Ben Langhinrichs

October, 2006
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Genii Weblog


Civility in critiquing the ideas of others is no vice. Rudeness in defending your own ideas is no virtue.


Tue 31 Oct 2006, 07:32 AM
When I try to get to any of the blogs on blogs.msdn.com, or even the main site, I get messages such as the following.  I wonder what is wrong in Microsoft-land today:

Errors on blogs.msdn.com website

Copyright © 2006 Genii Software Ltd.

Mon 30 Oct 2006, 07:16 PM
I am always fascinated by simple mnemonics and sayings that help us remember those things which might be hard to remember otherwise.  A few I particularly like are:
  • 'i' before 'e' except after 'c', or when sounding like 'a' as in 'neighbor' and 'weigh'  (I hated learning it, and I still use it)
  • 30 days hath September, April, June and November.  All the rest have 31.  But Leap Year coming once in four, February then has one day more (There are lots of variations, and this version doesn't really make sense, as it implies February has 31 days regularly, but it is the way I learned it and still think it to myself)
  • 'Fork' has four letters, as does 'left', so the fork goes on the left side of the plate.  'Knife' and 'spoon' each have five letters, as does 'right', so the knife and spoon go on the right side of the plate.  (Very handy, and I have no idea where I learned it, as I never hear anybody say it but me.  Maybe my grandmother made it up)
  • Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally (helps remind us about precedence order in math, Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction)


There is one some people use to remember the planets, but I never learned it, and don't know the order of the planets, and it probably includes Pluto anyway and is thus obsolete.  Are there any of these you use or like to teach your children?

Copyright © 2006 Genii Software Ltd.

Mon 30 Oct 2006, 10:41 AM
I have always wished I could be a singer in a rock band... but, alas, I am tone deaf.
I have always wished I had that artistic touch... but, alas, I am both color blind and my people are indistinguishable from prairie dogs.
I currently wish I could design websites... but, alas, they are better left to others.

I guess I better stick to being a guru of Notes rich text... much less competition and no natural limitations.

Copyright © 2006 Genii Software Ltd.

Fri 27 Oct 2006, 08:29 AM
Dictionary definition of deprecate

Computer definition of deprecate

I was reading through the Office Open XML draft yesterday, and came across a whole host of scary elements.  These are all from Part 4 of the draft specs, entitled Markup Language Reference, and, yes, those are the real page numbers.  It is not a short documemt, and this may partly explain why.  For example:
  • autoSpaceLikeWord95 (Emulate Word 95 Full Width Character Spacing) - pages 1378-1379
  • footnoteLayoutLikeWW8 (Emulate Word 6.x/95/97 Footnote Placement) - pages 1416-1417
  • lineWrapLikeWord6 (Emulate Word 6.0 Line Wrapping for East Asian Text) - pages 1426-1427
  • mwSmallCaps (Emulate Word 5.x for Macintosh Small Caps Formatting) - pages 1427-1429
  • shapeLayoutLikeWW8 (Emulate Word 97 Text Wrapping Around Floating Objects) - pages 1442-1443
  • suppressTopSpacingWP (Emulate WordPerfect 5.x Line Spacing) - pages 1462-1464
  • truncateFontHeightsLikeWP6 (Emulate WordPerfect 6.x Font Height Calculation) - pages 1467-1468
  • useWord2002TableStyleRules (Emulate Word 2002 Table Style Rules) - pages 1481-1482
  • useWord97LineBreakRules (Emulate Word 97 East Asian Line Breaking) - pages 1482-1483
  • wpJustification (Emulate WordPerfect 6.x Paragraph Justification) - pages 1483-1485


There are many more which relate to various parameters which are deprecated, but virtually all of these examples share a guidance paragraph which says:

Guidance wording for deprecated elements

Now, on the one hand, Microsoft is to be praised for its careful presevation of attributes, features and behaviors which exist not only in its own earlier versions but also in those of competitive products.  Good show!  On the other hand, these do not belong in an open standard!  This is a very clear case of vendor specific implementation leaking through into what Microsoft claims to be an open standard.  What should have been done is that the ability to extend the standard should have been well defined (one of the primary purposes of an XML standard, after all), and these should have been kept as a separate vendor specific implementation namespace.  Then, other products could have their own vendor specific implementation namespaces which repoduced what their customers needed.  In the meantime, the general standard would not be weighed own with numerous obsolete, deprecated elements before it is even formalized.

Pray for deliverance.

Copyright © 2006 Genii Software Ltd.

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Thu 26 Oct 2006, 11:29 AM
I must admit, I have blockquote envy, and one of these days (soon), I'll have to get around to dealing with it.  When I post a quote, it looks like this:
This is a boring, but fairly default, blockquote which is indented, has a single vertical line and italics, but not much else to distinguish it.


If I go over to Rob Weir's excellent blog, I see that he has a blockquote that looks much better:
Now here is a quote with quote marks (and indentation and smaller text and a different color).  Sheesh, no wonder I feel inadequate.  This is a great look, although it seems better suited to a literary kind of quote.


If I wander over to Philip Storry's site, I see that he has something just a bit different, but not so extreme:
This would give a bit more sense of separation with slightly different color and thicker bar, but without the image.


Over at Bob Sutor's site, there is this style:
This sets off nicely against Bob's colored background, but may not look so great here.


So, what should I use?  The nice thing is, by just setting the style parameter, I could add all of these, so I could easily add my own:
But, I would have to avoid getting weird and garish.


What kind of block quotes would you like to see here (or on your own site?

Copyright © 2006 Genii Software Ltd.

Thu 26 Oct 2006, 09:32 AM
Show and Tell Thursday logoOne of the most difficult issues I have with Show and Tell Thursday posts, and actually with lots of other posts on this blog, is that I don't know what people don't know.  I'll casually mention some technique, and people will say they have never heard of it, but I'll mention something else I think is cool and new and people will ask how anybody could not know that.  So, in the absence of any clue whether my readers know about this or not, I'm going to re-post this answer I put on the Notes Net forum (I know, I know, but I still have a Notes.Net mug in my hand, so I still get to call it Notes Net).

The problem is how to center text or other content both vertically and horizontally  in a frame or box of set height and width.  When I refer to a box, it could be anything.  For example, you could put this on a layer to ensure a particular size  It is relatively easy to center content horizontally using the paragraph alignment, but centering vertically is a bit harder.  The following will work for the Notes client and for the web.  Create a one cell table (one row and one column) with either a fit to window width for a frame or a fixed width of the size of your box, into which your content will go.  After setting it up as described below, you will probably want to turn off the borders.  I am assuming a one inch high frame or box, but you should adjust the height to the height of your frame or box.  I have set up such a table with a width of 5 inches and a height of 1 inch.  Below that are the steps to set it up.
If you have a one cell table, just set the paragraph to center horizontally and the table cell to center vertically, then set the height for both Notes client and web.  Like the table below (except that you will set your row height to the height of the frame and turn off the borders):
The content I want centered


First, set the text to centered:
Paragraph alignment centered.

Second, set the table to vertically align and have a minimum row height (for Notes client):
Table cell width, alignment and minimum row height

Third, set the HTML CSS style for the table cell to a row height, since the Notes client setting doesn't seem to translate to HTML properly.
HTML settings for height

And there you have it.  Centered content in the Notes client or on a web.

Please do let me know if you would like to see more of this sort of tip or more complex stuff with layers or more basic stuff such as how to make thin borders on my tables for the web.

Copyright © 2006 Genii Software Ltd.

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