A New Chapter: Things to do this Summer

I thought I’d briefly update what I plan to accomplish this summer. The semester is finally finally done and over with (see my recent post regarding the ridiculous amount of things I needed to finish in the past 3 weeks).

  • Reinstall Windows Home Server (WHS). Never mind, not going to reinstall.
  • Read “Head First SQL”.
  • Read “A History of God”. Never mind, this looks to be quite boring.
  • Read “The Hobbit or There and Back Again”. DONE
  • Have some type of relaxing vacation.
  • Decide if I will keep my web hosting.
  • Reinstall XP on my desktop because Vista sucks (even with SP1).
  • Rewrite my current blog theme from scratch (it’s using tables right now…ick!). Never mind, not applicable any more.
  • Update my laptop to Vista SP1 (why not reinstall XP? don’t ask). DONE
  • Work related: apparently I’m going to be learning Visual Basic this summer. We’ll see.
  • Work related: I also may be learning Ruby on Rails (jRails specifically). We’ll see.

Interesting Links 4.4.08

An interesting collections of links, primarily aimed at CSS this time. I can’t wait for this semester to be over with so I can get back to some web design. I am so behind in terms of things I want/need to read at this point.

Interesting Links 3.7.08

I apologize, but I am far too lazy to write a blurb about each one of those links. I’ll just leave it at this: IE8 Beta 1 is a step in the right direction, TeamViewer kicks ass for remote computer support, and the 6 animals that can destroy you is hilarious to read.

Interesting Links 1.25.08

  • PDF Hammer – PDF Hammer is a website that allows you to edit your PDF files online for free.
  • Beyond DOCTYPE: Web Standards, Forward Compatibility, and IE8 – When a new version of that browser comes along and fixes bugs or misinterpretations of the spec (or introduces new ones) or in any way changes behavior, sites break and our clients, bosses, and users get very unhappy.
  • From Switches to Targets: A Standardista’s Journey -This actually makes browser vendors more susceptible to pressure to fix their bugs, and less fearful of doing so. That’s huge, as fundamentally game changing as was DOCTYPE switching, but on an ongoing basis.
  • Better Email Links: Featuring CSS Attribute Selectors  – We can use this similarity between links to our advantage, so that we can apply CSS styling to only email links.
  • Understanding CSS Colour modes – CSS 2 and 3 offer a number of different ways to pick colours. While everyone knows the hexadecimal notation, fewer people know the RGB notation and colour keywords, and the new colour modes that CSS3 introduces are still a riddle to most.
  • Draft of HTML 5 Hints at a Brave New Web – HTML 5 presents a major change from HTML 4, and it will still be a long time before you’re likely to see HTML 5 markup in your browser.
  • HTML 5 – W3C Working Draft 22 January 2008. This is the draft straight from the W3C. Not the easiest thing to read/understand, but certainly a great resource (obviously).
  • HTML 5 differences from HTML 4 – HTML 5 defines the fifth major revision of the core language of the World Wide Web, HTML. This article describes the differences between HTML 4 and HTML 5 and provides some of the rationale for the changes.
  • HTML5 Shiv – Assuming that it’ll be a while before most browsers attempt to implement most of HTML 5 we need to start thinking of ways to tackle the creation and rendering of HTML 5 components in the meantime.

Perhaps you figured out the pattern for these links (except for the PDF hammer link)? The HTML 5 draft was finally released on the 22nd of January. The web has been a twitter with this and the fact that Microsoft has said that Internet Explorer 8 will include a “super standards” mode. The key is that this standards mode will require a particular META tag to enable this type of rendering. This has also sent the web into a frenzy because people are claiming that this will destroy progressive enhancement. The truth of the matter, as Eric Meyer points out, is that this will not be a detrimental change. The key moving forward will be that your websites will theoretically continue to work exactly how you coded them for the foreseeable future. In theory, even if we’re all using IE10 your website that was designed for IE6 will still render just fine. The other point that Eric makes is that browser vendors will be able to implement new web standards much more quickly now that they’d no longer need to fear breaking millions of websites. Essentially current websites would remain untouched by new changes to IE’s rendering engine. Unless the developer specifically codes the website to use the new render engine, which we can assume means that the developer has tested the page for issues, it would default to the legacy rendering engine that has proven to work. This is really a good thing for web designers, web standards supporters, and browser vendors.

Things to do when this semester is finally over.

I have all kinds of things I SHOULD do, but I think we all know that none of them will happen while the semester is in session. So, I present my list of “things to do” once this semester has ended:

  • Reinstall Windows Home Server (WHS). I still have the RC2 installed (which has long since expired).
  • Read “Head First SQL”. I purchased this over Christmas break, and then promptly never read it. Need to fix that.
  • Read “A History of God”. Again, I purchased this over Christmas break, and now I just need to read it.
  • Read “The Hobbit or There and Back Again”. I’ve had this book for YEARS, but I never got around to reading it. This Summer I will.
  • Have some type of relaxing vacation. I am not sure how financially feasible this one will be, we’ll see.
  • Decide if I will keep my web hosting. This has been on my mind for a while now. I pay for web space for no particular reason as this point. I could use one of the plethora of free hosted blogging platform (like Vox). All of my images are hosted on Flickr, and I use Twitter so much at this point that it’s a borderline addiction. We’ll see.

Interesting Links 1.8.08

  • The ethics of “stealing” a WiFi connection – Amazingly, accessing an unsecured, wide-open WiFi network without permission is illegal in some places, and not just in the UK.
  • MacHeist » Bundle – 10 Mac apps for 1 “insanely” low price.
  • Twitter Stats -Being the automation weenie that I am, I eventually hacked together a perl script that did everything except paste the data into Numbers.
  • Twittertale -You kiss your momma with that mouth?
  • Pub Crawl | Three Sheets – Zane Lamprey is bar hopping… MOJO style and now you can trace his every step for an amazing all access pass to the best pubs in New York City.
  • Keybr.com – online web application that measures your typing speed and accuracy.

Pretty tame collection of links this time. First off, if you own a Mac (like perhaps one you just received for Christmas), then you will definitely want to check out the MacHeist. They offer some pretty nice applications at a heavily discounted price. I am going to NYC end of February, and I am really hoping to do a mini version of the Three Sheets NYC pub crawl linked above. I think we’re going to hit #2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 (look on the map when you follow the link).
The ethics of “stealing” wifi is of particular interest to me. They sum up the argument pretty well with this quote:

Using an open WiFi network is no more “stealing” than is listening to the radio or watching TV using the old rabbit ears. If the WiFi waves come to you and can be accessed without hacking, there should be no question that such access is legal and morally OK. If your neighbor runs his sprinkler and accidentally waters your yard, do you owe him money? Have you done something wrong? Have you ripped off the water company? Of course not. So why is it that when it comes to WiFi, people start talking about theft?

I feel that this is a fairly legitimate argument. Although this argument does not hold up when you consider that certain uses of an internet connection can result in degraded performance for other users trying to utilize the same connection. For example, bittorrent is notorious for over saturating a connection if you are downloading multiple files at the same time. In this instance not only are you using someone else’s wifi connection, but you are degrading the quality of their experience. In my opinion, this particular scenario would show that “stealing” a wifi connection can be consider ethically wrong (legality aside).

Interesting Links 12.30.07

It’s been another busy 2 weeks or two, but I’ve managed to find some interesting links to share. The link I’ll talk about is the “snorting a brain chemical” link … this sounds very very interesting, but I am sure it will turn out that some horrible side effects will show up as a result of not sleeping. It’s pretty widely accepted that we sleep for a very good reason. That reason might be memory consolidation or some type of brain repair (or countless other suggested ideas), but the underlying point is that it’s important. Either way, as they mentioned in the article, this won’t be available for humans for at least another 10 years anyways.

Interesting Links 12.9.07

  • My DebugBar for Internet Explorer – If you’ve ever tried Firebug for Firefox you’ll like this. It’s like Firebug-lite for Internet Explorer.
  • http://www.zml.com/ -Download movies -Semi-legal. Movies are playable on various devices including iPod, PDA (HandHelds), PC, DVD & DivX players. Lowest prices on the web ever. $1.99 each, no DRM.
  • Leopard Tweaking – Terminal Codes: All kinds of little tweaks (using the terminal) for Leopard.
  • Head First Labs -Learning isn’t something that just happens to you. It’s something you do. You can’t learn without pumping some neurons.
  • URI vs. URL: What’s the Difference? – What is the difference between a URL and URI and why does it matter? This topic is confusing to some (myself included) and I thought I’d share my understanding of the two concepts.
  • Fix Your Home and End Keys on your Mac with KeyFixer -The default behavior for the Home and End keys on the Mac can be very annoying—particularly for Windows-to-Mac switchers.
  • 24 ways – 24 days of updates…web design tweaks/hacks/cool stuff. Web design nerds love this site each year!
  • A Preview of HTML 5 – Work on HTML 5, which commenced in 2004, is currently being carried out in a joint effort between the W3C HTML WG and the WHATWG.
  • HTML vs. XHTML – WHATWG Wiki -Although HTML and XHTML appear to have similarities in their syntax, they are significantly different in many ways.
  • Rattlebox–  e-cards that don’t suck. ‘nough said.
  • CSS-Tricks – CSS-Tricks is a home for examples, tutorials, tips, tricks, and news regarding Cascading Style Sheets. Topics sometimes go beyond CSS to include larger web design issues and other languages like Javascript, PHP, and perhaps a little Ruby

Yeah, it’s been a very long time (nearly a month) since I last posted a non-automated-Twitter update. School has been insanely busy, work has been insanely busy, and…well, I like sleep so I picked sleep over updating my blog. I don’t explain all of the links because most are pretty self explanatory, but a few are worth mentioning. ZML.com is a semi-legal way to download movies without any DRM, but it won’t probably won’t be around for all that long considering it’s sort of in a “grey area”. The HTML 5 article and the HTML vs XHTML articles really make my little nerdy brain so giddy. I can’t really explain why, but I am really excited for HTML 5 and XHTML 2. Expect updates more often now that this semester of school is essentially over with.

Interesting Links 11.10.07

  • To WWW or not and how to redirect your blog – WWW can make all the difference in the eyes of Google
  • Top Firefox 2 config tweaks – Beyond the extensive options available in its menus and dialogs, there’s a lengthy set of advanced Firefox preferences that can customize the browser to your specific needs.
  • APML: The Next Big Thing or the Next FOAF – The concept of APML is that it allows you to share your “attention profile” data with other users, organisations or programs in the same way you might share your OPML file with someone.
  • Source of ‘optimism’ found in the brain – The act of imagining a positive future event – such as winning an award or receiving a large sum of cash – activates two brain areas known as the amygdala and the rostral anterior cingulated cortex (rACC).
  • Explaining semantic mark-up – One problem is that some people don’t understand the difference it makes, so therefore let me humbly make an attempt to explain why semantics is important.
  • POSH – Plain Old Semantic HTML – POSH, in case you haven’t heard of it already, is short for “Plain Old Semantic HTML”, and is obviously much quicker and easier to say than “valid, semantic, accessible, well-structured HTML”.
  • YouGetSignal.com – Open Ports Tool: The port forwarding tester is a utility used to identify your external IP address and detect open ports on your connection.
  • 25 Photographs Taken at the Exact Right Time – Timing is everything, particularly in the case of amazing photography. Sometimes that means waiting through a whole sports game and getting lucky to catch just the right shot.
  • USB Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon install – This tutorial enables you to install, boot and run Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) from USB.
  • Top 100 Mac Apps – I’ve compiled a list of my top 100 Mac apps for your perusal, since so many people have been asking for it.

Sorry, too many links and too little time to talk about all of these individually. I’ve amassed this list over the past 2 weeks. Enjoy.

Features for Windows Seven

Click here to view the Windows Seven Early Feedback Feature list **Warning – massive image**
This is a list of features the Beta team recommended to be incorporated into future versions of the Windows operating systems.
A few notable features from the list:

  • Tabbed explorer
  • Live recovery DVD
  • Vector based GUI
  • Boot from EFI
  • Windows ‘Gaming’ Mode
  • Family license
  • Open-Up UXTheme.dll allowing users to apply their own Visual Styles to Windows
  • Patch operating system without having to reboot

Don’t ask where I found the list. I’d be thrilled with Windows Seven if they actually included 1/3 of