I was just typing away at an entry here that I might well attach to the end of this one when I decided to look up the spelling or a word. “I know, I shall use trusty Google”, I thought. Well, I didn’t actually think that, I looked at the Google search box in the top right corner of Firefox and typed in the start of “chimera” to see if the suggestions came up with the right spellings. They came up with more than one that I thought could be correct, so I actually performed the search. Having established the correct spelling, I went to click on the tab containing my half typed entry. Only, oh dear, Firefox has displayed the results in the tab I currently had open. Arse. Not quite sure why it would have been designed like that. After all, in Firefox 2 we have a useful “Close Tab” button right there on each tab, so surely it is a cheap job for the user to do to close a search tab once they have finished it. After all, aren’t you looking for something that might well be relevant to another tab?
Anyway, what I was saying was that I’d changed the theme to a third party one, Iceburgg by Devlounge as it has a nice wintery feel and we’d put the Christmas tree up. I’ve been tinkering about with various things this evening while Kate is away including setting myself up a user account on her PC. We only have one set up in our house so far, which is her box with my monitor and speakers (hence the chimera reference I was originally going to make). Now that I’m retyping this is does seem a dull thing to say, so nevermind…
While I was flicking through the presentation Rasmus Lerdorf gave (it’s on my del.icio.us links on the right) about PHP and performance, there was a section that involves the use of Yahoo Maps. All looks quite interesting, so I went to have a look at Yahoo Maps itself. Previously when I’ve looked at it, it’s looked very much like Google Maps. Somethings it did slightly differently, but it seemed to work well.
Not any more, because now I get a god damn flash version of it, and there doesn’t seem to be any option what-so-ever to turn the damn stuff off. Sure, I can click on “Maps Classic” but this takes me back to the bad old days pre-AJAX when I have the click around to see the rest of the map. Now, from what I can tell, you’ll only get served this version of the page if your browser has the Adobe Flash plugin installed, which is good. It means it’s degrades nicely. Thing is though, my user experience actually seems worse with the flash version – the scrolling isn’t as smooth, for example. I just can’t understand why anyone would go to the effort of writing something in Flash that worked better beforehand. Especially a company as savvy as Yahoo.
Flash is just bad news. Stick with AJAX – at least with that needs just a browser…
John C. Dvorak has written in his PC Magazine column (found via hicksdesign) that CSS is fundamentally broken. This is so far from the truth I can’t believe it’s actually been written in an actual magazine. Although the columnists task is sometimes to provoke you into think about things, so writing it in the first place is fair enough.
Apart from a failure to grasp exactly how CSS works (huh, maybe that’s why you’ve struggled in redesigning your blog John?) he highlights what I consider to be a major problem with the majority of people who work with CSS, rather than CSS itself. John complains that each browser’s implementation of CSS is different, and that
“There actually are Web sites that mock this mess by showing the simplest CSS code and the differing results from the three main browsers and the Safari and Linux browsers. The differences are not trivial. And because of the architecture of this dog, the bugs cascade when they are part of a larger style sheet, amplifying problems. Worse yet, nobody except the most techie insiders wants to talk about this mess.”
In amongst trying to write the second part of my database clustering articles, I’m playing around with the styling of these pages. As I’m still using the site as I fiddle with things, James Cheezepie might call this a realignment, but I think I’ll stick with “needless fiddling” as the standard WordPress template is quite nice.
Anyway, the main problem I have with coming up with any design is what I’m going to call “sub-conscious plagiarism”, this being the phenomenon where you create a design and then boom, you notice a very similar looking design on a web site you’ve already been on. Perhaps this time I can get around this by doing little bits of fiddling here and there, and by admitting it when I “pinched” something from somewhere else. So the changes I’ve made under the title of each entry and come from the k2 WordPress template. I figure as it’s already part of a freely available template, it’s ok.