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August 13, 2003

End construction, resume normal potholes. Those of you who stopped by today while columns of text were breaking free of their moorings can come out from hiding now: the heavy lifting is mostly done. Thanks to the many people who posted useful advice, explanations, and tutorials in the comments to this post. Particular thanks to Seth Ellis, Dave Pentecost, and Mark Gallagher, all of whom spent an inordinate amount of time in email helping me wrap my brain around the subtleties of CSS.

Things still to come: a search field, cleaned-up archives, and an alternate front page for handheld devices and low-res monitors. Anything else? [04:20 PM]

Welcome to Electrolite's comments section.
Hard-Hitting Moderator: Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Comments on End construction, resume normal potholes.:

Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2003, 04:56 PM:

The column of new material is only about 8 characters wide on IE4.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2003, 05:09 PM:

Let's rewrite that last line: "and an alternate front page for handheld devices, low-res monitors, and users of browsers from the Bronze Age."

Seriously, my apologies to the 0.04% of my readers who use any version of MSIE 4 (thank you, AwStats), but help is on the way.

Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2003, 06:35 PM:

Well, it renders on my browser. But you've decided, apparently, that the blog proper is the least important part of site, give the huge amount of real estate given to anything but the blog entries proper. You've got a fixed 250px column on the left, a fixed 150px border on the right. So, if I'm running with my normal browser settings -- about 500px wide, this gives me 100px for the blog. Subtract 30px more for left-right padding, and now, I'm down to a stellar 500-150-250-30= 70 pixels for the main body text.

So much for having two browser windows open. Well, I guess I can read the blog by either redoing my window layouts, adding another desktop, or finding a replacement monitor that's sharp enough to do more than 1024x768. When I'm back to 1600x1280, at least most of the blog posts will have more than five words a line. Unless they are blockquoted, of course, since that eats another 30px.

I don't know what problem you're trying to solve. If you think the blogroll, the quotations, the recent posts and the sites-worth-mention-but-not-full-blogging are the important part of the page, you've done a good job. If you think the blog is the most important part of the page, you haven't.

Because, in the end Electrolite's blog is now
unreadable
.


CHip ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2003, 07:06 PM:

Was it your intention that the comments present as a new page rather than a new window? I like the result: it's now possible to get back to the comments from the interesting links people put in, where previously it wasn't because the window the comments used to come up on (in IE6) had no Back (or anything else that comes on the menu bar).

David Bilek ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2003, 07:32 PM:

Erik, we used to run into this problem all the time during the glory days of the dotcom era. A very small percentage of your readers are always going to be using archaic technology (IE4) or funky setups (500 pixel wide browsers).

If you design for those outliers, you're letting the lowest common denominator drive your output. Do you want an okay layout for 100% of your readers or a good layout for 99.2%?

Why do you surf with your browser set to 500 pixel wide, anyway?

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2003, 07:33 PM:

That was indeed my intention, CHip.

Noted, Erik. Hot in St. Louis today?

Josh ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2003, 08:48 PM:

David: I can't speak for Erik, but I will occasionally browse with a machine set to 800x600 resolution, simply because that's as high as the 14" monitor on that machine will go. I haven't checked Electrolite since the redesign on that machine (and the machine I'm using now is set to 1280x1024), but it had problems even before the redesign, so I suspect it'll be nigh-unreadable now. It's not a particularly big deal, though, and I certainly wouldn't suggest that Patrick redesign the page to make life easier for me.

I have my own issues with the redesign, but they're simple matters of taste.

CMuncey ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2003, 09:01 PM:

There was a bit of black humor that made the rounds among programmers when we found out the Heaven's Gate group had made money doing web design:

Why did they do it? Maybe it was the stress of trying to code for cross browser compatibility.

But seriously folks . . .

Back when I was on a web development team, we gave up trying to be compatible with everything, or even close to it. We built and operated B2B sites for corporations and found that we covered 98%+ of workstations by testing for the two most recent versions of IE on Win32, the most recent version of Netscape on Windows, and the most recent verion of IE on the Mac. Today I would swap Mozilla for Netscape and probably match 99%+. And that 98%+ figure included a major manufacturer of UNIX workstations -- go figure.

We did it by carefully keeping our generated HTML at about a generic HTML 3.2 (we had our own internal style guide based on experience). I talked with some of my former colleagues and they are still reluctant to use CSS at all. Patrick, kudos to you and your helpers for making it this far --

Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2003, 09:20 PM:

I never had any problem getting back; I used alt + left arrow, or used the second mouse button (or the timing thing on a Mac) to open the link in another window. I expect I'll use that now to open the comments in another tab, once I train the brain. Takes time. Down, brain! Sit!

Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2003, 09:45 PM:

Why do you surf with your browser set to 500 pixel wide, anyway?

It lets me tile two browsers side by side, or a browser and an xterm. Not that I ever would want to refer to a webpage while working in a shell window.

Hot in St. Louis today?

No, actually. Quite comfortable. Now, perhaps, you can drop the bullshit insinuations and insulting tone and explain why it's so goddamn important for the sidebars to have 250 and 150 fixed pixels, respectivly, at the expense of the main content column. Then, of course, when I show what happens, I get snarked at for daring to not want to dedicate my desktop to one window. (Hint -- this is why we *have* windowing systems.)

But since I can see exactly where this is going, I'll just shove off.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2003, 09:58 PM:

Erik? Hello? What's going on?

Patrick did note what you said earlier. The "Hot in St. Louis today?" remark was was because Patrick and I had been squabbling a bit on our way home, for no discernible reason except the godawful weather; and when you weighed in as sarcastically as you did in your first comment here, I wondered whether the weather today in St. Louis might not be just as maddening as it is here.

Before you shove off, could you at least explain what you think has been done to you?

--k. ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2003, 11:16 PM:

Um, from an 800x600 guy--looks fine by me. A mite bit cozy, but perfectly legible. Even a bit more comfy, tell the truth.

Looked smashing from the much bigger monitor at work. Of course.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2003, 11:19 PM:

Okay, right and left columns have both been narrowed. For those who still find it obnoxious, there's also the alternate version accessible from a link at the upper left of the page.

Kynn Bartlett ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2003, 11:41 PM:

Now, perhaps, you can drop the bullshit insinuations and insulting tone and explain why it's so goddamn important for the sidebars to have 250 and 150 fixed pixels, respectivly, at the expense of the main content column.

Fixed pixels also cause serious problems when someone ups the font size to something which works best for them.

This is why I prefer ems instead of pixels; they usually scale better with user preferences.

--Kynn

Simon ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2003, 12:10 AM:

Oh, this is jolly. The main Electrolite page now reads for me, in full,

Forbidden
You don't have permission to access /electrolite/index.html on this server.
Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

WTF?

(I got here by following the direct link from the Making Light sidebar.)

Whatever's causing this, I should say that I don't do what Erik does (I prefer to open multiple windows on top of each other, and only do side-by-side windows when direct comparisons are desired, like copying complex data manually), and thus haven't had his problems, and some time ago I was in sharp disagreement with him here about something. Nevertheless I'm highly sympathetic to his complaint. I'd find being told I'm in a 0.8% minority and therefore may be ignored to be exquisitely insulting.

I believe the principle Erik would like to enunciate is "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2003, 12:25 AM:

Nobody told Erik that he was "in a 0.8% minority" or "therefore may be ignored." You are lying.

The principle I would like to enunciate is "don't be an abusive bastard." That goes for my friends and it goes for strangers like you, Simon.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2003, 12:32 AM:

Sorry, but I'm shutting down this thread.

Patrick doesn't experience the technical issues Erik raised as something separate from the language in which Erik raised them.

Anyone who believes that Patrick's feelings can't be hurt is not thinking very hard.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2003, 12:31 PM:

I apologize to Simon for my intemperate remark. He was not only not "lying," he was correct.

He had written "I'd find being told I'm in a 0.8% minority and therefore may be ignored to be exquisitely insulting." I jumped to the conclusion that this was a reference to my response to Nancy Leibowitz, rather than (as it was) a reference to David Bilek's comment.

I still don't understand why the page design of a weblog merits the kind of angry language this thread almost immediately devolved into, but I apologize to everyone for letting it get to me and misbehaving in turn. I'm reopening the thread now, for what it's worth.

Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2003, 12:42 PM:

I still don't understand why the page design of a weblog merits the kind of angry language this thread almost immediately devolved into

It's amazing just how often the human animal reacts negatively to changes in its environment.

MKK

BrianB ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2003, 02:35 PM:

I just wanted to come out of lurking to say that I'm also part of the 0.8% (I suspect that percentage is off) who browse at significanly less than full screen. I do this because I'm either multi-tasking or trying to camaflouge the fact that I'm reading a blog instead of working. And I too found the redesign less than optimal for these types of browsing. The PDA version of the site works dandy for this though, thanks.

I also happen to be a professional referee between users and developers in arguments such as this one. I work in software documentation and training. I see this all the time. Developers proudly display their product after hours of painstaking work and say "any suggestions?" Invariably they get a suggestion that sounds to them like "I suggest you take it back to the drawing board."

Eric's tone may have been a bit harsh, but I'm sure it only reflects his love for this site butting heads with his love for an well-designed interface. Since you're an editor, I'll wager that a few writers exist who feel that you came down too hard on them when you were only pointing out what you perceived as the glaring errors in an otherwise great story.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2003, 02:43 PM:

"Since you're an editor, I'll wager that a few writers exist who feel that you came down too hard on them when you were only pointing out what you perceived as the glaring errors in an otherwise great story."

Yes, the situations are exactly alike. Including, notably, all the money I'm being paid for this site. Why didn't I think of that?

BrianB ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2003, 02:59 PM:

I was thinking of a comparision more along the lines of the passion that you and Erik both have for what you do, you in editing and he in computers. But since I don't really know either of you other than what I've observed on these threads, I'll stop speculating and go back to lurking.

Avram ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2003, 03:27 PM:

I still don't understand why the page design of a weblog merits the kind of angry language this thread almost immediately devolved into

It's because these issues have been around for a while. For almost a decade now, people working with the web have had to deal with, on the one hand, the desire to produce interesting-looking pages, on the other, the desire to have their content seen by a wide variety of readers, and on the gripping hand, crappy standards compliance by the browser manufacturers. This means that anytime you talk about redesigning a web page, you're tapping into years' worth of festering frustration, complete with canned arguments about how...

- it's all the fault of those web designers who just care about flashy appearance and don't care about whether anyone not using a cutting-edge browser still in beta can read the content and who are ruining the web for the rest of us!
- it's all the fault of those cranky old fossils still running Netscape 2.0 on their 386 machines held together with duct tape, or Lynx on a 5600-baud dialup connection, and demand lowest-common-demoninator layout so that everyone's pages look the same and nobody has any distinctive design and who are ruining the web for the rest of us!
- it's all the fault of those damn HTML/CSS purists who get all upset if you use an LI tag outside of a list context and care more about whether a parser can read the code than about whether it actually looks good and who are ruining the web for the rest of us!
- it's all the fault of the browser manufacturers who can't be bothered to put enough effort into the job when they build these programs designed to take arbitrary markup written by amateurs and make it look consistent across multiple computer platforms and then give us the software for free and we needed it last month, what, haven't they heard that Internet time is faster than regular time, and who are ruining the web for the rest of us!

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2003, 03:55 PM:

Yes, well, if you go look at the top of this page, you'll see that I promised "an alternate front page for handheld devices and low-res monitors."

Not only did I promise it, I also delivered it less than two hours later. It's linked from the upper left hand corner of my front page. He said, bemusedly...

LNHammer ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2003, 04:16 PM:

Not a comment on the content of the layout, but one of the tags up top reminds me of an incident from last year's vacation. While wandering, only slightly lost, through downtown Reykjavík, we found set in the sidewalk a small brass circle that claimed to be the hub of the city, annotated "Hither and thither and yon" in Icelandic and English. A bit of serendipity that struck us, giddy with reuniting after a week traveling apart, as a highlight of the trip.

This pointless anecdote is brought to you by the letters H and Þ, and by the number 2.

---L.

Ulrika O'Brien ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2003, 04:35 PM:

Well, I'll sympathize with the feeling of getting a broadside from Eric that seems disproportionate to stimulus, and leave it at that.

On purely aesthetic grounds I don't care for the three column layout. It looks crowdy and cluttered to my eye. Maybe I'm missing something, but it doesn't seem like there's more information being transmitted, only a busier, more distracting presentation. I read at full screen, so it doesn't impair functionality a lot, but it does disrupt my reading focus.

On the other hand, I do like going to a new screen rather than a mini daughter window for comments. Particularly because the mini windows never spawned "back" buttons to use in case I followed a link.

Seth Ellis ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2003, 05:11 PM:

In defense of the three-column layout, I'd entirely forgotten those quotes were there until Patrick put them in the third column. I certainly understand the info-architectural reasons for expanding to three columns.

Aesthetically, three columns don't bother me. I will say that the middle column is a bit easier to read further down the page; the lighter font weight and color of the quotes on the right are less visual competition than the bold blue links up top. Maybe creating a new un-bolded link style for the sidelight links would help people focus?

Technically, I think it's neat that it works now. Also, I too support the new non-popup comment link. I never used the popup link anyway.

Ulrika O'Brien ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2003, 05:46 PM:

Speaking of heat in St. Louis and New York, how are the black-outs going out thataway? The shots of the street crowds look enormous.

David Bilek ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2003, 05:49 PM:

I hope they can get the power back on by nightfall. I was too young to remember, but I've been told that last time this happened in the late 70's, it was disastrous. Major looting and pillaging in the dark.

James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2003, 06:29 PM:

I was there, on the streets of Manhattan, last time there was a blackout (1977). There was some looting and lawlessness, but it wasn't widespread (at least not where I was). I walked in the dark from Grand Central down to the Village to crash with friends because I couldn't get back over to Brooklyn.

Stay cool, everyone, and eat the ice cream now. It won't be any good in the morning.

Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2003, 06:52 PM:

New York in 1977 was a very different place.

I will eat ice cream tonight in solidarity. Hang in there homies.

Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2003, 06:59 PM:

Well, I thought I'd just stay out of it -- I made my points, got abused, it's all over. But, I can't. Just call me a glutton. A final reply was made mandatory by request and several emails recieved last night.

1) Erik. Or, if you wish, Mr. Olson. Is this so hard?

2) Contrast...

The principle I would like to enunciate is "don't be an abusive bastard."

...with...

Yes, the situations are exactly alike. Including, notably, all the money I'm being paid for this site. Why didn't I think of that?

Accuse me of being a sarcastic bastard. (It's a fair cop.) But lay those accusations evenly.

3) Who was the first one to post a problem? Not me. What was Mr. Nielsen Hayden's response? Let's rewrite that last line: "and an alternate front page for handheld devices, low-res monitors, and users of browsers from the Bronze Age."

If you start with sarcastic abuse, expect nothing else in return. Sir.

4) Tech Note: While the alternate page does work quite well, it leads to comment sections that are wedged between two fixed point columns, so, for those of us who don't have 700+ pixels across, the comment column drops to about 3 words per line. Furthermore, those other columns are empty. I would suggest having the center comment column set to a large percentage (or, if you must, fixed) then have the outer whitespace columns float. See Talking Points Memo for a practical example.

5) Design note: What is the most important part of the page? (I'm asking, not stating.)

That's the part that should be of fixed width, if you insist on doing such. As I asked before I was accused of being cranky with the heat: What problem are you trying to solve, and what part of the page are you trying to emphasize?

What the current layout is saying to me is that you consider the sidebars more important than the main blog, because the sidebars will always that width -- while the main column won't. Make the browser narrow enough, and the main column drop to one word per line. Make it smaller, and you get a horizontal scroll -- but the sidebars still stay that width.

If I were emphaszing the blog, I'd have the center column fixed, so that, worst case, I'd have to set *once* (say, like This Modern World or Talking Points Memo.)

6) Tech note #2: There are legions of reasons why fixed width, esp. fixed width by pixel, are bad ideas. Character displays are one. Ultra-high resolution displays are another -- IBM has one that a 250px wide column is just over 7/8ths of an inch wide.

If you're going to use a fixed width column, as opposed to a proportional width column, might I suggest that you pick one column -- the one you consider most important, and make *that* the fixed width column, and let the other two float? Furthermore, pick a measure that scales with the display, like em or in, not px -- pixels are an absolute on a graphical display, whereas in modern graphical displays (example, System 6 on the Macintosh), an inch is at least close to an inch, no matter what disply resolution you have.

Enough. There are legions of other things I'd want to respond to, including some insinuations in email about events last night that honestly left me in more rage than I've felt since not the election, but Minicon 36. But, in the interest of peace and decorum, I'll just let those drop and eat the stress.

Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2003, 07:00 PM:

And I hope everyone weather's the blackout. It's not like NY needs more stress, either.

Damien Neil ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2003, 07:12 PM:

For what it is worth: The front page now displays as three separate sections for me (sidebar, sidebar, main content), each one taking up 100% of the window width and arranged vertically. (Browser: Safari.)

The degraded mode alternate page not only displays correctly, but is more usable than the original front page.

Damien Neil ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2003, 07:13 PM:

...and in the interval between my beginning that last comment and posting it, the front page has begun working again.

Nick Caldwell ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2003, 08:15 PM:

Wannabe Mark Pilgrim mode on:

What about:

<h1 id="pageheader"><span id="logo">Electrolite</span><br /><span id="sitedescription">Growing luminous by eating light</span></h1>

instead of a generic "div" tag? Expressing the site semantics in a more specific way should assist screen readers and other browsing devices. Plus the extra spans let you target the components of the header with specific styles.

The other advantage of using header tags is that google pays more attention to content marked up with well-ordered headings.

--k. ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2003, 08:32 PM:

Erik: if you fix the main column's width, you end up with either--

  • a column you have to side-to-side scroll on a skinny window, or
  • a narrow column between two vast oceans of sidebars on a wide window.

The sidebar columns usually have fixed context--more header tags and the like. A bad rendering of a sidebar looks bad and stays bad. Content in the main column is volatile; a bad rendering of a particular title or paragraph can either be fixed (if really bad) or let slide; it'll be gone soon enough.

That'd be why one might fix the sidebar columns--so that one is assured that most browsers will render it at precisely the width you anticpate, with play for the main central column. There are other design philosophies, and drawbacks to almost every one, and I don't for a moment pretend to be able to read the inestimable Patrick Nielsen Hayden's mind, or that of any of his compatriots or fellow travellers. But it's a possible rationale--and a noted drawback to fixing the width of the central, "main," content column.

Jorge ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2003, 11:59 PM:

Safari runs everything just fine...

Scott Lynch ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2003, 12:50 AM:

The three-pillar aesthetic doesn't set me on fire, but it doesn't bother me, either ("Of course... Martians do everything in threes!"). As far as I'm concerned, the fact that there's a good-looking alternate front page to boot should banish all arguments to the realm of the hypothetical and the very polite. Patrick has been totally up-front about his lack of advanced Coding Fu, and there's also the slight matter of the fact that nobody pays him or Teresa for this; if they want to replace the blogs with an ongoing FarScape/Harry Potter erotic crossover fanfic, well, it's their party. The rest of us just crash it on an opt-in basis.

Both pages load and look fine in IE 5 on my pathetic li'l home iMac, which is nice96 when I visit straight "nielsenhayden.com" with the same browser on the same machine, the sky darkens and venomous reptiles start crawling out of my zip drive and looking for someone to attack.

Just my zwei pfennig.

Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2003, 07:01 AM:

Our power came back up about 6:30 AM. How's yours?

Elaine ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2003, 08:23 AM:

Looks good here (Mozilla 1.4).

Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2003, 09:18 AM:

Erik, color us seriously confused and distressed. "Browser preferences" doesn't seem like an adequate answer to "Where is all this anger coming from?"

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2003, 09:21 AM:

"While the alternate page does work quite well, it leads to comment sections that are wedged between two fixed point columns, so, for those of us who don't have 700+ pixels across, the comment column drops to about 3 words per line."

True, and a good point. Another piece of cleanup to do.

Kip Manley (who signs himself "--k" here, for reasons that escape me) does a good job, above, of articulating my own design thoughts. I realize there are other points of view.

Alison Scott ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2003, 12:40 PM:

Well, of course; you should design your site to be however you like. If you're collecting data on people who don't normally browse at 800px wide or more, can I put my hand up? I normally browse in windows somewhere between 650 and 750 pixels wide. (My screens are, variously, 1024x768, 1280x960, and whatever the TiBook is). This isn't really an issue of archaic screens or browsers; I do it because it gives me a comfortable width of text to read on the average site I read. It is, however, no problem to increase the size of window for Electrolite.

The belief that people browse the web in maximised windows seems to be pervasive in web design.

Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2003, 12:59 PM:

I browse with the broswer maximized in a 1600x1200 screen; I lose 64 pixels to the left for the wharf, and I use big -- 18 pt -- fonts, and so I'm just not experiencing the same thing it sounds like most of you are. I think the redesign looks fine.

It's still very strange to think that, hey, wait, no, most of them don't get viewport support from the OS or tabs from the browser. This isn't part of my emotional reality at all, and it has me wondering what isn't part of the emotional reality of the folks producing web design standards.

--k., or kip ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2003, 06:33 PM:

Um.

I've signed myself as "--k." in most emails and comments threads (and Usenet posts, but that was long ago, and in another country) as a sort of backhanded way of commenting on the ephemeral, unimportant, second-rate nature of such communication. It is not uncommon to sign handwritten, informal notes to friends with a single initial, after all. "Off to the store, back in a flash, --k." Not a pseudonym, then, but an abbreviation.

It has since occurred to me that there is something of a drawback to this policy: in email, or on Usenet posts, after all, the way one signs a post or message isn't the only clue or handle to the identity of the writer. One can deduce a first name from an email addy, for instance, and since I'm usually "kip@" or "kipmanley@," well. There you go. --But on comments threads, one's signature is one's handle, one's identity; it must be a pseudonym, for what else is there? (One could, I suppose--the other one, the one reading--click through to one's blog and, after a minute or to, deduce one's first name, but what one of us has time for that?) Also: on comments threads, one is rarely communicating informally with intimate friends--at least, the sort of friends intimate enough to immediately know who signed the note: "Off to the store, back in a flash, --k."

So everyone ends up calling me "--k.," when all I really mean is to indicate, you know, that I just dashed this off.

But: I have been signing myself as "--k." for a while now, as noted. Old habits are hard to break. Plus I've clicked that little "Remember info?" box on too many MT blogs. Sigh.

So. Gosh, that was self-indulgent. Um. Back to your regularly scheduled divertissements?

Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2003, 09:04 PM:

I used to just sign as "Kip," confident of the uniqueness of my birth name, but on realizing the existence of Kip Manley, I started using my last initial, which narrows things down almost as much as if I used my entire last name -- Williams is apparently the third most common surname in the USA these days.

I expect that this identifies me well enough here. Outside of fandom, I've seen a veritable surfeit of Kip Williamses, one of whom owns a music store in Richmond (VA), about an hour's drive away.

As long as I'm indulging the old self here, I'll mention that I have vastly increased the number of pictures of Sarah on my web page. Main > pictures > photos, and there they are: two batches, one from China, the other of more recent stages in her development. Too bad I can't post the half-minute movies of her doing cute stuff.

What? Okay, I'm moving along...

Alan Bostick ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2003, 11:59 AM:

I've associated the "--k" signature with James "Kibo" Parry for something on the order of ten years.

Simon ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2003, 01:56 PM:

Patrick, that was a handsome apology up there; thank you.

I did not mention David Bilek by name, as I did not want to pick on him particularly. It's a more general phenomenon.

I had quite forgotten Patrick's original comment to Nancy Leibowitz. So it's worth noting that he does not wish to dismiss even the tiny minorities.

Perhaps matters like this raise so much emotional luggage because the settings of a web page are something its owner has direct and complete control over, and because of the annoyance of having something you like and are used to changed by (what seems like) arbitrary fiat.