Happy Boo-Day. Such a silly holiday. …

Happy Boo-Day. Such a silly holiday. Maybe it’s because I spent many of my childhood years overseas, but somehow Halloween just doesn’t seem like such an important holiday. I recall attempting to explain Halloween to my British friends. They shook their heads in disbelief when I told them that all you had to do to get a pillowcase full of candy is dress up in a costume and walk from door to door asking for it.

I think Jason and I are living parallel lives. My favorite book as a kid was also “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.” I also recently saw “The Mummy” on DVD, and it did indeed suck.

Bastrology is astrology for bastards. I found this by doing a search on Altavista for “alien sperm.” [Don’t ask.]

So far, all the people who have commented (in email and on their web sites) about my mini-rant the other day are not the people I was talking about. If you’re really paranoid enough to think I’m talking about you, email me and I’ll let you know privately who pissed me off enough to inspire the rant. It’s not who you think it is.

I don’t really mean to pick bones here, but I’m wondering about a few things. First, someone the other day (it was Lane Becker — see 10/13 entry) called into question the fact that Jakob Nielsen’s web site, useit.com, doesn’t correctly resolve if you use only “useit.com” instead of “www.useit.com“. Jakob Nielsen, for those of you who aren’t familiar with his work, is considered a web site usability expert. How does it look when he overlooks such a simple thing that can increase the usability of his site?

Secondly, webword.com (a fine usability weblog with lots of great content by John Rhodes) is breaking some usability rules. The site is barely readable in my browser of choice (Netscape) on my platform of choice (Mac) because it uses <FONT SIZE> and <FONT FACE> tags to force the defined font (Arial) to render how the site developer wants it, not how the end user wants it. I’m sorry, but 10pt Arial really sucks and is hard to read (10pt Arial in italics is even worse). [See screenshot.] CNet needs to be smacked upside the head for this, too.

Oh yeah, as you can see in the above screenshot, I’m using a neat little shortcut that the Netscape engineers thoughtfully included. Simply type “view-source:” in front of any URL and hit Enter/Return to view the page’s source. Saves you a few seconds because you don’t have to navigate with the menus.

If you really want to explore pervasive accessibility for your web site, try viewing your site in the WebTV viewer or on an actual WebTV machine. Astonishing.

While blocking spam from an entire nation seems a bit harsh, maybe it will serve as a wake-up call to our government to pass more anti-spam laws. I receive probably 20-100 pieces of spam every week. Over 90% of them originate from mailservers outside the United States, usually because the spammers are taking advantage of poorly secured mailservers at foreign ISPs and corporations with clueless sysadmins.

Posted by Cameron Barrett at October 31, 1999 12:34 PM

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