Monthly Archives: October 2004

In a Frameset Kind of Mind

I’m modifying our intraweb pages to reflect a new design
that all of the offices are using. When these kinds of
changes occur, it is always a pull between having a similar
look and feel among all of the web pages (so users don’t have
to learn a new interface for every office) versus designing
pages specifically for a particular function (which makes it
easier for a user to access a particular function but having
to learn a new interface).

Right now, the “let’s make all the pages look the same”
option is winning. But I’m thinking about trying something
in-between. I know frames (and tables) are kind of looked
down upon by the CSS fashionistas
but I think I am justified in using this tool.

I say this because, in this instance, it provides for a
consistent user interface and allows me to add my own
customizations while being an efficient way of maintaining

Below is the first draft of the HTML I’m
thinking of using. As you can see, it uses three frameset
tags. The first frameset splits the screen horizontally by
creating two rows (see the light blue section for the top
half in the screen shot below). The second frameset splits
the bottom half of the screen into two columns (see the green
section for the left column). And the last frameset splits
the right column into two rows (see the yellow and red

The light blue frame will be used for the department-wide
banner and navigation code. This will be the same across all
offices so that users will have a consistent interface to
work with. In addition, the green section will have a
department-wide status indicator that lets users know which
computer systems are operating normally.

In the yellow frame, I’ll have our own office’s navigation
links. These will help the user to get to the various pages
that we maintain. The red frame will be where the pages that
we maintain will be displayed.

As noted earlier, using frames is a very efficient way of
maintaining menus across multiple pages. Rather than having
to change the menu on each and every page in our sub-web
(about 30 pages) when something changes, all I have to do is
change one page in one of the framesets and it will be
reflected on all the other pages.

So, I hope, our page will have the same navigation links
across the top and left side that all other offices will have
but, at the same time, have space for our own navigation
menus so people can move around our own part of


<title>Planning Test Frameset</title>

src="./planning2004/hbanner.html" />

src="./planning2004/status.html" />

src="./planning2004/navigation.html" />

<noframes> <body>
<p>This document can be viewed only with a
frames-capable browser.</p>

Have a Great Weekend Everyone –


O’Reilly Updates Contest Rules – No Longer Evil

Not all companies are evil. In fact, a case could be made
that the majority aren’t. Having said that, even good
companies can act evil sometimes if they don’t take care of
the details.

posted earlier
about the contest
for the O’Reilly give away linked to the recent
publication of ”
Building the Perfect PC
” (ISBN: 0596006632) authored by
Daynoter Robert Bruce
and his wife Barbara
Fritchman Thompson

My concern, at the time, with O’Reilly was how they were
disenfranchising Alaska and Hawaii by specifically including
only the continental US as being eligible to enter the

Daynoters Brian
and Sjon
persuaded me to contact O’Reilly to ask them why
they were doing this. As indicated in
the email
I received back, they decided to amend the
rules to include all 50 states.

What I didn’t mention at the time, and which perhaps
affected a wider audience, the original contest rules
included another not so nice clause.

Before I go on, I will say I should have copied the entire
rule set at the time but I did not. So what I say here is
based on my recollection. Be aware that my recollections are
not always correct.

With that said, I seem to remember that the rules included
an automatic and irrevocable opt-in to receiving commercial
e-mails from O’Reilly. If this was true, and I think it was,
O’Reilly has subsequently changed their minds on this also as
they are now using a system where you have the choice as to
whether you want to receive commercial emails from O’Reilly,
such as their new magazine Make.

While I must applaud O’Reilly for amending their contest
rules, one wonders how they got the original rules so wrong.
Was it just following how all other contest rules are done?
If so, didn’t anyone from O’Reilly review the rules to
determine if the draft rules were in line with the O’Reilly
philosophy (assuming they had one)?

Speaking of philosophy, the Make site kinds of
reminds me of the original Byte’s Steve Ciarcia’s
“Circuit Cellar” (later spun off as its own publication – see
the CircuitCeller site
). I realize that putting together a Micromint SB180
is not exactly the same thing as flying a kite with a digital
camera attached, but I think the spirit is the same: Make
your own rather than buying something off-the-shelf.

But I digress. Based on O’Reilly’s willingness to amend
the contest rules I don’t think they can accurately be
described as evil. But whoever came up with the original set
of rules might…

Firefox 1.0RC1 Out

So Firefox 1.0RC1 is sorta, kinda, out
(get it
). I say kind of because the main web pages for
Firefox still point to the Preview Release. I don’t know why.
In any case, the RC1 fixes a couple of hundred bugs that were
in the Preview Release but seems to have several regression
errors (i.e., new fixes that break earlier fixes). Still, if
you want the absolute latest version of Firefox, feel free to
download the RC1.

Otherwise, if you can wait a month or so, the official
gold code will be available. If you can wait even longer, you
may want to wait for version 1.1, which will, hopefully, fix
the worst of the bugs still left.

As usual, the thundering herds are at the trough so
downloading may be slow, although, when I went in this
morning, the file came down nice and fast.


Google Results Filtered by DMCA

As you may be able to see from the image, Google says:

In response to a complaint we received under the Digital Millennium
Copyright Act
, we have removed 1 result(s) from this
page. If you wish, you may read the
DMCA complaint
for these removed results.

To confirm the message, go to Google and do a search on
“Motorola razr v3”. On or about the second page you will get
the message.

I decided to Google “DMCA
Google policy” and came up with this link to, now
wait for it, Google’s policy on DMCA. I have no opinion one
way or another on this one but thought it was interesting to
see how Google was responding to the problems generated by
the DMCA.

By the way, I was doing a Google search on the Motorola Razr V3
phone because I understand it will be released in the US soon
(perhaps within days, even). While I love how it looks, I
hear the price will be set at around $600USD. At that price,
I could get a
. Or I could get neither because I don’t have that
much money to spend on a phone

OpenOffice at Four Years

Speaking of late anniversaries yesterday, OpenOffice turned four
on 13 October 2004. OpenOffice is now in version 1.1.3 with
work progressing towards version 2.0 (According to the
roadmap v2 will be released RealSoonNow. Just like Firefox…
– ed.).

I hope OpenOffice is successful in becoming the “free
productivity suite compatible with all major office suites.”
The problem is OO is not not compatible with WordPerfect,
which is still used by many offices in the legal profession.
Over the years, people have become expert in and comfortable
with WP.

Hence, even if I were to switch to OpenOffice (or
StarOffice for that matter), I would have problems opening,
editing, and saving documents in WP format.

Let me list some examples:

  • OO can’t open WP documents without the help of
    something called WriterPerfect.

  • OO can’t save in the WP format regardless of
    installing WriterPerfect.

  • WP documents, opened in OO have at least the following

    • Bullet lists are not imported.
    • Formatting of text directly after bullet lists is
    • Parts of paragraphs after bullet lists
    • Numbered footnotes are shown twice and in different
      font sizes.
    • Indent formatting is lost.
    • Headings disappear.
    • Hard page returns before tables disappear.
    • Table formatting is lost.

These are not minor problems nor are these rarely used WP
features. Particularly worrisome are the problems where text
is not imported. If you didn’t know what the original WP
document looked like you would probably not know text was
missing. To me, this is a show stopping incompatibility.

In any case, while OO has a long way to go if it wants to
meet its goal of being compatible with all major office
suites, I hope it gets there because I would love to switch
to something else other than Word or WP.

Speaking of belated anniversaries, Happy Birthday to
fellow Daynoter John


After All These Years

With all the things going on in the world I forgot my
Daynotes anniversary date had come and gone. It was 20
October 1999 when I started this journal. It’s interesting to
see the arc of my writing. Some things have changed, others
are the same. For all eleven of you who have stuck with me
from the beginning – thanks.

I hope you’ve learned as much as I have over these few


Hanging Fire – Towards Zarro Boogs

Not much going on in the Seto Shack this morning.

Over at Mozilla, Firefox
is still missing in action and nowhere to be seen. The
Mozites are working towards “Zarro Boogs” but, apparently, are
not there yet. Of course, it is unlikely that a non-trivial
program will ever reach zero bugs, but that hasn’t stopped
most folks from shipping product anyway. That said, when
Firefox 1.0RC1 is ready, it will be

But, as I said last week, I have to wonder if they will
make their 9 November official launch date. My guess is no.
In fact, 9 December might be closer to the mark. But who
cares? The point is, if you want a modern browser, choose