up again during a course this week, I didn’t had to dig deep to find something useful. There are a couple of approaches, but using the ‘vertical-align:top’ seems to solves this beautifully :

.sup {font-size: 0.9em; font-style: bold; vertical-align:top;}

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04 January 2008 - 16:48

HTML Phrase Elements

If you’ve realised coding ‘semantically’, you’ve probably taken it onboard of your day to day code practices. Thinking about meaning anyway is to be considered as a good habit.
But sometimes you may just as I do, wonder whether ‘there wouldn’t be a better (x)html container to anchor your CSS...?

Well there might be - just grab a html reference and check whether there’s no incognito tag to do the job, sparing you another <div> or <span>.
Like the <cite > or <samp>, two of a series of so-called html phrase elements - ever used <var> to just mention another one?  I haven’t used this one… actually just discovered it by pondering about the matter, so I’ll definitely will in due time ! 
Actually ... I just did - in real time :-)

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03 January 2008 - 14:12

Have an Average 2008 … ?

... by enjoying the ordinary to be extra-ordinary.

That’s the essence of an ‘unusual’ but interesting approach I bumped on today on Utne .
At the end of the article, there’s quite a useful exercice to ‘calculate’ the exceptional impact of a series of average days ... I’ll let you do the reading.

With best wishes for an extra-ordinary year of ‘ordinary-ness’.

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