Designing websites

As well as my full-time job, in my spare time I also design and build websites. It’s something which fits well with my skillset as a technical communicator, and allows me an insight into the world of development as well and has mirrored my career every step of the way. The first company I worked for sent me on a training course to learn how to create web pages and, since then (13 years ago), I’ve continued to follow the trends and techniques involved. I’ve been through using tables for layout, to the introduction of frames, the launch of Internet Explorer and the first release of CSS. The parallels between the theories of technical communications and those of web design …

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Backup

Over the past few months I’ve become much better at backing up the important stuff on my PC. Largely this is photos, music, any ripped DVDs and important House documents, license files and so on. So, if my PC dies a death then at least I’ve got the important stuff backed up. The rest, the downloaded freebies, fonts, software and so on can be downloaded again and, in a way, it’s a chance to re-evaluate things. Not that my PC is dying a death but it does, this very moment, have a virus. Not quite sure where it came from, as I’m very careful (having worked for an anti-virus company I remain somewhat paranoid about these things). All I know …

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Whilst I remember…

… the contact form now works. … you HAVE to read mike’s post about blogging book deals. … Pownce (It’s POUNCE!!! ARGGH!! And yes, I have 6 invites, see the first item in this post..). … John Smeaton, legend or laughable? I reckon his “this is Glesga, if you [the terrorists] come ‘ere, we’ll just set aboot ye” line isn’t a bad thing. The people will stand! … Jaiku, it’s like haiku but it’s not, and I can’t write them, so this isn’t. Yes. ANOTHER social web app thingy doo dah. … MEGA iPhone review, and that’s the last I mention it, for now (ohh ok, here’s a tiny short review). … Nike Triax Vapor 300 looks weird, but apparently …

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Getting Organised

Bookmarks dotted about all over the place. A del.ico.us account that rarely gets used. Various clever Firefox extensions. My miniblog. My custom start page. My blogroll(s). Bloglines. The sites I “use”, the sites I visit, the useful sites, the information sites, so many sites, so much information and so many ways of filtering and accessing them these days, I’m getting a bit overwhelmed. Aren’t you? So I put aside a couple of hours* and fired up my web browser with the aim of getting better organised, wasn’t sure HOW exactly, but figured the organic “leap in and start” approach would serve me best. I think it did. So let me talk you through the process, or better still, roll up …

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Constantly Diverse

Prompted by this discussion about typography on the web and having been working through the archives here (still to finish) I’ve come to a ground breaking, earth shattering conclusion. No, seriously… If you are interested in my take on web design issues, read on. If not… er… come back later (but DO come back!).

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Firefox Experience

It’s been a while since I posted about Firefox but as it’s just crashed through the 24 million downloads mark, and has increased it’s browser share AGAIN I thought it was reasonable time to look back over the past year of using Firefox and see how, if at all, it has changed my browsing habits. Blimey, I’ve been using Firefox for an entire year, how time flies! The main and most obvious change to my browsing habits has been my ready adoptation of tabbed browsing. It’s now an integral part of my browsing technique (for want of a better term) and, coupled with an extension that remembers what tabs were open the last time I closed the browser, I find …

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Hijacked

The timesheet application we use at work has a web based front end. Unfortunately it only works properly in (you guessed it!) Internet Explorer. So last night, as I’d done a wee bit of work when I got home, I fired up IE and what did I find? It had been hijacked (browser hijacking is a manifest of spyware = not good). A quick scan using Ad-Aware soon cleaned things up but it’s annoyance. Something I don’t have to put up with whilst I use Firefox. Which brings me to mention that I’ve updated my original post about Firefox extensions. I’ve added one (Tab Clicking Options) and checked/correct all the links. Ohh and if you have come across any other …

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Igniting the Web

UPDATE: All of the extensions have been checked and are compatible with Firefox 1.0. Thanks to Adrian and Thom for some additional suggestions. I’ve recently introduced a couple of people to the Firefox browser. I have to admit to getting quite a buzz watching their faces light up as you show them the basic features (efficient popup blocker, tabbed browsing, excellent FIND function) and how fast it is compared to IE. The next thing I do is show them the extensions I have installed, and I figured some of you guys might appreciate these too – you HAVE switched to Firefox, haven’t you? On with the extensions then, and I should note that there are many many more extensions available, …

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Internet Explorer hint

Dear everyone with a white background on their website, Are you sure it’s white? Have you actually specified in a stylesheet or in the body tag that it should be white? Or does it just look white to you because you are using Internet Explorer’s default settings. To check, in IE:1. Go to Tools > Internet Options.2. Click Colors…3. If it is selected, deselect “Use Windows colors”.4. Click OK, and then OK again.5. Load or refresh your site in the browser. This has been a public service announcement on behalf of Snowgoon Designs. —I’m posting this because I’ve recently changed those settings and a few sites I’ve stumbled across suffered from the “think they are white” problem. If I’ve left …

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Internet Explorer 6.0Hmmm. OK BEFORE you flame me for using IE.. ehhh… hang on and I’ll find a good reason… hmmm better than Mozilla ? *ducks* Anyhoo, if you have the aforementioned browser, have you spotted this little feature? With a browser window open so you can view the status bar (the bit bottom left that says ‘Done’ on it), right-click on the window’s taskbar button, and mouseover the options. Watch the status bar… (screenshot) Has it always done this? Am I just noticing a long standing Windows feature? And why can’t I get used to Mozilla’s tabbed display? Answers on a postcard to the usual address.

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