Archive for the 'TypePad stuff' Category

Daisy helpdesk

Sunday, December 4th, 2005

If you’ve landed here via google searching for “Typepad template” Christmas or screaming fishing reel ring tones, email me (daisy AT chasingdaisy.com) and I’ll be happy to try and help.

I’m afraid I don’t have any pictures of Fiona Bruce, smoking or otherwise and I’ve no idea what her legs look like. But here’s one young lady with a damn fine pair of legs.

If you’re looking for Christmas cartoons, they’re all stored in the Christmas 2003 category, page 1 and page 2. [Some of the images are still stored on the typepad blog but will be moving very soon to this domain.]

This has been a public service announcement on behalf of the Daisy party. Hic. Thank you for listening.

Meanwhile back on the ranch

Friday, October 21st, 2005

Hopefully, a spiffy new look is starting to take shape, thanks to the scrumptious relaxation theme from Clemens.

Before I start hanging pictures and getting fresh paint on the walls, I’m still fixing validation errors, especially one that seems to be caused by the “more” tag (that puts part of a post in an extended entry). But that’s for the morrow. There’s also truckloads of accessifying to do with the graphics brought over from typepad. Remember I said how easy the export of posts was from typepad? Hmm. That’s true. But graphics are another matter. It’s bothered me for a while that even as a Pro user, you don’t have any kind of global access to files. I can see that for the most part you don’t need that access and I trust Six Apart to keep backups of everything on a regular basis so having my own backups wasn’t necessary. But when I started to look for an easy way to download all of the graphics from the past two years I realised that they were scattered in many a folder and the only solution was to go through them all, saving each graphic individually. Hah! I even opened a help ticket for confirmation but the sad fact is that I needed a faster way to get hold of all those pictures.

So the first solution was to use a Mozilla extension called DownThemAll. Starting with March 2003, I simply downloaded all graphics on that page, then on to April, May, June etc. It took about 40 minutes all told so I was quite happy. But then I realised that this didn’t catch all graphics – when you create a thumbnail image in the Typepad interface, a corresponding html page is created for the larger size graphic and that of course wasn’t being picked up by DownThemAll.

Second solution was to use a website copier, HTTrack. This has done the job rather well I think. But now I have to go through every post and make sure that they all fit, have alt tags and generally doesn’t mess everything up. Oh boy.

Meanwhile, enquiring minds might like to know that the blogroll is now themed by tea types – there’s Caravan, Keemun, Earl Grey, Darjeeling and Oolong, all of which have their own special flavours. As do you. The old lists started out reflecting frequency of updates (daily, frequent, etc.) but that went out of the window as folks suddenly started post like fury or slowed to a standstill.

Anyway, the plan is to take some pictures of tea cups this weekend and add them as little icons above each category but I’ve a feeling my camera will not be recovering any time soon from being dropped from the landing so I’ll end up scouring my favourite free image sites for alternatives.

Across the web there are some lovely novelty teapots and some pretty teacups. There’s even a Darjeeling tea caddy and a teapot font so I’m not short of inspiration.

Unless… would anyone like to contribute pictures of teacups, mugs and teapots? It would be lovely to make it a group effort. Photos and drawings (hint, hint) are all welcome. How about a maximum file size of 50x50px?

And the prize? How about a special edition “Music to take tea by” cd, a compilation guaranteed* to make teatime an absolute pleasure.

There you go. Deadline is midnight BST on Sunday (23 October), you can post them on your blogs or email them to me, it’s up to you.

Good luck!

* usual disclaimers apply, I haven’t made it yet. Ahem.

Update: I’ve added some pictures from Stock Xchng that I plan to use for the blogroll.

Ch ch changes

Saturday, April 23rd, 2005

I’ve thrown off the shackles of 1&1 hosting, transferred to a new host* and signed up with godaddy for domain registration**.

This means that I’ll no longer get emails addressed to Mr Daisy and -more worryingly- be addressed as Mr Daisy when I phone their “support” desk. I don’t have a deep, sexy voice (alas!) and *looks down* have a fine pair of bosoms so I don’t know why they have for three long years ignored all pleas to update their database.

Anyway, this blog is still hosted with TypePad and will continue to be until December this year but the grand plan is to create a Movable Type and/or WordPress blog on that hosting, see which I prefer and then have chasingdaisy.com as the main url. Or maybe .net.

But I’ll soon (this weekend hopefully) be attempting a domain mapping exercise that’ll mean typing in the .com url (or the .net) will lead you straight to this blog.

There’s an excellent how-to by donnum on the typepad users forum but I have my suspicions that there will be hitches so if I disappear suddenly this weekend, you’ll know why. And *best Arnie impersonation* “I’ll be back”.

* In beta at the moment but I’ll post details when they’re open to the public because the prices and support are excellent.

** Because they’re one of the TypePad recommended registrars for domain mapping.

Yes I know it’s broken

Monday, February 28th, 2005

and I should have stopped when I was tired but there you go. So here’s what I need to fix pronto:

  1. < li > in the sidebar
  2. Posts aren’t displaying any dates. Goodness knows what I did there.
    – Thanks Jann.
  3. The text “Posted by Daisy at 10:52 PM in” is still a funny grey
    – thanks Em.
  4. There’s a purple-ish border showing around the banner in IE6.

Anything else broken?

In the meantime, a quick link: She blocked me by Bob Ricci.

Don’t fiddle with it late at night

Friday, February 25th, 2005

the style sheet that is. Why, what did you think I meant? I can see what’s wrong with the paragraph tags in Explorer but am puzzling over the placement of the banner graphic in Firefox. Plans are to finish early today in order to shout at websites rather than clients. But the thought of running the dogs in the snow is very appealing so maybe I’ll hold fire until the weekend.

I’m taking all of your help on board (thank you!) and I’m beginning to see that pixeldiva‘s advice to put as much presentational content in the style sheet as possible will mean really changing the TypePad template. Gulp. For example, the banner information is all in the main index page but I’m guessing that I should move that to the stylesheet.

One thing I can’t work out how to do (and I think this is a question specifically for TypePad users rather than MT users) is how to add some text to the comment box – just a line saying something like “Basic html tags can be used: < b >, < i >“. Does anyone know how to do that? Done! You need to add the code to the Individual Archives rather than the main index archive. Duh.

. . .

In other news: I’m still shuddering at this “interesting” kitchen product via Adrian but chuffed to bits with ExplorerXP, a tabbed file browser [via Gordon and Hanni]. The only thing I’d like to add is the ability to view thumbnails but I guess we’ve got other tools for that. Basically it’s what Windows Explorer should be but never will be. Oh and it’s free. Wheee! Also just bookmarked PIE‘s Common Coding Problems with HTML and CSS

And how many hours is it now to the start of the Wales v France game? :-0)

Mind your heads

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2005

I’m just going to switch styles (and if you thought sludge was bad, wait ’til you see pastel hell I’m about to unleash). Done! Panic ye not, it’s just a way of keeping the sections outlined in different (and admittedly hideous) colours while I start again on the redesign.

Well it’s past one a.m. so I’m going to call it a day. These pastels aren’t bad are they? Well I like the pale blue. How about duck egg blue and chocolate brown to match the bedroom? Maybe not. In the meantime, huge thank yous for all the advice and offers of additional help. I’m hoping to go solo for as much of the actual coding as I can because that’s the best way to learn but fitting it in late at night makes for slooooow brain activity so it’ll take a while longer than anticipated.

Anyway, that’s it for today, tomorrow night I’m back to bloghopping because it’s been too long since I visited you all then I’ll pick it up again on Friday night.

Oh a question – I’ve got the original .eps of the daisy graphic but what I’d like to do is give it a transparent (?) background so that I can place it on non-white backgrounds. And I need to do this on that version and on cropped (stemless) and reduced size versions. What’s the best way to do that? Is that even what you need to do? Should the css settings be changed instead? Pfft, me go bed.

Night, night.


Tuesday, February 22nd, 2005

To summarise: I know nuffink.

Not only am I having to go back and revise the css I thought I knew, there’s also all sorts of accessibility challenges to resolve – throw in most of the day/evening with no internet connection and you’ve got a recipe for pissed-offness. But in a good way.

What else? Oh, I haven’t deleted the blogrolls, just moved them temporarily here. Well, they’ve been there since last year, I just haven’t got round to finishing that page (are we seeing a pattern yet?) so um, there we go. If your blog was on the blogroll and you’re not on the new blogroll, please let me know – it’s definitely incompetence on my part rather than delinking. Honest guv.

Thanks for your comments, nay, fascination with the delightful mushroom colour sludge, I am going to change it, just need some spare time. And Katherine, yes there will be a purty picture coming to a header near you soon :-0)

Before I go any further

Monday, February 21st, 2005

So I’ve used a basic two column TypePad template to start out with. The right hand column contains all the sidebar information, including the navigation (although I’m also adding a horizonal navigation bar across the top).

When I view this page without css, the right hand column content appears toward the bottom of the page – here’s a screenshot of the top half of the page and here’s a screenshot of the bottom half of the page.

Question: should I switch the sidebar to the left hand side and should I ensure that navigation information etc. appears before the main content?

Step 1: Colour scheme

Monday, February 21st, 2005

So what resources are available to help us choose a color scheme? After just 15 minutes of browsing I’m ready to throw my teddy out of the pram and yell for mama, there’s just too much information out there!

Okay, Let’s start by reading the following:

Guideline 2.1 of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0:

Ensure that all information conveyed with color is also available without color, for example from context or markup.

I’m not sure how to put that into practise yet but let’s move on to Guideline 2.2 of the same document which states that we need to:

Ensure that text and graphics are understandable when viewed without color.

If color alone is used to convey information, people who cannot differentiate between certain colors and users with devices that have non-color or non-visual displays will not receive the information. When foreground and background colors are too close to the same hue, they may not provide sufficient contrast when viewed using monochrome displays or by people with different types of color deficits.

Okay, so how can we check that the colours we use as the basis for a new scheme follow the above guidelines?

There’s more:

Use numbers, not names, for colors.

Use these CSS properties to specify colors:

  • ‘color’, for foreground text color.
  • ‘background-color’, for background colors.
  • ‘border-color’, ‘outline-color’ for border colors.
  • For link colors, refer to the :link, :visited, and :active pseudo-classes.

Ensure that foreground and background colors contrast well. If specifying a foreground color, always specify a background color as well (and vice versa).

Right, let’s take these one by one:

  • Use numbers, not names, for colors.
    Check. The default css provided with this template [link now invalid] contains no named colours such as H1 {color: red}.
  • Use these CSS properties to specify colors
    Okay on the background-color but I need to change the link colors. Now, can I go back to using the highlight style links of the previous layout, an example of which is here? I’m thinking that as long as the color contrast is strong enough, I should be okay but if you know differerently, please shout out.

Hmm, as I write this I’m aware that I might be breaking all sorts of rules about alternative descriptions, text descriptions of all graphics but forgive me for a while. There’s only so much this brain can hold at any one time. As far as I know, the TypePad interface [see example here] for uploading pictures and other files does not contain any option for including such markup so I’ll need to edit each one manually (not a problem!) but let’s get the color issues resolved first.
It also occurs to me that I might have to change the way I write about links. Until today I would have written something like:

…using the highlight style links of the previous layout

but I’m not clearly indicating an external link there am? I’m putting this subject off to another day but any advice on that in the meantime would be greatly appreciated.

So it the first (and most easily achieved step) is to ensure a good colour contrast. I’m starting to get rather fond of these template colours but that orange [#FF9900] has to go. Much as I liked the red and gold of yesterday, I’d like to get the pink daisy back in (eagle eyed readers will have spotted that I never quite got round to changing the favicon) but let’s look at what we can find online to help us check that a particular colour scheme has enough contrast – bring on the Colour Contrast Analyser 1.0. I’ve just downloaded the tool (tiny file, no install) and entered in the template colours – here’s a screenshot of the results:

The difference in colour between the two colours is not sufficient. The threshold is 500, and the result of the foreground and background colours is 265.

So – do I lighten the background colour and darken the text colour? That’s okay, I’ve taken up far too much of your time already so I’ll have a play with the colours and report back.

I’m just about to put most of this post in an extended post and again I’m stopping to wonder if that’s a good thing. I’ll carry on doing it until I learn differently.

Summary of topics raised in this post:

  1. Colour contrast – understood, now to find a good colour scheme and implement it.
  2. Ensure that all information conveyed with color is also available without color, for example from context or markup – find more information, report back here.
  3. Writing content so that external links are clearly indicated – to be researched
  4. Alternative text for graphics – next topic when color/links are sorted
  5. Extended posts – to be researched

Blimey, and that’s just day one…

[Written while this site was hosted at TypePad.]

Don’t panic Mr Mainwaring!*

Monday, February 21st, 2005

So this is it. Starting today, I’m going to do my best to make this site not only validate but, more importantly, make it as accessible as possible. I’ve taken a basic 2 column template from the TypePad offerings, converted it to an advanced template set and I’m now going to start adding back in some of the sidebar stuff from the old layout.

I thought about using a test blog –getting it all spiffy and complete before launching– but this way I reckon I can get feedback and much needed help from you lot – and since I’m betting that I’m not the only one with a TypePad/Movable Type site wanting to follow accessibility guidelines but finding the reams of available information a bit overwhelming [and conflicting], going public means that (fingers crossed) we all learn more. Besides, I’ll be less likely to procrastinate if the main blog looks like shite…

* a catchphrase from a popular British tv sitcom called Dad’s Army following the adventures of a group of men who for one reason or another couldn’t join the regular army from the Local Defence Volunteers, more commonly known as the Dad’s Army.
p.s. It’s pronounced Mannering. Yes I know.

[Written while this site was hosted at TypePad.]

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