Archive for November, 2003

Thank You, Neighbor

This post comes courtesy of someone’s Wi-Fi in the new neighborhood. Thanks. While I was supposed to have phone, cable and internet hooked up today, I missed the appointment and now have to wait another week. Yikes. One more week without cable. This is an atrocity, but thank goodness for wireless technology.

Anyhow, it’s probably just as well since we’re still navigating a sea of carboard boxes. Aside from that we’re still in awe of the previous owner’s horrific fascination with stencils. There are random stencils on the wall in a few different spots of the new house. Stencils that start on one wall and abruptly end before meeting the next. Or stencils that travel all the way around the room as if a vine had grown in a perfect circle. How charming.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Cardboard Carnival

My wife Kerry and I are moving into a new house this coming monday. Although we’re moving approximately 300 yards away, the process is no less of a disruptive stress-fest. We’ve been living in an absolute mess for the past few weeks as we box up everything and throw out stuff that we haven’t looked at since the last move. It feels good to rid yourself of old stuff. Like shedding a skin.

Old Frye Building

We’re saying goodbye to the 2nd and 3rd floors of the “Old Frye Building” (pictured right), a mid-nineteenth century gambrel that has treated us well these past two and a half years.

A recent readthrough of the house’s history revealed an interesting little tidbit. According to tax records, there was an occupant: Thomas Collins, Jr. age 19 (navy), that lived here in 1864. The next record for 1869 reads: Thomas Collins Jr. died Nov. 27, 1864. Now, I immediately got to thinking… he was in the Navy at the time of the Civil War, and died right around that same time. Whoa. It’s possible that a young boy — just 19, lived between the same walls that surround the keyboard as I type this, went off to fight the Civil War and never came back. History is incredible. We’ll certainly miss this place.

And now it’s all about new beginnings. New house, unfortunate timing of a job termination means rethinking of where to go next. I know I already talked about this not too long ago, but it’s as if the world is a completely different place then it was just two months ago. And it must be weighing heavily on my mind enough to dedicate two posts in a month to vaguely rambling on about the journey of life.

Anyhow, I’ll be offline for a bit next week, but will emerge from a flattened, cardboard box mountain soon enough. Hopefully unscathed and ready to take on the world of standards-compliant design again.

SprintPCS Redesigns With XHTML/CSS

Congratulations to France Rupert and team on launching a newly redesigned SprintPCS.com this past weekend.

The site was completely rebuilt, with web standards in mind, using a CSS-based layout on top of clean markup. Aside from a few known rendering issues, the site looks excellent and the home page validates as XHTML 1.0 Transitional. More details are provided in a brief explanation linked from the index page.

It’s an exciting time. Even large companies are now beginning to see the benefits of building sites a better way and internal web teams are learning the advantages of designing pages that load fast, are more accessible, and easier to maintain. I’m sure we’ll be seeing more and more of these relaunches announced. It’s a great thing.

More about the redesign with some notes from France’s personal site.

Curiosity Cured

Well, that was fun, wasn’t it? Thanks to all who commented on the watch question. I had no other motive for posing it, other than pure curiosity. For those interested, I’ve tallied up the results:

  • Analog(ue): 66
  • Digital: 23
  • Both: 14
  • Neither: 15

I was sitting through the 45 minutes of commercials and previews prior to viewing the excellent motion picture Elf, when I glanced at my watch (analog for those keeping score). I began wondering if others in the web world preferred digital or analog. Looks like analog is the winner here.

What does it mean? Absolutely nothing. Right?

SimpleViewer

I’ve had quite a few requests for the slideshow and image viewer Perl script that I wrote for this site, so I finally cleaned it up a bit, gave it a great name (SimpleViewer, of course) and posted the file to the software page for anyone that’s interested.
There are certainly other scripts out there that do way more than this one and are written far better, but it’s done the trick for me for a long time and it was fun to build. Hopefully it’s pretty straightforward to set up and those that were asking can make good use of it.

Panther Notes

  • Feels snappier, more responsive. I like that the pinstripes are played down a bit.
  • Is it just me, or does Lucida Grande look “skinnier” in Panther?
  • Finder‘s sidebar is handy, and it’s nice to have those same shortcuts in open and save dialog boxes.
  • Mail improvements are nice. I’m not sure why they went with PostFix over Sendmail, but it does seem darn fast. I like the options when hovering over an email address (send a mail, add to addressbook, etc.).
  • Exposé is fantastic — especially when you activate screen corners. It’s a little awkward having to go up to the the Function keys, but moving the mouse to one of the corners is fast.
  • Tabs in Camino are now a little funky. It’s inheriting Panther’s new button tab theme and something just ain’t right. Minor.
  • Fast User Switching is amazingly great. Previously, you had to quit all applications in order to log another user in. Now, you can leave everything open. I’ve heard that setting up different desktop environments is a neat way to take advantage of this feature. One “user” for writing, one for graphics or development — with all of the associated applications open only in those areas.

    I’m wondering though if this would affect system performance (having all those applications open at once, even though they are in different user accounts). I’m assuming it would.

  • I completely rendered my PowerBook useless after playing with Font Book. I guess I should have read the Help before attempting to drag n’ drop new fonts in. Somehow I managed to delete all of my fonts, which in turn crashed all running applications and the Finder. Things are pretty much back to normal now, although Verdana and Times look slightly different than they did before the disaster. Possibly unrelated.

    Be careful with fonts.

What’s Next?

I’m going to be asking myself that a lot over the next few months. All of the sudden, I’m at this crazy juncture in life. Sometime after the New Year, I’ll no longer have a day job. My wife and I bought a new house (albeit just a few blocks away) and will be moving at the end of the month. And there are possibly a few other exciting things happening on top of all this.
There are so many directions to go, so many things to consider. It’s all exciting and positive, yet at the same time overwhelming.
So, hopefully postings here won’t suffer — but if I sound incoherent now and then, you now know the probable reason.