Archive for March, 2004

Paddle with Pride

Local-blogger-friend-I-still-haven’t-met-in-person Meredith is participating in the Paddle With Pride event, a kayaking fundraiser that benefits the LGBT Community Center in Manhattan.

If you’d like to sponsor Meredith or read more about her involvement, she has a page set up explaining everything.

New article in IT Pro

In case you didn’t see it on the front page (does anyone keep up with the front page? No? I really need to do something about that. But I digress.), an article I wrote over six months ago has finally popped up in the
March/April 2004 edition of IT Professional. It’s titled “Cleaning Up the Clutter: Why Web Standards Matter” and focuses on web geekery, directed at an audience that may have strong technical skills but not have any clue about why XHTML makes a lick of difference.

Here’s a brief preview:

The Problem with “Best Viewed In…”

By the late 1990s-with millions of Web pages online and browser market share shifting from Netscape to Microsoft Internet Explorer-Web developers began to realize that offering browser-specific pages was not good for anybody. Additionally, developers realized that it did not make sense to have two or three versions of every page just so that a site looked the same in every browser. After all, HTML was designed so that the public could view information on virtually any platform or device. Having multiple versions went against HTML’s very nature.

Web developers’ conscious effort to step away from the best-viewed-in mindset was a statement against browser-specific tags, improper page renderings, and poor standards support. The Web standards movement was taking shape. Developers chanted the mantra, “separate style from content” all the way to compliancy bliss. Extensible Hypertext Markup Language (XHTML) became a religion.

In truth, Web standards were initially a hard sell (and continue to be) to Web developers who were used to using <p> paragraph tags without closing them and nesting tables five levels deep just to achieve a simple layout effect. Making someone’s life easier would seem to be the simplest thing in the world to sell. Unfortunately, people resist change, and Web page developers are no exception.

Over time, developers embraced XHTML—an XML-friendly way of coding HTML—realizing that only a few minor adjustments, such as closing all tags and making them lowercase, were necessary to turn HTML 4.01 into XHTML 1.0 Transitional. In addition, cascading style sheet (CSS) support in Web browsers matured to the point where developers distinguished the presentation of a document from its content, making adherence to Web standards more palatable than ever before.

A semi-funny editing-story… I received a final edit of the article to look over and comment on before it went to press. I had written a sentence that read:

This led to the proliferation of “best viewed in…” buttons and a culture focused on browser hacks and mired in sloppy code.

The term “browser hacks,” of course, refers to coding tricks used to make a page look “right” in a particular browser. The editor, though, though that when I said “hacks,” I was referring to people. So, when the article came back to me, the sentence read:

This led to the proliferation of “best viewed in…” buttons and a culture focused on less-skilled browser developers and mired in sloppy code.

I almost didn’t catch the change since it had been six months since I wrote the article, but fortunately, it caught my eye just in time.

Anyway, the article isn’t available unless you have an IEEE membership (or was it a subscription to IT Professional… I don’t remember), but if you’d like to check it out, let me know.

It’s on the way (because you care so much)


Dear Ryan,

Your FreaksAndGeeksDVD order number 166012 has been shipped on 2004-03-25 00:00:00.0.

That would be the 8-disc super deluxe enhanced special edition. Outstanding.

A Pee-Wee reference, perhaps?

Seen on a license plate, driving home from work yesterday evening:


Remembering (sort of ) Aunt Georgiana

In the past year or so, I’ve written a lot of “Remembering…” entries about people in my family that have passed away. Chances are, they mean nothing to those of you that I don’t share a bloodline with, but I got word of another passing today of one of my more… interesting… relatives.

Aunt Georgiana passed away last Thursday at 94 years old. She was a distant great aunt that I never really knew. I’m not even clear on exactly where in the family tree she fits. In fact, the only time I ever remember meeting her was at a funeral, one where she thought my dad was his father, who had passed away 20 years earlier. At another funeral, she brought a Polaroid and took pictures of the deceased in their casket. Now there’s a memory you want to capture for posterity. Shake it like a… oh, never mind.

Every family has one… at least one… and Aunt Georgiana was ours. No word yet on whether or not flash photography will be allowed at the services.

Tammy Faye’s cancer

I’ve gotta admit, I’m a little sad to hear that Tammy Faye Messner has inoperable lung cancer. I always thought of her as nothing but a nutcase, especially after the whole 700 Club debacle in the 80s, but after I saw her as part of The Surreal Life, my opinion of her changed totally. She’s really seems to be a good person and opens her arms to everyone… I mean, c’mon now, she embraces her legions of transgender fans and she lived in a house with Ron Jeremy for two weeks! How many evangelists can you say that about? Seriously.

Sifrit case on CourtTV

As was mentioned by a visitor, tonight is CourtTV’s feature on the Sifrit case. Should be interesting, especially in the wake of recent news that Erika Sifrit is appealing her convictions on May 5.

The System airs at 10pm on CourtTV:

This one-hour documentary chronicles the chilling story of a couple who lured others to their condominium, toyed with their deepest fears, and eventually took their lives. Follow investigators through the crime scene as they gather evidence and decipher clues in their attempt to bring their suspects to justice.

Just because I can’t think of a better title: falafel.

Another period of light posting has hit. So here are some updates on things. And stuff. And whatnot with some such on the side.

Today at work a call came in that our “web site looks all messed up.” People with Netscape 4 shouldn’t be allowed to use the telephone until they upgrade their browser.

I’ve kept up with my running. I’ve run more in the last ten days than in the last ten months.

My second day at the farm is Saturday. I’m really looking forward to it. Does that say something about how one spends his week when he is anxious to clean a pig pen on a Saturday morning?

Huyen’s been enjoying her job but has been similarly swamped with work. We’re two busy bees. But neither of us are Busy Bee.

Apparently casting for the movie is underway and I’m informed that a “really hot” girl is lined up to play the angel and that my role as the devil has also been cast.

I’ve been back the studio a bit recently. With Ragz’ help, I polished off a track started a couple years back and it was accepted for the upcoming Comfort Stand compilation, Interplanetary Materials. Wahoo. The track (and the rest of the album) will be released and available for free download on April 15th.

Congrats to my sister and her family who have just closed on their first house. Soon she gets to see “The Paper of Doom,” the paper that anyone who’s ever gone through the mortgage process knows well about.

Two (George = Jermaine) people (Jon = Brady) on American Idol remind Huyen and I of people we knew in college. And while we’re on the topic of American Idol, Fantasia Barrino is insanely talented. She sounds like a female Al Green with the personality and performance chops to match.

Lunch is over. Bye.

Seattle… anyone?

It looks like I’ll be traveling to Seattle in July for a conference. Has anyone reading this been to Seattle or live there currently? I’m looking for some information about public transportation, good restaurants, and the best online city guides.

Laze… the elevated

Spotted by Huyen and my co-worker Steve (picture snapped by Huyen) in Great Falls, VA:

Laze the Elevated

Another Laze in Northern Virginia? This young cat obviously didn’t check the web before he chose his name.