Thursday, September 20, 2007

Getting back into the knack of things

I've actually had to move again, hopefully this move is a little more permanent, but please check out

Well, I admit it, I slacked. Got a lot of work under my belt and got too busy to keep up with this thing. I'm going to try it again. We're moving though. We've adopted the WordPress software and we're going here

It's still in the planning stages. (We still are using the stock theme, ick). Check it out, and feedback is always welcome.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

iPhone! iPhone! iPhone! (Ok shuddap already)

The hypocrisy of this post is off the charts. Everyones a little tired of hearing about this thing. It's like the Paris Hilton of the electronics world. You don't really care or want to know, but secretly you do. Or maybe you don't and you really do just want the thing to get locked up and never hear about it again (Paris permanently in jail gets our vote). Now that I've said that lets move on.

There is no way I'm buying one. For various reasons, here is the main two though: AT&T and $600 bucks. AT&T's service is, uh, not really service. We like the concept, and some of the features of the iPod, but we aren't sufficiently impressed.

Some people have started camping out for them. Which is pretty ridiculous. Especially this guy. Who is asking for donations and food. It's just infuriating that some idiot who is going to drop $600 on a phone is asking for donations. Charities get donations. Please, instead of giving him money donate to someone who deserves and needs it. Like, I don't know, maybe the American Cancer Society or Habitat for Humanity, or for Pete's sake, even Rock the Vote. Apple should deny him a phone, just for being a greedy, obnoxious clod.

Ranting aside, the demand appears to be huge. I even caught my dad looking at them. My dad is still sporting the free phone he got with his contract 3 or 4 years ago. I reminded him that it was on AT&T and he replied, almost sulkingly, "I know."

Apple has garnered a lot of attention with the iPhone. If you read many tech blogs every other story is iPhone or Apple related. The question is will the iPhone sell and grab market share like they hope? It probably will initially, long term is another game. It's going to come down to AT&T, the surge in subscribers might let them actually build a real network. Considering you're locked into a 2 year agreement with the phone you're going to be giving AT&T thousands of your greenbacks if you stick in for the long haul. Maybe you could use the list published by The Consumerist to get out of your contract with AT&T, that they intend for you to use to get into your contract with AT&T. It's ironic that The Consumerist would post a story telling consumers to act as irresponsible consumers.

I'm not going to John Dvorak you, and tell you that the iPhone is going to fail and take Apple with it. There are too many factors to judge. Our guess is that it's going to take version 2.0 before it becomes the next iPod.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Internet Radio Day of Silence

The RIAA is out of control in this country. They have lobbied congress to irrationally increase the royalty fees that internet radio sites like Pandora and LAUNCHcast pay. For what is essentially they same thing as terrestrial and satellite radio, The royalties have been set so high that it will be impossible for even large sites to continue broadcasting. It's absolutely absurd and a more obvious show of just how greedy the RIAA is.

To protest this extreme rate hike most internet radio broadcasters are calling for today to be a day of silence. We support them and all their efforts.

So please take a look at these sites and send a letter or phone call to your congress person and ask them to make this stop!

Save Net Radio

Dell Releases XPS M1330

Dell released their XPS M1330 today. You can hop on their web site and configure yours. Starting at $1,299 with some relatively weak options we ballooned one up to almost $2,000 by adding an faster processor, more memory, a better video card. and an oh so sweet LED backlit screen.

Standard Features include:

Intel® Core™ 2 Duo T5250 (2MB cache/1.5GHz/667Mhz FSB)
Windows Vista Home Premium
Non-LED display w/ webcam 1280x800px
1gb SDRAM DDR2 667mhz
Intel GMA X1300

Stuff we want:

Intel Core 2 Duo T7100
2GB Ram
LED Display w/ Webcam
128MB NVIDIA® GeForce™ Go 8400M GS

We would love to check one of these out long term, hint hint. We're looking at you Dell. Ok, fat chance, we know. Click the read link to spec yours out.

[Read] Dell XPS M1300

Monday, June 25, 2007

Kayuda: Online Diagramming/Outlining.

I stumbled across Kayuda today while browsing a few sites. It's a interesting piece of web software. It enables users create a diagram of events or procedures online. You start out with a "node" and branch off connecting other nodes to each other as appropriate. The interface is pretty easy to use. Within a few minutes I was able to start working with it and draw a diagram to my content. Simply create a two nodes, click the green side bar from one, and drag it to the other and an arrow pops up connecting the two. You can create a workspace and collaborate with others remotely as well.

This will make it a little easier to *cough* call in sick, but offer to work from home on those "mental health" days. Our readers never do that though (you just take the day off and go back to bed, right?). We also like the fact that you can zoom in and out of the diagram, so when it gets too big you can zoom out and then go back to focus in on an area that needs more attention. They have a test area so that you can take it for a whirl without signing up.

Plaxo 3.0

Plaxo released version 3.0, a public beta. Plaxo is like an aggregator for your calender and contact lists. Instead of keeping a Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, AIM, Yahoo! and a variety of other contact list/calendar/task manger services, Plaxo combines them all in to one service. A svelte looking AJAX interface, fairly similar to Google Calendar allows you to sync all your events to one place and take them with you. It's a fairly novel idea if your on the go and try to keep work and personal time separate but at the same time, in one place.

Undervalued Occupation: Photography

Photography, one of our latest ventures has become something of a unvalued art. It used to be that people appreciated the experience and shots a photographer would make and understand the value of a photo.

Lately from what we gather is that photographers have been relegated to the past tense. It seems that there are a variety of reasons for this. For one, going digital has meant that even the untrained person can take a photo, look at it instantly, and take another if it was so needed. In addition to that, reasonable quality cameras can be had for low dollars. Companies can then send an employee who is untrained to an event to snap a few pictures without the need of a full time photographer. It then becomes economically prudent to not have a full time photog.

Another reason is the desire of the current generation to just have content period. When news agencies start using photos that some random person took instead of a professional it really becomes evident the lack of appreciation people have for the art. I'm sure most of us have heard the phrase "A picture tells a 1000 words", and indeed a good picture can. It's not something that usually comes from a camera phone. More well known blogs employ this method, producing and endless stream of crummy composed or out of focus shots that do little than to maybe raise the ire of their readers, if that.

There are a lot of defining photos out there. For most of us, there are simply iconic photos, like the flag raising at Iwo Jima, the photo of Muhammad Ali standing over Liston, and photos of 9/11. Photos that seemingly stop time. Ansel Adams once said that "A good photograph is knowing where to stand", one might reasonably add, "at the right time" too.

Most people take for granted the settings that photographers know what to adjust to get the picture right, because the camera they have does it automatically. What most point-and-shoot users don't know is how to change the settings, to change the picture, the bring focus to a certain aspect of something that can completely change the way you view the photo. Setting up a good composed photo is the difference between the guy with the camera phone, and the photographer with years of experience and training.

It would be a shame to think that in the future our news and memories would become images uploaded to internet and printed without thought to photo. It's a shame to think that photos are just part of the story, when in some cases they can tell the entire story, instantly. Both capturing and giving emotions with out saying a word.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Phoning it in...

I haven't made an update for the past day and a half. I apologize. It's been busy, and my internet connection through Time Warner has been hit or miss, mostly miss. I did receive my Windstream DSL (hence the "phoning it in title") modem and got that all set up and now I am speeding along. Looks like tomorrow will be a busy day, but next week I have a few things in store:

1. Review of the Bogen/Manfrotto 3011N tripod and the 3025 3D head.
2. Extended exposure photography tutorial.
3. Couple of festivals and local community events may show up.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Understanding Web Standards - Screen Resolutions

One of the more cumbersome things to account for in web design is the size of the page in terms of resolution. It used to be that there was really only 2 common resolutions 800x600 and 1024x768, thus if you designed for 800x600 you would have covered both basis. But in the technological revolution, higher screen resolutions and monitor size have become a common place thing.

Of the users that have visited this site, nobody has had a resolution of 800x600. Bravo, you're a bunch of up to date people. Almost 30% of you are still running a resolution of 1024x768. However the vast majority of you are running something greater than that, which is great!

Here is the resolution relative to the viewers of the blog for the pas couple days:

The problem with resolutions is that I have to define areas in terms of pixels or percentages. With pixels, if I design a site based on 1280x1024 and you have a resolution of 1024x786, you would have a lot more scrolling to do, and you could wind up missing something that you needed. When you have a lot of scrolling for users they tend to get annoyed and go elsewhere. Which is what you don't want, obviously.

Some web designers will say using percentage defined space is a better approach. In most cases they are right. That is a great approach because it allows for dynamic content, that is content that changes per viewer, without any interaction. They only downside to this is that when using a large resolution, you can increase the amount of white space, or blank space in the page. On higher resolution monitors this might snow blind some people and hurt their eyes. Now I realize that I am talking about this on a page that is very small horizontally, and has a large white background. I am working on changes so for the almost 30% of you out there running resolutions greater than 1280x1024, the blog won't give you a headache.

Deciding between percentage and pixel based layout can be tough, but there can also be things that help you make that choice. For instance if you know that your clients have low resolution monitors, you can stick with pixel based. This might come in handy if your designing pages where people are still using dial up or somewhere were new technology doesn't have a significant importance. Likewise, if you're living in a big city, you probably want to make sure the site looks ok at a higher resolution.

How Would Jesus Drive?

The Vatican issued a "10 Commandments" list for drivers on Tuesday. Having a 45 minute commute we're pretty sure we could know more than a few people who are going to hell. Well, I'm pretty sure God didn't hand these down to someone on a mountain. If he did, I didn't hear about it.

The List

1. You shall not kill.

2. The road shall be for you a means of communion between people and not of mortal harm.

3. Courtesy, uprightness and prudence will help you deal with unforeseen events.

4. Be charitable and help your neighbor in need, especially victims of accidents.

5. Cars shall not be for you an expression of power and domination, and an occasion of sin.

6. Charitably convince the young and not so young not to drive when they are not in a fitting condition to do so.

7. Support the families of accident victims.

8. Bring guilty motorists and their victims together, at the appropriate time, so that they can undergo the liberating experience of forgiveness.

9. On the road, protect the more vulnerable party.

10. Feel responsible toward others.

I'm pretty sure that it's a translation, because the grammar and word use is rather poor. I feel compelled to add at least 3 more:

11. Thou shalt not rubber neck.

12. Don't go under than speed limit.

13. Don't block the faster drivers.

I'm not quite sure why The Holy See felt the need to release this list, but I wish more people would follow it. What would you add?

[Read] Fox (We have a Pope, We Don't have a Pope) News

iPhone Buzz: 19 million people want it?

Apparently there are over 19 million people interested in the new iPhone. The device which is set to launch at 29th of this month is the latest hardware release from Apple. It combines the features of a video iPod and a Smart Phone. The iPhone has between 4 and 8 gigs of internal memory, a touch screen, and of course a svelte Apple interface.

Critics blast it for not having 3G network capabilities, the cost ($500-$600), and battery life. Critics also claim that the touch screen keyboard will be more of a hassle than a benefit. However, Apple announced some upgraded specs today. The battery has been upgraded to 8 hours of talk time, or 24 hours of music playback. Apple also replaced the plastic touchscreen with a glass one.

The iPhone, to me looks very much a mixed bag. I'm not a fan of the touch screen keyboard, or touch screens in general as they tend to turn into a greasy mess of distortion. They also never seem to be as accurate. Although I am a fan of the "real" internet viewing, larger memory and some of it's interface stuff, the real killer for me is the AT&T/Cingular network, which is slightly more reliable than a Yugo around these parts. I'm more interested in the new HTC Mogul.

Will 19 million people snap the iPhone up? I doubt it, especially when the aforementioned problems come up. I don't doubt that the iPhone will sell very well for a phone, it may end up outselling the Razr, but I'll hold my breath. Of course, I also can't give my real opinion on anything I haven't used.

[Read] ZDnet
[Read] PCWorld

Monday, June 18, 2007

Facebook to go Public?

I used to be big into stocks. Ok, as big as a 14 year old with a Wall Street Journal can be. I am sure by now most of you are familiar with Facebook. The online social site originally developed for college students, then opened to high school students and now open to everyone. The site, similar to MySpace is reportedly making a $100 million in ad revenue.

Recently the social networking utility made internet headlines by opening up its structure to allow for open development and implication of 3rd party applications. Now it's entering the rumor mill as a potential for a public company. Paul Kedrosky, "a venture capitalist, media personality, and entrepreneur," suggests in his blog "Infectious Greed" that the company may release an IPO in August.

What possible motivation could the company that supposed $100 million company have for going public? It doesn't appear that Mark Zuckerberg wants to sell, with even more rumors abound of Google offering an astounding $2.3 Billion (Ok, so that figure comes from Wikipedia, but if YouTube went for $1.7 billion, is $2.3 that far off?).

The question could be then passed off as, what does Mark Zuckerberg want with extra capital? What could the Big Z be planning to do that would require additional millions of dollars in capital? It goes without saying that the extra capital would probably not be enough to buy any major company with a more firm foothold on the economic ladder, something the size of Apple, Google, or Microsoft is out of Facebook s hands by a number somewhere in the billion dollar stratosphere.

Is the strategy to buy lots of smaller companies and expand his empire beyond Facebook like the Google strategy, or is he just looking to become really rich ala Microsoft? The tangents that could be derived from this potential scenario are almost endless. We shall see in August if Mr. Kedrosky's opinion of an IPO is true.

[Read] Infectious Greed

Does Apple want to Steal Firefox users?

If you haven't guessed by now, I'm a big fan of the web browser Firefox. I have been loyal to it since version 1.0. Being a web designer I still use Internet Explorer to view the pages I design to make sure everything looks and works correctly. When Apple announced Safari for Windows, I groaned a little inside. Another browser I need to develop for. If it renders pages the same way it does on the Mac, this shouldn't be an issue.

However, John Lilly, Mozilla's (The company that developes Firefox) COO, thinks that Steve Jobs and Apple are trying to steal market share away from him. My first reaction is that John's being a little paranoid. Especially with the horrible release of the Safari Beta. Lilly then talks about how Apple wants to expand market share by edging out people using browsers with smaller market share (such as: Firefox, Opera, Camino, etc) in an attempt to keep up with the dominant browser out there, Internet Explorer, or IE. John thinks Jobs is attempting to establish a browser duopoly with IE and Safari at the helm.

If you follow the read link to Lilly's blog you will see that it exactly what Steve Jobs is showing. Jobs shows a graph of browser marketshare split as it is now, with about 78% for IE, 15% Firefox, 5% Safari (Mac only) and 2% other. The next slide shows Safari taking the smaller shares from Firefox. It becomes pretty evident that Jobs wants this to happen.

I think it's despicable. It's not that I don't like Apple. I genuially think that they make some decent, albeit, pricey machines and a nice OS. I've had two myself. Where I loose faith in the Apple mantra is with it's stereotypical fan base, and the snobbery that goes with it. I just can't have faith in a guy that goes up on stage at WWDC and makes dig after dig at his competition. For a company that bills it computers as machines that just work, and don't need drivers, and so easy, they sure don't like to plan nice with others.

What's even more interesting is that, as even the Apple users have pointed out, their are some bold new features in the upcoming Leopard OS that bare a striking resemblance to Microsoft Vista. I still can't get past the fact that Apple's big thing is that they can run Windows on their Apple computers, but Windows boxes (or even a self build) won't run OS X. You can only see these moves by Apple as an attempt to become monopolistic. This is exactly what we don't need. We don't need another computer monopoly like Microsoft. We don't need Apple to become the new Microsoft.

I think that consumers are aware of this, as we have seen a rise in Linux over the past few years. I think there are enough people in search of the alternatives to keep the momentum in innovation of technology up. I find it hard to believe that the people I know who Firefox users, will switch any time soon. I think that Jobs is grossly over exaggerating his client base, it isn't Firefox users who are looking for an alternative, it's IE users. At least they should be. The reasons that IE users should switch (security) is the same thing that has been found to be the flaw in Safari. Arguably, being a beta it shouldn't be instantly evaluated on that, but this is a more of an alpha release than anything.

As always in technology, time will tell. I doubt, however, that Apple will being reaching that much market share anytime soon.

[Read] CNet
[Read] John's Blog

Seven Dead in Racing Accident

At least 7 people were killed Sunday in Selmer, Tennessee, when a drag racer apparently lost control of his car while performing a burnout. The drag racer, Troy Warren was giving an exhibition show for a charity event for disabled children.

It's a very unfortunate event. It's even more particularly saddening that this happened during a charity event.

[Read] Via Jalopnik
[Photo] Via Deadspin

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Thanks for reading!

Wow. I have to say I am shocked. I didn't expect this to go anywhere for quite a while. I've watched my site get an average of 2 people a day, so the blog getting almost 130 on a Sunday is crazy for me. Give a shout out in the comments about what you like/don't like, and let me know what you guys and gals want to hear more about!

Oh, and past it along to your friends of course!

Dell to Bloggers: "We Goofed!"

You remember the story about Dell asking to have The Consumerist remove the "22 Confessions" article? Well, they are sorry. In their Direct2Dell blog, Lionel Menchaca, their Digital Media Manager, admits they acted a bit rash in their demands they should have just corrected some errors in the story.

I'm referring to a recent blog post from an ex-Dell kiosk employee that received more attention after the Consumerist blogged about it, and even more still after we asked them to remove it.

In this case, I agree with what Jeff Jarvis had to say: instead of trying to control information that was made public, we should have simply corrected anything that was inaccurate. We didn't do that, and now we're paying for it.

-Lionel Menchaca

I have to approve of the response. Dell, instead of acting like a corporate gestapo and going sue happy, they responded with some helpful hints for the consumer. Now if I could just get my hands on a XPS m1330 laptop, I'd be pleased.

Today is Fathers Day!

Remember to thank your Dad, and tell him Happy Fathers day today.
Hey, and don't forget Grandpa too!

Stephen Colbert's book, on CSPAN2 tonight

Stephen Colbert has a new book coming out October 9th(Long time to wait, I know) and he will be on CSPAN2 tonight, along with Ken Burns, Khaled Housseini, and Lisa See. I'll admit I'm only going to tune in for Colbert, maybe Burns. I don't know who the others are to be honest. His dead pan comedy is great, or is it the greatest?

I don't quite get the title of his new book "I am an American (and so can you)." I assume it has something to do with Stephen converting people to "Americanism" but I guess I won't find out till October 9th.

[Read] TV Squad
[Book] Amazon

Thank our sponsors!

Please take the time to visit our sponsors, the people and companies who advertise on this site. You can check them out at the top and sides of the page. And of course, Google! Do you have Firefox with the Google tool bar? Follow the link at the bottom of the page to download it. Also on the right side is a link for google Apps, if you haven't checked those out yet, get on it! Word Doc's, Excel spreadsheets, all on the go!

Of course, you can always check out our site, 10inkstudios.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Adjusting depth of field with F-Stops

Ok, I'll admit it. I'm not a professional photographer, but I'm going to blog like one one the internet. Or at least make an honest attempt. F-Stop, sometimes called relative aperture, adjusts your depth of field in a photograph. Your depth of field is what is in focus in your photograph. Let me explain a little more. You're at a family gathering and they decide they want a portrait taken. You take a the photo of them against a wall. Both the wall is in focus and the family. There really isn't alot of distance separating the family from the wall, the depth of the picture is relatively shallow. Now they want some pictures taken outside. You set up a shot of them in a field, behind them off in the distance is a line of trees. It's about 1200 yards out or so. You take a picture and this time the family still comes out sharp, but the background is all fuzzy. Your depth of field between hasn't been changed on the camera, and it's still relatively short.

Part of what controls your depth of field is your f-stop. It's an adjustment usually found on most new digital cameras. The camera that I am using, is a Canon Rebel XT. This camera is a digital SLR (Single Lens Reflex), it has interchangeable lens. The lens I am using has the one that comes with the kit for this camera. It is a 18-55mm lens, and has an f-stop of 3.5 to 5.6. F stop numbers tell you the ratio of the amount the aperture is open in comparison with the length of the lens. It's semi-confusing to understand but bare with me. The larger the F-number, the smaller the opening in the aperture of your lens. Likewise, the smaller the number, the greater the opening.

Let me break out the visuals on this. I set my f-stop to 3.5 and took this picture.

You're going to want to click on the image ot enlarge it, or you will not see what I am talking about. See how the background is relatively fuzzy?
I took this picture at my max f-stop (5.6) and adjusted my shutter speed slightly, or the photo wold have come out too bright, more on that later.

Again click on it, see how the background is a little sharper? It's really hard to see at this small of a photo, and the range of my lens. I zoomed in on the image and isolated a chunk of the fuzzy photo, or the 3.5 f-stop, in the sharper 5.6 f-stop photo.

Again, click on the image so that you can get a better idea. You see the difference? If you have a lens with a greater f-stop range, you can make the change even more dramatic. It makes for a more interesting photo in some cases. There is more than one way to adjust depth of field. Theres more than one way get a lot of effects, but at least this gives you a better idea of what's what.

Le Mans Radio Coverage

If you're stuck on a computer away from the TV today, like me. Or you don't have a channel broadcasting the race you may want to check out Radio Le Mans. They are streaming a live broadcast through out the day. Beware though, the connection is a bit weak, so if you're on dial up or a poor connection you may be still out of luck. You can also check out Flying Lizard Motorsports broadcast as well.

Friday, June 15, 2007

I'm still here...

I'd was counting on posting a few more stories and a tutorial later today, but it seems my internet connection has died on me. Time Warner is absolutely terrible in my area. So I switched to Windstream, which won't be active till the 22nd. Right now I am at a Coffee (Caribou Coffee) house using the free wifi to take care of a few things. Hopefully Time Warner will get their act together and I will be able to post a few more stories today.


Dell demands blog remove story

Dell, apparently didn't like the fact that a former Dell rep spilled the beans on a the blog "The Consumerist." Dell sent them an email demanding that they take it down. The article in question doesn't really reveal anything earth shattering, which is kind of puzzling as to why they want it taken down.

The story gets more interesting when you read the letters sent to their editor, Ben Popken. Apparently Dell got upset that Ben is waiting for the legal department to contact Dell, and not taking down the site in the mean time. Dell representitive Tracy J. Holland, was upset she had to wait a whopping 9 hours, and the story was still up. Ben obviously points out that, he like many humans, sleeps.

Even at that, the blog isn't really under any obligation to take down the story. It will be interesting to see what happens.

[Read] Consumerist response to Dell Takedown Demand
[Read] Consumerist - 22 Confessions Of A Former Dell Sales Manager

Ducati Sport 1000 Mono SE

I have to admit, I'm a sucker for all things Italian. Especially Italian things with motors (or pasta). This Ducati is no exception. Although I've never ridden, it's been tempting. I'm no dummy either, a 1000cc bike is not for beginners. That and it's got no fairings or cladding whatsoever so if you drop it, you're at least going to the home with some decent road rash.

That being said, the lack of any coverings over the frame and the exposed motor are absolutely beautiful. Only in that, "face only a mother could love" kind of way. For just under $12 grand the bike is one of the cheaper special edition Ducati's (or production models for that matter) that I have seen.

[Read] Luxist via RoadRacing World

Thursday, June 14, 2007

eBay Vs. Google

Apparently, the two internet giants just aren't playing nice. Google's Checkout, a service aimed at PayPal, to replace online transactions, will not be adopted by eBay. Much to the disappointment of Google. If eBay were to use Google Checkout it would be a huge advantage to Google of course, as gaining a partner the size of eBay could entice, if not force eBay users to use PayPal. It could also mean that PayPal would loose out significantly. Google already has a major share of the search and online ad sales market, their Checkout service has seemingly not come to fruition.

In response to eBay not signing up with Checkout, employees at the Boston office decided to throw a party to thumb their noses at eBay. eBay then pulled all of their text ads through Google AdSense, it is unclear if the two events are related, but it is rumored that it is the case. Well, Google canceled the party, but the two aren't making up just yet.

[Read] The Register

Web Comics: Ctrl+Alt+Delete

I started reading Ctrl+Alt+Delete a few months ago, and I check back regularly for updates. The artist, Tim Buckley, updates Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. His comics are pretty funny. If you play alot of video games, or just know people who do chances are you will relate to it and get the jokes. It's definatly in my list of comics right by Dilbert, FoxTrot and a few others. He also blogs about some of the latest video games too. It could save you from wasting your time on something that, is, uh lame.

Understand Web Standards - CSS & Tables

While not a web standard in the sense of a W3C standard, CSS is becoming, if not already, a layout standard. For good reasons too. The "old" method of tables, still in use of course, should be avoided if at all possible, and for lots of good reasons. Tables do a lot of things that, more than 5 years ago made life easier, but they didn't make them correct.

Tables take longer to load than CSS, in many ways. For one, the code in and of it self takes longer. Secondly if you are using a CSS style sheet for more than one page, the sheet doesn't need to be loaded again to go in between pages. There is no need to have miles of code in your pages too, it is much easier to read CSS than it is to sort through tables.

Another great benefit of having one style sheet for a bunch of pages is that changing your layout on every page can be done simultaneously. If I change the parameters of one div tag is goes through the entire site. If you used tables, you would have to change each and every page, what a pain.

Going back to our W3C post, it's easier to write valid CSS once you get the hang of it. Part of the reason tables are bad is that they don't play well for web accessibility. This means that for the blind, who use web page readers, elements on the page don't come out verbally, as they may appear visually to us. This is especially important to educational and government institutions, but that certainly doesn't mean that it shouldn't be important to you too. Especially if your business web page isn't web accessible, you don't shut your doors to blind people, do you? Of course not.

There is a downside to CSS though. It doesn't render the same in Internet Explore as it does in Firefox. Which can create quite a headache for web designers sometimes. There are "hacks" for these issues, most notably perhaps is the box model hack, but hacks are hacks for a reason. It's a cheap way of coding and it also isn't web accessible.

If you're looking to learn about CSS, or more information I suggest you check out these pages:

CSS Zengarden
W3C Schools CSS Tutorials

Apple issues Security fix for Safari

Apple issued an update to their Safari for Windows beat today.
Hopefully they have patched some of the issues with stability and
performance that I was havingwith 3.0. I will update this article later with my results.

[Read] The Washington Post

Computer fails on International Space Station

A computer has failed on the International Space Station. The computers control the oxygen and water supplies, as well as the rotation of the station. The computers that failed were Russian. Russia and the United States work together on the space station with help from Canadian, European and Japanese space agencies.

Astronauts have already made a space walk earlier to fix a thermal blanket. Engineers hope to have the computer issue resolved within a day. If not the mission could be shortened and all the astronauts may have to come home.

The agencies are optimistic however, because they have many resources at their disposal. For most of us, the first action to solving a computer issue that doesn't involve our immediate knowledge is to do reseach. Unfortunatly for NASA, I don't think the answer is on Google.

[Read] via Houston Chronicle

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Now that's a truck...

I was watching the History Channel, Modern Marvels to be exact. This show was about the history of Semi-trucks. The first thing that caught my eye, was the guy spending $500 in gas to fill up. Ouch. But what was really awesome was this company, ARI Legacy sleepers and the cabins they make for trucks.

It used to be, you laid across the seat when you wanted to take a nap. Now they have 144" sleepers with wide screen TV's, microwaves, sinks, toilets, beds, and even showers! I know a long haul trucker or two and they never told me about these. That's because they don't come cheap. They come in around $70,000 big ones.

Another part that was rather interesting was this innovation called IdleAire. Instead of truckers having to let their trucks idle all night to keep the heat and AC going, truckers affix this to their window and it pumps heat and AC in, while the truck is off. Truckers can even order movies and TV shows, and watch them through a screen on the lid of the unit. Makes a cross country haul seem like a good idea.

The more things change...

The more they stay the same.

Google and Intel, among others, are currently developing "green" products. "Going green" has become the new socially responsible catch phrase of corporations. You can't really complain, because energy conservation, no matter how small is a good thing.

Intel and Google recently joined the Climate Savers Computer Initiative. The CSCI says that

Believe it or not, the average desktop PC wastes nearly half the power delivered to it. Half! This wasted electricity unnecessarily increases the cost of powering a computer, and it also increases the emission of greenhouse gases.

While Intel says that it's going to increase the cost of computers, the increase will be offset by in a year by energy savings. So things aren't saving you any money, but at least it's better for the environment.

[Read] Independent News

Cheat Sheets

One of my favorite blogs, Lifehacker, has a post about a cheat sheet from the website It includes everything from Photoshop, to Office, to even CSS, so chances are there is something in it for you.

Read [Lifehacker]
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Mahalo - Human Powered Search?

I've lost track of the number of times that I have Google'd something and not found what I've wanted. Although, I generally have great luck searching for something from the site that has now become a verb, it's not without it's flaws. Sometimes the search results just aren't relevant. The current battle I have had with Google, over my site, is that it keeps thinking about the number 10 ink cartridge. Well, I don't use those and I'm sure if you're looking for a web designer, you really aren't either.

That's where Mahalo comes in. Mahalo, the Hawaiian word for "Thank You" is a search engine that uses search findings based on what a person tags as relevant to your search. Which in theory should come up with more relevant search results. The catch? Humans have to do the leg work, which means every topic may not have a Mahalo'd result. Which means that for most people, Mahalo falls into the, Yahoo, and Dogpile realm of, "If Google fails." So it's going to be awhile, if at all, Mahalo becomes a verb. It has to past the test of time, which for some start ups, turns into purgatory before it goes anywhere.

Understanding Web Standards - W3C

The beauty of the web is that anyone (with a little knowledge and/or money) can have a web page. The first step in claiming your spot on the web is to claim a domain name. Then you code the page. Just like any other job, there is a wrong way and a right way.

For many occupations, such as lawyers, doctors, and teachers there are boards, such as the state bar association, medical boards, and education boards, that certify that a person or entity is entitled to practice.

There is a similar board for web pages, the W3C, or World Wide Web Consortium. Unlike the previously mentioned boards, they don't have any real power except to say that the code on your site doesn't meet standards. Instead, it relies on social pressure. It is similar to how the MPAA works. Technically, no movie needs to receive a rating, and it could be put into theaters with no guidelines whatsoever. What stops this from happening is that movie studios, the people who invest money in a movie, won't publish a movie if it doesn't receive a rating. Which in turn means, chances are conglomerate theaters, such as Hollywood Theaters won't play it, and you probably won't see it.

This peer pressure of sorts doesn't happen on the web to the extent it does in the movie industry. It comes into play in different ways, however. One frequent question that comes up around the design of websites is, "How do I increase my rank in Google?" While there are a variety of ways, one of them is having good coding practices. Also, most employers ask that their web designers are knowledgeable about them, if not comply with them as much as possible.

It can be difficult to find a page that validates with no errors to W3C standards. For instance, even Google, the simple logo and white page search engine, shows 51 errors. By comparison 10 ink studios shows only 9. Many of the web pages we design have less than that. Our CSS (cascading style sheets) validate 100% for all of our clients.

It's something that most people aren't aware of, but starting with a strong foundation is a great start to having a great web page. If you would like to test your web page for W3C compliance you can check out their validation page.

Apple Safari beta for Windows users

Much to the ire of this web designer there is yet another web browser out there for Windows users. Safari has been around awhile for Apple's OS X, but it never garnered the use that IE, Camino, and Firefox have on the Mac.

I downloaded the beta hoping to test out our current pages and fix any issues that might be wrong. However, using the browser has proven impossible. The program starts fine, but any text does not display.

I could not click any links or type a URL in the address bar. It loads Apple's website, sans text, and that is as far as I got. It seems I am not alone, as commenter's over at Engadget are reporting the same issues and even the software crashing.

So as far as fixing pages that may render differently, I can't do much. You may not want to, as it's full of security flaws. Which, is not altogether surprising considering it is a beta. Actaully, it's so unuasable for most that it should be considered an alpha. We recommend that you stick to Firefox.

Welcome to the blog

10 ink studios is starting a blog to cover new and interesting technology as well web design and new standard and practices. Check back frequently!