Who knows what evil lurks in CSS? The drop shadow knows…

October 29th, 2007  

Here’s looking at you

Howzit shows that’s he’s no slouch when it comes to surveillance. The title for this week’s Toon is They Need Super Vision. No kidding.

The battle rages on…

I thought I’d scored a breakthrough with CSS this week. I got Stu Nicholl’s drop shadow trick to work on my local machine, but when I tried posting an example here in the blog it all went blooey. I’ve been fighting with it all afternoon. Score: CSS 63 gazillion me nothing. Maybe next week.

I’m so disgusted I’ve got nothing else to say.

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Should I commence the teeth-gnashing now?

October 22nd, 2007  

Updated adventures: one

This week’s Toon is called Tell Her The Camera’s On The Bum. I know what you’re thinking, but you’re wrong. Howzit is by no means impoverished and he does have a place to stay. Sure, he’s travelling on Mississauga’s dime, but George made sure he had enough money to pay his own way home and stay in a good hotel while he’s away. Just in case.

Updated web pages: none

Not that I haven’t tried. I’m really struggling with making CSS do what I’ve done rather easily with tables. Wait, that’s not right, I’ll revise that.

I accept that CSS can’t do what I did by violating the taboo against using tables for layout. I’m willing to acknowledge my weakness, reject the heresy, and swear not to do it again. Really. As soon as I find any CSS that can, say, reliably apply a drop-shadow to an image in all browsers.

Well, I can’t. I got really close, though. I thought I’d found The Grail this week. A CSS guru (Stu Nicholls) has a demo page that illustrates a nice drop-shadow. That page looks right in all four of my test browsers. When I saw that, my heart almost stopped. Could it be…?

No it couldn’t. It’s probably my ignorance of some subtlety of CSS, no doubt, but no matter what I’ve tried I can’t make Stu’s trick work. Not in any of the browsers. None, Jerry. Nar one of ’em.

Curses. Many curses. Much gesticulating at the monitor with upraised digit. Loud condemnations of the CSS gods, thundering oaths of painful and prolonged vengeance, frightening fury unleashed and hurled against those who would deprive me of the simple, perverse pleasure of a little table or two… those bastards.

To no avail. Stu’s CSS still won’t work, even though I’ve picked apart the source for his page and virtually duplicated it–the part that he says creates the drop-shadow, that is. There’s a lot of other stuff going on with the source for Stu’s page there and I have no idea if any of it matters. Probably not, probably it’s something really minuscule that I missed and will MAKE ME FURIOUS but that’s okay. I’ll get it to work, or find something else. It’s just that a drop-shadow for images is the look I want, so it’s tough to make any real progress until I find a method that I can live with.

New videos: none

This project is also a bit off track, but for a different reason. Okay all you mothers of little videographers out there, gather round. Pass this advice to your children: when using Adobe Premiere to capture video, never never never never ever use Scene Detect.

Scene Detect captures a separate clip every time it detects that you started and stopped the camera. This sounds great, and it is–until you make the mistake I made. I renamed some clips and then sorted by name. Don’t do that.

Since then I have not managed to get them back in capture order. Now, perhaps someone out there can explain Premiere’s clip naming algorithm to me. I’m not exactly inexperienced at this sort of thing and I can’t figure out what the hell it did to my clips. It’s logical up to a point, and then… blooey.

This problem resembles the CSS drop-shadow problem in that they are both the sort of thing that drives me crazy, but I can’t stop myself from trying to fix them. Frankly, I’ve put in so much time on the clip order that I realized I would be better off just giving up and recapturing the tape WITHOUT THE DAMNED SCENE DETECT (sorry, but I feel so much better now…) but then I’d never know how Premiere names clips. *Sigh*. I haven’t quite reached that stage with the CSS drop-shadows, but there’s a whole new week ahead.

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We have forward

October 14th, 2007  

Early Aikane

I’ve got new video for you on Aikane’s biography page. I extracted about six minutes of Aikane from compilation tape 1, which covers the summer of 1991 and the early part of the summer of 1992. That includes what turned out to be our first documented sighting of Aikane in 1991. It also illustrates how small Aikane was when we first met him (her?).

In those early days, Aikane was important to us not just because s/he was friendly, but also because every other turtle we saw regularly at Honokowai either had or was getting tumors. This wasn’t the only reason that Aikane was the Honokowai honu we photographed and videotaped the most. Even with the poor quality of our video from that period (not helped by size reduction for the web) you can easily see how attractive Aikane was.

What’s a compilation tape?

In 1997, when we first acquired a digital tape deck, Ursula reviewed all of our Regular-8 and Hi-8 video. She created six compilation tapes with short clips form the original media, documenting what was good and/or interesting and where we could find it. It’s a fascinating and invaluable resource, even if a lot of the material is usable only for historical purposes.

Our video from that time suffers not just from age. The format we started with (Regular-8) wasn’t great to begin with. Worst of all, we hadn’t yet learned about white balance and we didn’t even have an orange filter, so the colour is just awful. Warts and all, however, I find myself fascinated by what is on those tapes. They really drive home the changes that have occurred underwater at Honokowai over the past 15-16 years.


In this week’s Toon, The CorpSec Err Force is on the move, but under the watchful eye of Kariya Nation. Over at that other blog, you can meet Kariya Nation’s inside operative, The Mole. Check him out.

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Playing a Different Toon

October 7th, 2007  

Boy am I dumb

This week’s Toon is called Culvert Operation, which is feeble I admit, but at least it’s a pun. My head hurt thinking that up, so give me a break here.

When we started the Toons the titles weren’t punny. Then I somehow came up with the stupid concept of making each title a pun. Ursula delegated that job to me. Do you think I might regret that idea, oh I don’t know, every week maybe? That’s actually underestimating it.

I know what you’re thinking. No, I can’t give it up, and yes, I’ve admitted I have a problem. I’m weak, what can I say. So it is that I will probably continue to inflict awful puns upon my family and friends (those who haven’t fled screaming) and yes, you too dear reader. I only write this to ask your forgiveness, but I digress.

This Toon begins a new era: the dawn of Kariya Nation. We hope it’s interesting and amusing on its own, but if you really want to appreciate it, start following Mississauga Musings. Little does Howzit know that his cousin Nando is not what he seems…

Other revisions: none

There aren’t any external changes this week. Most of my Trax revison time was devoted to fighting with CSS. Frankly, I’ve started to doubt the value of the conversion to full CSS. It doesn’t seem capable of the style I want, so that means choosing a different look. I really was hoping to avoid that. I’m beginning to get the old one-step-forward-two-steps-back feeling. It hasn’t quite gotten that far yet–I’m still at the running-hard-to-stay-in-place stage–but I’m sooo close. Wish me luck.

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