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

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