July 2005 Archives

According to CmdrTaco himself, Slashdot will soon no longer be partying like it’s 1999. A CSS-based layout has been developed and the Slashdot site will be converted over soon.

Hats off to the Slashcode team. I’ve played with that code before, and I’m sure it was no easy task removing all those layout tables.

There are a few nits to pick, of course. The site doesn’t validate, yet. I would have liked to see them use XHTML instead of HTML, but that’s just a personal preference, and probably would have caused them more grief. I doubt they have any control over the code they get from their ad servers, and ad servers are notorious for screwing up XHTML. It appeared all the img tags had alt attributes, but most of them were empty. It’d be nice to see those filled in with useful descriptions. And, there are some rendering issues in Mac IE 5.2. Nothing that would keep a person from viewing the site, just some of the boxes are unnecessarily tall.

Anyway, I just took a quick look at it, and I’m sure they have more work to do, but I think it’s off to a great start. If Slashdot can convert to a CSS layout, no other web app has any excuse for not doing it. I’m looking right at you, osCommerce.

This is a test of the Google Toolbar AutoLink System. This test is meant to calm down web designers who have become hysterical over the thought of their precious content being modified and displayed by your web browser — which is exactly what a web browser is supposed to do.

This is only a test.
Unlinked ISBN: 0066214122
Linked ISBN: 0066214122
Unlinked Address: 5801 N May Ave., Oklahoma City, OK 73112
Linked Address: 5801 N May Ave., Oklahoma City, OK 73112

Now, install the silly toolbar, come back here, and find out for yourself.

My results: AutoLinks are visually different from regular links. Unless, of course, you just happened to have highlighted your links with the exact same soft blue color Google does. Which, naturally, they should have expected. You also get a large tooltip pop up when you hover over the links.

In the FireFox version, the linked ISBN was changed to look like an AutoLink, but the link itself was not altered in any way and my affiliate ID was passed to Amazon intact. The highlighting of the regular link must be a bug, because the same thing does not happen in Internet Explorer. In IE, already-linked ISBNs and addresses are not changed to AutoLinks.

I did this because the furor over the Google Toolbar had once again erupted on a mailing list I’m on. The two main complaints were that the Toolbar changes links you already have on your page and there is no way to tell the difference between links and AutoLinks. I was pretty sure neither of those were true, but it seemed like a good idea to try the silly thing before making any statements about it. I’m fairly certain I’m the first person on a mailing list to ever do that.

The next time someone starts going on about what the Google Toolbar does or does not do, please kindly direct them here. You might also suggest that they refrain from knocking something until such time as they have tried it.

For the latest eMonitor, I wrote an article about finding free images. It highlights some of my favorite sites for royalty-free stock photography.

And, yes, that’s me. No, that’s not how I dress for work.

Smart Goat is now a card-carrying member of the EFF.

And we will continue to be for as long as it takes.