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Twitter This, Twitter That
When the blue bird chirps, we've Tweet'd w/in the past hour.
It seems that the whole world is a-flutter, over little blue birds (which are the universal symbol for "Twitter", a increasingly popular "micro-blogging" service). Twitter is used to make 140-character comments about what you're doing. You can even embed photos, videos and links - to be rendered in-place, by browser add-on applications. Use it to keep in touch with "friends", for time-delayed "conversations", social networking, staying on top of important (and not-so important) breaking news, popular topics, wasting your employers time or digging deeper into research: trends, keywords, news and other things.
We started tweeting early this year and I finally got around to customizing a "twitter status update", which you'll find in our "Site Tools" section of our blog sidebar. It's a bit different than most Twitter status updates I've seen and here's how it works:
IF you see the blue-bird a-singing (animated musical notes), it means that we've "tweeted" within the last hour or so. Hovering over this little blue twitter bird will reveal a stylish pop-up containing our latest "tweet" (140-char story-line of "what we're doing right now"). It's a great way to see what we're up to, see how witty we can be and we think it's a nice add-on (a mini-blog, if you will).
Randsco No Longer Supports Internet Explorer Six
Last month, we made the decision to drop support for Internet Explorer version six (IE6). Visitors using this eight-year-old browser will see a pop-up information box, when they land here. The box says:
Update Your Browser
As of May 2009, we no longer support Internet Explorer 6. The reasons for this decision are many.
We strongly recommend that you upgrade your browser to a newer version. The current version is Internet Explorer 8. The upgrade is free.
Hint: For a better browser, use FireFox.
To learn about our reasoning for this move, what it means for visitors, the problems with IE6 and why FireFox beats IE hands-down ... read on.
Why We Dropped Support for IE6
IE6 is listed as #8 of The 25 Worst Tech Products of All Time
Below is a short list of some of the reasons behind our decision to drop support for Internet Explorer 6:
- IE6 is old and antiquated
- IE6 is crappy compared to modern alternatives
- IE6 support costs web-developers frustration & time
- IE6 needs to go - now
IE6 Is Old
The release date for Internet Explorer Six is Aug 2001. That was before the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center! IE6 is older than the iPod, the television show "24", IE5 for the Mac and the Hummer H2.
At its peak, in 2003, IE6 commanded roughly 95% of the browser market and created for Microsoft, a browser monopoly that resulted in a U.S. Justice court case against the company.
Success of IE6 is attributable to a number of factors:
- Unlike early version of Netscape & Opera, IE6 was free
- It was bundled and integrated with the most popular O/S - Windows
- It was the best browser available at the time and competitors were lacking
IE6 Is a Crappy Browser
IE6 may have been the best browser in 2001, but this is 2009 and eight years is an Eon of time, technologically speaking. Compared to modern browsers - which are many and all free - IE6 is wildly inferior. Here's a brief list of some reasons why:
- IE6 is much less secure against malware, spyware & viruses
- IE6 lacks new features like native tabbed browsing
- IE6 doesn't support transparent PNG graphic files
- IE6 doesn't support many CSS directives (e.g., :hover, :first-child & min/max-width)
- IE6 doesn't support web standards well
- IE6 work flows are slow
compared to modern browsers
Finding Directions in IE8
A good comparison of modern -vs- ancient work flows can be demonstrated by looking up directions to an address contained in an online email:
1) highlight the address in your email;
2) right-click and "copy";
3) open a new IE6 window;
4) find or type in a mapping website URL;
5) paste the address into the mapping site;
6) press [Enter] and wait for a response;
7) return to email to pick up where you left off. IE8 (modern):
1) highlight the address in your email;
2) Right-click and "Map with Live Search" As you can see, IE8 can dramatically speed up this work flow in this example, by eliminating 5 (or more) steps. Click for other new features in Internet Explorer 8
IE6 is one of The 25 Worst Tech Products of All Time.
A slide show consisting of 75 photos taken by our 5-year-old daughter, Alex, over the course of a year and a half, using her "Little Tikes" 640x480 digital camera. Our world from a three-foot-something, kid's perspective.
Photography from a Child's Perspective
Shortly after our daughter, Alex (AKA "the Oop"), turned four, we gave her a digital camera for Christmas. She's now five and a half years old and has used the camera for a year and a half, taking roughly 750 pictures all-told.
It's interesting to see what catches her eye, even though many of the pictures didn't turn out well. While we really like the rugged quality, ease of use and child-oriented design of her "Little Tikes" digital camera "My Real Digital Camera" by Little Tikes We bought this durable camera in Canada for approximately $30 CAD. It's worked well for Alex for a year and a half. Pros: The camera is well designed for little fingers, it's rugged and will take abuse, it has both a 1.3" LCD screen and a view-finder for framing shots, it's easy to use, has auto flash and stores about a 1000 pictures (64 MegaBytes). Cons: Picture quality could be better (it takes 640px by 480px shots with some spherical aberration and blurring). There is an appreciable shutter delay, which children must understand, before they can begin to take non-blurry shots. (One needs to hold the camera steady for about a second, after pressing the shutter button). It uses 4 "AAA" batteries & also comes in pastel colors. Thinking of getting one? Click inside this box or the link for more information & reviews on the Little Tikes website. , it has one major flaw - there is a one second delay between pressing the shutter button and when the image is captured. It took Alex a while to work out that she needs to hold the camera steady during and after she presses the button.
We figured that it was high time to show off our daughter's photography "skills" and share her visions through the lens. Life looks a lot different when you're only three feet tall and the things that she's pointed her camera at ... well, you can only conclude that they're important to her!
Sometimes we include a list of "additional information" links at the end of our articles. Generally, they've been styled on the fly, but we thought it was high time to spend a bit of attention on this detail. The resulting CSS-styled ordered list looks nice, includes a block hover effect, a "visited" status indicator and is XHTML/CSS valid. We thought people might like to use it on their website, so included a tutorial and ZIP file.
Adding Pizazz to an Ordered List
A lot of online articles include, at the end of the article, a list of "additional resources" - or links - for further reading and research. Several Randsco articles have such a list, but styling them is generally an afterthought, because most of the energy goes into the article itself.
Ideally, additional information links would be contained in an ordered list. It's semantically correct and allows visitors to reference a particular link by number. Unfortunately, we don't always follow our own advice and some of these links are held in simple paragraphs which may, or may not, be numbered.
Have a look at the demo page and read on to get the ZIP file, learn about the design, look at the code and see the live example.
Scott's Mom was honored last night in a gala event held in Washington D.C., where she was given the prestigeous "2009 - Mother of the Year" award, by the National Maternal Society of America. Beyoncé Knowles, British singer Seal and his wife, Heidi Klum, were among those in attendance. The presentation included a pre-recorded message of support, from President Obama. See the CNNBC news video, proudly posted on Randsco.
Marilyn Kimler Recognized as "Mother of the Year"
CNNBC News - Just in time for Mother's Day, the National Maternal Society of America, last night, awarded Marilyn Kimler - my Mom! - the prestigeous and coveted "2009 Mother of the Year" award.
In a star-studded event that included such celebrities as Miley Cyrus, Beyoncé Knowles, British singer Seal and his wife, Heidi Klum, the Master of Ceremonies, Robert Winthrop, presented the Marilyn's award and described her hard work.
"Our recipient's duties also include selflessly contributing 52-hours of every day to people other than herself," he said, to a packed audience.
To see the CNNBC neww video of the event - which also includes a pre-recorded message by President Obama - continue on ...
"You go Mom!" said Scott, during several telephone interviews, last night, with various press agencies, "You rock!"