archives for the 06, 2003 read the back log this is the permanet location for this weblog entry Sunday February 22 2004 home about archives interviews home archives 2003 06 news 29/06/03 WaSP Stings

Finally theWaSP breaks it’s silence on the current Microsoft saga. Some very interesting questions are asked of Microsoft within the article, namely — when will bugs be fixed? and why should we pay for a substandard browser when free alternatives are available? If you are at all interested in this saga I suggest you read the WaSP article along with these great commentaries listed in almost alphabetical order. Recommended Reading: Me (Parody), Brad Choate, Dave Shea (also see his afterthoughts 1, 2, 3 and 4), Eric Meyer, Ian Hixie, Jeffrey Zeldman, John Gruber, Tomas Jogin and an afterthought, Matthew Haughey, Mike Pick and finally none other than Tantek Çelik himself. Email me if I have missed any important ones out.

27/06/03 Make Your Mind Up Safari

Update on last wednesday's post about Safari; Dave Hyatt reports over on his Surfin' Safari weblog that as of Safari v1.0 he has set the default font size back to 16px.

All of these behaviors (the lack of a minimum font size and the default size/face of 16/Times) now match other browsers (Mac IE, Camino, and Mozilla).
We welcome back the standard.

24/06/03 Browser Tests

At this time, web developers and designers alike are wedged between failing standards support within IE and the beauty of the web in other, more standards aware browsers. Asking a faithful IE user to move on would be like banning a life time smoker from smoking. The fact remains that people use IE everyday of their lives, day in, day out, and have done for a considerable amount of time. They are not going to change their daily habits without good reason. I don’t think we should force change onto them, I think we should just show them the door and let walk through it themselves. Before a door can be presented, a suitable recommendation must be drawn up. This recommendation must be;

  1. Quick and intuitive to install
  2. Full standards compliance
  3. Intuitive to use
  4. As stable as possible
I decided to compile a table to show which browser(s) best fulfilled my recommendations.
Browser Installation Standards Compliance Ease Of Use Stability
Safari 1.0 * * * *
Mozilla 1.4 RC2 - * * *
Firebird 0.6 - * * *
Opera 7.11 - * * *
IE 6 * - * -
As it stands only Safari fulfilled all of these requirements. This might be fine for the small percentage of Mac users but where does it leave the PC users? Well, as Mozilla nears a milestone edition I hope that they can sort out the slight installation problems then they would defiantly be my recommended browser for PC users. If Mozilla wants to be a real contender in the browser war that’s brewing they must aim their installation instructions at base users (by that I mean normal people who are not as tech savvy as the common web developer/designer). Most of the changes could be implemented without much thought. For example a graphical link or textual link that stood out with a simple phrase; “Free Download” or “Download Mozilla” — would be much more user friendly than the current description. These are small things I know but it’s a part of what makes people reluctant to change. As I was writing this I read that Safari has hit is first milestone (version 1). Well done Apple, keep up the good work!

19/06/03 Technorati Bookmarklet

A great bookmarklet that I haven't seen much about; the Technorati bookmarklet. Other bookmarklets are over at squarefree.

19/06/03 Safari Against Standards

As noticed by Grant Hutchinson a few days ago, Safari does not render relative font sizes like the other browsers tested in my mini font sizing demonstration. Why is this? The short answer is that Apple is breaking standards. To understand the long answer we must go back to the web from 1998. Back in those days web typography was all over the place. For example, a default-sized font would be 12px on a Mac meanwhile the very same default sized font would be 16px on a Windows computer. This caused major problems as most font sizes are scaled from the default size e.g. Mac, font-size: 150% would equal (12px/100)150 = 18px — On a Windows PC, font-size: 150% would equal (16px/100)150 = 24px. This often caused sites made on a PC to have too small font for Mac users and sites made on a Mac often had text that was too big for PC users. There was still one unit of measure left that rendered the same on both platforms. The pixel. So you are asking yourself why doesn’t everyone set their font sizes in pixels? Well everyone would if it wasn’t for Microsoft. After years of text-zooms, etc Microsoft has still never included the technology to resize fonts set in pixels in the Windows version of Internet Explorer. Why not is anyone’s guess. It’s not because they can’t as they implemented it in the Mac version of IE nearly 3 years ago. What was needed was a standard rendering size that was the same on all operating systems. It took 2 years for the leading browsers to take up on Todd Fahrner’s recommendation of a standard 16px rendering size. Currently Safari is using a 14px default, 2 whole pixels less than the current standard. There is no obvious reason for them doing this but as a web developer it’s our jobs to deal with all the browsers bugs and “features”, while hopefully still leaving the text fully accessible via font scaling. There is a way to get round this font problem, so bear with me whilst I iron out the last few glitches.

15/06/03 Grant Hutchinson Is Interviewed

Another interview for your entertainment, this time it’s Grant Hutchinson of Splorp — Enjoy.

Carrying on with the typographic linkfest I give you the Microsoft Typography Links, which is surprisingly good (considering it’s from Microsoft) lets hope they don’t discontinue it when we all start going there. They have been known to do that sort of thing before.

14/06/03 EmailSiphon

I was just having a look around my general web statistics when I noticed this. EmailSiphon Alert A Google search left me with the impression that it was bad so I have taken steps to hinder it and others like it. First off I have created a fake email address repository. This I hope will, if anything, slow down the harvesting of email addresses by bogging down the harvestor bots with endless fake email addresses. Secondly I am going to add some denys to my .htaccess file. This will be done when I decide how best to do it — IP address blocks or UserAgent blocks? A great two part resource on email harvesting protection via .htaccess can be found at It’s well worth a read if you are interested in protecting your site.

14/06/03 Typography

After searching on and off for the last few weeks I have finally found a decent resource for free, Windows TrueType fonts. Dinc! Free Fonts have a wide variety of high quality free fonts, just waiting to be downloaded. Another few resources I happen to have come across are Speakup and Both are great weblog/community type sites focused around graphic design/typography. That’s it for now.

12/06/03 Social Engineering

Just playing around with Red Hat at the moment. Screen dump (343 KB).

A trivial amount of what hackers call "social engineering" would no doubt have secured most of the rest. There was, for example, the chief executive who said: "I will not give you my password, it could compromise my company's information." He later said that his password was his daughter's name, and his daughter's name was Tasmin.
Now, he is a clever guy. Choose a good password today.

11/06/03 Red Hat

Red Hat Linux was a lot easier to install than I thought it would be. Screen dumps coming when I can figure out how to get them from computer A to computer B (the floppy drives have gone weird) meanwhile check this out (133.33 KB), just shows how often I use floppies. Update: This was from yesterday but it's taken until now to get it up...

09/06/03 Link Dump

A lot of really good links you should check out.

08/06/03 Browser Cam

For those of you who haven't seen BrowserCam yet, go and have a look at this gallery of screen shots. It takes all the hassle out of cross browser testing. Access keys have been added to the menu links, hover over them for the access key number. To use them PC users just need to hold down Alt or if you prefer the Mac variety just hold down CTRL and press the corresponding access key.

07/06/03 ALA Is Back

Everyone's favourite site is back from the dead with an interesting interview with Anil Dash. In it Jeffery brings up some great questions like;

Why is it important to Six Apart to create a tool that generates valid markup, styles, and code?
My answer would be something along the lines of accessibility and the graceful decay in older browsers. Although I would also add that semantic markup is often a smaller file size than the table laden equivalents. Would you have a good, clean cut answer to that question?

05/06/03 Ben Hammersley Is Interviewed

We will get through it, I promise. On a brighter note — I present Ben Hammersley.

05/06/03 The 12 Steps Of Recovery

"Hi, I'm zlog and I'm an IE user.".

  1. We admit we were powerless over IE's control - that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. We came to believe that a power greater than IE could restore us to sanity.
  3. We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of Mozilla, as we understand why open source is better.
  4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. We admitted to Mozilla, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. We were entirely ready to have Mozilla remove all these defects of character.
  7. We humbly asked Mozilla to write over IE and replace it as our default browser.
  8. We made a list of all the viruses we have infected our computers with, and became willing to run a virus checker to eliminate them all.
  9. We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would corrupt our copy of Mozilla or theirs.
  10. We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with Mozilla, praying only for knowledge of its will and the power to browse knowing we are enjoying the maximum experience.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all of our computers.
"The only requirement for using Mozilla is the desire to have a nice browsing experience." - My Mozilla Switch Campaign

03/06/03 Mozilla Tricks

Everyone seems to be raving about Mozilla Firebird, formerly known as Phoenix. It's fast, has tabbed browsing, has popup blocking and don't even get me started on the full support for CSS. So why don't I use it? Mainly because it's too "lite". It feels like a cheap biro in comparison to the luxury fountain pen that is Mozilla. This may sound weird but I know at least some people understands me... Anyway, enough has been said about it. I recommend you try it and make your own minds up. Something I haven't seen much raving about is the ability to control how Mozilla and Firebird look via 2 CSS files (userContent.css and userChrome.css). For me they make Mozilla so much better. Do you want all links to go red as you hover over them? a:hover { color: red ! important; } May be something a little more useful /* You could hide flash banner ads like this */
embed[type="application/x-shockwave-flash"][width="x"][height="x"] {
display: none !important;
visibility: hidden !important;
Can you see the possibilities? Update: Support mezzoblue

02/06/03 Dave Shea Is Interviewed

The interview I promised you earlier is here. I give you Dave Shea.