Slime Update Archive - November 2002
Thanksgiving was fun, and tiring. Met all my relatives; my mom’s side in the afternoon (including my grandpa who is 95% recovered from a recent stroke, yay), and my dad’s side afterwards, with my hundreds of little cousins. Way too many of them. I managed to squeeze a game of warcraft inbetween the two trips.
I have a ton of stuff due next week (last week of classes), including some final exams, so I will continue to not make any changes to my page. In case you had your hopes up or something. Thankfully, working on any of my recent projects doesn’t seem too appealing, so I should be able to get some work done.
On Saturday, I’ll see Star Wars: Episode 2 on an IMAX theatre. You know, the movie with the sophisticated name. Cool.
Does anyone know of a freeware XSLT program? (Translator? Renderer? Implementer? Thing?)
Weekend was wasted on a Data Structures and Algorithms problem set (at least it was interesting). Today has been and will continue to be wasted with a small writing paper. The rest of the week will be partially wasted with a Computer Music assignment. However, with any luck, I should find some time to do cool things again soon.
I dunno about the rest of you, but I’m too scared to download the Opera 7 beta, because when I do, I’ll quickly learn whether they really got the DOM support right, or whether they screwed it up horribly. And if they did manage to get it right, there are certain to be tons of bugs which I’m going to feel obligated to help them fix, because if I don’t, I’ll have to live with them forever. Er, that is, until version 8.
I’m not posting much because I’m not doing much. The last week or so has been spent trying to avoid working on a paper for my writing class, which is on a topic that’s really hard to write about. Naturally, this has significantly improved my warcraft 3 abilities.
Frustratingly, just after paying for another year of hosting, I’ve discovered that my hosting providers have an old version of Perl (that they don’t plan to upgrade) that can’t handle XML::DOM, which I’m trying to use in the backend of this site. I think I’ll have to look into non-Perl solutions. Maybe that will actually open up more possibilities in the long run. I was never crazy about Perl anyway.
Zeldman points out that if you change your default background color to something other than white, you can see how many sites forget to set their background colors to white explicitly. What he fails to mention (although he may have thought of it) is that users may change their background color on purpose. Personally, I have my background color set to a light green. And not just for my browser, but for my entire operating system. It reduces contrast and makes things a lot easier to read.
Naturally, what I most often see this greenish color behind is text files or simple lists. The text editor I’m typing in now has it as a background color. As a result, I subconsciously associate this background color with simplicity, and with the lack of any attempt at aesthetics. That’s the feel that I get when I see it on a web page. And whenever a designer fails to set the background color of their web page to white, I see it on their web page. Which significantly lowers my opinion of their design.
My point thus far is that if you’re designing a page with a white background, you need to explicitly set the background to
white (with CSS such as
background:#FFF). However, there’s more to this.
The very reason I set my background color to light green is to reduce contrast when I’m reading. Naturally, I want this to apply to web pages, too: when I’m reading from a web page that’s heavy on text, I like it to respect my color preferences. On the other hand, if the green color is going to make the page look bad (for instance, if there are images with white edges that need to match up to a white background), then I’d rather have a white web page that looks nice.
The line between these two situations is debatable. It’s up the designer to choose whether a white background should be explicitly set, or whether the user’s background color should be used. The designer needs to weigh aesthetics against readability, and determine which is more important. Ultimately, my point is that the choice should not be made without any thought: the designer should neither set a white background without a specific reason, nor leave the background color unset under the assumption that the user’s default color is white.
(On my own site, I chose to explicitly set the background color to white. My reasoning behind this is that there are at least three instances where white images or DIVs need to match up with the background, and it’s important to me that my front page be aesthetically pleasing and professional looking.)
I have a group project coming up that I have no idea what I’m supposed to do for. My group isn’t being too helpful. Then again, neither am I. Oh well. I’m tired of classes.
I’m tired of most everything right now.