September 28th, 2008


Then and now which will be then soon enough . . .

Firefox just got updated and now it renders my text all askew.  This web site is fine.  So are all the others I've looked at.  But the html code I'm working on now has tiny fonts and wrong fonts.  Sometimes both.  This is the case on my Linux machine and my XP machine.  It doesn't screw them up the same on both machines in every instance, but it screws them up.  And, mystery of mysteries, IE still renders my ill-begotten html code the same as it always did.  Not the same as Firefox (we can't have that, for goodness sake), but the same as it always did.  How weird.  Now I have to admit that this particular code is a mess.  It started out as a school project three years ago, written in raw html using Notepad (we were to learn to walk before we learned to fly, you see).  Then I sucked the "content" pages into Word, because I owned it and because you can edit pretty much WYSIWYG.  Then I pulled it all into KompoZer, because it's free and runs under Linux.  Well, Word and KompoZer secretly raped the code, each in their own special way, while still leaving it renderable.  That is, what you saw when you opened it with Firefox was what you saw while you were editing it.  Why do I care what it does as long as I get my intended results, I thought.

Well, now, if I open it in the html mode of KompoZer or in a text editor, I can see what's wrong with it.  There are all sorts of <font blahbity blah blah> . . . </font> tags that occur where they are not (or at least no longer) needed, sometimes right in the middle of a sentence.  I like to imagine that if I started a file in KompoZer and finished it in KompoZer it would be fine.  I'll have to try that, but for now, I have a couple dozen files to straighten out somehow.  Geez.  Why did it used to work?  And why did they "fix" it?  Who knows.
. . .

And while we're waiting for the washer to finish, how about a Compelling Chronicle entry?  Askville just asked me, "Have you ever been on a flight where passengers break into applause upon arrival at the destination? Did it surprise you?"  No, but I was on one where I was surprised they didn't applaud.  O'Hare was totally socked in once coming into Chicago from Buffalo on an L1011 in November (conjuring up visions of the Edmund Fitzgerald).  We spent about an hour and a half stacked up over Lake Michigan.  The overcast was less over the lake and you could see a line of planes across the lake coming back in from their tour of Canada ahead of us.  This huge plane was being tossed around like a leaf and and out the window I watched the wings and the engine pylons twisting and flexing and bouncing around madly.  I had unshakable faith in Lockheed's engineering staff, but a lot of people's faces were as white as their knuckles.  This particular plane had a feature whereby, upon approach, they switched a camera that looked over the pilot's shoulder onto the movie screen in the cabin so that you could see what he saw out the windshield and watch him land the plane.  As we descended into Chicago, the plane was completely enveloped in cloud so dense that I could no longer see the wing out of the window.  The pilot couldn't see anything either and they shut the camera off.  The cloud cover didn't break until we were about fifty feet off the ground.  Of course, due to the miracle of modern automated navigation paraphernalia, we were lined up perfectly with the runway and descending at a survivable rate.  Rather than applause there was dead silence.  Nobody said anything as they got their stuff and left the plane.