Archive for the 'web stuff' Category

Neologism nausea

i’ve been having some issues with a few neologisms that have hit the internet and blogosphere (ahem) lately. it’s not so much that new words bother me (although some, like nucular, most definitely do). i came to the realization today that it’s their origins that can bother me.

take AJAX as an example.

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Death by digital proxy

A few weeks ago, I ceased to exist.

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look ma, no tables!

yesterday, i said "look ma, no tables!" after i had built a nice, standards-compliant web page without the use of tables. today i experienced the concomitant disaster (although digital disasters are usually not as nasty as broken arms, at least not for the coder).

as my template was reviewed by those who needed to use it (read: the client), it became obvious that the tool with which it was going to be modified, Dreamweaver MX (read: lousy piece of @#$*), has a bad rendering engine (read: an old version of Opera) that fails to properly parse a lot of CSS. tricksy rendering engines – we hates them! we hates them all!!

and so, tail between legs and nice separation of structure and content out the window, i proceeded to soil my pretty page with tables to create the proper layout in DW MX so that it could be modified by the client’s overworked, understaffed, laterally skilled web development collective.

my apologies to jeffrey zeldman. i didn’t have the time (or software) required to debug my page in a "browser" that’s not even a browser.

i can hardly wait for the day when i can say, "look ma, no browser!," but i know mother nature will be waiting for me…

being the hydrant for technology’s dog

some days you’re the dog, some days you’re the hydrant.

this piece of wisdom was passed on to me some time ago, and i’ve found it a useful mantra. it helps remind me about life’s little ups and downs. for the past few days, it’s been technology that’s the dog, and i’ve been the hydrant. so i’m just gonna vent the old spleen a bit, and move on to smaller and better things.

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arcodology (n.): the black art of code examination and analysis, performed during software upgrades and/or web site refreshes. arcodologists sift through tangled code fragments, often (but not always) of unknown origin and authorship, in search of meaning, enlightenment, or any shred of code that can actually be re-used. See also frustration, laziness, and cruft.

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so, let’s get the easy question out of the way first – why do so many spam messages have weird-yet-compelling subject lines?

well, i can’t shed any light on why they’re compelling, but i can say what they’re trying to do…they’re trying to defeat best-of-breed, automated, anti-spam filters by disguising themselves as potentially interesting messages. those subject lines are "spamouflage." (i wish i could lay claim to this term – Wired beat me to it.)

this probably comes as no surprise. some of you might even have said, ‘duh’ when you read the explanation above.

the better question is, why do these subject lines confuse spam filters?

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browser compatibility – theory and practice

the following entry is a (sanitized and expanded) version of an email i recently sent to a client explaining some of the issues surrounding browser compatibility and web developement. it’s amazing these issues persist after years of slowly grinding towards a world of web standards…someday, i hope these ideas will seem quaint: "oh, how cute! they used to have to worry about those things…"

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