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Filed in:CSS
b2evo

PZ2 - How2

October 14th, 2005  · stk

Getting Photo-Caption Zoom (version 2) Up & Running on Your Site
(Instructions, Examples & Considerations)

In an effort to deflect a myriad of questions from readers who wanting to implement the pure-CSS photo/caption zoom (version 2) on their site - demonstrated with the photo here - I'm making this "How-to" guide. It contains the information needed to install and use it.

This photo/caption zoom technique is written to CSS 2.0 and XHTML 1.1 standards (which you can verify, using the validation buttons at the bottom of this page, if you so desire). It's been tested on both IE and FireFox. (Note: When IE7 comes out - which will support the :hover pseudo-class for all elements - the code will likely be re-written more succinctly).

PZ2 is the second version of "photo/caption zoom". This newer version overlays the text (eliminating 'text and element migration'), it allows larger images to be displayed on a page (because the image can overlay menu items and other DIVS) and it has some built-in display toggles (you can turn the caption on/off, for example). All that good stuff, unfortunately, comes at a price. The code is longer, more complex and therefore, trickier to use. (Hence the need for this tutorial.)

If you're new to the "photo/caption zoom" method displayed here, it's recommended that you read "CSS Photo-Caption Zoom" to start. It provides a history behind its development, as well as a demonstration of various 'photo zoom' techniques.

If you just want to get PZ2 working on your page (special instructions for b2evolution users), by all means, READ ON ...

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Updated: 26-Feb-2006
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Tabbed Browsing in Internet Explorer

October 11th, 2005  · stk

One of the appeals of FireFox (Mozilla), has been the capability of "tabbed browsing". This means that only one WINDOW is needed to view multiple websites, allowing the capability to switch between sites by clicking the appropriate TAB.

The same capability is now available for MSIE v6.x. However, the capability isn't available in MSIE v6.x directly. Instead, it's available in an add-on tool called MSN Search Toolbar.

I'd rather see MicroSoft add tabbed browsing directly into Internet Explorer, but there ARE some other very nice tools in the MSN Search Toolbar that make it useful (Hint: I was already using it BEFORE they added the tabbed browsing capability).

1) MSN Search Toolbar allows one to search QUICKLY for files on your own computer. It's MUCH faster and robust than the default search tool that ships with the XP O/S. (One can also search the Internet from the same search window AND specify which search engine is used, but I've been searching from the address bar for some time and don't use that capability).

2) MSN Search Toolbar has a form-fill tool that allows one to keep credit card information, shipping addresses and website usernames/passwords in an encrypted, password-protected, local file. (I use this feature A LOT and with the myriad accounts I have scattered around the Internet, have come to depend upon this feature).

3) The toolbar has a nifty "search and highlight" capability that not only searches for words on an Internet page, not only highlights those words, but also has a page preview that shows (at a glance) WHERE on the page, each search word was found. (In a very long HTML page, this is an invaluable tool).

It also comes with other tools, as well, but these are the ones I use on a regular basis and make using the tool beneficial in their own right.

Note: I'm not married to IE, as I use FireFox as well. The Web Developer extension on FireFox is unique and of utmost importance for editing CSS files in a real-time sense. I recommend you have both browsers loaded on your computer. (Reason: When a site fails to work in one, or when a browser becomes corrupted, you have a backup browser that - more likely than not - will work. This saves both time AND frustration.)

The Tabbed Browsing Experience

The MSN Tabbed Browsing experience is perfect. There are some limitations, compared with the Mozilla version.

• If you maximize the screen, you LOSE the capability to switch sites using the tabs. They simply disappear off the maximized screen and the only site that's maximized, is whatever tab site was active. (Dumb).

• If you close the tabbed window using the "X" in the upper right-hand corner of the window, the window will ungracefully close ALL your tabs AND the window, without some kind of warning like: "Do you really want to close all your tabs in this window?" Be careful!

Other than these two shortcomings, the MSN Toolbar tabbed browsing is a move in the right direction for MicroSoft.

If you often have several sites open at one time, you can open all those into a tabs and then SAVE the tab configuration, so that all you have to do is click one button and all those sites will be accessed and tabbed into one window. Sweet!

If you're new to tabbed browsing, or like FireFox because of the tabbed browsing, you might want to download the MSN Search Toolbar and add it to your copy of IE's browser.

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Penn State #16 beats Ohio State #6

October 8th, 2005  · stk

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - Penn State is back! They're on top of the Big Ten and back in the hunt for a National title.

Michael Robinson and Derrick Williams ran for touchdowns less than three minutes apart in the second quarter, and Paul Posluszny and the Nittany Lions' defense did the rest in a 17-10 victory over No. 6 Ohio State on Saturday night.

Win No. 349 for Joe Paterno was the type of victory some thought was only in the past for the 78-year-old coach. The 16th-ranked Nittany Lions (6-0, 3-0) hadn't beaten a team so highly ranked since knocking off No. 4 Arizona to start the 1999 season.

On a chilly and damp night -- just perfect for a slugfest between two of the Big Ten's best defenses -- Penn State was out to prove that Paterno's once powerful program could again compete with the nation's elite after winning just three conference games the past two seasons.

The Nittany Lions did more than just hold their own against the Buckeyes (3-2, 1-1) and their vaunted defense, led by linebacker A.J. Hawk. Penn State bested the team considered the class of the league and Rose Bowl contender.

When Tamba Hali sacked Troy Smith and knocked the ball loose, it was recovered by Scott Paxson, with about 1½ minutes left, All that Robinson had to do was take a couple of knees and kill the clock.

Now, for the first time since that '99 season, Penn State is a player in the national title picture.

Defense was the lynchpin of the '99 team - linebacker LaVar Arrington and defensive end Courtney Brown - providing the big plays.

Now its Posluszny and Hali.

The Lions bottled up a two-way threat quarterback (Troy Smith) and took Ohio State's big-play receivers, Ted Ginn Jr. and Santonio Holmes, out of the game. Not until the final drive did either have a catch of more than 20 yards.

Posluszny had another double-digit tackle game and he chased down Smith for a 10-yard loss with about five minutes left to help keep the Buckeyes scoreless in the second half.

Ohio State was the highest-ranked opponent to visit State College since No. 2 Miami played at Beaver Stadium in 2001. Games like this used to be common at Penn State, but during four losing seasons in the past five years Happy Valley's been kind of a sullen place.

With the Nittany Lions back in the rankings and a win a way from having first place in the Big Ten all to themselves, the student body was re-energized. Some camped out for a week in what was dubbed "Paternoville" around Beaver Stadium for the first-come, first-serve seats.

The Nittany Lions rewarded their patience with a performance worthy of Paterno's two championship teams. In return, the bouncing crowd of 109,839 literally had the stadium rocking up and down after Penn State scored two TDs in a span of 2:33 to take a 14-3 lead in the second quarter.

Williams sped 13 yards with a simple toss sweep for a touchdown that gave Penn State its first lead.

Moments later, Calvin Lowry picked off Smith's pass and returned it 36 yards to the Ohio State 2. On third-and-goal from the 1, Robinson scored on a keeper with 7:55 to go in the half.

But the Buckeyes responded to the Penn State defense and the thunderous roars of the crowd with an 81-yard, 14-play drive that Smith capped with a 10-yard TD run and reach across the goal line.

But that was Ohio State's one and only sustained drive and the Buckeyes dropped to 17-7 against Top 25 teams under coach Jim Tressel.

Let's be honest. Penn State was given a GIFT, in the form of an interception, by Calvin Lowry, during the 2nd quarter. He returned it to the OSU 2-yard line and the PSU offense capitalized, making the score 14 to 3. When OSU was going for the tie, in the 4th quarter, Tamba Hali sacked Troy Smith, forcing a turn-over that ended OSU's chances.

Those two turn-overs spear-headed OSU's defeat. Nothing against Penn State, who played smart and capitalized on the opportunities, but in important games, such as this one, those kind of mistakes lead to defeat.

I'm hoping that Penn State can continue to play smart and not turn over the ball.

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Filed in:Alexandra

Alex is Two

October 7th, 2005  · stk

Here come the Terrible Two's!

Wow, does time fly. Our little girl just celebrated her SECOND birthday on October 3rd.

She knew it was coming.

"MY birthday," she said (she's really "into" what's her's, Mom's or Dad's right now. It's kind of embarrassing when we go to visit friends. "MY toy," she says, grabbing some other kid's toy. "Huh?" Where did THIS child come from?)

Of course, Rachel's birthday is in August and Scott's in September, so she had some practice.

"How old are you?" we asked.

"TWO!" she says. (She can count to three now, but it's usually, "one, three, two").

We bought her a large, colorful, plastic "kitchen center" for her gift. We debated long and hard about bringing a plastic centerpiece into the house, but ultimately, capitulated. Why? Because she LOVES doing dishes and helping out in the kitchen.

Despite our distain for all things large and plastic, I think it was a good choice. She's been serving Daddy "coffee" and Mommy "tea", every morning (even if the cups are very small, at least they've been warmed in the "microwave"). Her teddy bears have been served full course meals and although they've starved for months, they're now caught up from three feedings each day since Alex received her gift! (They're starting to look positively TUBBY!)

Alex has been a joy (for the most part) during the year and we've chronicled her development, facial expressions and antics, in her "Year Two" slide show. There are over 120+ photos and accompanying notes. We hope that you enjoy the show. (The slide show is a Java Applet and requires Java be loaded on your computer).

Happy Birthday Alexandra!

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Updated: 26-Feb-2006
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Noteworthy

Broadband: Socket to Me

October 2nd, 2005  · stk

Every existing electric socket in your home can be a broadband connection, thanks to Matsushita Industrial Co. (an Osaka-based company that's the manufacturer of Panasonic brand products). They have developed a new chip that does away with Ethernet cables and wireless networking equipment.

The new chip allows the existing copper wiring in your home to carry BOTH electricity and data. The obvious advantage is that there are commonly multiple sockets in every room of your home, each a potential broadband connection. The other advantage? Data rates are 170 MBPS, faster than even Cat-5 Ethernet cables.

Not very often does technology advance with such universal appeal. If you can plug in an appliance, it can be powered AND be Internet-ready all at the same time. (Think network-capable refrigerators, microwaves, coffee-makers, and Televisions).

Read more about it.

Apparently, Matsushita isn't the only player, as this Telkonet News Release indicates. All 31 Sandman Hotels, Inns and Suites throughout Canada have been equipped with "powerline communications" (PLC) technology.

Learn more about PLC here .

Learn more about BPL here.

FOLLOW UP:

19-Dec-2005 - BPL Rollout in Texas

As part of an upgrade to the existing grid, TXU and Current Communications Group announced the nation's first major BPL rollout in the United States. The $150 million dollar project will convert TXU Electric Delivery's power distribution network into the nation's first BPL-enabled "Smart Grid".

The rollout will make BPL available to approximately 2 million Texas customers in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, at prices competitive with existing cable and ASDL solutions. (Current's only other widespread BPL availability is through Cinergy Corp. in Cincinnati, where it charges $20-45/month for BPL connections, with speeds of up to 3 MBPS.

Current, with backing from Google and The Hearst Corporation (among others), has smaller pilot BPL pilot projects in Hawaii, Maryland and southern California.

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Updated: 4-Mar-2006
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