So a Windows version of Safari is finally here. Hurrah, another browser to support. Cynicism aside, is it any good?

Now, bearing in mind this is a beta version, there are a few issues I have. These are only my personal annoyances, based on first impressions, and in no way a comprehansive list of bugs.

It’s Fugly.

Fugly in the sense of it dowsn’t fit in with the surrounding OS one little bit. Not even an iota. I give Apple credit for porting the thing in the first place, and I know there’s a kind of UI “branding” to stick to, but the window border looks awful.

Another issue is the font rendering. I have Windows ClearType turned on for font smoothing. Safari has its own font smoothing (which can’t be turned off – another annoyance). The combination of two font smoothing algorythmns makes text look almost bold. It needs sorted ASAP.

There’s the Aqua-style widgets as well, but there a minor annoyance.

It’s Inconsistent

I can middle-click on a link in a web page, and it opens in a new tab. If I middle-click on a bookmark, it does nothing. That irritates me no end. Off the top of my head, some dialogs open in OSX-style “slide-down” windows, others don’t. Maybe this is a OS limitation? Or am I imagining it?

No dotMac Sync

I know, I know… dotMac sucks. But it has one very useful feature which I use extensively – bookmark syncing. I had hoped the Windows version of Safari would include this, but alas, it’s not there. Maybe they’ll add it in before the final version? If not, I don’t know if Safari will be able to compete against Firefox + Google Browser Sync as my first-choice of browser. I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt for the moment, simply for the speed boost over Firefox, but speed alone won’t keep it in front.

So all round, Safari on Windows is a bit meh, hovering precariously close to pure dissapointment. For now, I’m willing to the give Apple the benefit for the doubt – it is a beta version, after all.

As one final note, how to do you bring up the web inspector panel I’ve heard so much about? Email chris@ this site with the answer, please!

If you thought I’d maybe given up on this blog already (what is it? A week?), I’m sorry to disappoint you. Truth is, I’ve been quite busy this week, with lots going on, here there and everywhere. Instead of splitting things into multiple posts for more page views, I’m going to run through everything in one go:

1. Guitar Hero II Rocks

You may have seen some of the pictures on Flickr already, but I just want to say how genius Guitar Hero II on Xbox 360 is. The whole family has been rocking out all week. None of us are any good, but it’s part of the fun!

2. My Company Bought Another Company

The management are saying “merger”, but the official legal term is “acquisition”. Either way, the company I work for is joining withanother company. This is quite interesting for me, because the other company (PGL) have a software development division. I need to have a chat with the management involved, but there’s certainly an opportunity for me to move into desktop application development instead of doing web stuff.

3. I’ve Been Setting Up My Networked Media System

OK, that’s probably a fancier title than it needs, but basically I’ve been getting all the pieces in place to have all my media available to stream to the living room and bedroom. The system is mostly Mac based, with an Xbox 360 in the living room. For network connections I’m using HomePlug AV units – which so far have worked brilliantly. At the centre of everything will be a Mac Mini, an external hard drive, iTunes, and a copy of Vista media center running in a virtual machine. I’d have it up and running just now, but i picked up the wrong type of RAM for upgrading the mini… Doh!

4. I’ve Been Running

Well, not so much as I’d have liked this week, but I’ve slowly been ramping up the milage in my quest to be ready for the Aberdeen 10K run in a months time. Gym sessions have been going great, and I’ve dropped a stone and a half in weight since I started, which is a bonus!

So there you have it; that woz the week wot woz. Quite a bit going on, which was a bit unusual for me. Everybody else been having a good week?

On Saturday, I blogged about my experiences of buying Photoshop Lightroom the store. Tonight I came home to an email from Tom Hogarty, Product Manager of the Lightroom team.

I’m not going to quote the email – there’s no need to, really – but for a product manager of a big, giant corporation like Adobe to even notice a single blogger talking about some trouble with the store, let alone take time to personally respond to said blogger, was something which took me by surprise. (I hope Apple are listening – I’ve got a whole raft of issues to take you up on!)

By doing so, Tom humanized Adobe (just a little). It’s nice when someone takes notice of you.

Anyway, the end result is that I’ve phoned my card issuer(s) and tried again at the store. The credit card payment seemed to go through, but my order is currently listed as “Pending” (it’s a download only purchase). However I’m sure before long I’ll be enjoying some full Lightroom goodness again.

[Update] Order fulfilled, and serial codes received. Happy endings all round!

I own a Nikon D50 camera, which I’m slowly getting the hang of. One of the learning processes I’m going through at the moment is RAW workflow – taking the RAW files from the camera, processing them on the computer, then exporting them to whatever format/size/whatever I need.

The 2 big guns of the “digital darkroom” space on the Mac, are Adobe’s Photoshop Lightroom, and Apple’s own Aperture. Of these, my preference is definitely Lightroom. I’ve tried to like Aperture – really, I have – but I just can’t seem to figure it out. Lightroom on the otherhand, I had sussed in about an hour. I just couldn’t seem to find how to do what I wanted to do in Aperture (it’s unusual for me to find an Apple app to be unintuitive).

When the Lightroom trial ran out, I was happy enough to buy the full copy – despite the extra 50% premium just for living in the UK. The only problem was I couldn’t buy the full downloadable version from the Adobe store. They just wouldn’t let me. I tried to give them my money, but they just refused to accept it – not just once, but from three different cards. Apparently the details I gave them didn’t match those at the bank, even though I’d used the exact same details to renew some domains earlier this morning. Maybe if their store didn’t hardcode the UK as “GB”, the bank might have corroborated my details? It’s about the only thing I could think of.

My options then are to either

  1. Phone their customer support desk to place the order
  2. Buy a boxed copy from somewhere else
  3. Give Aperture another look.

None of these options are appealing at all. I don’t like handing out card details over the phone, assuming the order would work this way. Nor do I want another software box taking up space, or an install CD to lose. Then there’s Aperture. It’s maybe the lesser of the three evils, but it means relearning how to do all the stuff I just learned for Lightroom. That doesn’t exactly fill me with excitement.

Who knows, maybe the store will work tomorrow. Maybe it was just my day for gremlins (I had troubles with downloading Icon Shoppe purchases as well). Or maybe I’ll find a good book on Aperture which will show me how to do things properly.

I’ll be honest – I suck at blogging. I’ve tried and I’ve tried, but I just can’t seem to get it right. Things will maybe start off OK for a little while, but then this usually happens:

  1. I start deciding what I’m writing about isn’t worth posting, so won’t post until I have something I think is really worth posting.
  2. The blog goes silent for week/months.
  3. I feel bad, so post a couple of weeks worth of rubbish.
  4. I feel worse for writing crap and in a fit of frustration abandon the blog.

I’ve lost track of how often I’ve done this…

So what makes this time different?

Nothing. I just hold a bit of an affinity with Pixel Meadow, over and above any of my other sites – it was my first (and probably most successful) blog. I’m going to try and get it going again; if it works then great, if not… well at least you’ll maybe get a bit of a laugh out of it.

There’s a bit of a long-standing bug in Textpattern, and its handling of time zones. It’s a bit of a head-scratcher to get your head around, so bear with me. It’s probably best described with a simple example, so here goes:

  • Our writer/site admin lives in the UK. It is British Summertime. His time zone is therefore GMT+1.
  • Textpattern is installed on a server in Australia. Its time zone is GMT+10.
  • The site admin sets the time zone in TXP to his own GMT+1 and writes a few articles.
  • British Summertime ends, so the writer’s time zone is now just GMT. Daylight Savings Time (or whatever) starts in Australia, making it GMT +11.
  • All the date-based permalinks in TXP go all to hell. Most appear a day out of line.
  • New stuff that gets written is inaccessible as TXP can’t decide if the publish time has passed or not.

It’s a strange one, and a bit of a pain in the ass. There’s been some discussion in this forum thread, but no consensus on how to fix it or even if it is a bug. The common workaround – which isn’t an ideal one for many people – is to just keep to one time zone and ignore anything like DST, BST or other “time modifiers”.

I loves me some jQuery – without it I probably wouldn’t write any JavaScript at all (seriously, I hate the stuff). Anyway, today I needed to add some “open in new window” links to an internal application using jQuery. Being the Standardista I am, I wanted to make it a)Accessible, and b) Unobtrusive . If the user has JavaScript disabled (it happens, even on “controlled”, intranet environments), the link should just go to the new page anyway — new window be damned.

My first attempt (below) didn’t work as expected. The following code takes all <a> tags with a class of “newwindow” and applies an onclick event to open a new window.

var w =$(this).href(), 'newWindow', '');
return false;

Nothing would happen with the above, because of the return false;. Removing return false; would open a new window, but also send the opening window to the new page. In the end, the following worked the way I wanted:

var w = newWindow($(this).href(), 'newWindow', '');
return false;
function newWindow(url, wName, opts){
w =, wName, opts);
return true;

Basically the “heavy lifting” was moved to a seperate function. It’s slightly longer to type, but not exactly finger-breaking stuff. No doubt some bright-spark could tell me an even betterway (feel free!), but this’ll do for now.


After last weeks amazing, high-octane episode 4 (write-ups can be found at Binary Bonsai1 and Broken Kode2), this week’s episode had to be something pretty good to keep up the levels of expectation.

Thankfully it lived up to the expectation without having to fall back to more space battles or other big action sequences. If anything, episode 5 was he perfect slow-down to the frenetic opening to the season.

We all knew the resistance were going to start dealing with any and all Cylon “collaborators”. We also knew this was going to end up being to cause a lot of friction and fucked up feelings as people found out their friends helped the enemy. The writers (once again) and actors pulled things off beautifully. We can feel the lust for retribution in every scene. It may have been a bit predictable3having Gaeta sentenced to death, only to be saved at the last minute when it was revealed how he was passing information to the resistance all along, but we’ll forgive them that one.

And damn Starbuck is one crazy-ass, fucked-up (frakked-up?) woman.

1 Battlestar Exodus

2 Battlestar Galactaca Season 3

3 Similarly, my only real criticism of episode 4 was the predictable “Pegasus to the rescue” bit just as the Galactica was about to go down. But hey, it looked good!

So I’m writing my first serious bit of PHP in aaaages. This last few months, I’ve either been adapting existing systems to fit the bill, or I’ve been writing ASP (all while learnng Ruby on Rails).

I feel like I’ve been out of the game. Before I fell out of writing my own PHP every day, I was using the CakePHP framework. CakePHP is a wonderful framework. It greatly speeds up development and makes things so much easier.

Unfortunately, frameworks are only of use to the developer or your customer has someone who knows what they’re doing to set up everything for them. When you’re building a product for those who aren’t so technically minded, giving them something like CakePHP/Rails/Django, etc, to install – before they can use the product – is a big no-no1.

So anyway, I’m writing this new product. It’s not terribly exciting, nor should it be particularly difficult… but what looked a piece of cake on paper is going slower than I would like. I need to get my head around the fact I don’t have a framework or existing application doing 90% of the grunt-work for me. All those framework-specific shortcuts and existing functions I’ve grown used to don’t work any more so I need to do things manually2. Joyful.

On the plus side, this is probably the coding equivalent of getting back into shape for a World Championship fight, after getting slower and fatter from being too comfortable – a la Rocky in Rocky III.

Frameworks are a wonderful thing for speeding up development in large projects where you have control over your environment. Just remember not to rely on them too much.

  1. This isn’t to knock the work of the developers of frameworks like CakePHP and Rails, et al – not at all. I think they’re doing great, great work, which makes the lives of countless developers worldwide just that little bit easier.
  2. Another thing keeping me from top-speed is an insistence I’ve put on myself to follow best coding-practices all the way, and most importantly, document everything as I go. I usually write something then document it later once everything else is finished.

I’m a bit of a phone addict. I tend to upgrade my handset every 6 months or so, whether my contract is due for renewal or not. Ebay is a wonderful thing. That said, I was hoping to put off upgrading for a while yet. I do like my Motorola PEBL. It’s nice and simple, doing onlywhat I wanted it to (phone/SMS/camera), wrapped in a nice design. Horrible, horrible, horrible, UI – solved by setting up a heap of shortcuts – but an otherwise nice phone.

Unfortunately mine seems to be going on the blink. GPRS flat out refuses to work any more (so no media messages or web surfing), signal reception in general seems to be decreasing, the in-built speaker is a bit… spotty and it’s developed a nasty habit of switching itself off now and then when in my trouser pocket. The first two problems point to a failing internal aerial.

I have basic needs for a phone:

  • Good as a phone
  • Good at SMS/MMS
  • Fits comfortably in a front pocket of a pair of jeans
  • Good UI

A few other features are “nice to have”:

  • Decent camera
  • Bluetooth sync with OS X (Calendar + Contacts)

I like Sony Ericsson phones; good UI, robust and reliable… apart from their clam-shells. Great to sync with OS X and usually great cameras. The old s900i was a damn good (if rather chunky) phone.

I don’t really like Nokia phones anymore. The Nokia 3210 was probably the best phone I’ve ever had (going old-skool!), but with the exception of the highly-expensive N70, their recent offerings seem gimmicky and/or plain-old cheap. Build quality has been an issue with most recent Nokias I’ve seen.

I could get another Motorola, but as mentioned, I hate the UI. I also dislike the feel of theRAZR and SLVR handsets – too wide/thin for comfort – and there’s the issue of whether I’d want another Moto after the first one failed after 6 months? Hrmm. The RIZR looks cool though.

Samsung phones suck. I can’t put it any other way; from the design to the UI, they blow goats.

Having thought about it a little while writing this entry, I think I might leave things a while. My PEBL isn’t quite broke yet and there aren’t any handsets I really want to upgrade to. Maybe if I wait a couple of months something awsome will come along. The iPhone, maybe? So um yeah, this entry has pretty much been an inconclusive waste of mine and your time… That said, if you want to give a shout out for your favourite handset, please go ahead!

Hello again, you crusty inhabitants of the Interwebs. It’s been too long – far too long. But, like The Good Ship Galactica, I’m back.

I could bore you all with an in depth look at why I’ve not been blogging, but it doesn’t really matter. Suffice to say it’s been down to a combination of things: the stroke I had last summer; being a ‘family man’; that perennial favourite – work, and a general lack of enthusiasm about the whole blogging thing in general. I’d like to say this time around it will be different, but I just don’t know, so I’m making no promises.

So enjoy it while it lasts (i.e. as long as I do). Much like Stargate1 really.

1 SciFi, how could you?.

There’s been a few things going on this last week which I wanted to talk about, but it’s been a hassle finding the time. Excuses, excuses, yadda yadda. Just shut up and get on with it…

I was all set to record this entry as my first podcast, but no, I went and broke my new headset mic as I was getting setup. A podcast is something I’ve wanted to record for a while, but I’ve never got round to it. I’m trying to, so keep your eye out.

Speaking of keeping an eye out, I registered in the last few days. Watch it… like a hawk as it were.

Back to Podcasts, I’ve been subscribing to a lot more recently. I used to find them quite dull and boring. Generally I still do. I’m not really a fan of the talk-radio style podcasts which only cover one topic. Michael over at Binary Bonsai is doing a nice job with his podcasts, though I will say I have preferred his two shorter episodes over the other, near hour-long episodes he has done. I’m also digging Jon Hicks approach to podcasting. This is similar to something I had in mind for my podcasts. In mine, I was going to ramble for a bit then play a track by a local band, or other track I felt worthy of sharing.

One last bit on the podcasting subject – for some reason, my iMac G5 goes all to hell when trying to add music from iTunes to a podcast in Garageband 3. It just hangs the whole machine. My iBook has no problems at all (albeit it’s slower). It’s been a little frustrating, as I really didn’t want to install something like Garageband on my “work” machine.

So stepping away from podcasts, what else has been going on? The biggie at work has been moving from internally managed web servers to fully-managed, dedicated hosting run by a third party. As part of the exercise, I had to write a proposal putting Apache on Linux up against IIS and Windows Server 2003. For years I’ve been hinting we should move to Apache, but when it came to writing this proposal, I had a tough time justifying such a move. In the end, Apache lost out on business reasons; the cost of switching now would be too high, mostly for time spent redeveloping existing web sites. However, PHP and MySQL are being installed so we can run Mint for stat-tracking.

What else..? I finally got round to buying Battlestar Galactica DVDs (season 1 and the mini-series). Not had a chance to watch them yet, even though I’ve watched the latter-half of season 2. Maybe this weekend. My Firefly soundtrack arrived today, I’m listening to it now. It’s very good, very relaxing. Other things I’ve been listening to a bit recently include Yellowcard’s Lights and Sounds (sounds a bit like early Feeder) and Hell Is For Heroes’ Neon Handshake (which is not new, but I only came across it recently… shame on me).

The CSS Reboot is drawing ever closer and while I’m not quite on schedule, I should be ready in time. Certainly for part one of the Master Plan. Phase One is very nearly complete; I have a bit of copy I need to write and a few design details to nail down before I can start pulling it together. Phase Two is a little more complex and might not be ready for May 1st although I will endeavour.

Speaking of redesigns, I like the refreshed Simplebits and Scrivs’ improved Whitespace. Whitespace in particular is quite good, with the combination of “full” entries and smaller “asides”. I think I prefer this to the usual mixing the two together (usually making the asides slightly less noticeable).

What else..? well there’s a couple of other things (Windows Mobile Phones and no Apple birthday surprises spring to mind…), but I think I’ve rambled for long enough for now and it’s late.

If I’ve touched on anything you’d like to comment on in this whistle-stop tour through the last week, please feel free to. I enjoy getting feedback and wish more readers would leave their thoughts!

Today I fired up TextMate to do my first bit of serious PHP coding since my stroke. I’ve been almost entirely XHTML/CSS since getting out of hospital last August, with a little light coding (ASP mostly) since then.

Probably the closest I’ve got to writing any real PHP in 8 months has been learning the basics of WordPress themes from Blog Design Solutions… To be honest, I’ve not had the same drive or determination to “Just Code It” as I once did.

I’ve been reading 37 Signals’ excellent book, Getting Real today. I’m about three quarters of the way through. I doubt I’ve ever said this about a “tech” book before, but it’s a real “page-turner”; Getting Real pulls you in and is real hard to put down once you get started. All the praise you may have heard about this book is justly deserved—it’s essential reading for developers… hell, it should probably be essential reading for anyone who has to work on just about any type of product or in a team.

While I’ve been reading Getting Real, I’ve been feeling like I want to write code again; I want to write something simple, elegant and real. I want to stop thinking about some of the ideas I’ve had over the last few month – no years – and actually do something. So I set-up a development site and database for one such idea, opened TextMate and created a new project.

It hit me like a slap in the face; I’ve forgotten how to do this. It’s like I’m back on square one… like someone sucked most of my programming ability out of my head. I can remember lots of stuff about various PHP functions, syntax and a million myriad details, but actually doing anything with any of it is another matter. I started thinking about the initial, basic class/data structure I would need and it was like the lights were on but nobody was home.

Looking on the bright-side: if I do have to relearn myslef this stuff, it means I’ll be able to do it with a clean slate and Be Real from the very outset…

That’s right, an ode to a bag…

I’ve only had this bag a few months, but it’s easily the best bag I’ve ever owned. It’s so good that I’ve liberated it from being “just a laptop bag” – this bag comes with me almost anywhere, carrying whatever “stuff” needs to come along; overnight clothes, cameras, books – all have been equally well stored and protected by the Crumpler. Starbucks coffee spills (I spilled an entire Grande Caramel Macchiato over mine this morning…); being dragged along the ground; snow, and even having a lit match dropped on it have posed no threat to my bag or its contents (most thankfully in that last example!).

The nice thing about the “Double Charge” is it comes with an additional, removable, laptop sleeve. This lets you throw your laptop (in the sleeve) into a suitcase for long-distance travelling – and not be worried it’ll be smashed to a million bits by the time of arrival – while keeping the main bag for carrying hand luggage.

It’s certainly not the cheapest bag in the world – I paid around £90 for mine – but it’s worth every penny. If you’re in the market for a new laptop bag, it comes highly recommended.

[Update, 19-Aug-2012] Believe it or not, I still have this bag, and while I don’t use it every day any more, I do still use it a lot. Apart from perhaps needing a bit of a wash it is still in very good condition. Not bad for a six year-old bag!

[Update, 23-May-2019] After a long and faithful service, the Double Charge finally succumbed to the ravages of time, and years of abuse. 13+ years is a very good run for a bag!

Something I like to do for each of my Macs, is keep a backed-up folder containing all the “essential” apps for both machines (along with all registration codes for easy reinstallation). I was updating my iBook copy this evening and thought I’d share. Some of these are generic apps that I’d use on either machine, while others are iBook specific.

Side-note – My iBook is pretty exclusively a web development machine.

Textmate. Textmate describes itself as “the missing editor for OS X”. I’m not sure what that’s meant to mean but hey, I’ll take their word for it! Textmate was the first Mac App I ever bought and is by far the best file editor I have ever used. Textmate handles just about any text file format you can throw at it, and above all else, lets you work without getting in your way. Seriously worth trying.

Ecto. Ecto is the best blogging client in the world. Especially on the Mac. I used to be a fan of MarsEdit (I own licenses for both), but Ecto won out in the end for its wider range of features. If you’re in any way serious about this blogging malarkey, I’d recommend you give it a try. Even the Windows version is recommended (although, naturally, it’s nowhere near as good as the Mac edition!)

Transmit. If Textmate was the first Mac App I paid for, then Panic Software’s Transmit was the second. It’s a S/FTP client with more features than you’re ever likely to need, but wrapped in a highly polished and intuitive interface. Transmit makes working with files on remote servers as effortless as working with local files in Finder. The synchronisation features alone are worth the price of the license.

Coconut Battery. More of a useful widget than an application, Coconut Battery can tell you near enough anything you need to know about the status and health of your battery. Ideal for checking if you want to know if you’ll be needing to buy a replacement any time soon.

Colloquy. Sometimes, the best – or only – way to get help on open-source applications/scripts, etc, is to jump into an IRC room. Colloquy is the best OS X IRC client I’ve found. As a rule, I don’t like chat or IM applications (they tend to be little more than a distraction), but Colloquy has helped me get access to the right answers on more than one occasion.

That’s really it for my iBook’s list of essential apps; I try to keep laptops “light”, hence the short list. My iMac list is probably huge in comparison. Besides, my other needs are either met by the apps bundled with OS X – Safari for web browsing, for command-line activity (remote sessions, etc.), iTunes and what-not, or by web applications –PHPMyAdmin for MySQL administration, Roundcube for accessing my IMAP email anywhere. Are there any applications you can’t live without on your Apple laptop? Please share!

Jennifer Laycock at Search Engine Guide, is writing a great little series on building a web startup from nothing: “Zero Dollars, a Little Talent and 30 Days”. In this (unsurprisingly) 30-part series she details her efforts to build a small t-shirt business while starting from a balance of $0. It’s a great experiment on the combined power of marketing, targeted sales, niche products and blogging. It’s only on day 18 and Jennifer is making a healthy profit – not huge profit, but it’s a profit none-the-less!

Side-stepping the other items you will see today…

I was browsing through Darren’s ProBlogger site (despite railing against much of the “pro-blogger” hype a few days ago, I still find it all fascinating) when I came across a post entitled“Social Bookmarking – Getting your Blog Noticed”. Much of it makes sense – get your site listed on a “social” site like Digg, Slashdot or and you’ll get a boost in site traffic. It makes sense, but it also raises a question in my mind – does submitting your own site/entries to these sites go against the spirit and ethos of the sites in question? Or is it just harmless self promotion?

Lets come back to for my example. It’s a sort of social-network, global bookmarks folder… and how often do you bookmark your own entries in your browser favorites? You could counter-argue you’re just highlighting something others may find interesting, but where do you draw the line? When does it become spamming?

Sometimes, Life really does turn around and bite you on the ass. Regular readers will know that back in the summer I had a stroke. Since I was released from Hospital care things had been going a lot smoother. I got married, I went back to work, and life in general was getting back to normality. Until yesterday morning, that is.

On Monday morning, before I started getting ready for work, I had an epileptic seizure (dislocating my shoulder in the process). Just as I thought everything was getting back to normal, this comes along to throw a spanner in the works…

At the end of the week I need to get a battery of tests done. Until then, the hospital are trialling me on some medication to try and prevent any repeat episodes.

It really sucks that until the tests are done, I’m not going to know how how any of this is going to potentially effect the rest of my life.

For something different to do on a Friday night, Nicola and I went to see the new Harry Potter film on Friday. Both of us thought it was very good. Ron’s brothers, Fred and George are hilarious. I was a little dissapointed with the cut of the film; it was so fast-paced that a lot of stuff got left out—stuff that is important later in the series (Harry learning the story of the Longbottoms from Dumbledore, for one… it was glossed over far to quickly for my liking.). To be fair though, they did have a lot of material to cram into a 2h 15 min movie! Over all, it’s a good addition to the series and if you’ve enjoyed the previous films you’ll love it.

I know, I know, in theory we should be developing sites that work in every browser and not just targeting specific applications. However, the reality isn’t quite there yet. Support for the different web standards varies massively from vendor to vendor.

Usually we make the decision on how much effort we put into making a site work in a particular browser down to the visitor statistics of that site. If your site only receives a handful of visits from a certain browser, why spend hours – or even days – trying to work around its faults?

So my question is this: just how low should the numbers be before a particular browser gets ‘cut off’? Take, for example, the top 5 browsers in Pixel Meadow’s Mint logs:

  1. Firefox (54%)
  2. Safari (31%)
  3. Internet Explorer (8%)
  4. NetNewsWire, Camino & Opera (2%)
  5. Shrook (1%)

From those numbers it’s clear that I need to support Firefox and Safari (which by extension means support for NetNewsWire and Camino), but what of IE, Opera and Shrook? Do I go out of my way to make sure any future revisions of Pixel Meadow work fully in these browsers, or do I just make sure they’ll degrade gracefully if need be?

Of course, this is assuming an existing site… It stands to reason that a new site with no clear visitor demographics should target as wide as possible until their visitor statistics are known.

The iMac announcement yesterday has me intrigued (yes, the pissed-off feeling has abated). All of a sudden, it seems that the iMac is being positioned for a stab at the media centre market. There has been wild speculation about what Apple’s plans for the living room computer market might be. I think now we might be seeing the start of a push into that area.

A 2005 Widescreen iMac has a big screen. Not quite big enough for [most] living rooms, but close. It’s big enough for most “dens” I’d say. It has everything built in to the screen, so fewer are extra boxes needed. It does three of the four basic requirements for a media centre: music, movies (both DVD and downloaded/ripped) and pictures all tied together in the new Front Row software and accessible from your sofa via IR remote control. The only thing missing is [a native solution for] connecting live TV. Sure you can download yesterday’s TV abc programming via iTunes, but who wants to watch yesterday’s shows all your friends/colleagues were talking about this morning?

So the current iMac isn’t quite there as a media centre solution, but it’s close. If Apple were to, say, release an iMac based on the 30” Cinema display (or even larger), with some sort of TV-in and PVR capabilities, and they could own the media centre market much like the iPod owns the portable music player space. Why have another box under your screen for your media centre, when it could be built in to the screen?

When the new iPod was announced, I was a little concerned about the video playback capabilities. All the marketing blurb was referencing movie trailers, music videos, home movies… short video clips in other words. This got me worried that there might be some sort of restriction on video length/file size (which would be a similar ploy as the ROKR’s stupid 100 song limit). Thankfully, my fears were unfounded – I’d simply missed one of the announcements: TV shows for download via iTMS (would that now be the iTunes Media Store?). Interesting… These new iPods are getting more attractive the more I read about them. Back, Credit Card! Get back in your wallet!

Today was a bit of a milestone in my recovery from the stroke – I started back to work. Not full-time, mind you. On the advice of my Occupational Therapist, I’m starting back on reduced hours for a couple of weeks.

To say it was weird would be an understatement. In the time that I’ve been away a lot has changed. The company completed a merger and subsequent rebranding; moved office to a much bigger (lots of stairs… yay), much nicer building; and a lotof new people have started to work there.

On top of that, I had to use a PC for the first time in 4 months. Every 5 minutes I had to correct myself before I issued a OS X keystroke command that would possibly have spelt disaster for whatever I was working on at the time.