Dave Landers

Dave’s thoughts (such as they are)

Archive for the 'Misc' Category

Streetview drives thru the parking lot

Poking around Google’s street view the other day, I noticed that they drove through the parking lot along Arapahoe and Folsom (Boulder, CO):

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I noticed this on Arapahoe, between 28th and Folsom, and on Folsom just north of Arapahoe.

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Life streams at you sometimes

Sometimes life comes at you all at once. My last week has been like that. Not enough time between events (good and bad) to really process everything.

Late last week, I learned that my good friend dIon in Australia was not doing well. He had been fighting melanoma since May, and the cancer was now definitely winning. We heard that dIon was still fighting and still spewing his usual humor and sarcasm.

Somehow, I was able to set that somewhat aside and get on with my weekend. I helped cook for a 110 people at one of our Order of the Arrow (Boy Scout) service weekends. The guys were fixing up our Cub Scout camp while we cooked for them. We did dinner in 20 Dutch Ovens (plus 6 for the cakes). It was a lot of fun and a big success. Pictures will follow.

After getting back home on Sunday, I took a well-needed nap and avoided the computer because I just couldn’t bring myself to open my email.

Sunday night, we had to call 911 for my Father in Law (my in-laws live next door to us). He had been living with Parkinson’s disease for something like 15 years. We spent basically all night in the ER… he was not expected to live out the day.

This same week last year we were with my Mother in Law in the ICU. She has made an amazing recovery this year, thankfully.

Monday morning, I checked my email (the hospital has wireless everywhere), and discovered dIon was still hanging in there, and was enjoying being read letters from his friends. I was able to choke out a final letter while sitting in the family room down the hall.

My Father in Law passed away peacefully on Tuesday. David Camp was a Presbyterian minister, an Army Chaplain (Korea and Viet Nam), a devoted Kiwanian, and among many other endeavors he was pretty decent at stained glass art. It was frustrating for him to have Parkinson’s take each of these things away, one by one, but he handled it with grace. The family has not quite got our heads around this yet, but on the whole we know he is in a better place and no longer limited by this stupid disease.

On Wednesday, I learned that dIon also passed away. Due to the oddities of time zones around a spinning globe, he actually passed on Thursday. Typical of dIon to mess with my head like that. He was an amazing fellow: a businessman, a technologist, a gifted software developer, a wonderfully artistic photographer, a very funny guy, and it was my privilege to call him my friend.

I’m not whining about any of this. Life hands us the bad and the good. But it sure would have been nice to be able to process each of these one at a time.

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Paul is an Eagle!

Eagle Scout Medal My oldest son, Paul, had his Board of Review last night, and is now an Eagle Scout. I am so proud of him, obviously.
After the board was finished with their deliberations, they took a moment for each member to share some of their observations about Paul. And his mom and I were invited in to hear these. The board was several adults, most of whom did not know each other, but all knew Paul from various places – school, church, scouting. It was great to hear all the positive observations they shared about Paul. And equally great to hear a consensus that he is the same kind of person in all these different environments.

The comments last night made it clear what we already knew about Paul: while he did work hard to meet all the Eagle requirements, he did not have to work to become the kind of person you expect an Eagle to be. He just is that kind of person.
He worked hard for this, obviously, but all that work served only to validate who he already was.

Congratulations, Paul!

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CSS Overflow Scrollbars and IE

Someone pointed out to me that some of my code sections were unreadable in Internet Explorer. They looked like this:

IE view of my code

Hey! where’s the text? The rest of us (at least Firefox and Safari) were seeing something more like this:

Safari view of my code

Much better, but what’s going on?

I quote code in a <pre class="code">....</pre> block. And my style sheet contained:

.code {
    font-family: courier, monospace;
    margin: 10px 20px;
    padding: 3px 8px;
    border: 1px dashed #999999;

It looked to me like IE was robbing space from either the text height or the padding to cram in a scrollbar. And since that made the resulting area for text too small, it also added a (way too small) vertical scrollbar, too. The result is non-functional in any real sense.

A bit of searching and I am drawn to this comment from the CSS 2.1 spec:

In the case of a scrollbar being placed on an edge of the element’s box, it should be inserted between the inner border edge and the outer padding edge. Any space taken up by the scrollbars should be subtracted from the computed width/height, thus preserving the inner border edge.

As I read this, the scrollbar needs to fit inside the element border, and thus subtracts from space that can be used for the content. This does preserve the overall size of the element no matter what type of scrolling might be used (or not). But in my context, it seems wrong. It also means that IE is probably right here (which also goes against my intuition :).

Wrong or not, it is certainly not what I want. So I did more hunting and experimenting, and I found only two solutions that I really thought worked.

First, I could simply increase the padding-bottom to make room for the scrollbar. This solution is nice because it keeps the browser-specific hacks out of the stylesheet. But I don’t like the way this looks when there is not a scrollbar, because there’s extra blank padding at the bottom.

So the only real choice for me was to add some browser-specific thing to the stylesheet. What I ended up with is based mainly on
this post, and looks like this:

.code {
    font-family: courier, monospace;
    margin: 10px 20px;
    padding: 3px 8px;
    border: 1px dashed #999999;
    /* add padding in IE (which supports expressions) to make room for the scroll bar */
    padding-bottom: expression(this.scrollWidth > this.offsetWidth ? "19px" : "3px");

This seems to be working reasonably well, as it does not mangle the size of the element when there is no need for a scrollbar, and it bumps up the bottom padding to make way for IE’s scrollbar.

There are some downsides, like the expression is probably being over-evaluated, and it relies on a proprietary IE feature (expressions), so I may reevaluate this in the future. But for now at least my blog is (more) readable for IE users.

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New Blog

Yep, this is a new blog.

Ain’t nothing happening here… yet. Hopefully I can change that.

My old blog is over there.

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