Archive | July 2014

Journal entries, technical and comments

I’ll use this post to keep a running summary. The background can be found in the prior post: Alpha/beta site (todo list at the bottom of the post; will be moved to this post).

Essentially, these entries deal with changing the website  using HTML/CSS, for now. There is one bit of javascript (more of this later, including a look at the different language options). Right now, I’m only working with the Sea Monkey editor and a simple text editor. Google has some edit apps now; I will try their HTML and CSS editors.

Aside: The world is moving fast; we all see technology running leaps and bounds. How do we make sense of all this? Does pulling the ostrich act cut it? Is exploiting the situations more than short term (oh yes, must be nice to roll in the dough, but there can be much discussion here about near zero and meta issues)? Ever think about truth engineering (essentially, knowing truth engines (all types) and using this knowledge)?

Historic list (will reopen when more modernization work is done) 

04/21/2015 — Did Google’s Mobile-Friendly test.

09/03/2014 — Redid the header and color scheme.

08/26/2014 – Almost done with another JQuery lesson (did one earlier, was not motivated to follow through – all sorts of philosophical issue to discuss – albeit eight years after the horse was let out of the barn) on Codecademy. Taking it easy; what’s the hurry? The world is too rushed. So, what might we do with manipulations of the DOM that is interesting from the points of view that we are trying to develop here?

07/31/2014 – All done except for the Sources page. Also, have a FB page for announcements, plus.

07/18/2014 – Wikipedia page references (for one thing, using Vol. III, No. 2) being updated. About Us and 400ths being reworked. … Main page changed (Beacon issues migrated to new format). … Almost ready to get back to content.

07/16/2014 — Pushed up changes to many pages; created new page, devlog.  At some point, will assess status of the pages (as in, count remaining ones to be done) and estimate some end date.

07/14/2014 — Clipping works with “position:absolute;” which will create tradeoffs, but it will work (that is, only use html/css). Will match this image (hopefully, position will look okay for most browsers). — Posted a little later, example banner in place for review. … WebGL looks very interesting and capable.

07/14/2014 — Filled in the table of Gardner’s Beacon issues. I like the column look by Volume. Earlier Volumes had more entries. … Started to look at using CSS shapes for the header/banner which is now an image. What comes up is clipping which works on images. So, started to look at Canvas and found this tutorial: 31 days of Canvas tutorials. Nice. The comments show that the “religious” wars of computing continue unabated. Perhaps, that drives the creativity. … Looking closer at the javascript approach, it’s tedium revisited (like 30 years ago?). Which then, brings us to newer efforts, such as WebGL. Per usual, the questions revolve around who can use and where (as in, we want to be able to support the widest range of browsers and users – as in, not following Apple’s exclusivity – where would Thomas sit in these arguments?). Official site for WebGl.

07/12/2014 — Added flyover menus on the navigator bar (About us –> Gardners and Gardners, etc.). Also, started the redo of Gardner’s Beacon (see Vol. IV, No. 2). For the collection, trying to use hover to provide a multi-select menu (issue, post, PDF). We’ll see how that goes. The titles are more visible. … Next up, there will be some redo of other pages and, then, a stop/review to see if some adjustments ought to be made before committing to total distribution. … Learned a lot. There has been a whole lot of activity by all sorts of folks. At first, I thought of it as much ado about not much (permutations, even if enumerated, do not say much). However, just using HTML/CSS provides a lot. … Which reminds me of the graphic redo (using shapes). That ought to be interesting.

07/10/2014 – After getting the CSS to settle down (lots to talk about here) and tying the test with the production, I went to look at fixing the image at the top. Also, started to look at menus. So, the fix was a simple one-line (z-index:10). Now, contents slide under the image. The footer fix did not require that (because it’s a div and not img?). On the menu, put in the text that will be in the menus. Thinking of having them on the side, invisible (float required?).


Alpha/beta site

Earlier, we talked about content management. Essentially, there are a couple (for now) sides of computing that are like a car user and its mechanic. The users go places with the car, show it off, and other things. Some users look under the hood. But, it’s the car guy/gal who looks under the hood.  Please note that we’re ignoring the car manufacturer, etc.

The point: use versus support. It’s an age-old thing in computing. Of late, a whole lot of the latter has been pushed off to the user (who is supposed to use helpers, to wit, call centers, chat rooms, and the like).

So, a few years ago, we were happily ensconced in OfficeLive. That went away, with prior notice. At the time, I moved over to what I was familiar with. HTML/Tables (with Sea Monkey’s, and a text, editor). That main page (version 1) is still there and worked for a long while. But, we need to get more modern, for several reasons. For one thing, a lot of new stuff has come about. Too, going forward, we will be adding functionality.

So, playing with the buttons seemed to be a good start. Why? In the move from OfficeLive, where the design was done with a modern WYSIWYG editor, I cut the buttons to images (see version 1) and used a table for layout adding links. It worked. So, that button work was done and has been distributed (except for some Gardner Beacon issues).

For now, the header image was cut from OfficeLive. I want to redo this using either shapes in CSS or javascript. However, why not start with the basics.

From now on, as I tweak the code (see disclosure, below), I will be using the website to test (see Alpha/Beta link from the main page). Of course, Alpha implies an earlier status than does Beta. Changes will migrate to the production site after they are thoroughly tested (against multiple browsers).

Aside: So, one thing that I learned was that turning on history, in the browser, allowed a lot of the mischief (poor decisions on the part of developers and original suppliers as they started to traipse on the rights of the users of the “cloud” or whichever computational framework you want to discuss ) that we see nowadays (more later – see disclosure). Has that story been told?

Note that in beta, there is only one page (the main one), however the links are active. Other pages will follow.

For now, there is no database, but, as we add that capability in, we’ll have to re-address the issue.

— Disclosure —

We mentioned Codecademy several places, such as we did in the post Does code matter? It was mentioned that the blogger has used over 50+ languages. Consider a timeline from the early mainframes to the smallest of the mobiles. That whole framework is spanned by two organizations to which the blogger belongs: ACM (computing society) and IEEE (advancement of technology). Too, the blogger was involved with the advanced portion from the beginning. Advanced edge? Yes, a rolling wave.

So, these last few innovations fit right within that framework in the mind of the blogger. He spent a little bit catching up with HTML/CSS (plus php, javascript). He had already used Python in several modes. Codecademy’s little system allowed a refresher look, so to speak.

But, too, the blogger ran across a site that claims to be on Time’s list of best in 2013. Say what? If the list contains more site like that, someone is not doing their homework. Or, they’re bedazzled by flash.

You see, the blogger’s experience is with real difficult problems including those where handling measure issues is imperative. A lot of what one sees now in web sites and applications is user interface. Or moving, showing data. Now, that last is okay as the blogger has worked database issues from the early types all the way to object types. As for communication, the blogger was involved in remote calls, synchronization, and similar things way early.

There is probably more to say here, however we’ll cease, for now.

Let’s close by listing some improvements expected to be coming soon. These are format, user issue. At the same time, the changes will propagate down the tree of pages. At some point, the Beta site will be forward looking rather than catch-up.

To do list (will be moved to the tech journal): position the header as fixed (float), create header image on the fly, use flex block (iframe), increase content on the footer, use cascade on menu items, Gardner’s Beacon (reorganize main page (menus), redo menu items, better links to PDF and blog posts, …), fix main nav menu, get blog (WordPress?) under TGS site, …


Rights for users of the cloud

Thoughts on the eve of the Fourth of July.

The recent revelation that Facebook (FB), and its educational cohorts, experimented with the on-line experience of FB users raises a whole lot of issues. Here is one WSJ take: Few limits.

What are the issues? Some mention “big brother” and such, out of fiction. I would claim that we are having a recurrence of the events that lead to the Magna Charta (799 years ago). However, the context is quite different, yet the same. Then, we had Barons who were interested in their welfare (which, by the way, was dependent upon countless serfs who lived lives of drudgery and worse) trying to rein in a King (who was their cousin, for the most part).

Now, we have humans who are trying to use a resource that was provided, originally, by the U.S. government, in a reasonable manner and who by doing such subject themselves to the machinations of immature males (for the most part), to the malfeasance of those who are misusing their abilities, and more.

How did this state of affairs come about? Is (was) it inevitable? We can (will) go into that.

But, the notions that were encapsulated in the Magna Charta are age-old (that is, thought about long before 1215). The promise of the internet goes right along with this dream. That is one reason to attempt to do it right. As well, we need maturity on both sides of the fence: providers and users. Such would advance the human race, as a whole.

We have 100 years or so of computational experience to draw upon. Too, this ought to be the opportunity to adjust the theoretic framework, as needed. The tasks involved will not be easy. There can be fun, though.