This is a blog that was created to talk about web design. The both of us hope people can learn from this, even learn something ourselves maybe.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

The Importance of Simplicity

Since I have been doing a lot of coding lately, I have also been doing a lot of reading. I get inspiration from other web pages and web sites, so I look at the code, see how different they do it to how I do it (not very much) but occasionally I'll come across the coder who really goes crazy with weird things.

Take the use of BOLD for example. It used to be that you could simply use the <b> tag but that was phased out by the use of <strong>. A lot of coders still use b but it would be the wrong approach, but I am also betting the search engines lend it the same weight as strong. Another way to achieve the same effect, but it is debatable as to whether it has the same strength in search engine terms is to use css: <span style="font-weight:bold;">.

The same thing can be done with <em> and the <h1/h2/h3/h...> tags, the effect can be achieved by manipulating css attributes and the <span> tag, but in terms of search engine optimization it might not achieve the same level of importance. So why use the normal HTML tags?

Well the answer is the most common denominator! HTML has been around for many years now, and is likely to be the basest level of the web for many years to come. Even XHTML is an extension of HTML, incorporating it in its design and hierarchy, with only a few extra additions. This shows you the importance of the base tags.

The search engines used to use the amount of links in a page to determine how "popular" it is, and where to position it in the search results. Let's say I make a page about earthenware pots. If I have 100 links linking to my page, then it might be popular. People took advantage of that so then the search engines changed their algorithms, now those incoming links have more importance if they are from a related subject. But even that can be circumvented, so now the search engines look at the page code. If for example, the words "earthenware", "pottery", "pot" are bolded, or italicized, then they must be stressing something important and relevant, thus the page/site gets a higher ranking. The coder has clearly spent time on the page, it's not just some kid ripping a copy and slapping it up on

This is why designers need to be careful when they construct web pages, and understand the relevancy to other sites, and why webmasters are very prudent over who they link to, or exchange links with. Their page ranking can significantly decrease or be damaged by linking to the wrong place and sometimes, other sites may benefit but not them. Constructing the pages correctly from the beginning using these simple, yet elegant tags, can have dividends that pay out for years to come.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Firefox Freezing?

If you are having trouble with Firefox slowing down and locking up at times, here’s a possible fix for the issue.

  • Disable the autoupdate feature in switchproxy (Note: This will cause you to lose the update link to pull from)
  • Disable check for notification of switchproxy updates.

You should see a dramatic increase in speed, and fewer lockups.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Rounded Corners

I had posted on my blog about rounded corners, that I got from Stu Nicholls' site, and from there to the author of this wonderful trick, Alessandro Fulciniti. It is a very useful trick for making rounded corners without graphical addons, and you can find a use for it nearly everywhere.

Tuna Girl

Tuna Girl

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Fav.ico Problems In (what else) IE

I have just recently begun my foray into the world of Web design, and on my most recent project I thought it would be nice to have the fav.ico on the address bar. I, of course, being new at this had no idea how to do so- LOL so I went to my friend's Blog, The English Guy, and viewed source to see how he had done it. I found what I believed to be the lines of code and transferred them to my file and sure enough, worked like a charm. UNTIL I tested it in Internet Explorer. The fav.ico showed up fine in Netscape and Firefox but not in IE. So hmmmm what to do, why search of course! I found one site that told me that if the icon wasn't created in 16 colors it wouldn't work in IE, so I went and made one in 16 colors and that didn't work either. I finally ran across this forum that had several references to favorite icon, what it is, how to put it in, etc- and scrolling down ran across a post that said if the site is not book marked in favorites that the fav.ico won't show- so I book marked it and sure enough, up it came. So if anyone has had this same problem, here's the solution!

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Beware of the Dark Blogs, TypePadawan

Couldn't resist! Ok this article over at SlashDot highlights the ingenuity (and perhaps the desperation) of hackers and their ilk. There are some blogs creeping into the industry that are honey traps, waiting for unsuspecting people to come along, download something and get hit with virii and all kinds of nasty surprises.

Generally speaking, these are spread through IM's telling you about new blogs, and hold malicious code intended to screw with you. Supposedly, only about 200 or so of these exist, and in a multiverse of 8 million blogs that's not too many, and undoubtedly they will be unmasked quickly. Be warned!

Sunday, April 10, 2005

The ease of blogging

After using Wordpress on the blog that rich talked me into starting and seeing how easy it is to change the look of it and to add content... well, call me crazy but I'm actually thinking of changing my coupon and savings site to a blog. I'm thinking of just starting all over, I wonder how long that would take me?

Thursday, April 07, 2005

MSN Spaces (Blog)

This is a quick article because I just want to tell you about MSN's new blog 'Spaces'. Clearly Microsoft is/was falling behind the times (many people have criticized them for not being nimble and reacting to new products/trends), and rushed this into development a few months ago, then got it into Beta testing. A LOT of people were rightly angry at them, because in their terms they clearly state that anything put into the blog is THEIR property (not yours). Talk about an invasion of privacy...

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Linux vs. Microsoft?

I wrote a post about this on my blog, but I'm going to briefly mention it here too. It seems that Linux is rapidly catching up to Microsoft, especially among large organisations (such as Governments, read Brazil, Australia, Israel). The primary drive behind all of this isn't necessarily cost, since you still have to license Linux, but the open-source nature of the software. By its very nature Linux is constantly being updated, with new "killer" apps being written all the time (for free, hence "open source"), which Microsoft lags WAY behind in. When was the last time you heard of a Microsoft team offering something free for everyone to use? This is in direct contrast to say, Google, which pretty much brings out a new product every week, or Linux which you can find a literal plethora of programs for.

Monday, April 04, 2005

The Python Slithers Along

Well now, here's another language to start learning boys and girls! (That is, if you are a serious programmer and are looking to be employed by a big corporation like Google, Microsoft etc) Python! I took a look at it a long time ago, and didn't get into it because at that time I was really starting to get into the HTML (this was several years ago now). But it appears it is starting to rise on the horizon and would be a good idea to learn, on the side. SlashDot has the article, and here, and here, and here is a link to the Python Conference (PyCon).

They Cling To Old OS's Don't They?

I doubt many of you remember but about 6 or 7 years ago there was this little operating that couldn't. It was so obscure it barely even merited a mention in the magazines of the day. One spurt of enthusiasm and voila, it was consigned to the backwaters. It was called "BeOS" (pronouned 'be-oss'). In fact the only reason I know about it is through a friend of mine in Atlanta, Andy Satori, who used to harp on about it trying to convince mainstream unix freaks (like myself) that it was the new OS to go with. I never even saw it, to tell the truth.

Well now it seems that it is trying to stage a comeback. Some germans (yellowTAB) have hijacked this little-OS-that-couldn't and are packaging it as an office suite. Good luck! I hope they get relegated to the 6th Circle of Programmer's Hell for this (that's the one with everything in COBOL). Anyway here's the trackback: SlashDot, Anil, NewsForge.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

More Work Out There

So I have added yet more work to my portfolio ;) I actually started blogging on here, on, but I started to explore WordPress (and convinced Mel to do the same). So I decided to see if this can be used for commercial purposes.

My first real foray into this was, which is a place for financial deals/coupons/bargains. I have had some limited success with this, mainly because it is hard to get blogs out there when there are so many.

My second try was, which I have had better success with, and I enjoy adding to this every day. My pagerank is going up significantly too, which I check often.

Now I started my own blog, so check it out here: and then I have JUST started another one for Jan, so she can talk about her Afghan Hounds here:

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Welcome Me to the Present

I finally did it. I started a blog. YES I used wordpress. YES I like it. YES you were right again Rich! :)

Sunday, March 06, 2005

The Big Boys and Blogs

I know I had talked to Clayton and Mel about this, but this is evidence that the big boys (Microsoft, etc) are getting a clue about blogs and search positioning. It seems MSN has it's own blog, created by fictional people, where they link everything to MSN Search, which of course is a method of inreasing page rank. Times must be tough that they have to do it themselves, don't ya think? This was enlightened by this article, which I was pointed to from MSNBC (here actually).

Ok, so why is this important? Blogs are the people, the real person on the street. You might go so far as to say that these are advanced surveys in a way, although without direction and goal. To dismiss blogs is foolish because you get the real feedback here, not narrowed down by suitable questions or filtered by journalists or editors whose goal is biased. (do you know of a journalist who espouses wind power who write favorably on nuclear power?)

Blogs show us what is "hot" in real time, not distributed in bright shiny packages by some uncaring corporation whose entire goal is profit. Links written into blogs are personalized, a reflection of that person at that time, and it is this personality, this personal enthusiasm, that is the blog's power (and IMHO why so many journalists and industry leaders are now embracing them). See how some bloggers are now publishing books and blogging for a living? There is a reason for this, in that the "people" (you and me) are interested in this person-centric view of the (Internet) world, and not some cookie-cutter plastic-wrap factoid.

This is the sole reason I have decided to embrace blogging - because it does empower, because you can influence someone and shape the way the Web flows. And yes, for the obvious reason too, because it increases traffic to my work sites and maybe one of them might turn into a hot hit. A blog like this one for example, about coding, might help you or *gasp* might even help someone who happens to read it (I'm not sure there are many of those, you need to spread the URL...) Blogging doesn't have to be personal, you don't have to write about your family, you can write about your everyday experiences, the things you love, or hate, or admire, or life in general, or just the cool websites you have run across.

So has this encouraged you to blog more? I hope so, it can only help you. Not only that, but if you have a server and $10 for a domain name, you can install WordPress easily enough and off you go! It is REALLY easy. I thought it would be difficult but no sir, just three steps, set up a MySQL database and you're ready :)

Monday, February 28, 2005

Finished Site, Added New Features, Read Here

Helllooooo! I just finished up the major recoding of an old site I have given a facelift to ( It used to be ALL white, which was kinda lame. I changed it over to be more ordered, now all the menu action is at the top, static and more organized. One major thing I added which I think will prove useful is the Site Search; I got it at A List Apart. It uses perl which pretty much all servers now have, and it doesn't take any recoding. I had to make one or two tiny adjustments on my script but other than that it worked beautifully.

Sadly I couldn't code it to XHTML 1.1 Standards, because of some odd behaviour with ampersands in the validation process (from the ad servers). But that is not a big problem, XHTML 1.0 Transitional is just fine with me.