Monthly Archives: October 2007

The Best Day

Today, my wife gave me a big surprise. She called me at work after school (I teach High School) sounding really sweet. She was already on her way to pick me up before we got off the phone. I had no clue what was in store.

Well, since it was our 2 year and 4 month anniversary, she wanted to do something special and romantic. So, we talked a bit and decided to go on a date and dine out at Makoto’s in Boone. That’s about an hour drive for us, so we had plenty of time to talk and share. About halfway there, she pulled into the Exxon station in Banner Elk at the TyneCastle shopping center. She pulled out an anniversary card and a small gift wrapped in green frog paper. I opened the box first and found a pregnancy test wrapped up in a plastic bag. It had two pink lines. I looked up at her face and saw the most beautiful, humble smile I have ever seen on her lovely face. And I leaned over and kissed her.

I opened the card next and read it aloud. I was going to be a daddy and my wife had made the occasion of telling me so special. She said she did a triple take when the test results appeared. It took her a while to decide how to tell me, but I think she did a spectacular job. And the setting was beautiful. It was a misty evening with light rain giving all the tree trunks a beautiful, dark wet look that contrasted with the fall foliage. I tell you the scenery was breathtaking! Even with the rain and the mist, the trees glowed with color. It was the most beautiful place for a most beautiful revelation and I will always treasure that memory.

Well, after a little while I went into the store to get her a caffeine-free drink and a Slim Jim beef jerky – if they had them. They didn’t so I returned with a Sierra Mist Free and drove to Makoto’s. We had a dinner of sesame chicken and water and afterwards I drove us home. Coming down the mountains, we got to enjoy the colors of the leaves one more time before night fell.

And now I’m writing this post. I hope you get to experience this in your own life. I expect I’ll be writing more now that I’ve broken the ice and have something worth telling. At least for me, this is something worth telling and I figure there are people out there who will enjoy it with me too.


Rubik’s Cube

When I was younger, I always thought it would be very cool to know how to solve a Rubik’s cube. Well, today I have achieved that goal!

When I was very young I remember having a Rubik’s cube and visiting my dad at work. He taught at the same high school that I teach at now. There was a student there that could solve a rubik’s cube and would solve it for me. So, I sent my cube and it came back solved. It was just the coolest thing to me at the time!

So, fast forward a decade or so when I was on vacation in Myrtle Beach. There’s this little shop on the strip just a little north of main street (where the Pavilion used to stand) and they had this little book called Solving the Cube for $1. Yes, it only cost one dollar! I’ve had that book for years and have used it to solve that same Rubik’s cube for years.

Well, some students took my cube over the summer a year ago. So, I got a new one over this past summer and my students this semester have been playing with it. I’ve been using that little book to solve the cube and slowly but surely I’ve memorized the moves to solve any mixed up Rubic’s Cube.

I guess this post may sound a little strange to some people, but to me it’s kind of cool knowing that I can do this. It’s one of those little goals in life that you don’t ever really expect to accomplish and you don’t put a lot of effort into. But the fact that this particular goal was accomplished still means something to you. And that’s very cool.

Fluid Web Pages

Yes, you heard that right. Web pages are fluid. They can and should use the entire available browser window space and stretch as needed to fill that space. To quote my Design Philosophy page,

“When implemented correctly, web pages are fluid – they may change shape and size to fit the needs and requirements placed upon them.”

Don’t think of a web page in the same way you think about an 8½ by 11 sheet of paper. There is no real limit to the size of any web page or how far it might scroll. You are probably reading this because you want to know how to implement a fluid web page or understand how one is made.

It’s quite simple really. All you really must do is use percentages with your layouts instead of exact sizes. Oh, and be careful of software programs that allow you to “see” your web sites as you are editing them. If you are allowed to simply click on a table border or div layer edge and drag to resize it, chances are you will be setting an exact size for that tag. Let’s look at a little code:

<table width="100%">

Now, whether you are using tables for your layouts or not (since this is now considered out-dated in favor of stylesheets), this code example will still help you understand fluid web pages. The width is set to “100%”. The “%” is required. Without the “%”, the browser would see width=”100″ and interpret the 100 as a measurement of pixels, not a percentage.

So, that’s basically it. You must explicitly set percentages for your widths. This holds for tables, table rows, table cells, divs, spans, and other container tags, but a one-cell table isn’t the best example. Here’s some more realistic code:

<table width="100%">
 <td width="200"></td> <!--Left Navigation-->
 <td width="100%"></td> <!--Right Content Body-->

Yes, the above code will work just fine, and no I didn’t forget the “%”. I left it out on purpose. The browser will set aside 200 pixels for the cell on the left (the navigation) and then give the remainder to the cell on the right (the content) since the cell on the right AND the table both have widths set to 100%. Pretty cool, eh?

Other variations work too. How about this three-column table?

<table width="100%">
 <td width="160"></td> <!--Left Navigation-->
 <td width="100%"></td> <!--Right Content Body-->
 <td width="160"></td> <!--Right Navigation-->

Or this two-column layout?

<table width="100%">
 <td width="50%"></td> <!--Left Content-->
 <td width="50%"></td> <!--Right Content-->

For help with fluid web pages that use stylesheets, visit Little Boxes.

DanielSmithDesigns Blog Launch

I am pleased to announce the launch of my very first blog! I’m new at this so we’ll see what I make of it. I imagine I will be able to incorporate what I’ve learned about setting up this blog with some of my clients later so, stay tuned!

You can access my blog from this web site. Thanks for visiting!