New – Initial Thoughts

After a long showing – the pin strip tabs are out and the brushed metal – grey gradient is in (just a shade or two darker than the active nav). My initial thought: the nav bar is too tall – but as soon as I looked at the way to the right and saw the search box, I realized it had to be that height to accommodate the search box with ample spacing. I looked through the site some more and so far – everything looks pretty good.

New web site I did find a few problem areas with their layout/CSS, but I am sure they will address those soon (PS family member that does not know or understand what I really do – this is the type of thing I get contacted about to fix for companies) – especially since they showed up on Safari at first glance. I am sure their web team worked very hard on the new layout/functionality and it shows. I think for the first time in a few years the site feels very cohesive and not so much “stuck in 10.1 here, and stuck in 10.4 there”.
New web siteEven with the layout issues, Apple did a nice job of incorporating just enough Ajax into their site without overdoing it. The sidebars use a nice show/hide content thus reducing clutter and there a number of carrousel-like objects in the site that allow you to flip through items without leaving the same page (see Movie Trailers for an example.

To sum it up, I think Apple really did a nice job of pulling everything together, and like I mentioned before – putting just enough Ajax in without overdoing it. I think something is missing though with the top navigation bar. I really liked having a second level for the navigation below the main navigation bar with such a big site. Time will tell, and after I use the site for awhile, perhaps I will write a followup.

PS – Why post the layout issue screenshots? It is a nice reminder that sometimes the “big” companies make errors or overlook quality assurance issues too.

what will your legacy be?

There are somedays when I blog about something new I have learned about CSS, PHP, MySQL, Apache, etc. There are also somedays I come home, unwind, and realize I have much bigger life lessons to share. Although life is not all fun and games I always try learn something from each experience. This is what I learned/realized today:

It is human nature to be liked and loved by all yet there are sometimes when you are faced with a choice. You can either take the path of least resistance and go along with the majority all the while knowing what you are doing is not right, or you can take a stand and try and do something different. As a history major in college I often studied and read about such “difficult” people: the Pilgrims, Mahatma Gandhi, MLK Jr, Rosa Parks, etc and had great respect for them. Why? Because they decided not to go with the rest of the pack…they wanted change and they would not accept the status quo. They exposed themselves in order to try and make change happened even if it pissed people off and left them open for criticism. Apple had a brilliant marketing campaign titled “Think Different” in the late 1990s which summed it up perfect:

Here’s to the crazy ones.
The misfits.
The rebels.
The troublemakers.
The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They’re not fond of rules
And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can praise them, quote them, disagree with them
disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing that you can’t do is ignore them.
Because they change things.
They invent. They imagine. They heal.
They explore. They create. They inspire.
They push the human race forward.
Maybe they have to be crazy.
How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art?
Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written?
Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?
We make tools for these kinds of people.
While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think that they can
change the world, are the ones who do.

Where am I going with this? Change is made by trying something different – not doing the same over and over. If you are unhappy with something in your life, take a chance…break out of the mold. It is ok to be unpopular. In fact, I would much rather be unpopular and strive for change, than to sit quietly while life passes me by. We all have choices, so what will your legacy be?

apple's iphone.

For years I have been talking about and dreaming of an iPhone. Up until this morning I figured Apple would release a simple entry level phone that would be fun for the same people who are likely to buy an iPod Shuffle or an iPod Nano. Little did I know, the new iPhone would be so darn cool! I love my Blackberry 8700, but the iPhone with it’s awesome design and amazing features is exactly what I want. Will I buy it when it comes out? It will be hard not to, but if I can hold out, I will for the revision. Nice work Apple Inc!

macbook pro afterthoughts.

It has been over two weeks since I bought my MacBook Pro and I thought I would share some of my thoughts so far.

  • I have to say, one of the coolest features that I have enjoyed is the built-in iSight. I can easily show off Evan to others without messing with any cables or worrying about camera position.
  • The backlit keyboard is awesome. I love using it in the dark.
  • This computer is fast! Now when I use my Mac Mini, I feel like it is super slow 😉
  • I chose the matte screen because the glossy screen a) reminds me of cheap PCs b) it is what I am comfortable with…and what reminds me of my beloved PowerBooks of the past. I am very happy I chose this option because I rarely watch movies, etc that the glossy screen is good for. Why am I mentioning this? I have been getting a lot of flack from most people I talk to. I am sure at least Ben will back me up on this one.
  • Within an hour of setting my MacBook Pro up, I had my development environment set up and I was ready to go…with style.

All in all, I am very excited about my purchase and look forward to enjoying it for several years. (I collect Apple hardware so this is not going anywhere!)

christmas/birthday ideas.

I am not an easy person to buy for, but there are a few things I would like this year. I usually ask for money or gift certificates, but if you want to get creative or bring a smile to my face, here is a few ideas:

Hmm…Ben do you remember what I did with the multi-colored iMac posters I had hanging up in our old office?

I can just hear a few people saying to themselves…wow that is a ridiculous amount of money to pay for a poster, but I love Apple and history…so think of it is as a 2 for 1.

macbook pro it is!

Well, I have been patiently waiting to buy a nice Apple laptop and finally something looked and sounded good to me – the 2.16Ghz MacBook Pro which I bought today. My first impressions: “wow this packaging is really nice”, “wow this is super fast”, and “great job Apple”. I love Apple and their products because they understand the whole user experience down to the last detail. The packaging itself is art. The lines of their products are well thought out and beautiful. There is so much effort put into the little things that it makes the product as a whole a wonderful and exciting thing of beauty. When the new PwerBooks/MacBooks came out, I was sold when I saw the MagSafe power adapter. So yes, I am quite excited. I am even more excited that it is a business expense. 😉

lots of attachments.

Well. It does not take much to amuse me. Awhile back I wrote about “fun with email attachments” but obviously there is more fun to have. Last night I received an email from someone – who will remain nameless – that had 87 attachments. Yes 87. Eighty-seven. Time for a web site where this person can upload these attachments and just send a link. For fun/proof, check out the images.

Lots Lots of attachments!

outlook users having issues with attachments.

A few days I came across a problem with Microsoft Outlook users not being able to open any attachments sent by someone using Apple’s application (the default Apple email application). Fortunately the fix is quick and easy!
The real problem: Apple, by default, uses a “Rich Text Format” (RTF) for composing all new email messages. While this is fine for most email messages, Outlook has issues with how attachments are dealt with when using RTF.
The Solution: Switch the default message format from “Rich Text Format” to “Plain Text”.
[tags], hints[/tags]

Fun With Postfix and Launchd

If it is not one thing, it is another. I recently had to set up a web server using Mac OS X 10.4 that needed PHP 5 and Postfix so I could send email via a particular PHP script. I used Marc Liyanage ‘s PHP 5 package and then decided to to then use Mac OS X’s built install of Postfix to handle the mail. After having some issues getting Postfix working, I finally found a great article on which helped with my mail and launchd questions – as I have never had to do anything with launchd up until this point. (Goodbye cron, hello launchd)

At this point I was pretty proud of myself and figured I got Postfix working because of my pizza combos intake, but then a few minutes later and a ton of email messages later, I realized all my failed attempts and test messages had built up in the que. I now had to scramble to unplug the server and figure out how to manage the Postfix queue…something I had never done before. Enter my quick tips for managing the Postfix queue:

  • To view the queue, use: mailq
  • To delete a message, use:postsuper -d 111 (111= the message ID found by running mailq)
  • If you want to delete all messages in the queue, use: postsuper -d ALL

One problem solved, 24 more to go 😉
[tags]Mac OS X 10.4, postfix, launchd, PHP5[/tags]

a day of birthdays.


A quick post to wish my youngest cat – Salsa – a happy birthday (and the iMac) I have been swamped the last few days but think I have figured out how to properly set up MediaWiki to use user permissions without having to hack something together. Now to get some time together to implement it. 😉
[tags]Salsa, iMac, MediaWiki[/tags]