Zeke Franco

Digital stalking made easy.

Here you can find most of my what I’m doing around the Web. All of my series of tubes point here—at least the tubes with feeds.

I posted to quasarkitten.net

SXSW ‘08: Friday Plus the Last 24hrs

This trip has been pretty crazy… Twenty-four hours ago I was in an emergency hospital. I was at work and suddenly became intensely dizzy and nauseous. After running back and forth from my cube to the restroom, HR called an ambulance. I stayed in the hospital for about five hours—they did some blood tests, blood pressure testing, and a CAT scan. Finally around 10pm last night I was released from the hospital with a diagnosis of vertigo possibly due to a viral ear infection. So I go home and pass-out due the be given large amounts of dramamine and valium. I luckily woke up at 5:40am and realized shit I have a flight to catch by 7:47am, and I haven’t even pack. So I through my laptop in my bag, through a bunch of clothes in my luggage, and scram out the door. As a side note that night my laptop and been dropped and know looks all ghetto. Before I left for the hospital I incorrectly packed my laptop away in my backpack, when my roommate went to put my backpack upstairs it flopped right out. I guess it will be a good excuse to buy a Macbook pro, when they come out with the new chipsets. Luckily Ontario airport is a very quick airport to get through so I easily made the flight to Salt Lake City. My flight to Austin was delayed an hour on top of my two hour overlay. So that was fun.

Once I got to Austin it has been smooth sailing. I got to my hotel at 7:30pm ran to the Convention center claimed my SXSWi badge and goodies bag. The goodies bag didn’t have anything great in it. The coolest thing was a Linux magazine and Create Magazine. I’m going to try to go to sleep early so I can enjoy all the great talks. I’ll be posting another entry tomorrow night about any activities that happen during the day, and which talks I attended.quasarkitten.net | twitter.com/quasarkitten

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Yahoo User Interface Theater (Videos)

I just recently found out about the YUI Theater. It is a collection of videos about the web development world. I’m really enjoying them so far. I have already watched Douglas Crockford: “The JavaScript Programming Language—Part 1”. It was very informative about the history of JavaScript. I look forward to watching all four videos. Also on my list to watch is Shawn Henry’s “ Web Accessibility Guidelines Update” I enjoyed hearing her speak at An Event Apart Seattle 2007. So I’m excited to watch this presentation. As of today there are 44 videos in the YUI Channel. I can’t wait to watch them all. Here are some of the ones I’m looking forward to watching.

An Introduction to Screen Magnification Software An Introduction to Screen Readers Welcome to Firebug 1.0

Yahoo has even posted twenty-three of it’s video on iTunes as a podcast that you can subscribe to. On a related topic the recent FLOSS Weekly podcast interviewed Nate Koechley, a Yahoo front-end engineer and designer. They talked about The Yahoo User Interface Library, a collection of open source JavaScript utilities and controls with cross-browser, cross-platform support. So to wrap this up if your a developer pay attention to what Yahoo is doing because they are bringing out a lot of content, services, and code for us developers.quasarkitten.net | twitter.com/quasarkitten

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Use Automator to Auto-Install Widgets

I posted an article called Automated Dashboard Widget Installer on July 4th, 2007 about a workflow I wrote that automatically installs dashboard widgets for me. Leopard contains a new version of Automator which breaks my workflow. So I’ve created a new workflow for OSX 10.5 Leopard. The BOMAchiever in Leopard has seems to have been improved. In Tiger if I selected five or more .zip files it would choke when trying to unzip them all at once—at least on my system. Now that I’m running Leopard this has been fixed. So if you download ten widgets that are contained in .zip files, you can install them all at once. Instructions

Download the Install User Widget(s) workflow file Double-click to unzip it Double click the .workflow file which will open it in Automator Then Select Save as Plug-in—a dialog will pop-up Name the Plug-in (In the text field Save Plug-in As:) Make sure the Drop-down list is set to Finder (see Figure 1 below) Press Save

Figure 1 I have also created a video demo which shows how to use the workflow and how to install the .workflow file. You can watch the HD version on Vimeo if you to actually want be able to read the screen text.

Click on image to play video.Use Automator to Auto-Install Widgets

If you want to learn more about Automator or maybe just download some other workflows then check out automator.us. Automator.us is the personal website of Sal Soghoian who is the AppleScript product manager at Apple. If you head over to twit.tv, Sal has done some video podcasts showing some really cool things you can do with automator. Just do a search for automator to find the shows.

Install User Widget(s) by Zeke Franco is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at http://www.quasarkitten.net. quasarkitten.net | twitter.com/quasarkitten

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Background colors not printing?

Today I was working on a little report for work. So I designed a neat xHTML page that has some stats listed in a pretty little table, and then I realize people at work tend to print things out, so I better make a nice print style sheet. So I add my link tag: <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="/css/print.css" media="print" /> then started working on my print style sheet. Since I use CSS for all the layout all I really need to do is a few of things.Remove the non-relevant section such as the page headerAdjust the browser defaults:Remove coloring and underlines from linksRemove dotted border from abbreviationsSet my logo image to display as blockRestyle the table so that alternate rows are different colorsAdd some Javascript to make the link’s url visibleSo after doing all these I’m try to do some test prints. In Firefox and Opera everything is fine. Then in Internet Explorer 6 the background color for the alternate table rows isn’t printing. So I’m thinking it’s some sort of IE bug. After spending some time fiddling with the CSS I noticed that which ever element I applied a background color to it wouldn’t print.Then it hits me… The browser preferences. If you go to the file menu and choose Tools << Internet Options A window will open. Choose the tab called Advanced. Then scroll down to the printing section and check the option “Print background colors and images”. See Figure 1.Figure 1Once you’ve done this your background colors will print.I also noticed this happens in Safari for Mac. The preference to change this lives in the print dialog. Once your in the print dialog box, expand the dialog by pressing the upside down triangle thing next to the printer you’ve selected. Then check the box that says “Print Backgrounds”. See Figure 3.Figure 3As a web designer it reminds me that you can’t depend on anything so make sure that your print style sheets do not depend on background colors. For example what if you wanted to have some light grey text or white text on a background color, well if the user has their background colors unchecked, which by default it is, the white text will be printing on white paper. Not good. I guess the lesson here is to test, test, and then do some more testing to make sure everything is working.quasarkitten.net | twitter.com/quasarkitten

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24 Ways: Web Design Tips and Tricks

Every year (since 2005) 24ways.org brings you a web design/dev article each day for twenty-four days leading up to X-Mas. The articles are written by "thought leaders" in the web design/dev community. Some of last year's article were written by Jeremy Keith, Dan Cederholm, Andy Budd, Shaun Inman and others. Today (Dec. 1) was the launch of 24ways 2007 so check it out.read more | digg storyquasarkitten.net | twitter.com/quasarkitten

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MarsEdit 2 Review

MarsEdit 2 was released about two months ago. So I thought I’d give it a try. I’m not going to go over every feature, just the experience I’ve gained in the last month while using the trial period. I’m going to cover: Creating & Editing PostsUsing an External EditorMedia Panel’s Flickr Integration Draft Preview Overall Pros ConsMy Blog's ConfigurationI have sort of strange configuration… I started blogging in 2004 and at this time I didn't know anything about HTML or blog engines, so I started my blog on blogger. Since then I have throughly learned HTML and CSS. I'm planning on moving to a self-hosted WordPress site by February of next year, but as of now using my hand-coded template with blogger. Blogger pushes all of the content on to my own server. This is bit unconventional since most blogger blogs are usually hosted on blogspot. This may explain some of the “bugs” described later.Creating and Editing PostsCreating and editing blog posts is the main feature of MarsEdit. Starting a post is as simple as clicking on New Post (Screenshot 1 Item 1). Once you’ve set up MarsEdit to access your blog, you can start editing a post by first selecting the desired post then click on Edit Post. (Screenshot 1 Item 2) At this point, whether you selected Edit Post or New Post the editor window will popup. (See Screenshot 2) In this window you can write up or edit your posts. After you’ve written you can start adding the related tags or labels for you post. To do this select Options (Screenshot 2 Item 1) and started adding label/tags to your post. Finally when your done you can select Send to Weblog (Screenshot 2 Item 2) to post to your site, or just select Save as Draft (Screenshot 2 Item 3) which will save the document locally if you haven't quite finished it yet. Screenshot 1 Screenshot 2Using an External Editor Screenshot 3 Screenshot 4I prefer to do my markup stuff in Textmate, so if you go to the MarsEdit preferences, (See Screenshot 3) select the Edit tab then towards the bottom there is a drop-down list labeled Edit With external editor:. This list it will show the well know editors: BBEdit, SubEthaEdit, TextMate, TextWrangler, WriteRoom. (see screenshot 4) If you use something different such as Taco HTML editor, or Coda, you can just select Other… and then browse to your desired application. MarsEdit has assigned the keyboard shortcut CMD + j as a way to open your draft in your desired external editor. When shortcut activated MarsEdit will open a new document in your chosen application. The document is usually named something like: ODBEditor-com.red-sweater.marseit-0000001. In a sense this is a temp file. MarsEdit automatically takes the text you had in the New Post window and put this in the new document, when you close this new document all the text you had in the external editor will now appear in the New Post dialog.Media Panel Screenshot 5The media panel is part of the editing window. See Screenshot 5 for the media panel and Screenshot 2 Item 5 show you how to open the media panel. It allows you to insert images from from you website, hard drive or flickr. I'm just going to cover the Flickr portion. The integration with flickr is very seamless. From this panel you can browse and search all of your flickr photos. You can choose to search by either the image's name or by tags. The strange thing I've found is that you can't search by multiple tags or by multiple words that are in the name unless they are in order. Here is an example. Let's say you have a image named Cheese Ball from the Moon and it is tagged as cheese, food, dairy. If you do a search for “from moon” you won't get a result, but had you type “from the moon” the image will show up. Also you can only search using one tag at a time. Search for “dairy” will bring up the image but search for “food dairy” will not. Despite the searching quirks it is still very easy to find the image you are looking for.Once you've found the image you are looking for it is very easy to add it to your post. All you have to do is click on the image you want, then if needed select the photo size and alignment position and then press insert. You can also just drag the image from the panel on to the place you'd like the image to be. The sizing options you have are square, thumbnail, small, medium, large, and original—same sizes flickr gives you. I don't recommend using the align feature, just leave it on unaligned. This is because code used to align the image is the align attribute which is deprecated presentational markup.Draft PreviewOne of my favorite features of MarsEdit is the ability to preview your drafts before you post them. It's easy to set up if you know HTML and CSS, but not so easy if you don't. I hope to do a post in the future that will go in depth on how to setup a preview. Once you’ve setup you preview template view you preview your draft can be done by clicking on preview. (Screenshot 2 Item 4)Overall Pros Editing and posting a blog entry is extremely easy and a pleasure to use. Flickr integration is simple to setup up and and use.The Preview Drafts feature is extremely useful.I really like the Options sidebar that allow an easy way to add tags to you posts.ConsView on Web feature doesn’t work for me. This may be due to my strange configuration. I haven’t been checking this feature often, but today (03/14/08) I did and it works. I’m;using version 2.1.2. If you don’t know HTML or CSS then setting up the Draft Preview may be difficult.Flickr searching needs to be improved.quasarkitten.net | twitter.com/quasarkitten

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