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Still Unclear On FLOAT?

Relates to CSS Design

Courtesy Mr CSS :


Posted on Aug 26, 2003 at 23:07:48. [Comments for Still Unclear On FLOAT?- 0]

SoBig - Coming To A Mail Box Near You!

Relates to Peregrinations

While the SoBig.F virus spawning was successfully blocked over the weekend, it seems to have come back with a vengeance to a few of my mailservers these last two days. Today I had 75 virus bearing emails in one mailbox, and one of my webmail servers (from a mojor UK ISP) seems to have been totally shut down. Following a spasmic burst of SoBig mail to my boxes middle of last week, it certainly seems to have returned with a vengeance at the moment. Mailwasher is proving a very versatile ally in the cause, allowing me to just remove all infected messages with a single click. Evenso, I have found it unwise to check mail mid-afternoon, when new infected messages seem to appear within the time it takes to clear out with mailwasher and connect to a mail server with my mail client. It would be refreshing to know that September 10th would be the end of this irksome beast, but the warnings are out for a more malicious variant and the patterns suggest it could be very soon - a sobering thought!

Posted on Aug 26, 2003 at 22:43:02. [Comments for SoBig - Coming To A Mail Box Near You!- 0]

In Memory Of Samwise Gamgee

Relates to Movies

The wait is finally over, and I have seen those tender last minutes of The Two Towers - last Christmas the Odean dramatically ground to a halt just as Gollum once more overpowered Smeagol in the wooded foothills of the Ephel Duath. As it happened, what I missed was a minute of dialogue as the most impressive animated character of all time concoted his trap in Jackson & Co's interpretation of events.

As the poignant lyrics of Gollum's Theme played over the final credits, I couldn't help but wonder whether the choice of ending fell short of the emotion that just leaps off those last few pages of Tolkien's book. At the end of the first installment, in 2002, the expression on those in the audience, who knew not the story, had just left me thinking what are they going to be like when that door is slammed shut in Sam's face come next year. Well of course, it did not happen. The screen writers have decided to hold off the battle with Shelob, and the instance the real hero of the story takes hold of the ring to, I guess, the opening segment of the ROTK.

I dont think The Two Towers can really be assessed until the final piece of the Trilogy fits into place. On its own, it is a masterful piece of cinematography with phenomenal action sequences, set designs, makeup, costumes and, of course, supperior CGIs. As an interpretation of the book, it has clearly been presented as part of the whole - this is not the Two Towers as Tolkien wrote it, it is the Two Towers purely by nomenclature. Some parts of the book are emphatically bought to the screen version - the growing relationship between Legolas and Gimli, the conflict of Gollum, and Frodo's struggle as he follows a similar demise. Aragorn's own conflict with his regal future is somewhat blurred by the Hollywood-esque love triangle with Arwen and Eowyn (Arwen a particularly unusual inclusion being only a four page appendix of the original book. But then without these two characters the film would be entirely male cast). Of course Eowyn's true moment is, hopefully, yet to come in the final part as she changes the course of the Great Battle, one of many tear wrenching moments! Perhaps, the wisdom of the Ents that is somewhat downplayed will come to light in the additional thirty minutes footage of the extended version. One oddity I felt was the unusual portrayal of Faramir, almost a replica of his brother, desiring the Ring of Power and almost ignorant to its effects. His knowledge was implicity demonstrated by his association of the One Ring with Gollum's Precious - the name preserved in parchment by Isildur. But Faramir's own lust for the Ring and reluctance to release the three made him just another man of Gondor, a shadow of his brother.

Still, everyone will interpret Tolkien's book differently and to translate it into over 600 minutes of movie is a phenomenal acheivement. The ROTK is surely going to be a true classic. A trilogy that does not lose energy, as happens in most trilogies (Indy J excluded!), reching the ultimate cinematic triumph in the battle of the Pelennor and the fall of the Black Gate. Perhaps, for once, in contrast to the Hollywood mould of movie making, the final words, that were denied Samwise Gamgee in the Fellowship and The Two Towers, might rightfully be allowed him this Christmas. For surely, the Lord of the Rings, while a tale of good staving of evil in a fantastical world of heros and villains, has one legend above all others. The simple poorly gardener from Bagend, Hobitton in the Shire, Samwise the stouthearted, Samwise the Brave.

Posted on Aug 24, 2003 at 15:05:24. [Comments for In Memory Of Samwise Gamgee- 1]

FIR, Accepted Defeat!

Relates to Web Standards and Accessibility, CSS Design

Ok, yet another FIR technique has been created by Levin Alexander to resolve the inherent problem for CSS enabled browsers with images disabled. While this solution does display the header in plain text when images are disabled, it falls foul of reintroducing a span element, which the techniques of Stuart Langridge and Seamus Leahy had tried to resolve. While this new approach makes nice use of the relativeabsolute relationship between parent and child in CSS positioning, it fails with transparent PNG (or GIF) header graphics, and for any design with coloured background, transparency is a prerequisite to avoid visual discrepancy between the browser interpretation of the color and that defined in the image file.

Determined to resolve this, I tried changing visibility, third dimension placement (z-index) and container heights, but there is always going to be one scenario that breaks the hack. Since FIR and its many derivatives are just that, a hack, I have come to the conclusion that FIR by itself cannot succeed as an Accessibility tool. It does present an excellent method for separating design and content, implementing alternative graphics with each stylesheet, and fortifying the semantics of the XHTML document's markup. But once accessibility is contemplated, other methods must also be introduced to present each user with the same material. The obvious way to acheive this is to use a Stylesheet Switcher to offer a plain text version of the page. Here I am not talking about the plain text of 90's websites, where the content of the site must be completely duplicated in the appropriate format. With the tools of the DOM the same XHTML marked-up page can be used, and a simple alternative stylesheet created to display plain text for the entire site.

So the graphic design version of the site can implement a FIR technique to ensure the content does not contain superfluous code. For example a header would be just a header.

<h1 id="header">This is the page header</h1>

And the stylesheet would implement FIR to replace the text with the graphic. This can offer an accessible page to most users. For the neglected few, switching to the plain text style sheet presents the header as is (there are simply no FIR techniques declared). Hence, users browsing with CSS enabled browsers with images disabled can also access all the material. Everyone is happy!?

Well there is still the possibility of a user with CSS-enabled browser, no images and no Javascript! Then what? Fall back to server-side scripting perhaps, with a GET string appended to a URI in the Stylesheet Switcher anchor when it is loaded (using the noscript tag). Then the correct stylesheet for the pulled page can be set as default before the page is sent to the client.

Posted on Aug 18, 2003 at 20:00:46. [Comments for FIR, Accepted Defeat!- 0]

A Few Quick TitBits

Relates to PHP and Accessibility, Peregrinations

Been very busy the past couple of weeks, so not much time for blogging…Here's a few bits and pieces from around the web…

  • Need to hone those Photoshop skills? I rediscovered some handy tricks within Janee's Photoshop Tutorials.
  • The new Accessify.com Forum is well and truly active and already looks set to be the topical place for accessiblity-minded developers.
  • What's it like to be without power for 29 hours…Let Zeldman tell you.
  • The best Chicken pie I have had for a long time, and a picturesque setting at the Saracen's Head.
  • After a quick perusal of the PEAR IT/ITX modules for templating, finally dived into Smarty to speed up some CMS based PHP development and to avoid mainifesting globular chunks of XHTML within the API.
  • A good starting point for developing DOM based Client Side Table Sorting scripts.
  • The main set of Chrome URLs for Mozilla and Firebird (Still using it and loving it!)
  • XForms is getting ever closer to REC status, and what a difference it will make to the laborious task of developing user forms. Of course you can easily test the benefits and potential in X-Smiles Java Browser during the inevitable laborious wait for implementation in the main player…
  • Symantec's ever efficient security response to that sneaky critter lurking the web. Some friends fell foul within 48 hours of Blaster's release, and we had an arduous clean up session over the phone. Of course if your infected, you probably will not be reading this, at least not beyond the page title!!! At least XP users now know they are not 100% secure, as a certain corpora$ion would make them believe!
  • Oh, and in less than 10 days I will finally be able to see what happens in the last 15 minutes of the Two Towers following an unexplained shut down of the cinema last Christmas. Still scouting for the official release of the RotK Trailer…

Posted on Aug 17, 2003 at 22:20:43. [Comments for A Few Quick TitBits- 0]

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