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Time Out
Date: 25/8/2004
Over the last weekend I took the family a few hours drive up the coast to my parents place where we were busy doing nothing for 5 days. A much needed break away from city life.

But of course I did play with computers while for a little while. My Dad has got a new HD for his laptop and well it was my sworn duty ;) to install it into the laptop after migrating the data over from the old disk. 3 hours later I gave up because the desktop available to me was so old that it couldn't cope with the new laptop drive, it was just too large. Ok so I was a little optimistic trying to put a 40gb drive into a P133 but one can try.

During our stay we headed up to the vineyards area, caught a movie (I, Robot... soso) and ate a lot of good food. I even did a little practise on my acoustic which was very relaxing.

And my dear little daughter, Maya, now approaching 2 years of age, has been learning words at an increasing rate. She's just reaching that point of being able to 'learn' words that we teach her as opposed to just blurting them out and surprising us. It's fascinating watching a person develop from a baby.

Anyway if you didn't hear back from me recently, thats why :)
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Date: 18/8/2004
I've added a RSS feed for this blog for those of you that use specific software to read blogs. Let me know if there are any issues.
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The Importance Of Testing
Date: 16/8/2004
Recently I got sick of how the HTML control is Scribe was terrible at rendering tables and even more tired of the constant complaining from the userbase about it (you know who you are!). So I rewrote the layout algorithm, which took far less time than I feared. But as with all non-trivial peices of code I didn't get it right first time. Well I made it work with one known peice of HTML that broke the old algorithm. But soon I noticed other HTML that didn't work in the new control. Ok, so I go and fix that. But now the first peice of HTML doesn't work.


Right, I said to myself, if I'm going to get anywhere I need to collect all the HTML snippits that have hairy tables in them and put them in one place so that I can easily check that the HTML control works on all of them. So I did, essentially creating a small HTML test suite. Now I'm not aiming for web standard complience, I'm aiming for readability of email. So I deliberately don't support a whole range of rather meaningless cruft that has been rammed into the HTML specification, hence I don't just use the W3C HTML test suite.

Nevertheless, now after much work on getting the control up to snuff it's starting to not break on previous test files everytime I add a new peice of HTML to the test suite and fix the control. Thus as time goes on, each time I bump into a peice of HTML that breaks the control it goes in the test suite. I fix the bug, test all the previous files and make sure I havn't inadvertantly busted something else, then commit the code to version control. Gotta love procedures.

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Firefox Brain Damage
Date: 13/8/2004
Hilarious. Just hilarious. I don't know what drug the Firefox developer's are on but you still need the MozEx extension to configure an external mail client for mailto links.

Of course I had to dig through my archives to find the first blog entry about that so I didn't have to think about the syntax for the mailer command.

But this is 2004 people, can't we have normal browser UI/features now?

What is even more priceless than the fact that firefox needs an extension for core functionality is that to access or even "see" the MozEx extension in firefox v0.9 you need the Show Old Extensions extension.

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Firefox Suckage
Date: 11/8/2004
If you, like me, thought that installing firefox on Linux in root mode was a good idea then heres a little tip. Don't. Install it in your home directory as yourself. The installer is a peice of crap when it doesn't crash.

And if you get a message along the lines of "Can not initialize security component..." then the permissions on your profile directory are borked up. I used this sort of command to "unbork" them, login as root or sudo, then go to your user's directory and:
cd .mozilla
find -uid 0 -exec chown <user>:<grp> {}\\;
Where 'user' and 'grp' is your username and group.

Basically it sets all the files in your .mozilla directory that are owned by root to be owned by yourself, so that firefox can read/write them.

In unrelated mozilla/firefox news, I tried to install Mozilla as the default browser on the shared Win2k machine at home and she can't stand how slow it is and has found the IE shortcut again. I swear it's not that much slower than IE, but obviously milliseconds count with the non-technical crowd. Can you imagine how dreadful trying to sell Linux/X11 to her would be if she complains about Mozilla vs IE? X11 is an order of magnitude slower than Windows, maybe more... yeah actually definately more. X11 is a good reason why Windows should win the OS war.
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Html Layout
Date: 5/8/2004
I've been rewriting the layout of HTML tables in the control used by Scribe so that it can cope with the "webpage in an email" sort of junk that people receive. It's amazing how bad the HTML that gets sent in email's is, lots of nested tables and other lame layout tricks. Makes life really hard to support these emails in a secure, lightweight, cross-platform manner.

So far it's looking pretty good. Pages that just wouldn't render are comming up reasonably well. I'm using the CSS2 table layout algorithm as a base and then hacking on the necessary bits as I need to, so that it works. There is a lot of things not really discussed in that algorithm. It's too breif, and I'd like to know if there is a most complete HTML table layout algorithm.

In the meantime if you have HTML content that doesn't render in Test19 (not yet released) then you can send it to me by right clicking on the HTML control, selecting "Copy Source" and pasting that into a text file. Attach that to a bug report email to me. I'll add it to my test suite and see what I can do to get it running.
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