Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Crossing Browsers With Rounded Corners

Old post from the beginning of 2010 that I apparently forgot to hit publish on. With any luck the info is still helpful.


The Task
Working on a project that had some fancy rounded corners of several of the div's. The problem was that I had used up all of my background images on other cutsie effects (that is the exasperated developer in me talking). So without an anchor point to place my corner images I decided it was time to revisit the topic of rounded images.

The Problem
Firefox and Webkit both implement CSS3 border-radius. They are golden, however, I still have to address IE and its refusal to make my life easier. I knew I was going to need something more creative. I would prefer a drop-in, script-only solution. I found a few.

http://www.malsup.com/jquery/corner/
Spent a lot of time hoping for this one. The corners rounded sure enough, but I lost all borders. When I was able to "keep" my borders they didn't round. Which seemed a little anticlimactic to have the background image round but not the borders.

http://www.curvycorners.net/instructions/
Crazy instructions and disclaimers for inadequacy, although it did have the most documentation (more is not always better). I gave up after it repositioned my absolutely positioned internal object.

http://www.dillerdesign.com/experiment/DD_roundies/
Came the closest but still repositioned internal objects. Not by much but they moved several pixels to the right and down. This made it inconsistent with the other browsers and would require separate css to compensate.

Conclusion: I decided for my work case that I was just better off creating a custom jquery script that dropped the corner images in if the user is running IE. I love the CSS3 corners that firefox and webkit implement. My solution is not elegant but it keeps excess html out of my layout and these images will cover IE until they get their act together.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Great Dumb-ening

What I am blogging about is in response to this article summarizing a book Eli Pariser called The Filter Bubble.

Is the progressive social and algorithmic filtering of the web reducing your exposure and understanding of what's out there? I have many reservations to the social trend that is set to infiltrate every aspect of the web, but I hadn't given much thought to the way information is already being shaped for me. I have long been aware that Google shapes its search result on every piece of info they can glean from you. It has been increasingly hard for me to know what being #1 in search results actually means. I mean even if you were to do a search in a virgin browser on a machine without wifi or location turned on Google will still try and guess your location based on ip and serve up results that cater to that area. Is it even possible to get at the #1 overall result. The only way I have found is to look up search terms in Google's webmaster tools.

Every search, tweet, blog post (especially in blogger) and who knows how much info gathered from my surfing in Chrome goes to make my web surfing "easier" but also a little less diverse, a little more single minded. And that is what I consider to be the more restrained version of the dumb-ening. I am a little fearful of what would happen when my social graph were let loose on my discovery on the web. Do I need to rethink every "friend", every subsequent graph that I have plugged into? We in a sense would be taking that algorithm and narrowing it down to the few voices that I have linked myself to, moreover reducing it to those voices that I interact the most with.

In both of these scenarios, being more diverse in my searches/friends will probably keep the gates open a little wider, but what will still be a concern is the secret filtering. The silent nudge in the discovery of web data that informs my decisions and understanding of the world. The world that we, not long ago, were made connected to via the web.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Scan Me

I was combining some Google services today.
  • Google Profiles
  • goo.gl link shortener
My thought was that by using their link shortener I can make a short url and a QR code that point to my Google profile. I want to get the QR code on my business card. Using their link shortner and creating the QR codes isn't automatic. I had to read about it in this lifehacker article. I can't figure out why Google doesn't do this for us automatically.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Windows 7 Ner.. Launch Party

I just got my Windows 7 Launch Party Pack in the mail yesterday! I snapped a few pictures of all the keen gear. The software would be the high point. My wife thought the reusable grocery bags were nice. I just have to sit and scratch my head over few of the items. My 3 year old daughter thought the puzzle was at least interesting (but adults?). It is safe to say that my party will be cooler than the demo videos that microsoft put out. And hey, we have streamers. Viva la nerd party!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Short URLs for Scripture: part 2

If you haven't already you should read Short URLs for Scripture: part 1
I have recently found two services that utilize short, predictable urls to address online scripture. Because of their surprising depth in features I have decided to do a two part series. Otherwise the post was going to be way too long. They are both really great examples of ministry integrating well with web technology.

Part Two: Read.ly



First, the short url redirect service. Read.ly has a strict url format. I think they have chosen the simpliest one (albeit not the shortest one, ref.ly tends to be 2 characters shorter). They have the format http://read.ly/gen1.1.NIV - three character book abbreviation then chapter dot verse dot abbreviation for chosen Bible version*. Although, their url shortener is basic their online Bible offering is where they really shine.

Here are some of the things that make YouVersion.com great.
  • 40 versions in 22 languages!
  • Search widget. This widget is exactly like the Ref.ly one.
  • Contributions seems centered on social sharing.
    • Your account allows for following so you can see what your friends are doing.
    • Hub for likes, bookmarks, journal-ing, contributing, and tagging. They provide a lot of different ways to interact with Scripture.
    • A distinction between contributions and journal(private) items.
  • Mobile apps for all the major players. This is an important web space. It turns your web capable device into a powerful research/devotional tool. Not to mention mobile is the perfect venue for short url sharing.
  • Public facing profile listing you activity (excluding your journal which is private). At this time there are no privacy settings available, however, I am not sure if they are necessary.
  • Adjustable font size. Makes sense to these weary eyes.
  • Reading in parallel. You can lay out two versions next to each other. This is really powerful and they do it well.
  • Audio Bible component.

Concludings

Here are some high points from both services.
  • Ref.ly online has a more flexible redirect service.They connect a user to a online and offline product and seems aimed at the ministry professional. There is a lot of value there.
  • Read.ly is no slouch. The social aspects of scripture reading and the multitude of ways to interact with the Scripture make for a very inviting user experience. Their site is a little more attractive as well. The reading in parallel feature is pretty awesome. Lastly, the audio book option also sets them apart.
I really expected to have an obvious winner. Both services provide a great deal of value. I think it really comes down to the features that would serve you best. It is great to have two online options for url shortening and Bible research.

[*Update: it appears on closer inspection (thanks richschmidt) that the required abbreviations varies by book. ex. Gen is three letters but Exod is four. This is pretty disappointing and kind of a deal breaker for me. By not picking one or the other and since the urls are very strict (it will not search and guess for you like ref.ly) I find the Read.ly service sadly crippled. I think one of the powers of these services is their compos-ability (I made that word up). And I unfortunately will not be able to remember which books require 3 and which require 4 characters. Hopefully YouVersion will fix this.]

The important thing is to get in there and start sharing those great little urls! Please share your thoughts in the comments. I am interested is your take/experience.

You can also follow them on Twitter
@logos and @youversion

SHAMELESS PLUG: Sign up for my web design class (JRN315)! MU classes start on August 31st so register today.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Does anybody build static web pages anymore?

After all, if the future of the web can be divined we will all be building nothing but Word Press sites in a matter of a couple of years anyway, right?

My web class is underway. As I was prepping a few of the assignments I came up against this question, "Which is more valuable: building static pages or building templates for dynamic content?" Personally, as I develop pages for Multnomah University I can't afford to trap that content into one location. The true value of mark up in my opinion is that it frees your content to be re-purposed.

By and by, the development necessary to utilize dynamic content seemed too focused in web development and beyond the scope of my class. But I still wonder if conceptually students wouldn't be better served to see a website's design as just a temporary skin housing external content. For example when discussing CSS and CSS page layout (love it or lump it) one of its tenants is how easily a site is redesigned without changing the (x)html structure, however, another strength is that CSS is agnostic to the content involved. Thus, when building out a design we style a content block with every detail of our style guide and it is ready for any dynamic content that might come its way. In this sense, it might be that a static page is no more than a dynamic page with you as the manual cms.

Just some questions to mull before you scrap it all and do nothing but xslt.
When was the last time you built a static page? Does is still have value and where?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Want to take my class for free?

Classes at Multnomah University start on Monday (31st)! My course starts on Tuesday!!

Students, as you are running around getting all your ducks in a row I wanted to remind you of the the new Tuition Relief Scholarship. Basically, if you are currently enrolled in minimum of 14 credits the next three credits (up to 17) are free. That means MU will allow you to take my 2 credit course Web Design course (JRN315) for FREE!

If you might be interested in web design or just understanding the internet better you should give JRN315 a look, especially if you are sitting at 14-15 credits right now. Free classes, they are not just for alumni any more.

Hope to see you on Tuesday!