Archives » June 17th, 2002

June 17, 2002

Playground

Looking over all these standards-compliant redesigns of popular sites has reminded me of my dreams for this site. I have grand visions of my website as a playground, a place where I can try out fun web design experiments like what happens at Eric Costello’s Glish or Eric Meyer’s CSS/Edge. But my site has none of that. Right now my site doesn’t even have any personal info on me; it just has the bare minimum amount of content that’s needed to qualify as a website, and a blog that’s written in about twice a month. Reality’s a little depressing, isn’t it?

But I’ve been thinking about that, and I’ve realized that I like spending time with my wife and tottering around the house too much, and when I’m at home I just don’t have a lot of time to sit at the computer. Well, I bet my wife would argue with that statement; I’m on it way too much for her. But I’m not on it nearly enough to flesh out my website the way I want it. In time, I guess. In time I’ll get around to building all these fun sections, and make my site a real destination for people other than myself. But, until then…it’s not even a destination for me.

Oh well, as long as my priorities are in order.

Webby Shenanigans

A few interesting web-related things were going on while I was gone.

First, the new redesign of Yahoo! is causing quite a stir. Mainly it’s people yelling about how it still isn’t valid HTML. Oh well. That’s what you get when you’re one of the biggest web properties in the world, and you have to look the same in Netscape 1.0 as Mozilla 1.0.

But anyway. I found out from Simon Willison that Micah S Sittig has done an XHTML/CSS redo of the redo. It’s a nice thought, nice execution, but it kind of falls down on the job. It looks good in Mozilla, okay in IE, but it lands right on its face in Netscape 4.x. In fact, it rather nicely does the job of proving why XHTML+CSS won’t fly as long as 4.x browsers are still out in the wild. I guess it all comes down to an individual’s definition of “nicely degrade”. I’m sure this isn’t a Yahoo! manager’s idea of “nicely”.

Next up is Amazon. Another hot target, Anil Dash did a really nice version of it that validates and looks damn good in Netscape 4. Ralph Brandi jumped in and turned it into XHTML, and still lookin’ good in Netscape. Steve Clay jumped in, but he couldn’t resist the temptation to use <div>s instead of <table>s. Oh, sorry. Better luck next time. Does not degrade “nicely”. Can’t win them all, I guess.

So, the ruling from the bench: XHTML/CSS is the wave of the future – up to a point. CSS1 can happen right now, if the big managers get behind it. But tabled layouts are here to stay, at least for the afore-mentioned big boys. There’s no way around it; most people’s idea of “degrading nicely” just isn’t “nice” enough when 5% of your audience is counted in 5, 6 or even 7 digits.

You’ve Got Overload

And then, of course, there’s the inevitable downside to vacation (yes, one does exist). I come back to find 1,400 e-mail messages waiting for me. Just a few. Most of them from the Evolt and Webdesign-L mailing lists. Talk about stuffing your head too full of knowledge. I forced myself to do it, though, and it took me a few hours to slog through them all, even when I only read the ones I was actually interested in. Lots of holy wars and in-fighting, luckily, so there wasn’t a whole lot of meat to chew on; it was mostly fat to be trimmed away. Remind me not to go on vacation again.

SoCal

We came back from our trip to Southern California this weekend. A week full of family and funeral. It was good to see the whole family again, but there was a sad undercurrent through the whole week.

We came back probably less than 24 hours before the big fire started. If we stayed another day, it would have been a mess. The road we took is now closed; the town we drove through is ablaze.

Bad Juju in the Hills

Well, now not only is there a growing wildfire thirty miles from my house, but now one of the air tankers fighting it just broke up in mid-air.

Crap. Mother Nature sure likes to fight back sometimes, doesn’t she?