inessential by Brent Simmons


Jake's got a question for Mozilla gurus.

Discuss.UserLand.Com: A discussion about Themes.

joefish is totally funny. Requires Flash. (Rated PG-13 for language and animated violence -- but it's still totally funny.) Via Melissa -- who doesn't have a weblog, but should.

Themes are coming, soon. (Not sure what day yet.) There are a few technical details still to work out, a little UI left to do, but the hard parts have been done.

If you think you might want to make Manila themes, there a couple things you can do to prepare. One is create a site that you want to make clone-able. Maybe that's your existing site -- if not, go to Weblogs.Com and create a new site. After making a site that you think would be a cool theme, validate the HTML and CSS. I posted a couple bookmarklets the other day that help with validation.

You don't have to shoot for HTML 4.0.1 Strict -- given the state of browsers, HTML 4.0.1 Transitional is a good level.

I could write a little essay here about why standards are important, but I'd rather work on getting themes finished. Instead I'll point you to the Web Standards Project.

More about themes will appear as we release the feature.

(Yes, this site still doesn't validate. It will once I have time. Themes are the priority.)

"White youth, black youth, better find another solution. Why not phone up Robin Hood, and ask him for some wealth distribution." Listening to The Clash From Here to Eternity, their live album released last year. Ya sure, it rocks.

Seems like lots of people are setting up radio stations with -- maybe it's time for Radio Free Ballard. You betcha.

I figured out how to do a HotSync with my Visor last night. It took about 10 minutes, and a couple restarts, but probably only because I didn't read any of the instructions.

I installed BrainForest, because I wanted an outliner. I'll write a review after using it for a few days.

Update: Tom Donovan loves BrainForest. Tom has posted some converters for going from Frontier to BrainForest and back.

As I was mowing the lawn -- with my mechanical push mower, human-powered, software-developer-powered -- a blister formed on the edge of my right hand, the karate-chop outer edge. I had to hold the handle of the mower the way some baseball players hold their bats, with the pinky finger off the knob end, wrapped around thin air.

There are people, probably most people, for whom likenesses -- similarities, similes, metaphors, connections -- come easily and unasked-for. This promotes a richness of experience, as one runs strings connecting this to that, as daily life becomes web-like.

But there's a mushiness to this, too -- we experience life as metaphor soup. Rather than seeing something for what it actually is, we see what's related.

Sometimes I think what Zen is (or part of what Zen is, or a side effect of Zen) is a complete lack of metaphor. Precision of observation; un-self-conscious focus of experience. Admittedly I know very little about Zen, other than what a couple books have said.

Two Zen principles have always meant a lot to me yet remain mysterious:

1. Zen is your everday life.

2. The uninitiated sees a blade of grass as a blade of grass. The Zen student sees a blade of grass as... something else, something so much more than a blade of grass. The Zen master sees a blade of grass... as a blade of grass.

It's been said the Zen is incompatible with Western forms of art. (The Beats, perhaps intending to disprove that thesis, ended up strengthening that position.)

A book I started reading (I'm about a third of the way through) makes me question that. It's Mr. Palomar by Italo Calvino.

Mr. Palomar is an observer of phenomena. (Duh.) The book opens with him watching waves on a beach. The descriptions of vague, chaotic patterns are rendered with precision, with very little metaphor. I'm not even finished the book, and I can already tell you it's worth reading. It's making me think about the way I experience the world.

Boy, I really like cream soda.