So instead of writing in my weblog or sitting zazen or
anything like that tonight, I've been staying up late
in order to write a geeky little Photoshop tutorial:
Making PNGs with
alpha-channel transparency in Photoshop.
I was doing this at Ian's
suggestion, to see if it would solve my problem
mentioned back on Saturday,
limited to brown styles here in the log by the fact that
I always brownify my images.
As you can read in the afterward to the tutorial, although
I did get alpha-transparency working, it doesn't seem to
actually solve the problem.
So we are still cogitating on that.
The tutorial page, naturally, is fully CSSified,
valid HTML 4.01 strict, and is in general
a thing of beauty.
Long after I should have been in bed I was sitting
there admiring it, doing yet one more unnecessary tweak
to the wording or the layout, and hitting the validation
link yet one more time, to see once again that indeed
w3c still likes me.
I guess that's why it's called "validation"...
So I was sitting in the Nose Doctor's waiting room
this morning doing email on the laptop here, and on
a whim I asked it about wireless networks in the
It told me about two, one of which was encrypted
(oooo!) and one of which wasn't.
I was tempted to connect to the non-encrypted
one and see if I could actually get to the net,
but then I thought better of it.
Partly because it seemed dangerous (I mean sure I've
got a "personal firewall" on the machine here and all,
but still), and partly because it seemed vaguely
(Not that I haven't done similar things once or
twice before, but this time the qualms won out.)
Would it have been Wrong in a legal sense?
Schneier points us to
an interesting paper on the subject:
Potential Legal Risks in Accessing and Operating Wireless Internet
Suppose you turn on your laptop while sitting at the kitchen table
at home and respond OK to a prompt about accessing a nearby wireless
Internet access point owned and operated by a neighbor. What potential
liability may ensue from accessing someone else's wireless access point?
How about intercepting wireless connection signals? What about setting
up an open or unsecured wireless access point in your house or business?
Attorneys can expect to grapple with these issues and other related
questions as the popularity of wireless technology continues to increase.
This paper explores several theories of liability involving both
the accessing and operating of wireless Internet, including the
Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, wiretap laws, as well as trespass
to chattels and other areas of common law. The paper concludes
with a brief discussion of key policy considerations.
Turns out, unsurprisingly, that you're unlikely to be
prosecuted or successfully sued for just checking your
email via someone's open WiFi access point, but if you
use up all their bandwidth, or use it to do naughty
things, or do it professionally, the risks go up.
The full paper gives a bit more detail than that.
(The Nose Doctor, by the way, says that I could have
a relatively small operation that might (but might not)
improve my sense of smell, or I could wait and see if
it comes back by itself (it might or might not), and while
I'm waiting I could squirt lots of salt water into my
nose now and then (which might or might not help).
He didn't mention nanobots, which would clearly be
the Right Answer...)
some bad news:
The United States is getting a national ID card. The REAL ID Act
establishes uniform standards for state driver's
licenses, effectively creating a national ID card. It's a bad
idea, and is going to make us all less safe. It's also very
expensive. And it's all happening without any serious debate
we see your papers?
CIVILIAN (nervously): I don't think I have them on me.
FIRST POLICEMAN: In that case, we'll have to ask you to come along.
CIVILIAN (pats his pockets): Wait. It's just possible
that I... Yes, here they are.
He brings out his papers.
The second policeman examines them.
These papers expired three weeks ago.
You'll have to come along.
Suddenly the civilian breaks away
and starts to run wildly down the street.
The policeman SHOUTS "Halt", but
the civilian keeps going. ...
A shot RINGS out, and the man falls to the ground.
Above him, painted on the wall, is a large poster
of Marshal Petain, which reads: "Je tiens mes
promesses, meme celles des autres."
Of course that
From the mysterious "HTML o' the Day" that continues
to arrive in my mailbox,
today's "Real or Parody?":
Unborn Baby Ornament
- US Troop Model:
Plastic replica of an 11-12 week old fetus, 3" long, holding a firearm
in its precious little hand.
The entire site,
Miss Poppy dot com
("What a trend we have in Jesus!™") is worth a visit.
The link to Adult Christianity
("Christian News: The latest on religious molestations, frauds,
and violent crimes") eventually convinced me, but it was a
I fiddled around with making a table-free version of the
log, with limited success.
One thing that tables are very good at that CSS (and
especially very abstract and semantic CSS) is perhaps
less good at is making the properties of one screen area
depend on those of another.
I want for instance to make the height of the sidebar
column over to the left there depend on the height of
the main text column on the right here, and in that
sidebar column I want to have the occasional image
that's lined up with a particular piece of text
in this column, and I
want to have at the bottom a horizontal rule and a
"top" link that's lined up with the similar controls
at the bottom of this column.
That's easy with tables, but the best I've been able to
do with CSS has involved some rather dodgy position
adjustments that seem to work wildly differently in
different browsers, and leave swathes of the wrong
color all over the place.
Perhaps just my own lack of skill; reader
contributions are welcome!
(Just one new style today: the aptly named
Happy Mothers' Day!
Gave the family (including the resident mother)
Sunday Breakfast in Bed, and then made a nuisance of
myself by attempting to do various things (chief
among them the laundry) that apparently aren't in
my Primary Skill Set.
Since they involve atoms and all.
Spent the interstices between being fatherly and
useful struggling with HTML and CSS some more.
Moving the sidebar image of Wanda from up at the
top of the sidebar column to down near where its
entry now is proved surprisingly difficult to get
Seems that Opera, IE, and Firefox all have different
notions of the default margins on a paragraph
of all things (the <p> tag, for heaven's sake;
the most basic bit of HTML there is).
I think I mostly got it figured out and fixed,
but I'm not going to go over to the iBook tonight
and see what things look like in Safari and the
Mac versions of Opera, Firefox and IE.
Some other time.
Whilst I was at it, I did
It's sorta lame, but it
uses an image filter thing that seems to work
only in IE, where it magically causes all the images to
Very nice for a grayscale style!
Less obviously useful elsewhere.
I also wrote a little style-chooser widget; it's down
at the very bottom of this page, teeny-tiny so you
can barely see it.
Shouldn't be necessary for folks with modern browsers
who have the function built-in, but there you are
just in case.
(Hm; done properly it should read the available styles
from the DOM tree itself.