August 2003 Archives

Well, our Greyhound bus to New York City finally made it. The lights were still out in most of NYC. Despite the news stories we had seen, I hadn’t expected the traffic to be quite that bad. Our bus driver was constantly on his radio, trying to find the best way into the city, and trying to find out where he was supposed to drop all of us off (the dispatchers changed their minds three times!). Our bus arrived about an hour later than scheduled, but we hoped we could still make our way to Penn Station in time to catch the 3:00 Amtrack train.

Continue reading “The Rest of the Story…”…

I’m sitting in traffic on a Greyhound bus we weren’t supposed to take, doing our best to get to where we were supposed to be yesterday. A few lights go out and the whole place is a mess!

But let’s start with me telling about the Boston part of the trip.

Continue reading “Boston and a Blackout”…

We’re about half-way through our Amtrak ride to Boston (Billy, who’s sitting by the window with the GPS receiver, says we’re about 120 miles from Boston “as the cursor flies”), having finished the New York leg of our trip. And while there are some parts of New York City life I envy, for the most part it made me appreciate home.

Continue reading “I love NY… well, sorta”…

According to my GPS, we are currently just NW of Raleigh, NC. Of course, according to our original flight schedule, we should have been in New York about an hour ago.

This was apparently not the day to fly. Bad weather around the country has caused a ton of delays. Dallas in particular got a lot of rain, causing our 11:50 flight to not leave until after 1:00. The counter agent assured us that if we didn’t make our 2:00 flight, we would have seats on the one at 3:00.

We landed in Dallas at about 1:35, and it looked like we might just make our flight. Unfortunately, instead of pulling on up to the gate, we just sat there. We weren’t told anything, so I can only assume our pilot saw somebody just loading their groceries into the back of their plane, and decided it was a parking spot worth waiting for.

We finally “deplaned” (That’s such a dumb word, isn’t it? When I get out of my car, I don’t deSUV.) at five minutes after 2:00. Assuming we had already missed our flight, we went to the gate counter and asked about getting on the next flight.

“Oh no, your flight hasn’t left yet. You can still make it! Hurry!”

So, we hurried. We rushed to the “TrAAin” (It’s like a train, only misspelled! Clever, no?) in time to take a leisurely ride to the terminal. It was like those roller coaster rides they build for four-year-olds. We get off the train (Excuse me, TrAAin), rush to the gate, and get there just in time — to be told we’re too late by the agent who ws about to go on break.

I’m so glad we hurried.

We were able to get seats on the next flight. Lucky, huh? No, not really. Our 3:00 flight did not leave the ground till after 4:30 because of some problem with the left engine.

And that brings us to where we are now — watching our progress on a GPS, expecting to reach New York at about 9:00.

Just when you thought flight travel couldn’t get any worse… Travelers at Will Rogers Airport now get to stand in line while airport security chooses “random” checked bags to rummage through in public. We lucked out this time, but that doesn’t make it any less annoying.

Between the security checks, airport construction, and all the little things that have always made flying a hassle, it’s just not worth it anymore. If I had the time, I would simply drive everywhere I want to go. European vacations would be tricky, but probably more fun.

One good thing so far — self-service check-in. American Airlines now has kiosks set up here for people with electronic tickets. Convenient, but I don’t know how reliable they are — I watched as one had to be rebooted. :-)

We leave for our vacation in a few hours. We will be in New York, Boston, and various other cities as we sight-see and visit family and friends.

We should be able to blog from the road. We’re not taking laptops because we’re trying to travel light. Instead, we’ll be taking our new Sony Clie NX70V. We bought it after our Palm VIIx, which had been having problems for a few weeks, succumbed to a fatal error that no amount of resetting could cure. Armed with a wireless card, a long list of WiFi hotspots, and Kablog, we intend to keep in touch.

But, before I go, here’s a pack of stuff for your reading enjoyment:

  • Web Design Patterns — Examples of many different design types. Good for getting ideas or for figuring out what a client wants.
  • Colours on the Web — Another color theory tutorial. I need all of these I can find.
  • Clie Car Cradle — Sony, you come out with this right after I buy a Clie? How strong do you think I am?
  • Common Content — I’m a big fan of the Creative Commons Project, and this site shows what makes it great.
  • CSS Image Replacement Techniques — More ways to separate design from content.
  • User Interface Library — Handy to have if you ever do any prototyping.
  • Form Errors. Simplified. — I saw the best form error page just the other day. When I submitted the form, it returned with a page that just had the fields that were incorrect. I wish I could remember where that was. It’s clear, simple, and I intend to steal it.
  • Web Design Postcards — I have no doubt that some of the sites I’ve done could earn me some of these cards. If people would start doing things like this — speaking up when they encounter a broken site — maybe more web designers would get the hint and start writing standards-based, cross-platform sites.

AskAlice is a service provided by Adobe to analyze the accessibility of your website. It’s also to advertise their products, but, putting that aside for the moment, it’s not a bad little service. It doesn’t give as much detail as sites such as Bobby or Cynthia, but it will analyze a “randomized statistically significant sample” of your site, rather than just one page.

Update: I suppose I should have mentioned that I used this service on OKMensa. It got a score of 79 out of 100, and it appeared all my errors came from pages generated by PHP-Nuke. My goal for the next year is to convert most of that site to use Movable Type. It’s my current hammer.