Backpack Theme 2.0 – Design update

Well this redesign is a long time in the making. There are still plenty of loose edges to clean up but as long as you don’t dig too deep everything should be fine.

This redesign is feature rich with lots of additional feeds and functionality.

You’ll notice to the right my info from, Trackslife, Netflix, and links from Since I’m using all of these services I might as well put them in one place where everyone can see.

The easiest way to integrate an RSS feed is with MagpieRSS which made adding and Netflix super easy.

Anything that’s not in an RSS feed become a bit more difficult. Tackslife has an RSS feed but it’s horribly formed for getting out small bit of information. only has weekly artists in an XML file and while it would be nice if MagpieRSS supported XML it dies not.

Anything not in an RSS file I got the info with cURL and the pregmatch function as I’ve outlined before.

One last feature that is a great trick is how the site re-sizes if they screen is smaller then 1024. Re-size to 800 and the 2 columns will turn in to 1. Thanks to Collylogic for the tip on how to make it happen.

All and all I’m very happy with the final outcome and I’d love to help anyone who wants similar RSS integration in to their website. I’d love to hear any feedback!

Browser Font Sizes

Did you know that Firefox, Opera and possibly Safari have a minimum font size? I didn’t.

It’s easy to think of why you would want one. If I’m making a browser I don’t want my users to come across a website with tiny font they can not read.

As a designer if I want a tiny font for whatever reason I should be able to choice one. IE give you the ability to choose any font size.

FireFox has it’s default size at 10px and it can be found in Tools > Options… in the Content tab under the Font’s & Colors’ advanced tab.

No matter what you do in the CSS the font will not get smaller then 10px. If you don’t know there is a minimum in place you can really get caught off guard as you become baffled that the CSS isn’t doing what you want.

I really didn’t think 9px font size was really that unreasonable.


Boston Fireworks 2006

Boston Fireworks

Keri and I just watched the Boston fireworks but not from where most people saw them. Instead we just walk up the hill our apartment is on, Corry hill. There is a small park at the top with a view that points north and we thought we might be able to see the fireworks from there.

We were not alone as 2 - 300 other people had the same idea. Police had the street block and clearly they knew this was a yearly thing. I wonder if the same people come every year though as there was on tree that was exactly in the way.

You could still see through the tree but it was amazing how many fireworks exploded in the center and expanded exactly to the edges of the tree.

I don’t know how that trees survives from year to year because just about everyone wanted to cut the tree down.

Another interesting point was how there was no one selling any type of food at this small gathering. I know almost every hot dog and funnel cake vendor must be at the river but it was surprising that some one hadn’t though to sell something there as they would have no competition. Was I not moving to Malden I might have brought a cooler of soda up and made a killing.

All and all it was one of the more unique experiences here in Boston.

fireworks, boston, coryhill, brookline, bostonfireworks

Flock Review (Beta 1)

Flock was an interesting idea when it first came out. I remember the first excitement that people had when the first developers preview came out. The tide turned quickly. People wondered why this needed to be a different browser and not just a bunch of extension for FireFox.

I’ve seen two developers previews so far, flock and songbird. They both had the same problems. They were cool ideas but so early in development that people just complained about the bugs.

Flock stuck with it and their first beta is much more polished then the first version was. It’s integration with is great. How it integrates with photo services is the most dynamic and intuitive I have seen. The dynamic search is also interesting and with some more customization could be extremely useful.

It has a very interesting feed reader. I almost think I would used it as it has a very cool way of showing posts. My test for any feed reader though is if it can handle my almost 300 feeds. Sadly It slowed the browser to a halt. I often got alerts tell me javascript was taking too long. This is the kind of message you get if the browser thinks it might be stuck in an infinite loop.

If there was some way they could integrate with bloglines I think that might even push me over the edge to use Flock instead of FireFox. It even seems all the FireFox extensions will work in flock which is almost a requirement now for any browser I want to use.

download the flock beta
flock, review, download, songbird, broswer, firefox, bloglines