Friday, April 27, 2007

Microformatted week

First of all I must mention that last week I was pleasantly surprised to see the reactions to my post about Summer <Web /> online.
I must thank Edward and Neil for their immediate responses (changed markup on eventful and added summer web on upcoming). Also, I was surprised (and happy) to notice that the class=url's on upcoming are now attached only to the right elements, yeeeeey!

(I also noticed that Tantek Çelik was wearing an upcoming T-shirt at the microformats dinner at web 2.0 expo. I want one too!)

Second of all, I've just started v0.3 pre-alpha of my Bsc project. I also have a print screen of v2.0 "in action". I was just browsing (using the dev firefox profile by mistake) and it highlighted the microformats dinner event:

Now don't get enthusiastic, it's just the urlRecommender outlier there... :), no 'smart' predictions yet.

I also thought of some things to mention in my microformats presentation at summer <Web /> to make it cool and attractive for everyone and to tease the developers.

And, I almost forgot to mention, I am now a very happy listener of Queen - Greatest Hits, volumes I, II and III.

So it's a joyfull, microformatted lunch I'm having right now:
<div class="hLunch">
<span class="mainCourse">
<a href="" rel="vote-for">Yummy potato moussaka</a>
<span class="drink">sparkling water</span></div>.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Summer <Web /> online

Since everybody is blogging and spreading the word about it (well, at least Sabin Buraga and Alina Mierluş) I thought I should contribute too: I started submitting the thing online, to "major" events websites: Eventful and Upcoming.
I had some fun with that tag in the title of the event, but the great discovery was that, as opposed to upcoming's policy on url classes, eventful just does not allow you to add an url (a class="url") for your event. At all. Whatever you do, wherever you add your link, it will not be THE url of the vevent. Their class="url" is for the permalink of the event on eventful. That is, still on their website. I wonder if this is marketing (all events homepages are on eventful) or just plain wrong applied semantics, AGAIN.

The happy end of this story is this.

For the upcoming story there is no happy-end: I couldn't add FCS as a venue on upcoming (I tried like 3-4 times):

and because you cannot add events without venues, summer <Web/> 2007 is not on Upcoming. Yet. I'll try again the next days, maybe this is only because of the changes they're going through now (merging upcoming accounts with yahoo accounts), though I can't see any connection.

Does anyone know if there is a Romanian events website? We should submit it there, too...

Oh, and I shouldn't forget to mention that I will be talking about microformats at Summer <Web/> 2007. See you there!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Far from a better world...

Motto: the optimists say we are living in the best possible world. The pessimists fear so!

Anyone missed my outraged posts on idiot markup and stupid programmers?
I thought so! seems to have had a checkbox on their hiring form saying:
"Are you a dumb head that cannot cope with correct semantic markup?"
and hired only the ones that checked it!

My newest discovery regarding the markup (no, I will not go insane from reading XML all day long) is that they just throw URL's (class="url") wherever they feel to! Their event details page is one huuuuge vevent div stuffed with all sorts of things (let's not discuss about this now, they're not the only sinners), among which a list of all users attending to / watching the event. Since those are users, of course they also have user pages on upcoming. Why not put the link to the user page here? Why not add a 'url' class to that link? So, it's enough to write your simple XPath to the url of the event and you'll get yourself a list full of crap (the more people attending the event, the more crap in your event url list!). The author of the event (the one that posted it on their wonderful website) is also a user and the link to him/her is also a url class link. Inside the vevent div as well, why not?

I would really like to know what those guys think "semantic markup / microformats" mean...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Back for more...

I'm back from my 3 days Easter trip, with pictures, as I promised.
The short version of my trip is: Iaşi - Tg. Neamţ - Brusturi - Easter night at Crucea Monastery - Suceava - Botoşani - Iaşi (if Romania would have been scanned closer by online maps, maybe I would have tried some coords).
It was a traditional Easter, with traditional food and a beautiful Easter service at the monastery.
You can take a look at some pictures here.

I picked Picasa Web (after googling for some comparisons and evaluating features). I also downloaded Picasa and played with it a little (it also resizes the pictures when it uploads them (automatically) to the web album - a 48MB folder became 12MB - which is pretty good given that the space limit is 1GB (but they say it's counting)).

Now I'm back for more (brain damage) and waiting for the next holidays...

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Happy Easter

Happy Easter to you all!

I will take off in a couple of hours for a short break in the country side to celebrate Easter. I will be back with pictures!

See you in a few days.

Later edit: and since you're here, maybe you could help with this: Picasa web or Flickr?
Picasa has the advantages of being "Google's too" and that all the blog pictures are stored in there, I don't need a new account, I already have the google account, but Flickr, on the other hand, first of all, is (the) Flickr :) and second, is has gorgeous semantic markup (of what I heard) -- but I didn't check picasa's yet, it might be better (yeah right). So please, if you spare a moment, drop an option in a comment. Thank you!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

I wonder what does this button doo? (reloaded)

Well, I got it: the print-screens! Unfortunately, I'm pretty slow (in thoughts) and I couldn't get a print-screen of the progress bar...

1. The panel appeared: notice how it covers the text and its close button in the bottom-right corner:

2. I clicked the button. Notice how the advertisement disappeared but the panel didn't: the black thing is still covering the page!

The same webpage displays another advertisement, pretty much in the same way: a non-closing-panel on top of the text. But this was only the container: the actual ad was a smaller panel bouncing inside the container. And guess what: the close button was attached to the bouncing panel!!!! Sooo, in order to close it, I had to move around to catch it: of course, I missed twice so I got myself two popups opened by the stupid ad!

Finally, I had to reload the page until no ads were displayed at all (it seems it does such things besides changing the ad) in order to read something (a pretty interesting article after all).

This is to prove that reading newspapers online is one of the best things to do to "relax" -- it seems somehow that newspapers pick the most stupid programmers for their websites.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

I wonder what does this button dooo?

Motto (from Cartoon Network ancient wisdom):

Deedee: I wonder what does this button doooo? Can I push it, Dexter, can I, can I?!?!?!
Dexter: No, Deedee, do NOT push that button!

Remember the pop-up advertisements that we all hated? Thanks God (or the popup blockers), they're history now!
But because creativity is a key component of a web developer, another invention invades our browsers: the javascript popup panels with advertisements. The blockers didn't get them, yet! :)

For those who haven't seen them yet, they are panels that open when you enter the page, covering parts of the page content, that show text and/or sounds to get your attention and make you buy whatever they want you to buy. Besides this classic version, there is a new variety of the ad: there is a regular ad panel but when you hover it, it gets laaaaarger and starts making sounds. Of course, this kind of hover-activated panels are 'strategically' placed in the page: you'd have to take a 700 pixels wide ellipse detour to avoid it. But, hey, that's their purpose, to annoy you until you buy!

There is no really big problem actually: they all have a close button, a mute button (not like the stupid beer that made sure all the office knows you read gsp), or whatever annihilation method.

I mean, that's what I thought until a few days ago, when I entered some online newspaper (I don't remember which one) and it popped:
millisecond 1: 'OK, I'll close it!'
millisecond 2: 'oooh, no close button...'
millisecond 2.5: 'oooh, it hasn't loaded yet (it's just a blank panel covering my web page), that's why...'
seconds 1 to 5: the ad's PROGRESS BAR saying: 'Loading, please wait...'
Whaaaaaat? NO, I will NOT wait for you to load an advertisement I don't want to see!!!!

So what do we do know? Should we stop visiting the annoying websites? Is it fair to avoid bad-designed websites or bad-programmed websites? What makes us come back to a website: the content or the design? (I sound like Carrie Bradshaw again!)
The publisher of the information is, frequently enough, not the one that designes/programmes the website. So, by not visiting it anymore, we actually hurt the publisher when it's the developer we should hit.
Of course, the publisher chooses the programmer so if it's stupid, he/she should pay. Yet again, frequently enough, the publisher has no idea about technical stuff, so he/she cannot evaluate properly the work of a programmer (I could bet that the online newspaper had no idea about the fact that a slow internet connection might cause an advertising to load for a few seconds and annoy me (the user)). Doubtless, the programmer will always blame the content if a website isn't visited enough.

So (to make it an awareness raising post): PUBLISHERS from all around the world, hire someone and pay him/her damn well to TEST your website's functionality in all the imaginable and non-imaginable ways because it's your image and your money we're talking about!