Matt Brundage

Archive for the 'meta' category

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

User agent esoterica

IE6 visits For the past 30 days, IE6 visits composed less than 5% of all browser visits to, a new low. Because the 5% threshold has now been breached, I’ll take this opportunity to state that, finally, IE6 is no longer a supported browser. Wow, it felt really good to type that! I had been flirting with the idea of dropping support for some time. In fact, it was supposed to be a Christmas gift to myself. But it is finally official.

What are we left with? Managing the quirks of IE7 and IE8 is a walk in the park compared to the frequently illogical rendering behavior of IE6.

Perhaps not coincidentally, Google is phasing out support for the 8 ½-year old browser — with support at YouTube to end just a couple of days before IE9 is announced at MIX10.

List of fun things to do in a post-IE6 world

  • start using alpha transparent PNG
  • start using CSS2/3 selectors
  • start using inline-block instead of float
  • start using “px” and “pt” again in font-sizing (perhaps)
  • start using position:fixed
  • stop adding cellspacing="0" to tables
  • stop filling empty table cells with “ 
  • More fun things to do
Saturday, 30 January 2010

The first ten years

screenshot This month marks the tenth anniversary of my website. I registered in early 2003, but the site had existed for three years prior at the now-defunct

I’m stopping short of providing a gallery of screen shots of my site through the years, but this I can tell you: the site gets progressively less embarrassing as time goes by. But even in rare instances when the design wasn’t half-bad, the underlying code was — by current standards — atrocious. A few examples:

  • I didn’t specify a doctype declaration, with the reasoning that I was keeping the page weight low. For similar reasons, or perhaps out of sheer laziness, I didn’t always enclose attribute values in double quotes. Doh! Both of these heinous practices ended in 2004.
  • In lieu of server-side file includes, I was using JavaScript includes simply to output common navigation menus on the page. In some parts of the site, this practice persisted until 2007. 2007!
  • I didn’t start validating my code until the summer of 2004, around the time that I started using Firefox. And yes, my site was “broken” when I first viewed it in Firefox, then on version 0.8 or 0.9.
  • I was declaring font sizes in points rather than “em”s or percentages as late as 2005.
  • I would sometimes separate paragraphs with two <br> tags instead of wrapping them in <p> tags. This practice finally ended site-wide in 2007.
  • I didn’t even start indenting my code at any discernible frequency until late 2007 — it was a conscious decision to keep the page weight as low as possible.

I feel as if I have finally absolved myself of past web development sins. The only real bright spot in my early code seems to be my wholehearted embrace of CSS.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Site-wide refresh

Change comes slowly…if it comes at all.

When I first published a personal website — located somewhere at the ever-venerable — my intent was that every section of the site would look completely different from the next. At the time (circa January 2000), I thought it was a pretty good idea. Since then, however, the various sections have been slowly evolving and merging into a unified design. The latest site refresh allows for even less “individuality”, so to speak, as I’ve set up a modest custom-built template system.

It was never my intention for this site refresh to involve major style changes, so good luck if you’re looking for something substantial. One notable exception is page width. With widescreen and full high-definition monitors becoming more and more mainstream, the last thing I wanted was a line of text that spanned the entire width of the browser window at 1920×1080. (Or higher!) While I can never completely control exactly how a user views my site, this refresh attempts to regain some control of the viewing experience.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Mid-month roundup

…This is how I know that I’m a bad blogger: Last week, Annie, her two eldest sisters, and I spent a week out west, conquering the Grand Canyon, Sedona, and the open road, yet I have no blog post to show for it! During our stay, we averaged about 100 photos per day. An unwieldy photo gallery is forthcoming, I promise. And, perhaps, some quality commentary.

…Warren Buffett has given us the green light to start investing again; I’m hopeful that next week will be another solid rebuilding week for the Dow. I’ve sufficiently rationalized my “losses” thus far; I’m truly no longer affected by them. It’s all play money until you have to use it. As I focus the bulk of my investments in retirement accounts, a decreasing percentage of my portfolio hinges on the day-to-day rise and fall of stocks.

…Lately, I’ve been enamored by the work of one J.D. Roth, owner and writer of both Get Rich Slowly and Get Fit Slowly. Every day, I’m in awe at the consistent quality of his work. He’s introduced me to a number of related financial sites. With the wealth of good, free financial information available, it’s a wonder why anyone would choose to hire a financial advisor — unless, of course, one dislikes dealing with his financial situation. As for me, I revel in it. At times, I worry that I worry too much about money. I seriously wouldn’t mind getting randomly audited by the IRS. It would be a pleasant experience for me.

On a related note, sometimes I wish that I had significant consumer debt, only because it would be personally gratifying to pay it off. I’m intrigued by stories of people in debt, and the methods they use to overcome their debt and their bad habits. It would be an incredible feeling of accomplishment to eliminate, say, massive credit card debt. The source of your problems is literally subtracted out of existence.

…I was recently bestowed with a couple of quality “seasoned” laptops that my company had long since abandoned: a four-year-old IBM ThinkPad and a slightly older Dell Inspiron 8100. Both are steps up from my current notebook, a Windows 2000-era Dell that makes a grating grinding sound whenever it’s turned on. Oh, and the touchpad frustratingly registers false clicks at random.

…Some of my coworkers and I have just moved into a swing space, as our office area is being renovated. The problem is that it’s four floors below street level, in a secluded, bomb-proof room with no air flow — conditioned or otherwise. I keep telling myself that at least I’m not working in a uranium mine in Novosibirsk, Russia. I’m entertaining the idea of not shaving or otherwise grooming myself for the duration of our stay in the dungeon, as a quiet protest.

…I’m off to the Maryland Renaissance Festival later today, so I suppose that I will take in a couple of turkey legs and a significant amount of jerky. (Annie cannot resist the jerky vendor.) It will be good to be a part of such a large gathering of geeks. No swords allowed. :-(

Monday, 2 June 2008

A Certain Confluence of Situations

A certain confluence of situations has devolved this blog into a near-ghost town. Admittedly, posts of late have been less than superb. About the only bright spots are write-ups (that I didn’t write) and photos (some of which I didn’t take) of our rabbit, Sniff. There’s been some unintentionally funny images and musings that only a mother could write.

Apart from that, posts have been sort of boring. I just don’t have the flair that I once did. I’ve gotten the mindset of not blogging about specific topics because they’ve been done in bigger and better fashion by others. To compound matters, I don’t find my life particularly interesting. Deeply fulfilling, yes — but hardly interesting.

Some authors of topical blogs feel restricted in that they don’t have any leeway in what they can blog about. They blog about one topic, and write well. I have the opposite problem — my site has no true focus, so my posts swing wildly from religious and political musings and random humor to geeky stuff to what I happened to do last weekend. Because I have the freedom to post in any conceivable topic, I post infrequently, and with poor results. I’ve had better luck with Facebook’s status updates, a feature I adore because it enables me to post witty one-liners without all the rigmarole of creating a full-fledged blog post.

My resolution for the summer is to assign myself topics to blog about. I may even ask people to demand that I write a blog post about a specific topic — however obscure or esoteric. Whatever it takes to get out of these doldrums.

Tuesday, 17 January 2006

WordPress 2.0 upgrade

I spent about an hour or so just now upgrading and tweaking WordPress 2.0 and so far I have a very good impression of it. It definitely has an AJAX flavor to it now — admin pages are more customizable and features just flow nicer.

One of the more noticeable differences I can see is the restoration of the Dashboard. In version 1.5.2, I could only see the right side of the Dashboard — the left column was mysteriously missing. Yet in another install of 1.5.2 that I had done, the left column worked just fine. However, the Developer blog entries are missing from the Dashboard now! Such a pity.

Saturday, 3 December 2005

This December

I have many exciting things going on right now: I’m taking my final final exams next Saturday (no more college!) All this week I’ve been moving out of my condo and into a townhouse — replete with painting, organizing, sorting, tossing out stuff, buying new stuff, etc. December’s postings and site updates will be few, as I won’t have Internet access at my new place until Dec 27th. I’m having fiber installed, so it should be well worth the wait. I will somehow find a way to survive over three full weeks without a TCP/IP connection.

Monday, 22 August 2005

I broke down and installed WordPress

I have a few days before school starts again, so I thought I’d run a database-driven blog instead of my modest flat-file creation. Much integration will happen in the near future!

Sunday, 12 June 2005

Mid-month Miscellany

I recently started a six-credit-hour class called The Religious Quest, and as such, have had even less time to blog or update my site. :-( When I get a free evening, I’ll put up some new content, including a picture of an elephant!