Why, Oh Why, IE

[Edit: Life is getting much better these days with IE 9 beginning to support standards and be consistent as Firefox and Safari (and now Chrome and there is always someone on Opera)]

Usually, I start out creating my designs for this site by testing them in Safari (yes, I am a Mac user… so consider this my first contribution to the holy war of mac vs pc). I also test Mozilla on the Mac/Windows and feel that if it looks good in those two I am generally on track. Eventually, I get around to checking in IE on Windows and then IE on the Mac (although, I don’t know why anyone would still use IE on a Mac). Here, I typically find some fatal flaw that IE just craps on. If it were not for the fact that Windows forces users to use IE (software update with Moz, I don’t think so), most everybody would have chucked it a long time ago. Now, only due to the security lapses in IE, has Firefox (Mozilla’s light and fast version) begun to claim some users back from IE… but you still have to use IE. And most users still do…

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Number 4; The Larch, the Larch

This is a boring personal story, but if you are bored, then it probably won’t hurt you…

I think that I shall never see anything annoying as a tree, a tree whose trunk is prest against my driveway’s crest… well that isn’t exactly how Joyce Kilmer wrote that poem, but it reflects my current feelings. I narrowly escaped serious injury or death last Wednesday. It had been snowing hard that evening, a wet, heavy snow that sticks and slips simultaneously. I had finally reached home after a 1.5 hour commute and I was backing down my driveway. Just as I passed by the front yard, part of a tree fell into the driveway, directly in front of my car. When I say part, I mean an entire tree, more or less, as it is a circular magnolia which has different trunks in a circle, so it was one of these main trunks that fell. Apparently from the weight of the snow. At any rate, I was relieved and thankful that it had not fallen on me.

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The Power of CSS

Since wordpress layout is based on css, I wanted to do something similar to the CSS Zen Garden. I hope to create a new designs every now and then… None of the code in the theme file is changed when switching between designs (although I did modify the code from the original WP install). I was going to write my own feature to handle allowing visitors to switch the theme for themselves. Instead, I used a plug-in to provide this feature… There are so many plugins for wordpress, which is one of the strengths of the platform. So why reinvent the wheel, well except when you don’t like the options that exist. I added a facebook like plugin and really do not care for how it is working so I may bake my own shortly here. Besides the CSSzengarden, there are hundreds of designs/themes for wordpress, so the challenge is for me, to try and do something fresh (or personal, which should be fresh).

Japan 1
This is the default that loads when you first visit the site. It features a rotating head image using jQuery. The photos and image are all taken by me in my travels.

This is a plain layout stripped of most images. Great starting point for new designs as well as for anyone visiting on a slow connection.

These are old designs that have been retired due to the upgrades. I may bring them back sometime when I can convert and test them fully;

This was the old default. It uses a picture I took of Mt Fuji covered with snow for the banner.

This one uses a Macromedia Fireworks pattern with a shot of the Pacific ocean. I took the picture of the Pacific from the hotel in Ito city Japan. Sorry you can’t see much more, the full image has a little island that is offshore about 1500 meters.

Ok, so it took a couple weeks to get this one up… having a couple of kids, a full time job and going to grad school takes some time. Well this one is not finished, but I wanted to get something out. It is kind of inspired by early 20th century typography… but it doesn’t do justice to what I was thinking of… Jan Tschichold, El Lissitzky… et al.

Splotch or blocks, something bright and colorful. This was created using some filters in Fireworks. I wanted to create something that looked a little like water color painted blocks.

Used a photo taken from inside the Denny’s in the city of Ito, Japan for the head (taken in 2003). The concept basically was to have the water fade into the page content.