Digital obsolescence vs JavaScript emulators

Life is a Mind Bending Puzzle has an interesting post asking ‘if you have an obsolescence recovery plan for PC games?’ Thanks to emulators, games from 30 years ago can still be played on modern hardware. However he notes that: This unusually fortunate circumstance may not persist forever though. Technology will probably move on eventually to devices that are sufficiently different in form that even emulation is no longer feasible. Many are now predicting that mobile tablet computers will replace desktops and that closed architectures will prevail over the open general purpose architecture of current desktop PCs. Emulation may no Read More

HTML5 – the ‘italic’ elements – em, i and cite

I skipped a couple of days, so by way of catch up, three elements today. Italic text is really semantically complicated. Who knew? Presenting the <i>, <em> and <cite> elements… I haven’t completed my archaeological dig, but as far back as 1995, HTML 2.0 had already standardised both <i>and <em>, with <i> used for italic, and <em> for an “emphasized phrase, typically rendered as italics”. My recollection however is that most at the time used <i>. With HTML4.0, CSS and the separation of style and content, <i> was deprecated and <em> popularised for emphasis, typically rendered as italics, but open Read More

WordPress Custom Menus

I decided I wanted to change how the top menu on this blog was working, so started in my usual manner: look at source code of header.php in the theme and start altering the WordPress calls to wp_list_categories to include or exclude certain categories. My intention was to separate my posts about HTML5 elements into separate menu link so they all appear together, then have Home showing all posts except the HTML5 ones to avoid them overwhelming the rest of the (infrequently posted!) content. Poking around in the Graphene theme though things weren’t so obvious (no calls to wp_list_categories), so Read More

HTML5 – The code element

As a techie, I often want to post excerpts of code on a webpage. Generally in publishing code fragments are printed in a monotype font to distinguish from the main body of text and also to more closely resemble how the code appears in the IDE. The <code> element is used in this way to highlight content that is a code fragment. Here’s a quick example both as the text and then in use: Use the JQuery <code> click() </code> function to bind an event handler to the javascript click event to perform an action when the user mouse clicks Read More

HTML5 – The small element

<small> is in the ‘4.6 Text-level semantics’ section of the WHAT-WG HTML living standard. <small> one used to mean just that: small font. It is now one of a set of elements that has been re-imagined in a more semantic light. <small> now has a very distinct meaning – it now represents ‘side comments such as small print’. This also would cover disclaimers, copyright notices and the like. <small> is a text level element, so is expected to be used within a block of text such as a paragraph, and not as a block of text. So small print such Read More

HTML5 elements

When I first learnt HTML4 and CSS I did it by digesting the formal spec, section by section. Seemed like the best way to learn it, straight from the horses mouth. I’m pretty conversant with the current set of HTML5 elements, but mainly from second hand reading of books / blog posts; also the spec is still in flux, so I thought a similar exercise would be useful again. Rather than try and tackle it in one go and get indigestion, I thought ‘how about reading up on a tag a day’. So here we are: I’ve created a new Read More

The importance of being skeptical

Internet Explorer users have lower IQs than other browser users. It’s true. It must be: it was in all the papers, and on the BBC news website too, so it must be true. Except that it was a hoax. For many people however, that first ‘fact’ about ‘stupid IE users’ will remain long in the memory, regardless of the subsequent debunking. Get ready to correct ill-informed know-it-all’s at parties for years to come. The story ran that research had demonstrated that Internet Explorer users who completed an online IQ test were less intelligent than other browser users who completed the Read More

Bad IT day (the olympic ticket sale, PSN hack and optional alt tags)

Three IT stories came up earlier in the week that show how IT problems and decisions can adversely affect end-users – I’ve had a quick look at each in turn to understand the problems encountered and to try and learn lessons. The HTML spec making ‘alt tags’ on images optional for generated content The Olympics ticketing website overload at deadline day The PlayStation Network security breach and user data release

No Return – Facebook & StackExchange ‘break’ textarea expected behaviour

tl;dr Comments in Facebook and StackExchange sites now make enter submit the comment rather than enter a carriage return. In Facebook using shift-enter will force a carriage return. In StackExchange this will still be ignored as carriage returns aren’t rendered. Read on for full analysis of why these changes have been made and follow-on implications. So what’s the problem? Facebook and the StackExchange (SE) family of Q&A sites have both recently ‘broken’ the expected behaviour when typing in a textarea (a multi-line textbox). A notable feature of both sites is users commenting on questions or posts, entering their thoughts in Read More

Service disruption

The importance of data centre security and disaster recovery (DR) planning was highlighted following a recent incident at a Vodafone facility leading to a mobile network outage for customers in some regions for most of the day.  The accepted version of events at the time of writing from Vodafone is that “We had a break in last night at one of our technical facilities which resulted in damage done to some of our equipment“. Disaster Recovery Reflecting on what happened brings a few interesting thoughts to wholesale jerseys mind.  My first instinct was one of sympathy for Vodafone who didn’t Read More