Because I forget stuff. Part of

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May 2004

Posts made in May 2004

CSS Hacks

Normally I avoid using CSS hacks (apart from to fix problems with the most popular, non-standards compliant browser in the world of course). So it’s something of an irony that one of the few times I decide I need one it turns out I can’t find one to do just what I want. So, if anyone knows an Opera only hack, …

Lost Under The Paper

Can’t find a thing. Time to tidy my desk again (and in fact, most of the rest of the room). Books, papers piled everywhere. Of course, tidying could just be displacement activity but in this case I really don’t think it is—it truely is necessary.

Towel Day

I only just discovered it’s Towel Day (how did that one slip me by?) Immediatly grab my towel (never far away anyway, you never know when you might have to leave).

Busy, Busy, Busy

I haven’t updated this blog in a little while, simply because I’m too busy and little things (like a thesis!) keep getting in the way. However, I thought I’d write a bit of an entry just to try out this posting by email thing.
This thesis really is taking up a bit of time. Currently I’m adding in the few bits of the MEIS chapter that were missing so that it’s in a pretty finished state and polishing up the thulium silicide chapter so that’s more or less done too. I got a bit distracted by r-factors last week which has messed the schedule around a bit, but the work I did for that was going to get done for the next chapter anyway, so it should work out in the end :-)
Pickering CastleStill, the weather on Sunday made it seem to be a good idea to have decided to go on a picnic whilst visiting a couple of castles. Nowhere I haven’t been before, but it was nice to revisit. A quick trip up the road to Pickering and its classic Motte and Bailey castle (the picture shows the view from the top of the motte back down towards gatehouse and Mill Tower, along with the surrounding countryside!) Then it was along the road to the imposing Scarborough Castle, sat on a headland which has been occupied since around 800BC. The castle was damaged in the civil war (when the keep half collapsed) but has still served as a prison and barracks since, and was shelled by german warships in World War 1.
Scarborough beach then made a nice setting for the picnic, complete with donkeys wandering around in the background. And I only nearly got decapitated by a frisbee the once!
Edit: So this email thing didn’t work out too well because I’ve gor blogger set to automagically insert
tags, which it did all over the place messing everything up. I’ve edited it into a pretty state. I’ll try turning off that feature for a while and see if I can remember to add them in manually when I want one.

Standard Compliant Only, Nearly

So, things are working a bit better in IE. The layout doesn’t get completly messed up now anyway (not in IE 6.0 Win, I haven’t tested in anything else yet). Apparently it didn’t much like the overall blog containing div having position:relative. As that was legacy from the old layout I could safely remove that rule. It still barfs if the archive search part is in there though, so for IE only we have that set to display:none. Oh, and the negative right-margin trick to shove the sidebar beyond the right of the containing div messes up, so for IE only that’s out too. And of course there’s no drop down picture in IE. SO, standards enhanced, IE just about working!

The Failings of IE

A couple of very quick hacks making use of further IE bugs to alter some CSS and there’s a little bit of progress. Still renders like crap in IE though, so if you want this in all it’s glory, try a better browser. Don’t have time to sort it properly right now, maybe at the weekend.

Standard Compliant Only, Please

Well, I’m fairly happy with things so far, but it seems that you really do need a standards compliant browser. At the moment IE is doing ugly things to the layout (at least it worked before). This could be due to several things, but I can’t be bothered sorting it at the moment. Yet again something that works elegantly in Mozilla and Opera (and anything standards compliant) will need horrible hacking for IE-it may be I change how the layout is done again to get around the problems. Ah well, for now, use a decent browser and everythings fine (personally I think it renders better in Lynx than IE. Grrrrr.

Some Progress

OK, so the new comments system is implemented (which means all the previous comments are gone but there weren’t many anyway so what do I care!). That meant I had to enable PostPages, so each post now has it’s very own page, though the weekly archives are still there. There are of course a few teething problems, both with my design and I think Blogger. Why they store the subdirectories for the PostPages under the root folder I have set up for the frontpage, rather than that set up for the archives I don’t know (i.e. I want them to be /blogarch/2004/05/post.shtml not /2004/05/post.shtml) but that’s a minor gripe. The Post a Comment text could do with having an option to change it, and they might want to introduce IP banning (even word filtering?). I’ll probably have to tweak the search engine to reflect the changes as well (hopefully rumours Google will make their technology available to Blogger bloggers will turn out to be true).
With my design I ran into trouble with PostPages because IE still doesn’t bloody understand min-height. This meant that everything was getting shoved up to hide beneath the absolutly positioned Now Links etc. I know there are workarounds for min-height in IE, but I’ve been intending to redo that area of the blog anyway, so as a stop gap solution I’ve used the new conditional tags to hide everything but archives and search on all but the front page (and please can we have things like as well as ). So, coming along. Still more to play with.

Blogger Relaunch Play

The news is all full of Blogger’s relaunch (thanks to Douglas Bowman at StopDesign). As Blogger is powering this blog, that means I play with the new features. So if you happen to see weird things and strange layouts/bugs for the next few days, it’s probably just my playing!

<15? Look away now

15Apparently my movie rating is a 15 certificate. Have to confess I’m somewhat disappointed not to make an 18.
Found via failmaster, who I was reading via lexitus.

Mozilla Address Book Get Map

For anyone living in England wanting Mozilla Address Book’s Get Map function to wotk with to produce maps then try the following: In the browser address bar enter about:config then in the filter box enter mail.addr_book.mapit_url.format. Modify(right click-select Modify) this to
advanced=true&mapsize=big (without the linebreaks!)
Restart the browser and hopefully that should work. Post any feedback in the comments.

Bold, Strong, Italic, Emphasis

Further to thoughts on the simplebits quiz, Matthew Thomas has an article which says a great deal without too many words. Excellent stuff, and convinces me that I should use all of <b>, <i>, <em> and <strong> (as well as <dfn> etc which I’d almost forgotten about).

Holiday Calendar

I got fed up with the failings of the UK Holiday calendar file available from Apple, so I created one of my own. I’m not going to claim it’s better but it suits my purposes more. It’s designed for use in England (so no Scottish Bank Holidays, etc) and includes items such as Father’s day and Valentine’s Day through to 2007 (and beyond where the date is the same every year). It’s publically available at I’ll be updating it with whatever new dates spring to mind, as well as adding corrections etc. Feel free to use it if you find it helpful and drop any suggestions in the comments.


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This Crazy Fool

Dr Ian Scott
Croydon (and Gateshead), United Kingdom
Bullding Services Engineer (EngDesign), PhD in Physics (University of York), football fanatic (Newcastle United), open source enthusiast (mainly Mozilla)

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