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How much laughter (1) Wed, Jan 31, 2007
When shopping for cards (birthday, Christmas, other), how much laughter is too much? #business

Google Toolbar AutoFill (5) Wed, Jan 31, 2007
The Google Toolbar has an AutoFill feature that automatically highlights form fields like name, email address, and phone number, and fills them in with the click of a button.  It's an extremely useful feature, and it's one of the major reasons why I use the toolbar.  However, it occasionally causes some problems.  One problem I was having on my site was that the search box was being highlighted yellow because the toolbar thought it was a fillable form.  I found a few attempts at a workaround but didn't find any I liked.  But this one gave me an idea:  Add an onload event to the body tag that changes the background color of the input field to nothing.  For me, it looks like this: 

<body onload="document.searchform.searchinput.style.backgroundColor = '';">

And it works perfectly.  Ahh, a solution to a problem.  [Edit:  Maybe not; see below]

Another problem happens with a bunch of WordPress themes.  For whatever reason, theme designers sometimes put labels after their corresponding inputs, so Google Toolbar sees "Name" and then fills in the following input, which is for email. 

A workaround to this is to put labels chronologically before their corresponding input fields, and also to use proper labels.  For example, don't use "Mail" when you mean "Email".  Also, use label text sparingly.  Put warnings and restrictions after the input field.  For example, use "Mail" instead of "Mail (will not be published)".  Put the "(will not be published)" part after the text box. 

Update (2007-01-31 3:43pm):  This seems to work some of the time, but not all the time.  I noticed that when I navigated to a different tab in Firefox and then back to the tab with my site, the search input box was highlighted again.  I give up. #technology

How many rings (7) Tue, Jan 30, 2007
How many times should I let my co-worker's phone ring before I throw it on the floor and smash it to pieces? 

Update (2007-01-31 11:48am):  I completely forgot about this, but a Dilbert comic from December hit the nail on the head. #technology

Best headline ever Tue, Jan 30, 2007
Best headline ever
Eagle carrying deer head crashes into power lines, causes outages
The story goes on to say: 
About 10,000 Juneau residents lost power Sunday after a bald eagle lugging a deer head crashed into an Alaska Electric Light & Power transmission system in Lemon Creek.

Internet accessibility for the blind Tue, Jan 30, 2007
I just noticed a funny thing on a website's comment form: 


After typing in a comment, the user is asked to type in a series of letters (CAPTCHA) to verify that the comment is coming from a person and not a machine trying to leave spam.  There's a little handicap symbol next to the input field, and clicking on it plays a sound of a person speaking numbers (interspersed with random unintelligible noise) that will also pass the spam test.  I have nothing against blind people, so I applaud things that attempt to help them without simultaneously degrading them.  But I have to admit I'm slightly confused by this situation.  If all things work as expected, we have
  1. A blind person using a computer.
  2. Said blind person reading/hearing blogs.
  3. Said blind person desiring to leave a comment.
  4. Said blind person leaving a comment, attempting to pass spam test.
  5. Said blind person finding the handicap button and listening to confusing sounds.
  6. Said blind person entering perceived sounds into input field.
  7. Said blind person feeling satisfied by leaving a comment.
This process is confusing enough for a non-blind person.  Take away the ability to see, and I can't imagine it's very user-friendly. #technology

Caffeine Tue, Jan 30, 2007
I don't drink highly-caffeinated beverages very often, so caffeine usually has a pretty big effect on me.  As part of my quest for the perfect coffee, this morning's brew came out a bit strong.  Now here I am at work, flipping out like a hippie on acid.  My toes are tapping, my fingers are drumming, my eyes are twitching.  It's like the world is moving in slow motion.  I'm like that squirrel from Over the Hedge.  And the problem is that it's completely unnecessary.  I don't have a high-paced job, and I don't need to be moving/thinking this fast.  I don't need anywhere near this much energy.  If anything, I should be taking some depressants to slow me down a bit.  So now I have to find some activities to keep me occupied for the next few hours until this rush wears off.  This is ridiculous.  My entire body is vibrating. #food

Stranded Mon, Jan 29, 2007
I was watching Survivorman on the Discovery Channel the other day, and the guy was trying to survive being lost at sea in an inflatable life raft.  Eventually, he washed up on a little tiny island in the Caribbean, and he was able to keep dry, start a fire, set up camp, and eat some extremely fresh seafood.  The guy on the show is pretty tough, but he complained about being stuck in this predicament, away from family and friends, and with no one around to help him.  I saw it from a different angle.  Basically, what we have here is: 
  1. An uninhabited, remote island
  2. In the Caribbean
  3. Containing trees, coconuts, and various things that wash ashore
  4. Inhabited by birds, reptiles, and a few other small game
  5. All the fresh seafood in the world
  6. Did I mention it's a remote island?
  7. In the Caribbean
For all practical purposes, this is exactly what I spend thousands of vacation dollars on.  The best part of last year's cruise in the Caribbean was visiting the tiny island of CocoCay.  It was a bit more "cushy", but it was the same idea.  I don't know about this Survivorman guy, but I think I'd be willing to pay money to be stranded on that island. 

Some downsides: 
  1. Cockroaches.  They were all over the place.  That would be enough to pretty much change my mind about this whole thing.  But it's such a small island, you could probably just kill them one by one and be done with it in a few days.  Or you could get used to eating a tasty little fried treat.
  2. Rustic-ness.  There's literally nothing around for hundreds of miles.  No electricity, running water, plumbing, shelter, or cell phone towers.  Technically, the ocean would cover the whole running water and plumbing aspect of it, but that's about it.  None of these things are really downsides in my mind.
  3. Size and vulnerability.  It was an incredibly tiny island, so I wouldn't imagine it would survive a hurricane too well.  Plus, the guy said some of the debris on the shore suggested the island was used by poachers in the past.  Poachers usually carry guns, so you'd be pretty screwed if they decided to come back.
  4. I hope you like seafood, because that's all you're gonna eat, except for the occasional lizard or seagull.  And I'd eat a lizard before I ate a seagull.
For me, the negatives don't outweigh the positives.  As part of my survival desire, I'd totally be ok with being stranded on an island.  I'd definitely want to learn how to start a fire and build a shelter first.  But other than that, I think I could handle the rest.  I'd be ok with the lack of human interaction (I'd bring Wendy, but she's more scared of bugs than I am).  I'd be ok with the seafood.  I'd be ok with the year-round warm, sunny weather.  I'd definitely be much more willing to be stranded on an island than stranded in the middle of the woods.  Maybe I'd get sick of it after a few months.  I'm not sure.  But I'd definitely like to try it for a few weeks.  Maybe there's something wrong with me, but this sounds like one of the most appealing lifestyles I've ever heard of. #nature

WordPress 2.1 (1) Mon, Jan 29, 2007
I upgraded to WordPress 2.1, which I put off for several days because of fear.  There were a bunch of changes introduced in this new version, including autosave (as a welcome change to the semi-functional plugin) and spell check (not needed because of Firefox).  I immediately noticed a problem with my search results count as well as the PageBar plugin, so I'll be working on fixes for the time being. 

Update (2007-01-29 11:52am):  I've also been using this old hack of a plugin called Front Page Categories, and it did this weird thing where it showed a post for each different category it was filed under.  So for a post that was filed under "Links" and "News", the plugin made it show up twice on the front page.  For a post filed under "Funny", "Links", and "News", the post showed up 3 times.  Weird.  So I disabled it and will be working on a new way to restrict posts from a certain category showing up on the front page. 

Update (2007-01-29 3:36pm):  The Pagebar problem was easily solved by getting the new version.  The search results count was solved with two things:  New code and an updated and hacked Search Everything plugin.  The new code is as follows (from the support forums): 
$searchcount = new wp_query("s=$s & showposts=-1");
$resultscount = $searchcount->post_count;
And the hack for the Search Everything plugin can be found on Google Code as a reply to a current issue.  The issue is also mentioned in comments on Dan Cameron's website, so he'll probably be releasing a new version soon. #technology

Disney Vault (1) Mon, Jan 29, 2007
Every few months, I see a commercial that threatens to send any of my favorite Disney movies into the "Disney Vault" forever.  That's right, forever.  There's no possible way anyone can ever see these movies again.  All known copies will vanish into thin air.  No stores will sell them.  There will be no way to rent them.  Our current knowledge of these movies will be forever lost, banished eternally to the vault, which likely contains some sort of brimstone, fire-related materials, demons, gnashing of teeth, and the other Disney movies that were previously vaulted. 

How can I be expected to live without Cinderella?  What about Snow White VII?  Disney movies have changed my life forever.  No longer do I trudge through life, wondering when an ugly, poor, animal-like being such as myself will ever meet a young, attractive mate.  I know I'll meet her.  And I know I'll marry her and live a perfect life with her.  Oh, and my cats will go to heaven.  And some mice will sing. 

Disney, I don't care about your stupid movies and your stupid vault.  Stop using scare tactics to sell your stupid old movies. #entertainment

Football season ends Sun, Jan 28, 2007
Here I am, sitting around on a Sunday afternoon, crying my eyes out because football season is over.  Well, maybe not actually crying.  More like just really sad.  Watching football is the thing to do on Sundays from September through January.  And now that it's over (except for the big game next week), I don't know what I'm gonna do with myself.  It's still too cold to do much outside, and I have no desire to do any big jobs around the house.  Part of the appeal of watching football is that it's an activity closely related to sleep:  There's not much movement, there's hardly any thinking, and there's no interaction.  Basically, it's just a good reason to sit around and relax.  And I think relaxation is something we don't always put on the top of our priority lists.  It's hard to find time to sit around and do nothing, but it's always easy to find time to watch football. #sports

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