The Basic Updates to HTML over the last 15 Years

First let me say that I STILL design my sites using CSS elements and HTML tags and attributes to give my websites improved function and form. I won’t deny that sometimes they are not pretty – but I design to suit my needs now, not for anyone else.

Whilst many other designers are now using purchased templates, I enjoy writing the background code. I enjoy that little yippee-moment when the CSS works.

I remember the first time I built a sprite based header navigation in blogger.com way back in 2004! Because blogger enabled users to modify the HTML and CSS, I spent many an evening tinkering, learning, applying, reapplying, until I had a site I liked. It was also at that time that I started creating graphics for sprites.

This morning I wanted to write an explanation of what I have enjoyed over the last 15 years of coding CSS, yet felt I couldn’t easily put it into words. Thankfully I found Casadaro Shearrod’s simplified yet succinct list displaying the basic differences/upgrades of HTML over the last 20 years.

HTML 1 – linked documents
HTML 2 – linked documents with stylized text and tables.
HTML 3 – more of 1 and 2 with some Browser specific features.
HTML 4 – a re-evaluation of 3 to removes some clutter that arrived in 2 and 3.
HTML 5 – pretty much the same as 1 with the ability to specify document structures and multimedia element.

His last line below is the #1  reason I stopped designing for others. 

Knowing HTML5 in practice means we know HTML and CSS. We can do what used to be done with HTML 1,2, and 3, but we can do those things more effectively, with greater efficiency, and on a larger scale. This is what gave birth to the Web application and server side programing and scripting but, that’s a whole different talk.

HTML and CSS are not difficult to learn, but it is time consuming to both unlearn and learn as updates occur. I chose to stop. I achieved what I set out to do, so was able to tick it off my bucket list of achievements, then move onto new ventures.

And that is where I choose to end this article. Does this mean I no longer code? Are you kidding?! Reading some of the URL‘s linked above gets me fired up and interested again … so I am already pondering my website revamp!

Tool Board

Quotes from What are the differences among HTML2.x HTML3.x and HTML4.x?, written 7.Nov.2014 by Casadaro Shearrod.

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We Have Moved to Kangaroo Island

This time last year we made a BIG decision: To move our family to Kangaroo Island.

Explaining the benefits to each of our families actually didn’t take a lot, but there are a few who have not yet been there.

Yesterday morning I videoed some of my morning walk. Because of the tranquillity of Kingscote, it required very little editing before upload!

The resulting vlog shows one of the BEST reasons for our family relocation:

My morning walks will now be regular, particularly since I don’t have a 24/7 gym available. I had hoped for daily vlogs, but, well, kids.

Why I Create Graphic Art

Written for linkage to my graphic art page on my website.

#46 Clothing Combo'
I first started producing really simple graphics early in my internet days, around 1998.

It was quite by accident, yet I have always been the creative type. It turned out to be a good idea because at that time I had a fairly boring day-job, so being able to be creative in the evenings made up for the monotony. [I left that job in 2012, so I can say that now.]

The night 9/11 happened, I downloaded a freebie GIF-maker and made a dozen images that basically said how I was thinking about that whole event. [The images have since dissappeared into the archives].

Shortly after I discovered GIMP [“a freely distributed program for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition”], bought a bible-width reference book – and haven’t stopped creating or editing images.

With some amazing scripts (eg: saving all layers individually), I taught myself basic graphic-design – and now produce awesome tshirt designs AND manipulate my photographs similar to photoshop.

Wait, what did I say? Use GIMP instead of Photoshop:
Yep, For about eight years now I have been using GIMP for manipulating my photographs. Yeah, not many people realise that. Whilst everyone was raving about Photoshop, I kept learning GIMP. And I freely admit I still don’t know half of what is capable of doing. But it did teach me how to be creative.

Because producing parts of a graphic often meant asking yourself [Q1] “With the little I know, how can it be done?” For one example, I taught myself how to create (often B-grade) shadows for trees that had been manipulated from another photo and stuck into the current photo. Yeah, (hangs head in shame), I do that. But you wouldn’t spot it, and I am not going to show you where. (Smiles gleefully).

#43 I'm Crazier than Almost Everybody Here
Then in 2012 my tshirt sales started making some series G’s … per annum. Not a lot, but it got me thinking … and I decided [Q2] diversity was the key to success. I now have two Redbubble accounts – stephentrepreneur is photography, ezcreative is tshirts – and I market them like crazy.

Gotta be honest, [Q3] marketing is the key to success in any game, and particulary online. It doesn’t mean whoring your wares: It means seriously spruiking via social media to your full advantage. It works. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, I am there, showing off my skills.

In 2015, sales started ramping up. The monthly balances were not going to make me a millionaire, but my creative side was impressing my corporate side no end.

It is now 2016 and I am trying new ideas. A series of about 30 graphics are in production as we speak; They are based on observation of what sells most in my creative collection. [Q4] Never let your best work stand alone, use the experience to your advantage.

These days I spend a few hours each night drawing my ‘brain-farts’ onto paper, selecting the best, then determining how I can create them with GIMP. It isn’t easy, I don’t deny it, but it is fun.

Someone said I should do tutorials, but I now have two beautiful children who need more Daddy time, so I won’t be spending much more computer time than is neccessary. But that doesn’t mean I won’t ever do a tute.

That says enough, I am quite sure, but I plan to post some related articles in the next few weeks.

Oh, you’re probably asking what is with all the [Q]’s in this post? I have discovered that I really can write some seriously awesome quotes. So I have marked them for reference. I may add id-links soon so they can be tweeted. Noice.

Anyhow, nothing else to say other – except: Check out my tshirt collection here and here – and buy a cup, mug, tshirt, doona cover, and/or phone cover. Buy one of each! All purchases help to fund our next big project.

CSS Snippets + Sites of Interest

I wrote similar posts to this one a few years ago, but two new loves have stolen my night and online life: Children.

Our first little-man was 2.75 years ago, our most recent lad was born on March 2nd 2015. Aha,  just 3 days ago. He is still in hospital with mum as she recovers from her belly-slashing. I have only hugged him three times, helped him have his first bath, and rocked him to sleep once. He is adorable.

But I digress.

I am a HTML trawler. Yes, I scrape your HTML to learn how a thing is happening and how I can reproduce it. Rest assured, I don’t simply copy and paste. I copy and paste into an editor, test it to ensure I have all the components … then carefully research it. I want to know how and why, it has always been my passion. Heck, when I first got online in 1998, I spent about two years reading LOTS of information regarding HTML and CSS (and a few other webdev languages) as my main focus.

Which is a great segue into my favourite paragraph by Daniel Mall: It says everything about my (sporadic) reading, testing, writing, coding and creating CSS/HTML over the last 16 years. Here it is:

Construction Site I read as much as I could from people like: Mike Davidson, Shaun Inman, Jason Santa Maria, Dave Shea, Jeffrey Zeldman, Jeff Croft, Andy Budd, Eric Meyer, Ryan Sims, Jeremy Keith, Garrett Dimon, Jared Christensen, Mark Boulton, Wilson Miner, D. Keith Robinson, Faruk Ateş, Ethan Marcotte, Derek Featherstone, Greg Storey, Cameron Moll, Roger Johansson, Khoi Vinh, Dan Cederholm, Dan Rubin, and so many more.
/…/ When these people wrote a new post, I read it.
/…/ This was a community I wanted to be associated with.

Wow, me too! And the funny thing? I am rereading their blogs & articles again after a long hiatus. It feels like finding old friends. None of them would know me, but I feel like I know them. Many of the site designs have changed (that’s how well I feel I know these people, I remember some their sites from 10 years ago!), yet their writing style is much the same, though evolved. The webdev bug is strong in me and ready to resume learning.

So now let me show you what CSS/HTML I have found via my #scrape&learn process. I won’t explain each, I simply show them. If you have an interest in this field, you will see the value in them:

Restoration of Rotunda on River Torrens

FIXED ABSOLUTE

/* Sits at base of page, beneath all text. Could be used as a fixed base */
.base { background-color: #666; color: red; text-align: center; padding: 0.5em 0; position: absolute; bottom: 0; left; 0; width: 100%; }
.base a { color: green; text-decoration: none; }
.base a:hover, .back a:focus { color: yellow; }

// Found here

VIEWPORT

Version #1

<meta name=”viewport” content=”width=device-width,initial-scale=1″ />
AND
/* Fix for device screen width */
@viewport {
zoom: 1.0;
width: extend-to-zoom;
}
@-ms-viewport {
width: extend-to-zoom;
zoom: 1.0;
}

Version #2

<meta name=”viewport” content=”width=device-width, initial-scale=1, minimum-scale=1, maximum-scale=1, user-scalable=no” />

JITTER

<p class=”jitter” style=”left: -4px; -webkit-transform: rotate(-1deg);”>

Example here

Cliched View of Adelaide Iconic Horizon That’s enough samples for you. Three each time is enough.

Okay, next I show you interesting #webdev sites. I am always finding and reading tidbits of information about stuff I think can make my own site look better, or else which I can incorporate into #holdingbay pages. Yet since delicious.com fails for me regularly, I will post as articles with my descriptions. Plus it keeps my browser bookmarks tidier! Here goes…

1. Textile live web editor ~ A WYSIWYG editor where the code is on the left an the output is on the right. Includes the final HTML output for easy insertion into the page of choice. I use it for creating blog posts. Textile is so much easier for attaching URLs.

2. Fillerati ~ Lorem Ipsum is often confusing for clients. I had a client a few years back who asked if the content had been hacked on a #dummysite I was showing them. Sigh. This may still confuse them, but at least my english-speaking clients will at least go “Ooooh!”

3. A Pixel Identity Crisis by SCOTT KELLUM January 17, 2012 ~ Basically, pixel definition changes the defined appearance of a site on a smartphone. A long read, but our design process will improve for it.

4. Stephen Coles ~ Visit his ‘bits of work’ pages. Mostly visit to see how he uses his website. Inspirational. # |

5. Carolyn Wood ~ Another great web site design. Simple colours, easy to follow, uncluttered and to the point.

6. HappyCogI have visited their site many times over the years. The home page has changed dramatically since last I looked. Thankfully their articles are still cognitive. ;)

7. Quantity Queries for CSS by HEYDON PICKERING March 03, 2015 ~ Wow. Heavy reading, yet very interesting. May have to read that again. I can see already it will be worth it to incorporate into my site, thereby making it easy to access from a tablet or smartphone. Can see potential for expansion.

8. How to Build an App (.tumblr.com) ~ The thing most fascinating is the slightly tilted paragraphs. The answer is in the HTML. I have included in my sample CSS above. PLUS the article is interesting and educational.

9. What is your ViewPort size? ~ With so many smartphones and devices on the market, how can you be sure of the dimensions of any of them? Yes, this site can tell you. Email to yourself, open in browser on your device. Voila!

Nine is enough. I will try to write these style of posts once a week. Heck, with WordPress I can schedule them – and I still have hundreds of interesting articles and sites waiting to be re-revealed. Watch out for them…

Dell Upgrades Causing Intermittent Buzzing

My DELL laptop, running Windows 8.1, started buzzing every 60 seconds during YouTube video’s earlier this evening (16 Feb 2015). It was annoying and I wasn’t sure what was doing it. Was it Youtube? Was it the laptop? Was it my gaming software?

Rather than being an average user (ie: wondering how much I would have to pay Richard Pascoe to fix my laptop), I researched online to determine if it was a known issue.
Colour Coded

TIP #1: The first thing you learn on most ICT help-desk’s is that Mr Google is your best friend. Heck, every job interview I have there is nearly always this question:
Q: What do you do if you don’t know the answer to a user’s query?
A: Google it.

Bingo. I had to test a few key words; Initially I was thinking it was due to Nvidia updates,  so I searched Google for ‘recent Nvidia update problems’.

TIP #2: Always seek for your issue with the word ‘problem‘ in the search. Then select ‘Search Tools‘, drop down on ‘Any time‘ to ‘Past week‘, thereby reducing search range to most recent information. If you don’t, it will default to the most common looked at page – which are often many years ago!

Initially some of the results suggested Nvidia, but most were not recent enough. I suspected the issue might be closer to home: The laptop. So I changed to the search parameters to ‘dell audio buzzing’, the answer was revealed and verified in the DELL community support forums:
Pile of Computer Boards

1. Open ‘Control Panel\Programs\Programs and Features’
2. Remove ‘Dell Support Assist’ and ‘Dell Support Agent’
3. Reboot or Restart your machine.
4. Play youtube video to test if issue persists.

DISCLAIMER: This remedy fixed my laptop with its specifications. It may not suit every brand or computer. If you are not sure or don’t feel confident doing this yourself, I highly recommend Richard Pascoe, the Adelaide Tech Guy. I get no kickback from recommending him, we are just good friends.

Using Twitter to Get Camera Recommendations

Rear view of Professional SMC Member

Hard to believe it, I have had a Twitter account since mid 2008.

For a long time it was just something I looked at from time to time, not understanding how anyone could cross-converse in such a hectic and vibrant community. It looked (and sometimes still does) like a bazillion monkeys chattering over the top of each other, all clambering for the highest point to ensure their voice is heard.

Yet it turns out to be the best way to ask questions that a MASSIVE amount of people can respond to and (mostly) give a good response. Here is one great example:

I asked on Twitter earlier this evening…

With only one response, I chose to follow the link.

Considering many of my friends are complete arseholes, that was a big risk. Wait, wait, what I mean is they are Australian’s who like to use any opportunity to make fun of each other, which all of us, including the recipient, laugh till it is someone else’s turn. So when an Australian calls you an arsehole or a bastard, more often he is saying either “Aha, you got me!” or “Damn, you take the best holidays!”

Turns out this is a great sugggestion for a second camera. So I tried to follow with a less than 140 character reply. Considering all of the amazing features, I had to find just one or two that warranted a twitter response. So, Ric, @aqualung, this is what I have to say about the Fuji X-T1:

Read the full review of the Fujifilm XT1. I got what I wanted from Twitter. Which really is amazing.

6 Simple Reasons why Customer Service should be Real People

There are six reasons why I enjoy working in help-desk environments:
I am real,
I will listen,
I will support,
and either resolve or escalate your issue,
and I enjoy the work.

Get the Commissioner ... on the Gotham Phone

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Reasons as Thought up by Sarengazie

Image

I’m fighting the urge to pull out my hair and/or destroy my computer. This is not because I loft my hair or hate my computers (though sometimes, you know). It’s the non person customer service “agent” I’m dealing with on my laptop. I miss people, what happen to the people, why no people? Banks, restaurants, and even hospitals no longer have a person to help you. Technology has come a long way, Yes, but that doesn’t mean throw away the humans. We need humans. We are humans. Computers don’t get us. They can not comfort us. They are no good with assisting us in reaching a decision. Most importantly they always seem to not have the answer we are looking for. It’s like WHY DAMN IT WHY
Here are my 6 reasons why computers should no longer be customer support.

Computers aren’t perfect. Who hasn’t had a blackout shut down…

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