Month: September 2004

Prisoner (of the White Lines on the Freeway)

Of all the vagaries of UK traffic law, the one I’ve heard most interpretations of has to be the “White Line” rule. That’s the one referring to white lines painted on the roads, just in case anyone’s getting ideas. Having read the Highway Cod very recently, I’d gotten it into my brain cell that you were allowed to pass agricultural vehicles at less than 20mph when there’s an “R” in the month, or something like that. I was tested and almost found wanting last week, when Captain Cardigan and I were hopping along a long queue of traffic that had built up behind a very slow-moving tractor/trailer. Normally, on my blithe ‘understanding’ of the Highway Code, I’d simply have popped past it without a second thought, if safe to do so, white lines or no. Our minds were however concentrated by the fact of the vehicle behind the tractor being a Police car. At which point, doubts they do surface. So we didn’t, and played good little bored road users until the road cleared.
When I got home, I did in fact get out my Highway Codes, all three of ’em, from 1987, 1993 and 1999. And yes, the wording has changed in the period. The trouble is, the wording I was remembering turned out to be entirely fictional. So I now stand sheepishly corrected. But at least not ticketed. So read the rest for the sordid details…

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State of the Art…

Bear with me, will you? I’ve been running this blog and site since late 1998 and have finally gotten around to migrating it all into my Two Worlds vServer engine, a set-up based on Movable Type content management system plus lots of other bits and pieces, held together with various hackettes (sorry, “ubiquity integration modules) in perl and php. Anyway, most of the raw content is across, but I’m still writing a few scripts to handle images and attachments, hence the sudden lack of photos, incriminating or otherwise. This will be completed very soon, at which point whatever passes for normal service will be resumed.

Browser compliance: ABM

Here’s an opinion: The Web is about being accessible to all –  it is not, nor should it be, the domain of any one operating system, organisation or web browser. There are a good set of international standards which determine how information is delivered to and presented by browsers. Most – no, make that, “nearly all” –  browsers are compliant with those standards, within a few degrees of buggishness and interpretation. So making a site work with these is a matter of tweaking by degree, not kind. There is of course one notable exception, and that (again, “of course”) is Microsoft: it’s browsers display a level of both disregard for standards and are of such a bug-ridden nature that making a site work consistently requires delving into an underworld of hacks, tweaks and rewrites that are sufficient to cause apoplexy or death-by-boredom in any thinking organism.
In order to tread the fine line of compromise between high-handed disregard for poor design and monopolistic practice and preventing the many users of such products from actually accessing these sites, I’ve gone for the “greatest good of the greatest number” and made everything work fine with most open source browsers and the latest version of Internet Explorer, on Windows and Mac. Those that don’t work properly at the moment are Opera and Omniweb. This will be attended to just as soon as possible.
Please do consider this, by preference, an ABM site: Anything But Microsoft. If they ever learn and decide to create standards-compliant browsers, then that’s just find and dandy. In the meantime, I look forward to the day when the world’s web designers bring a class action against Microsoft, to claim for the time, lives and money lost in trying to make their bloody browsers work. Me, I’m off to ride my motorcycle.
This site has been developed using CSS and XHTML and most of the code will happily validate against these standards, exceptions being CSS hacks to work around MIE bugs/features and some of Movable Type’s own code. Tsk.

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