Archive for March, 2009

Chrome Experiments

Friday, March 27th, 2009
I just spent half an hour smacking the Google logo around with its own search bar.
(Note: If you’re running this on IE or another slow browser, it might be laggy. These things are made to test Chrome’s speed.)

(It appears YouTube did something similar: )

4G Mobile Browsing

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

…I just hit 800KB/s with my mobile internet. I’m pretty sure that’s the fastest I’ve ever downloaded.
At this point, I don’t suppose there’s really any reason to get wired internet! I can’t imagine what HSPA+ would be like; It’s supposed to be several times faster. I’ll have to look that up a bit more.

“In February 2007, NTT DoCoMo completed a trial in which they reached a maximum packet transmission rate of approximately 5 Gbit/s in the downlink with 12×12 MIMO using a 100MHz frequency bandwidth while moving at 10 km/h…”
I’m reading up on 4G, and you can basically imagine a 100+ mbps network spanning whole cities. I suppose 2012 will mark a turning point in our communication systems? “Oh, man, you’re still on dial-up?” will turn into “Oh man, you’re still using cables?”

But yeah, you only really need a true 12Mbps connection to stream HD movies. Assuming you’re halfway out of the range and you get a tenth what you should, the 100Mbps (those are always theoretical maximums) network would be just fine for that. Next, they could outfit cellular devices with those tiny little 16GB chips that are the size of a fingernail. Really, I don’t know why they don’t have more than 32MB in phones, nowadays. There’s literally no reason to have less than a gig, which would cost maybe $5 extra on top of the phone’s $100-$600.

Also, I’m not sure I mentioned, but I was looking at Future Shop, and that 2GB U3 drive I was trying to get rid of actually rose in price by a dollar since September. These things are supposed to halve every half a year!

Client History, or How I Had No Clue What I Was Doing

Friday, March 20th, 2009

I’m looking at my MSN history where I talked with a client, and I really do bounce around a lot. I think I’m going to have to read the last couple lines before replying, to ground myself. As it is, I seem to answer each question on its own, and completely forget the context surrounding it.

Ha: Almost a year ago, I mentioned to him: “…we’re going to get high-speed satellite hookup, next.” We never did.

Oct 18 2008: Client asks what he’d need to make a webpage. We eventually start talking about prices. I’m baffled as I try to babble about what this or that would cost. Eventually, we agree on something like $75 for a simple site with some maintenance and web hosting. (Later, I’d increase it to $100 to cover some of the things I’m doing, like paying for the hosting myself. He paid me $100 plus the hosting fees.)
Oct 23 2008: Client is “working on that layout” for his website. He asks about mailing money, and I mention PayPal and Bank Transfers.
Nov 16 2008: Client appears to have completed the layout and taken some photos. He inquires about attaching the files to email. I agree.
Jan 05 2009: I finally meet with the client, and we go over some of the things he wants on his site. I receive a layout written onto an envelope, which I’ll later use to create the basic layout. Later, I test my luck and my patience as I sign up for PayPal.
Jan 27 2009: I finally move into my own place, and have peace enough to start work. I make a quick and ugly mock-up of the site. At the moment, I’m relearning all the XML that I was taught in college.
Feb 03 2009: Client drops off catalogues from his providers, which means I have all the information about his products. I still need more information about his services, though.
Feb 08 2009: I have finished going through the xml lessons, and have designed an AJAX page to dynamically load male, female, or child models of clothing by use of an xml document containing the information for all of the products from one catalogue. The rest of the site remains crude.
Feb 14 2009: I finally get my own internet, which means I have a stable connection and fast speeds. Client calls, and we talk at length about what the site should be.
Feb 17 2009: I spend the next few days (or nights, rather) in a whirlwind of activity, as I discover the wonderful world of web design. I find jQuery, and reacquaint myself thoroughly with CSS. I search through blogs and news sites, and truly become a web designer.
Feb 23 2009: Paypal finally went through. I had to wait on my bank to accept some PayPal deposits, which I then read back to PayPal to authenticate my access to that account. Afterwards, I had to wait for the money I ordered to transfer from the bank to PayPal. It took awhile. Finally, the site is created.
Feb 25 2009: I lose my internet stick (and thus my internet), then a friend comes in for the week, I get another internet stick, but I get sick, then finally recover
Mar 11 2009: Redesign of the website. So much better, and I don’t feel embarrassed about showing it to people, now.
Mar 13 2009: Friend is back in town and I’m busy again. The dogs need plenty of attention. He should be gone on Mar 20th, apparently.
Mar 18 2009: I get some work done on the site, and come closer to the eventual completion. Possibly a week away.

Notes of the above:
-I was so not ready to haggle right then. I had never thought of a price, and had never really encountered how long it would take to make a site. Now, I’m sure to promise nothing less than two months, and for not less than $300. Unless it’s a smaller site, of course.
-Technically, I started at the beginning of February. I might complete at the end of March. So really, it technically could take only two months, even if you don’t account for all the pitfalls inside those two months.
-The client doesn’t really have things together, either, which takes some of the pressure off of me.
-It’s actually kind of challenging for me to talk to people who know nothing about computers. I live in this high-tech micro-world, and so I kind of take for granted that people know certain things (such as what ZIP files are, or how to copy files from one directory to another). It’s a learning experience.
-I moved about $150 to my PayPal, because I found out it sucks to run out of money when you can’t wait two weeks for extra delivery.
-I maybe should have gotten the plug-in-anywhere portable modem, instead of the mobile rocket-stick. We’re talking eighty times the data allowance per month. The thing is, I plan to get a laptop later, so the stick would be easier to carry around. Also, most power outlets have two plugs, which fits a computer + monitor. I’m not a heavy octopus user, and so I don’t like extra power things at the computer.
-I’m still mourning the events of the 25th, to this day. That was the best time of my life, I’m sure, and I haven’t been able to have that back for almost a month, now. I’m really feeling it. I hope things go back to normal soon.

I’ve almost gotten a sign-up page for the client. I’m ecstatic that I could do something like that. I’ll be programming my own Facebook in no time!
I’m also going to put up an ikonBoard.


Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

I was trying to get everything working in the database for The Embroidery House, but I couldn’t seem to log into root, and the user I was logging in as didn’t have the privileges to make tables. What I did was altered the ‘user’ table and changed my permissions from N to Y. That worked, and I can now make tables.
Which is odd, because I originally didn’t even have Update privileges.

I don’t like databases. They’re incredibly touchy, and seem to stop working from one place to the next. Maybe it was just me, and I had some stupid syntax errors, but Yahoo does, too — when I use the buttons on the phpMyAdmin site, it adds apostrophes that invalidate the code. I suppose they’re using a phpMyAdmin that’s supposed to be working with PHP5? I’m pretty sure people were being urged to transfer over in 2007, and support officially ceased in August 2008. What can you say about a business that charges $12/month for hosting, but takes years to update their software? They could at least give me the ability to choose.
Their MySQL is also a version behind.

Also, I mentioned before about how some people are dropping support for IE6. I’m looking at market share, and at the moment that would be like completely dropping support for Firefox. Except that IE6 really SHOULD be dead, which would be one reason to do it.
Safari takes both 4th and 5th place, with v 3.1 and v 3.2.

Safari 4

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

It looks like Chrome got beat!
Apple is coming out with Safari 4.

The old Safari was dull and grey, had few features, and seemed sightly bulky. It was apparently fast, and it had some pretty visual effects.
Chrome and Safari share the same HTML rendering engine, though they have different javascript engines. In version 4, Safari’s engine rivals the V8 engine of Chrome (which is the fastest at this time).

Things that they made better in the newer one:
-Only the titlebar is necessary; you can hide the bookmarks bar, the status bar, the menu bar, and the toolbar.
-The titlebar is where the tabs are, so you don’t have any wasted space.
-There are a few extra options in the menu
-The theme is coloured according to your windows theme, instead of the default brushed-steel
-Instead of taking forever to open a new instance, due to sending out http requests to download the home page, you can now set it to view a ‘top sites’ page when you open a new window. Much faster, and helps with frequent browsing

Additional things that have been added:
-‘Top Sites’ tab
-New UI
-Element Inspector
-Faster engines

-The status bar is permanent; it doesn’t roll out when needed, like Chrome’s does. I can’t begrudge them too much, because it looks like they kept slimness in mind.
-The buttons look like they hardly belong, but it’s still a beta, so that might change
-The tabs stretch out over the entire title bar. That means if you want another tab you have to go all the way to the top right. If you have three tabs on a hi-def screen, you have to go a long way just to switch tabs. I’d say it would be better to have the tabs keep a maximum size equal to the length of the title text, so there’s not all this empty space in each tab.

One thing that really comes to mind is that Chrome is very simple, if well-designed. Apple has always been the kind to add that touch of the shine to everything, and Safari is no exception. Like Chrome, text inputs have a glowing blue border around them (there’s one around this as I’m typing). Some of the form options look a bit different, and the Element Inspector has glossy buttons and colourful graphics.
The Inspector is something to mention: It’s like Chrome’s, but seems to be more feature-rich. Take a look at this screenshot:

See how you can sort everything on the page by size? You can also see the construction of the page, millisecond by millisecond. (By which I mean you can view a timeline when all the elements were called for and downloaded.)
The IE8 developer tool MAY still be better, though. I’ll have to look at both in more depth.

I mentioned the Top Sites tab. A 4×3 wall of most-visited sites is displayed before you, curved around you like some sort of theatre screen. The bottom windows are reflected in the glossy black floor. Obviously, this trumps Chrome in form. What’s more, you can drag and pin each item, to customize your experience. Safari wins for function, too! The page is fascinating on a large screen.

Script speed! jQuery included some great-looking charts in their most current release, showing how an improvement cut scripting time. What it also happens to show is the difference in scripting speeds between browsers. Keep in mind that each speed has some margin of change between different functions:

As things stand, Firefox is supposed to be getting something soon that makes scripting fast, apparently. This Safari isn’t on those charts (it hasn’t been released, yet), but would probably be slightly faster than Chrome. IE8 is supposed to be really fast, but everyone thinks Microsoft’s testing methods are dubious.
I’m saying this for a reason. I was on Facebook today, and some of my friends don’t like the new home page. I think some other people were complaining that it was slow. The site is very heavily scripted, so I could imagine that has something to do with it. Judging from what I’ve seen about scripting speeds, Safari and Chrome are the only extremely quick ones; everything else appears to be on a similar level with each other. I’ve heard that the Firefox Nightly build is a lot faster than regular Firefox, so maybe you could try that.

Standards in Practice

Friday, March 13th, 2009

Livejournal is actually fairly advanced. I’ve checked some of their features, such as the pull-down menus, and everything seems to be up to recommended level. No tables anywhere, id attributes for styling, the page looks great without styles, and they link to some javascript to provide extra features, such as roll-up menus in the user info.

A lot of big business sites, meanwhile, have tables and inline styles and spacer graphics and flash.
Some of those sites include, Scotiabank, ePost, and W3Schools. Surprisingly, the Government of Canada home page is relatively compliant, if a bit messy. Facebook, of course, is highly advanced.

Speaking of Facebook, it seems they just redid our home pages. We can actually sort by group, now! I’ve been waiting for this, because my feed was stuffed full of random stuff I didn’t care about. Now I can easily tell it to display only the people I really care about watching.
Furthermore, on a whim, I decided to try dragging the group I wanted, which was on the bottom, to the top. It worked. The site really is advanced.

On another note, one bad thing I will say about jQuery is that things which are drag-and-drop-able sometimes accidentally get their text highlighted when you drag your cursor over them. Then again, I’ve had google maps become all greyed over and selected, when I clicked and dragged. It might be a Chrome thing. I should try it in other browsers.

…And in with the new

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Compare Before with after:

At least it’s not total crap, anymore.

I’ve been looking at CakePHP, as I may have mentioned before, and it seems too much for me. I should work on jQuery, first.
PHP needs a server, so I’d have to upload it to my website every time I wanted to test something.

I’ve also realized that I need to add those clothing items (at with php, instead of javascript, because having scripts off shouldn’t completely change the working of the page. If anything, the script should at most insert some events here and there to enrich the experience.

Out with the old…

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

What happens when you assplode a webpage.

I had an idea, but now I’m not sure if it’s possible. I may have too lofty of standards.

And after:

Looking to the Future

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

I think CSS values should be able to follow mathematical formulae. Forget sheer percentages — at the very least, allow squares and logs. I believe CSS3 is coming out with expressions, but I’m not sure if you can plug those into the height/width sorts of values. If so, that would be pretty amazing. I’ve got a lot to read, on the W3C documentation.

I did some looking at jQuery, but I’ve otherwise done very little this past week. That will change, as of this night. I’m going to get some PHP done. I’ve also really got to look into SSL and other security technologies. HTTPS? I can only guess.

My website still looks like I used some sort of template, which isn’t a good thing (except that it looks clean). I wonder if some frilly borders and a soft minty background will help; I think, at the moment, that the problem is all the pure, blank white under the menu. A touch of red might help.
I still have… lots to learn about design.

On my plate:
-Mastercard/Visa/etc (E-commerce stuff)
-Design (Both element layout and colour swatches)

Ha! It seems today’s Wondermark captures the spirit of my job hunt:
Not that I actually go for interviews, or apply for jobs. The thing is, I read through what they want of me, and I think, “Well, I couldn’t do that in a professional setting!” MTS had a position open where it seemed I’d need several years work experience where I’d have been working with servers and stuff. That’s… not me.
Really, I’ve spent this past month building up my web designing skills, and got a couple jobs of it. I feel like I’m finally at the point, besides quibbles about design and some of the higher-end stuff like PHP pages, where I can actually go into work with my skill.
If I spent a couple weeks with any of my other old courses, I could work myself up in that respect, too, but I’ve still got long to go in web design, so I’ll stick with it. I’m usually a jack-of-all-trades, but you really do need to specialize right in the beginning.

Browser Developer Tools

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Oh, wow, the developer tool in IE8 is actually pretty impressive.
Back when I had IE7, I did a quick look into who had the better source viewer, because that can be rather important. I think firefox had some line numbers and syntax highlights, but otherwise wasn’t anything special. I completey forget Safari and Opera, but I think they had either text or something similar to firefox. IE6 and IE7 both had a Notepad window come up with plain text inside, and chrome had a pop-up window full of element attributes that would highlight parts of your webpage as you hovered over the different elements in the code. Needless to say, Chrome took the cake, and ate it, too. The other browsers were mad at it, but I guess they should have gotten pie, instead.

The new IE8 Developer Tool lets you change between IE6, IE7, and IE8 rendering modes in two clicks, sends your code off to the W3C validation tool, resizes the window, creates rulers, view the document with a collapsible tree view and highlighted syntax, and more.
Most importantly: not only can you see every element and attribute in both HTML and CSS, but you can disable CSS or disable individual styles.