Category Archives: Web Markup

GreenScreen Updates
Date Created: January 17, 2013  Date Modified: January 27, 2013

the GreenScreen child theme I made for this blog has been updated and the project is now hosted on github. The repository with the CSS and lack of release notes can be easily found.

The theme now supports Disqus comments and is almost ready for live deployment.

UPDATE 27.1.13: I have added the github commits RSS to the right hand widget area on this and the plugin page…

RIP: Aaron Swartz
Date Created: January 13, 2013  Date Modified: January 20, 2013

On January 25, to support the Aaron Swartz Memorial blackout, this site will only display this post.

Being peroccupied with social commitments meant I only found about this today, but over the weekend one of the technocrati, Aaron Swzrtz had passed away–alledgedly a suicide.

Aaron Swartz co-developed the RSS standard that all us bloggers love, was a co-founder of reddit and an advocate of open information;

Somewhere in there, Aaron’s recklessness put him right in harm’s way. Aaron snuck into MIT and planted a laptop in a utility closet, used it to download a lot of journal articles (many in the public domain), and then snuck in and retrieved it. This sort of thing is pretty par for the course around MIT, and though Aaron wasn’t an MIT student, he was a fixture in the Cambridge hacker scene, and associated with Harvard, and generally part of that gang, and Aaron hadn’t done anything with the articles (yet), so it seemed likely that it would just fizzle out.

Instead, they threw the book at him. Even though MIT and JSTOR (the journal publisher) backed down, the prosecution kept on. I heard lots of theories: the feds who’d tried unsuccessfully to nail him for the PACER/RECAP stunt had a serious hate-on for him; the feds were chasing down all the Cambridge hackers who had any connection to Bradley Manning in the hopes of turning one of them, and other, less credible theories. A couple of lawyers close to the case told me that they thought Aaron would go to jail.
http://boingboing.net/2013/01/12/rip-aaron-swartz.html

as Lessig states:

Aaron had literally done nothing in his life “to make money.” He was fortunate Reddit turned out as it did, but from his work building the RSS standard, to his work architecting Creative Commons, to his work liberating public records, to his work building a free public library, to his work supporting Change Congress/FixCongressFirst/Rootstrikers, and then Demand Progress, Aaron was always and only working for (at least his conception of) the public good. He was brilliant, and funny. A kid genius. A soul, a conscience, the source of a question I have asked myself a million times: What would Aaron think? That person is gone today, driven to the edge by what a decent society would only call bullying. I get wrong. But I also get proportionality. And if you don’t get both, you don’t deserve to have the power of the United States government behind you.
http://lessig.tumblr.com/post/40347463044/prosecutor-as-bully

UPDATE 15.1.12: The first thing in Google Reader this morning (well after I read yesturdays XKCD) was an Ars article about how charges against Mr Swartz have been dropped. A petition has been set up on the Whitehouse website calling for the removal of the prosecutor who was handeling the Swartz case.

Anon have voiced their condolences on a couple of MIT websites, showing just how much this man was respected in the web community

After MIT President L. Rafael Reif issued a statement this afternoon promising a “thorough analysis of MIT’s involvement from the time that we first perceived unusual activity on our network in fall 2010 up to the present,” Anonymous targeted at least two MIT Web sites. Lacking the loose-knit group’s usual feisty language, the message posted on the Web site was a call for reform in the memory of the late Internet activist.
After calling the prosecution of Swartz “a grotesque miscarriage of justice” and “a distorted and perverse shadow of the justice that Aaron died fighting for,” Anonymous outlined its list of goals under a section labeled “Our wishes:”

  • We call for this tragedy to be a basis for reform of computer crime laws, and the overzealous prosecutors who use them.
  • We call for this tragedy to be a basis for reform of copyright and intellectual property law, returning it to the proper principles of common good to the many, rather than private gain to the few.
  • We call for this tragedy to be a basis for greater recognition of the oppression and injustices heaped daily by certain persons and institutions of authority upon anyone who dares to stand up and be counted for their beliefs, and for greater solidarity and mutual aid in response.
  • We call for this tragedy to be a basis for a renewed and unwavering commitment to a free and unfettered internet, spared from censorship with equality of access and franchise for all.

CNET has contacted MIT for comment on the apparent hacking and will update this report when we learn more.
http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57563752-93/anonymous-hacks-mit-after-aaron-swartzs-suicide/

Academics are showing their respects too–by posting copy-protected joyurnal articles on twitter, which has gained momentum in the past few days; some only hearing of Swartz after his passing but still greatly supportive of his open-information initative.

The PDF campaign was born out of a desire to honor Swartz’s memory and his battle for open access to documents on the Internet, said Micah Allen, a researcher in the fields of brain plasticity, cognitive neuroscience, and cognitive science.

“A fitting tribute to Aaron might be a mass protest uploading of copyright-protected research articles,” Allen wrote yesterday on Reddit. “Dump them on Gdocs, tweet the link. Think of the great blu-ray encoding protest but on a bigger scale for research articles.”

As of Sunday morning, it appeared that hundreds were participating in the protest/tribute, posting links to thousands of documents on Twitter using the hashtag #pdftribute, the creation of which Allen attributed to Eva Vivalt and Jessica Richman.

“It gives us some action to take in response to our sorrow and frustration about Aaron’s death,” Richman told CNET. “I had met him several times and have friends that knew him well. It’s a tragic loss.”
http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57563701-93/researchers-honor-swartzs-memory-with-pdf-protest/

No doubt this will continue to be the talk of the web for some time still.

[MAP] Housing Offices… in progress
Date Created: December 13, 2012  Date Modified: December 13, 2012

This is a current work in progress… please consult the Department of Housing (WA) website for all office locations.

[MAP] ABC Local
Date Created: October 14, 2012  Date Modified: October 14, 2012

Just a quick KML mashup for easy reference when away from home…

View ABC Local Stations in a larger map

This rant was posted in KML, Maps, Web on by .

An AGLC3 Plugin
Date Created: October 6, 2012  Date Modified: October 8, 2012

I decided after posting my first LAW150 assignment I realised that lawyers dont really hate HTML, its just too much effort to manually code tags or worse still paste MS Word generated HTML into most web text areas.

A simple solution would be to hack the CSS and add things like Act classes, but that would be out of the scope for some legal bloggers who have to dedicate more time to legal research than learning how to CSS.

It was pointed out early on that one could use the “i” button, well that puts text in <em> tags, which for Accessibility, is not appropriate.

A BETTER solution would be to create a simple WordPress plugin that adds the functionality without having to manually edit any CSS files.

To use this with the shortcode, simply place the square brackets around the [ Act ] Name of the Act [ /Act ] 2001. Im currently working on shortcodes for Australian jurisdictions to make it even easier for those “dumb lawyers” 🙂

This is still in BETA, as I just started this on a rainy Sunday morning; I aim to create a short code for this to simplify it even more, but for now its in a testing stage.

UPDATE: Now prints 12pt Times, but I dont use printers so I cant test it (too many years not printing things @DEC)

Chrome Timeline
Date Created: September 9, 2012  Date Modified: September 10, 2012

Before Chrome came out we all loved the functionality firebug bought to firefox, and being that I have been using FF recently I had forgotten how much better Chrome’s debugging toolset is. One of the tools I missed was the timeline, being able to see a visulization of your scripts and their load is really something that does pleasth. I noticed as you can see in the pic below, what scripts were resource hungry, and also which image element I could optimise to save that bit of bandwidth.
To activate the timeline, just right click your page > inspect element > Click the Timeline tab, then hit the record button in the bottom left toolbar, 4th button along (black circle will turn red when recording).

Click this and refresh your page and watch the fun. Hit the record button again to stop recording once the page has stopped loading all its elements.
Looks like I have some site maintenance to do…

NOTE: The information used in the Chrome tool shows speeds of the Chrome browser, it is still worth checking this against other tools, as IE and Mozilla may load at different rates depending on a number of variables.

Update and revert
Date Created: August 20, 2012  Date Modified: May 12, 2013

I decided that my customisations to the twentyeleven theme were getting a bit unmanageable and my timeline for putting the CSS together in a child theme is running out. Back to square one, goodbye funky CSS3 styles (they will be back). I will have a new theme coming in the new year, but for now its OOTB wordpress.

UPDATE 13-5-2013: Well it’s certainly into the new year and I have been doing a bit of site maintenance, so Im linking any posts mentioning an earlier theme to the GreenScreen Theme page.

Lawyers hate HTML
Date Created: August 1, 2012  Date Modified: December 27, 2012

I had my first Law lecture this morning, prior I was in the Murdoch Bookshop stacking up on some tomes I will be needing on this endeavour (and a couple more I just wanted to get). I got home enthused to start reading this new type of littérateur that I will be battling over the next few years, and heeding the advice of my lecturer: That it takes a little bit of a learning curve to get use to legal writing, I decided to start on one of the law books that wasnt part of my required reading material, but was something that I felt more palatable for someone with my background in web–Internet and E-Commerce Law, Business and Policy.

Imediatly I scanned the contents for a topic that I could relate to; Chapter 6 – Domain names and trade marks. Reading the section on WHOIS was where I started. Everyone who works web knows WHOIS, so reading this very legal run-down of something that we as webbys take for granted is… refreshing in a sense. Then I got all academic on the shit and I saw the real problem–well from my pedantic web paradigm anyway. I went to look up one of the references in the United States-Australia Free Trade Agreement, Art 17.3.2 and clicking on that link you see why Im pissed off. Numbered paragraphs that should be ordered lists!, no text anchors!, emphasis where it should be italic!. These things matter if this were a published print document; all hell would break loose if this were printed like this. But on the web, do the document custodians care? Are they even aware that HTML markup can be used to present the information in a more accessible manner?.

I am yet to look into W3C giudelines for web content; due however to the differing nature of legal style requirements in jurisdictions arount the world, I doubt an international standard could be reached specifically relating to Acts. Surely tho, the same W3C guidelines for ordered lists on other web content would apply to the layout of a legal document?. Emphasis and Italic however I see it as a breach, an Act must be written in italics by legal style convention (law?), not emphasised when read or interpreted by a text reader. What this neglect in the article of the USAFTA linked is a clear neglect the legal community have for the web community, or at least HTML.

UPDATE: When going over some online sesources provided for the unit, I came accross the below image. Please feel free to comment.

Image to point out the Short Title of an Act

There was no Alt text , title, or description of this image on the LMS.

An image to outline the correct citing of cases

This image was much worse not only did it not contain any attributes in the HTML to assist, it could have been built as a simple interactive app that would be able to meet an accessable standard

WordPress 3.4
Date Created: June 14, 2012  Date Modified: January 21, 2013

Just upgraded wordpress to this blog, and in typical wordpress efficiancy it updated without a hitch. Im not a big fan of the theme editor, but I see it adding value to the brand. Im not going to rag on about it, I’ll just let their promotional video do that:

UPDATE 21.1.13:Since this is random edit your blog day I had decided to centre the vid in a div… Such an exciting life

[MAP] CyberSaftey Outreach Centres
Date Created: April 26, 2012  Date Modified: May 2, 2012

I was surfing thru the datasets on data.gov.au and thought id import the KML from the Department of Broadband Communications and the Digital Economy‘s CyberSaftey Outreach centres.

View KML – CyberSaftey Outreach Centres in a larger map

There are around 800 datasets available, in various formats, so theres something for every interest.

This rant was posted in Google, Government, Government 2.0, Internet, KML, Maps, Web on by .

Occupy Web Technology
Date Created: November 21, 2011  Date Modified: May 2, 2012

The “Occupy” brand has exploded, Im not going to get into all the different products latching onto the Occupy theme–that would take to long. What I have found a little interesting is that two Occupy movements have popped up that I think are worth a mention here, they are Occupy Flash and Occupy HTML. Oh dear.

Lets start with Occupy Flash. Flash is propriety software that is distributed by the corporate giant Adobe, after they purchased their biggest competitor–much to my annoyance at the time. At the time I saw it as Adobe creating a web monopoly, something the OWS have been vocal about since they launched their brand. Since then the web has changed and the Macromedia stable is nolonger the dux-nutz of web development tools. Who uses Dreamweaver as much as they did in 2001?. Flash managed to survive the Web 2.0 upgrade by catering toward a different market, and it worked; testimony to that was Microsofts attempt at encroaching Adobe’s market share with Silverlight… To any webmonkey claiming flash is dead, just log into Google Analytics and right click on the map overlay!

However the folk at Occupy Flash seem to think otherwise:

Flash Player is dead. Its time has passed. It’s buggy. It crashes a lot. It requires constant security updates. It doesn’t work on most mobile devices. It’s a fossil, left over from the era of closed standards and unilateral corporate control of web technology. Websites that rely on Flash present a completely inconsistent (and often unusable) experience for fast-growing percentage of the users who don’t use a desktop browser. It introduces some scary security and privacy issues by way of Flash cookies.

Flash makes the web less accessible. At this point, it’s holding back the web.

All of the above could be true of any web technology; Sharepoint, iOS, .NET, their all guilty to some extent. Holding back the web? well back in the late 90’s it was Flash that was the fore-front of rich web, and without it we would have never seen any of the Web 2.0 technology we have today; Google Maps, Youtube… I could go on.

Then there is the counter argument from the Occupy HTML folk:

Flash is mature. It’s supported by all major desktop browsers. It’s stable when used properly. If not, it crashes a lot, just like every other technology. It requires constant security updates, just like every other web technology. It doesn’t work well on most mobile devices, and for good reasons. It’s a content plugin, developed during the era of closed standards and unilateral corporate control of web technology. Websites that rely on Flash can present a unique (and often unparalleled) experience for the massive percentage of users on a desktop browser. Flash powers some amazing experiences that work consistently across all of the major browsers in a way that cannot be replicated without Flash technology.

Championing simplistic statements regarding web technologies makes the web less educated.
At this point, it’s holding back the web.

A “content” plugin? well thats news to me–altho the XML data connector is a great little object to display your content in a visually pleasing way, Flash is for the most part asthetically driven as opposed to content driven (but maybe my definition of content differes from the writers?). The point about Flash working consistently accross browsers is a misnomer too–Konqueror anyone?.

As someone who wasted MANY years of my life with ActionScript, Im not one to quickly bash Macromedia’s Adobe’s rich-web software. That said, having years of experience dealing with an anti-Flash market, and the shortcomings of the platform, Im not one to instantly praise it. Flash is still useful in certain situations, and HTML5 does not get full cross browser support (yet). Really its like comparing Apple’s and Wintel’s.

Im not going to bash either technology, both are useful, both are required by the market. Both cater to a different market share. And most importantly: Both can co-exist on the web. If we as developers and designers dismiss one tech for another then we are only limiting ourselves to one market or the other.

Live and let live.

Joomla! as an intranet?: YES WE CAN!
Date Created: October 24, 2011  Date Modified: November 22, 2011

I was approached a few weeks ago by the Equal Opportunity Commission to build a Joomla powered Intranet–at first I had apprehensions: Joomla is not the greatest of CMS software for this application, and all government departments are running MOSS2010, so It would be simple logic to go with SharePoint for the intranet too?

Adding to the complexity of this project it was also suggested that the Joomla run on a WAMP stack–but with the server being SBS2003 I decided to put it together thru IIS instead of go and install Apache on a system that didnt require it.

The system installed without a hitch–its not the first time I have put together a J! on IIS, but its the first time I did so for an intranet. Hopefully this makes business run a bit smother down there at EOC.

Visualise Statistics With Google
Date Created: October 24, 2011  Date Modified: May 13, 2013

Google charts is an amazing piece of API, the data is there for you to use however you want. Supporting SVG and HTML5, this is a great tool to integrate within any site to display metrics visually.

The following example shows World top 10 Current Account balance:
Current Account Balance - Ranking

I dont think so
Date Created: October 2, 2011  Date Modified: January 7, 2013

Had an interview at a local design agency, one that actually does design. I dont think I will be the successful candidate, as I made two cardinal sins in the design field.

First off was calling Mac’s evil empire machines, yes I have a bias against Apple, but one must never let opinion override professionalism.

The second, wich ties in with the first a little was that I mentioned flash, the rule here is: dont bring up old technology. Sure flash is still used, but its no longer held in the same regard as it once was. I tnink if I can overcome my own perzonal bias I will have no trouble securing the next placement.

Layout Changes (navigation)
Date Created: September 26, 2011  Date Modified: September 26, 2011

So I have spent the afternoon knee deep in CSS customizing the navigation and Im nearly happy with the layout. Now my problem is to go thru and edit each post to fit within the layout, there are about 6 blogs of mine I have bought together in this site and none had the same template, tho most of my blogger accounts are not the issue–its the bleepin Murdoch blog that has given me the most drama so far–and it does not suprise me given that we could only choose from a few templates and no access to the template files.

Im yet to check this site in IE; I know thats not best practice but I spent the last 12 months building spesifically for IE (UNDA company policy was Microsoft-centric), so now that Im free to work on my own site Im quietly avoiding that little blue “E”…

On the topic of IE: one thing I did notice is that the Twenty Eleven theme sitll supports IE6. Great for people with computers that still have windows 98–but not nessisary for anyone (read: everyone) else. Im tempted to take out all the “if IE6” CSS, or put a javaScript browser detectioin that redirects IE6 users to Microsoft’s downloads page but thats a bit conceded and arrogant.

The market share of IE6 is now at 2.0%, less than Safari, less than the more standards compliant Opera. Im not forced to support it but if I dont, its basically saying Im only 98% of a web developer, as Im only serving potentially 98% of the market.

I guess its something to think for another day, I’ve done enough for now..