Round up all the web geeks and pelt them with pebbles

I just spent the last hour of my life fighting with some CSS that works perfectly in Safari and MESI 7.0, but not in MSIE 6.0 or the “standards compliant” Firefox whatever version it is now. Since I am working pre-coffee, pre-office hours from a laptop on my kitchen table, I don’t have the luxury of checking out the site on a MSIE 6.0 browser. All I have is a really badly worded description of the problem, sent in an email by a very late Boomer who is using a language all her own to describe the issue.

Let me start by explaining I am very, very good at CSS, HTML, PHP, Perl, MySQL, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and a whole host of stuff that has long been discontinued. I have been in the Internet and Web game since 1995 so I think it is fair to say I know what I am doing and have employed a pretty sizable library of fixes, kludges, hacks and plain ol’ cheats to make stuff work on a Web site. I can read, write and design. Don’t even start assuming I’m an idiot or unknowledgeable. You would be very, very wrong.

In some circles, I would be considered a geek. But in mine, I am a User Interface Designer. My job — some would say my obsession — is to make the interaction between the human and the machine seamless and intuitive. If training is needed, the system is too complicated. At least that is the ideal.

I have lost more time, brain cells and sleep to the hubris of geeks than any other tech-related issue. I am convinced the only reason that we have browser discrepancies with CSS, HTML, etc is because the geeks were in charge and they did not have the skills to play nice with each other or anybody else. They looked down at the user because they weren’t as smart, because they didn’t get it. And, they looked down at each other because each one was more right than his peer.

What if each company making street lights decided on a different order of the red-yellow-green? Of, decided that the colors were way too boring and decided purple-pink-magenta would be better. Or, what if they decided that light were just not good and they used coo-coo clock birdies instead? And imagine if a different signal was installed on each street corner. But, the wrinkle is that each user was able to choose which signal he/she liked best for that day, for that corner? What a mess!

So, now we have this mess of browser technologies that don’t play well with each other. For every hour I have to spend on the phone or email, explaining why MSIE 6.0 is a piece of crap, I would like to invoice Microsoft. And, in all fairness, Microsoft should take that invoice payment out of the paychecks of any geek who decided that their way was better. Let them live with the consequences of the mess their hubris created. Apple and Mozilla, you’re not off the hook either.

I expect the geeks to either ignore this post or defend their position. I really don’t give a crap which they do because today, I woke up as a fully frustrated user who doesn’t care to hear another excuse about why your way is better. I am no longer a developer; I will be a user first. If I have to fight with it, I ain’t gonna use your technology.

Standards are good. Community-agreed conventions keep use from wasting time. Pay attention to the user, geeks and peek out from your self-induced world every once in a while.

And quit going to geek conventions where everyone validates your opinion about the user. They’re wrong; we’re not stupid. We just have lives where technology is a tool, not an ends.

Upgrade is really a downgrade

This was supposed to be a post on Obamamania, but I “upgraded” to Leopard last night and now I can’t include an images in the posts, etc using Safari 3.0.4.

So, I had to fire up Firefox, which is really a geeky-looking piece of crap.. but, at least it lets me post photos in WordPress!

Celebrate Arbor Day and celebrate the future


I was really bored in the van today as we did a bunch of errands, so I turned the radio up a little louder to listen to the commentary on Arbor Day. Tress are really, really important to us dogs because you never know when you won’t be able to find the next fire plug.

Anyway, the guy on NPR who was speaking said the most insightful thing I have probably ever heard. He said:

“Arbor Day is the only holiday where we celebrate a FUTURE EVENT, instead of a past event.”

Wow! The future event is the tree growing to full-size.

But then, I got to thinking that the tree may grow just a little bit, but hit a drought and die. Or, it could be infested with beetles or some horrible root disease and die. BUT, it could grow tall and strong and provide shade for another puppy on a hot summer day. It could also stretch out its arms and give a child a place to climb or swing. It could also give up a piece of its bark so lovers could carve their initials in a heart, for their kids and grandkids to see and have a story to share.

And all because somebody, somewhere stopped for a few seconds on the last Friday in April to plant a tree.

So, as you go through life, try to find some fertile ground and “plant a tree” each day. You just never know which will grow to be grand.
Arbor Day Foundation

NEWS RELEASE: Rufus volunteers to be the first puppy reporting from Iraq

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
Rufus
c/o
Gerard McLean
DogWalkBlog
rufus@dogwalkblog.com

Rufus volunteers to be the first puppy reporting from Iraq

ENGLEWOOD, Oh. – In a brave move today, Rufus announced his intention to be the first puppy dog reporting from Iraq. Inspired by a call from Tribune Publishing owner Sam Zell, who said in a video posted on YouTube, “..hopefully our revenues are so significant that we [Tribune newspapers] can do (stories) on puppies in Iraq.”

Rufus, 8, the author of the popular blog www.dogwalkblog.com wants to be that puppy dog reporter in Iraq for Sam Zell.

“Puppies DO matter,” barked Rufus emphatically at a recent press conference. “Even if you oppose the war in Iraq, you can still support puppy dogs in Iraq.”

The traditional journalism community immediately dismissed Rufus’s intention of visiting Iraq as silly, citing that stories of puppy dogs in Iraq were not newsworthy. Most Americans disagree.

“We’ve had enough gloom and doom reporting with the war and I think it is about time that we had an upbeat puppy dog story,” said Gerard McLean, Rufus’ handler and blog editor. “Dogs are very observant, have sharper hearing and sense of smell than most journalists and rarely miss signs of danger,” adds McLean.

“Puppies in Iraq are long overdue to bring in a sense of balance and perspective.”

Rufus is apolitical and sees a visit to Iraq as an opportunity to remind Americans and his friends elsewhere in the world, that there are things more valuable in this world than politics, the economy, war and terrorism. A good scratch on the ear, a brisk walk on a Sunday morning and an unabashed sniff of a neighbor’s buttocks are all things that dogs – and humans – can rally around.

“Our world may be changing rapidly,” barks Rufus, “But the loyalty and friendship of a dog is everlasting. That is something that is newsworthy.”

Rufus intends to publish the quest to Iraq daily on his blog, www.dogwalkblog.com and on www.puppyjournalism.com. The video of Sam Zell, which sparked this quest, is also posted on Rufus’s blog.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDy7vn7-LX4

Saying hi

A whole month goes by, 92 walks later and Rufus has not posted up anything on his blog… that is not to say lots isn’t happening, but no time to write it down… argh..

It is raining today. Rained yesterday night and Rufus is pouting. He is sleeping on the carpet piece on the kitchen floor because Christian stole his futon mattress for his student housing…. not liking the rain…

If you have a Facebook account, be sure to join the group Rufus.

Anna Nichole Smith Confusion

I am confused. Is ANS a national hero? Has she solved world peace or bombed a sovereign nation? Has she cured cancer? What has this woman done except posed in Playboy, married a billionaire, made a reality show on E! and flashed everyone in Australia? Given the INCREDIBLE amount of coverage on ALL the networks, broadcast, cable and Internet, you would think that we have just lost one of the best and the brightest our society has to offer.

How are we supposed to now mark her death? Do we lower the flag to half-staff? What if we just attached a large bra to a flagpole and lowered that to half-staff?

You humans are really a funny species. Thousands die in Darfur every month. The same with Iraq. Thousands of Americans die each year from the effects of poverty in the richest county in the world and what do you use your public trust of the media for? A debate over a bubble-headed, bleach-blonde, artificially-enhanced, silicon-injected piece of eye candy. Wow. So glad I’m a dog and TV is just plain boring to me.

Gotta take a nap so that I am ready for my afternoon walk now.

Corporate sponsorship at my funeral

As we were walking through the cemetery, Bell Funeral Services was setting up their blue canopy for a funeral. I know it is Bell because that is the biggest thing you can read on the canopy.

I got to thinking it would probably be more appropriate to have a place for the deceased’s name instead of slapping on yet another piece of advertising. “Good bye, Mr. Dogg! By the way, be sure to keep Bell Funeral Services in mind in case you need to spend your last dime before you get to the other side!”

One more thing.. as I was walking by, I happened to look up and one of the guys setting up turns his head and spits. Nothing like the image I have of Bell Funeral Services, taking my last dime and then spitting on my grave!