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Santa Rosa Beach, Florida June 17, 2005

Posted by Leita in Florida, Southern Living.
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Here’s a photo of SRB, folks ask about my locale and it’s easier to show than describe:

Firefox – why change browsers? June 16, 2005

Posted by Leita in Browsers, Internet.
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I started using Firefox a while back at the prompting of web gurus fighting the good fight for standards-compliant code. It’s just a better browser and it didn’t take me long to rack up the reasons why. A sample can be found at Eric Meyer’s site. Take a look at this page in Internet Explorer then in Firefox. Scroll a bit, play around and see a sample of what I.E. users have been missing. I.E. users don’t see what’s happening in the background … what the internet could be. Meyer’s site is just one example, an average user may not understand what he’s saying, but the images tell the story clearly. Honestly, at first I didn’t notice a huge difference between how the two browsers rendered most pages. Thanks to coders who pay close attention to standards compliance, and the clients willing to pay for the thoughtful code, the good sites look similar. If that’s not enough reason to switch, try those tabs. No more opening six separate windows when poking ’round the ‘net; they’re all right there! Woohoo! After playing with those, I clicked the big click and designated Firefox as my default browser. A first for me, I didn’t even do that with Netscape back in ’97. (Note: back then I was a Netscape convert. It was my favorite browser until one of the early upgrades released was so buggy I couldn’t uninstall it fast enough. Call me picky and unforgiving, but I didn’t go back until recently. It’s a decent browser, even has those yummy tabs, but too hungry for space I do not care to share.) I’ll say it again, if you’re using I.E., get Firefox. It’s worth every wee meg it takes up. While you’re at it, dump Outlook and get Thunderbird, too. Since employing those two programs, the amount of malware that accumulates on my computer has dropped by over 80% daily, from an average of 50-70 to about 6. That’s every day. That’s huge. Now, the caveat: since most Windows users click on the big blue E that comes loaded on their computer and often aren’t aware of what else is out there, it seemed as though I was just adding hours to my browser testing. Criminy, one more browser to putter with, it almost made me revert back to Flash sites and damn the search engine optimization. I won’t even go into Opera, which was touted at “the” browser to have a few years ago. It wasn’t and I don’t have it on my computer even for testing. I’m being unfair building sites that may or may not look decent in Opera, but if they can’t keep up, screw ’em. I suppose I’m not a standards-compliant militant, but I do pay attention to I.E. users since they still are the vast majority. Now I pay attention to Firefox because the folks who use it care enough to make the extra effort worth it. One last link before I go: give Newt a click with I.E. and Firefox. I sent this one to a client yesterday and even though he’s a mac boy, he was impressed. Now, do what Eric says and go do the right thing.

My Dog Itchy June 10, 2005

Posted by Leita in Flotsam/Jetsam, Life in the Woods.
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Itchy was the result of a permiscuous Pomeranian and either a Chihuaha or some unknown neighborhood rascal. Soon after she moved in (and chewed herself a home in everyone’s ass heart… she could be a real pain) I started thinking she was at least part Terrier. Had to be, she looked like a cross between a Rat Terrier, a Cairn Terrier and Phyllis Diller. I’m guessing she ran away from home shortly after birth, squatted in a little of fluffy Poms thinking she’d have it easy for the rest of her ├╝ber-upper-middle-class life. Until it came time to sell the pups. The fluffaloriums went for +$200, Itchy was free with a bonus of free fleas, hence the moniker which she acquired more honestly than any black dog named Shadow. Instead of living in a gated-community tract home, she came to the country. I like to think she lucked out, as did I. This is doggy heaven.. dirt roads, no traffic and only a couple of houses near. Grown, she didn’t weigh much more than six pounds, but she was huge where it counted. Itch climbed like a cat, using her claws. She scraped legs when someone was unfortunate enough to wear shorts in her presence. She bit, too. All that got a little better as she grew, though. When big enough to go out by herself, Itchy started chasing the neighborhood dogs. The smallest pooch on the street, she ran with Golden Retrievers, half-breed wolves and a Boxer/Pit Bull mix that frightened animal control so much I think they refused to pick the beast up no matter how many complaints they received. Itch was princess of Wilson Street. If a strange dog came sniffing by she’d run it off.. the last one was just a week ago, a German Shephard/grizzly mix. She left the wild bunnies alone, though. I guess they weren’t big enough to bother with. Itch died today, consumed by something with neither teeth nor fur. Something she should’ve left alone, but there’s just too many tempting treats in the woods out here. Ironic, she could best the biggest critters out here, but was taken by something smaller than she. After she left, I cried until I fell asleep and dreamed of chasing her around the yard with a flea spray bottle. G’bye, Itch.

On selecting the proper CMS June 9, 2005

Posted by Leita in CMS, Flotsam/Jetsam, Internet.
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A couple years ago I switched to Flash for most of the sites I designed. It seemed to be the best direction to take at the time–it’s not exactly the kind of thing a weekend-warrior “webmaster” takes on–and I still think it is. But with most browsers handling CSS pretty well now and the end of futzing with tables and layout (I just won’t do them anymore) I am taking a second look at my methods and making changes. Enter CMS. I’ve browsed a bunch and I like them all. Yep, all of them. Prior experience with php was mainly in the message board arena, something I did enjoy. OpensourceCMS.com lists 33 different open source systems. After a week of piddling, I’ve played with four: Mambo, Xoops, Drupal and Siteframe. This is going to take a while.