Technology Web

Semantic CSS

Recovered from the Wayback Machine. has released a new paid upgrade: custom CSS. Now those who host their weblogs with the service can pay for an upgrade and customize their weblogs. To start, the company provided a Sandbox theme layout that can be altered through the custom stylesheet.

It’s interesting to read about this theme in the associated forum thread. There seems to be confusion associated with web page semantics and abstracting out the presentation from the layout. The theme creator wrote, The Sandbox is powerful because it generates semantic classes for a myriad of pages, which allows practically absolute control over the theme with CSS alone. He also wrote, The Sandbox will undoubtidly(sic) be the easiest theme for novices to write CSS for, with selectors that are semantic and logical/.

I’m assuming he means that the theme uses ordered and unordered list elements for lists, but what this has to do with CSS, I don’t know.

Quick Review:

XHTML and HTML are page elements.

Some (X)HTML elements have associated semantics, such as tables for tabular data, and OL or UL for lists. However, both have and will continue to be abused.

No matter how you push it, DIV is not a semantic element–no more meaning than the cardboard box that contained my last Amazon order.

CSS, or Cascading Style Sheets, have to do with the presentation of the elements. Through these, you can make unordered lists not look like unordered lists; but this just changes the presentation, not the semantics.

What’s really meaningful? Atom feeds that don’t break and that validate. Yes, that would mean a lot to me.

Just Shelley

Minnesota’s Fringe Festival

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Birdchick writes on her husband’s participation in this year’s Fringe Festival in Minnesota.

The concept of the Fringe Festival is fascinating, and I wish we had something similar here in St. Louis. I gather that every year, people submit ideas, and a lottery determines which are included in the Festival. That’s it: no juries to judge which performance is, or is not, included. The performances are scattered about the city, feature any type of art, and anyone is welcome to participate. It’s a wonderful idea.

Way to go, Minnesota. Next year, I’m spending August with the fringe, in the land o’ lakes


The normal lens

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

As part of my camera updating, I purchased a couple of new lenses.

The first is the Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6 super wide-angle lens. I’ve been wanting to experiment with a wide angle lens, but didn’t want to spend the thousand or so dollars on Nikon’s comparable lens. The Tokina is the one I had been after, but that one has been back ordered for months. Additionally, the Sigma is supposedly a sharper lens, though it does have some vignetting (light fall of at the edges). The Sigma is also a lightweight lens, which isn’t a bad option if you’re out trooping around taking landscape photos.

(When you’ve trucked around with a heavy lens for a while, you learn to appreciate small, and light.)

The second lens is the 50mm f/1.8. The so-called ‘normal’ or ‘primary’ lens. Other than my 60mm macro and my older Sigma 400mm, I’ve always used zoom lenses. I bought this 50mm lens for a couple of reasons: it’s small and lightweight and can be used for most photographic conditions, including low-light; it’s also supposed to blow the doors off the zooms when it comes to sharpness.

When I tried the lens, wow! Unbelievably sharp. Tiny little thing, almost looks like a toy. And cheap! (Well compared to a lot of other lenses). This is an amazing lens.

I already know that I’m using it exclusively for dusk and night shooting without a tripod (ghost walk next week comes to mind). I wonder about using it for more of my photography. Rather than move a zoom back and forth, or switch lenses all the time (resulting in dust on the sensors), try working with one fixed lens. To learn to depend on myself, rather than my lens, camera, and PhotoShop making the picture for me.

That’s a novel idea.

It won’t do closeups, but I’ve been concentrating on these too much lately. It won’t take a bird’s eye at 1/2 mile, but I’ve been focusing on these types of shots too much lately. It will take street scenes, landscapes, people, and buildings–all the things I’ve been putting off, because these are the type of photography that I’m not that great at. Which means I should be working with these types of pictures, rather than hiding behind my specialized lens.

There’s a dozen more lenses I’d love to have, but my camera budget for 2005-2007 is exhausted. Darnit.