Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   crows and julienne carrots
Tuesday, February 27 2007

I drove over to Woodstock at around noon today on a brief housecall, and while I was there I checked that dumpster area in Bearsville, the one where I scavenged most of my firewood last year. But there was still none to be had there. When I arrived, my car chased up a number of crows foraging among the restaurant trash produced by The Bear. No doubt they'd been feasting on flirted-over king salmon with citrus segments, quarter-eaten braised beef short ribs inspired by Coyota Cafe (with chipotle, black bean refritos and roasted poblano chillis), grilled portobello mushroom steak with vidalia onion, and most of an oven poached halibut with julienne of carrot. Humans are rugged and resourceful and I don't think our kind will ever go extinct, even with global warming, nuclear war, and depletion of fossil fuel supplies. But if we ever do, perhaps crows will evolve to better fill our niche, making and manipulating tools with their claws. How else will they ever julienne a carrot and keep feasting in the manner to which they have grown accustomed?

A web page is a form of XML tree, complete with a trunk (the body tag), a root system (the header tag), branches, and leaves. This tree metaphor breaks down a little bit and becomes a family tree metaphor when one accesses it through scripts. Now we have notions of parents, children, and siblings. In an ideal world, it would be possible to append a child onto any part of the treelike web page structure, even in situations where the web browser didn't know how to render a node (which, in our original tree metaphor, means "branch"). This is how the document tree manipulating functions in Firefox work, and I didn't realize they didn't work this way in Internet Explorer until today, when a novel HTML tag called "calendarplace" threw an error every time I used the appendChild javascript function. I spent hours trying all sorts of tricks in an effort to get this code to work - the web was full of advice, but none fit my particular problem. In the end all I had to do was change the calendarplace tag into a div tag.

A lot of client-side (that is, browser-side) web development is spent in such a purgatory. Particularly when dealing with Internet Explorer, I find myself feeling my way slowly in the dark. IE throws particularly unhelpful errors, and actually comes with a default "feature" in which helpful errors sent out by the web server are masked with an ugly, infuriatingly-information-concealing browser-generated error described in IE's settings as "friendly." IE also features what is perhaps the worst debugger implementation this side of Dick Cheney's brain.
None of this would be a problem if people could transcend their ignorance long enough free them from their masochism. But since most people still run virus-riddled PCs and think the blue "e" on their desktop is the internet, I must either join them in their masochism or accept that they'll never experience the fruits of my labor.
Mind you, in the life of the web, Internet Explorer hasn't always been the worst browser. Netscape 4.X was dreadful, but I kept using it out of inertia until it finally completely working on my home computer back in 2000. From then until November 2001, when popup hell forced me over to Mozilla, I used Internet Explorer exclusively.

For the past week or so I've noticed that the website of the New York Times barely functions at all after about 7:00 PM EST. I wonder what's going on.

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